The Manchester Biodiversity Action Plan 2012-16  was passed by the Communities and Neighbourhoods Overview and Scrutiny Committee on 10th January 2012 and agreed by the Executive on the 18th (minutes pending).
Who was there?
Committee: about 18 (including the chair and minutes taker).
Panel: Nigel Murphy (Executive Member for Environment, Manchester City Council, Hulme / Labour) , Dave Barlow (Biodiversity Expert / Wildabout Manchester), Richard Sharland (Head of Environmental Strategy at Manchester City Council)  and A. N. Other (sorry, didn’t catch his name).
First to speak was Cllr Nigel Murphy: very brief overview of the plan; singled out the Wildabout Manchester case study of schoolgirl Sophie making a bird house [1, p42].
Then Richard Sharland talked about the general framework of the plan, including: a major achievement for a city with predominantly residential habitat; educational benefits; conservation elements; community involvement (~20,000 attended biodiversity events in 2011).
Then Dave Barlow picked out a few bits from the 2005-2010 plan: Manchester Peregrine project; the local record centre (database of 20,000 records now); the increase in Local Nature Reserves  (mentioning Wythenshawe, and more in the pipeline); and the tallest tree in Greater Manchester – recently identified in Harpurhey (tbc).
Questions / comments:
Q1: Cllr Peel [I think] suggested more green roofs.
A: Richard Sharland said that would we included as part of Green Infrastructure Plan.
Q2: another committee member asked how to engage with the tens of thousands of school kids
A: Richard Sharland said they were doing so with 80% of schools already .
Dave Barlow mentioned the down-loadable education packs for schools .
Q3: another asked if current weed-killers were safe to use in the long-term? [Norman Lewis, I think]
A: Dave Barlow: Should be, all tried and tested as far as they know.
Q4: Possibility of bio-control for Japanese Knotweed?
A: Didn’t catch the full answer, something about Japanese Knotweed needing a 3 year program to fully eradicate.
Then some general chit-chat about the impact of the Metrolink plans across Chorlton Meadows from Liberal Democrat side. Response from labour: Metro / trainlines are fantastic wildlife corridors. Nothing added from panel, I don’t think.
Anyway, some mutterings at the end about the plan being approved, some shuffling of papers, and the four chaps walked away smiling. On the way out, walking down the Town Hall corridors, I asked Dave Barlow if all had gone to plan, he said yes, and Richard Sharland agreed.