Manchester City Council’s Executive meets today. Members of the public do not have the right to address the meeting, but can ask permission. I have already. If it is granted, this is what I’ll be saying.
Thank you, chair, for the chance to address the Executive. I will – for once – be brief.
On the 17th November 2009 the Executive of Manchester City Council endorsed the Climate Change Action Plan. That plan had been written collaboratively over the previous few months by many stakeholders. This was a bold and praise-worthy action by the Council.
The Plan’s headline goals were two (they are more now). The second – and most radical – was to engage all citizens and organisations in creating a low carbon culture. The first was a 41% reduction in the City’s emissions by 2020.
In October 2010 Manchester City Council released its 10 year plan for the period 2010 to 2020 on Climate Change. It committed to reducing its own carbon emissions by 20% by 2014, so that momentum would be created towards a planned 41% reduction by 2020.
At every subsequent meeting about progress since then, elected members of the Council have been assured that this was going to be done. As late as July 2013 members of the Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee were told by officers that it would be done. That report, by the way, never came to this Executive.
Last Tuesday the Climate Plan 2014 to 2017 that is before you now was presented to Neighbourhoods Scrutiny Committee. Buried inside is the admission that emissions have gone back upwards and that the Council will – if everything goes according to plan – achieve a 13% reduction. 13% is not 20%.
We can’t change that. We don’t, sadly, have a time machine.
What we can do is to revive the collaborative and innovative relationship between the Council and the citizens of Manchester and their organisations that existed in 2009. The report that you have all received is an implementation plan for the 9 actions that are contained in an Open Letter published online and in the Manchester Evening News. If any of the implementation plans are insufficiently detailed, let us know and we’ll beef them up in, say, a week. Or less, if you need.
I hope that all members of the Executive, all members of the Council, and indeed everyone else – will play their part in making Manchester safe for the enormous challenges that lie ahead.