[Update 22nd September 2014. We have answers.]
Dear Councillor Battle,
this morning while walking around Alexandra Park I noticed a workman with a loud leafblower, clearing leaves away from the tennis courts’ fence. Presumably this is in preparation for the weekend’s launch events, which I look forward to as much as you.
The roar of the blower got me to thinking, as so many things do, about “what is a low carbon culture”, and is Manchester engaging “all individuals, neighbourhoods and organisations in Manchester in a process of cultural change that embeds ‘low carbon thinking’ into the lifestyles and operations of the city.”
But those are big questions. I have some more specific ones;
a) How many leaf blowers does Manchester City Council own and operate, as of August 29th 2014?
b) How many leaf blowers did Manchester City Council own and operate as of August 29th 2013?
c) Has any audit been done on the carbon emissions impact of using leaf blowers as opposed to some people using good old-fashioned rakes? (if there has been, I would like a copy)
I know that there is a 10% “sustainability” criterion for council contracts (and congratulations – that’s a very good thing).
d) Is there any provision in contracts issued for parks maintenance to encourage contractors not to use leaf-blowers?
I would have preferred to avoid the delay associated with going through formal processes, but since my previous attempts to get information have met with considerable silence, please consider this a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
I sent this to Councillor Battle (firstname.lastname@example.org) on Friday 29th August, and included email@example.com
Councillor Battle has kindly replied to acknowledge receipt. Information Compliance will doubtless soon be sending me a reference number. Watch this space in about 20 working days (i.e. end of September).
Standard response to FoIA request, received on 1st Sept:
Dear Marc Hudson
Re: Request for Information – Reference No: GAN/9NKGCG
Thank you for your request for information received by Manchester City
Council on 29th August 2014.
Please note that it may take up to 20 working days (approximately 4 weeks)
for the Council to consider your request and to provide a formal response.
If this timescale needs to be extended to consider an exemption you will be
notified and kept informed.
If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.
[Information Compliance Officer]