In July 2013 Manchester City Council made a series of promises about what it would do in the coming year, as part of its “Annual Carbon Reduction Plan 2013-4.”
In July 2014 it… didn’t report on what it had and had not achieved.
A group of unpaid citizens then sent in Freedom of Information Act requests. The results – startling and depressing – were recently published in a report called “What have ye done?” (free download here).
However, not all the elements of 2013-4 Plan were covered by our FoIAs. We were hoping the Council would – out of the goodness of its heart – release the rest of the information without prompting.
Now, the acting Executive Member for the Environment, Jeff Smith, has said
“If you have some specific questions that won’t entail officers taking too much valuable time away from their jobs ( ie. actually doing their jobs), then I’m sure we can try and answer them.”
So, Manchester, here’s the chance for you to flex your mental muscles, and learn how to
a) ask very specific questions (a useful skill when dealing with bureaucracies)
c) do some research – if the information already exists in public domain, it’s wasteful of the Council’s time to ask again (though of course, they’ve been wasting OUR time by not reporting in a straightforward manner…)
Below is the list of the items the Council still hasn’t released data on. Please have a look through and formulate questions on as few or as many as you want. Also, tell us what definitely matters and definitely doesn’t. We aim to send the questions in next week.
|Number||Promise||Proposed Question (if blank, have a go, by submitting a comment). If you think the question could be refined, also submit a comment.|
|4.16||Asset rationalisation is estimated to contribute savings of 1,810 tonnes CO 2 and £365k of energy and CRC costs in-year (equivalent to full year savings of 3,621 tonnes CO 2 and £730k of energy and CRC costs).|
|4.21||Markets (10% of building emissions) will focus on New Smithfield Market this year where, subject to funding approvals, a new energy efficient fish market will be built to replace the old block and condition surveys will be completed on two other market blocks.|
|4.22||The Town Hall Complex Transformation Programme will be completed in 2013/14, with crucial refinement works being undertaken to ensure the building operates as efficiently as planned, along with energy information on staff computers to enable them to take personal action to reduce energy use.|
|4.32||Renew our focus on creating a sustainable built environment by ensuring planning and highways decisions maximise opportunities to create a highway network with the full range of sustainable transport options.|
|4.33||Implement two new 20mph areas, including a programme of behaviour change for residents in these areas.|
|4.54||An extensive programme of tree, hedge and orchard planting across the city.|
|4.56||An innovative environmental engagement project at Clayton Vale.||Please supply details of the environmental engagement project at Clayton Vale. How many events were held?
How many people were engaged? What specific provision was made to engage “hard to reach” groups?
|4.57||The designation of one new Local Nature Reserve and one new Site of Biological Importance.||“Please supply the names and locations of any local nature reserves that have been designated in the period July 2013 to 2014
Please supply the names and locations of any Sites of Biological Importance that have been designated in the period July 2013 to July 2014
|4.70||To embed sustainability into the design process of refurbishments, extensions, or new school buildings.|
|4.78||“In 2013/14 there will therefore be a refresh of Low Carbon Plans, both top-down, at a Directorate level, and bottom-up, from an individual team level. The Green Impact project that has been implemented for the last three years has provided teams with the tools to voluntarily develop and deliver Team Low Carbon Plans, and has seen a near doubling of teams participating from 2011/12 to 2012/13.
This team-based approach will be rolled out through the implementation of the Council’s Manchester Carbon Literacy programme, incorporating the key elements of Green Impact.”
|4.82||The virtualisation of servers in the Sharp Data Centre will be further built upon by the potential of transferring some of our services to the ‘Cloud’, where appropriate. While this means that we will be transferring energy usage to external companies, it provides the benefit of allowing those external companies to utilise their economies of scale in terms of energy efficiency, whilst reducing the Council’s overall energy consumption.|
|4.86||The technologies currently being implemented will enable the Council to introduce Bring Your Own Device (BYOD). While staff using their own devices does not reduce the amount of energy used, it will reduce the number of devices the Council purchases, therefore reducing the emissions involved in production.|
A few quick thoughts.
Whilst looking for some certificates, I found some notes from years ago. One of the notes, were from an article I had read, in the Telegraph, I think. It was some Yank, and his 5 Super Questions to ask, to get things done.
1/ What is it that prevents you from delivering it?
2/ What would happen if you did not do that first?
3/ Has there ever been a time when you did do that?
4/ What would have to happen to make it possible?
5/ If you did know the reason, what do you thiunk it could be?
By the way, how do they explain the increase of CO2e emissions due to moving into the refurbished Central Library?
I suppose they are claiming that the building wasn’t open, the lights weren’t on. Now it is open, the lights are etc…