Not what we were LED to believe – #Manchester City Council fails again on #climate.

Council bureaucrats have finally admitted that the plan to change the city’s streetlights to LEDs,  (first promised in 2012) which has been delayed by years, is not on track. This scheme, which is being financed by a private finance initiative (PFI), would in theory reduce the council’s carbon emissions by thousands of tonnes.

Initially the scheme was listed as ‘amber’ in the latest progress report.  However, a sharp-eyed member of the public spotted that it was actually far behind schedule, and an updated progress report on the council’s website now shows it as ‘red’. The project will now not be complete until the 2019/2020 financial year, which is the year which the council aims to have reduced its emissions by 41% from the baseline. This means that for part of the year, some streetlights in Manchester will be causing higher carbon emissions than originally anticipated. If the council is serious about meeting the 41% target, it may now therefore have to make additional reductions elsewhere.

This development highlights the fact that there is very little opportunity provided for the public to scrutinise the council’s performance on reducing its emissions and preparing for the effects of climate change. Indeed, the next opportunity for members of the public and councillors to do this has been pencilled in for the May 2016 Neighbourhood scrutiny meeting.

This failure to be able to analyse progress accurately should also call into question the ability of the bureaucrats to analyse the council’s actions themselves. It is shocking that the people tasked with this monitoring either did not notice that a project that was due to finish years past its deadline was not on track, or did and didn’t flag this up. This had to be done not by a bureaucrat, not by a councillor, not by a journalist, but by a citizen.

2015/16 emissions to be higher than 2013/14

Meanwhile, information provided in the council’s quarterly reports on their building emissions,  combined with the council not changing its streetlights,  makes it seem highly likely that the council’s emissions this financial year will be higher than they were 2 years ago (but lower than they were last year).  In the Council’s 2010 “Climate Change Delivery Plan”, it pledged several times to ensure that “direct emissions from the Council’s own operations are reduced by 20% by the end of 2013/14”. In 2013/14 the council missed this target after only reducing its emissions by 16.9%. Now, the council looks set to still not be meeting the 20% target two years later.

On a trajectory to the 41% reduction to 2020, this means the council will be emitting approximately 6,000 tonnes of CO2 this year more than it should if it is to meet this target. The emissions cuts required to meet this gap is equivalent to completely shutting down the Town Hall, Town Hall Extension, Art Gallery and the Central Library.

by staff reporter Ann Onymous.

MCFly says: readers of MCFly will know that this sort of thing – dodgy numbers and claims in official reports being put to councillors who are either intellectually incapable or politically unwilling to ask straightforward questions about the Council’s inept performance.  Why don’t they? Forensic questioning would embarrass the Executive, the senior bureaucrats and the Council itself, and that’s not the way to do things if you’re seeking a career!  (Of the 96 Councillors, the number of Labour councillors is… 96).

It’s worth recalling that street-lights were the key to the council claiming, a few years ago, that they’d managed a big cut in emissions, a claim they had to later retract. See this story from 2013-

#Manchester C02 “7% reduction” illusory; down to traffic lights moving to TfGM’s books #beyondthecarbonbudget.

Meanwhile, in another laughable PR stunt by the pledge-fixated “fixers”, Greater Manchester worthies, including unelected mayor Tony Lloyd boasted in a pre-Paris media stunt that they would sign up to some meaningless “Compact” of mayors.  Part of the statement runs like this –

“Through the Compact, we are strengthening our pledge to reduce local greenhouse gas emissions, create ambitious climate targets, track progress and enhance Greater Manchester’s climate resilience. With consistent, public reporting of our city’s climate data, we will show how our actions can effect real change.”

If it weren’t so tragic, you’d laugh.


About manchesterclimatemonthly

Was print format from 2012 to 13. Now web only. All things climate and resilience in (Greater) Manchester.
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