Manchester City Council has a new chair of its “Neigbhourhoods and Environment” Scrutiny Committee (according to MCFly’s secret sauce – watch this space for an official announcement). After the one-year reign of Councillor Dan Gillard (who has moved to a less hierarchical and “we-don’t-make-mistakes”-style institution [i.e. the Vatican]) Manchester’s citizens can now be take comfort that the committee, which is tasked with keeping tabs on Manchester’s environmental performance, is to be chaired by… Councillor Kevin Peel.
Councillor Peel was on the committee for several years, but stepped down after the May 2015 change of leadership from Councillor Basil Curley to Councillor Gillard. He recently fought and won an election to become the chair. The first meeting of the Committee (two months after a decision to add “Environment” to its title, the web monkeys have not been told t yet) is next Tuesday, 24th May. The meeting is free, open to the public, no need to book. But you do need to take a book, since it can be ever so slightly boring.
MCFly will take great interest in whether Councillor Peel leads the charge in getting answers to questions such as
Is the council getting any value for money from the Steering Group? And once he has done that, these;
1) If the council collects data on how its staff travel to work (scope 3 emissions) and if not why.
2) The buildings the council owned at the period of the baseline and the buildings the council owns now.
3)The number of staff the council employed at the period of the baseline and the number of staff the council employs now. [i.e. how much of the boasted reduction in the Council’s carbon footprint simply down to a smaller workforce and number of buildings?]
4) How many of the council’s staff are carbon literate
5) How many of the current councillors are carbon literate
6) If the council thinks that carbon literacy training is cost-effective. The cost of carbon literacy training to the council. The benefits to the council of their staff being carbon literate. The barriers the council has found of getting its staff, and the councillors, to undertake carbon literacy training.
7) How many trees the council has planted in 15/16
8) How many trees the council has felled in 15/16
9) Minutes of scrutiny meetings in which the quarterly reports have been discussed.
10) Has the impact of the five pilot ward-level environmental audits been reviewed and the next steps been established? What has been the result of this?
11) What guidance and access have councillors been provided with to enable them to work with local stakeholders and partners to help facilitate the development and delivery of local environmental activities. Has this been successful and how – has there been any feedback from the councillors on this? How can and will this be improved?
12) What has the council done to support Wildabout! Manchester and has this been successful and how? How can and will this be improved?
13) What does the council understand to be the impacts of climate change on health, education, transport and the economy in the city? What is the council doing to prepare for these impacts?
13a) Has the council conducted a particular impact assessment within these spheres on women, BME people, the elderly, and those with disabilities?
14) Has the council completed a review of Complete review of Phase 1 Carbon Literacy training, and developed and commenced delivery of Phase 2 Carbon Literacy training? If not why?
15) Why was the Sustainable Events Plan not updated in 15/16?
16) What has the council done to work with the Manchester Arts Sustainability Team and other partners to share information and best practice, and develop joint initiatives where appropriate?
17) Regarding the Triangulum Smart Cities project; please can I have a copy of the overall project plan and the detailed technical feasibility studies for energy and mobility.
18) Which are the two schools which are progressing procurement for energy measures utilising Salix funding?
19) How many schools are in Manchester? How many know their 15/16 CO2 emissions?
20) What is the council doing to encourage electric vehicle ownership?
21) Is the council delivering pilot school carbon reduction projects at five schools, and if not why?
22) Why has the “Climate Change Action Plan Quarter 4 2015/16 Report” given point 8 a “Green” when the council has not achieved the Gold Level of WWF Timber Pledge and work on WWF pledge is on hold?
23) Why does the headline of the “Climate Change Action Plan Quarter 4 2015/16 Report” state that “there is one action that has been rated ‘Red’ in quarter 4” when there are two actions that have been rated Red in quarter 4?
24) What priorities for action have been agreed regarding the council’s extended carbon footprint?
25) How much CO2 emissions does the council predict the Arcadia Library and Leisure Centre will produce in 16/17?
26) In which year does the council predict that it will have reduced its emissions from the baseline by 41%? Why was the council’s initial target of reducing its emissions by 20% by two years ago not met and why has it still not been met?
27) Is the new Residential Design Guidance going to deliver homes which generate their own energy?
28) What is the council doing to influence people’s diets to be healthier for them and less carbon intensive, especially its staff?
29) What is the council doing to increase recycling rates in the city and its own buildings?