RETRACTION: @ManCityCouncil boasts of #climate action- but it was actually Transport for Greater Manchester’s efforts…

MCFly (i.e. editor Marc Hudson) has stuffed up.  Traffic lights and street lights are not the same thing. A FOIA about Salix and STREET lights has been submitted. Have sent this letter to MEN.

In my letter (published in today’s MEN) I stated that the City Council was taking credit for TfGM’s work on traffic lights.  That’s because I didn’t take proper note of the distinction (somewhat obvious, and clear in your reporter’s story on 23 October) between traffic lights and street lights.
The fault for the mistake is entirely mine. I have now submitted a FoIA about street lights, and the answers will appear in due course on the Manchester Climate Monthly website.  Meanwhile,  apologies to your readers, and to the City Council.  There’s a lot to criticise them on,with regards to their poor performance on climate change over the last ten years,  but this particular claim was simply not true. 
Marc Hudson

editor of Manchester Climate Monthly


Another day, another inaccurate PR effort by Manchester City Council: a Freedom of Information Act request reveals that work they lumped into their Big Number Boast was actually that of… TfGM

Last month,  the Manchester Evening News ran a story under the headline ” Manchester council is spending £69 million reducing its carbon footprint – here’s what’s being done”.

Climate Emergency Manchester sent the MEN a letter about the shonkiness of the claims in the article- and, to their credit, they published it.

And now, the plot thickens.  On the subject of LED lighting (and see here for some historical context about just. how. long. this. has. taken.) the MEN article said this-

More than 56,000 street lights are being changed for low energy LED replacements at a cost of £32.8million over the next three years. Around 45,000 have been replaced so far and the council said this has also been funded through prudential borrowing. It is understood the council has worked with Salix Finance, a company that specialises in providing loans to the public sector to improve energy efficiency, reduce carbon emissions and lower energy bills, on funding this scheme.

Great. So Manchester Climate Monthly submitted a FOIA. Questions in bold, answers in italics.

4. How much has Salix Finance received in consultancy fees, payments etc (so, ALL money to them in connection with the LED traffic lights replacement)
The Council is not carrying out an LED traffic light replacement scheme. Traffic signalling in Manchester is managed and maintained by Transport for Greater Manchester.

5. What is the total estimated
a) cost of the traffic light replacement scheme from beginning to end (a number of 32 million was quoted in the article, but that is just for 3 years)
Please see above response (question 4)
b) annual Co2 saving from switching to LEDs, in terms of kilos of Co2 per annum
Please see above response (question 4)

This, by the way, is NOT the first time the City Council has banked so-called emissions reductions from traffic lights. All the way back in 2013 Manchester Climate Monthly published a story with the self-explanatory headline-

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

Leopards and their spots, eh?

So what do we learn?  That the PR department of Manchester City Council seems to be extremely flexible (or desperate? or both?) in its understanding of
a) what counts as their spend
b) how stupid the voters are.

We can only hope that the Zero Carbon Coordination Group does not see fit to allow such tosh to be peddled.

Oh, and by the way, grok this, the first question in the FOIA.

sixty nine million bullshits


About manchesterclimatemonthly

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