Manchester Council Highways department STILL doing nothing about low-carbon asphalt, dodging FOIA

A Freedom of Information Act request has revealed that Manchester City Council is still dragging its feet on all aspects of the so–called “Climate Emergency” it was forced to declare in July 2019. There has been NO progress on procuring low carbon asphalt, despite promises eight months ago of imminent action.

Despite stirring claims that “everything would change” and that Manchester was and would continue to be a “leader”, even the most basic and obvious of changes are not enacted. Not accelerated carbon literacy, not climate as a standing item on Exec meetings, or on the front page of the Council’s website. Nada, zilch, nothing.

Still, given the total lack of any emergency meetings by the Executive Member for the Environment about the massive carbon budget blow out, is anyone really surprised?

In April, the Manchester Evening News published a letter from MCFly’s editor about other councils being far ahead on procurring low carbon asphalt

And a month ago MCFly submitted a FOIA. Today we got the response (which does not amount to an answer)

1. Does MCC, 7 months later, NOW have a target/targets? If so, what is it/are they, when were they set, by who, when will they be reported on. If not, why not and is any planned.

Manchester City Council Highways Service are still working through target setting. This needs to align with the Manchester Climate Change Agency as well as Greater Manchester wide partners to ensure there is a consistent approach and the reporting, measuring, and monitoring of these targets’ feeds into the overall bigger picture. 

2. Besides targets (or lack of them) how is this “journey” going? What “further improvements” does MCC Highways think it has made around getting to zero? How are these being quantified? How are they being reported and scrutinised?

The Council produces quarterly and annual progress reports which summarise activity to deliver its Climate Change Action Plan 2020-25. These are reported to the Environment and Climate Change Scrutiny Committee (the Quarter 3 report will be considered at the meeting on 13 January 2022 and published on the Council’s website. Quarterly Progress Reports | Zero Carbon Manchester | Manchester City Council

To which the reply is as follows

Dear Sir/Madam

re: FOI/6190

Thanks you for your reply to this. It is however incomplete, and in fact merely a typical fobbing off. I asked four questions within question two. You only replied to (did not answer) the fourth of them. We both know that MCC Highways Department inaction on climate change has not been scrutinised by the largely hopeless and entirely Labour Environment and Climate Change Scrutiny Committee.

So, I repeat the questions

  • Besides targets (or lack of them) how is this “journey” going?
  • What “further improvements” does MCC Highways think it has made around getting to zero?
  • How are these being quantified? 

Doubtless you will send me a stock response along the lines of “we are looking into this and will get back to you in due course.” Let me be clear: if you have not responded, in detail, by the close of play on Friday 17th December, I will be submitting a request for an internal review. I sincerely hope, however, that this is not necessary. It depends on you actually answering all the questions that were in the initial FOIA.

I will also be submitting a follow-up FOIA about the correspondence between MCC and other councils about this matter.

Yours sincerely.

[etc etc]


About manchesterclimatemonthly

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