Manchester City Council has been forced to admit that it has no plans to ask members of the so-called climate change “partnership” to even put information about the climate emergency on their websites. Further, the Council is refusing to explain why it is not holding any emergency summits with business, faith or community leaders about the massive carbon budget blow out.
In 2018 Manchester City Council created a “Climate Change Partnership”. This partnership has done half of sod-all, beyond providing a convenient fig-leaf and “spread the blame” function for the Council. Even getting a list of which organisations are members is difficult, with the director of the Climate Change “Agency” stonewalling elected members for two months.
Climate Emergency Manchester checked out the websites of the partnership members it could find, and – as per last year – most had got nothing about climate change on the home pages of their website.
Manchester City Council gave only a partial answer to a Freedom of Information Act request (see here). It was invited to give a more complete reply, and so avoid an internal review. It said it would. It didn’t. After 8 days, it was given a one day deadline. And lo, there was a reply (albeit not an answer). These are the lengths they go to try to hide inconvenient information. And the information is this:
on the last question, concerning contacting the Partnership members about their websites, I asked if there were any plans to do so. The response provided did not answer that part of my question.
There are currently no recorded plans to do this.
The FOIA had also revealed that the Executive Member for the Environment has held precisely zero meetings with business, faith or community leaders about the lack of adequate action on climate change. This despite the awkward fact that Manchester has burned through 6 million of its 15 million tonnes (40% of its carbon budget) for the entire 21st century in the last three years. Here the Council hides behind the EIR, knowing that nobody will try to hold them to account on the politics, since 94 of the 96 councillors are Labour.
For the questions about emergency summits, if you look again, you will see that it says “if not, why not.” At no point is there any explanation given for the lack of an emergency summit. It may be that in some cases the Executive Member heard on the grapevine that, for example, the business community wasn’t interested, or that faith leaders thought that prayer would be enough. It may be that she was too busy doing other things. Whatever it is, I would like to [sic] answers to each of those questions.
Response :An Environmental Information Regulations request is about recorded information. An authority is not under a duty to create information, to form a view or to provide an opinion in order to respond to a request. It is only in situations where a view has been formed and recorded that it will fall within the scope of the Regulations. Therefore, the above information does not fall within the scope of the Environmental Information Regulations 2004.
So, the Executive Member has held no meetings with business, faith or community leaders about emergency action on climate change. She has no intention of doing so, it seems. She has not contacted members of the climate “partnership” to get them to put climate change on their websites. She has no plans to do so.
Three obvious questions: Why is she being paid 34 thousand pounds per annum? What does she think the job IS? Does the Labour Group think she is the right person for the job?