Manchester City Council forced to admit no progress on “journey” to low carbon asphalt (more to follow)

Manchester City Council’s Highways Department has been forced to admit, again, it is not doing anything about switching to low-carbon asphalt.

In response to a request for more complete information the Council has conceded, in response to the question

What “further improvements” does MCC Highways think it has made around getting to zero? 

At this time there is no information available to share with you regarding the use of different resurfacing materials.

Last week MCFly revealed that the Council’s Highways Department had done nothing in the last seven months on the this, which other local authorities ARE working on.

Their reply to a FOIA had of course incomplete. In November MCFly had asked

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 chose only to answer the last question.

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

This is fairly typical. They hope that you won’t notice, or that if you do, you will give up. If you do notice, and you don’t give up – if you write to them requesting information informally, they then wait to see if you will follow up that informal request.

MCFly is done with that, so wrote back as follows

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.

And lo, on Friday 17th December, I got the “answers.”

And the answers reveal that the word “journey” was code for “we’re doing nothing. Piss off, oik.”

Besides targets (or lack of them) how is this “journey” going? 

Manchester City Council Highways do not have carbon targets involving surfacing materials at this moment in time.

What “further improvements” does MCC Highways think it has made around getting to zero? 

At this time there is no information available to share with you regarding the use of different resurfacing materials.

How are these being quantified? 

Manchester City Council Highways do not have any information available at this moment in time.

Oh, and MCFly has submitted the following FOIA –

Dear Sir/Madam,
in response to FOIA 6190, (on procurement of low carbon asphalt) I was told that

“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. “

I am writing therefore to request 

1) copies of the correspondence pertaining to low carbon asphalt procurement between MCC Highways Department’s relevant/responsible officer(s) and 

a) MCCA

b) the relevant Executive Member with responsibility for Highways

c) the referenced “Greater Manchester wide partners”

for the period, oh, let’s say 1st September 2021 to the present, which pertain to the creation of this very impressive-sounding  “consistent approach and the reporting, measuring, and monitoring of these targets’ feeds into the overall bigger picture”

2) Minutes of meetings at which the creation of a consistent approach and … picture” were discussed, and action points raised.

3) Correspondence between MCC Highways and external to Greater Manchester bodies about this matter

My final question is

4) What is the anticipated date for the creation of a target? Perhaps it will be July 10 2022, the third anniversary of the declaration of a Climate Emergency. Or July 10 2029, the 10th anniversary.

Please do consider this a request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000

Watch this space. And maybe the outfits that claim to be doing investigative journalism could do some.

About manchesterclimatemonthly

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