Climate Emergency Manchester need your help to bring cleaner air to Manchester
- Activists campaign for new climate action committee
- Claim city council is falling short on promises
- Council says new committee "would serve no real purpose"
The group of activists believe such a committee – which they want to call the Climate and Environment Scrutiny Committee – is needed to act as a watchdog for climate action in Manchester.
They say it would hold the council accountable by looking at climate commitments on a monthly basis.
They also believe it would help promote better dialogue between the council and residents on climate change.
“We need this committee to discuss the good and see what’s falling behind, month in, month out”, said Chloe Jeffries, one of Climate Emergency Manchester’s core members.
“You can hide a lot in an annual report, but by looking at things on a monthly basis you can foster a more frank discussion.”
The council, however, sayas that a new committee is not needed.
Councillor Angeliki Stogia, executive member for environment, said: “When we declared a climate emergency, it was with the express intention that zero carbon considerations would be embedded in all of our decision-making. That is what is happening.
“Tackling climate change has been added as an overarching strand of the Our Manchester strategy guiding the city.
“All reports considered by all committees of the council now include a section on how proposals relate to our environmental goals and scrutiny commitees are invited to consider the issue from their perspectives – for instance our Economic Scrutiny Committee has recently looked at the green economy.
“To sideline scrutinising climate change policy and action by making it the domain of purely one committee would run counter to this and would serve no real purpose.
We are making progress towards our aim of Manchester becoming zero carbon by 2038
“The fact is we are making progress towards our aim of Manchester becoming zero carbon by 2038 with the council playing its full part, reducing our emissions by half by 2025.
“This progress will be detailed in our latest quarterly report to be published online shortly.”
But Climate Emergency Manchester believes the conversations on climate action should not happen behind closed doors.
Ms Jeffries said: “We are in a democracy, and our elected representatives should be held accountable.”
The council declared a climate emergency in 2019, and promised to deliver complete carbon neutrality for Manchester by 2038.
Since then, however, very little has been done, claim green activists. They say the city fell short of its year-by-year target, and that carbon emissions fell by 4% in 2019, rather than the 13% predicted.
The council also came under fire last year for approving a controversial planning application for a car park close to a school in residential Ancoats.
“We need a fundamental change in how things are handled”, said Ms Jeffries.
“This is something that affects us all.
“This is an opportunity for Manchester to see more democracy and cleaner air. What’s not to like?”