Climate Emergency Manchester urge the council to ditch advertising high-carbon products

  • Climate Emergency Manchester launched their #Badverts campaign in March
  • They say lack of action from the council is ‘worrying and symbolic’
  • The Council insists work is being done ‘behind the scenes’

A Manchester-based activist group are putting pressure on the council to reduce the number of advertisements around the city centre promoting fossil fuel companies and high-carbon products.

Manchester Climate Emergency is made up of a dedicated team of volunteers who in March this year, launched their #BadvertsMCR campaign against high carbon advertising.

Climate Emergency Manchester want the Council to ban advertising for flights to help change consumer behaviour. Photo Credit: Climate Emergency Manchester.

Their blog post, written by Callum Mcfarlane, states that ‘The goal is to get Manchester City Council to ban (or at least, seriously restrict) advertising for high carbon products in Manchester’.

The campaign aims to highlight that exposure to this high carbon advertising is ‘hurting the planet’ and that it is Manchester City Council’s responsibility.

Successful campaigns elsewhere

The campaign is one of a number around the country that aims to address the impact of these advertisements on the public.

Chloe Jeffries, a local campaigner and a core member of Climate Emergency Manchester, has seen several successful campaigns elsewhere and had a similar vision for Manchester.

She said: “We decided to look into this because we are aware of a number of other groups both around the country and the UK who had run successful campaigns to try and get their councils to ban or pass pledges with tighter regulations on high carbon advertising.

“As a voluntary campaign group focused on what local authorities can do on climate action, we thought if we’d seen other cities around the UK do it then Manchester could too” she added.

Climate Emergency Manchester wants the Council to ban advertising for high-carbon products, especially SUVs. Photo Credit: Climate Emergency Manchester.

Lack of appetite for change

Climate Emergency Manchester wish to emphasise the surprising lack of action in Manchester compared to other cities like Liverpool and Norwich.

“I don’t think theres a reason, apart from the lack of will and lack of appetite in Manchester” said Chloe.

“If anything, it kind of shows that the Manchester reputation of leading the way isn’t always true.

“We have some experience of councils, but it’s difficult for us to know what the individual routes and mechanisms are, so I think it’s another way in which local authorities can be quite opaque” said Chloe.

Climate Emergency Manchester believes that the Council accepts money in exchange for legitimising and platforming these companies. Photo Credit: Climate Emergency Manchester.

Failure to take action

Despite their communication with Manchester City Council, the group say nothing has changed.

“A motion hasn’t come to pass which is a bit disappointing, we are not paid to do this, it’s a voluntary campaign group” said Chloe. “The failure to take action is therefore worrying and symbolic.

“If Manchester City Council can’t do the easy things, how are they going to have any hope of tackling the areas that make an even greater contribution to Manchester’s emissions, such as housing and transport?” she added.

Climate Emergency Manchester plan to release a final statement for the council, urging them to act.

“We think it should be a quick win for them , so we can take it so far, but then it’s over to them”.

Behind the scenes

“The amount of advertising the council controls within the city is small” said Councillor Mandie Shilton Godwin.

“They’ve already got strong policies on gambling, smoking and vaping.

“They are working at looking at how that could be developed in to climate change” she added.

“There is a group of people who have been discussing with other councils what they have managed to achieve.

“I haven’t got any timescale for how long that work might take or how extensive it might be able to be, but there is a group working on it.

“That work is being done behind the scenes” said Mandie.