MCFly 57 – Council Gritter

All year long, Manchester City Council officers and members stated that the Council’s own plans for how it would reduce its carbon emissions by 41% by 2020 and create a ‘low carbon culture’ (as per the “Manchester: A Certain Future” document) would go to the Council Executive at its September meeting. Then came the Inevitable Delay*. The “internal delivery plan” would now go to the Executive (the final deciders for all things Council) at the end of October instead.
What was astonishing was not the delay (everyone knows there are delays; and delays; and delays). No, it was the fact that not only did the Council not have the courtesy to inform the Liberal Democrat “Opposition”, but they also didn’t bother to tell the (unpaid) members of the Environmental Advisory Panel, who’d been asked to help the Council with both the “Certain Future” document and the Delivery Plan in their own time. Folks had to read it in MCFly, which is, frankly, never a good sign.
So, on September 15th, the irony police should have been called to a disturbance at Manchester Town Hall. To quote from Council Leader Richard Leese’s blog – “The Council’s Executive met earlier today. Not characteristically, I arrive a couple of minutes late but even so I thought it was a pretty impressive performance to have breakfast at a hotel at Helsinki airport and still be only a few minutes late for a 10am meeting at Manchester Town Hall. I’d spent Sunday and Monday in Shanghai speaking (twice) at an Urban Development Summit …. I’d hoped to be back yesterday tea-time, but a four and a half hour delay at Shanghai scuppered that, hence an enforced over night in Finland. Not a commute I intend to do again if I can help it and will be back on my bike tomorrow starting to pay back all that carbon.”
As some trouble-maker commented below that blog post: “Manchester will be taking ownership of some percentage of the carbon emissions from the international flights landing and taking off at our beloved airport. Any plan for carbon reduction is going to have to account for that… ”
ADDENDUM – Further interesting comments have been posted on the blog, with calculations of just how far Manchester’s Glorious Leader will have to cycle…

(*The only deadline MCFly is aware the Council has ever met on climate change policy was the delivery of the 2009 Action Plan – and that was so there was something to pass around at Copenhagen.)
Anyway, this all segues nicely into the following…

Manchester City Council is STILL breaking the law (see MCFly 54). MCFly submitted a Freedom of Information Act request about flights taken by Council officers and members in 2008/9 and 2009/10, and any off-setting arrangements that had been made. We received a pro-forma letter promising a reply within the statutory “20 working days”, which meant late July. Since then… nothing. Either they have something to hide, or they just don’t give a rat’s arse about establishing a reputation for honesty, transparency and respect for Freedom of Information. Which is it, we wonder?


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Below the surface...
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