Climate Emergency motions declared by 7 of the 10 Greater Manchester councils

29th July 2019

On 22nd July, Rochdale became the latest local authority in Greater Manchester to declare a ‘Climate Emergency’.

So far 7 of the 10 local councils have supported motions that formally declare a ‘climate emergency’. Trafford Council was the first out of the blocks in November 2018 with a motion that stated, “Council agrees:

–   To declare a ‘climate emergency’.

–   To establish a new task and finish group, with a remit to:

(i)   Seek advice from experts to develop a carbon budget and set a challenging target date for carbon neutrality in Trafford;

(ii) Consider systematically the climate change impact of each area of the Council’s activities;

(iii) Make recommendations and set an ambitious timescale for reducing these impacts;

(iv) To assess the feasibility of requiring all report risk assessments to include Carbon Emission Appraisals, including presenting alternative approaches which reduce emissions wherever possible;

(v)  Report to full Council with the actions the Council needs to take to address this emergency.

–   To task a director level officer with responsibility for reducing as rapidly as possible, the carbon emissions resulting from the Council’s activities.

–   To produce a report to the next Full Council on the level of investment in the fossil fuel industry that our pensions plan and other investments have.

–  That the Leader will write to the Prime Minister to inform her that Trafford has declared a climate emergency and ask her to provide the resources and powers necessary to deal with it.

Since then, Stockport (28th March 2019), Manchester (10th July), Bury (10th July), Salford (17th July), Wigan (18th July) and Rochdale (22nd July) have all declared a ‘climate emergency’ – many of the motions being similar or identical to that passed by Trafford.

Local authorities have an important role in delivering carbon emission reductions, particularly in transport but also in other areas such as buildings. Because action on climate change brings many co-benefits it is also important in addressing other areas of public concern, such as public health.

Most local authorities are doing far too little on climate change and some are even making decisions that will increase emissions (e.g. investing in airport expansion, promoting new road schemes).

At the Greater Manchester Mayor’s Green Summit on 25 March 2019, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority launched their 5 Year Environment Plan (available to download here) as the first step to meeting the Greater Manchester 2038 ‘carbon neutral’ target.

The Greater Manchester Climate Action Network (GM-CAN), a coalition of local climate activist groups responded to the 5 year plan with a series of steps summed up as ‘Do more, faster‘ and called on Greater Manchester councils to declare a ‘climate emergency’ as one of the first steps.

And after the ‘Climate Emergency’ motions have been passed the hard work begins. As the ‘Zero Carbon Manchester Annual review 2019 stated “the recommended CO2 emissions pathway to meet the carbon budget of 15 MtCO2 requires an annual reduction of at least 13% per annum from 2018 onwards. This year’s inventory, which uses a slightly different methodology also based on UK Government figures (BEIS 2019)6 , suggests energy-only CO2 emissions have reduced by 3.4% and 2.5% in 2017 and 2018. The lower reduction rates means that we need to compensate with larger reduction in annual emissions of 13.5% per annum from 2019 onwards.”

Friends of the Earth have produced an action guide ‘33 actions local authorities can take on climate change‘ that provides a useful framework for starting discussions with your local councillors about the urgent changes that need to be introduced.

If you live in Bolton, Oldham or Tameside the action guide could be a useful starting point when demanding your local council declares a ‘climate emergency’ and also Friends of the Earth will shortly be publishing ‘A Climate and Nature Emergency Action Plan for a local authority’.

PS coming soon…. A Greater Manchester ‘Climate Emergency’ ?

Following on from a Local Government Chronicle article (paywall) that Greater Manchester CA was poised to become the latest authority to declare a climate emergency….

On Friday 26th July, the Greater Manchester Combined Authority meeting considered the 5 Year Environment Plan. This was introduced by Andrew Western (Trafford Council Leader) and he also introduced an ammendment to declare a Greater Manchester ‘Climate Emergency’. See the live video of the meeting (18-25 minutes).