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Climate Emergency motions declared by 9 of the 10 Greater Manchester councils

On 11th September, Oldham became the latest local authority in Greater Manchester to declare a ‘Climate Emergency’.

So that now means that 9 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 (17th July), Rochdale (17th July), Bolton (21st August) and Oldham (11th September) have all declared a ‘climate emergency’ – many of the motions being similar 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), 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 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 Tameside, the action guide could be a useful starting point when demanding your local council declares a ‘climate emergency’.

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


[29th August 2019] NHS organisations in Greater Manchester have declared a climate emergency, committing to far-ranging action to slash carbon emissions and avert predicted illness and disease. The NHS bodies that make up the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership have mirrored the recent decision of Greater Manchester Combined Authority and seven of the 10 Greater Manchester councils to date in this action.

It makes Greater Manchester the first “integrated care system”– NHS bodies and council social care working together – in the country to declare a climate emergency.

The Partnership will now develop and agree a plan before the end of the year that will show how the NHS will meet its obligations under the Climate Change Act to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050.

It will also support the pledges the Partnership has made to fulfil the Greater Manchester Five Year Plan for the Environment, which has set out the bold ambition for the city region to be one of the globe’s healthiest, cleanest and greenest city-regions and to be carbon neutral by 2038. 

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