Here in Greater Manchester there are a number of different types of local government politicians who represent you. This means that you can ask them what they can do about certain issues, including (but far from limited to) ones that concern the environment.
Here we’ll have an overview of some of the types of representatives there are in Greater Manchester.
Councils and councillors
There are ten councils in the Greater Manchester area. They represent Bolton, Bury, Manchester, Oldham, Rochdale, Salford, Stockport, Tameside, Trafford and Wigan. Between them they cover services such as:
- planning and development
- fire and public safety
- social care
- waste management
- trading standards
- rubbish collection
- Council Tax collections
- planning applications
Councillors decide which policies the Council should pursue, ensure that they are carried out and monitor services provided to ensure that they are delivered in the most efficient and effective way.
They are there to represent the views and opinions of their residents, including helping those with difficulties which the council could help solve. You can contact your local councillor about issues you think the council might be able to help with or change. The UK Government website has a tool to help you find out who your local councillors are, which links to any council in the country.
Examples of environmental issues you might like to contact your councillors about include: recycling, air pollution, local parks and green spaces, development, transport (including ways to increase green transport like walking and cycling), traffic congestion, use of public space, and rubbish and fly-tipping.
Elections for local councillors are taking place across Manchester on Thursday 6th May 2021. Manchester Friends of the Earth are asking all candidates standing for election to let voters know what they think about key environmental issues. See our 2021 local elections survey to find out if your candidates have responded and what they’ve said – and if they haven’t, you can ask them to!
The Mayor of Greater Manchester
Since 2017, we have had a Mayor of Greater Manchester, who is chosen by local elections held every four years. The Mayor leads the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA), which is made up of the leaders from each of the ten Greater Manchester councils.
Some decisions can be made by the Mayor independently, some need consultation and approval by the GMCA, and some are made together.
The Mayor has various powers and responsibilities, including the fire and rescue service, transport, police and crime, and acting as an ambassador for the city region.
They also have important powers over housing and planning within the region, including control of the £300 million Greater Manchester Housing Investment Fund, and has a duty to produce a plan for how the area will develop. This was known as the Spatial Framework (GMSF), which might sound boring, but it involves important decisions that could affect the environment, including how green spaces and nature are or aren’t protected, and the vision for the growth of the area as a whole.
Other ways that the Mayor and GMCA can make decisions relating to the environment include transport, air quality, energy supply, eliminating waste and working with local authorities to reduce our greenhouse gas emissions as a region. You can read more about GMCA’s various work on the environment.
The Mayor is elected using the Supplementary Voting system. This means that voters can choose their first and second choice of candidate.
Elections for the next Mayor of Greater Manchester are being held on Thuesday 5th May 2021. You can find out more information about candidates on WhoCanIVoteFor.co.uk. You can also find out more by reading the official election booklet, which has pages on most of the candidates.