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News release: Climate and ecological emergency should be deal breaker in all council actions, say local election candidates

news release

With one day of campaigning before the local elections in Greater Manchester,  Manchester Friends of the Earth welcomes the cross-party support from candidates for urgent action on climate change and other environmental challenges facing us locally, nationally and globally. (1)

On Thursday 6th May, people in Greater Manchester have the opportunity to vote for the local councillors to represent them. The local councillors elected will have to implement solutions to meet many social and environmental challenges during the next 4 years and beyond. These include illegal levels of air pollution, ill health, low levels of physical activity, affordable energy efficient housing, better public transport, local democratic control on key planning issues and the urgent need to drastically reduce climate-wrecking emissions

98% of the candidates who responded pledged to “ensure that our council works with local residents to rapidly implement a Climate Action Plan which drastically cuts emissions over the next 10 years, and that the climate and ecological emergency is a deal breaker in all council actions.” (Q1)

Each candidate’s  response is available for people to view online (2) and so far, 226 (22.1%) of the 1022 local candidates have replied. Of the candidates who have responded:

* 92% would support a tougher voluntary air quality limit of 30 µg/m3 for Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) in Greater Manchester. (Q5)

* 95% committed to taking Carbon Literacy training within one year of being elected. (Q4)

* 91% supported their council divesting its pension fund from fossil fuels and investing in renewables and the local economy over an appropriate time-scale and promised to “do everything in my power to make sure this happens within the first year of my term in office.” (Q2)

* 91% would actively campaign to stop the Government’s proposed changes to permitted development rights in the planning system. (Q11)

98% supported phasing out / continuing the ban on the use of pesticides and herbicides in your local authority area. (Q9)

* 96% supported their local council committing to help double woodland cover across Greater Manchester by 2045. (Q12)

* 92% would support the introduction of a zero-carbon standard for all new buildings in Greater Manchester from 2023 (Q3)

* 88% supported increasing the dedicated bus lane network in Greater Manchester. (Q6)

* 80% agreed that in order to cut carbon emissions and improve recycling rates, Greater Manchester needs to phase out the use of waste incineration. (Q10)

* 78% supported the introduction of a cap on emissions from flights to and from Manchester Airport. (Q8) 

* 71% supported a ban on pavement parking in your council area (Q7)

Catherine Thomson, Manchester Friends of the Earth co-ordinator said: “We wouldn’t dream of telling people which way to vote but we think voters have the right to know where candidates stand on urgent environmental issues that will affect all our lives, such as the climate and biodiversity emergency.”

“Our elected councillors need to put young people first and act now for a sustainable future. The longer we put off these tough decisions the harder it will be for future generations.”

“We would like to thank the candidates who took the time to respond and let voters know their views on these important issues.”

Across Greater Manchester response rates for candidates from each political party ranged from: Green Party 53%, Liberal Democrats 27%, Labour Party 24%, “others” 10%, Conservative Party 2% and Reform UK 0%.  (3)

Response rates for each local council area ranged from Trafford (32.7%) to Tameside (9.1%). (4)

ENDS

Contact for comments:  Pete Abel, Manchester Friends of the Earth, Mobile: 07951 642858.

Notes for Editors

1) See https://www.manchesterfoe.org.uk/election-survey-2021-parties/ 

2)  See https://www.manchesterfoe.org.uk/election-survey-2021-candidates/

See https://www.manchesterfoe.org.uk/greater-manchester-local-election-2021-survey-questions/  for details of all the survey questions that candidates were asked. Also includes the background information provided with each question.

3) Between 20th April to 3rd May, where we could find contact details for candidates, we directly contacted over 50% of local election candidates via a combination of email and Facebook asking them to respond to the environment survey.  In addition, where contact details were available, local political parties were contacted by email, Twitter or Facebook asking them to circulate details of the environment survey to all their local candidates.

4) Response rates for each Greater Manchester local council area are available at: https://www.manchesterfoe.org.uk/election-survey-2021-areas/ 

5) Manchester Friends of the Earth is an award-winning environmental campaign group, raising awareness and lobbying for policy changes at a local, regional, national and international level. The group consists entirely of volunteers, and its campaigns are funded by membership fees and individual donations. Up-to-date information is available on the group’s website: www.manchesterfoe.org.uk. Manchester Friends of the Earth is a Licensed Local Group of Friends of the Earth, England, Wales and Northern Ireland. www.foe.co.uk 

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