Local Election Survey 2018 – Candidates

We’re surveying candidates in Greater Manchester for the 2018 election. Find out more about the survey.

Below is a summary of the responses across the areas of Greater Manchester. Where a candidate has already responded, you can see their response. If your candidates haven’t yet responded, follow the Twitter link to ask them to!

Satyen Sinha
Conservative Party

Question 1
Climate Change
Do you agree that Greater Manchester should adopt the Tyndall Centre’s science-based carbon budgets, set targets to halve the region’s emissions in the next five years and become carbon neutral by 2038?


I have worked with a number of non-profits over the years and campaigned on climate change issues. As a result of this I represented the IFAW at the Paris Climate Summit. The region has the ability to lower its emissions relatively easily. Many of our homes lack basic efficiency measures, despite millions of government money being available for it. If Council's stopped blaming central government and worked with them they could ensure those funds are used for the most inefficient houses. The same holds true for businesses. There are millions available for improving the efficiency of businesses, especially small and medium sized businesses. local councils should be proactive to ensure it is easy for businesses to take up these grants and provide best practice guidance. Councils could also use their procurement rules to reduce emissions. For example they could have riles calling for companies to achieve or to have in place a plan to reduce emissions/increase efficiency or if approved for a deal to work with the Council to put in place a plan. Obviously this needs consultation and fleshing out, but it shows just one way Councils can help. Related to logistics, the Councils should mandate that the bus fleet is electric, or at least hybrid. Their vehicle fleet should also be mandated to be electric. The infrastructure already exists for this. It is a myth that there aren;t enough electric charging points as highlghted by a recent report. Recylcing is another key issue. I know single stream recycling has in the past been contentious. But I would like to see it explored in Greater Manchester. It would mean fewer bins and possible less flytipping and more recycling. A report on the pros and cons would be very helpful. It should also look kat duel stream as well as simple policy changes such as rebates for better recycling and behaviour change strategies. The Council should also work with local supermarkets. In terms of negative emissions, greening up and not building on the Greenbelt should be key strategies. planting the right kind of plants also helps with air pollution by ensuring it is not trapped. Unfortunately Bury Council and our neighbouring councils don't do this. What I would like to see is a Council wide industrial and energy strategy with the environment as a major component. We should not just leave this upto Greater Manchester to do as the GM plan will not account for the key local factors. amd frankly isn't seen as a priority.

Question 2
Divestment from Fossil Fuels
Do you agree that the Greater Manchester Pension Fund should fully divest from fossil fuels in the next five years?


I've been working with the coal free coalition in the UK and applaud the Conservative government for phasing out coal use. Minister Greg Clark has been a great success, and i'm sure most campaigners would agree in private. However it is not just coal. Biomass is as least as dirty as coal, if not more so, when used for electricity generation - such as by DRAX power. I have to declare an interest here, my company is working with a number of charities to campagin against large scale biomass use. Research by VIVID Economics shows that not only is wind and solar lower cost than biomass, but that biomass will in short time become a stranded asset. Additionally it is a myth that you need biomass (or coal for that matter) for system integrity. The old argument that it is not always windy or sunny is not true. Ask any engineer and they will tell you that is not how the electricity system works. The findings by VIVID Economics prove this. Wind and solar will also function without subsidy in relatively short time. We've already seen the UK's first subsidy free solar farm inaugurated by Minister Perry. The same is not true of biomass. To this end I don't think it is enough to divest from coal. We must also divest from biomass. Local authorities must also not purchase electricity from electricity companies that source their power from coal and biomass.

Question 3
Walking and Cycling
Will you support your local council allocating funding to implement the walking and cycling (active travel) measures contained in Chris Boardman's ‘Made to Move’ report?

Don't know

I have not read Chris Boardman's strategy so can't make a judgement. However I do support more cycle lanes in general. Boris Johnson's cycle highway in London has proved to be a success. The sheer number of cyclists is amazing! I also like the Dutch approach of making streets centred around pedestrians - with less clutter. However, as stated, I can't make a judgement on the Boardman plans until I read it. Unfortunately as I'm not yet a councilor I haven't needed to read it, but if elected I would be very interested in learning more about his plans.

Question 4
Air Quality
Will you call on your local council to introduce ‘parking exclusion zones’ around local schools at peak times?

Don't know

I haven't had a chance to read the hyperlinks provided in the question. However I think we should expand the use of school buses and walking buses. I also think we should look at this on a case by case basis. Some of the rural schools for example - not so much in Unsworth but in other parts of the borough - would be difficult for children to access without a vehicle. But we should definately support the move away from combustion engines, and I'm pretty certain the market incentives put in place will mean we will remove almost all combustion engines well before the deadline set by Michael Gove.

Question 5
Will you support a ban on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides in your local council area and work to phase out the use of other pollinator-harming pesticides?


My company is called Bumblebee Connect, so naturally we care about bees. There are alternatives available and they should be used instead. However this is an EU competance; however I'm encouraged by what Michael Gove has said to the Guardian: “The weight of evidence now shows the risks neonicotinoids pose to our environment, particularly to the bees and other pollinators which play such a key part in our £100bn food industry, is greater than previously understood,” ... “I believe this justifies further restrictions on their use. We cannot afford to put our pollinator populations at risk.” The agricultural community has largely been forgotten by Councils in Greater manchester, especially Bury. I would work closely with them to help them through the transition. In the past I've worked with groups such as the NFU and CRAG on farming issues so I'm sure together we can quickly phase out the use of neonicotinoids.

Question 6
Will you support the phase-out of single-use plastics in your local authority by 2020?


This is another issue I have long backed. One of the other issues I have campaigned on is marine protection so I no the threat of it well. But again there have been some great promouncements on this by Michael Gove so I'm hopeful we will get there sooner rather than later. The straw question is interesting. I was totally in favour of a straw ban but then heard from disability groups who rely on them to independently feed themselves. The green alternatives, whilst functional, do not provide the same level of independence disposable bendy straws provide to disabled people. It just goes to show that even the smallest change can impact vulnerable groups. However, I think we can work with disability groups to find a solution that maintains the independance of those with disabilities and protects thh environment. But I do think we can ban the majority of single use plastics or regulate them better. However the current proposals lack ambition. I would like to see a commitment that incorporates international companies who must eliminate single-use plastics significantly from their global supply chains if they are to get British contracts.

Question 7
Will you support the introduction of a cap on emissions from flights to and from Manchester Airport?


I'm in favour of capping emissions from shipping and aviation; however I question the value of doing it unilaterally. As such I have put down "no" in the question as it is too vague in its wording. For example how it is defined and measured is important. Is it just those taking off from Manchester or also arriving? Is it just the direct flight or the total flight including connections? If the former, surely it will lead to less direct flights and more short haul flights to jurisdictions where the regulation doesn't exist, and thus even more carbon emissions? I would be interested to hear what the Committee on Climate Change say on this. It may be that to incentivise change we need to have a future cap built into the system, however that will require it to include more countries than the UK. Alternatively the new financing agreements in the Paris Climate Treaty may provide a better solution. One such option could be for airlines to fund renewable technologies that equal the amount of greenhouse gasses they are releasing. If they tie this to the offshore wind industry for example, it would also create lots of British jobs as we are a global market leader in this technology. For the longer term, I would be interested in seeing how we can leverage the Ministry of Defence and its procurement of next generation transport aircraft which emit much less carbon, or use alternative or hybrid technologies. Once developed these will provide lower emitting engines that other countries will hopefully purchase, but also set emissions limits on planes. There may also be value in terms of internal flights, making the emissions standards incredibly strict so that most current planes don't meet them (exceptions made for flights to the outer regions). This will force airlines to work with train operators to have run through check-in at local train stations taking them to the internal UK connections. However none of these proposals should be considered without genuine research put into them. That is why I think the Committee on Climate Change should be tasked with exploring this.

Question 8
Energy Efficiency
Do you support the introduction of a GM-wide building standard for all new developments to be zero-carbon and climate resilient?


Yes I do, and if GM doesn't then Bury Council should. The Conservatives Quality of Life Report called for this, and I hope it will be implemented eventually. But again we can go further. Retrofitting must play a part in this. The government has provided funding but if people aren't aware they cannot access it. This includes money for renters to improve their rented homes with new boilers and energy efficiency measures. It is the biggest problem facing us when seeking to improve efficiency. However the Government has muted incorporating efficiency into mortgages. This is something the Committee on Climate Change is researching as we speak. The proposal goes that you would get lower interest rates if your house meets, or you make it meets certain efficiency standards. This would be a huge incentive for home owners to improve the efficiency of their homes. I'm looking forward to reading the findings of the report as it could transform our housing stock very quickly.