This morning I attended a Environmental Scrutiny Committee meeting, where the public were invited to attend. Some of the committee members appeared pleased that a number of the public were their, with some of public putting forward short presentations. Bot when the Council’s economic advisers gave their presentation, my heart dropped. They were advocating ‘business-as-usual’, even though this is the cause of our present financial crisis. Also a councillor dismissed the importance of local food production, stating he wanted his electorate to stop smoking and drinking. He obviously does not understand, this is due to the inequalities of the present system and their lack of empowerment.
And in the workshop I attended, once again a councillor argued that the airport was low carbon, as the emissions did not affect Manchester but were felt elsewhere. And it was best the expanded Manchester Airport, because if aviation went elsewhere it would not be a low carbon as that of Manchester Airport. The attitude of some of the councillors are totally blinkered, they cannot see the real damage the airport is doing to Manchester and the surrounding area. And things will get worse with the building of the by-pass, so motorist can get to the airport faster instead of using public transport. These views were reinforced by Richard Leese, he even decided that one of the action points would not be Manchester’s but AGMA’s (Association of Greater Manchester Authorities).
It would appear the council leadership have not taken any notice of the mass of information on the unsustainability of ‘business-as-usual’. Someone from AGMA, when someone said the council needed to show leadership, said Richard Leese had showed leadership because he gave a speech! This is not leadership, in fact Richard Leese, is very good at saying the council is not responsible for this, they cannot do this or that. He does not show leadership, but is a bully boy who wants to get his own way no matter what others think.
It is a pity this video from the European Environmental Agency was not available to show them. Though, I doubt it would make much difference to the likes of Richard Leese
One thought on “Manchester City Council’s Environmental Scrutiny Committee Meeting.”
first (and I mean this!) I am really glad that you have blogged about this meeting. I think one metric of success that would be relatively easy to count is the number of people writing either individual blogs or collective blogs about the policy frameworks in Manchester (both Manchester and Greater Manchester). Of course, there are other lots of other far more important metrics (see Dave Bishop’s comments about bio-diversity!!)
I think we probably agree on many things but I do want to point out the following.
“This morning I attended a Environmental Scrutiny Committee meeting, where the public were invited to attend.”
You imply that it is unusual that the public were invited, and in the strict sense you are right – it was myself, rather than the council that wrote the letter to the MEN that was published last Friday, and set up the facebook group. But the implication might be that Scrutiny Committee meetings are closed. That’s not the case at all. Few – if any – members of the public attend, but they could, and I hope they WILL (that’s another metric that we will be employing!! Again, not as important as biodiversity).
“Also a councillor dismissed the importance of local food production, stating he wanted his electorate to stop smoking and drinking. He obviously does not understand, this is due to the inequalities of the present system and their lack of empowerment.”
Well, I may have fallen under Pat Karney’s spell, or be subconsciously keen to maintain good relations with him, but I think that is quite unfair. He was not dismissing the Rome model of local food production, to my ears, but rather making the point that local food on its own will not solve other deep-seated problems of diet and health. You can say it’s irrelevant (I don’t think his point is irrelevant), but I think it’s inaccurate to imply he dismisses the importance of local food production.
“These views were reinforced by Richard Leese, he even decided that one of the action points would not be Manchester’s but AGMA’s (Association of Greater Manchester Authorities).”
Again, it will seem like I am an apologist for Richard Leese, but some issues ARE better dealt with at an AGMA level!! Given the choice between a “local” doctor who performs surgery once or twice a year and a “distant” brain surgeon who does it all the time, I think you’d want your brain tumour removed by the latter. It’s a question of appropriate scale etc, no (the analogy is poor – let me think on a better one).
Was the meeting perfect? Absolutely not. Was it better than I personally expected? Yes, much. Maybe I’ve been schmoozed by the chance to address a packed scrutiny commitee, or been seduced by the opportunity to sit in Richard Leese’s office with a chair and an exec member and a head of strategy – that’s for readers to decide. What I DO think is that a door is ajar. We absolutely need to make the most of this opportunity. We need to make sure that biodiversity atrocities like the one Dave Bishop wrote about can never occur again, starting next year. (Well, starting sooner if Dave cares to give me details of upcoming likely idiocies…). Patrick – will you join us in constructive engagement (and spikiness when it is needed – which will be more often than some councillors currently think) to make Mancheter green, fair, and genuinely climate-resilient (to me, that needs steady-state).
co-editor Manchester Climate Monthly