Agenda and minutes
Environment and Climate Change Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 22nd July, 2021 10.00 am
Venue: Council Chamber, Level 2, Town Hall Extension. View directions
Contact: Lee Walker, Scrutiny Support Officer
Note: This meeting can be viewed on Vimeo at https://vimeo.com/572056784
Minute Silence For The Victims Of Recent Environmental Disasters
To consider any items which the Chair has agreed to have submitted as urgent.
The Committee and all those present observed a minute’s silence in remembrance of all those who had lost lives as a result of the extreme weather events witnessed recently across the globe.
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 24 June 2021.
To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 24 June 2021 as a correct record.
Report of the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer
The Council declared a Climate Emergency in July 2019 and developed a Climate Change Action Plan 2020-25, which was approved by Executive in March 2020. This report provides an update on the progress that has been made in delivering the Plan over the last 3 months (April – June 2021).
The Committee considered the report of the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer that provided an update on the progress that had been made in delivering the Plan over the last 3 months (April – June 2021), noting that Council declared a Climate Emergency in July 2019 and developed a Climate Change Action Plan 2020-25, which was approved by Executive in March 2020.
Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -
· Recognising the significant progress made to date to reduce carbon emissions;
· Requesting that reports to the Committee that were publicly available on the website should include bar charts to track emissions against the carbon budget;
· All RAG ratings needed to include figures, targets and comparative data where available.
· Consideration needed to be given as to how the impact of actions were assessed and reported;
· Noting that research undertaken by the Local Government Association had described that Councils had significant wider influence to reduce emissions, in addition to those that they were directly responsible for;
· Information that was published on the website needed to be clear and accessible
· Information was sought on available and future funding sources to progress this work, in particular the retrofitting of homes;
· An update was sought on the recruitment to posts within the Manchester Climate Change Agency (MCCA);
· Noting the levels of occupancy within the Private Rented Sector (PRS) it was important that private landlords improved their housing stock to reduce carbon emissions;
· All new housing developments should include solar panels;
· The need to capture the impact of COVID within the plan, noting the new ways of working and people’s travel arrangements, adding the need to recognise the impact on emissions as a result of working from home;
· Were the emissions savings achieved through the buildings estate a result of COVID and the new ways of working and was this sustainable long term;
· Noting that the University had developed a Place Based Carbon Calculator;
· Noting that the report was honest and transparent and had included a discussion on the Risks and Issues identified;
· Noting the challenges and barriers experienced by different groups across this city it was important to ensure that engagement with residents on the issue of climate change needed to be appropriate;
· Clarification was sought as to the reasons for the reported air travel;
· An update was sought on the calls for the Greater Manchester Pension Fund (GMPF) to divest from investing in fossil fuels;
· Carbon Literacy training needed to be delivered in schools, including those schools cross borders that children attended, adding that the voice of young people and schools should be included in the development of climate change ward action plans; and
· The need to ensure that the correct species of trees be planted in locations such as near schools and on road routes so as to maximise their carbon capture.
The Strategic Lead Policy and Partnerships updated the Members in regard to the recruitment to posts within the MCCA by advising that the Director will ... view the full minutes text for item 11.
Report of the Deputy Chief Executive & City Treasurer and City Solicitor
This report sets out the proposed Greater Manchester Final Clean Air Plan and policy following a review of all the information gathered through the GM CAP consultation and wider data, evidence and modelling work which is to be agreed by the ten Greater Manchester local authorities.
The Committee considered the report of the Deputy Chief Executive and City Treasurer and City Solicitor that set out the proposed Greater Manchester Final Clean Air Plan and policy following a review of all the information gathered through the GM CAP consultation and wider data, evidence and modelling work which was to be agreed by the ten Greater Manchester local authorities.
The Committee were invited to comment on the report prior to its consideration by the Executive at their meeting of 28 July 2021.
Some of the key points that arose from the Committee’s discussions were: -
• Noting that the Clean Air Plan would primarily address the issue of Nitrogen Dioxide would this plan contribute to the lowering of Carbon Dioxide emissions;
• Expressing disappointment that the Strategic Road Network did not include the M60 motorway;
• A member called for a suspension of road building, similar to that which had recently been announced in Wales;
• Good practice and scrappage schemes, with reference to a scheme delivered in Coventry should be used to incentivise drivers to change to more environmentally friendly vehicles;
• The Council needed to be clear in its ambition to see a reduced dependency on cars to undertake journeys, in particular unnecessary short journeys, commenting that the Council remained committed to this;
• Questioning the space allocated to staff car parking at schools that had been recently built across the city, commenting that this was contrary to the ambitions of the city as it did not set a good example to both pupils attending the school and their parents, and it further contributed to the issue of water run off;
• The Council should use all levers of influence to encourage all employers across the city to develop sustainable staff travel plans;
• Consideration needed to be given to addressing the emissions caused by diesel freight trains; and
• An update was sought as to the introduction of electric buses across the city, noting that this has been piloted in the city.
In response to the questions from the Members, the Head of Environment, Planning and Infrastructure advised that the Clean Air Plan was part of a wider suite of strategies and planned projects designed to contribute to reducing the city’s carbon emissions, making reference to the Greater Manchester Transport Strategy, the City Centre Transport Strategy, reference to the significant investment to deliver public transport and active travel projects and the work across Greater Manchester to deliver electric vehicle charging points.
With regard to the comments raised regarding the schools, the Head of Environment, Planning and Infrastructure commented that he would look into the specific cases raised following the meeting. He added that the delivery of Mobility Hubs across Greater Manchester would encourage and support public and active travel, noting that work was underway to strategically place these sites. He commented that this would support the ambition to reduce the number of journeys undertaken by car.
In response to the discussion on diesel freight trains, ... view the full minutes text for item 12.
Report of the Governance and Scrutiny Support Unit
This report includes a summary of key decisions that are within the Committee’s remit as well as an update on actions resulting from the Committee’s recommendations. The report also includes the Committee’s work programme, which the Committee is asked to amend or agree as appropriate.
The report of the Governance and Scrutiny Support Unit which contained key decisions within the Committee’s remit and responses to previous recommendations was submitted for comment. Members were also invited to agree the Committee’s future work programme.
A member requested that a report on the issue of flood management be submitted to the Committee for consideration and that representatives from the Environment Agency would be invited to attend that meeting. The Chair advised that she would look to schedule this on the Committee’s Work Programme at the earliest opportunity.
The Committee note the report and agree the work programme subject to the above comments.