Climate Emergency Committee

Meeting Monday 24th June

Timely that we just met on the same day (Monday) that Andy Burnham was announcing radical improvements to Manchester’s public transport.

It’s obvious we all have a stake in the our environment and no one wants to see our green and pleasant land turned to dust. It’s so good that we have cross-party involvement. I think it’s going to be a worthwhile committee.

Clearly there are global aspects to reducing greenhouse gas emissions but putting our own house in order is never a bad place to start and it has to begin at the local.

We agreed last night that we’re going to want to benchmark our energy consumption as a council. I’m quite keen we go a lot further. The Royal Family seems able to measure its carbon footprint, as can Tesco. I think Trafford can too! We’ll see how that conversation resolves itself.

One of the interesting conundrums we’ll face is whether to measure only that which comes under Trafford’s control. I believe that climate change is a matter for all of us, not just a data collector hidden away somewhere. We should even be capturing data on emissions from commuting. It’s been done elsewhere and it helps everyone appreciate the full extent of the impact we make in our working lives. It’d be quite fascinating to see the carbon footprint of councillors – I think we can make significant percentage reductions in greenhouse gas emissions here.

We also need to consider the extent to which we can guide via the planning process reducing the carbon footprint on new development. I don’t think we’ve progressed as much as we predicted in the 1980s. There was a television series on Granada back then called House for the Future and we genuinely expected homes to be self-sufficient in energy use and far more sustainable that has transpired.

Whilst the House for the Future template might have derailed, there has been progress in design standards abroad and Councillor Jerome has been quite keen to promote Passivhaus design to the committee. The carbon footprint of these is so much lower than a standard build. We need to be recommending quite a shift in our planning expectations. The extent to which this can be implemented locally will be something we want to test.

We’ve also had time to look at some smaller scale projects:

Both of these groups are relatively small but are collectively generating green energy locally using communal assets.

We also talked about District Heating schemes and some suggestion that Trafford Park could offer heat sources. Not so sure myself. Tend to find that the big heat producers recycle that heat to the nth degree themselves. There was a proposal for the incinerator at Barton to be supplying heat for the housing development being built alongside it. Councillor Carey is going to talk to the power station at Carrington, so we’ll give it a chance.

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