Healthy, Happy, Green Manchester
What kind of city would you like to live in? Is it a place covered in green spaces or one dominated by a grey urban landscape? How easily can you move around on foot, by bike or public transport? Is the energy you use contributing to global warming, or is it renewable - harnessing the power of the sun or wind? Do local people work for companies that support the environment or damage it?
Meeting for the first time last week, these are just some of the questions that were discussed by the Manchester Climate Change Board. The Board has been set up to help take forward Manchester’s ambitions on climate change - ambitions that were established in 2016 through the development of the Our Manchester Strategy. In the plan the city’s residents and businesses said they wanted Manchester to be a “leader in urban sustainability”, “a green industry powerhouse”, and an “economically and environmentally sustainable city”.
Led by Gavin Elliott, chair of architectural firm BDP’s Manchester office, Chris Oglesby, CEO at Bruntwood, Rogers Govender, the Dean of Manchester Cathedral and representatives from the City Council, the Board brought together 22 people from across the city who share a passion and commitment for making Manchester one of the leading green cities in the world. Their reason – the health and happiness of the people that live, work and study here.
“Sometimes we can over complicate what it is that our cities should be about, tying ourselves up with aims, objectives, policies and strategies that make it difficult to understand what a city is actually trying to achieve. However, whenever I talk to the city’s residents I hear the same headline message – the people of Manchester want the city to be a green and healthy place where they can enjoy a great quality of life.” Councillor Angeliki Stogia, Executive Member for Environment and Skills, Manchester City Council.
As cities emerge from a period where ‘growth and jobs’ has been their unerring maxim, Manchester is amongst the growing group of cities now questioning the purpose and value of rapidly expanding urban areas. If cities are to be the places where we live, then they must actually be liveable. Clean air, access to quality greenspaces, clean and efficient transport systems, affordable supplies of green energy, a place where we can consume experiences and fewer resources, and many other attributes is what characterises a city that attracts people, a greener economy, and innovation.
"Having a strong voice for youth is a really positive step towards shaping a version of Manchester we can get involved in and be proud of. With the aim to make Manchester a greener, cleaner, healthier city, we believe working together will deliver a connected city, determined to make decisions with the future in mind. We're all excited to be a part of this new chapter with the Manchester Climate Change Board and look forward to working with everyone to make Manchester more sustainable." Manchester Youth Board.
With the Climate Board’s first meeting now complete, this marks the start of an exciting new phase in the city’s climate change journey. Ultimately, whether Manchester can achieve its aim to be a global leader on this agenda will depend on the collective actions of every resident and business in the city.
“It’s tempting to hope there might be a magic bullet that solves all of our climate change challenges, or another city that has already paved the way. Actually, the opposite is true. When the future of the planet and human wellbeing is at stake that’s potentially a terrifying reality. However, it also creates an opportunity – an opportunity to do what Manchester has always been good at. Trailblazing, innovating and delivering solutions that can inspire change in cities around the world. At the heart of this will be the collective effort of all individuals and organisations in the city, something I am very excited to be part of.” Gavin Elliott, Chair, Manchester Climate Change Board.
Further information on the Board is available from www.manchesterclimate.com