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Greens urge Manchester to lead on climate by banning high-carbon advertising

Rob Nunney, Anastasia Wiest and Astrid Johnson stood next to an Ocean digital advertising billboard in Manchester city centre.

Manchester Greens have urged Manchester City Council to take the lead on climate action by banning the advertisement of high-carbon products.

At today’s full council meeting, the city’s Green councillors proposed a motion calling on the council to stop all promotion of high-carbon products such as fossil fuel-powered cars and flights on council-owned advertising units.

The motion, which was rejected without amendment by Labour, aimed to get Manchester to follow other city councils like Sheffield and Coventry who have explored restricting such advertising to help them reach their zero-carbon targets.

Cllr Anastasia Wiest, Green councillor for Woodhouse Park ward, said: “Manchester City Council has made clear its commitment to take the climate crisis seriously, stating that we will be a zero carbon city by 2038.

“The messaging of high-carbon adverts is contradictory to our own stated goals and principles, and it makes no sense that we allow them while purporting to act in the best interests of the climate and our citizens.”

Manchester City Council owns just a small proportion of advertising units across Manchester, but the city has successfully managed to implement prohibitions on advertisements for gambling, smoking, vaping and high fat, salt and sugary foods.

The motion called on the council to review its advertising agreements immediately to look into the possibility of including a similar prohibition on advertising high-carbon products.

It also encouraged the council to work with partners at Transport for Greater Manchester, Greater Manchester Combined Authority and other borough councils to uniformly apply the policy throughout Greater Manchester.

Green councillor Rob Nunney, who seconded the motion, said: ”Manchester City Council is on track to hit its target of net zero carbon emissions from its own activities. However, it is proving more difficult to get Manchester on track to reach its target as a city, and we are far behind where we need to be. 

“It makes no sense to allow advertising on our own billboards of flying, fossil-fueled SUVs or of fossil fuel companies themselves. We have the power to use the influence of advertising so that it helps towards a brighter future for all.”

At today’s council meeting, Greens also supported independent councillor Amna Abdullatif’s motion which aimed to uphold the right to protest – a right which has received renewed attention in the wake of the current crisis in Gaza.

In recent years, the government has passed legislation which significantly restricts the right to peaceful protest, such as the Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts (PCSC) Act and the Public Order Act.

It has now successfully passed a statutory instrument to introduce a new definition of ‘serious disruption’, giving police the power to impose restrictions on protests if it could result in a ‘more than minor’ hindrance to day-to-day activities.

The motion, seconded by Green councillor Ekua Bayunu, and passed as amended by Labour, committed the council to write to the Home Secretary James Cleverly in opposition to the government’s ‘authoritarian’ actions.

Cllr Bayunu, deputy leader of the Greens on Manchester City Council, said: “What this Tory government fails to understand is that it is our responsibility as politicians to protect our citizens’ right to hold us to account outside of the ballot box.

“We are all appalled by the awful Islamophobic tropes that have been spouted by this Tory government in an attempt to shore up this disgusting attack on all our civil liberties. I hope we will all join in this action to condemn it.”

Cllr Astrid Johnson, leader of the Green Party on Manchester City Council, added: “The government is seeking ‘strategic ambiguity’ in its legislation which provides the flexibility for it to act against groups as it sees fit.

“This is deeply disturbing at any point in history, but particularly at a time when so many people across the world and in Manchester feel such a powerful sense of anger and injustice at recent geopolitical events.

“This destabilises democracy. The government has no power to guarantee the virtue of any future government which may exploit ambiguous legislation to even further erode civil liberties.”


Notes to editors: 

The Green Party is the joint opposition party on Manchester City Council with four councillors. The Green group leader is Cllr Astrid Johnson. The deputy leader is Cllr Ekua Bayunu.

The four Green councillors on the council are Cllr Astrid Johnson, Cllr Anastasia Wiest and Cllr Rob Nunney, who represent the ward of Woodhouse Park, and Cllr Ekua Bayunu who has a seat in Hulme.

Manchester City Council is formed of 87 Labour members, four Greens, four Liberal Democrats, and one independent.

Cllr Astrid Johnson will be available for interview upon request. 

For further information, please contact Chris Ogden at