Executive Summary: Our priorities

Treat the climate crisis holistically

We will ensure that Manchester City Council’s commitment to tackling climate change and biodiversity loss is a holistic policy priority, inspiring the city to become zero-carbon by 2030.

Make living more affordable

We will tackle the rising cost of living by giving Manchester more affordable and energy-efficient homes, investing in the local economy, and calling for the introduction of a Universal Basic Income in Manchester.

Transform Manchester’s transport

We will give Manchester an integrated transport network which prioritises active travel such as walking and cycling, and public transport.

Improve health, welfare and opportunities

We will ensure better public services, bigger arts and culture, and brighter prospects for life, while giving more Mancunians access to green spaces like gardens, playgrounds and parks.

Stand with Ukraine

We will show solidarity with Manchester’s Ukrainian community and support the resettlement of all those fleeing conflict in our city.

Introduction

The latest IPCC report has highlighted the need for urgent and continued climate action.

The cost of living is going up just as we have started learning to live with COVID-19, and national leadership is lacking at a time when Europe is facing its darkest hour since the Second World War.

Here in Manchester, we have to show real leadership by saying ‘No’. Saying ‘No’ to the impact that climate change will have on Mancunians in the form of unpredictable and dangerous weather, including flooding and gale force winds. Saying ‘No’ to our citizens struggling to pay their bills. Saying ‘No’ to the devastating impacts that war and rising temperatures have on people across the globe - a stance that befits a proudly multicultural and international city like ours.

However, we must also show real leadership by saying ‘Yes’. That means saying ‘Yes’ to better council housing, thriving local businesses, and booming arts and culture. ‘Yes’ to making decisions from the bottom-up. ‘Yes’ to the innovative ideas that will help create a better Manchester, and will inspire others to create a better world.

Last year, the residents of Woodhouse Park elected Cllr Rob Nunney as Manchester City Council’s first Green councillor in 13 years. Now we want to get even more Greens elected to make our city even cleaner, greener, healthier and more inclusive.

We're open to working with anyone who shares our aims, as no one has a monopoly on good ideas. However, we believe that we have quite a lot of them! We will never take your vote for granted, and we’ll work hard all year round for the people we represent, collaborating with others for the common good. Greens are different, and electing Greens to the Council chamber really does make a difference.

By voting Green on Thursday 5th May, you can help make Manchester a more equal, sustainable and enjoyable place to live. Together, we can give Manchester an even stronger voice at a time when our city, our country, and our world needs it most. The time is now!

N.B. This document is designed to highlight our priorities locally but does not cover the full breadth of Green Party policy. This can be found at https://policy.greenparty.org.uk

A carbon-neutral Manchester

Manchester City Council’s current target to make Manchester carbon-neutral by 2038 is a noble one. However, the city has already burned 40% of Manchester’s carbon budget for the rest of the century in just three years. We believe that Manchester can and should do better.

The Green Party’s plan at a national level is for the UK to reach zero-carbon by 2030, and this is also our local target. With committed leadership and bold action, we can meet our climate responsibilities and create a better world, both at a local and national level.

Indeed, we are the only political party prepared to take the climate emergency seriously. Greens in Bristol were the first to introduce a climate emergency motion to their local council, and other Greens across the country have led the way in pushing councils to be bolder in the fight against climate chaos.

Elected Greens in Manchester will aim to:

  • Treat the climate emergency as though it is exactly that - an emergency. We will bring in a bold vision for the city which puts action on climate change at the heart of the work of the whole council.
  • Lead the way on developing and implementing local action plans for Manchester to become carbon-neutral by 2030. Most importantly, we will push for appropriate funds and resources to be made available.
  • Ensure that the work of the Council’s Environment and Climate Change Scrutiny Committee extends beyond the Council’s actions on cutting its own carbon emissions. This should extend to its actions in partnership city-wide, in particular through the Climate Change Agency. In order to address the scale of the climate emergency, the Council must enact radical, city-wide changes.
  • Work alongside residents and businesses, placing them at the centre of our plans to create a carbon-neutral Manchester.
  • Call for an end to Manchester City Council investing in high carbon-emitting companies and projects which harm the environment. This would include exploring the potential divestment of funds from Manchester Airport Group, which we do not believe to be financially or environmentally sustainable as a major source of income for the city over the coming decades.
  • Work towards a 100% rollout of green infrastructure across the city, including use of solar panels, retrofitting buildings to be more energy-efficient, and installing sustainable drainage systems to reduce flooding. Green technology and zero-waste resources should also be rolled out across Council estates, buildings and offices.
  • Call for the Council to provide free training and other resources for residents around issues such as energy efficiency, recycling, and more ethical consumption. These would be developed in partnership with local residents, and linked to the actions the Council needs to be taking to support these changes.
N.B. By ‘carbon-neutral’ we mean becoming as far towards ‘zero-carbon’ as possible, and not relying on large amounts of carbon off-setting for sectors such as aviation.

Transport

Walking, cycling, public transport, cars, planes (in that order)

Transport is one of the largest contributors to carbon emissions and other life-threatening pollutants such as NO2. It also has a huge impact on the character and feeling of a city. Continuing with business as usual where our city is organised around cars is simply not an option. We need walking, cycling and public transport to take genuine precedence. It is time to upgrade Manchester’s streets to make them safe, pleasant, accessible, and fit for the future, starting with the pavements. Cycling provision remains patchy and hazardous rather than being an option for everyone. We need to deliver on, if not exceed, the ambition of the Greater Manchester strategy for walking and cycling and make them the obvious choices for travel.

Many of the city’s public transport options are inefficient and expensive, leaving people feeling they have no alternative but to drive. Manchester should have an integrated, affordable, and efficient transport system to rival the best cities in the world.

We must also have a hard look at ourselves over Manchester Airport and stop treating it as a cash cow. Greens will strongly resist calls for expansion and seek to reduce both aviation and ground emissions.

Elected Greens in Manchester will aim to:

Walking

  • Prioritise pedestrians above all else by widening and renewing pavements, improving crossings, and insisting on best practice for accessibility.
  • Seek to pedestrianise much more of the city including our suburban hubs.
  • Remove gates and other physical barriers that restrict access to walking and cycling routes across the city.
  • Strongly support the development of Active Neighbourhoods / LTNs in all parts of the city.
  • Call for every school in the city to have School Streets: time-limited pedestrianised zones, making schools safe to walk to and discouraging unnecessary car journeys.

Cycling and micro-mobility

  • Accelerate delivery of the Bee Network cycling routes, ensuring that all major routes are implemented as soon as possible to give us a joined up cycling network.
  • Advocate using a phased approach to deliver the Bee Network, using low cost solutions to get the major routes rapidly established, and then building permanent infrastructure.
  • Insist that cycling infrastructure is designed and built to the highest standard and in line with best practices (LTN1/20 or better).
  • Support the legalisation of micromobility devices (e-scooters etc)

Public transport

  • Call for free travel for students and young people across Manchester’s entire public transport network. This could be achieved by extending the current 16-18 Our Pass scheme to all under-18s and students.
  • Support the development of an integrated transport system for Manchester
  • Support the ongoing transition of bus services to local control, making buses affordable, frequent, and convenient.
  • Invest in Manchester's rail and tram infrastructure to improve affordability and service frequency, increase capacity, open up new routes and alleviate bottlenecks.
  • Argue for a fully accessible transport system, including better disabled access to public transport.
  • Hold HS2 to account on environmental promises and construction disruption, while lobbying for it to be done right to maximise the freeing up of capacity on the city's existing rail infrastructure and improve local and regional services.

Cars

  • Seek to remove or reduce the need for cars in Manchester.
  • Call for a ‘circulation plan’ (as used in European cities, and soon Birmingham) to ease congestion and re-balance the city, prioritising public transport and active travel.
  • Clamp down on bad parking, adopting a zero-tolerance enforcement approach. Ban pavement parking. Introduce double-red lines to replace commonly misunderstood no-loading markings.
  • Argue for a city-wide default 20mph speed limit with automated enforcement.
  • Actually implement the city's Vision Zero policy aiming to completely eliminate deaths and serious injuries in the road traffic environment.
  • Recognise the challenges and implications of the transition to electric vehicles, such as the need for EV charging infrastructure, and use this as an opportunity to transform our streets for the better.
  • Support wider rollout of car clubs and shared ownership schemes.

Planes

  • Argue for no further expansion of Manchester Airport.
  • Potentially divest from Manchester Airport Group (see carbon neutrality section).
  • Seek to reduce the many acres of surface parking around the airport while improving public transport connectivity.
  • End domestic flights from the airport where the equivalent journey can be done by rail.

Housing for everyone

Everyone has the right to an affordable, warm and safe home, but Manchester is facing an affordable housing crisis with many people simply priced out of living in the city. Greens believe that housing should serve the needs of people, being first and foremost a place to live rather than an investment.

Elected Greens in Manchester will aim to:

  • Campaign for the development of more council homes that meet the highest international standards of design, accessibility, and sustainability.
  • Campaign for a major stepping-up of the retrofitting programme of social and private housing stock, creating green jobs and apprenticeships. This would support Manchester’s zero-carbon target while reducing households’ vulnerability to rising energy costs and ill health due to cold, damp and mould.
  • Support the development of housing co-ops and co-housing projects across the city.
  • Call for the introduction of compulsory licensing for private landlords and the establishment of a not-for-profit letting agency to ensure high standards and fair treatment of renters. To ensure that homes are truly affordable, we will develop options for capping rents and deposits, with special provisions for student housing and instalment schemes for deposits.
  • Support the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s work to reduce and prevent rough sleeping and homelessness through initiatives such as A Bed Every Night and the GM Housing First pilot. We support the creation of a permanent Housing First service across Greater Manchester as a proven method of sustainably reducing homelessness.

Planning

Planning and development that benefits residents, not just developers

For too long, Manchester’s planning and development decisions have disproportionately favoured the city centre, placing the demands of wealthy developers ahead of the needs of our communities. The Green Party believes that all areas of Manchester should receive their fair share of investment to make them prosperous and enjoyable places to live in.

Elected Greens in Manchester will aim to:

  • Ensure that the council and developers do not evade their responsibility to provide a reasonable and sufficient proportion of affordable housing in all new developments.
  • Ensure that all planning applications are decided upon in line with net-zero imperatives, with proper consideration given to their impact on resources, communities and the environment.
  • Involve local residents in all major planning applications, ensuring that consultations are properly advertised and residents’ contributions are meaningful and proportionate.
  • Promote mixed-development planning which combines residential, commercial, and leisure uses in the same space to promote stronger, more integrated communities and reduce the need to travel.
  • Promote a rebalancing of planning strategy, away from ‘trickle-down’ economic approaches to development and placemaking and towards social value-led approaches where the benefits are spread widely and fairly.

Protecting our vital green spaces

Greens believe that protecting our green spaces, natural environment and trees is crucial for improving air quality, capturing greenhouse gas emissions, improving wellbeing, and protecting quality of life in Manchester for current and future generations.

We also believe that protecting our green spaces is crucial for slowing and eventually reversing our biodiversity crisis, which finds Britain in the lowest 10% globally for remaining endemic species. As Greens, we will ensure our green space policies work for both people and wildlife.

Elected Greens in Manchester will aim to:

  • Encourage the preservation of green spaces by opposing developments on them, and look to create new green spaces independent of housing developments.
  • Encourage all new developments to incorporate more green space such as gardens, playgrounds and parks close to where people live and use ecologically sustainable building methods.
  • Support and increase urban greening and green architecture within our communities, such as new trees, green walls, and the proposed £1.8 million Castlefield ‘High Line’.
  • Support the creation of new green spaces across the city, including allotments, pocket parks, wildflower meadows and community orchards. In particular, we will consider how derelict spaces could be greened to bring more life to every corner of the city.
  • Work to protect our vital green belt from development, prioritising the development of brownfield sites wherever possible.
  • Prioritise coherent, long-term resourcing for parks and grounds maintenance.
  • Increase provision of play facilities in parks for children of all abilities.
  • Take every opportunity to encourage native wildlife to grow and thrive in our green urban spaces.

Waste, recycling and clean streets

End bin austerity!

Over the past decade our bins have been squeezed. The Green Party believes that reusing, recycling, and generating the least amount of waste possible should be easy and straightforward for everyone. However, cutting waste and recycling collections to a bare minimum such that people's bins are overflowing is not the answer.

We need to get the system right and make sure that the refuse collection service is adequate for people's needs in order to improve recycling rates and yields.

Elected Greens in Manchester will aim to:

  • Make it easier for large households and those with specific needs to get large-sized bins.
  • Look to improve collection frequency where possible so waste doesn't pile up.
  • Complete the rollout of zero-emission refuse collection vehicles - including making sure that new ones are not too big to fit down our streets.
  • Call for waste collection to be brought back under council ownership when the current contracts with private firms end over the coming years.
  • Improve pay and conditions for refuse workers.
  • Seek to introduce Dutch-style underground communal bins, particularly in denser parts of the city.
  • Ensure that all types of recycling are available in all areas, such as food waste collection in the city centre.

Health, social and community care

Greens will stand up for our National Health Service (NHS) to be kept available to all those in Manchester who need it, free at the point of use. We strongly believe that private profit should not play a part in our health services and all but the most specialist services should be available as close as possible to where people live – without the need to travel long distances.

We believe that health needs to be looked at in a more holistic way. Clean air, healthy food, clean energy, warm homes, affordable public transport and active lifestyles all contribute to better health.

Elected Greens in Manchester will aim to:

  • Campaign for robust, joined up and publicly owned health services which place equal emphasis on physical and mental health and wellbeing.
  • Commission health services with local not-for-profit providers wherever practically possible.
  • Work to ensure that there are more accessible, well-maintained public toilets around the city.
  • Push for increased and protected funding of community services that will enable healthcare to be provided at home or in community-based facilities.
  • Encourage Manchester City Council to monitor city-wide air quality on a regular basis and to make this data freely available.
  • Promote healthy eating by supporting schemes such as cooking lessons and working with retailers to provide greater access to healthier options.
  • Launch a new campaign to ensure that more people caring for friends and relatives get the support they need.
  • Support age-friendly initiatives.
  • Review health processes and outcomes for disabled people, especially those with learning difficulties and mental health service users, to eliminate systematic discrimination, avoid premature deaths and prevent inappropriate treatment in the hospital system.

Arts and culture for all

Access to the arts for everyone is a crucial part of a healthy society. Participation in art and culture is fun, can lead to better physical and mental health, helps us understand difficult issues, and makes a big contribution to our local economy.

Manchester benefits from a wide range of music and other cultural venues. However, we believe that our council should make further efforts to remove barriers to engagement with arts and culture.

Elected Greens in Manchester will aim to:

  • Continue to support Manchester’s arts and culture organisations in their recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, recognising their importance to the city’s history and economy.
  • Increase awareness and access to Manchester’s vibrant community arts scene for residents in all our communities and neighbourhoods.
  • Oppose any future downgrades or closures of community arts venues and libraries where this will negatively impact residents or businesses.
  • Encourage local arts spending and practical support for Manchester-based cultural organisations, whilst continuing to engage with our city’s national and international audience.

A welcoming, diverse Manchester

Manchester is a proudly multicultural and international city. Greens are determined to celebrate our city’s incredible diversity and tackle inequality, discrimination and marginalisation wherever it takes hold.

With Ukraine sadly hit by war in recent months, we believe that it is our duty as a city to take care of our sizable Ukrainian community.

Elected Greens in Manchester will aim to:

  • Foster an environment where LGBT communities, including trans communities, are provided medical and police support to the same standard as all other citizens.
  • Seek to make it easier for Mancunians to report cases of racism, sexism, transphobia and other forms of discrimination.
  • Call for an inquiry into disproportionate COVID-19 deaths among Manchester’s black and minority ethnic (BAME) communities.
  • Argue for local communities to have the final say on the replacement of any public statue or monument in the city.
  • Ensure that Ukrainian citizens across Manchester are supported at this time, whenever they happened to arrive in the city.
  • Campaign for a local-led advice service to support the resettlement of all refugees arriving in Manchester should they wish to stay here temporarily or permanently. We must welcome all refugees and ensure they have a safe home in our city.
  • Support and campaign for better provision for our Gypsy, Roma and Traveller communities, including the provision of new sites and urgent renovation of the existing one at Dantzic Street.

Better policing and community safety

The Green Party believes that crime is first and foremost a symptom of social inequality and individual circumstances. Greens will work to address the causes of social injustice across our city, as well as ensuring that crime is tackled effectively.

Elected Greens in Manchester will aim to:

  • Support the Mayor of Greater Manchester to improve the overall rating of Greater Manchester Police, ensuring that a working police force delivering policing by consent is developed. This comes following the recent PEEL 2021/22 report that indicated ongoing problems with the force.
  • Work with Greater Manchester Police and the Mayor of Greater Manchester to ensure that interactions between residents and the police are proportionate. Any disproportionate rates of contact between the police and certain groups or communities should be investigated.
  • Work closely with Greater Manchester Police, the Mayor of Greater Manchester and local communities to ensure that hate crimes of any kind – including misogyny and transphobia - are recorded and that an adequate strategy to tackle these crimes is developed.
  • Develop local public forums where residents can report problems to councillors, the police and council staff.
  • Work with Greater Manchester Police to set city-wide and local priorities for improving the quality of life of residents.
  • Seek to establish more effective links between community police and mental health services.
  • Ensure greater visibility of Local Action Teams dedicated to tackling anti-social behaviour.

Supporting Manchester’s local economy

Our economy has to exist within the finite limitations of the natural world. It must work to the benefit of everyone. Manchester’s wealth and prosperity must be equitably distributed across the whole city, from Heaton Park to Woodhouse Park.

Elected Greens in Manchester will aim to:

  • Provide constructive opposition and scrutiny of the Council’s decisions on its services and how it spends money coming in from grants, rates, taxes and shareholdings.
  • Make the city central to trialling and rolling out a Universal Basic Income in the Greater Manchester area in order to reduce poverty and inequality; allow everyone to contribute to their community and thrive; and to ensure that no individuals or communities are ever left behind.
  • Promote local SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) and local investment in order to reduce the city’s reliance on attracting multinational corporations from outside.
  • Target resources on supporting residents starting social enterprises and co-operatives so that our city develops a fair and healthy social economy where local finance, skills, services and goods circulate principally within the community.

Education for life

The Green Party believes that residents of Manchester should enjoy an inclusive education for life, equipping them for all of life’s challenges and creating happier, more rounded communities.

Elected Greens in Manchester will aim to:

  • Increase climate awareness through community and school-based education programmes.
  • Promote active travel for children travelling to school by pushing for safe walking and cycling routes in every neighbourhood and rapid rollout of School Streets schemes (timed pedestrianised areas around schools).
  • Support citizens through Manchester’s transition to a greener economy, promoting training, retraining, apprenticeships and work experience for green jobs (e.g. housing retrofit). This will particularly extend to airport workers affected by job losses at Manchester Airport.
  • Oppose the building of new academies and free schools in all but exceptional cases, as they lack local democratic accountability and oversight. In the long-term, we wish to integrate Manchester’s academies and free schools into the local authority school system.
  • Support skills training services, nursery care and schools staying in or returning to the public sector.
  • Support the development of networks for parents and teachers for mutual support, advocacy and, in the case of teachers, professional development.
  • Campaign against the implementation of PREVENT in the education system. We would pursue community-led collaborative approaches to tackling all forms of extremism and not allow the disproportionate targeting of the Muslim community as evidenced by PREVENT in its current form.
  • Look to set a minimum level of council funding and standard measures to help schools and universities support students with their mental health.
  • Work with Manchester’s universities to help them fully benefit all communities in the city, e.g. increasing public access to university libraries.

A transparent Council, accountable to communities

The Green Party believes that decision making should come from the ground up, with local communities at the heart of decisions that affect them. Local councils and councillors should be accountable to, and representative of, their voters, with all decisions fully transparent and justifiable. This will help Manchester make better consensual decisions for its long-term future.

Elected Greens in Manchester will aim to:

  • Work towards local government being open and accessible to everyone, in line with the Equality Act 2010.
  • Continue to argue for proportional representation to be implemented at council level, ensuring that everybody’s vote counts.
  • Seek to switch Manchester City Council to a ‘committee’ system giving all our councillors the power to make decisions, rather than the top-down ‘leader and cabinet’ system used at present.
  • Support the development of open consultative meetings in all wards on a regular basis, with local councillors and council officers in attendance, so that local people will hear the Council’s plans for local and city-wide services that affect their area.

Conclusion

  • We believe in a Manchester that takes its climate obligations seriously, one that leaves our amazing city in better condition than we found it for future generations to enjoy.
  • We believe in a Manchester where everyone lives in a decent, affordable, and secure home, and has the health and skills they need to live a well-rounded life.
  • We believe in a Manchester where friends, family, work and play are in easy reach, whether that’s on the street around the corner or just a quick bus or tram ride away.
  • We believe in a Manchester which truly works to the benefit of every single Mancunian.
  • We hope this manifesto makes clear how by electing Greens in the 2022 local elections, you can help us create this Manchester. With your help, we can change Manchester for the better.
Vote Green on Thursday 5th May 2022.