Greening Greater Manchester with a climate-focused Mayor

“I will be proud to stand up to fight against inequalities in our region.” Green mayoral candidate for Greater Manchester Melanie Horrocks explains what her priorities for the region would be if she were elected.

Manchester Town Hall
Manchester Town Hall

Image: Wikimedia Commons

Melanie Horrocks

Greater Manchester was one of the UK’s first regions to declare a climate emergency, formally recognising the urgency to take action on carbon emissions before time runs out.

Despite this urgency, and several pledges by the 10 Greater Manchester local councils – including Trafford Council as one of the first in the UK to declare a climate emergency, and Manchester City Council’s pledge to be net carbon zero by 2038 – we’ve seen little progress to realistically reach this goal.

The current Mayor, Labour’s Andy Burnham, plays brilliant lip service to all of his plans but hasn’t got a lot to show for it.

If we as a region are serious about climate change, we must first address what we are doing wrong. This starts with repairing our broken public transport system. In Greater Manchester, we have an excellent tram network and a bus network that is soon to come under local control. We have a unique opportunity to enhance our public transport, making it an affordable and attractive option to citizens.

If we want to encourage road-users to leave the car behind in favour of public transport, we need a simple, single flat-fare that makes travel accessible for all. I will also be advocating for the ‘cycle to work’ scheme to be extended to schools, giving every child the opportunity to cycle to school, improving health and helping reduce carbon emissions. 

One of the first targets I will set as Mayor is to reduce all road deaths to zero. Far too many people are dying on our roads, and this must stop. If we want to encourage our schoolchildren and residents to take up walking or cycling from A to B, we must invest in a safe network of walking and cycling routes.

Greater Manchester is dominated by Labour-held councils. But the Green Party continues to make gains throughout the region. As Green Mayor, I’ll challenge all 10 councils to put the climate crisis as a priority. Currently, we have councils that have made the pledge for net zero, but continue the hypocrisy of pumping money into large polluter Manchester Airport, whilst also investing teachers’ pensions in oil and gas. This must be stopped if we are serious about the climate emergency. 

In further failings, it has come to light that something has gone very wrong in Greater Manchester’s policing system. As a qualified solicitor for 20 years, with six years experience in the Independent Police Complaints Commission, with the force now under special measures, I am the candidate who has the experience to make things right, serving justice for our citizens. 

The Covid-19 pandemic has shown us how disproportionately affected our disadvantaged communities can be, and I will be proud to stand up to fight against inequalities in our region, which have been created by years of Conservative cuts, affecting the most vulnerable in our society. 

I’m honoured to be standing for The Green Party as Mayor of Greater Manchester. Our City region has a reputation for fearless women fighting for what they believe in and I felt that if I didn’t follow in their footsteps now and fight the climate emergency, that I was failing not just my own children, but their peers across the region. I felt that my experiences throughout my personal and professional life gave me insights into how we could best make improvements across the region and those have guided my policies and aims for this election.

It is clear that Greater Manchester needs positive change, and in the wake of the pandemic, we must not let this opportunity to build back greener be missed.