Manchester City Council has been signing up to pledges and setting targets around climate change since the days when it was called the Greenhouse Effect (i.e. the early 1990s). It is proposing to build an additional car park on site. All the evidence shows that if you create more car parking, you encourage more people to drive (the technical term is ‘induced demand’). This is not compatible with the Council’s latest (July 2019) declaration of a “climate emergency.”
Manchester City Council have declared a ‘Climate Emergency’ so it is completely inappropriate to provide this number of car parking spaces and encourage use of cars and the increased emissions. Excellent public transport links exist serving Hough End Fields including the nearby Withington tram stop and St.Werbergh’s Road tram stop. Bus stops on Princess Road and Mauldeth Road West are even closer. The Council’s Climate Change Delivery Plan aims to ‘engage all individuals, neighbourhoods and organisations’ to embed “low-carbon thinking’’ and to reduce annual carbon dioxide emissions by 41% on 2005 levels. This will not be possible by encouraging greater car use.
Disappointingly the application only provides for an additional 24 cycle spaces – this hardly supports the Council’s stated aim of encouraging greener modes of transport.
In addition, the Sustainability Appraisal only considers carbon dioxide emissions associated with the construction and use of the new building. It does not include the significant carbon emissions involved in the construction of the proposed 3G pitches and baseball pitch. Replacing grass with an artificial material on non-brownfield site is completely counterintuitive. The materials and construction involved in these features can be significantly carbon emitting and I believe this must be taken into account in the sustainability appraisal of the development or it does not reflect the true amount of carbon emissions associated with the development. I expect that by including the construction of the artificial pitches this would take the development’s carbon footprint over the objective limit. Furthermore, replacing grass (a natural carbon sink) with artificial surfaces (no ability to capture carbon) will reduce resilience to climate change in Manchester, as well as increasing the urban heat island effect.
On this basis the proposal is unacceptable and should be refused.