“What About The Environment?”


What About The Environment ?
Friday 28th April 2017
Venue: Friends Meeting House, Manchester

#NorthernGreenhouse #EvoManc

Thank you to the organisers – it is through the hard work of the environmental community in Greater Manchester that we were even having this event

“What About The Environment ?” is a great name for the event – the debate on the environment was the last of months of Mayoral hustings, even this illustrates that the environment is just an after-thought for most politicians, and perhaps an opportunity to hoover up a few more votes if you say the word “green” often enough

In this event it was difficult to work out what was politico “greenwash” speak and what are actually manageable solutions; there were several “elephants in the room”, there were general “greenwash” answers to some questions about big business, but the name Peel Holdings was never mentioned !

There were questions on the Carbon Budget, the “F” word – Fracking, divestment of the Greater Manchester Pension Fund from fossil fuels to more ethical, green energy, a Diesel Vehicle Ban, Allotments, How Do We Save The Greenbelt ?, Housing / Retro-fitting, How Do We Halt The Wildlife Decline in Greater Manchester ?, the River Irwell floods, How Can We Exploit The Green Economy, Where Is The Money Coming From ?, How Can We Save Nutsford Vale & Pomona, How Much More Pollution Can The River Irwell Take ?, How Can We Reduce The Amount Of Aeroplane Flights ? and What Can Be Done About Food Waste

All the candidates were in general agreement of the need to start again with the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework, ban fracking, divest the Greater Manchester Pension Fund and make Manchester the Greenest City Ever !

Ratings out of 10 for each candidate, based on quality of answers, crowd reaction, substance, ecological knowledge, style and party politics


Environmental Priorities

1. Create 50,000 Green Jobs
2. Tackling Greater Manchester traffic congestion
3. Fracking ban
4. Better local rail NOT HS2
5. Begin divestment during National Divestment Week 2017

Will Patterson started the event firmly saying “Climate change is happening now” recognising the urgency of the need to act now on the environment

The business world is moving rapidly in a greener direction, and the plan to create 50,000 Green Jobs, balancing economy and ecology is an election winning policy, it could begin to solve environmental issues and social issues at the same time (such as unemployment and training/skills for young people)

Will Patterson also spoke of the need to localise the economy and encourage residents to take more local holidays at our great Northern tourism sites such as Blackpool & Southport

The biggest cheer of the event was for Will Patterson saying “We are going to build a Frack Free Greater Manchester”, the crowd knowing that this was being spoken with the conviction of a candidate whose party has relentlessly campaigned on the front-line against fracking, “No to fracking! Not here! Not anywhere! Sajid Javid (the Conservative politician who over-turned local democracy in Lancashire) is in the pockets of the frackers! We have to be clever in the fight against fracking and target Cuadrillas’ suppliers! We need to get tough on Ecocide!”

Will Patterson also spoke with conviction about the need to ban the moral obscenity that is Trident – although it is not on the list of Mayoral powers it would be great to see a Greater Manchester Mayor campaigning for this


Environmental Priorities

1. Illegal air quality
2. Clean Energy Public Transport
3. Cycling Revolution
4. City Of Trees
5. Ban fracking

Andy Burnhams’ best policy on the environment is the call for a “Greater Manchester Peoples’ Green Conference”, however, with a caveat of “within the first year of office”, this was heckled/questioned – why should we wait that long ? Climate change and the environment are exceedingly urgent issues and we haven’t got time to waste, especially as Greater Manchester has many talented citizens who can contribute in this situation

Andy Burnham spoke of the success of Pennington Flash Country Park, that we need to learn from cities such as Liverpool about enhancing the city and initiatives such as City of Trees and City Forest Park

Andy Burnham could have taken this as an opportunity to recognise Labours’ faults on the environment in Greater Manchester but did not take this opportunity


Environmental Priorities

1. Climate change
2. Air pollution
3. Protect the greenbelt / greenspace
4. Decarbonise the economy
5. A frack free Greater Manchester

A slip that confused the whole room at the start of the hustings, Jane said “We need to act before climate change becomes a problem”

From answers later in the event it is clear that Jane Brophy does have some ecological knowledge and seems to be genuinely passionate about the environment, but this statement certainly caused some head scratching!

Jane Brophys’ central theme is that we need to Remain in the EU for greater environmental protections to make Manchester the Greenest City In Europe and that we need to encourage business to become more environmentally responsible

It is disingenuous for Jane Brophy to say that she represents Frack Free Greater Manchester – the Liberal Democrats seemed to have no presence whatsoever at events such as the Barton Moss Solidarity Sundays and the fracking industry moved into Greater Manchester under the ConDem government ! Perhaps the organisers of Frack Free Greater Manchester can confirm whether the Liberal Democrats have ever been to a Frack Free Greater Manchester meeting ?


Environmental Priorities

1. Plan For Growth !!
2. How do we take the devolution powers
3. Behavioural changes
4. Green Bus Fund
5. Electric Cars

To see Mr Anstees’ “Plan For Growth” you only need to look at the borough of Trafford, where Mr Anstee is the “leader” of Trafford Council – Trafford is the ugly face of capitalism/“dirty old man” of Greater Manchester

Trafford is what happens when you give the Conservatives too much power, and Labour kowtow to big business in Greater Manchester

Trafford was once the leafy green preserve of Manchesters’ rich and famous, but heavy industry has, over the years, crept south-west along the Manchester Ship Canal from Salford Docks to Trafford where a predominantly Tory Council, often aided and abetted with Labour support, has given the green light to huge industry projects on places such as Carrington Moss and Davyhulme, the situation has got so messy that residents now have to monitor the air quality themselves, all under the “Northern Powerhouse” moronic mantra of “jobs and growth”

On Mr Anstees’ watch, the BREP BioMass Incinerator is heading to Trafford, IGas were given permission to do Coal Bed Methane mining just yards from the Trafford Centre, INEOS have licences to frack huge swathes of Trafford courtesy of the Conservative government and, Carrington Moss, a site that is full of rare wildlife, is being turned into an industrial “powerhouse” – all activists and concerned residents should take a look at the huge monstrosity that is Carrington Gas Terminal on the south side of the Manchester Ship Canal, a new generation of fossil fuel development is not compatible with the Conservatives claim to be the “Greenest Government Ever!”

For more information research the Breathe Clean Air Group, a group of volunteer residents, who have worked very hard to try to stop BREP and bring the subject of air quality to the attention of the general public and politicians, now a real election issue

Also on Mr Anstees’ watch, the urban wildlife oasis of Pomona is being trashed and the habitat of Little Ringed Plovers, Skylarks, Lapwings, Bee Orchids and Sand Martins is disappearing underneath concrete before our very eyes, just yards from Manchester city centre, despite huge public opposition

The Conservative Party and the Labour Party are “all in it together” for the “Northern Powerhouse” so how can Anstee or Burnham possibly have the freedom from party politics to create a Green Greater Manchester ? How can their colleague “Sir” Richard Leese be the leader of Manchester Council and sit on the board of Peel Holdings ? This type of vested interests and cronyism is why people are so sceptical of the awfully named “DevoManc”

Democracy scandal & sex scandal hit #GMMayor Election Campaign


After months of dull, low profile corporate hustings featuring just the three “mainstream” candidates from Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, the Greater Manchester Metro Mayoral Campaign has sprung into life with a democracy scandal AND a sex scandal all happening during the May Bank Holiday !!

With less than 48 hours until the polls open and the people of Greater Manchester vote for a Metro Mayor during Thursday 4th May 2017, the campaign now has two scandals that are sparking the interest of social media and giving the electorate more to think about when voting for the Metro Mayor


Most worryingly is the democracy scandal that happened on Salfords’ Docklands on Monday 1st May 2017

Citizens UK hosted what looked like an Election Stunt for Labour, Conservatives and Liberal Democrats, under the guise of a charity event, at The Lowry

The organisers received communications from Green Party officials and members, and the general public, prior to the event asking why the Green Party were not invited to a public Mayoral hustings event and asking the organisers to, perhaps, reconsider their position

However, the organisation who claim to have aspirations that are actually very similar to those of the Green Party, did not listen and went ahead with the event, providing Metro Mayoral candidates Andy Burnham, Jane Brophy and Sean Anstee with a huge platform, just 2 days before a very important election !!

Even more ironic is that the event used the Green Partys’ slogan “For The Common Good” and that the Green Party and their candidate Will Patterson, in actual fact, are probably the most likely to fulfil the apparent aspirations of Citizens UK

To add to this, a Green Party official – Linda Freeman, the Secretary of the Tameside Green Party, was forcibly ejected from The Lowry by security, apparently for the “crime” of wearing a Green Party T-shirt !!

The tech-savvy Green Party have made a film about the situation, and this scandal is likely to carry on, if the mainstream media dare to cover the situation

This scandal is at the very heart of the valid criticisms of the lack of democracy in the “DevoManc” project and the “Northern Powerhouse” project as a whole




UKIP are a “political party” who are currently falling apart with the Douglas Carswell situation and UKIP “leader” Paul Nuttall being trounced at the ballot box in Stoke the latest in a string of disasters, so the last thing they need is yet more negative news! However, the UKIP candidate for Greater Manchester Metro Mayor is currently in some political hot waters – if you like your political scandals a bit more fruity then read on




Northern Spring Rates Will Patterson As Winner Of #GMMayor Election Campaign


The Northern Spring rates Will Patterson of The Green Party as the winner of the Greater Manchester Mayoral Election Campaign based on Social Media, Hustings Performances, Manifesto/Vision, Media and Party Politics

#NorthernGreenhouse #EvoManc #Will4GreenMayor #RealDeal #GMElects

On Thursday May 4th 2017 the people of Greater Manchester Elects a new Metro Mayor

The Northern Spring have rated each of “The Big Four” candidates out of 20 on five themes – Social Media, Hustings Performances, Manifesto/Vision, Media and Party Politics

The Northern Spring has followed the Greater Manchester Metro Mayoral Election campaign since the announcements of the “Northern Powerhouse”, “DevoManc” and the associated Metro Mayoral Election

We have joined campaigners from the Greater Manchester Peoples’ Plan with their clipboards on surveys, followed the candidate selection process, we have asked the candidates 80 questions on Twitter (see #GMMayor), watched hustings, read the candidates’ manifestos, campaign literature and posts on social media, and researched the political parties of each candidate

The result is that we rate Will Patterson of the Green Party as the real deal candidate in the #GMMayor Election, with a large 88% rating

The results are:

1. Will Patterson (Green Party) 88%
2. Andy Burnham (Labour Party) 52%
3. Jane Brophy (Liberal Democrats) 28%
4. Sean Anstee (Conservatives) 0%


Social Media (16/20)
WP has out-performed all the other candidates on social media, answering questions from residents, campaign groups and journalists honestly and genuinely with clear, effective answers

Hustings (18/20)
Very professional performances, especially considering that WP only joined the campaign trail in January 2017 in a very difficult situation, also WP has had to put up with a right-wing corporate machine that often only invited the three most “mainstream political party candidates” eg Labour & ConDems, to corporate, expensive ticket hustings events !!

Manifesto/Vision (20/20)
WP understands the urgency of climate action and promotes the “Northern Greenhouse” vision! Balancing the economy and ecology is central to WPs’ manifesto, and the project to create 50,000 Green Jobs in Greater Manchester is an election winner

Media (20/20)
The Green Party has created a number of thought-provoking films on YouTube, featuring a variety of different real people (Are You Daniel ? Are You Julie Ann ?)

Party Politics (14/20)
The Green Party are now in “The Big Five” UK political parties with a new leadership team and the Green Surge continues


Social Media (3/20)
AB gave no answer to any of the 80 questions that we asked the Mayoral candidates – Twitter should be used to answer questions, not just post pictures of selected campaign photos

Hustings Performances (11/20)
Fairly polished performances, but there were too many corporate, expensive ticketed hustings where just AB, JB & SA were present and no other candidates!

Manifesto/Vision (15/20)
AB talks the talk, but do corporate business and the Labour right have too much influence ?

Media (15/20)
The slick marketing style of the Labour Party is always apparent, AB is a prototype “New Labour-esque” politician who is either a maturing centre-right politician attempting to get in touch with his Northern socialist roots or a scheming career politician; the choice is yours

Party Politics (8/20)
AB was rejected twice as Labour Party leader, so why should AB be the leader of Greater Manchester when his own political party deemed him unsuitable to be a leader on two occasions ? AB was one of the big players in the now dis-credited/defunct New Labour project and voted for the Iraq War !


Social Media (5/20)
JB has little real social media presence, but occasionally interacts with the general public, campaign groups and journalists

Hustings Performances (5/20)
JB had one big slip in the hustings, during the opening statements JB said “we need to act before climate change becomes a problem (!!)”, this gave away the laissez-faire attitude of the Liberal Democrats

Manifesto/Vision (8/20)
The aim of Greater Manchester being the Greenest City In The World is an honourable aim, and JB seems to understand ecology more than most politicians, however, when an official manifesto says one of JBs’ policies is “Encourage pollution-scrubbing technology, including green wall, green roofs and urban parks” you begin to wonder about competence

Media (5/20)
JB & the Liberal Democrats do not seem to have produced any of their own films, unlike the tech-savvy Green Party who have put a great deal of thought and work into their campaign films

Party Politics (5/20)
Greater Manchester is a predominantly working class area and the Liberal Democrats are not a party of the working class and do not represent the interests of the working class – could the people of Greater Manchester ever forgive the Lib Dems for being a junior partner in the ConDem government ?


Social Media (0/20)
SA has given no answer to any of the Northern Springs’ 80 questions on Twitter

Hustings Performances (0/20)
SA is the classic, dull as a rainy day in Grimsby, unimaginative, neo-liberal identikit politician, the face of the Nasty Party in Greater Manchester

Manifesto/Vision (0/20)
The advert for SA in the official Election booklet looks like a BNP election advert!

Media (0/20)
Anstee has zero credibility and this shows in media appearances

Party Politics (0/20)
The Tories are a joke! “Northern Powerhouse”, Theresa May “election campaign”, etc, etc – we need to get the #ToriesOut asap!

The Northern Spring Supports The Green Party For #GMMayor


#Will4GreenMayor #NorthernGreenhouse #EvoManc

The Northern Spring is supporting The Green Party candidate Will Patterson to be the Greater Manchester Metro Mayor


Will Patterson, Green Party, Manifesto


Will Patterson – New candidate for Greater Manchester Metro Mayor contest

Greater Manchester Elects on Thursday 4th May 2017, the same day as the Local Elections, at this very important time for UK politics

The Northern Spring selects the Green Party as the prime candidate on manifesto, hustings performances, social media interaction, media presence and general style of the campaign

With no other socialist candidates on the ballot, Will Patterson is therefore the unity candidate for all Greater Manchester socialists, and a chance for the Greater Manchester public to vote for hope and change

Greater Manchester Green Party Manifesto Launch

Film: Greenbelt Policy

Film: Climate Change

Green Party Mayoral Campaign Film

The Northern Spring supports Jeremy Corbyn for Prime Minister and the formation of a national Labour Government, however, in this regional contest we feel that Greater Manchester needs a grassroots figurehead who is not connected to big business in the same way that Labour, Liberal Democrats and Conservatives are

This could be seen right at the very start of the campaign when Burnham (Labour), Brophy (Liberal Democrats) and Anstee (Conservatives) all unashamedly dashed off to swanky, loadsamoney per ticket hustings !! It can also be seen at the corporate Citizens UK Election Stunt event at The Lowry on Salford Docklands on Monday 1st May 2017

We feel that the combination of the three biggest parties, Labour, Conservative and Liberal Democrats are responsible for the so-called “Northern Powerhouse”, a corporate land-grab and development programme that has no social license amongst the people of Greater Manchester, and the North of England

Andy Burnham (Labour) has called for Greater Manchester to be transformed into a Beacon of Social Justice and we believe that a Green Party Mayor is the best chance of this happening

Burnham has called for a Peoples’ Green Summit to be held in Greater Manchester, but with a caveat of “within the first year of office”, however, a member of the General Public challenged this time limit at the hustings and the Green Party Mayoral candidate not only agrees with this, but is likely to have the political nous to host a Peoples’ Green Summit within 100 days

In a time of multiple national political polls, there seem to have been no polls whatsoever conducted of the Greater Manchester electorate regarding voting intentions, although you can put a bet on at the bookies!!

Therefore, the Greater Manchester Mayoral Result could be a lot more interesting than the mainstream media think, especially as we are in the era of political change

At the Hustings event on Friday 28th April 2017 in Manchester “What About The Environment?” all the four Mayoral candidates present are saying that we need a Green Greater Manchester Mayor – so why not vote for the real deal ?



Will Patterson and the Green Party Manifesto in the News


ITV Granada Reports, Greater Manchester Mayoral Hustings, 26th April 2017


The Green Party Greater Manchester Mayoral Campaign has been a collaborative one, due to the original candidate Deyika Nzeribe passing away at the turn of the year

Here are a number of links to the original launch of the Green Party Greater Manchester Mayoral campaign




Deyika Nzeribe Speech, Manchester, Saturday 12th November 2016
Event: United Against Fracking Event

“We need to make sure that no matter who is President of the United States, whoever is in Number 10, the shale gas industry is not allowed to hoodwink the public into believing that fracking is any kind of part of an energy strategy for the future”

“We need to ensure that the democratic voice of the people in Lancashire is respected – we also need to remember that you are part of the long line of activists from all around the world, protecting Earth, air and the water against degradation…Barton Moss, Balcombe, Roseacre Wood, the South Africa wild coast, the XL pipeline, North Dakota…

“You might not be aware of it but you are in the heart of the Northern Powerhouse, historical birthplace of the industrial revolution – the Green Party vision, my vision, for a Northern Powerhouse is one powered by clean, green, renewable energy, produced here in the north and which creates more jobs per pound invested than shale gas ever can; clean energy powered by its people, its wind, waves and daylight/sun!”

“You can’t be against fracking and for building on Green Belt. You can’t be against fracking and for expanding the airport. You can’t be for and against the planet…”



Deyika Nzeribe (1966-2017) A Tribute


Greater Manchester Mayoral Candidate Election Survey


On Thursday 4th May 2017 Greater Manchester Elects a brand spanking new Metro Mayor that no-one asked for !!

On Friday 28th April 2017 the citizens of Greater Manchester have the chance to quiz the Greater Manchester Mayoral Candidates at an event called “What About The Environment” starting at 6:15pm at the Friends Meeting House in Manchester

During the Election campaign, the Northern Greenhouse have conducted a survey of the “Big Four” Greater Manchester Mayoral Candidates to attempt to discover their thoughts on the Environment and the Green Economy, a very topical issue now that we are in the era of the Paris Agreement

The “Northern Powerhouse” has brought the fracking industry to the North, the “Davyhulme Stink”, the contamination of the River Irwell and the recent Northern floods – all making local and national headlines

The survey was conducted on Twitter, with the questions sent to the Mayoral candidates via the Twitter account of Ecologist and Author, James Walsh @MancunianBirder, with the hashtag #GMMayor

Will Patterson of the Green Party won the Survey on amount of questions answered (8 out of 70), quality of answers and general social media interaction, including ReTweets and Likes

Jane Brophy of the Liberal Democrats came a very distant second (1 out of 70), with one ReTweet and four Likes

Neither Andy Burnham nor Sean Anstee found the time to answer any questions or interact (Like/Retweet) at all – it is not great form for a Mayoral Candidate to ignore the electorate


WILL PATTERSON (GREEN PARTY) first, answering eight out of the seventy questions (overrall score of 12%)

Jane Brophy (Liberal Democrats) second, answering just one of the seventy questions (overrall score of 1%)

Andy Burnham (Labour Party) did not answer any questions (overall score of 0%)

Sean Anstee (Conservative Party) did not answer any questions (overall score of 0%)



All Tweets are detailed here, with ReTweets, Likes and Full Reponses

NR = No Reply from any candidate

1. Is the tune Barton Moss Protectors “Rise Up Against Fracking” on your iPod ? NR

2. Would you campaign to halt the construction of BREP – the BioMass Incinerator ? NR

3. Do you know what place Manchester is ranked in the UKs’ greenest cities ? NR

4. The so-called Northern Powerhouse project and a real Air Quality Plan seem incompatible ? NR

5. How many Green Jobs could we create in Greater Manchester ? NR

6. Would you support a Green Atlantic Gateway ? NR

7. The Northern Powerhouse in just one image (with an image of a Business “Fat Cat” saying “It’s quite simple… the profits are all mine and the pollution is all yours” to a member of the general public) ? NR

8. Do you support Jeremy Corbyns’ Environmental Manifesto ? NR

9. What steps would you take to divest the Greater Manchester Pension Fund ? NR

10. How would you transfer Greater Manchester to Zero Carbon ? NR

11. How can we move forward on Manchester European City Of Science ? NR

12. Are you on the March For Science ? NR

13. How would you represent Greater Manchester at COP23 in Bonn, Germany in November 2017 ? NR

14. What protection should we give urban nesting Sand Martins – especially in relation to Pomona Docks ? NR

15. Would you support bids for IUCN funding for our mosslands ? NR

16. How would you build a Greater Manchester EcoTourism Plan ? NR

17. The Northern Powerhouse mantra is “Jobs & Growth” what about Green Jobs & Green Growth ? Like from Will Patterson

18. The Environment should be the Mayors’ number one priority as we all breathe air, eat food, drink water ? Retweet and Like from Will Patterson, Like from Jane Brophy

19. What are your plans for public involvement – in relation to the Greater Manchester Peoples’ Plan For The Future ?

Will Patterson: Where to start ? Forums to actively seek out and listen to people’s opinions, bring civic society into decision making process

20. Would you fully protect Greater Manchesters’ mosslands ?

Will Patterson: Yes! The mosslands would be a prime candidate for the expanded Green Belt

21. What support would you give Ecopreneurs (Entrepreneurs who are starting/running ecological businesses) ?

Will Patterson: Push for Basic Income to give people more freedom to start businesses, and GMCA contracts for Green Jobs and business eg in Renewables

22. If we can build Bridgewater Gardens why not also an Eden Project North on Pomona ? Like from Will Patterson

23. Would you integrate EcoSystem Services into Economic Plans ?

Will Patterson: Of course! In fact, ecosystem service and maintenance could and should be a part of the replacement for the Spatial Framework

24. What do you know about “The Bentley Effect” (a new film about an Australian community rising up and winning against a fossil fuel company, Metgasco) ? NR

25. #waterislife Should we be collecting rooftop rainwater in Greater Manchester ? NR

26. Manchester is the City of Peace – would you bring back the much-loved Peace Gardens ? NR

27. Have the Green Party not been invited to the Citizens UK event on 1st May ? NR

28. Do you agree with Gerrard Winstanley – with an image of Gerrard Winstanley (and the quote) “Was the earth made to preserve a few covetous, proud men to live at ease, and for them to bag and barn up the treasures of the Earth from others, that these may beg or starve in a fruitful land, or was it made to preserve all her children ?”

Will Patterson: Yes I agree with Gerrard Winstanley, an EcoSocialist and a local hero

29. How can any Labour member/supporter/voter see this photo and feel pride (with the classic DevoManc stitch-up photo of George Osborne, Richard Leese, Tony Lloyd and the GMCA) ? ReTweet and Like from Jane Brophy

30. What steps would you take to combat climate change ? NR

31. Would you support a Greater Manchester EcoTourism Plan ? NR

32. Mayoral Challenge ? Would you go to Fancy Dress Friday protest at the Preston New Road Cuadrilla fracking site in Lancashire ? NR

33. Do you support Manchester being a National Park City ? ReTweet and Like from Will Patterson

34. What do you know about the Salford Mosses ? NR

35. How would you plan to clean the air in Greater Manchester – with an image of a newspaper cutting about the Trafford Breathe Clean Air Group ? NR

36. What do you think of Sajid Javid fracking – with an image of Sajid Javid and “My Job Is To Make Sure Local Government’s Voice Is Being Heard In Every Department” on the cover of First – The Magazine For Local Government ? NR

37. Have any of the candidates read my book “The Birds of Salford Docklands” ? Like from Jane Brophy

38. How can Greater Manchester support global effort on climate change – with a link to an internet article on the ice melting in the Arctic ? NR

39. How many of the Greater Manchester Mayoral Candidates voted for the Iraq War ? NR

40. How many millions of pounds of Tory cuts have Labour made in Greater Manchester ? NR

41. What are your views on Science March Manchester ? NR

42. What are your views on HS2 ? Like from Jane Brophy

43. Did any of the candidates visit Barton Moss during the winter of 2013/14 ? NR

44. Did any other candidates turn up to Greenbelt Greater Manchester today – with an image of Will Patterson and Jane Brophy at the event ? NR

45. What would you be prepared to do to Stop Fracking in Greater Manchester ? NR

46. How would you make Manchester a City of Peace ? Like from Jane Brophy

47. Anyone think this photo looks a bit like the orchestra on the Titanic (once again with the classic Devo Manc stitch-up photo) ? NR

48. Would we want this ?? Is it better to keep most politicians darn Sarf ?? with a link to an Economist article “Go North: The pragmatic case for moving Britain’s capital to Manchester” – NR

49. Do you support Break The Chain (Reclaim The Powers’ campaign to break the chain of businesses supporting the fracking industry) ? NR

50. Why has a new generation of fossil fuels been commissioned at Carrington ? with a link to a Bloomberg article “Paris Accord Could Make The World $19 Trillion Richer” – NR

51. How can Greater Manchester benefit from EcoTourism ? with a link to a North England EcoTourism Article on The Northern Spring – NR

52. Does this make the Brexit vote null and void ? with a link to Guardian article “Revealed: How US billionairre helped to back Brexit” ? NR

53. What are your views on the Dutch elections ? with a link to a Guardian “Green Left proves to be a big winner in Dutch election”

Will Patterson: Far-right divisiveness kept in check, real progress for Green Left ? I think GroenLinks put it best

54. Did @BBCNWT think Crufts more important than direct action against fracking – question asked on a day of important direct action against the fracking industry ? NR

55. Is it acceptable for corporations to “greenwash” ?? with a photo from the Carrington Gas Terminal launch event and a photo of greenfields with a slogan “Supporting The Transition To A Carbon Free Energy Future” ? NR

56. What are your views on this ? A photo of an artists impression of the new Carrington Gas Terminal ? NR

57. What are your plans for social & environmental equality ? NR

58. What plans have you got for Greater Manchesters’ wildlife ? NR

59. What pressure would you put on government to publish the Nature Report ? NR

60. Should Manchester Remain in the EU as that is how we voted in the #EURef ? NR

61. Is this corporate policing gone too far ? with a link to a YouTube film of an elected official being allegedly assaulted at the Cuadrilla fracking site in Lancashire ? NR

62. Did any other candidates make it to Solidarity Saturday in Lancashire – with a picture of Will Patterson at the anti-fracking solidarity event ? NR

63. As GM Mayor would you make the Northern Powerhouse fairer ? with an image saying “If it were a country, the Northern Powerhouse would have the 10th biggest economy in Europe” ? NR

64. In this situation do you support the activists ? with a link to a Daily Telegraph article on fracking activists

Will Patterson: Support the activists ? I’ll be joining them on Saturday on behalf of people across GM who want a stop to fracking now!

65. As Greater Manchester Mayor what would you do to make Peel Ports more environmentally responsible ? with an image of architects impression of an Eden Project-style Ecology Centre on Pomona Docks – NR

66. What would you do as Greater Manchester Mayor to increase EcoTourism in Greater Manchester ? NR

67. Rate the importance of Civil Society in Greater Manchester ?

Will Patterson: Vital. Govt using Devo to wash its’ hands of regions. Combined Authority can’t deliver without engaging with civil society

68. As Greater Manchester Mayor would you #StopBREP #banfracking and #banCBM ? with a map of the Davyhulme Plume Plotter that illustrates where the BREP emissions would be falling now if BREP had started – NR

69. Would you support a Spike Island 30th Anniversary gig in 2020 ? NR

70. Do you support the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit ?

Jane Brophy: I support the Ecology Unit

Greater Manchester Spatial Framework Respsonse

16th January 2017

Dear Sirs / Madams,

I am writing to you as a long-term citizen of Greater Manchester regarding the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework

Three generations of my family were Salford dockers and I have lived in Greater Manchester for more than 30 years

I chose to study at the University of Salford from 2007 – 2014 where I obtained an Ecology degree, a Work Placement certificate with the Greater Manchester Ecology Unit and a Gold Award

I have lived in Trafford, Salford and now the Oldham area, and have spent many years recording, photographing and filming the wildlife of Greater Manchester, and I have recently published a book entitled “The Birds of Salford Docklands” on Amazon and have many more books being written about Greater Manchester and the North, therefore, I feel that I am in a rather decent position to comment on the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF)

Firstly I would like to say that I welcome the opportunity to comment on the GMSF – I believe that this can be a very positive situation if we are to build a truly prosperous, healthy, green and sustainable Greater Manchester

As a businessman I would like the GMCA to refer all the plans for the GMSF to ecologists – the business world is changing very quickly and humanity is rapidly switching to renewable energy and the green economy

I agree with Andy Burnhams’ recent comments that the GMSF needs completely re-writing

We have an amazing opportunity in Greater Manchester, and the North of England, to be at the forefront of the new green business revolution, and bring green jobs and green growth to the region

However, we have to first protect our green assets – all our Mosslands, greenspaces, Country Parks, rivers, canals – to build a Greater Manchester Eco Framework (GMEF) to allow the new industries of the future, EcoTourism and Renewable Energy to flourish

We have some unique wildlife habitats on our doorstep such as the Salford Mosslands, Pennington Flash Country Park, Horwich Moors, Dunham Massey, Carrington Moss, Greenheart Wigan Flashes, Mersey Valley, Etherow Country Park, Dovestones Reservoir to name but a few, however, we need to go further to promote these sites and maximise the green economy potential we have here ie: we need to have a Greater Manchester EcoTourism plan that builds a green infrastructure such as EcoTourism University and College courses that can provide training, skills and jobs for our young people

In 2000 I went to TAFE College in Cairns, Tropical North Australia, and obtained EcoTourism and Tourism qualfications – we should have many courses similar to this here in Greater Manchester

I would suggest that all politicians and business leaders take an Ecology Course to learn about new concepts such as the green economy and EcoSystem Services to see the real value in protecting our green assets such as Mosslands and woodlands

Our parks are not just places where residents have access to greenspaces and fresh air, they are places we can promote to tourists, places we can take people on specially designed tours

I am very much in favour of the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework if we can all work together, communities, ecologists, scientists, politicians and businesses, to build a truly progressive Greater Manchester – it can be done with proper planning and thought for the future

The Greater Manchester community is full of creative and ambitious talent that should be tapped into and consulted properly

The Greater Manchester Peoples’ Plan for the Environment meeting held on the 1st December 2016 is a big example of the types of talent and creative thinking that can happen when the Greater Manchester citizens get together

Yours faithfully

Mr James Walsh
Greater Manchester Citizen

24 Hour Birding People


The big Salford Docklands bird news this winter is the confirmed presence of Aythya diving ducks on-site night-feeding with 3 Northern Pochards and 21 Tufted Duck spotted at 11:15pm on Monday 5th December 2016

With streetlight & moonlight it is possible to birdwatch on the Salford Quays area of the docklands 24 hours per day and the site is famous for Aythya ducks utilising the docklands for feeding during the night-time

Huge numbers of up to 2500 Northern Pochards and 1760 Tufted Ducks were present on Salford Docklands during the winters of the 1980’s and 1990’s up to 2002, however, numbers are generally just double figures these days; but it is still a somewhat magical urban birding experience to see night-feeding Aythyas


James Walsh “The Birds Of Salford Docklands”

Peak District Hosts Mega-Twitch!


The small village of Beeley in the Peak District area of Derbyshire has seen an influx of hundreds of birders today due to news of a mega rare Dusky Thrush from Siberia being present in the orchard & gardens of the village being broadcast this morning

Rachel Jones posted pictures of the bird on facebooks’ UK Bird Identification Forum on Sunday 4th December and very quickly experienced birders made the identification of Dusky Thrush, a species that is usually in Asia in the winter

The location of the bird was released this morning via the Bird Information Services such as Rare Bird Alert and Birdnet, whilst social media lit up with news of the birds’ location, and straight away, there were birders turning up from around the country!

Many thanks to the residents of Beeley who have hosted hundreds of birders today, whilst in turn the many visiting birders have made donations to a local charity – the events of today in Peak District Derbyshire were a great advert for birding; a fine example of a twitch being managed properly

The name Dusky Thrush does not really do the species justice, perhaps the name Chestnut-winged Thrush might be more appropriate ?

For birders this “Sibe-heaven” Autumn continues up into the festive season (& beyond ?)




Green Party Win First Online Greater Manchester Mayoral Debate


The Green Party Mayoral candidate Deyika Nzeribe won the first real online major debate of the Greater Manchester Mayoral campaign with 78% of readers agreeing that we should NOT build on Greater Manchesters’ Greenbelt – a big issue that could be very important with voters during the Greater Manchester Mayoral Election Campaign in 2017


The article “Should Greater Manchester Build On The Greenbelt” was printed online on the Manchester Evening News website on 6th November 2016

Curiously, the Labour Party Mayoral candidate Andy Burnham did not provide the Labour response, instead Jonny Reynolds span some claptrap from the New Labour spinbook, this could be a big tactical mistake from Andy Burnham, who had been attempting to prove some environmental credentials through an inaugural speech at an anti-fracking event

The Green Party are light years ahead of the Labour Party regarding environmental policy in Greater Manchester – although Jeremy Corbyns’ environment manifesto promises a much more balanced UK ecosystem in the future, Labour share complicit responsibility for the presence of IGas at Barton Moss during the winter of 2013/14, whereas the Green Party were supportive of the anti-fracking protests on Barton Moss from day one!

Queenslanders enlighten global film scene



If you are contacting your MP with seasonal greetings, perhaps also suggest that they get a copy of this for Chrimbo! “Frackman” tells the story of accidental activist Dayne Pratzky and the Australian peoples’ struggle against the fracking industry that Forbes noted was a Ponzi Scheme 5 years ago!!

The media bumph says

“Australia will soon become the world’s biggest gas exporter as more than 30,000 wells are sunk in the state of Queensland where Dayne lives, with many requiring controversial “fracking”. He and his neighbours have unwittingly become the centre of a massive industrial landscape and they have no legal right to stop mining on their land. Dayne embarks on a journey that transforms him from conservative pig-shooter to sophisticated global activist as the Frackman. He meets the people drawn into a battle that is crossing the ideological divide, bringing together a peculiar alliance of farmers, activists and political conservatives. Along the way Dayne encounters love, tragedy and triumph”

Good on the Australian Environmental Movement for bringing this big issue to the big screen!