Local elections 2015: Will the environment win?

Date published: 06 May 2015

Manchester friends of the Earth today released the results of their survey of local election candidates’ views on some of the key environmental issues facing Greater Manchester and the UK. The survey highlighted nearly 100% of all respondents supporting calls for tough action to cut air pollution, strong support to install renewable energy systems such as solar panels on local schools and high levels of opposition to fracking.

On Thursday 7 May, people in Greater Manchester have the opportunity to vote for the local councillors to represent them. Local councillors elected will have to find and implement solutions to meet many social and environmental challenges during the next 10 years and beyond. These include rising transport & energy costs, traffic congestion, ill health and rising obesity levels, poor air quality and the need to drastically reduce CO2 emissions.

Manchester Friends of the Earth asked all the local council candidates standing for election across Greater Manchester to let people know their views on a range of key environmental issues. The responses received from each candidate and a summary by political party are available online.

Some of the key survey results:


  • Air Pollution: Overall, 99% of respondents supported tough action to reduce air pollution in Greater Manchester. High levels of support from respondents across all political parties.
  • Frack Free: Overall, 87% of respondents supported the call for their Local Authority to declare itself Frack Free. Support ranged from 0% from Conservative and UKIP candidates to 68% (Labour), 71% (Liberal Democrats), 99% (Green Party) and 100% (TUSC) candidates.
  • Solar Power: Overwhelming support from respondents from all political parties for installing solar power (or other renewable energy) on all schools and other public buildings in their local authority area.
  • Devo Manc referendum: This issue highlighted differing opinions within the Labour Party respondents with seven respondents supporting a referendum compared to 14 opposed. Support for a ‘Devo Manc’ referendum amongst respondents from other political parties ranged from 33% (Conservative) to 100% (UKIP).
  • Pavement parking ban: A borough/city wide ban on pavement parking had the lowest level of overall support from respondents (69%) and the highest number of ‘Don’t know’ responses. Labour Party respondents expressed the lowest level of support (44%) of all the political parties.
  • Cycle Funding: Overall, 85% of respondents supported continued dedicated funding of £20 per head of population for cycle infrastructure in Greater Manchester. Support was lowest from Conservative respondents (33%) and UKIP (50%). Support from respondents of other parties was 70% and above. 
  • 20mph speed limits: Overall, support for 20mph default speed limits from respondents was 88%. The Liberal Democrat respondents showed the highest level of support (93%) for this issue
  • GM Pension Fund: Overall support for the GM Pension Fund to divest from fossil fuels was 84% of respondents. Political party support ranged from 0% (Conservative) to 99% (Green) respondents. Both the Labour Party and Liberal Democrat respondents had sizeable “Don’t know” responses.
  • Landlord licensing scheme: There was a high level of support (94%) across respondents from all political parties for introducing a mandatory landlord licensing scheme. 

Ali Abbas, Manchester Friends of the Earth co-ordinator said: “We wouldn’t dream of telling people which way to vote, but everyone has a right to know where candidates stand on key issues that affect our health and the environment we depend on.”


“As last week's Supreme Court decision on air pollution shows, we will need urgent action from our newly elected politicians to improve air quality and tackle climate change.”

Green Party candidates achieved the highest proportion (46.7%) of respondents as a percentage of the candidates standing for that party. The percentage of responses for other parties were 19% (TUSC), 11.5% (Labour Party), 9.7% (Liberal Democrats), 1.4% (Conservative Party) and 1.2% (UKIP).

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