Category Archives: In the bioregion

How to square the circle ?

The NWRDA has produced the first part of the draft Regional Strtegy RS2010.

They have set out an interesting challenge:

“Therefore we are clear that over the next twenty
years this region must:

  • capitalise on the opportunities of moving to a lowcarbon

economy and address climate change

  • build on our sources of international competitive

advantage and regional distinctiveness

  • release the potential of our people and

tackle poverty

  • ensure the right housing and infrastructure for

sustainable growth.

We must tackle all these, however, in a period
when less public expenditure will be available.”

A tricky pancake indeed!  Some of us think that the second of these – this idea of international competitiveness is incompatible with the others.  Indeed that is one of the key ideas of this bioregional green deal project – strategic localism rather than strategic globalism (see our glossary.  We also aren’t at all sure that ‘sustainable growth’ is anything more than a contradiction.

Unfortunately the paper gets worse the more you go into it.  It uses the sustainability language, but with no depth of understanding as to what this might mean – it is playing at sustainability – fiddling in effect while the planet burns.

But let’s give it a thorough read and join in the consultation.   We know they mean well, we need to help them come up with a workable strategy not a fantasy.


Manchester’s emissions from food

Emissions from the production, distribution, consumption and waste of the food eaten in Manchester are estimated at 3.35 m tonnes.

But wait a minute, isn’t this figure more than the total claimed for all Manchester’s emissions (3.2m)?   The answer is that most of these emissions occur outside the city, just as our much of our other consumption emissions do (it’s hard to even buy a bike that hasn’t been made in Taiwan).  So a total footprint approach would correct the discrepacy (just as it would force consideration of the aviation emissions).   The point is that a focus on food, with local food production as a key element, would offer much of the 1.1m tones that the city council intends to save.

Overall agriculture around the world is responsible for nearly as much total greenhouse gas emissions as all forms of transportation.  And if distribution, preparation, consumption, flatulence and waste were also included, the figure would be even greater.

How did we arrive at the figure for Manchester?   Greenhouse gas emissions from London’s food system are  19m tones p.a.
London’s economy is approx 20% of national economy
Manchester’s is approx 3.5% of national economy

Therefore food based emissions from Manchester = 3.35 m tonnes

If you can fault this logic, then let us know.

New document – Concepts for Bioregional Development

This link takes you to the glossary “Concepts for Bioregional Development.   It tries to explain in straigtforward tersms the concepts used throughout the site.  We think you’ll agree that this is an unusual conjuncture of concepts – but the situation we are facing calls for this use of ideas from more than one field.

New commentary on the ‘Manchester City Region’ pilot announcement

Posted on the ‘occasional editorial’ page.



13/04/2009 at 10:14 pm · Filed under News · Edit


Submission to the NW Development Agency’s consultation on the Regional Strategy – RS 2010.
This questions some of its key assumptions – especially the pursuit of economic growth despite making an attempt to bring in the issues of sustainability / climate change / peak hydrocarbons (!).
The RS2010 Issues and Principles paper still sees the region as having to compete nationally and globally for its success – an assumption that needs debunking. Oh, and they also like the airport and the nuclear industry… see
My comments are posted here as they may help others to make a better contribution to the consultation.