Airport dividend to go on green city projects

Manchester City Council intends to spend a one-off windfall payment of £14.5m from Manchester Airport on making the city cleaner and greener.

Executive members will discuss on Wednesday plans to establish a Clean & Green Places reserve budget, which would see the money spent over this financial year, 2014/15 and 2015/16 on a cleaner and better managed environment in the city.

The council said it receives 13,000 enquiries a month from residents about environmental matters from graffiti and fly tipping to arranging bulky waste collections or ordering a replacement bin.

Cllr Bernard Priest, executive member for neighbourhood services, said: "Residents tell us that having a clean and green city is a real priority which is why we are earmarking this money to support that goal. Having a city we can all be proud of makes a huge difference in terms of residents' perceptions and helping us to achieve our ambitions as a world city, attracting visitors, jobs and investment.

"We recognise that Manchester, in common with other major cities, is not as clean and green as it could and indeed should be. This is something which we are determined to improve and this new funding will make a significant contribution."

The council received the extra airport dividend through its shareholding in Manchester Airport, largely because of Manchester Airport Holdings' purchase of Stansted Airport. As most of this £14.5m funding is a one-off, it is proposed to use it for one-off investments to improve the quality of the environment. These cannot create ongoing costs, so for example funding could not be used to hire extra staff or support existing facilities but must make a lasting difference.

Cllr Priest added: "With the council already having experienced severe cuts to its government funding and more to come, we must use this one-off dividend wisely so it has a lasting impact.

"This can't involve committing ourselves to ongoing costs, but it will be about enabling our staff who are tasked with maintaining a clean and green city to be more effective.

"We will be looking at investments on a project-by-project basis but, as an example, this could involve investment in new facilities such as more and better litter bins, new equipment and initiatives to challenge the behaviour of those who cause environmental problems in the city. As always, we will also be listening to the views of communities and are keen to hear their ideas to see how we can work together."

Further details will be announced as individual schemes are brought forward.

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