Jul 3, 2023Liked by The Mill

One major geographical difference between Greater Manchester and the other places named in the report (with the exception of Greater London) is that it is an amalgamation of once independent cities and towns that each expanded until they met.

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Manchester transport is not particularly green, and needs to do a lot better - but not for the reasons listed in that survey. Shared e-scooters are objectively bad, in the city where I live their d***head users leave them in everyone's way on the pavement: the fact that Manchester doesn't have them is actually a plus point. EV charging and shared electric cars are ok but nowhere near as important as having a more extensive, more regular, more affordable and greener public transport system than Manchester currently has.

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I confess I struggle with the idea that "If Bolton leaves Greater Manchester and rejoins Lancashire, everything will suddenly be better!" It seems completely like wishful thinking. An absolute fantasy even! And the reality is Bolton wouldn't be rejoining Lancashire County Council's governance. It would be completely on its own.

Some history - from 1889 to 1974 Bolton (like Stockport) was a County Borough. That meant it was completely independent of the county council. The modern equivalent is a Unitary Authority - this is what Warrington is. A single council in charge of an area. A large town like Bolton could get relocated to Lancashire for ceremonial purposes, but it would be too big to be anything other than a Unitary Authority.

An "independent Bolton" would mean everything that's currently shared at a Greater Manchester level would have to move to Bolton Council. No more involvement in Transport for Greater Manchester and the Bee Network. No incentive for Bolton to ever get on the Metrolink. No more Bolton in the Greater Manchester Waste Authority that handles waste disposal and the recycling centres. And lots more. Bolton would stand isolated. Alone. The impact could be absolutely huge.

There are benefits to working together. And Bolton would no longer have them. And equally they'd only have themselves to blame when things don't go right.

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