Published: Monday, 01st February 2021
Unfortunately, Coronavirus is still with us.
As #TeamOldham continues to help and support our communities and businesses Oldham Council is also working towards a cleaner and greener borough.
One thing Coronavirus has shown us is there are solutions to the climate change emergency.
Carbon emissions fell dramatically in spring 2020 as people moved to working from home, with a huge improvement in air quality.
Lockdowns and social distancing restrictions have also meant more residents have explored our green spaces as they’ve had to stay local to get fresh air and exercise.
Later this year the UK will host COP26, the United Nations climate change conference.
The UK has always been a global leader on climate change, and many scientists believe that 2021 could be a critical year for action.
Climate change sometimes seems like it’s such a huge challenge that there isn’t much that we can do as a borough, as a town or as individuals.
But Oldham is leading the way with several exciting low carbon and ecological projects.
The Northern Roots initiative aims to create the UK’s largest eco-park on 160 acres of land at Snipe Clough, just outside Alexandra Park.
The project will focus on improving the site for wildlife and recreation, as well as facilities for food growing and learning. More information can be found at https://northern-roots.uk/
Oldham Council is developing proposals for a new District Heat Network which will use renewable heat from flooded disused coal mines underneath the town centre in what could be the largest scheme of its kind in the country.
This clean energy system will complement a proposed new green town centre with a linear park and many other environmental improvements.
And just last week Cabinet agreed the first phase of works to deliver a state-of-the-art Eco Centre in Alexandra Park – supporting our ambitions to be the greenest borough in Greater Manchester.
Coronavirus has hit our budgets, so instead of developing the project all at once, we are now taking a phased approach.
Work on a new office with sustainable energy solutions for the borough’s environmental services teams will begin soon.
Councillor Abdul Jabbar, Deputy Leader of Oldham Council Cabinet Member for Finance and Green, said: “Safeguarding our environment is an important way we can improve our quality of life and protect ourselves against increasing environmental challenges, such as climate change.
“It’s tempting to think that there isn’t much we can do in the face of such a big problem, but Oldham is leading the way.
“We are looking forward to working with our residents and businesses in 2021 to build a green economic recovery from the coronavirus crisis.
“Oldham’s Green New Deal, the first in the UK, is our framework for delivering success.”
There are things we can all do to help deliver a ‘green recovery’. Here are our top three green tips:
- Buy local. Buying food and produce which is grown and made locally cuts down the distance these products have to travel to reach our homes. It also supports jobs and local businesses which may be struggling due to coronavirus. Many local businesses now take orders online and deliver to your door so be sure to do a search for local options.
- Green your home. Growing your own food in a back garden or yard can save you money on your weekly grocery bill as well as cutting the distance that food has to travel to your kitchen. There are community growing hubs across Oldham which can help you learn how to grow your own food. Grants are also available to help you improve the energy efficiency and comfort of your home. For more details visit: https://www.oldham.gov.uk/info/200258/housing_grants_loans_and_benefits/2656/green_homes_grants
- Exercise and walk in your local area. During lockdown we want you to enjoy our parks and green spaces for fresh air and exercise. Visit the one nearest your home as you shouldn’t travel unless it’s essential – don’t pass a green space to get to a green space. Guide books, such as “Birding Oldham”, which is available to download free via https://mancunianbirder.wordpress.com/2019/10/10/birding-oldham-e-book-now-online/ can be used on your walks.
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