Oldham set to be first 'Green New Deal Council'

Councillors are set to agree proposals which would see Oldham Council become the first local authority in the country to become a 'Green New Deal Council'. 

If agreed, the strategy would set out how the council aim to deliver two ambitious targets – becoming carbon neutral by 2025 followed by the whole borough by 2030 – in a bid to be the greenest borough in Greater Manchester.

It will also outline how the council would invest in the 'green' sector to develop the borough's economy, in terms of employment, business and tourism. 

It’s estimated that the current low carbon business sector in Oldham is worth £338 million and employs around 2,300 people.

The report highlights how a package of measures, such as the creation of a green business district and increased support for ‘green’ sector companies already in Oldham, could help grow the sector.

As part of the strategy, the authority look to cut emissions from all council buildings and street lights and other areas it can influence such as its fleet of vehicles, business travel, schools and waste.

At the same time, measures such as tree planting, to offset its carbon footprint and help build a greener borough, will be carried out.

The authority will also look to invest in large scale renewable energy generation, such as the proposed 900KW solar farm in Failsworth and low carbon heat networks.

These would deliver financial savings – and possibly revenue income – for the council, homes and businesses at a time when energy bills are constantly rising.

The strategy also sets out the co-benefits to taking action on climate change around air quality, transport, waste and other key priority areas.

Councillor Abdul Jabbar, Deputy leader of Oldham Council and Cabinet Member for Finance and Corporate Services, said: “We want to make Oldham a greener, smarter and more enterprising place.

“That’s why over the last few years we’ve developed imaginative and economically sound ideas which benefit the borough and its people.

“We want Oldham to be the greenest borough in Greater Manchester and to do that we have to make the most of our natural and built environment. We’ve worked hard to bring together and showcase the very best of our green spaces, places, people and initiatives.

“Schemes such as Northern Roots, the new Eco-Centre, the proposed solar farm and the work we have done around the Green Oldham campaign have all helped us lead the way as a 'green' council.

“We now want to go further, which is why we are looking to become this country’s first Green New Deal Council.

“The strategy sets out how we will look to deliver a sustainable economy, tackling fuel poverty and generating training and employment opportunities in the growing green business sector.

“We’ll look to provide health and wellbeing benefits for residents and through new and existing initiatives, like Northern Roots, generate tourism and the visitor economy. 

“We want Keep Oldham at the forefront of development and deployment of cutting-edge environmental technologies, and ensure that the benefits are kept locally

“Achieving these targets will be a challenge, but it’s one we are up for. If council staff, partners, residents, schools all work together and get involved we can all deliver environmental change and benefits.”

The council's Cabinet will decide on the strategy next Monday (March 23). 

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