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Archive for August, 2011

Climate Change

Tuesday, August 23rd, 2011

Global warming is an issue that faces us all and if allowed to continue unabated, will cause irreversible damage to our planet.

Reducing the carbon footprint is something we can all take part in; in fact it is something we should all treat as a priority because once the damage is done there’s no going back.

As a community leader I feel a certain level of responsibility in this regard and so am keen to investigate ways in which we, as a responsible local authority, can get involved and do our bit.

That’s why, along with our AGMA colleagues, we are committing to the Greater Manchester Climate Change Strategy. This will mean all the 10 authorities agreeing to reduce county-wide carbon emissions by 48% by 2020.

That roughly equates to six million tonnes or the same as removing 1.3 million vehicles off the road or planting six million trees.

The Strategy will have a number of implementation plans. These will give us, here in Tameside, far more detail on the specific implications for us, for example district targets and actions.

The plan sets out four headline objectives:

A rapid transition to a low carbon economy
A reduction in CO2 emissions
Better preparedness for a changing climate
Carbon literacy embedded into our culture.

And it is this last point which I feel the council can promote to help the wider community understand the importance of what we are trying to achieve. That’s why I am urging the Tameside public to engage in future initiatives we will launch over the coming months to help join the fight to combat global warming

This has to stop

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Like many other Tamesiders, I watched in horror last night as television pictures showed the great city of Manchester being ransacked by mobs intent on wanton destruction.

The local economy – and that includes our borough – relies upon having a vibrant, attractive and safe regional centre. Manchester doesn’t just attract people from all over the region, it attracts visitors from all over the world. To see those shops and businesses attacked, looted and sometimes set on fire was sickening to me. There can be no excuse for this copycat criminal damage.

First and foremost we must support the police in every way possible. We all have a part to play in helping them begin to contain this situation.

Secondly, those of us who are parents have a responsibility to see that our own sons and daughters are not drawn into criminal behaviour. I find it unimaginable that I would not know the whereabouts of my children at that time of night.

Finally, we will be having the relevant discussions over the coming days, weeks and months to address the sense of lawlessness that has arisen across the country since Saturday. The relevant agencies, politicians and communities will have to come together to look at these events.

But be assured, we will find a way through this.

Manchester as the base for the new Green Investment Bank (GIB)?

Monday, August 8th, 2011

It could happen, and it could mean massive benefits. However, to get it, we’ll have to prove the region’s commitment to low-carbon projects.

If a Manchester bid was successful, it’s very possible that low-carbon businesses would be attracted to the city region. If Tameside could provide the right kind of office space at the right price, it’s quite possible many of these enterprises might move into the borough and we could develop our own knowledge-based sector – our own low-carbon valley if you like.

When GIB is launched, next April, it will be the first bank in the world dedicated to the greening of a national economy. Edinburgh, London and Bristol have already applied to host it, and Edinburgh’s business case is seen as particularly strong given the number of Scottish firms and initiatives dedicated to offshore wind technology.

But I believe Manchester can do even better, and that Tameside can play a pivotal role within a winning submission.

Waste is another key area, and our borough is a hard working member of the Greater Manchester Waste Disposal Authority. GMWDA is the biggest body of its kind in England, working with Viridor Laing to build state-of-the-art facilities. Cllr Catherine Piddington, Tameside’s executive member for environmental services, has just been appointed vice-chair.

Of course Tameside would also want to be part of any Greater Manchester application for finance from GIB. To do this, we would have to prepare a pipeline of low-carbon projects.

If we can expand the supply-chain firms involved in the engineering and installation of such products alongside the development of a knowledge-based sector, Tameside businesses could enjoy significant benefits.

So there’s much to do, but much to be achieved. If this project is handled properly, we really might see the green shoots of a truly sustainable recovery.

Norway

Friday, August 5th, 2011

Last week, I gathered with fellow members of Tameside Council and other community representatives on the steps of Ashton Town Hall. We stood in solidarity with the people of Norway to remember the 76 victims of the Oslo bombing and the attack on the youth camp at Utoya Island.

As a father myself, I found it difficult to know what to say before we observed the minute’s silence. I have sons around the same age as so many at Utoya. They’re young and idealistic, just like those who perished. 

We can scarcely imagine the feelings of grief and loss all those parents must be feeling after having their children stolen from them in such a brutal and senseless way.

But as Norway’s Prime Minister – Jens Stoltenberg – said, the people of his country will reject the urge to turn in on themselves and take a hard line. They will fight back with greater openness, and even more democracy.

I was glad that we, in Tameside, could make a small contribution, and pleased that so many people took the time to reflect with us.

If you would like to leave a message of sympathy, there is a book of condolence in the Ashton Town Hall foyer. If you can’t make it down to the Town Hall, you can post a message on the online Norwegian Government book of condolence Link to External Website.

The Executive Leader of the Council with fellow Councillors on the Town Hall steps

 

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