GOOD NEWS Fraser St/Rochdale Rd/Chamber Rd – lights to be removed by 13 Nov

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Earlier this week Council Officers have visited site and subsequently spoken by telephone with Cuncannon the appointed contractors requesting an update on the removal of the scaffold.

They have informed them that the scaffold, skip and debris will be removed and cleared from site no later than close of business on Wednesday 12th November.

Although, this is slightly later than anticipated the contractors have been asked by the property owner to provided roller shutters (for security) to all windows and doors and the delay has been the delivery of the shutters.

The Council has informed the contractor that they intend to open the Highway on the Thursday 13th November.

FOR HELP AND ADVICE – SHAW WARD SURGERIES

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Councillors Rod Blyth, Mark Alcock and Howard Sykes.

Also Parish Councillors Aspinall, Farrell, Duffy, Hall, Stephens, Dodd, Robinson, Murphy and Wood will also attend.

7.30pm – 8.30pm, Lifelong Learning Centre, High Street, Shaw, OL2 8TB.

Thursday: November: 6, 13, 20

NO APPOINTMENT REQUIRED

New Strategy Launched to Meet Bees Needs

imagesCA9N3YINElizabeth Truss, the Environment Secretary, has today (Tuesday 4th November) launched a National Pollinator Strategy that every gardener should read.

Speaking to the Policy Exchange think tank, Ms Truss said that pollinator species such as bees, butterflies, moths and wasps are ‘indispensable’ to our food production and that establishing a ‘flower-rich habitat’ will help increase their numbers.

Many thousands of Britons have already created pollinator-friendly havens in their gardens and backyards.
This is very commendable.

I am glad that Ms Truss has finally published the long-promised plan as the latest guidance offers advice on how we can all contribute to saving Britain’s bees.

The plan was certainly a long time in coming. In April of this year, I wrote to Ms Truss’s predecessor, Lord de Mauley, urging him to publish a plan as a matter of urgency.

Lobby groups, such as Friends of the Earth, were also campaigning hard on this issue.

For those readers that wish to help save Britain’s bees and other pollinators, the plan they can found at

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-strategy-to-support-bees-needs

Guarded Welcome to ‘Devo Manc’ Agreement

Cllr Howard Sykes gives Guarded Welcome to ‘Devo Manc’ Agreement

The Leader of the Opposition and of the Liberal Democrat Group on Oldham Council, Cllr Howard Sykes MBE, has given a guarded welcome to this week’s news of the agreement between the Chancellor of the Exchequer and the 10 Council Leaders in the Greater Manchester Combined Authority.

Cllr Sykes said: “Much of what has been agreed is to be welcomed. The Oldham Liberal Democrat Group certainly wish to see more power and more revenue being devolved from Whitehall to local town halls so this is a big step in the right direction.

“At the last Council meeting in October, I expressed my support for devolution and offered my full support to the Council Leader in achieving it.

“The plan will devolve real powers to a new Greater Manchester Authority, led by an elected Mayor, allowing significant improvements to our infrastructure, the creation of more efficient and joined up public transport network and thousands of new homes to be built, whilst creating many more, much needed businesses and local jobs.

“There is no doubt this will all have a positive impact on Oldham’s economy as one of the ten beneficiary authorities.

“Another spin-off benefit will be amalgamation of the powers and responsibilities of the Police and Crime Commissioner, a post that has never been popular and the loss of which will not be lamented.

“However the new Mayor will only be elected in 2017, after a delay of almost two and a half years and after a General Election, with all the uncertainties that this brings for the future. In the interim an appointed Mayor will take charge of a vast budget.

“It is of course early days, but I am concerned that as yet there appears to be no concrete proposals in place to scrutinise the actions of the appointed Mayor or of the ten local authority Leaders who will sit in judgement on her or him.

“There have been major past concerns about the accountability of the Police and Crime Commissioner to the public. I would certainly want the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to look at how the Mayor and new authority will be properly accountable to both elected members and the wider electorate.

“The Oldham Liberal Democrats will be looking to ensure that once worked up future governance arrangements balance operational efficiency with public transparency”.

Oldham Council 22nd Oct. – Questions to the Leader

1: Devolution

My first question to the Leader tonight concerns the all-important issue of Devolution.

The enthusiasm of the people of Scotland in campaigning in the Referendum and in casting their ballot on 18 September provides a model for participatory democracy that we should hope to emulate in this Borough.

Particularly noteworthy, when related to the business brought before this Council by the Youth Council is that young voters in Scotland, especially those voters aged 16 and 17, became fully engaged in the Democratic Process.

The Leader is, I know, well aware that the Scottish Referendum has led to increased discussion on the Devolution of further powers and revenue not only to Scotland, but from Central Government in Westminster and Whitehall to Town Halls throughout England.

The desire amongst elected Members and voters in England for Devolution is also great.
For too long now, Central Government has been seen to be just that – central and remote from the lives of people in their own localities. With powers and monies flowing downwards from the centre and sometimes grudgingly given.

Yet elected Members and local people know what is best for their own towns and communities. And Councils have well-established partnership arrangements to enable them to work effectively with key local players in the statutory, voluntary, faith and business sectors.

These two factors mean that Councils could deliver a greater range of Devolved Services more efficiently and responsively.

I am sure that every elected Member in this Chamber would welcome more authority to do things that benefit the people of this Borough and to keep more of the revenue raised locally in order to do so.

The Liberal Democrat Group would certainly welcome the chance to work with this Administration to secure for Oldham the powers and finance to build a successful and prosperous future for our Borough and its people.

Can the Leader tell me how the Liberal Democrat Group can work with Labour to press the case for Devolution?

And can he please tell us what progress has so far been made by the Leaders in the Association of Greater Manchester Authorities in making the case to Government?

And what the proposal for ‘an Eleventh Leader’ of the Combined Greater Manchester Authority actually means in practice?

2: Tooth Decay

My second question relates to Public Health.

I want to highlight two Public Health issues.

First a success story; this Borough has recently recorded one of the biggest falls in teenage pregnancies in the Country.

The Office for National Statistics has recently confirmed that the Teenage Conception Rate has dropped by almost two thirds since 1998; the largest reduction anywhere outside of London and Darlington.

This is all down to the outstanding work of the Oldham Teenage Pregnancy Partnership to whom I want to place on record my congratulations and thanks for a job well done.

However I now want to highlight a health issue in which Oldham is far from the leader.

In recently released Public Health England data, that compared all Local Authorities in England, more than one-quarter of three-year-olds in Oldham were found to be suffering from tooth decay.

We are not the worst – in Leicester it is tragically 34 per cent of three-year-olds – but we are far from the best.

The high level of tooth decay is in large part due to the fact that parents are giving infants too much fruit juice and squash.

Tooth decay is no small matter.

Quite apart from the discomfort and pain that is suffered, it has been shown that small children struggle to feed nutritiously and it has an impact on social skills and vocalisation.

So there is much work to be done in this area, yet it is estimated that this year there will be a significant underspend in Public Health funding.

I should very much look forward to the day on which I can rise in this Chamber to congratulate our Public Health Team on being number 1 on this issue also.

So can the Leader please tell me what has been done so far to educate parents on this issue?

And can he tell me how much of the under-spend from the Public Health Budget he will use to re-double our efforts to educate parents about tooth decay in young children?

3: Geothermic Heat

My final question concerns geothermic heat; that is heat sourced from below ground to heat homes and other buildings.

Let us be clear from the outset – I am not referring to fracking.

The Times reported recently that a 350-million year old volcano located deep beneath Stoke-on-Trent could help to heat more than a thousand homes.

On reading this article I naturally checked the facts as my first thought was that this must be a late-running April Fools’ Day joke.

But no; Stoke-on-Trent City Council has prepared a business case to drill a 2.5km borehole to an aquifer in which the water is heated naturally to at least 85C (185F in old money).

This heat would be transferred to the surface to heat homes and the Government has pledged £20million to fund it.

This got me thinking.

It is unlikely that Oldham sits on an ancient volcano, but we do have a rich coal mining heritage (as those amongst you who have seen the 19th Century photographic panorama of the Town Centre in Gallery Oldham will know).

So I wondered do former coal mines give off residual ground-source heat which we could possibly utilise as part of the borough’s renewable energy strategy.

And guess what they DO….

The Herald in Scotland reported in November 2013 that:
“As much as a third of the heat needed to keep Scotland warm could be provided by tapping geothermal energy from old coal mines across the central belt, a major new study for the Scottish Government has concluded.

“Warm water piped up from abandoned mine shafts between Glasgow and Edinburgh and in Ayrshire and Fife could help heat many thousands of homes and other buildings for decades, Researchers said. They are urging Ministers to embark on an ambitious attempt to make geothermal energy a major new source of clean, renewable power within a few years.”

As Oldham is far from unique in historically sourcing power from coal, would the Leader be agreeable to looking to commission with the other Leaders of the Greater Manchester Authorities a study of the potential of this power source across our county?

Howard Sykes
22 October 2014

Changes to 23 Bus service

No. 23 Bus – Change of route to not include Oldham Town Centre

I have now received a reply regarding the no. 23 bus changes a number of people have raised with me.

Below is the reply which explains why the bus service has been changed and what controls if any the Council through Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) have over these matters.

I understand that this may not be the reply people are looking for and neither was I.

Rest assured I will at every opportunity continue to raise this issue as I do appreciate how important this service is to those of you who live in this part of Shaw who depend upon public transport.

No 23 Bus – TfGM response

As you will be aware, since de-regulation of bus services around 80% of services in Greater Manchester are operated commercially by a number of privately owned companies. Operators run services on a commercial basis in areas and at times where they consider there are sufficient passenger numbers to enable services to be profitable. The remaining 20% of journeys are funded by Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM).

Service 23, which you make reference to, is operated commercially by First Manchester and was introduced in September 2014. This replaced the 428 service which was operated on a commercial basis by First Manchester and provided an hourly off-peak service on Monday to Friday and operated from Buckstones to Oldham, via Shaw, Thornham and Royton. The new 23 service operates into Manchester via Chadderton rather than into Oldham as per the route of service 428. However, service 408 continues to provide a direct link into Oldham town centre for the majority of passengers. Unfortunately, the service change introduced by First Manchester has led to some residents in the Thornham and Buckstones areas losing their direct daytime links with Oldham town centre.

TfGM Officers have contacted First Manchester on the points raised. As this is a new service, the operator has advised us that it is under constant review and your comments will be taken into consideration.

I hope the above information explains TfGM’s position in relation to the service 23. If I can be of any further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me or our Customer Relations team on customer.relations@tfgm.com or by telephone on 0161 244 1000.

Alternatively, should you wish to contact First Manchester directly regarding this issue, they can be contacted directly at Manchester.West@firstgroup.com.

Lib Dems propose Curb on E-Cigarettes

At next Wednesday’s meeting of Oldham Council, Lib Dem Councillors Howard Sykes and Rod Blyth will be proposing a motion for curbs on electronic (or so called e-) cigarettes.

Leader of the Opposition and Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group, Cllr Sykes said:

“The World Health Organisation (WHO) published a report in August warning about the dangers associated with e-cigarettes. The WHO also remains to be convinced that e-cigarettes are an effective way to stop smoking.

“In Oldham we have many former smokers who have moved to e-cigarettes either because they think they are ‘healthier’ or as a means to quit. We wanted to highlight the fact that e-cigarettes still contain nicotine, and so continue to pose a danger to public health, but also that they are unregulated, meaning many of these products contain unidentified ingredients of dubious quality.

“The WHO called on Governments to introduce regulation in the industry to stop these products being marketed to young people and first time smokers and to carry out more research into their ingredients and their efficacy as a means to quit.”

Since 2005, the e-cigarette industry has grown to an estimated £2 billion global business with 466 brands. Many manufacturers are unregulated cottage industries in China, but this is a business in which the established tobacco industry is gaining an increasing market share.

E-cigarettes and similar devices are frequently marketed by manufacturers as aids to quit smoking, or as a healthier alternative to tobacco.

The World Health Organisation found that:

· There is insufficient evidence that e-cigarettes help smokers to quit. The organisation therefore recommends that smokers should first be encouraged to quit smoking by using a combination of already-approved treatments.
· The marketing of e-cigarettes with fruit, candy and alcohol-drink flavours makes them particularly attractive to young people, with an estimate that e-cigarette use amongst adolescents has doubled between 2008 and 2012.

· Whilst e-cigarettes are likely to be less toxic than conventional cigarettes, they do contain nicotine so their use can harm adolescents and the unborn children of pregnant mothers, and those in the vicinity of a user are exposed to nicotine and other toxicants.

The World Health Organisation has called for:

• The introduction of international regulations to:
– Impede e-cigarette promotion to non-smokers and young people
– Minimise health risks to e-cigarette users and non-users
– Prohibit unproven health claims about e-cigarettes
– Protect existing tobacco control efforts from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry

• Further research on the impact of e-cigarette use

The report makes several recommendations to national Governments to:

• Establish an appropriate body to restrict e-cigarette advertising, promotion and sponsorship, to ensure that these products are not targeted at young people and non-smokers.
• Enact legislation to end the use of e-cigarettes indoors in public or work places.
• A ban on e-cigarettes with fruit, candy or alcohol-drink flavours to deter take up by young people.
• A ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and the prohibition of vending machines
• Regulate the involvement of the established tobacco industry.

In their motion, the Liberal Democrats are asking for the Director of Public Health to take practical action to educate people about the dangers of e-cigarettes and the UK Government to take action to implement the WHO’s recommendations.

Supporting Cllr Sykes, Cllr Blyth said:

“I know from personal experience how difficult it is to stop smoking. This month it is Stoptober, a month where smokers are being asked to quit. It may seem simple to transfer to an e-cigarette, but there are far more effective ways to stop smoking that are proven and promoted by the NHS. We also want the Council to recruit Community Health Champions from amongst its staff to promote smoking cessation to their colleagues and to residents from across the borough.

“Our motion is also calling on the Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt to introduce the necessary legislation and regulations to make the WHO recommendations real and to publish the findings of a Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency enquiry into the effectiveness of e-cigarettes as soon as possible.”

Copy of motion below:

Council 22nd Oct. 2014 – Notice of Opposition Business – Motion 1
E-cigarettes
This Council notes the publication in August by the World Health Organisation (WHO) of a report on e-cigarettes.
Since 2005, the e-cigarette industry has grown to an estimated £2 billion global business with 466 brands. Many manufacturers are unregulated cottage industries in China, but this is a business in which the established tobacco industry is gaining an increasing market share.
E-cigarettes and similar devices are frequently marketed by manufacturers as aids to quit smoking, or as a healthier alternative to tobacco.
The WHO has concluded that:
· There is insufficient evidence that e-cigarettes help smokers to quit. The organisation therefore recommends that smokers should first be encouraged to quit smoking by using a combination of already-approved treatments.

· The marketing of e-cigarettes with fruit, candy and alcohol-drink flavours makes them particularly attractive to young people, with an estimate that e-cigarette use amongst adolescents has doubled between 2008 and 2012.

· Whilst e-cigarettes are likely to be less toxic than conventional cigarettes, they do contain nicotine so their use can harm adolescents and the unborn children of pregnant mothers, and those in the vicinity of a user are exposed to nicotine and other toxicants.

The WHO calls for:
· The introduction of international regulations to:

– Impede e-cigarette promotion to non-smokers and young people

– Minimise health risks to e-cigarette users and non-users

– Prohibit unproven health claims about e-cigarettes

– Protect existing tobacco control efforts from commercial and other vested interests of the tobacco industry

· Further research on the impact of e-cigarette use

The report makes several recommendations to national Governments to:
· Establish an appropriate body to restrict e-cigarette advertising, promotion and sponsorship, to ensure that these products are not targeted at young people and non-smokers.

· Enact legislation to end the use of e-cigarettes indoors in public or work places.

· A ban on e-cigarettes with fruit, candy or alcohol-drink flavours to deter take up by young people.

· A ban on the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and the prohibition of vending machines

· Regulate the involvement of the established tobacco industry.

Council notes also the work of the UK Government’s Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency review of the efficacy of e-cigarettes in helping smokers to quit.
This Council resolves to:
· Ask the Director of Public Health to:

– ensure that measures are in place to make Council staff and the public aware of the dangers associated with the use of e-cigarettes

– promote the use of existing proven treatments and support services, rather than the use of e-cigarettes, as the means to stop smoking

– support the recruitment and training of Council employees to become Community Health Champions to help take these messages to their colleagues and to the public

· Ask the Chief Executive to write to the Secretary of State for Health, The Rt. Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, asking the minister to:

– adopt the recommendations of the WHO report as part of Government policy, enacting the necessary legislation and regulations as soon as possible

– publish the findings of the Medicines and Healthcare Regulatory Agency review at the earliest possible opportunity

Proposed by
Cllr Howard Sykes

Seconded by
Cllr Rod Blyth

Crompton Moor

CROMPTON MOOR

NO CAMPING

NO LIGHTING FIRES

NO QUADS OR MOTOR CYCLES

This site of Crompton Moor, including Brushes Clough car park, is managed by Oldham Parks and Countryside Service.

As part of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (CROW), Crompton Moor, along with many other hectares of land across the country, has been designated as Access Land.

‘Camping’, ‘lighting, causing or risking a fire’, ‘driving a vehicle’, ‘damaging hedges, fences and walls’ and ‘leaving litter’ are all expressly prohibited under the CROW Act. Anyone found carrying out any of these activities will be asked to leave the site; the police will be informed of any person who, after being reasonably requested to do so, refuses to leave the site.

• PLEASE RING 101 TO REPORT ILLEGAL CAMPING OR ANY OTHER ILLEGAL ACTIVITY TO THE POLICE OR OLDHAM COUNCIL’S FIRST RESPONSE TEAM ON 0161 770 2222.

PLEASE CONTACT 0161 770 4067 DURING OFFICE HOURS FOR FURTHER INFORMATION. FOR EMERGENCIES PLEASE RING 999.

• ACCESS FOR EMERGENCY SERVICES VEHICLES TO BRUSHES CLOUGH CAR PARK IS VIA THE ACCESS ROAD AT THE SIDE OF SHORE EDGE CHURCH, OFF BUCKSTONES ROAD, OL2 8LS GRID REF: SD952101.