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Oldham’s Director of Public Health is encouraging parents across the Borough to vaccinate their children against Measles, Mumps and Rubella.

Alan Higgins is urging parents who have not yet had their children vaccinated and young adults who missed out on their vaccinations to contact their GP to arrange their MMR vaccinations as soon as possible.

The move is part of a new national campaign aimed at getting as many 10-16 year olds as possible vaccinated before the next school year.

New figures show that measles cases nationwide are at their highest level for 18 years with almost 2,000 cases during 2012 and 159 in Greater Manchester alone.

There have been no confirmed cases of measles in Oldham this year and only one last year: the lowest rates in Greater Manchester.

However, the recent outbreak in Swansea, where more than 900 cases have been confirmed since November, shows that measles is still a problem.

Parents can ensure their children and teenagers are fully protected against measles, mumps and rubella with two doses of the MMR vaccine. Most children get the first dose of MMR at 13 months old and the second dose is offered to children when they reach 3 years and 4 months. The two doses together offer almost complete protection from the disease.

Over the last two years more than 95 per cent of Oldham children have been given the MMR vaccine. However, following the coverage of the now discredited link between MMR and Autism in the late 1990s take-up of vaccinations was lower at around 80 per cent.

We are now encouraging any parents and young people who missed out on their vaccinations to speak to their GP.

Alan Higgins, Oldham’s Director of Public Health, said: “Oldham has a good take-up rate of the MMR vaccination at present but there is an historical problem.”

“In the late 1990s and early 2000s many parents had concerns about what is a now discredited link between MMR and autism.

“As a result the take-up of vaccinations then was lower and, given the recent outbreak in Swansea, we’d like to encourage those parents who didn’t have their child vaccinated at the time to contact their GP to arrange for an MMR jab as soon as possible.

“Even if those children are now young adults it is not too late for them to be vaccinated.

“The key message to parents is that MMR is safe – it’s free and it can save lives.”

Parents and young adults wanting to know more about MMR should contact their GP or visit

Work to help and support blast victims continues

Copy of a letter delivered to residents in the blast area.

I am pleased we have managed to do this for local residents again.


Dear Residents

As a lot of the building works are coming to completion and more residents are returning to their homes, Oldham Council will be providing another opportunity for residents to dispose of unwanted items.

To continue with our support of the local community to return to normality, we propose to supply 3 large skips for the use of the residents which will be placed at the following locations:

• Edmond Street
• Corner of Chancery and Buckley Street
• Oak Street – section directly to the rear of Buckley Street.

These will be in place from Friday 3 May with a planned removal on Tuesday 7 May. However, should there still be spare capacity for more items, this period will be extended.

Once these skips have been removed, no additional skips will be provided by the Council.

Should you have any further large items that need to be removed, these should be booked through the normal process of Bulky Bobs Service on 770 6644. Please note that this may incur a fee.

As usual all general household black bag waste should be placed in the normal refuse bins provided.

Oldham Council fully appreciates your support in this matter.

Regulation of Scrap Metal Dealers

This note has been produced in repose to the question I asked at the Council meeting on 17th April 2013, I hope residents find it of interest.


The purpose of this briefing note is to explain the role of the Council and its partners in the regulation of Scrap Metal businesses.

Current Regime:
At the present time dealers in scrap metal, whether scrap yards or mobile itinerant traders, are required to register their business with the Council’s Licensing Authority whose area they are operating in. This is a requirement under the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 1964. Powers are very limited with the only offences being not registering and not keeping a record book.

Those who salvage metal/car parts from vehicles are licensed under another piece of legislation – the Vehicles (Crime) Act 2001. This more recent legislation allows for licences to be refused or revoked when an individual was convicted of certain offences.

Enforcement Activity:
Due to the rise around the country in scrap metal theft a national scrap metal task force was set up and Greater Manchester Police have established a central unit in order to liaise with Councils and other partners. Each Division also has a dedicated police officer who deals with all inspections and enforcement activity. Likewise, the Council has a Licensing Officer who spends some of her time working alongside our Divisional Police lead.

At the start of 2011 regular inspections of scrap yards and of mobile traders was commenced. Since that date the numbers of persons registered or licensed under either piece of legislation have grown significantly, 2012 – Scrap Metal Dealers 14, Motor Salvage Licences 12, Total 26. 2013 – Scrap Metal Dealers 82, Motor Salvage Licences 36, Total 118.

The biggest rise has been in the itinerant scrap metal dealers who do not have a scrap yard themselves but drive round in trucks, collect scrap and take it to weigh in at other scrap yards. These individuals are often driving without insurance on their vehicles and operate without an environmental permit for waste carrying. When these vehicles are stopped by the Police and Council officers, the result is the seizing of the vehicle by the Police and the issuing of fixed penalties for not having an environmental permit by the Council.

As part of the on-going ‘Operation Alloy’ project across Greater Manchester the Police in conjunction with AGMA Officers have now devised a new application form which asks further questions of the applicant to widen the information gathered to share with partners as other issues such as false benefits claims and housing issues have arisen.

New legislation:
In February 2013 the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 received Royal Assent. It is expected to commence in October 2013 and will replace both the 1964 and 2001 Acts referred to above with one modern piece of legislation.
This legislation has built into it tougher and wider powers for both the Police and Councils. There will be two categories of licence. One will be for scrap yards and the other for itinerant collectors.

The powers contained within Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013 include:

• Refusal of a licence when certain convictions are held;
• Revocation for giving false details or the licence holder is not fit to hold a licence;
• The adding of conditions to licences;
• Powers to close un-licensed sites;
• An offence of buying scrap metal for cash
• An offence of failing to keep records
• Wider powers of entry and inspection

Secondary regulations and supplementary guidance from the Home Office is awaited in order to commence a rollout plan. Officers from within the Licensing Unit of the Council will be ready to implement the powers of the new Act from the date of commencement in October 2013.

Until the new Act is commenced, and beyond, Operation Alloy, the current project name, will continue.

Contact Officer: John Garforth, Licensing Unit Manager, 0161 770 5026


As residents may be aware it was necessary to temporarily close part of Smallbrook Road, Shaw due to subsidence in the road.

It was also necessary to introduce two way traffic on a section of Smallbrook Road that was previously one way out onto Milnrow Road.

This temporary system has allowed the Council us to maintain two way traffic serving the Duchess Street area.

I have been informed this morning by the contractor that the original problem was located and repaired, however, a further water main burst has occurred which is being worked on at present.

The contractor has indicated that by Wednesday evening / Thursday they hope to have the road open again.

If this changes significantly I will update this posting accordingly.


The signals will be in operation on four consecutive Sundays commencing 5 May 2013, between 01.00am – 05.30am. These are the only times that the work can be carried out without impacting on the Metrolink services.

Description of Work: Cleaning out Level Crossing Panels and Inserting Flat Irons to Close Gaps in Level Crossing

Emergency Contact & Telephone Number in the Event of Traffic Signal Failure: Brian Birmingham 07899 906 814

My questions at last nights Council meeting – No.1

Oldham Diving Pool:

Oldham Council has for the second time this week attracted negative publicity regionally and nationally – this time in connection with the lack of provision of a pool for board and scuba diving at either of the two new replacement swimming pools in Oldham and Royton.

A petition with 1,350 signatures demanding that this Council: Save Oldham’s Diving Pool, was received in May 2012.

Both the Sub-Aqua Club and Divers have for 30 years used this facility at the Oldham Stadium and apparently their campaign has the support of Olympic diver Tom Daley.

During public consultation, the Council has been less than truthful with these users, and, for nearly a year, they have been strung along with the false expectation that their needs were being looked into and might be catered for.

I say a false expectation as the specification for the leisure re-provision never included a diving pool within the proposed scope of works.
And latterly the sites chose for the Oldham replacement facilities were physically not big enough ever accommodate a replacement diving pool.

Would the Leader not agree that failing to provide a replacement facility is very regrettable, especially given Oldham’s past association with diving at the highest level, with Naomi Bishop competing in the 1988 and 1992 Olympic Games?

Does he also agree the actual decision to not have a diving pool was taken some time ago and he and his colleagues could have and should have shared that with the current users of the diving pool before now?

My questions at last nights Council meeting – No.2

High Street Innovation Fund:

Mary Portas – a successful high street retailer and the so called Queen of Shops – was appointed by the Government to conduct a review about the future of the high street.

Following this review, around 400 towns across the UK were offered Government money from the High Street Innovation Fund to reinvigorate their high streets.

Oldham received £100,000 from this fund a year ago in Spring 2012.

Will the Leader tell me why is it, when this administration is always claiming to be poor, that after a year we have yet to spend a penny of this money?

No one would suggest we should spend this cash wastefully however I do find it hard to believe some or most of it could not have been used so far to support our hard pressed High Streets.

In addition the failure to spend does undermine Oldham’s case for cash/better treatment when we fail to spend such amounts.

And we do not even detail how and when we will spend it or why it takes so long to spend it or is the best idea to wait, if it actually is?

And can he also tell us how this Administration will use this money to support the Oldham retail economy, and the other district centres in our Borough, and when is it planned to use this cash to support our colleagues in the retail sector?

My questions at last nights Council meeting – No.3

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act:

Metal theft has become an increasing problem with the rise in metal prices.

The Local Government Association has reported that 9 in 10 Councils have been affected by metal theft.

This has included manhole covers putting road users and pedestrians at risk of a serious of life threatening accidents.

Even more shockingly parts of war memorials and plaques installed in churches and the grounds of crematoria to remember loved ones have been removed.

In the past many of these crimes have gone unpunished as stolen metal was bought by unscrupulous scrap yards, and such activity was ineffectually regulated.

The Scrap Metal Dealers Act to regulate the industry has recently received Royal Assent. Local authorities will be given the power to refuse to grant a licence to ‘unsuitable’ persons, to revoke licences and to carry out on-site inspections with police officers.

I am sure that Council officers, the Police and the many responsible, law-abiding scrap dealers who operate in Oldham will welcome the legislation.

Will the Leader outline how this Council intends to use the powers of this Act to more effective regulate the scrap metal business in Oldham?

Jubilee, Shaw – tree trimming works – Metrolink

Tree trimming/removal – Jubilee level crossing

Starting on Saturday 9th March, overnight works will be taking place at the Jubilee level crossing..

These works will entail the trimming of trees overhanging the line or obscuring line of sight for Metrolink tram drivers approaching this level crossing.

Due to the proximity of the trees to the operational Metrolink extension, these works must be carried out at night when services are not running and the power to the overhead lines can be isolated.

As such, these works are scheduled for 1am-5am, from Saturday 9th March until Sunday 17th March.

How to find out more:

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact Neil Harrison or a member of my team on 0161 244 1555 (office hours) or email

To report any urgent issues or incidents relating to this work, please call 0845 604 2724.

This number will be staffed 24 hours a day.