Council looks to support local communities through its New Initiatives Funding
West Oxfordshire District Council is moving forward with plans to invest the £750,000 New Initiatives Fund to support the delivery of the council priorities and help local people with the cost of living crisis.
Councillor Andy Graham, Leader of the Council, said: “Following our agreement to set aside this funding to support West Oxfordshire last month, our first decision is to decarbonise more of our street cleansing fleet and reduce our carbon footprint.
“However, I want to go further to give an indication of the types of schemes we are looking to support with the remainder of this funding. In particular we have in mind to allocate £500,000 of this funding to the following areas:-
- Support for residents impacted by the Cost of Living Crisis
- Community based environment schemes to help protect the environment and reduce West Oxfordshire’s carbon footprint
- Youth initiatives that help tackle inequality within the youth of our district
- Business support for our towns and villages to help ensure our vibrant economy is not impacted by a potential economic downturn
“We will be working with officers to rapidly work up schemes that can help deliver these initiatives and will be communicating with residents on what we will be doing as soon as we can.
“But I want to ensure that we get the maximum we can out of this approach and I would like to see all our local partners help with this and I challenge them to match our funding commitments and let’s make this £500,000 commitment stretch to £1m. We will be speaking to partners about this over the coming weeks.”
The Council approved the allocation of £750,000 of funding for new initiatives that meet the emerging Council Priorities at its meeting on 20 July. The funding comes from unallocated grant funding and Council reserves set aside for high priority initiatives.
As the first investment from the funding, £75,000 will be used to part fund the purchase of two electric powered street sweepers as part of the Council’s commitment to make its own operations more climate friendly and reduce emissions that cause poor air quality.
Councillor Lidia Arciszewska, Cabinet Member for Environment, West Oxfordshire District Council, said: “Taking action to address the climate and ecological crisis is one of the District Council’s top priorities. Our intention to purchase the sweepers is the next step in our longer term goal to move more of our street cleansing, waste and recycling vehicles to alternative fuels, such as electric or hydrogen. There are challenges with this, particularly the larger fleet vehicles. However, investing in greener transport is essential if we are to reach our aim of becoming a net zero council by 2030.”
Each sweeper could save over 9,500 kg CO2 per annum - the equivalent carbon saving of 108 flights from London Heathrow to Paris’ Charles de Gaulle airport.
The vehicles, delivery of which is expected at the end of the year, will replace two diesel sweepers which are coming to the end of their working life and which are currently being used by Ubico in the Woodstock and Chipping Norton areas.