Town hall in Chipping Norton, West Oxfordshire

New Initiatives Funding to support Oxfordshire communities and council priorities

West Oxfordshire District Council has announced that it is pressing on with its plans to use the new Initiatives Fund to support the delivery of their main priorities, as well as helping residents through the cost-of-living crisis. 

In a meeting in July, the council approved the allocation of £750,000 towards new initiatives that support the council’s priorities. The funding comes from unallocated grant funding, as well as the council’s own reserves that were set aside for high priority projects. 

Two electric street sweepers will be purchased with the first £75,000 of the funding. These sweepers will not only improve and maintain the cleanliness and standard of the streets of the area but will also help to meet targets of reducing council carbon emissions. 

 

Leader of West Oxfordshire District Council, Councillor Andy Graham, 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 the to match our funding commitments and let’s mak this £500,000 commitment stretch to £1 million. We will be speaking to partners about this over the coming weeks.” 

Councillor Lidia Arciszewska, Cabinet Member for Environment at the council, added: 

“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 I greener transport is essential if we are to reach our aim of becoming a net zero council by 2030.” 

The incoming street sweepers are to replace two diesel models that are coming towards the end of their working life; however, they are due to save over 9,500kg of carbon emissions. The council says that this is the equivalent saving of over a hundred flights from London Heathrow Airport to Charles de Gaulle Airport in France. 

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