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Executive Leader Cllr Brenda Warrington

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Councillor Brenda Warrington, Executive Leader of Tameside Council

Taking the Next Steps for A Green Greater Manchester

Monday, 25 March 2019

At the end of last year Tameside held its first ever Green Summit, bringing together residents, businesses and climate experts to discuss what we could do in the borough to help protect our shared environment and make Greater Manchester the greenest city region in Europe. At the end of that Summit, I said that we were laying the foundations for further action to be taken in the future.

I’m delighted to now be able to tell you what some of the next steps are going to be. As an organisation Tameside Council has thrown its weight behind the Big Clean Switch, a campaign which is encouraging residents, businesses and councils to switch to energy suppliers who only use renewable sources; sun, wind, water or  biofuels. Not only are we encouraging people in Tameside to join up, but we’ve put our own money where our mouth is and switched suppliers ourselves. The new green tariff to supply energy to the council will begin on April 1, helping us cut pollution, fight climate change and save money at the same time. I truly believe that the best way to protect our shared environment is to harness the power of collective action; making small but achievable changes to our lifestyles and the way we use energy. The Big Clean Switch is a great example of that in action, and I’m happy to be able to support it as a council and encourage others to support it as well. You can take a look at what they’re about and how you can switch yourself through their website here.

Anybody who’s walked past Dukinfield Town Hall in the last few evenings may have noticed as well that the historic building has been floodlit in green. This is to mark up the run-up to the second Greater Manchester Green Summit, which takes place in The Lowry in Salford today. Unlike the Tameside Green Summit, this Green Summit will focus on our city region as a whole, as all ten councils that make up Greater Manchester come together to decide our environmental plans for the next five years and beyond. I’ll be joining a panel with councillors and senior officers from Oldham, Manchester and Trafford to talk about how local authorities can provide leadership and direction to protect our shared environment, and highlighting the great work that has been done in Tameside so far.

Let’s make no mistake; Tameside is at the front line of the struggle against climate change and environmental destruction. This time last year, we were rocked by the discovery that the River Tame is suffering from the highest levels of micro-plastic pollution found in any waterway to date. As I write this the University of Manchester, with the support of the council and the Environment Agency, is investigating what or who may be responsible for this contamination. It’s not just micro-plastics though. Anybody who thinks that climate change isn’t having an impact on Tameside needs to look back to last summer when Saddleworth Moor was engulfed by the worst fires in living memory. We also share the problems that many other towns and cities in Britain face around air pollution, which is estimated to have caused the early deaths of 1,200 people in Greater Manchester alone last year.

Despite the challenges we face, the way I’ve seen us come together to Tameside to meet them means that I’m still optimistic. One of the big challenges in protecting our environment and fighting climate change is showing people that their individual actions can make a difference; we have to fight at every turn the temptation to think this problem is too big for us. There’s no magic bullet or miracle cure, but we have the potential to harness something even better; the efforts and support of millions of Greater Manchester residents. Today we’ll be working out how to make that happen for the good of us all.  


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