Community leaders set new direction for Oldham’s transition to zero carbon

by Blog

Two ground-breaking Community-Led Energy Plans (CLEPs), released today by community leaders in Westwood and Sholver, are setting out the priorities and actions local people believe are needed to initiate the transition to a zero carbon Oldham.

The Community-Led Energy Plans can be found here: Westwood and here: Sholver.

During 2021, the year of COP26, the community leaders worked in collaboration with a partnership including Manchester-based community energy group Carbon Coop, through 18 months of energy diagnostics, learning and community-led action during the Oldham Energy Futures programme.

With decisive action on climate change failing to emerge and further activity needed to make headway on Oldham Council’s aspirations to be a carbon neutral borough by 2030, the CLEPs give much needed direction and impetus to drive meaningful change. The project was funded by Google Foundational via ICLEI Action Fund.

The named priorities give insight into the concerns felt most strongly within each neighbourhood. Having delved into the details of pressing local environmental, economic and social concerns, the groups have pledged to kickstart local activity through a series of community-led projects.

Residents sign up for more information on the energy drop-in sessions run in Westwood this year.

In Westwood, the need to address the poor energy efficiency of local homes, high levels of fuel poverty and cost of living challenges, encouraged the group to set its sights on establishing an energy advice service to support local people through this winter. In Sholver, a public transport campaign looking to respond to the local perception of an unreliable, expensive and unfit for purpose local service, hopes to improve clean transport options. Visit our blog for a full overview of plans and activity on the pilot projects.

Reflecting on the release of today’s report Ibrahim Hoque from Westwood shared:

‘The community-led action plans share the story of our group’s journey through Oldham Energy Futures, mapping and examining how energy issues are most affecting our community. We now know where we are and where we need to be. The Millennium Centre, our shared community hub and beating heart of local discussion, aims to become a positive local force initiating the changes that we imagined for our community. We invite all local stakeholders to join us and make this plan a reality.’.

While acknowledging the important role that community-led action has to play in the local energy transition, the groups called on other local energy stakeholders to shift gear and show greater active leadership. Throughout the project, the groups have built up relationships with local leaders to lay the foundations for collaborative work. The signs so far look positive.

Commenting on the programme Cllr Abdul Jabbar, Oldham Council Deputy Leader, shared:

‘Oldham Energy Futures (OEF) is a new kind of community energy project – we have never before seen an approach to community engagement on energy issues on this scale. One really important lesson from OEF is that the energy needs and interests in each Oldham district will be absolutely unique. OEF can help residents develop their energy transition vision for their own neighbourhoods, to meet the requirements and priorities of their own community. We are excited about the potential pilot projects coming out, and Oldham Council will continue to play its part to support these community projects through to successful delivery. The only way we will be able to achieve our Green New Deal ambitions as a borough is by all working together – and the OEF methodology gives us a way to do this.’

For project and media enquiries, please contact Laura Williams, Project Manager at Carbon Coop laura@carbon.coop).