Green politician issues challenge to save money on council fuel bills

The Oxford Times: David Williams David Williams

COUNCILS must consider energy co-operatives and investment in new systems to cut their fuel bills, a Green Party politician has said.

City and county councillor David Williams has called on authorities to consider schemes similar to ones in use in Southampton and Woking, where the councils are involved in generating their own electricity.

Mr Williams, who represents the East Oxford division of Iffley Fields on both councils, said he wanted environment bosses at County Hall and the Town Hall to look into generation as a way of saving money on bills.

He said: “Pioneering efforts by Southampton and Woking councils have helped these local authorities keep their own energy bills under control.

“They now intend to extend the benefits of their efforts to their local communities, including supplying more households with energy.

Oxford City Council and our county council can investigate the cost advantages of investing in renewable systems of energy generation to cut their own costs, and those of local residents in the longer term.”

He added that councils should also consider forming co-operatives to generate their own energy. Co-operatives are organisations owned and run by their members.

He said: “Brighton has an active energy co-operative expanding renewable electricity supplies in Brighton and neighbouring areas.

“Plans already exist for more renewable energy in Didcot and further expansion of the efforts of the Westmill Solar team, which has a solar park near Watchfield.

“Co-operatives UK has issued a major report on this growing energy sector with case studies of working examples of energy cooperatives around the country.

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“It would clearly be better to use council reserves to support energy conservation and clean energy than allow more Oxfordshire households to join the estimated 4.5 million UK households in fuel poverty.”

County council spokesman Martin Crabtree said: “The city and the county have joined together for a project called OxFutures with The Low Carbon Hub, a non-profit Community Interest Company which re-invests surpluses in local energy projects.

“OxFutures has already led to the hydro-power scheme currently being constructed at Osney Lock and the largest solar PV scheme in the county on the roof of the Oxford Bus Company garage, funded by local investors.

“There are many more projects in the pipeline.”

City council executive member for cleaner, greener Oxford John Tanner – who has unveiled a wood-chip boiler to heat the Town Hall – said: “With nearly £1m of European funding, Oxford City Council and the Low Carbon Hub are already supporting renewable sun and river energy projects.

“We plan to do much more across the city making use of the Energy Company Obligation (ECO).

“We do support co-operatives, such as the Osney hydro-scheme, wherever we can.

“I am very pleased that Labour’s approach has all-party support.”

Comments (3)

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6:47am Mon 23 Dec 13

Myron Blatz says...

One way for both City and County Councils to reduce wasting tax payers money would be to substantially cut the administrative bureacracy and number of committees and committee meetings - not only saving on lighting, heating and cleaning, but also on having to pay attendance allowances. Another substantial saving could be made by reducing the actual number of City and County Councillors to just one per Ward or Division, which would make massive savings on taxpayers money. Labour got rid of Area Committees when it took control of City Council in 2010, but little or no benefit has been seen to have resulted - especially with regard to more effective use of both City Councillors, and City Council staff. One could also argue the case for getting rid of City Council altogether as wasteful and cumbersome middle tier of administration, and leave local government to the County Council and Parish Councils.
One way for both City and County Councils to reduce wasting tax payers money would be to substantially cut the administrative bureacracy and number of committees and committee meetings - not only saving on lighting, heating and cleaning, but also on having to pay attendance allowances. Another substantial saving could be made by reducing the actual number of City and County Councillors to just one per Ward or Division, which would make massive savings on taxpayers money. Labour got rid of Area Committees when it took control of City Council in 2010, but little or no benefit has been seen to have resulted - especially with regard to more effective use of both City Councillors, and City Council staff. One could also argue the case for getting rid of City Council altogether as wasteful and cumbersome middle tier of administration, and leave local government to the County Council and Parish Councils. Myron Blatz

10:06am Mon 23 Dec 13

mytaxes says...

Excellent comment, why do we need all these councillors? Let's have one council for Oxfordshire and scrap the city council. Our councillors in the city have stated that council, tax has to rise because of cuts, why then are there so many jobs advertised?
Salary: £51,137 Management Accounting Manager
Salary: £35,056 Technical Officer (Treasury)
Salary: £39,545 Building Control Team Leader
Salary: £30,461 Building Control Surveyor
Salary: £35,067 Senior Building Control Surveyor
Excellent comment, why do we need all these councillors? Let's have one council for Oxfordshire and scrap the city council. Our councillors in the city have stated that council, tax has to rise because of cuts, why then are there so many jobs advertised? Salary: £51,137 Management Accounting Manager Salary: £35,056 Technical Officer (Treasury) Salary: £39,545 Building Control Team Leader Salary: £30,461 Building Control Surveyor Salary: £35,067 Senior Building Control Surveyor mytaxes

11:56am Mon 23 Dec 13

Andrew:Oxford says...

The conflicts here just make me laugh...

The elected Green party member of Iffley etc appears to be encouraging the growth of solar farms.

At the last local elections, the Green Party candidate for the Northway was Sietske Boeles (achieving 3% of the potential vote)

Sietske Boeles is the chair of the Oxford wing of the CPRE.

A spokesperson for the CPRE said, in The Oxford Times, back in August...

Quote:- "“There shouldn’t be any (Solar Farms0 in Oxfordshire, because of the damage they do, with such little result. It’s not sunny enough in England.

“They produce tiny amounts of electricity and cover acres and acres of countryside. "
The conflicts here just make me laugh... The elected Green party member of Iffley etc appears to be encouraging the growth of solar farms. At the last local elections, the Green Party candidate for the Northway was Sietske Boeles (achieving 3% of the potential vote) Sietske Boeles is the chair of the Oxford wing of the CPRE. A spokesperson for the CPRE said, in The Oxford Times, back in August... Quote:- "“There shouldn’t be any (Solar Farms0 in Oxfordshire, because of the damage they do, with such little result. It’s not sunny enough in England. “They produce tiny amounts of electricity and cover acres and acres of countryside. " Andrew:Oxford

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