Following the City Council’s decision to declare a Climate Emergency on 28th January, the Greens are proposing an amendment to the Labour administration’s budget that represents a step change in the Council’s response to the climate crisis.
Arguing that the expansions of the City’s Park and Ride car parks can no longer be a priority [Note 1], the Greens have instead diverted the £5.4m [Note 2] ear-marked for this into climate mitigation measures.
Speaking to the Green Budget, Green Group Leader Cllr Craig Simmons says: “These measures make sense both environmentally and economically. We are proposing using taxpayers money to build secure, sustainable transport and energy systems that will help future-proof Oxford’s economy. We can also generate revenue from these investments that will provide on-going income to the Council.”
The City Council budget - along with the Green Amendment - will be tabled at the Full Council meeting on 13th February 2019.
- £2m to fund solar canopies over about 1,000 Park and Ride parking spaces (enough to power 500 average homes and saving more than £250,000 in energy bills each year).
- £0.9m to massively expand the electric vehicle charging network in Oxford adding up to 360 additional charge points including free-to-use lockable charging points at taxi ranks to support the switch to zero emission vehicles.
- £0.3m investment in the City’s car sharing schemes – adding 10 long distance electric vehicles
- £0.5m to create a new freight consolidation centre at one of the Park & Ride sites to improve delivery times and reduce the number of large, polluting lorries entering the City.
- £1.2m Climate Emergency Fund – to make funds available to further support the ideas above and/or address other priorities as they arise.
- £50,000 to support a new ‘city of the future’ exhibit at the refurbished City Museum focused on climate change
- £0.7m to extend the Council's current loan to the Oxford Low Carbon Hub to enable them to invest in renewable energy systems beforethe Government’s high value Feed In Tariff ends. The funds have been accounted in such as way as to enable this money to be converted into a long-term investment (subject to further due diligence).
- £0.6m to improve the energy efficiency of Council-owned houses – doubling the current budget
Other measures include:
- A new part-time ‘carbon accountant’ officer post
- A new full time ‘Climate Emergency’ officer post
- Funds for a Citizen’s Assembly on the Climate Emergency
- Funding for a four-year public education programme on climate change – based on the findings from the Citizen’s Assembly.
Note 1: Not only does the expansion of the Park and Rides make no sense environmentally, but the County have announced that they will be building a new 1000-space Park & Ride off the A40 (the first of several aimed at intercepting traffic coming into Oxford to relieve congestion on routes into the City). This, combined with the new rail line into Oxford, is expected to reduce the future demand for Park & Ride spaces.
Note 2: Only last week the Council announced another hike in the expect cost of completing Seacourt – taking the overall cost to £5m (about £750k of which has already been wasted). Changes to Redbridge P&R are expected to cost £1.3m.
FMI: Cllr Craig Simmons 0773 980 3047