Government must support no charging Clean Air Zone says councillor Sykes

Government must support no charging Clean Air Zone says councillor Sykes

Borough news, environment
Oldham’s Liberal Democrats are calling for the government to support a no charging Clean Air Zone as new plans emerge for the next phases of CAZ today. Liberal Democrat Leader and Shaw councillor Howard Sykes said: “Common sense has finally prevailed on the Greater Manchester Combined Authority. We welcome the proposals for a no charging Clean Air Zone. The government must not impose charges on Greater Manchester that would hurt jobs during the cost-of-living crisis.” Councillor Sykes also said that the Greater Manchester Combined Authority and Andy Burnham had questions to answer. Councillor Sykes said, “Why has it taken so long to get to this stage? It was clear that a no charging zone was the common sense approach from the outset. So why has Mayor Burnham spent time and…
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‘Keep Clean Air Zone free’ say Oldham Liberal Democrats

‘Keep Clean Air Zone free’ say Oldham Liberal Democrats

Borough news, environment
Liberal Democrat Opposition Leader councillor Howard Sykes MBE has called for common sense as Andy Burnham’s war of words with the government over the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) continues. The Greater Manchester Mayor is locked in a bitter stalemate with Conservative ministers after he rejected Government proposals to limit the Clean Air Zone to Manchester City Centre only. Councillor Sykes said, “It’s about time we had some common sense instead of bickering between Mayor Burnham and the Conservatives. The Liberal Democrats want to see people’s jobs and income protected at a time when many are struggling. Keeping CAZ free is the best way forward if we want to protect jobs during the cost-of-living crisis. “If the Conservative government force a charging zone on Greater Manchester then the area affected by…
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How much public money have you wasted on Clean Air Zone signs Mr Mayor?

How much public money have you wasted on Clean Air Zone signs Mr Mayor?

Borough news, environment, road safety
Oldham’s Liberal Democrat Leader has criticised wasteful clean air signs after Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham was forced to backtrack on his plans for a £60 per week Clean Air Zone. Shaw Councillor and Leader of Oldham Liberal Democrats, Howard Sykes MBE said, “Everybody can see the Clean Air Zone (CAZ) for what it is, a complete and utter shambles. In recent weeks, we’ve had the spectacle of Mr Burnham going cap-in-hand to the Government asking to be allowed to scrap the charges from his Clean Air Zone. This U turn is welcome but why did he not do this in the first place? This is just months after he announced plans to implement Europe’s largest clean air charging zone. And just weeks after he had to scurry around Greater…
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Burnham must keep his promises: clean air and no job losses

Burnham must keep his promises: clean air and no job losses

Borough news, environment
Andy Burnham must keep his manifesto promise to clean up air pollution in Greater Manchester without “the loss of a single job or business”. His plans to implement a Clean Air Zone – following the instructions of the Conservative Government – were clear in his manifesto but have come under withering public attack as the implementation date nears. “The Liberal Democrats have a simple message for Mayor Burnham,” said Oldham’s Opposition Leader and Transport Spokesperson for Greater Manchester, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE. “Keep your promises, or admit you were elected on a platform you couldn’t stick to. You need to pause and re-think the whole scheme, and you need to do it now!” The Clean Air Zone is being introduced because there are an estimated 1,200 deaths a year in…
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Review of Greater Manchester scrutiny practices ‘long-overdue’, says Sykes

Review of Greater Manchester scrutiny practices ‘long-overdue’, says Sykes

Borough news
One year on from a promise made by the Mayor of Greater Manchester to conduct an independent review of the way in which decisions made by the GM Mayor, Council leaders and chief officers are scrutinised and challenged, the city region’s Liberal Democrat remain frustrated and disappointed by the lack of progress. Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, Leader of the Liberal Democrat Opposition Group on Oldham Council, who serves as a member of Transport for Greater Manchester, feels that the current arrangements are ‘wholly unfit for purpose’. “Having efficient mechanisms in place to enable the effective scrutiny of decision-making by the Mayor, Council leaders and senior officers of the Greater Manchester Combined Authority is an essential prerequisite for good governance, a genuine democracy, and devolved power. At present they are not…
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Places for Everyone must not compromise Green Belt for anyone

Places for Everyone must not compromise Green Belt for anyone

Borough news
The Oldham Liberal Democrats have submitted their response to the consultation being conducted by the Labour Mayor of Greater Manchester outlining their opposition to his latest Places for Everyone plan.  Group Leader Councillor Howard Sykes MBE summarised the position of Liberal Democrat Councillors to the Mayor’s proposals: “We remain implacably opposed to any plan to build new homes on our open spaces; our view remains Places for Everyone must not compromise Green Belt for anyone.  We believe that the requirement for new homes can be met with our stated policy to build first and always on brownfield sites, to push for the completion of development on sites with existing planning permission for new housing, and to act with purpose to bring back into use our empty homes or to convert…
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Electric charging strategy is ‘divorced from reality’

Electric charging strategy is ‘divorced from reality’

Borough news
Urgent improvements are needed to the Greater Manchester Combined Authority’s electric charging strategy, according to the region’s Liberal Democrats, who have warned that the plan seems to have no plan for delivery. With a new clean air zone planned for Manchester, ensuring that there is the support needed for alternative fuels is crucial. Yet with 3,000 public chargers needed by 2025, the region has just 323 in place, and only plans to add another 54 in the next year. Oldham Liberal Democrat Councillor Sam Al-Hamdani said: “This strategy is completely divorced from reality if they think that this is good enough. At this rate, we wouldn’t have a public charging network in place in 50 years, never mind five. “It is an insult to the drivers who are being told…
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Police reforms and PwC report publication ‘eagerly awaited’

Borough news
The Leader of the Liberal Democrat Group on Oldham Council, Councillor Howard Sykes MBE, is ‘eagerly awaiting’ Friday 10 September, for this is the day that Greater Manchester’s new Police chief reveals his plan to reshape policing across the city region and the Mayor of Greater Manchester finally publishes a secret report into police failings. Councillor Sykes has previously written to Mayor Andy Burnham demanding a report prepared in the spring at public expense by accountants Price Waterhouse Coopers be published. His requests have met with obfuscation and outright refusal as Mayor Burnham kept the report under wraps during his re-election campaign and whilst a new Chief Constable was being appointed. The report allegedly exposes grave police failings; failings that Councillor Sykes has also repeatedly raised in correspondence with the…
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Liberal Democrats call on public to Say No to Labour’s Green Belt land grab

Liberal Democrats call on public to Say No to Labour’s Green Belt land grab

Borough news
Oldham residents can now have their say on Labour’s latest Places for Everyone plan and the Oldham Liberal Democrats are urging everyone to say No to Labour’s Green Belt and green land grab. Liberal Democrat Leader Councillor Howard Sykes said: “The Liberal Democrats tried at the last Council meeting (July 28) to seek Oldham’s withdrawal from Places for Everyone because it will still mean the loss of much of our precious and irreplaceable Green Belt, but Labour used its bloc vote to get it through.  Now the public can have their say in this latest consultation to say No to Labour’s latest version of Mayor Burnham’s Green Belt land grab." Places for Everyone is the successor to the Greater Manchester Spatial Framework (GMSF) which was derailed after Stockport Liberal Democrats…
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New Police Chief appointment no excuse to delay publication of report

New Police Chief appointment no excuse to delay publication of report

Borough news
Oldham Liberal Democrats are dismayed that the Mayor of Greater Manchester and Police and Crime Commissioner is not immediately publishing a damning report into Police management and performance. Oldham Liberal Democrat Group Leader councillor Howard Sykes MBE has previously raised his concerns in letters and meetings with Mayor Andy Burnham. Commenting councillor Sykes said: “Regrettably Mayor Burnham’s tenure as Police and Crime Commissioner has not been a happy one. Greater Manchester Police has under his woeful watch allowed over 80,000 crimes to go unrecorded in a single year, seen the departure of a Chief Constable under a cloud, and spent a fortune on a new iOPs Police computer system which still doesn’t work properly and at one point was functioning so poorly that officers had to go back to using…
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