ECO-FRIENDLY Saddleworth Parish Council aims to be carbon neutral by 2030 with the area following suit by 2035.
That is the target set by the Parish Council following a motion from councillors Alan Belmore and Sam Al-Hamdani on behalf of the Liberal Democrats at the council’s July meeting.
Cllr Belmore said: “It is essential that we lead the way, working together with local businesses and people, to deliver a greener Saddleworth.
“The motion is a starting point, committing our environment committee to set targets and work with other groups to create a coherent plan to deliver long-term improvements in Saddleworth’s environment.
“Our local environment is extremely precious and we should do all we can to preserve it for future generations.
“The geography of Saddleworth means we have a unique opportunity to reduce our net carbon emissions through projects like tree planting in open spaces.
“There is a huge amount of work that needs to be done to achieve these ambitious targets. We do not have all the answers but we must do our bit to help in the global crisis.”
The environment committee will work with government bodies, scientific and interest groups to develop a plan to achieve their targets, with the plan to be refreshed annually.
The environment committee will report annually to the Parish Council with progress made against the plan and targets.
Cllr Al-Hamdani revealed: “Building a new home releases 80 tonnes of CO2. Refurbishing an unused home releases about eight tonnes.
“That’s just one example of why it can’t just be an environmental team working on its own; green thinking must be built in to every level of the council to deliver improvements.”
“I walk past a house in Grotton where an eight-year-old girl has a poster in the window asking people to be environmentally friendly.
“There is a lot of great working already happening in schools to educate the next generation and it is important we catch up. They have taken the lead – we must follow.”
Parish councillors highlighted other ways individuals as well as groups and organisations can play their part and have a direct impact.
Ideas included insulating houses fully, car sharing, and using local reservoirs to create green energy, such as the Saddleworth Hydro at Dovestone Reservoir in Greenfield.
The Parish Council plans to produce a leaflet with tips on how residents can help reduce the carbon footprint.
The advice includes switching to suppliers using renewable electricity and gas supplies, purchasing food from suppliers who farm sustainably and hanging washing outside rather than using the tumble dryer.
Cllr Jamie Curley, chairman of the Parish Council, said: “It is our duty to lead on the greater issues of the day and act on it in our community.
“We can get started by getting information out there and letting people know even the little things they can do to make a big difference.”
Cllr George Hulme added: “I am really pleased the Lib Dems have brought forward this motion and it supports what Oldham Council is doing across the borough.
“It is good to see work being done on things like reducing the use of plastics, but it is bigger projects like this that will make an impact.”
The Parish Council also voted to set up a fairtrade working group, chaired by Cllr Richard Darlington and working with other councillors and organisations.
They will set out terms of references and will update the council regularly with initiatives, such as looking into fairtrade town status.