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Oxford City Council has become the first council in Oxfordshire, and one of only eleven Local Authorities in England, to receive the National Practitioner Support Service ‘Gold standard’ award in recognition of its efforts to prevent and tackle homelessness in the city.

The programme, based on a national assessment framework, involves ten challenges, all aimed at promoting good practice and ensuring services are fit for purpose.

Recognising the recent award, Councillor Mike Rowley, Board Member for Housing, said:

‘’Congratulations to all involved! This is a real testament to the quality approaches that the City Council takes across all teams to tackle and prevent homelessness, and a great recognition of the dedication of staff. Delivering high quality services that make a real difference to people in need is what matters. It is fantastic that we can do this and receive recognition by external parties.’’       

Developed as a result of the “Making every contact count” report published in 2012 by the Ministerial Working Group (MWG) on Homelessness, the Gold Standard Challenge is a local authority sector-led peer review scheme, designed to help local authorities deliver more efficient and cost effective homelessness prevention services. The scheme, aimed at supporting local authorities to improve their frontline housing services and increase opportunities for early intervention and prevention of homelessness, has been developed by the National Practitioner Support Service (NPSS) in consultation with voluntary sector and local authority partners.

Gold for Oxford City Council’s Housing Service

Oxford City Council has become the first council in Oxfordshire, and one of only eleven Local Authorities in England, to receive the National Practitioner Support Service ‘Gold standard’ award in...


 

The City Council has joined leaders from cities across England to criticise Michael Gove’s Clear Air Plan, saying it does not go far enough to deal with the public health crisis caused by dirty air.

Councillors Bob Price, Council Leader, and John Tanner, Executive Board Member for a Clean and Green Oxford, joined with leaders from Leeds, Birmingham, Leicester and Southampton, along with both the directly elected Mayor of Liverpool and the newly elected metro-Mayor of Liverpool City Region, to urge the Secretary of State to do more now to crack down on polluting vehicles that contribute to tens of thousands of lives being cut short every year.

Without government legislation and scrappage schemes to help those who have bought diesel cars in good faith, the city leaders fear they will not be able to manage the transition of their cities and communities to cleaner vehicles.

Their letter to Mr Gove said: "If the evidence shows that the most effective means of improving air quality quickly is through a charging Clean Air Zone, the government should mandate this rather than insisting it is a choice for local government."

They want a new Clean Air Act that would encompass the range of measures, especially a national framework, within which they could work. They are also sceptical of Mr Gove's claims that "surgical interventions" focussed on hotspots and individual roads will help, arguing they could worsen traffic and congestion and displace the problem elsewhere.

Councillor John Tanner, Executive Board Member for a Clean and Green Oxford, said: “Today we have joined leaders from cities across the UK in calling for the Government to take more action to tackle air pollution. Oxford cannot wait until 2040 for clean air; we need urgent action now.          

“We are leading on tackling air quality in Oxford, but we are anxious to work with the Government to tackle this public health emergency more strategically. The Government’s decision to push responsibility for air quality to local authorities risks a patchwork approach across the UK.

“Locally we have been working with Oxfordshire County Council to install new electric vehicle charging stations in residential streets and for the city’s taxis, to improve cycling infrastructure across the city, and to introduce a Low Emission Zone in the city centre. This has seen air pollution cut by 36.9% across Oxford in the last decade.

“But to meet air pollution targets in Oxford, we urgently need another step change to reduce emissions. We are looking to introduce a Zero Emission Zone in the city centre by 2020, and we would like to see the Government supporting us in this endeavour.”

Oxford City Council joins leaders from cities across England to criticise Government’s Clean Air Plan

  The City Council has joined leaders from cities across England to criticise Michael Gove’s Clear Air Plan, saying it does not go far enough to deal with the public...


Six of Oxford’s sites join a record number of parks and green spaces have collected the Green Flag.

Blackbird Leys Park, Bury Knowle Park, Cutteslowe and Sunnymead Park, Florence Park, Hinksey Park, and St Sepulchre’s Cemetery in Oxford have been recognised by the Green Flag Award Scheme as some of the very best in the world.

Oxford City Council have a number of green spaces that provide places where people of all ages can relax, play, enjoy nature and take part in recreation or sport. These spaces incorporate important historic landscapes and enhance Oxford’s world-famous cityscape.

The six parks are among a record-breaking 1,797 UK parks and green spaces that will each receive a prestigious Green Flag Award – the mark of a quality park or green space.

This international award, now into its third decade, is a sign to the public that the space boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities.

Labour City Councillor Linda Smith, Executive Board Member for Leisure, Parks and Sports said: “We are absolutely delighted to receive the Green Flag Award for the 11th time.”

“We know how much quality green spaces matters to residents and visitors, and these awards celebrate the dedication to maintaining Oxford Parks to such a high standard.”

A full list of award-winning parks can be found on the Green Flag Award website

Six Oxford sites named among the UK’s very best green spaces

Six of Oxford’s sites join a record number of parks and green spaces have collected the Green Flag.

 

London cycling adviser Andrew Gilligan to help make Oxford 'world class' for cyclists. 

The National Infrastructure Commission has tasked Mr Gilligan, the former Cycling Commissioner for London, to work with local councils and local organisations to create a vision of what is required for cycling to become a “super attractive” mode of transport in Oxford, Milton Keynes and Cambridge. Mr Gilligan will provide advice over the summer on how the existing infrastructure can be used better, and what more could be done to help local residents to get on their bikes.  Andrew Gilligan joined Councillor Bob Price, Leader of Oxford City Council, and Councillor Ian Hudspeth, Leader of Oxfordshire County Council, in the city on 8 August to try out the latest electric bikes next to the famous Radcliffe Camera.

Labour Councillor Bob Price, the Leader of Oxford City Council: “We are delighted to welcome Andrew Gilligan to Oxford, our cycling city where already thousands of people commute to work by bike. We will show him our aspirations run much higher – we want Oxford to become not just the UK’s cycling capital, but an international model that inspires cities across the world to promote cycling as a means to tackle pollution and congestion, and keep people healthy. The City and County Councils have spent significant amounts in recent years to improve cycling infrastructure across Oxford, but funding from the National Infrastructure Commission will allow a significant step change. We want to see more segregated and car-free cycling lanes that link transport hubs with employment sites, and more cycle parking in the city centre and at park and ride sites, to further encourage people to commute by bike. For a city with what is essentially a medieval street plan that’s challenging; but with the right backing it is achievable.” 

London cycling adviser to help make Oxford 'world class’ for cyclists

  London cycling adviser Andrew Gilligan to help make Oxford 'world class' for cyclists. 


Oxford City Council has completed flood prevention work in Northway and Marston – protecting 110 homes from surface water flash flooding.

The City Council started work on the £2.2m Northway and Marston Flood Alleviation Scheme in November 2016.

Work has now been completed on the temporary flood water storage areas, channel realignment and natural embankments.

It means that the 110 homes are now at a significantly reduced risk from surface water flash flooding.

Northway and Marston have been hit by flash flooding in the past due to their close proximity to Peasmoor Brook and the Headington Hill Tributary.

It can take as little as half an hour of torrential rain to cause flooding of homes in the areas.

In the event of a torrential rain, water will now be channelled into the three temporary flood water storage areas, and then released into the drainage system and waterways at a pace they can cope with.

Oxford City Council successfully won funding from grants administered by the Environment Agency (£1.6m) and Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (£600,000) to make the project happen.

Protective fencing at Northway Community Field and Court Place Farm Recreation Ground will remain in place until the end of August 2017 to allow new grass seeds and wildflower seeds to establish.

Trees and shrubs will then be planted across both sites during the autumn planting season.

The new FA-compliant and full-size football pitch in Northway Community Field will open in January 2018.

Labour City Councillor John Tanner, Executive Board Member for a Clean and Green Oxford, said: “I am thrilled that this flood-prevention project has now been completed by our City Council workforce.  

“We know how horrendous it is having your home under water and now it is much less likely that homes in Northway and Marston will suffer from flash flooding.

“Oxford City Council is not the flood authority but we listened to community need and did what needed to be done for the good of our residents.

“I would like to thank residents for their patience and support during the construction works and I hope they enjoy the new nature reserves when they open in September.”

Nick Reid, Flood and Coastal Risk Management Advisor at the Environment Agency, said: “We have worked closely with Oxford City Council to secure both technical approval and a combination of government grant and local levy which provides financial contributions to the scheme.

“This work will reduce flood risk to over 100 properties affected by surface water flooding following heavy rainfall and is a great example of delivering a flood alleviation scheme while allowing open space to continue to be used when the storage areas are not holding water.“

Nigel Tipple, Chief Executive of Oxfordshire Local Enterprise Partnership (OxLEP), said: “We are delighted the flood alleviation project at Northway and Marston is now complete, which will have a positive impact on over 100 homes in this part of Oxford.

“Locally, this investment is significant and – across the rest of Oxfordshire – OxLEP is committed to funding projects that mitigate against flood risk, potentially affecting businesses and homes in the county. This includes the sizeable allocation of £25.85m-worth of funding towards the Oxfordshire Flood Risk Management Scheme.”

More than 100 homes protected from flooding in Northway and Marston

Oxford City Council has completed flood prevention work in Northway and Marston – protecting 110 homes from surface water flash flooding.

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