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“Engines off at school gates!” urges Greater Manchester Mayor in clean air drive

TfGM Anti-idling campaign at Leigh County Primary School

Mayor Andy Burnham has called on Greater Manchester’s drivers to help tackle deadly air pollution by turning their car engines off at the school gates.

Pupils and teachers at Leigh Central Primary School helped raise awareness of the health dangers of keeping the engine running when parked up, which is a particular problem on the school run.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has launched a campaign to tackle some of the common myths about leaving vehicle engines ticking over. A recent study revealed that switching off the engine when at a standstill could help reduce air pollution during peak travel hours by as much as 30%. The harmful fumes pumped out by many vehicles don’t just affect people outside the vehicle – drivers and their passengers are exposed as well.

Hundreds of roadside signs will be supported by a webpage, advertising and social media campaign to drive the ‘Engine off when you stop’ message home – including the misconception that stopping and starting the engine wastes fuel.

Andy Burnham said: “If we could see the invisible exhaust fumes we all breathe in every day, I’m sure we’d be horrified. Air pollution is an invisible menace and one which our young people are particularly vulnerable to. That’s why I’m calling on those of us who make the school run to switch their engines off when parked near the school gates.

“Leaving your engine ticking over is something we’re all guilty of. You might worry it’s a waste of fuel to restart the engine, or that your car heating will run cold if you switch off. In fact, leaving the engine running wastes more fuel – every two minutes ticking over is the fuel equivalent of driving a mile. Air pollution is one of the most important challenges currently facing us all. It makes financial sense, environmental sense and good health sense to switch off and I hope this campaign drives that important message home.”

Greater Manchester’s lead for environmental issues and climate change, Councillor Alex Ganotis, added: “This campaign will help shine a light on a persistent problem in Greater Manchester. Switching off engines at the school gates will not only help to protect our young people but lead to real improvements in air quality in our region.”

Andy visited Leigh Central Primary School earlier in the year on Greater Manchester’s first Clean Air Day (Thursday 15 June), when he watched a video Year Six pupils made to raise awareness of the environmental issue.

Richard Houghton, Deputy Headteacher at Leigh Central Primary School, said: “We were very fortunate to be part of the Greater Manchester Clean Air Day Campaign last June which gave us a platform to raise awareness of the air quality around school.

“It’s great that the latest campaign has been launched from Leigh Central and we hope that this important message can be spread further so that our children’s health, and the environment, can benefit from better air quality. If everyone can make one simple change and switch of their engines when stationary, this can collectively make a big difference!”

Vehicle exhausts can produce harmful gases – and tiny particles of soot and other matter – that pollute the air and are linked to increases in asthma, allergies, heart and lung disease and cancer. It is estimated that air pollution contributes to the premature deaths of up to 2,000 people in Greater Manchester each year. The region has been in breach of its legal limits for nitrogen dioxide, one of the most harmful pollutants, every year since 2011.

Air quality is improving as TfGM, local councils and other partners are busy implementing the policies and measures in Greater Manchester’s Low Emission Strategy and Air Quality Action Plan, but much more needs to be done.

Find out how to help clean up Greater Manchester’s air at

Saddleworth Group of Artists Annual Winter Exhibition 2017

Artist: Ron Etherington. Medium – oil

Saddleworth Group of Artists Annual Winter Exhibition 2017 From Saturday 9th December – Sunday 14th January at Saddleworth Museum. Uppermill. Oldham. 

Well known local artists will again be exhibiting their work. Always a popular show, especially in the run up to Christmas, the exhibition will be comprised of around fifty works, with styles ranging from photo realism to expressionistic. Most paintings will be on sale. 

The group, founded in 1950 by water colourist Ellis Shaw and friends, is currently comprised of approximately sixty enthusiastic members. Some are full time professionals but all are seriously committed to their work. The SGA is a dynamic organisation, full of ideas to encourage interest and bring art to the public view. The group welcomes applications for membership or offers of new exhibition spaces.

So why not call in and take a look at the recently refurbished Saddleworth Museum and possibly find that very special and unique Christmas present amongst the art works on display. 

Check out our website –

Saddleworth Museum, High St, Uppermill, OL36HS Tel. 01457874093
Entry to the exhibition gallery is free 

Diggle’s VIPs Turn on Christmas Lights

Competition winners: Cara Hamilton, Millie Tomlin and Jack Ellis

Diggle’s very important pupils (VIPs), winners of the Christmas art and writing competition organised by the Diggle Community Association, turned on the village Christmas lights on Sunday 3rd December following the annual carol singing and procession through the village. (See here)

Before walking with Diggle Band from the Band Club to the Christmas tree site at Warf Mill local residents, parents and children were treated to a fabulous ensemble of carols by the Diggle School Infant choir who with their actions and songs totally captured the hearts of everybody watching.

Rev. Duncan Rhodes led the Christingle service at Wharf Mill and following the switch-on of the Christmas tree lights, Diggle Band led the procession on to further celebrations at The Gate.

Special thanks go to Diggle School, the Diggle Community Association, Diggle Band and Band Club, Cllr. Nikki Kirkham, Rev. Duncan Rhodes, The Gate and everyone who helped on the day. This year’s event raised over £100 in support of the Children’s Society.

Diggle’s Christmas Competition Winners

Jack Ellis, Key Stage 1

There has been a great response to the annual Diggle Community Association (DCA) Christmas competition from the pupils at Diggle Primary School. The standard of writing and drawing has been exceptional and, for the DCA judges,  it has been extremely difficult choosing the winners.

The joint winners from Key Stage 1 are – Jack Ellis for his hilarious picture of Santa hanging on for grim death, to his sleigh, as the reindeer rush to their next delivery and Cara Hamilton for her picture of the tree site with Diggle Band accompanying the Carol singing.

The winner from Key Stage 2 is – Millie Tomlin who wrote a beautifully crafted and entertaining poem about how Santa’s Christmas goes disastrously wrong and is saved in the nick of time by some quick thinking Diggle children.

On Sunday 3rd December (see Diggle Lights Switch-On), Jack, Cara and Millie will be invited, as guests of honour, to switch Diggle’s Christmas lights on.

Millie Tomlin, Key Stage 2

Millie Tomlin, Key Stage 2


Oldham Council is informing residents that some bin collection dates will change over the Christmas period.

This year there will be no bin collections on Christmas Day (Monday, December 25). Instead put out the bin that would have been due to be collected on that day – plus your green bin/food caddy – on Saturday, December 30.

There will also be no bin collections on Boxing Day (Tuesday, December 26). If that is your usual collection day then this year there will be an earlier collection for you on Saturday, December 23. Remember to also put out your green bin/food caddy.

There will be no bin collections on Monday, January 1 (New Year’s Day). If your collection date should have been on New Year’s Day put out the bin that would have been due on this date, plus your green bin/food caddy, on Saturday, January 6.

Your green bin/food caddy will also be collected as normal on Monday, January 8.

If you are unsure which bin would have been due, please check your collection calendar or use the online post code checker at If your collection day doesn’t fall on any of the above dates then simply put your bins out as usual.

Councillor Barbara Brownridge, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Co-operatives, said: “Due to the way Christmas falls this year we’ve had to make a few changes to bin collection dates, so we’ve tried to make it as easy as possible. Over the coming weeks we’ll be delivering leaflets to households in the areas affected and we’ll also be sending out reminders via our social media channels. Please take the time to familiarise yourself with the arrangements so you know when to put your bins out for collection.”

After the festive period you can help dispose of your Christmas tree in a number of ways. You can put it in your green bin – just chop it into small pieces, remove the wooden block from the base of the tree as this is too big to be composted and take off any lights and decorations.

Alternatively, take it to your local tip or to one of the following recycling ‘drop off’ points from December 28 until January 17:

  • Higher Memorial Park (car park), Joseph Street, Failsworth (open dawn until dusk)
  • Royton Park (car park) off Bleasdale Street, Royton. Anytime access
  • Werneth Park (car park) off Frederick Street, Werneth (open dawn until dusk)
  • Churchill Playing Fields (car park), Wellington Road, Greenfield. Anytime access.

You can also help Dr Kershaw’s Hospice as volunteers will be collecting trees over the weekend of the 13 and 14 January as a donation to the hospice. Just register online at or call them on 0161 624 9984.

All your Christmas cards, wrapping paper and cardboard packaging can be recycled using your blue bins or recycling bags.

If you have things that are too big to fit in your bin, you can:

  • Take them to Arkwright Street Waste and Recycling Centre, Oldham, OL9 9LZ – for free. Or to find your nearest tip, visit
  • Arrange for them to be collected by us. It is just £18.20 for your first three items and £8.20 for each additional item. To book a collection call us on 0161 770 6644.

Visit for more ideas about where you can donate, swap or sell them.

All additional rubbish or recycling over Christmas can also be taken to Arkwright Street Waste and Recycling Centre.

Cllr Brownridge added: “Recycling rates are up in Oldham thanks to the efforts of residents. If we all do our bit then we can raise this even higher and save money on disposal costs at the same time.”

Diggle’s Christmas Lights Switch-On

Join us on Sunday 3rd December from 3:15pm at Diggle Band Club for Carols, mulled wine, minced pies and Diggle’s Christmas Lights switch-on.


Officers from Greater Manchester Police have been presented with awards for their actions whilst on duty during a night of severe flooding in 2016.

The officers, from the forces Oldham District, were unanimously voted winners of the Government & Public Sector Journal’s ‘Above & Beyond’ Awards by an independent awards panel for their actions that night.

The flooding, in Saddleworth near Oldham, caused extensive damage to many homes and businesses in the area as well as major disruption transport and local services.

The GMP officers worked throughout the night helping residents with a major clean-up operation, sometimes using their bare hands as well as brushes and shovels to remove huge amounts of debris. The officers also assisted homeowners by moving their furniture and other personal items to safety.

The certificates were presented by Bryn Hughes, father of PC Nicola Hughes who was killed on duty in Manchester, and Chief Superintendent Neil Evans.

The award winners were Sgt 2282 Toby Knight, PC 15570 Liam Rasch (no longer with GMP), PC 15361 Blair Patterson, PC 1315 Jordan Heaton, PC 15355 Julian Maynard, PC 15574 Donna Youngjohns, PC 15677 Mark Foster, PCSO 66103 Lee Lockwood and PCSO 62643 Wayne Turley.

Speaking after the awards ceremony in Oldham on Wednesday 8 November, Chief Superintendent Neil Evans said: “Sometimes police officers come in for criticism for various reasons, but as seen here with the GPSJ awards today the work they do for the community is truly amazing.

“In this case the police officers and PCSOs have shown just how much they care and have definitely surpassed what was required of them on the night.

“It’s also good to see these types of awards that recognise these actions that are above and beyond duty, I congratulate all those involved.”

Bryn Hughes said: “I am proud to be giving these awards out today and I know Nicola would also be the first to commend these officers actions, such a well-deserved award.”

The GPSJ awards are judged on merit by an independent panel of journalists, broadcasters and politicians, the panel members are; Andy Carter, Cleland Thom, Debbie Abrahams MP, Donal MacIntyre, John Stapleton, Nigel Pivaro and Steve Nolan.

The presentation was made at the Odeon Cinema in The Old Town Hall, Parliament Square, Oldham.

Saddleworth and Lees Christmas Lights Switch-Ons 2017

Christmas Lights Switch-Ons 2017

Greenfield – Saturday 25 Nov 7.00pm
Springhead – Friday 1 Dec 6.00pm
Uppermill – Saturday 2 Dec 4.00pm
Lees – Saturday 2 Dec 4.30pm
Delph – Saturday 2 Dec 5.30pm
Grotton – Sunday 3 Dec 6.30pm
Diggle – Sunday 3 Dec 4.30pm
Denshaw – Sunday 3 Dec 6.00pm
Lydgate – Thursday 7 Dec 6.00pm

Remembrance Services Around the Borough

Photo: ©StuartColemanRemembrance Sunday services will be taking place at venues across the borough, held in conjunction with branches of the Royal British Legion.

Residents, uniformed services and representatives of all organisations are encouraged to attend the services and there will also be opportunities to place wreaths on the memorials.

Councillor Cath Ball, Deputy Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Cooperatives, with a special responsibility for remembrance services, said:

“Our residents have the deepest respect for those men and women who have given their lives for peace, security and freedom. I hope as many people as possible will take the time to reflect and attend a local service. Please also support the Royal British Legion’s annual campaign and wear a poppy with pride.”

The council’s website – – features an online ‘Roll of Honour’ containing the names of the many borough residents who lost their lives serving their country from the First World War onwards.

The Oldham Remembers website is being kept up-to-date with stories, names of soldiers who fought in the war and images of Oldham’s past. It aims to bring people from across the borough together online in remembrance and can be found at A toolkit, events guide and a resources page is available on the site so residents can research their own family histories.

Email if you have any information you would like to see on the website.

Oldham Remembers will be honouring Victoria Cross recipient Private Walter Mills VC on Monday 11 December with a Service of Dedication and unveiling of a Memorial Stone. The service will take place from 11am in Oldham Parish Church followed by the unveiling of the Memorial Stone in the church grounds.

Remembrance Sunday Services, in conjunction with Branches of the Royal British Legion, will be held as follows:


War Memorial, opposite Old Town Hall commencing at 10.50am.  A procession will assemble at New Radcliffe Street at 10.20am and proceed to the War Memorial at 10.30am. All ex-service and civilian organisations are invited to accompany the Mayor. Crosses may be placed in the field of remembrance adjoining the War Memorial.


War Memorial in the Old Town Hall Gardens, Middleton Road, commencing at 10.55am.  A procession will assemble at the Chadderton Reform Club, Middleton Road, Chadderton at 10.00am and proceed to the War Memorial at 10.30am.


War Memorial commencing at 10.55am.  A procession will assemble at the Royal British Legion Club, Newtown Street, Shaw, at 10.30am proceeding to the War Memorial at 10.40am.


War Memorial, Oldham Road, commencing at 10.55am.  The parade will assemble at the Failsworth Health Centre at 10.10am proceeding to the War Memorial at 10.30am prompt.


War Memorial commencing at 10.55am.  A procession will assemble in Thomas Street at 10.10am prior to proceeding to the War Memorial.


Royton Park commencing at 10.55am.  Uniformed services to assemble at rear of the Co-op, on the car park off Radcliffe Street at 10.30am prompt. March off at 10.40 am to the Memorial at Royton Park.  March past Royton Town Hall afterwards.


St Chad’s Memorial, Uppermill, on Monday 6 November 2017, commencing at 7.15pm and at the Pots and Pans Memorial on Sunday 12 November 2017 at 10.55am.

Commuters warned of two days of strike disruption

Commuter disruptionCommuters and travellers in Greater Manchester should allow more time for their journeys next week with bus and rail staff set to take industrial action.

Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) has prepared travel advice ahead of the strike action which is planned for Monday 6 and Wednesday 8 November.

Areas and services set to be affected include:

  • On Monday: First Bus services operating from the Rusholme depot
  • On Monday and Wednesday: Arriva North West bus services in Bolton and Trafford
  • On Wednesday: Northern Rail (Arriva Rail North) services.

No Northern Rail services will run before 7am and after 7pm on Wednesday and there will be a reduced service between these times. The majority of Arriva North West bus services are also not expected to run. The First Bus strike is not expected to have a significant impact as it only affects a small number of services.

For more information about the industrial action please visit:

Alternative rail routes and roads and the Metrolink are expected to be busier on affected days as passengers change their journeys, particularly in the morning and evening peaks.

TfGM’s Events and Operational Co-ordination Manager, Ryan Carter, said: “We are taking action to reduce disruption to the transport network as best we can, but we know it will still be very busy.

“Our advice is to plan ahead now. Can you travel at a different time, or does your boss allow you to work from home? Can you get into work a different way – by bus, tram, bike or foot? It could not only get you from A to B faster but help other people who simply don’t have a choice.

“We will be working hard on the affected days to monitor the situation and will be doing everything we can to keep Greater Manchester moving including having as many Metrolink trams in service as possible.”

TfGM has taken action locally to help people who have to travel on the days of the strike, including;

  • Ensuring as many Metrolink trams as possible will be in service
  • Deploying additional staff on Metrolink and at key bus stations to help commuters
  • Publicising various park and ride sites to allow customers to complete their journeys by different transport options
  • Working with bus and other train operators to maximise capacity across the network, particularly on the busiest commuter corridors
  • Enhanced monitoring at its network control centre so traffic flows can be optimised by altering signal timing
  • Working with local highway authorities to temporarily suspend roadworks where possible on the region’s main commuter routes.

For information on public transport across Greater Manchester visit, call 0161 244 1000 (7am-8pm, Monday to Friday, and 8am-8pm at weekends and bank holidays) or follow @OfficialTfGM on Twitter.