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Operation FireWatch underway in the Peak District National Park

Authority staff assisting firefighters in tackling the Tameside moorland fire in the Peak District National Park.

The Peak District National Park Authority has implemented Operation FireWatch in collaboration with the Moors for the Future Partnership.

Staff from the National Park, partner organisations and volunteers are in place at moorland vantage points throughout the National Park to look out for fires.

The hot, dry weather means that ground conditions on the moors are extremely dry and the risk of fire is high.

Residents and visitors are asked to be extra vigilant to help prevent moorland and grassland fires.

Sarah Fowler, chief executive of the Peak District National Park Authority, said: “With the hot weather set to continue over the next few days, the risk of further fires is a real concern.

“We have implemented Operation FireWatch to keep a close eye on conditions on the moorlands and we are urging everyone to get involved by doing everything they can to help prevent fires starting. We have put fire risk warning notices at moorland access points to remind everyone of the dangers but we need people enjoying the moors to observe a few basic rules:

“Leave your barbecues and fire-pits at home. Don’t drop cigarette ends or matches. Take glass bottles and litter home with you. Don’t light fires or barbecues on or near moorland. Report fires immediately to the fire service by phoning 999.”

Fire-fighters have been tackling an extensive moorland fire in the north-west of the National Park, near Stalybridge, Tameside, since Monday (25 June) – some 2,000 hectares of moorland habitat has been destroyed. Working with fire-fighting team and other partners and moorland managers, the National Park Authority is providing staff, vehicles, supplementary equipment, logistics support and local access expertise in the hard to reach places.

Sarah Fowler added: “As we have already seen this week at Tameside, in these dry conditions moorland fires spread very quickly and are devastating to the landscape, lethal for wildlife and a threat to people and homes.

“It’s breeding season for nature at this time of year on the moorlands; we have birds nesting on the ground – plover, curlew and lapwing, insects such as the bilberry bumblebee, mountain hare and other mammals, and reptiles like the tiny common lizard. Many of these species are rare or under threat – it’s vital that we all do what we can to protect them and prevent any more fires breaking out.”

The fire at Tameside is the third moorland fire in the Peak District National Park in 2018. In May, around 40 hectares of moorland were destroyed at the Goyt Valley and five hectares of moorland were damaged by fire at Big Moor, near Baslow.

The Peak District National Park Authority and Moors for the Future Partnership are working closely together with partners, including moorland owners and managers, to assess the long-term risk of wildfires on the moors as part of a shared long-term vision for resilient, sustainable moorlands in the National Park.

Greater Manchester announces plans for ‘Beelines’ – the UK’s largest cycling and walking network

Chris Boardman

Chris Boardman, Greater Manchester’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner, has unveiled an innovative new plan to create a city-region-wide cycling and walking network made up of more than 1,000 miles of routes, including 75 miles of Dutch-style segregated bike lanes.

The ‘Beelines’ network will be the largest joined-up system of walking and cycling routes in the UK and has been developed with all 10 Greater Manchester local authorities.

Once built, the network will better connect every community in Greater Manchester, benefitting 2.7 million people and making cycling and walking a real alternative to the car.

The proposals, which are subject to formal approval by the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) on Friday 29 June, also include plans for 1,400 safer road crossings on the majority of routes and 25 ‘filtered neighbourhoods’, where priority will be given to the movement of people and where more public spaces to sit, play and socialise will be created.

People in Greater Manchester make around 250 million car journeys of less than one kilometre each year – the equivalent of a 15-minute walk or a five-minute bike ride.

A large proportion of these trips are school runs. In the Netherlands, 50% of children cycle to school every day – in Greater Manchester the number is less than 2%. Beelines aims to make walking and cycling the natural choice for short journeys.

Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, said: “Greater Manchester has a long history of doing innovative things and our approach to Beelines is no different.

“This proposal is bold and I make no apology for that. If we’re to cut congestion and clean up our air, decisive action is needed. I want to make Greater Manchester one of the top 10 places in the world to live and it’s action of this sort which will help to deliver that promise.

“I’ve no doubt that Chris Boardman and the 10 local authorities which make up Greater Manchester will do us proud and make journeys on foot or by bike the first choice for local trips.

“This will help to tackle congestion and it will help to tackle poor air quality, as well as boosting people’s health and fitness levels.

“We have £160m to get us started and we have a plan that has something in it for every single person in Greater Manchester.”

Greater Manchester’s Cycling and Walking Commissioner, Chris Boardman, said: “I’ve been massively impressed by the political will of all of Greater Manchester’s 10 authorities to come together to make this plan a reality.

“It’s not really about people using bikes and walking – it’s about making better places to live and work by giving people a real choice about how they travel. In doing so, we’ll make the city -region healthier and more prosperous.

“We’ve seen from other global cities that these methods work and the benefits are there for all to see – we simply can’t afford to be left behind.

“So now the hard work begins and we’ll be working closely with all local authorities and partners to deliver this plan as urgently as possible.”

Government Minister for cycling and walking, Jesse Norman MP, added: “The great city-region of Manchester is setting a fantastic example with this project. I commend Chris Boardman and his team for their energy and focus in making it happen.

“This is a really exciting plan to encourage more people to cycle and walk. But at the same time, it will improve air quality, reduce congestion and improve health, by giving local people real alternatives to driving.

“Earlier this year we awarded Greater Manchester nearly £250m as part of the Government’s new Transforming Cities Fund, and I am delighted to see it being put to good use.

“Greater Manchester is already a great place to live, but this initiative plan will make it even better. I hugely look forward to seeing how this work progresses.”

Maps showing the proposed plans for each local council area in Greater Manchester have today been published on the Cycling and Walking Commissioner’s page on the Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM)’s website. The proposed routes and crossing points have also been published on open data website mappinggm.org.uk, where interested members of the public can collaborate on the plans for their area.

The plans represent the first version of the network that could be built over the next five years. An updated version of the Beelines map will be published later in the year.

Chris Boardman added: “Beelines will connect the quiet streets of Greater Manchester and lead in the most direct way to new crossing points to get people across busier roads.

“People using these routes will see new, distinctive signage which will be a marker of quality and will encourage them to take more journeys by bike or on foot.

“Beelines will be lined with zebra crossings at every side road, encouraging people to cross roads with priority and without fear.

“Planners, engineers and, most importantly, local people in each council area led on creating the first draft of these plans, which will evolve in the months and years ahead. By involving local people from the very first stage, and enabling them to inform the details of each proposed route and crossing, we’ll get the outcome they need, not what we think they need.

“That’s why we’ve taken the decision to create the first draft then immediately make it available to the public. This will be Greater Manchester’s network and it’s important that residents’ voices are the loudest, that they own it from start to finish.”

The plans published today have a combined budget of around £500 million and represent a first step in the planned £1.5 billion investment. Andy Burnham made the decision in March to allocate £160 million of the government’s Transforming Cities Fund to the project, which brings the total spend on cycling and walking in Greater Manchester to around £15 per head.

This funding is at levels seen in cities such as Copenhagen and Amsterdam, where cycling and walking make up 25% of all journeys.

The first list of routes and crossings that will be built in this financial year will be published at the end of July. All 10 local authorities are now working with the GMCA and TfGM to identify sites where work can start quickly.

Salford City Council’s ambitious proposals for Chapel Street East are one of the first schemes to be submitted to the new Mayor’s Cycling and Walking Challenge fund. They will create an environment where walking and cycling are attractive alternatives to driving and will support the sustainable development of city centre of Salford. The scheme is modelled on the best Dutch streets including continuous footways and cycle tracks, implied zebras, traffic-calming, streets trees and planting.

Paul Dennett, Salford City Mayor, said: “Salford has been investing in our award-winning traffic-free cycling and walking network for many years but recognises we need to do more and welcome the Cycling and Walking Commissioner’s proposals. It’s also great to see the Greater Manchester Mayor’s commitment to spend £160 million on walking and cycling over the next four years. With this level of financial commitment, we should be able to positively encourage more active travel in Salford and across Greater Manchester. We are confident that our ambitious plans for Chapel Street East are of the right quality and design to enable people to choose walking and cycling over using cars.”

To find out more, visit the Beelines pages on the TfGM website at www.tfgm.com/beelines.

Jo Taylor receives Above and Beyond Award at Diggle Blues

Jo Taylor receiving her Above and Beyond Award from Dave Wood at the Diggle Blues Festival on Sunday 10th June at Diggle Band Club.

Jo’s remarkable achievements are testament to her determination and strength of will. Having had treatment for primary breast cancer 11 years ago and after being diagnosed with secondary breast cancer 4 years ago, she now supports cancer patients from across the whole of the U.K. and worldwide with peer-to-peer health advice through her web site, After Breast Cancer Diagnosis (ABCD).

Jo firmly believes (and there is written evidence to support this) that through exercise and fitness, debilitating cancer treatments can be enhanced. This improves chances of recovery and remission and significantly supports living with and beyond for both primary and secondary cancer patients.

Jo said, “I’m delighted to get the award and I hope it will inspire and motivate cancer patients to adopt a mindset that helps them to go way beyond what they thought they could achieve.”

Dave Wood, Diggle Blues Festival organiser said, ” Jo is an inspiration. Just over 11 years ago she was diagnosed with breast cancer, at a time when she had a 5 month old baby and a two year old son. Rather than retreat into self-pity she pushed forward and started After Breast Cancer Diagnosis. This took incredible strength, stamina and determination. Her work helping patients make informed choices has been tireless.

“In addition to advice, Jo also runs retreats promoting the benefits of exercise and positive thinking. She encourages wellbeing both physically and mentally through Nordic walking, cycling, running, relaxation and yoga.

“Jo’s fundraising for ABCD exceeded £3500 last year. In addition, she completed the Manchester to Blackpool cycle ride four times whilst fundraising for Christies (once in the middle of chemotherapy).  She has raised, over the past four years, £20,000  for charity.

“Her preparatory work and conferences took her to Lisbon, Madrid, Copenhagen, and Paris. She has lobbied government and met with the previous Shadow Health Secretary, Heidi Alexander and her own MP, Debbie Abrahams.

“Jo attends The Christie for treatment every three weeks and has been doing that for four years. She has had numerous chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments. Jo admits to being “a bit odd” but to many she comes across as selfless, brave and inspirational. I’m very proud to recognise her with the Above and Beyond Award.”

For more information about ABCD and Jo Taylor visit: After Breast Cancer Diagnosis

2018 Turnpike Cycle Challenge

Saddleworth Roatary Club and the Clarion Cycle Club, organisers of the challenging Turnpike Cycle Challenge are hoping for a record turnout at this tear’s event on Sunday 17th June.

The challenge starts in Diggle and follows a circular 25 mile route across the Pennine Moors.

Over the years, the event has attracted a wide range of abilities and bikes and has been particularly popular with family groups. Refreshments on-route and support from bike mechanics and vehicles means anyone with a pedal  bike can have-a-go.

Jon Stocker, spokesperson for the Roatary Club said, “Chris from Clarion and I are looking forward to running the fourth Turnpike Challenge on 17th June. Each year we have been delighted to see the number of riders taking part increase.

“The route starts out from Diggle Band Club at 8.30am, and from there the cyclists go to Greenfield, then over the Isle of Skye road to Meltham and then back via Linthwaite and Standedge to the Band Club for very welcome pie and peas and a cup of tea. Rotary volunteers man the route to make sure no-one goes off track.

“The event raises funds and awareness of Prostate cancer.  Each year the ride takes place on Fathers’ Day which makes this particularly poignant. All we need is a bit of that Saddleworth sunshine and we will have a great day!”

For further information please go to www.turnpikechallenge.co.uk 

This year’s ride details::

  • Start and finish at Diggle Band Club, Saddleworth, OL3 5PJ
  • 25 mile ride on A and B roads, which includes two moderate climbs onto the Pennine Moors
  • Half way refreshments/aid point
  • Roaming van and for mechanicals and returns to base
  • Start time is between 8:30 a.m and 9:30 a.m  on Sunday, June 17.
  • End of ride hot food, tea and cakes

Requirements:

  • Road, Hybrid  or Electric bike in full working order
  • Riders must wear helmets to validate insurance cover
  • On line application £12:50
  • On the day             £15:00.

2018 Saddleworth Show and WelliFest

For full details go to 2018 Saddleworth Show

The Rain Couldn’t Stop Them!

 

2018 Diggle Blues Festival

Saddleworth Group of Artists Annual Summer Exhibition 2018

Artist – Janis Bowie “ Uppermill beyond the Viaduct “ Acrylic on canvas and 80cm x 60 cm

Well known local artists will again be exhibiting their work for the Saddleworth Group of Artists Summer Exhibition at the Saddleworth Museum from Saturday 9th June to Sunday 7th July

Always a popular show, the exhibition will be comprised of up to fifty works, with styles ranging from photorealism to expressionistic. Most paintings will be on sale.

The group, founded in 1950 by watercolourist Ellis Shaw and friends, is currently comprised of around sixty enthusiastic members. Some are full-time professionals but all are seriously committed to their work.

Recent Lottery funded the refurbishment of the Saddleworth Museum has transformed the existing museum with improved access, enhanced displays and exhibitions and an engaging learning programme, all ensuring the museum’s future for many years to come.”

Striding Edge (Towards Patterdale). Artist Pamela Durrans

Check out our website – www.saddleworthartists.co.uk.

Saddleworth Museum, High St, Uppermill, OL36HS Tel. 01457874093.

Entry to the exhibition gallery is free of charge.

BANK HOLIDAY WEEKEND FUN AS FESTIVAL OLDHAM COMES TO TOWN

Roll-up, roll-up for the greatest show in town as Festival Oldham returns for 2018.

The borough’s annual free celebration of art, entertainment and street theatre takes place on Saturday 26 May, 11am to 4pm in Parliament Square and the Parish Church in Oldham Town Centre and Gallery Oldham.

This year the festival takes on a circus theme and is part of Circus250, a national celebration marking 250 years of circus.

Oldham has a rich history of circus performances and the Coliseum Theatre actually began life in 1885 as the Grand American Circus and Hippodrome.

To mark this rich heritage the town will be welcoming over 100 of the very best circus, variety and music performers to Oldham this late May Bank Holiday weekend. See the unusual, bizarre and unbelievable feats of Doctor Diablo’s Sideshow – including amazing fire-eating, escapology and contortionism.

Circus Sensible and their beautiful blue and yellow big tops will transform the Parish Church yard into the ‘The Circus Gardens’. This is a chance to watch spectacular performers from around the world and have a go at juggling, stilt walking, plate spinning and much more.

Oldham’s resident circus elephants Hessi and Kalli will be exploring Parliament Square, these loveable cheeky elephant sisters love meeting new people and getting up to mischief. A beautiful giant lion will be prowling the streets accompanied by her faithful assistant who will beckon forth all who wish to meet the spirit of the pride.

Look out for the larger than life circus ringmaster and the amazing aerial acrobatics of Circus Vee at Gallery Oldham. Also, keep an eye out for Tiddles the Circus Tiger – the brand new Oldham Theatre Workshop street theatre show.

Councillor Barbara Brownridge, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhood and Co-operatives, said: “Festival Oldham is always a real crowd pleaser and one of the highlight of our events calendar. It attracts a huge crowd every year and this year’s circus theme promises to be something really special. We look forward to welcoming people to this spectacular, free event.”

For more information visit www.visitoldham.com or call 0161 770 3070.

Bus passengers update about changing fares

Local Link, Ring and Ride and school bus passengers are set to see a number of changes to the fares they pay.

The changes, which TFGM say will help support essential services and invest in ongoing transport network improvements, will see the following fares increase:

  • Local Link (from 1 June): single fare increase from £2.50 to £2.60, weekly ticket increase from £20 to £20.80, concessionary single fare increase from £1.20 to £1.25 and a concessionary weekly ticket increase from £10 to £10.40.
  • Ring and Ride (from 1 June): concessionary fare increase from £1.20 to £1.50.
  • School bus (from September): single fare increase from £1.30 to £1.35, return ticket increase from £2.20 to £2.30 and a weekly ticket increase from £7 to £7.30.

TFGM say Local Link and school bus fares are increasing in line with inflation, while Ring and Ride fares are increasing to help maintain the existing level of service to customers following a funding reduction to Greater Manchester Accessible Transport Ltd (GMATL) – which operates the Ring and Ride service.

The Ring and Ride fare increase was discussed during a consultation process with users and charity groups. Stakeholder consultation sessions were held in September 2017 and public surgeries were held in April 2017 and April 2018.

According to TFGM, the feedback indicated that users would be willing to pay the revised fare, as they valued the service greatly and felt that it would still offer value for money.

TfGM’s Interim Head of Bus Services, Alison Chew, said: “Where commercial operators don’t run we have an important role to play in paying for services where there is a social need, so that access to education, healthcare and jobs is maintained.

“We strive to ensure that they provide the best possible service while also representing value for the public purse.

“We recognise that there’s never a good time to increase fares but the changes are needed to ensure these vital services can continue to operate without any detriment to customers.”

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