Rossendale Free Press

Coun Alyson Barnes


Council leader

AS the COP26 UN conference concludes this week, the climate emergency has been put front and centre of the news agenda.

But climate change isn’t something that happens elsewhere. The effects of climate change affect us all, even here in our valley.

Rossendale has been severely affected by increased rainfall and flooding in recent years and we as a council take the challenges that lie ahead for us all seriously.

That’s why we issued our climate change strategy report where we laid out the steps that we’re taking to make the council greener. You can download the strategy at RBCClimate­Strat .

We also held a successful climate conference this week where businesses, community groups and individual­s came along to

find out what is happening in Rossendale, get inspired, and pick up informatio­n about some of the grants that are available to help you go greener.

As a council, we are playing our part and are also looking for ways to reduce our energy consumptio­n by up to 50 percent by 2030 and obtaining as much of our energy needs from renewable sources as possible.

We are also planting more trees across the borough. We have pledged to plant a tree for every child in Rossendale over the next three years. That’s around 16,000 trees – and to help us achieve this we have launched the

Rossendale Forest initiative. This isn’t a single destinatio­n forest, but a desire to increase the tree coverage right across the whole valley.

Our first task is to plant almost 6,000 trees by April 2022. We have identified several council-owned sites and we’re looking for an army of volunteers to help with the planting. If you’d be interested in taking part, check out our social media channels for more informatio­n or go to rbcforest1 and register your ‘Pledge to Plant.’

Since the pandemic began, one of the things that was brought into sharp focus was the importance of key workers and the crucial role they play. None more so than care workers.

Our Rossendale Works programme is holding a Care Careers event on 25 November at the council office at Futures Park. It is an opportunit­y for anyone who might be interested in looking at a career in care to come along, talk to different employers and see what roles are on offer. Full training is given for all roles and jobs will be available for immediate start.

This is the latest in several events and jobs fairs organised by Rossendale Works and Rossendale Youth Works over the past 12 months. All have been brilliantl­y attended and these events provide a fantastic opportunit­y for employers and job seekers to meet each other and see what is on offer. This event is open to anyone so come along to the council chambers between 2 and 4pm and see what is on offer.

●●Another positive to end on this month is the news that we were successful in our bid to the Restore Your Railways fund. This is great news and thanks to the hard work put in by all involved including our Economic Developmen­t team. The funding will enable a Strategic Outline Business Case for a regular passenger railway between Rawtenstal­l, Bury and Manchester. This is a huge step forward for the link that is very much needed for Rossendale to help in securing the local economy with inward investment, job creation, and also the environmen­tal benefits that the link could bring.

Importantl­y too, the proposed plan would also enable the Heritage Railway to operate a similar timetable with its heritage trains as it currently does and would see the retention of the steam age stations and signalling with the retention of volunteers.

But rail re-openings take time, and I’m sure there will still be challenges ahead – but this is a good step forward for the thousands of people that have to struggle on the congested roads.

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