BURY Council leader Cllr Rishi Shori brings you his monthly column

IT IS great when people in Bury receive the recognition they deserve, which three of our residents have recently done in the New Year Honours list.

Congratulations go to James Hurst, who’s an active member of the Rotary Club in Ramsbottom; Dr Jacqueline Bene, chief executive of Bolton NHS Foundation Trust, who lives in Tottington, and firefighter Simon Ryder, from Radcliffe, who is Watch Commander with Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service.

We had a freezing January which kept our gritting services busy — our teams went out thirteen times. One night in mid-January, we did four complete grit runs throughout the night, spreading a total of 123 tonnes of salt.

I call these men our hidden heroes as, while the rest of us are asleep, they are out in freezing temperatures making sure the roads are safe for our morning journeys.

As a council, we have recently refreshed our priorities to reflect the times that we are operating in, which I referred to in my last column, and I’d like to now focus on the steps we are taking to look after our local environment.

The bottom line is that we are working against a backdrop of cut-backs so we have to be innovative in order to make the most of the resources we have, and by that I mean our people as well as budgets.

You’ll hear me talking a lot this year about partnership working and helping ourselves, using the services we have and working together to maximise them; it is pivotal to leaders across Bury to make Bury the best it can be.

We will continue to push and make the most of opportunities that devolution brings to the Borough, such as the Mayor’s Town Centre Challenge Fund.

This was launched in Bury before Christmas as well as the Energy Planning pilot, which we encourage you to feed into in time for the Mayor’s Green Summit in March.

We’re also inviting residents to have their say on the regeneration plans for the former East Lancs Paper Mill where more than 400 new houses, together with open space and sports provision, are in planning stages.

These plans to build new homes reinforce the Council’s ‘brownfield first’ policy which aims to bring back derelict and previously developed sites into much needed and sustainable use.

Bury is increasingly being seen as a model of best practice. We led the way in Greater Manchester when we passed the motion last summer about the bottle deposit scheme which subsequently became legislation.

Basically, you get money back when you return your plastic bottles — and, as with all the changes and improvements we are making, it is about changing the way we think so it becomes common practice.

Nationally, the aim is to cut down on the 38.5 million single-use plastic bottles used every day and our Bury model is being talked about across the UK.

We also have our Local Flood Risk Management Strategy in place to increase the safety of residents and reduce the impact of flooding.

An on-going blight on our neighbourhoods is fly-tipping, which currently costs Bury Council £217,476. In 2016/17, we cleared up 3,337 fly-tipping incidents across the borough.

This has to change and, over the last few months, we have been encouraging anyone who witnesses fly-tipping to help us catch these criminals by giving us as much information as possible via our website.

It is always heart-warming to hear about people who go above and beyond the call of duty to look after Bury, and Senior Waste Removals are such people.

Committed to helping keep the streets clean, they took it upon themselves to clear the waste they found. Apart from the fact that we are grateful for this act of kindness, it’s great to see partnership in action.

In other news, I was delighted to find out that Bury Council had been shortlisted for the Innovative Access to Public Services Award in the iNetwork Awards for the Bury Directory and Quality of Life Wheel — although we didn’t win it was brilliant that we were recognised.

Both are key examples of tools that focus on signposting people to neighbourhood based support as opposed to costly statutory services.

What is particularly good about them is that they enable people to take charge of their own health by providing everything they need to know in one place.

And don’t forget out about the Bury Lifestyle Service which covers all aspects of our health and well-being and provides advice and support from cutting back on smoking and drinking, to improving our diet and physical activity.

I’m always delighted to hear from you about ways to improve life in Bury, and please let me know about events in your neighbourhoods that would maybe benefit from my support and I will do my best to attend them.

Cllr Rishi Shori

Leader of Bury Council