CHERWELL District Council plans to allocate hundreds of thousands of pounds to tackle climate change.

Its executive committee has proposed a ‘green investment budget’ in an attempt to help it become carbon neutral by 2030.

The budget includes money being invested into things such as LED lights, new woodlands and electric charging points, but it could come with a 3.86 per cent council tax rise.

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The budget proposed also comes with a rise of 20p per hour to park in Bicester and changes to prices on Sundays in Banbury and Bicester.

Conservative Councillor Dan Sames said: “As portfolio holder for clean and green, I fully support the Green Investment Budget to aid our bid to become carbon neutral. There will of course be further measures developed as part of our action plan.”

The council hopes to allocate £250,000 (£50,000 for each year over the next five years) to ensure it continues to respond to climate change ‘with pace’.

Sixty-nine thousand pounds is proposed to be set aside in 2020/21 to reduce energy consumption across the council ‘s buildings by replacing traditional lighting with LED lamps.

The Burneyhyll Community Woodland project would get £80,000 in 2021/22, rising to £230,000 by 2023 for development between Chesterton and Bicester.

This would include archaeological surveys, public access footpath work, signage, gates park furniture and tree planting.

Cherwell also plans to reduce its carbon footprints at its car parks as it wants to put £125,000 into funding low-energy LED lighting and electric charging points.

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Councillor Tony Ilott, Cherwell’s lead member for finance, said: “This is a green investment budget with a strong emphasis on issues that will help us become carbon neutral as a council by 2030.

“We aim to achieve this while maintaining our longstanding track record at Cherwell District Council of ensuring our own house is in order before passing costs onto residents. That is why this is only our second Council Tax rise since 2009.

“There are great uncertainties as regards the future funding of local government and we and many other councils are keen to hear more about what central government has in mind. However we have certainty for the next financial year.

“Our proposed Council Tax increase is less than 10p per week for a Band D property. Raising Council Tax is always something we do reluctantly. However this helps us continue to deliver high-quality services to our residents.”

The council would also spend £24,000 on installing 60 street recycling bins.

Labour Cherwell councillor Sean Woodcock is critical of it increasing council tax and car parking charges.

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He said: "This budget reflects years of incompetence on the part of Cherwell District Council. They grew complacent on money from housebuilding and warehouse development all the while dodging the difficult decisions. Now they've turned to taxpayers and motorists to bail them out.

"As for their 'green budget', their record shows that they talk the talk but do not walk the walk. They failed to support divestment of council pensions in fossil fuels and continue to tacitly support an environmentally devastating expressway with their silence."

The new council tax rate will be considered by a full meeting on February 24.