Category Archives: News

Save money on energy bills! – Citizens Advice tips

As mild December gives way to a colder, frostier new year, Citizens Advice Oxfordshire South and Vale is encouraging people to analyse their home energy spending and take steps to cut down on fuel wastage. The charity has these tips:

 

  1. Check your bills carefully and make sure you’re on the cheapest tariff. Most energy suppliers offer fixed price tariffs, where the price of a unit of energy will remain the same for the length of the deal. Think about switching to a new supplier (for an energy prices comparison tool, go to https://energycompare.citizensadvice.org.uk). Citizens Advice has helped many people to switch successfully to a new energy supplier, so contact us to discuss your options.

 

  1. Make your home energy-efficient. Insulate lofts and walls, double-glaze your windows and use thick curtains to keep heat in. Get your boiler serviced annually. Grants are available to help with insulation: call the Energy Saving Advice Service on 0300 123 1234, Monday to Friday 9 am to 8 pm.

 

  1. Your central heating thermostat and your timer (or programmer) are your good friends and allies when it comes to saving money. Shave down the timings so that the boiler is only working when you need it. A thermostat temperature of 20 degrees is adequate for most homes.

 

  1. Try an online Home Energy Check at www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/resources/tools-calculators

 

  1. For those who qualify, various grants and discounts are available to help with bills: the Warm Home Discount https://www.gov.uk/the-warm-home-discount-scheme and the Winter Fuel Payment https://www.gov.uk/winter-fuel-payment

 

  1. Sign on to the Priority Services Register if you’re of pensionable age, disabled or chronically sick. The scheme gets you extra energy services free of charge. Visit https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk for further information.

 

For more help and support, contact Citizens Advice in person or on Adviceline (03 444 111444). For locations of offices and opening hours see www.citizensadvice.org.uk/local/oxfordshire-south-vale

 

Waste Collections

The snow last Friday (1 February) caused unsafe driving conditions for our waste trucks so we decided to cancel our waste collections on that day for the safety of other road users, pedestrians and our waste crews.

We will begin catching up today (4 February). Unfortunately this will have a knock-on effect on waste collections for the rest of the week.

We are asking residents to leave their bins out on their scheduled collection day, but if the bins are not emptied on that day then please could they leave them out for three days from their scheduled collection day.

Communications

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse District Councils

Tips that could keep you safe: Driving in snow and ice

Most of us have very little experience of driving in extreme conditions, such as snow, so we need to take some time to consider how it affects our driving. That’s why, Oxfordshire County Council Fire and Rescue Service is advising drivers to take extra care this winter.

 

Andy Ford, Road Safety Manager, Oxfordshire County Council’s Fire and Rescue Service, said: “Plan ahead, monitor the weather forecasts and weather warning in your area. Take into account potentially longer travel times and be prepared for delays and disruption.

 

“Ensure your car has enough oil and water, check your windscreen wipers and washer bottle, clear all your windows so you can see and make sure that your battery is in good condition. And it’s also very important to check your tyres are in good condition and have more than the minimum tread depth. Remember to drive to the conditions; stopping distances can be more than ten times longer on snow and ice.”

 

A single journey may go through a range of very different weather, road and traffic conditions, so drivers need to be prepared for each one. This means adapting the way we drive. Drivers need to be prepared for the possibility that they may get stuck in the snow.

 

Do you have a shovel in the boot? Have you got a blanket or extra coat with you in the vehicle? Got a drink with you, preferably a hot one? Don’t forget to make sure your phone is charged up before you leave, in case you get stranded and need to contact loved ones or the emergency services.

 

Before you go out ask yourself, do you absolutely have to make the journey and is driving the only option?

 

If you have to travel, keep the following items in your car in case you get stuck.

 

  • ice scraper
  • de-icer
  • blanket
  • jump leads
  • shovel
  • decent footwear
  • first aid kit
  • hazard warning triangle
  • torch
  • high visibility jacket

 

These are our top tips to stay safe if you face ‘snowmaggedon’:

 

  • Check the weather before setting off. Remember road surfaces are a couple of degrees colder than air temperature and untreated roads could still be icy even if your car isn’t

 

  • Completely clear all your windows and mirrors of ice and make sure all of your windows are demisted and not just a small area

 

  • Leave plenty of space between you and the car in front. It can take twice as long to stop on wet roads and ten times longer to stop in icy ones

 

  • Check your tyres – ACT – Air pressure, Condition and Tread depth at least once a month. In rain, ice and heavy snow, the more grip you have the better

 

  • Ensure your lights are clean and working

 

  • Ensure your front and rear wipers are in good condition and the washer bottle is full with water and screen wash

 

  • Check that your battery is fully charged

 

  • If the weather is really bad you may want to keep an extra blanket, water, shovel and wellington boots in your car

 

  • Don’t forget your kit: ice scraper, de-icer, hazard warning triangle, torch, high visibility jacket and blanket

 Have a safe journey

Here’s more advice on Winter safetysafe journeys and how to keep safe and warm

 

Become a Councillor

FARINGDON TOWN COUNCIL is calling on residents, passionate about their community to stand in the local elections in 2019.

What do councillors do?

Councillors are the champions of their community and give residents a voice on the decisions the council makes. Becoming a councillor will allow you to make a real difference in your community by engaging with residents, local groups and businesses to find out their needs; making decisions on which services and projects the council should take forward; and getting involved locally to ensure the services are meeting your community’s needs.

How long does it take?

The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) Local Councillor Census Survey found that councillors put aside, on average, three hours a week for council work. This often includes attending meetings, engaging with residents and speaking on behalf of the council to other bodies.

Can I stand?

There are only a few rules to stand for election. You must be:

  • A British citizen, or a citizen of the Commonwealth, or the European Union
  • 18 years of age or older
  • Live in an area that is served by a local council

To find out more visit:

http://faringdontowncouncil.gov.uk/election-2019/

 

Call Citizens Advice consumer helpline when you hit problems!

It’s time for the January sales – and to the tired shopper it seems as if the whole country is mobilised in some civil emergency, pouring along the pavements, off buses and into the shops in search of reduced goods. And inevitably everyone else is in competition with you as you swing your loaded shopping bags through the driving snow, pushing the melting slush with your boots, weariedly shlepping from one shop to another, trying to beat closing time, longing for cappuccino… does it sound familiar?

 

But although the seasonal ordeal might be draining all your energy and enthusiasm, you can still shop with confidence, knowing that the Citizens Advice helpline is there to help you if you have a consumer problem – if you need to return faulty goods, if you’ve bought something fake or counterfeit, or if something you’ve ordered hasn’t arrived.

 

The Citizens Advice consumer helpline (03454 040506) is open Monday to Friday 9 – 5 (closed bank holidays). Advisers will answer your call, explaining how you can pursue your claim. They cannot make a complaint or take legal action on your behalf but they can give you practical and impartial advice, explain the law which applies to your situation, and also pass complaints to Trading Standards for you.

 

Before you call the helpline, prepare by jotting down the factual details of your problem, such as when you paid for the item or service; how much you paid; how you paid; the seller’s name and address; and what you have done so far to resolve the issue.

 

Citizens Advice can also be contacted in person during opening hours or on Adviceline (03 444 111444). For locations of offices and opening hours see www.citizensadvice.org.uk/local/oxfordshire-south-vale

 

 

Oxfordshire best performing county council in England for its recycling rate

Oxfordshire has been named the best performing county council waste disposal authority in England for its recycling rates during 2017/18. The success reflects Oxfordshire County Council’s commitment to work with districts to protect the environment.

Figures published on Tuesday 11 December by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) show that Oxfordshire is the highest performing disposal authority, ahead of Buckinghamshire and Cambridgeshire.

Oxfordshire is ‘top of the pops’ in two categories:

  • The highest proportion of waste which is reused, recycled and composted (57.2%)
  • The lowest amount of general waste (non-recyclable waste) produced per household (430kg).

Councillor Yvonne Constance, county council member for the environment, said

“I would like to commend our residents who take the time to recycle. Oxfordshire councils provide a comprehensive range of services to encourage recycling, but it is only through people doing their bit and using these services correctly that we’re able to perform so well in recycling and reducing waste.”

All Oxfordshire Councils recycled over 50% in 2017/18, (the national recycling rate is 45%).  Oxford City is one of the best performing cities in England, and Oxfordshire district councils are three of the top four best performing councils in the South East.

Oxfordshire residents are not only great at recycling, but also very good at not producing waste in the first place.  Each person produces around 420kgs of waste (recyclable and non- recyclable) each year. Funded by the County Council, Oxfordshire’s Community Action Groups (www.CAGoxfordshire.org.uk) support communities to take action across the county on a wide range of environmental topics, including waste, transport and energy.

There are also Oxfordshire-wide food waste recycling collections. Food that can’t be eaten is converted to renewable energy and compost, meaning big benefits for the environment and savings for the council. Only around half of councils in England offer this service, and this year Oxfordshire councils collected the highest level of food waste yet, up 16.9% (compared to a 12.4% rise nationally). The councils want to do better though, and know that around a quarter of the general waste bin is food waste that could have been recycled.

The county has seven Household Waste and Recycling Centres (HWRCs) that provide recycling facilities for a wide range of items, from batteries to clothes, fridges to plastic garden furniture.  They accept over 350 different waste streams, recycling around 60% of the waste accepted.

“We’re not complacent,” says Councillor Constance. “Oxfordshire councils are working together to build on our success. We’re determined to further reduce waste and recycle even more. Everyone can play their part.

“Check your local council website; make sure you’re recycling everything you can. Look for tips on how to reduce the amount of waste your household produces. Help us to stay top of the pops!”

For further information about Oxfordshire County Council’s Household Waste Recycling Centres, visit www.oxfordshire.gov.uk/waste