Key Air Quality Study rejected as UDC exposed for trying to ignore illegal pollution to justify mass-housebuilding in Saffron Walden

R4U) believes that UDC’s faulty Air Quality Action Plan that was rejected last week was a deliberate attempt to manufacture evidence to support a politically motivated Local Plan to allow mass-building on the east of Saffron Walden.

R4U, the second party at Uttlesford District Council, has been very critical of the way the Local Plan is being developed by the UDC administration, and in particular the evidence is being produced with the aim of supporting where R4U claim the UDC Cabinet has already decided they would like to build. Last week a key UDC document, the Air Quality Action Plan, was thrown out at a formal scrutiny review. R4U’s Cllr John Lodge pushed for the rejection of the document at the review.

John Lodge (R4U)
John Lodge (R4U)

Cllr Lodge is R4U chair and a district councillor.  R4U has become more vocal over wide-spread concerns with the Local Plan after it was revealed that cross-party meetings were cancelled, crucial evidence was missing or being supressed, and a cabinet member claimed that the plan would be based on communities taking their ‘share’ and not on evidence.

Cllr Lodge said: “This lies squarely at the feet of the UDC Cabinet. In the summer the UDC Cabinet made up its mind to try to push through mass housing development in Saffron Walden and Great Dunmow, and now it seems that this report was manipulated to create biased evidence.  This coupled with the recent discovery that UDC thinks that less than 1% of new homes are ‘worthy of consideration’ in places where Cabinet members live, and that many required Local Plan studies are missing, means that Uttlesford taxpayers are facing the very real likelihood of a second costly £2m Local Plan rejection.”

“UDC is required by government to produce an Air Quality Action Plan for Saffron Walden because air pollution is above safe and legal levels due to a failure to plan properly for the future. What was produced, for what they have been calling their ‘Conservative Local Plan’, was grossly inadequate and a crude and damaging attempt to justify new housing on the east of town by suppressing the real illegal pollution problems. Their document pretended that 2,400 new cars don’t exist from 800 houses they’ve recently approved and a further 800 they’d like to push on the town. And it avoided answering the difficult questions that DEFRA requires for such a study. Now this study has been rejected, it must be redone properly. The UDC Cabinet has shown again that they don’t learn from their mistakes, don’t act on behalf of the vast majority of residents, and can’t be trusted with the future of our towns and villages. R4U will continue to hold them to account and advocate for residents.”

About Residents for Uttlesford

Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) is the local independent party of north-west Essex towns and villages. Formed in 2014 by a number of residents’ groups, the party believes that on local issues residents should decide, not Westminster parties.

R4U is the fastest growing local political movement in its district. In 2015 it became the second party at Uttlesford District Council (UDC). In 2017 it achieved a further by-election gain with 60% of the vote. In the May 2019 Local Elections R4U gained majority control of UDC winning two-thirds of the seats. The result delivered the biggest loss of seats by any UK Conservative controlled council in the UK in those elections.

R4U’s success has been based on the desire to give local people a voice and implement long range strategic and sustainable plans for their area.

R4U is also the majority party at Saffron Walden Town Council, where under its stewardship the council has rebuilt finances, invested in community assets, and won multiple awards. It is a minority party on Great Dunmow Town Council.

Residents for Uttlesford can be found on the web at www.residents4u.org.