UDC Planning Committee puts residents first in landmark refusal of 150 houses in Newport on the grounds of air quality

Residents for Uttlesford (R4U), the local party of towns and villages, has welcomed the recent landmark planning refusal of 150 additional homes in Newport on the grounds of impact to the countryside setting and increase in air pollution. Further to this decision it has called on the district council to release pollution data for all the communities across Uttlesford.

On Wednesday 9th May the UDC Planning Committee refused planning permission for Countryside Properties to build 150 houses on farmland just outside the permitted development boundary in Newport. UDC’s pollution readings, presented at the hearing, showed high levels of polluting Nitrogen Dioxide in the centre of Newport. This was also confirmed by the Countryside Properties consultant’s report which admitted that the levels would be illegal if the homes were built.

Neil Hargreaves (R4U) Neil Hargreaves (R4U)

R4U’s Cllr Neil Hargreaves said “Residents elected us to stand up for them and we have. R4U district councillors led a coalition of the Newport Parish Council, local residents, and planning consultants to deliver solid evidence that the proposed 150-house development would increase already illegal levels of pollution in the village. The law does not allow this. We’d like to thank all those who attended the UDC Planning Committee to lend their support – and the members of the Planning Committee who probed to understand the evidence before rejecting the application by a resounding 9 votes to 1. They refused it because of the illegal pollution it would cause, the environmental damage and destruction of our countryside. Concerns were also expressed about unsafe road proposals.”

Judy Emanuel (R4U) Judy Emanuel (R4U)

Speaking at the planning refusal, Newport Parish Councillor Judy Emanuel said “Air pollution triggers heart attacks and strokes and exacerbates respiratory conditions including asthma. We have a legal duty of care to protect the health and safety of existing and future residents across our communities. A study by the Royal College of Physicians estimated that it was linked to 40,000 premature UK deaths every year.”

R4U’s Cllr Neil Hargreaves added “The last set of pollution figures published by UDC officers were for 2016. That is unacceptable. If it hadn’t been for the perseverance of the Newport Parish Council and R4U, we would never have known how bad it is. It is worrying is that although extensive monitoring is done in Saffron Walden, where safe pollution levels are already breached, there are no published figures for Dunmow or Newport. And the Environmental Health Officer at UDC acknowledged that Stansted Mountfitchet has worse pollution than Newport. R4U councillors have now asked UDC officers to release all the most up-to-date pollution readings for the whole district. Residents should not have their health and that of their families put in danger because UDC is sitting on this important data that affects those living in our towns and villages.”

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