R4U commits to next phase of Eco-Agenda at UDC delivering 80,000 trees & hedges, bees, bugs and bats

R4U has committed to the next phase of its eco-programme to take action on climate change, protect and enhance Uttlesford’s natural resources and rural character, and take strong action on dealing with pollution.

Louise Pepper (R4U) Louise Pepper (R4U)

R4U’s Cllr Louise Pepper, UDC environmental portfolio holder said “Being a progressive custodian of our rural environment is one of our key commitments to residents, building on our solid track record. In July we declared a Climate and Ecological Emergency at UDC and announced our ‘ABC for Life’ policy programme as a result. ‘ABC’ commits UDC to tackling the three biggest environmental issues: Air Quality, Biodiversity and Carbon Reduction.”

“New electric vehicle charging points were launched in November. We will make charging points part of what we expect developers of new homes to provide, and as demand grows include them as part of the district’s new low-carbon communities.”

R4U’s Louise Pepper said “This weekend thousands of new hedging shrubs and trees were planted by the community in an R4U-led Saffron Walden Town Council action. It was fantastic to be a part of it. We can now confirm that UDC intends to plant more than 80,000 plants over the next decade, one for every resident of the district; working jointly with town and parish councils to identify land and dig into this exciting community initiative. Plants balance our carbon footprint, but also provide wildlife habitat and corridors for small mammals such as hedgehogs.”

Cllr Pepper continued “Trees need bees! Pollinators are an essential part of rural biodiversity. Residents may have noticed the decreased verge grass-cutting to encourage wild flowers and natural meadows. We intend to work in partnership with local parish councils to create additional bee and bug habitats, as well as locations for new bat boxes. We are also investigating how to reduce the use of pesticides on council owned land.”

“We committed to delivering even more through our eco-agenda in our Residents Manifesto. Next year we’ll provide an update about our new planning standards to create more open spaces and lower-carbon homes, increased local energy generation and use of renewables, our proposed district-wide plastics charter, and new air quality monitoring stations.”

Cllr Pepper concluded “The environment is close to my heart. I joined R4U because of the party’s extensive eco-agenda. We are the only party that can deliver what is needed locally. We are taking immediate action on climate change; conserving and enhancing our natural resources; protecting our rural character; and taking responsibility to reduce pollution. We are proud of what we are doing and I’m excited about our plans for 2020 and beyond!”

UDC Environment and Green Issues portfolio holder Louise Pepper used last weekend’s mass tree planting in Saffron Walden as the timing for the announcement. Here she is pictured at the event with fellow R4U district councillor and environmental champion Neil Reeve (Broad Oak and the Hallingburys Ward)

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’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 leads Uttlesford District Council (UDC). In its first election in 2015 it became the second party at UDC. In the May 2019 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 2021 the party won half the Essex County Council seats in Uttlesford district.

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

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