UDC calls on government for stronger powers to allow councils to act quickly on Climate Change following local youth environmental protest

After meeting with local youth climate protesters, R4U led Uttlesford District Council has committed to urging the secretary of state for more powers for local authorities for their eco-agendas, and has dedicated youth seats on the local Climate Working Group.

Last Friday a Climate Strike was held by Uttlesford students to show their desire for continued action on Climate Change. Afterwards the group were welcomed to the Uttlesford District Council offices to meet with UDC Leader Cllr John Lodge, and council chair Cllr Richard Freeman.

John Lodge (R4U)John Lodge
R4U Chair & Leader UDC

Cllr John Lodge said “We applaud the commitment our youth have in supporting this critical issue. It is clear that they want visible local action to take place. At the meeting we committed to 2 additional permanent youth seats on the council’s Climate Change Working Group, which was set up by R4U councillors at the end of last year. The working group involves a range of community members and councillors who scope, prioritise, and recommend eco initiatives to the council. It is important that the next generation are fully represented.”

R4U’s Cllr Lodge continued “We are probably the most eco-progressive council in the country. Our agenda has already started to tackle the ’Big Three’ environmental issues: air quality, biodiversity and carbon reduction. For example our landmark decision last month to refuse a huge polluting expansion of Stansted Airport, which has prevented the dumping of more than 1 million tonnes of carbon into the atmosphere every year. To put that into perspective it would require a forest 30x the size of Uttlesford to absorb it.”

Cllr Lodge concluded “Change starts at the grass roots level before Westminster takes notice, and climate protests like this help drive the agenda. Instead of more hollow targets, what we actually need from central government is responsible legislation and localised powers and budgets to enable councils to act quickly and decisively on Climate Change. After the youth climate protest I have committed to write to the new Secretary of State for the environment to demand the government do more, and I urge the protesters to do the same.”

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 took majority control of UDC by gaining two-thirds of the seats. Since then it has set about re-engineering the now award-winning council operates, rebuilding the finances and fixing how planning is done. 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.