R4U delivers on Uttlesford Climate Change agenda and asks COP26 leaders to do the same

Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) has been working hard delivering its Climate Change agenda at the councils it leads, and expects national and international politicians to play their part at COP26.

Delivering on Air Quality, Biodiversity and Carbon Reduction

R4U’s Cllr Louise Pepper, who is the Uttlesford District Council portfolio holder for the Environment, said “The COP26 Climate Change conference is a rallying call for us all to protect our planet’s future. At R4U we promised residents we’d work hard locally to deal with Climate Change, and we’ve been delivering. Our broad-ranging ‘ABC for Life’ policy programme deals with the three biggest environmental issues, Air Quality, Biodiversity and Carbon Reduction.”

Installing Solar and Water Recycling

Louise Pepper (R4U) Louise Pepper (R4U)

“At UDC’s Chesterford Research Park we’ve proposed a low-visual-impact solar farm to make the campus self-reliant in electricity. This is a critical step on its journey to carbon net-zero. We’d like do similar at the council’s new business park in Little Canfield, where an initial investment in solar panels and water recycling is already being made. As UDC moves forward with that programme, we’re pushing for more solar, heat pumps and a biodiverse campus habitat for bees, birds and bats.”

Planting Trees

“Planting trees helps all three ‘ABCs’. We’ve pledged to plant a tree or hedging plant for every Uttlesford resident over the next decade. Through both UDC and Saffron Walden Town Council that R4U leads, thousands have already been planted and we will continue to do more.”

Lower Carbon Vehicles and Homes

“Elsewhere at UDC and SWTC, we are replacing vehicles and equipment at the end of their lives with greener alternatives wherever sensible. We are even trialling biofuels for the bin lorries and looking at solar panels for vehicle roofs. And look out for new recycling on-street bins coming soon.”

R4U’s Cllr Louise Pepper continued “Better new homes are a focus for R4U too. With the rising costs of fuel, we want the design of UDC’s vital new council housing to be low emission and cheap for residents to run. More broadly the new planning standards that we pushed through at UDC in 2020 are starting to bear fruit. For example, developers are now including EV charging points and sustainable energy systems as part of new buildings.”

Domestic Airline and Sewage Problems

“But it isn’t all positive. We have to work harder than many districts because we have a huge private-business carbon emitter housed here – Stansted Airport. UDC took a stand to fight their planet-killing expansion. We are disappointed that the government has allowed it to happen. Even worse, in last week’s budget the government cut the tax on domestic flights – which the Office for Budget Responsibility predicts will generate 410,000 more journeys by plane inside the UK even though trains are a viable, low-carbon alternative. In spite of this, we are fully committed to working positively with the airport’s owners to encourage them to step up their environmental commitments.”

“Climate change is already affecting our weather. MPs may have failed to take action to prevent the dumping of sewage into our waterways after floods, but it is unacceptable. It happened over 150 times in Uttlesford last year. We will be pushing ECC and the water companies to deal properly with this important issue.”

Cllr Pepper concluded “R4U is working hard to play its part on Climate Change at UDC and SWTC. At COP26 residents expect their national and international politicians to also do their part.”

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.