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East Herts Council: Green, Liberal Democrats, Labour and Conservative set out climate change plans for district





Climate change is a pressing concern at every level of government, so the Indie asked the four parties contesting control of East Herts Council in the May 4 election to outline their environmental and sustainability plans, with key issues including recycling, waste collection, renewable energy, air pollution and travel.

"Your Bishop's Stortford Conservative councillors are dedicated to making sure we have the highest-quality environmental standards in our town."
"Your Bishop's Stortford Conservative councillors are dedicated to making sure we have the highest-quality environmental standards in our town."

CONSERVATIVE

Your Conservative-run East Herts Council is putting sustainability and the environment at the heart of everything it does.

We are introducing weekly food waste collections from 2025 and will be introducing plastic film recycling.

We are pleased that £630,000 is being invested [by Herts County Council] in Bishop's Stortford Household Waste Recycling Centre to make recycling easier for households.

Air quality is improving in East Herts, including at Hockerill junction. Although there is still more work to do to reduce pollution below the level at which an Air Quality Management Area is no longer required, we will continue to invest in measures to improve air quality.

We are investing £126,000 in real-time air quality monitoring equipment and working with schools, businesses and other groups to try to reduce vehicle movements at key times.

We are encouraging use of low-emission and electric vehicles by installing more e-chargers and have among the strictest taxi emission standards in the county.

Your Bishop's Stortford Conservative councillors are dedicated to making sure we have the highest-quality environmental standards in our town.

The Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan and forthcoming District Plan offer major opportunities to encourage cycling, walking and very high building standards on new developments.

All new houses should be built with net-zero emissions in mind. All new developments should have robust plans to ensure people can get to work and the shops without having to use private cars.

There should be significant biodiversity net gain together with the inclusion of bird and bat boxes as appropriate.

"Labour will create a new transport post at the district council with a hotline to county transport, co-ordinating road schemes, utilities road works, potholes and pavement maintenance."
"Labour will create a new transport post at the district council with a hotline to county transport, co-ordinating road schemes, utilities road works, potholes and pavement maintenance."

LABOUR

Reducing environmental impact of businesses – for reducing plastic waste and increasing recycling, the focus must now expand from households to businesses. We will increase recycling services for businesses and clarify waste, reuse and recycling advice. We will encourage large businesses to use renewable energy, review packaging and decrease liquid waste into sewers and rivers.

Action plan – Labour will continue working with the East Herts Sustainability Action Plan, but develop it to encourage large businesses to change their practices, to expand energy efficiency improvements in existing older housing, to ensure no plastic waste is sent abroad.

One-less-car-trip – achieve a gradual shift from cars to cycling, walking and buses.

Walking and cycling – Labour will get the shamefully overdue Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan done, working closely with local groups who have done extensive research, and using the existing 2018 Sustrans strategy done for the town council but not implemented.

A plan for Woodside – enabling major improvement of the recycling centre alongside consolidation of the Blues football ground.

Road works co-ordination – Labour will create a new transport post at the district council with a hotline to county transport, co-ordinating county road schemes, utilities road works, potholes and pavement maintenance.

Rural environment – a joined-up policy for location of solar farms, and biodiversity in agriculture. A tree strategy with the Woodland Trust, and a river protection strategy with the Environment Agency.

"We would seek to emulate the top six local authorities in the country who have the best rates of recycling. They are all run by Liberal Democrats!"
"We would seek to emulate the top six local authorities in the country who have the best rates of recycling. They are all run by Liberal Democrats!"

LIBERAL DEMOCRAT

Sustainability and the environment – these issues are most important to us. Climate change is a real threat and, together with threats to biodiversity, constitutes a growing emergency.

We would continue to focus on the target of net-zero carbon emissions from the district council by 2030.

We would maintain our pressure on the council's executive to ensure that the existing action plan is followed strenuously and strengthened where necessary.

We support the use of all forms of renewable energy, double glazing insulation and shutters on windows and more charging points for electric cars and would seek ways to increase provision.

We are demanding a real-time air pollution monitor for Hockerill crossroads and support additional monitoring at other hotspots.

We support the county's "anti-idling" campaign – urging drivers to switch off their car engines when they are queuing in traffic or when waiting outside schools at pick-up times.

With regard to recycling, we would seek to emulate the top six local authorities in the country who have the best rates of recycling. They are all run by Liberal Democrats! We support the weekly collection of food waste.

Green Party: "Conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity is critical for our economy and for basic resources needed to support our growing population."
Green Party: "Conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity is critical for our economy and for basic resources needed to support our growing population."

GREEN PARTY

East Herts Council has a key role to play in environmental protection.

Conservation and the sustainable use of biodiversity is critical for our economy and for basic resources needed to support our growing population.

EHC could do far more to build biodiversity on land it owns, by planting wildflower meadows, trees and hedging, building wildlife habitats.

Our local chalk streams are almost unique globally and are being destroyed by the over-extraction of water and by waste dumping by water companies. They must be protected and water use curbed.

Planning policy must constrain consumption, for example, by mandating grey water use in all new-build housing and by restricting building in areas of water scarcity like ours.

Plans to reduce residual waste and increase amounts and types of recycling are welcome. It must be matched by increasing the 25% of British recycling material converted at home. This is essential both for the reuse of materials and for building recycling into wealth creation in Britain, making it more valued.

Better, cheaper public transport is critical to reducing car use and the consequent reduction of air pollution and climate-warming gases.

Climate adaptation of these kinds delivers what the UN calls a "triple dividend". It avoids future losses, generates major economic gains through innovation and, thirdly, delivers social and environmental benefits.

This is good economic growth that benefits communities, not just wealth accumulation through environmental destruction. As our summers heat and winters get colder and wetter, we need to act now.



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