District adopts 10-year climate change strategy with initial £1million funding 

Cllr Louise Pepper, UDC portfolio holder for the Environment and Green Issues, at the charge point on Saffron Walden Common

Cllr Louise Pepper, UDC portfolio holder for the Environment and Green Issues, at the charge point on Saffron Walden Common - Credit: R4U

A 10-year climate change strategy for the district has been given the green light - with a £1 million budget for the first three years.

A cross-party council meeting has approved the Uttlesford Climate Crisis Strategy 2021-2030 and the next round of funding. 

The move comes as part of a wider eco-agenda for the district, which has encouraged tree planting proposals from town and parish councils. They will be planted in Clavering, Felsted, Great Chesterford, Hadstock, Saffron Walden, Thaxted, Wendens Ambo, Great Dunmow and Hatfield Heath.  

R4U councillor Louise Pepper, who is also UDC's environmental and eco portfolio holder, said: “Anyone who knows me knows I am passionate that we play our part in tackling the effects of the climate emergency we face.

"We have been supported by the excellent work by council officers. The adoption of the strategy and funding allows the council to move forward at pace – and it is a key deliverable from R4U’s manifesto. 

£1m is a significant budget for a council of UDC’s size and it has been made possible due to new income that UDC has generated as a landlord from its successful commercial property portfolio.”

The money comes from property investment from previous years.

Cllr Pepper added: “The council’s strategy focuses on reducing emissions as well as making systemic and lifestyle changes to meet the district’s 2030 carbon net-zero target.

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“Those who have been following will know that climate change activities have been underway for some time, such as tree planting. One of our goals is to plant 90,000 trees - one for every Uttlesford resident.” 

Lib Dem Cllr Ayub Khan said: "From the Lib Dems perspective, we are pleased that the climate strategy has been announced.

"The issue is, two and a half years on we don't have an action plan. It would tell us what we would and where in the district we would spend the money on. It's not unreasonable to ask what has the administration been doing to meet these carbon reduction targets.

"We agreed with declaring a climate change emergency in 2019 because we think it's really important, but there's been no action ever since. There are no clear deliverables, no clear outcomes."

READ ALSO: Uttlesford District Council to invest £1m in climate change initiatives