Party vows to give young people a greater say in climate policy

PUBLISHED: 08:14 08 October 2019 | UPDATED: 08:14 08 October 2019

Before his move to The Green Party Cllr Fairhurst was portfolio holder for business, economy, jobs, investment and strategy; Youth Services . Photo: CONTRIBUTED

Before his move to The Green Party Cllr Fairhurst was portfolio holder for business, economy, jobs, investment and strategy; Youth Services . Photo: CONTRIBUTED

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Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) has announced plans increase the role young people play in forming climate change policies.

R4U Cllr Paul Fairhurst, who is a councillor for both Uttlesford District Council (UDC) and Saffron Walden Town Council, and whose portfolio includes the youth council at UDC, said: "Over the last few years young people have become more engaged with what is going on around them. Be it the UK's place in the world, or climate change, they are demanding to be heard on the issues that affect their lives and our planet."

He said that R4U is 'the local party of change' and was pursuing a series of changes aimed to give young people a stronger say in what policies were being implemented.

"Youth councillors now have a voice through a seat at the table at full council meetings; they are smarter because of increased direct support from officers and district councillors; and more of them are involved via an enlarged school engagement programme," said Cllr Fairhurst.

He added that it is not only the environment young people increasingly care about, and encouraged active involvement in various issues: "Our youth council has come of age. They have already helped shape our climate change policies. They also have lots to say on school buses, new homes, and access to local youth sports and leisure facilities," he said.

"We encourage our district's young people to be passionate about the world around them and to get involved. Just maybe we have the next Greta Thunberg right here in Uttlesford."

R4U is a local independent party for towns and villages in north-west Essex. It was formed in 2014 by residents' groups and believes residents should replace Westminster decision-makers on local issues.

By giving stronger representation of young people on climate issues and mentioning Swedish climate activist Ms Thunberg, they refer to the recent worldwide environmental campaign. In August 2018, Greta, then 15, led a solo school strike for climate, which rapidly inspired students from other countries to regularly protest. This September, the global climate strike was joined by more than four million people.

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