Dunmow councillors to devise climate action plan

Dr Stuart Withington, deputy chair of Flitch Way Action Group. Picture: Stuart Withington

Cllr Stuart Withington is drafting a climate action plan for Great Dunmow - Credit: Stuart Withington

Solar panels above car parks and divestment from fossil fuels are among suggestions to reduce Dunmow's impact on the environment.

Town councillors agreed to take action to reduce its environmental 'footprint' at their meeting (Thursday, April 29).

Councillor Stuart Withington was appointed to devise an action plan.

Ideas as to how the town council can contribute more positively to the environment have been suggested.

One of the ideas raised in a working party's report included building solar panel-clad canopies over car parks to reduce "dead" spaces.

Cllr Withington said: "Attractive cantilevered roofs would give a good signal to the rest of the town that we are doing something practical."

Cllr Withington also criticised Barclays for its involvement in the fossil fuel industry.

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He suggested the council moves its bank account or write a "strong letter" to bankers for investing "pittance" into renewable energy compared with fossil fuels.

Barclays has funnelled $145bn into non-renewable industries since 2015, making it the biggest financier of fossil fuels in Europe.

When approached after the meeting, Barclays declined to comment.

Other ideas put forward by the town council included a Green Award for businesses to encourage residents to 'shop local', reducing car and food miles while supporting the local economy.

Town councillors also discussed declaring a climate emergency.

Cllr Amanda Brown, a member of a working party to tackle Dunmow's negative environmental contributions, raised concerns around other councils declaring emergencies.

Cllr Brown said: "Declaring a climate emergency is fine, but actions must go with that.

"Actions need to be sustainable and something we can all sign up to."

But Cllr Withington said the declaration would allow the town council to object to planning applications - which are discussed by Uttlesford District Council - on environmental grounds.

Cllr Withington told the council: "Many public bodies have declared a climate emergency and we are behind the curve."

Speaking to the Broadcast, Cllr Withington said the town council has a role to play in lobbying larger organisations, but his plan will focus on "action not words".