'Take ownership of where you live' say councillors in climate crisis fight

Two people stood in front of Doctor's Pond, Dunmow

Councillors Paul Anderson and Danielle Frost. Picture: Will Durrant - Credit: Archant

Dunmow is on the frontline of the climate crisis and fighting it, town councillors have said.

From 30 new birdboxes at the recreation ground to wildflower meadows in open spaces, campaigners want to step up their efforts to improve Dunmow's environment.

The town council's Climate Emergency Working Party met for the first time in April this year and agreed it was "behind the curve" in acting to resolve a climate crisis.

Months later, councillor Danielle Frost says Dunmow is an example of how small towns can lead the way in facing up to a global crisis.

Councillor Frost said: "We want to try and do things locally because people are passionate about where they live.

"People love Dunmow's green spaces and environment.

"We want to make sure they have the resources they need to keep that going."

Cllr Frost and her colleague Cllr Paul Anderson agree that Dunmow is a town on the "frontline" of the climate crisis.

Two people - councillors Paul Anderson and Danielle Frost - in front of Doctors Pond, Dunmow

Councillors Paul Anderson and Danielle Frost at Doctors Pond, Dunmow. Picture: Will Durrant - Credit: Archant

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Five miles from Dunmow, Stansted Airport experiences levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) similar to those seen at Tower Bridge, Central London according to the government's National Atmospheric Emissions Inventory.

NO2 can impact leaf growth and - in very high concentrations - lung development.

On an average day in 2019, 2,332 HGVs - and 40,310 vehicles in total - bypassed Dunmow on the A120 according to Department for Transport statistics.

Essex was thought to have had the highest traffic levels of any UK county in 2020, something which Cllr Frost believes can be solved after small behavioural changes such as shopping local.

She said: "We want people to take ownership of where they live.

"People need the power shape their town themselves."

Cllr Anderson has called on the council to leave verges free to grow naturally.

He said: "Everything's very manicured these days with cut grass and swept-away leaves.

"If you want biodiversity - butterflies in your garden, for example - there is a life cycle and critters need to eat debris to survive."

He added: "Time is running out. We all rely on our natural environment - food, oxygen. It's got to be resolved as soon as possible."