Top Residents for Uttlesford councillors switch to The Green Party
PUBLISHED: 13:49 14 October 2019 | UPDATED: 14:05 14 October 2019
A group of Residents for Uttlesford (R4U) councillors who held senior positions at Uttlesford District Council (UDC) have switched to The Green Party, it has been announced today.
The three councillors making the switch are Paul Fairhurst, councillor for Saffron Walden Shire and former portfolio holder for business, economy, jobs, investment and strategy; youth Services and Barbara Light, councillor for Saffron Walden Audley and portfolio holder for education and libraries; culture, heritage and tourism and Anthony Gerard, councillors for Newport and portfolio holder for residents and community partnerships; police and emergency services. All three were appointed to the prominent positions after R4U swept to power in the May district council elections.
This is the first time the Green Party have been represented in Uttlesford at a district level.
The defections leave R4U with a majority of 23 and the Green Party close behind the Conservatives, who have four councillors.
The switch stems from The councillors' decision to focus on national interests, they said.
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In an open letter, the new group of Green councillors said: "The current climate emergency is of such importance to us all, particularly in Uttlesford. We believe it is right to focus our time strongly on this issue and we can do this better through a closer alignment with the global green movement and a national Green Party."
Cllr Dr Barbara Light said: "Protecting our natural heritage and achieving a sustainable climate and ecology demands a national and global focus. By joining the Green Party, we will bring the district into this debate and represent residents in this important issue at this critical time."
John Lodge, chair of R4U and majority council leader at UDC said: "At R4U we're proud of the environmental programmes we have delivered, including declaring a climate change emergency, implementing refillable water fountains, replacing a council vehicle with an electric one in Saffron Walden, and planting trees. We'd like to thank Barbara, Anthony and Paul for the work they have done on these and other initiatives as part of our team. While our focus is to put residents first on a whole range of issues, we understand and respect their decision for an even greener Uttlesford. We look forward to working with the new Green councillors to do even more."
Sian Berry co-leader of the Green Party said: "We are excited to have such a strong team of green champions as the first Green Party councillors on Uttlesford District Council. This builds on the success of winning our first Green Party Saffron Walden Town Councillor in May, as part of a Green Wave across the country which saw new councillors on more than 50 district, borough and city councils. This all provides a firm springboard for the general election."
This year the Green Party of England and Wales won record gains in local elections, grew its presence in Parliament, reached 50,000 members, and gained four new MEPs in the European Parliament. The Green Party saw its best ever local election results in its 46 year history this year. The Green Party already had a record 178 councillors and on May 2 the Greens leapt to 362 councillors on 122 councils.