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

R4U Councillor Louise Pepper

R4U Councillor Louise Pepper - Credit: Archant

Uttlesford District Council is set to invest £1m in climate change initiatives over the next three years - but it needs help with sustainable travel from Essex County Council.

R4U Councillor Patrick Lavelle

R4U Councillor Patrick Lavelle - Credit: Archant

Uttlesford District Council is set to invest £1m in climate change initiatives over the next three years - but it needs help with sustainable travel from Essex County Council.

Great Dunmow North district councillor, Louise Pepper told Great Dunmow Town Council that rural communities experience several travel problems, including narrow roads, limited footpaths and poor cycling opportunities.

She said that transport last year was responsible for the majority of CO2 emissions in Uttlesford, but that residents cannot become less car dependent without “safe and sustainable options”.

“My climate group of local residents, have all expressed that cycling in areas like Dunmow, Saffron Walden, Thaxted and Stansted Mountfitchet isn’t safe.


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“We can change this by making improvements to our existing cycle lanes, seeking new cycling options that could join up with new developments and towns; wider footpaths for mums with buggies, small children on scooters and for the elderly and vulnerable; allowing new and existing residents to walk and cycle safely to school, to work and the shops.”

Councillor Stuart Withington, also the vice chair of The Flitch Way Action Group, said he had received a letter from Saffron Walden constituency MP Kemi Badenoch, which said the government’s investment in sustainable infrastructure is not for rural projects.

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Cllr Pepper replied that rural districts provide more funding to Essex County Council than other Essex areas. She added: “I think we provide £40 million to ECC. We can’t become more sustainable unless we get more funding from ECC to do more cycle lanes and footpaths.”

Great Dunmow South district and town Cllr Patrick Lavelle agreed with Cllr Pepper, and added: “We pay them (ECC) a significant amount more in fees than they spend on our district. We are trying to ensure, particularly in transport, that we get the appropriate funding.”

Following the meeting, Cllr Pepper said that public transport is another “major issue” in rural areas.

She said: “Buses are infrequent and trains are overcrowded and expensive. We need better and cheaper services to encourage increased usage.”

She expressed enthusiasm towards a collaboration between UDC and ECC to secure sustainable travel strategies and funding.

Following the town council meeting, Cllr Pepper pursued the issues in a meeting with County Councillor Simon Walsh and director of environment and climate change action Samantha Kennedy.

They are now working together to find solutions.

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