Senior councillor welcomes strengthened environment bill and its benefits to Harlow
News / Sun 5th Sep 2021 at 08:30am
HARLOW’S lead councillor for the environment has welcomed new government commitments to protect the environment for future generations.
Last week (27 August) the government announced amendments to strengthen its Environment Bill. The Bill will bring forward action to address environmental challenges including biodiversity loss, climate change, waste and pollution of the air, water and land all of which are of interest to residents living in the town.
Councillor Alastair Gunn, Harlow Council’s cabinet portfolio holder for environment, said: “I very much welcome the amendments to the Environment Bill as I believe these will bring benefits to protecting Harlow as the town grows and develops. Harlow’s natural environment enhances residents’ quality of life and we must protect it. The amendments include commitments to leave a richer, more sustainable environment for future generations by setting a legally-binding target to halt species decline by 2030.”
“There are also measures to crack down on pollution in our rivers and waterways through a new requirement for water companies to monitor the water quality impacts of their sewage discharges and to publish this information. Sadly, Harlow has suffered from problems on this in recent months which the Council is working closely with Thames Water on.”
A review of legislation will also take place which would require Sustainable Drainage Systems on new developments to be constructed to a higher standard, reducing the pressure on the sewage system. This is particularly important in preventing water entering foul sewers; reduce surface flooding; improve biodiversity, and improve associated carbon emissions. Harlow Council will work with organisations such as Thames Water and the Environment Agency to ensure Harlow’s landscape and waterways are protected.
Councillor Gunn, added: “The timing of the announcement comes at a crucial time for the Council when we are due to shortly announce our key pledges and actions in tackling climate change and protecting the environment. Next Thursday (9 September) I will be presenting to Cabinet a new carbon management plan which will set out new targets including achieving Net Zero carbon emissions by 2040. This will be followed in November where I will be bringing to Cabinet a new biodiversity strategy, which will include targets and actions to halt and reverse biodiversity loss and enhance and protect our natural environment.”
Does this mean they won't be building a road through the River Stort and the nature reserves? It's all we got left in Harlow as they've built on all the rest of what we had.🤬🕷🕸
They ripped out a hedge in bushey croft last week, so much for protecting our green spaces.
Yet we'll ignore the act of environmental vandalism that will be going ahead over and around the river Stort still, yes? If this project, and those that are going on on other valuable green spaces around Harlow, are allowed to continue then this is nothing more than a hot air promise and, just like a Conservative manifest, not worth the paper it's printed on. You now have the right/moral obligation, as our representatives, to call a halt to this criminal act until it is fully reviewed using your governments new guide lines. Think you've got the back bone to do this?... Cos I don't.
I really welcome our councillors more proactive approach to protecting Harlows enviroment, Green spaces and the Stort Valley. As cllr Alastair Gunn points out, this is a crucial time for the council. The new administration clearly have many plans to transform our town,for good or ...more likely bad...much of which is contrary to enviromental pledges to reduce our carbon footprint and dependency on car ownership. None of the plans to turn Harlow into a city were electoral Pledges and if memory serves me correctly it was Conservative candidates that appealed against building in Gilden Way and west of Staple Tye. Many of us including first time Conservative voters feel betrayed, perhaps this town needs a Referendum.. failing that, our council should Conserve and maintain our town, leasure and green spaces, Repair our pot holes, improve public transport, reopen our Market Square to small businesses and most of all WAIT! Let the people of Harlow feel proud of our town again.
Fine words are mismatched by impact of the proposed second Stort Valley crossing. The threat to the Stort Valley's biodiversity, the most fragile ecosystem in and around Harlow, from the proposed Eastern Crossing does not equate to' halt and reverse biodiversity loss' by filling it with concrete and polluting cars. Whilst Harlow is set to increase its population dramatically through developments in all directions around Harlow, beautiful, natural spaces already with good biodiversity, will be even more essential to people's well-being. I really hope Harlow's councillors will act decisively on protecting our environment