The Bishop’s Stortford Climate Group was formed in December 2015 as as response to the hope and concern generated by the International Climate Change talks in Paris. We aim to raise awareness of climate change on a local and national level and to help local people, businesses and government to take positive action to reduce the dangers of climate change. Since climate change is predicted to, or already is, affecting every aspect of our lives there is huge scope for effective action. We aim to choose issues that we can effectively influence, and which are local but have a wider impact and to work with other community groups where appropriate.
Our current priorities are:
- to support East Hertfordshire Council to introduce tighter development approval criteria, for example through a Supplementary Planning Document
- to help schools address climate change by reducing their use of fossil fuels, improving their waste management and through their educational activities
- to support tree planting in the area
- to engage public directly on the need to address climate change and how they can personally make changes
- to work with councils and other local groups to support sustainable travel, for example through provision of additional facilities and information to promote walking and cycling
New ideas for action are always welcome.
We hold meetings each month to review progress on our projects, to set priorities for taking action, and to discuss new ideas. Anyone is welcome to join the meetings to see what we do, make suggestions for new activities or to help with our plans.
Local elections 2021
For the local elections in May 2021 we canvassed the views of candidates standing for the county and district councils.
Meetings with our MP
We have met with Julie Marson MP several times, and most recently ahead of COP26, to press for greater commitment to tackling climate change. Although there are positive developments from government, we are concerned that the pace of change is far too slow. We have discussed local issues with Julie Marson to seek support for our projects and for the Community Climate Gathering.
Engaging the council
We ask public questions at the full council meetings in East Herts to ensure that climate change issues are raised. We also contribute to the East Herts Environment and Sustainability Forum and the Hertfordshire Climate Change and Sustainability Partnership.
We are working with Bishop’s Stortford and East Herts councils to identify a site for a community orchard. There are two sites under review at the moment and we hope to get one these adopted ready for planting next autumn..
We are pressing the local councils to develop cycling routes and infrastructure within the town. The current main focus in on a route from The Causeway to the Red White and Blue pub. These highway changes are costly and difficult to implement in Bishop’s Stortford so we are now considering options for a 20 mph speed limit that would allow vehicles and bikes to share the same road space.
We respond to planning applications for large-scale developments. In 2021, we submitted responses to support the solar farm at Wickham Hall, with suggestions for improvements, and to object to the proposals for new housing at Gilston as the application does not give a credible analysis to show that the development will reach net zero carbon.
Sustainability Supplementary Planning Document
We campaigned for East Herts council to adopt higher energy efficiency and carbon emission standards for new developments, and have developed a draft Supplementary Planning Document showing the targets that East Herts could adopt.
Following this, the council developed their Sustainability Supplementary Planning Document and adopted this in March 2021.
Climate emergency petition
We promoted a petition to East Herts Council to declare a Climate Emergency. This was presented to the council meeting on 25th July 2019 where a Climate Change motion was approved.
General election 2019
For the December 2019 general election, we canvassed the candidates in the Hertford and Stortford constituency for their views on climate change and summarised the commitments in the party manifestos.