EFTAG’s questions to candidates for the Council elections in May

We are asking all candidates in Epping Forest, at all levels of local government, these five questions, and will publish responses here as we receive them. So, candidates, we would be very grateful if you would send replies (ASAP – as much before polling day as possible) to info@eftag.org.uk.

In your responses, please be as specific as possible, and beware of answers such as ‘Transport is a county matter’, as local councillors can achieve huge amounts by making their views known to other tiers of local government.

1) As a councillor, what policies would you advocate to ensure that transport within Epping Forest is part of the solution to our climate emergency, not part of the cause? 

2) Epping Forest had a great opportunity last year to receive significant central government money to improve our active travel infrastructure, but this opportunity was missed. How will you, as a councillor, ensure Epping Forest doesn’t lose out next time?

3) There are goals for increasing the number of people cycling, but Epping Forest is still seeing houses and flats built without secure, under-cover cycle parking. How will you ensure that nobody is excluded from getting on their bike due to lack of adequate cycle storage? 

4) Across the UK, 20 mph is becoming the default speed limit in built-up residential areas, yet Epping Forest still has virtually no 20 Zones. What would be your top three priority locations for a 20 limit, in order to  encourage more people to walk or cycle? 

5) Epping Forest has long had an air pollution problem: what behavioural changes do you think we need to see in order for our local authorities to meet their legal obligations under the Air Quality Standards Regulations 2010? (You can read a full briefing about your responsibilities as a member of a local authority on the House of Commons website).

4 thoughts on “EFTAG’s questions to candidates for the Council elections in May”

  1. Thank you for sharing. Unfortunately ,I haven’t been able to attend your meetings. But I live in Sewardstone Rd, the part that comes under Essex even though my postal code is E4 7RG Since the 505 bus route has been stopped on weekdays we have no transport North of the London 215 bus route, and no pavement only exposed drains to walk on to get to the 379 bus at Yardley Lane. Transport wise, this is a totally neglected area.

  2. Thanks Barbara. Yes – that sounds really bad. Pavements round there are hard to find, and it’s a real shame the buses have been cut back so much. In the pandemic buses are being used less, so we aren’t focusing on them with these questions for candidates, but we do very much want to get back on to them as usage picks up.
    Our meetings are now all on Zoom, so I can send you the link if you like.
    Thanks for signing up for our newsletter too.

  3. LRA candidates are standing for 30 seats for the Town , District and County Council elections, so here are our answers to your questions.
    1) As a councillor, what policies would you advocate to ensure that transport within Epping Forest is part of the solution to our climate emergency, not part of the cause?

    We seek a reduction in car use, EV substitution and increased bus services

    2) Epping Forest had a great opportunity last year to receive significant central government money to improve our active travel infrastructure, but this opportunity was missed. How will you, as a councillor, ensure Epping Forest doesn’t lose out next time?

    As last time, by pressuring the Conservative administration to introduce comprehensive cycling/walking facilities, which they have ignored outside of Epping

    3) There are goals for increasing the number of people cycling, but Epping Forest is still seeing houses and flats built without secure, under-cover cycle parking. How will you ensure that nobody is excluded from getting on their bike due to lack of adequate cycle storage?
    By paying close attention to this aspect at council planning cttees

    4) Across the UK, 20 mph is becoming the default speed limit in built-up residential areas, yet Epping Forest still has virtually no 20 Zones. What would be your top three priority locations for a 20 limit, in order to encourage more people to walk or cycle?

    Loughton High Road and the three Loughton Conservation Areas

    5) Epping Forest has long had an air pollution problem: what behavioural changes do you think we need to see in order for our local authorities to meet their legal obligations under the Air Quality Standards Regulations 2010? (You can read a full briefing about your responsibilities as a member of a local authority on the House of Commons website).

    Encouraging walking to school, safer school streets, and for the Epping Forest Special Area for Conservation (SAC), by diverting new building well away from the SAC by amending the draft Local Plan, something we have pressed for and will continue to pursue.

  4. As the Green Party candidate standing for Waltham Abbey I have the following comments.

    1) Major improvements in access to public transport are essential. Waltham Abbey in particular suffers from an extremely poor bus service. I believe a bus service between Waltham Abbey and Chingford rail station would be highly beneficial. I do not support the proposed Demand Responsive Transport (DRT) solution proposed by Next – they only offer to fund it during the initial start-up period so it will disappear once the funding dries up. DRT is still a new concept and there are very few examples where it has worked successfully without public funding – as the Next DRT is mainly there to benefit the Next development permission should only be considered provided it was fully funded by Next.

    2) It would appear that Epping Forest was not represented well by the councillors concerned. It seems to me that many people treat local elections as they would a general election and vote for the party and not the person. We need more councillors at County level working for the interests of the local community and not promoting their own party line.

    3) It would be very easy to include secure cycle storage as a planning condition. Of course developers will resist as it costs them money (although I believe developers can and should include for far more measures to support sustainable transport alternatives to motor cars). As far as I can tell the Local Plan doesn’t go far enough in CIL contributions from developers to fund cycle infrastructure.

    4) I am in favour of 20mph zones outside schools. Other areas need to be considered on a case by case basis.

    5) I don’t like the phrase “behavioural changes”. This suggests the problem lies with the general publics’ behaviour and habits. People will change habits if there is an incentive to do so. If you want more take up of electric vehicles then make them the better option – at the moment cost and lack of charging facilities only make them viable for the few. People need to be given more attractive options than driving their own motor car. I lived in Chingford for 12 years and didn’t have or need a car as I had plenty of alternatives. I moved to Waltham Abbey 10 years ago and have had a car ever since.
    It is also interesting that you say Epping Forest has long had an air pollution problem. I think if you asked most people they would agree but that is not reflected in the council’s air quality report which only shows 1 Air Quality Management Area at Bell Common. However, if you were to think of the areas you know are a problem (for me that is the regular traffic queues along Woodridden Hill / Honey Lane, Meridian Way / Station Rd outside McDonalds and Sewardstone Rd in Waltham Abbey) you would find that the council do not even monitor air quality at those locations. And the council’s proposed Clean Air Zone for the forest is not designed to improve air quality but to reduce existing traffic levels to a level that will allow the additional developments forecast in the Local Plan to go ahead. This has nothing to do with helping to improve air quality – it is about letting developers make huge profits and leaving local residents to pick up the bill.

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