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Bernwood Ward By-Election 2022

As there were no public ‘hustings’ for the election of a councillor for our ward on the Buckinghamshire Council, we put a number of questions to each candidate on matters of interest to Zero Carbon Haddenham. The questions were as follows:

  1. If elected, what further concrete actions will you push for Bucks Council to take to tackle its own carbon footprint and carbon emissions across the county?
  2. What specific measures would you like to see taken in Haddenham and the county as a whole to reduce car dependency and increase the uptake of electric vehicles?
  3. What measures will you lobby for to improve biodiversity and safeguard the natural world?
  4. What steps have you taken in your own life to reduce your carbon footprint and safeguard the natural environment?

Two responses were received – from the Green party and Liberal Democrat candidates and a belated response from the Conservative Party candidate. No response was received from the Labour Party candidate.

David Hughes – Conservative Party

“These are just a few of my first thoughts I would be proactive in following,
– Push the Council to procure only green energy, slashing the carbon tonnage emitted.
– Call for a review of the buildings to ensure heating and air con are used only where necessary.
– Put solar panels across Council buildings where possible including car park roofs
– Be creative on employment practices and, where there is evidence that working from home can be achieved without compromising delivery and productivity, encourage fewer journeys for the 4000+ staff at the Council.
– Deliver the planting of a tree for every resident in the County
– Pioneer the Local Nature Recovery Strategy allowing for biodiversity net gain to be implemented as locally as possible.”

Richard Torpey – Green Party

I have been concerned about the slow pace at which Bucks council proposed, consulted on and then adopted a Climate Change strategy and I have urged them to move further and faster. One aspect of this is measuring and reducing its Scope 3 carbon emissions. These are those that the organisation is indirectly responsible for as a result of its activities, in its supply chain and its waste stream. A second issue is burning waste, for example at Greatmoor. This creates huge quantities of CO2 and the Council needs to reduce this primarily by identifying ways in which its leadership can encourage residents to put less in their bins. This is an enormous and complex issue not to be underestimated and the Haddenham Repair Cafe is just one example of working to contribute to this goal.

Haddenham is fortunate in having excellent public transport options to London, Birmingham, Oxford and Aylesbury. Other Bernwood villages are less fortunate and better bus services are vital to them. Cycling and walking options are crucial and the triangle of links between Long Crendon, Haddenham
and Thame needs to be progressed. Bucks needs to be more ambitious in developing the EV charging network – including mandating private or shared charging points in all new housing developments. Shared ownership/use through EV car clubs can make a great contribution too.

I believe that protection of nature and its diversity is really important. It is vital to work with organisations who know more about this very complex area than I do. BBOWT is just one example; the council should engage, listen, learn and act with such organisations. If elected I will do so.

Each of our lives is unique and actions possible for one person are not always possible for others. I work hard to inform myself about the most significant things I can do. I eat a largely vegan diet, trying to eat seasonal, local foods and I grow lots myself. I cycle locally and use public transport where I can or an electric car if necessary for longer journeys. My holidays are largely walking and cycling in the UK or Northern France and I don’t fly.

Sue Lewin – Liberal Democrat

  1. If elected, what further concrete actions will you push for Bucks Council to take to tackle its own carbon footprint and carbon emissions across the county?
    I am aware of the campaign to stop the council investing in fossil fuels, so this would get my support.
    I would like to see new houses built with PV cells, I don’t know why this couldn’t be part of the planning process. (In fact I don’t know why it isn’t a national requirement that new houses come fitted with energy making/saving systems)
    I would push for more tree planting and recycling, more council vehicles to be electric and to expand the cycle path network.
  2. What specific measures would you like to see taken in Haddenham and the county as a whole to reduce car dependency and increase the uptake of electric vehicles?
    The answer has to be a massive increase in safe cycling and walking routes. Particularly between villages and rail stations and between residential areas and schools. More infrastructure for electric cars on housing developments (as well as PV cells to produce the electricity to charge them.) I think electric cars are way beyond a lot of budgets (including mine!) Perhaps subsidising leasing of them would be a way forward (talking about an ideal world here of course)
  3. What measures will you lobby for to improve biodiversity and safeguard the natural world?
    Locally we need to ensure not only the protection of green spaces but the creation of linking corridors. BBOWT have successfully bought meadowland recently to do this north of Ludgershall. Small scale projects like this need encouragement and support and hopefully funding.
  4. What steps have you taken in your own life to reduce your carbon footprint and safeguard the natural environment?
    I try to cycle whenever it is possible (not always possible due to my location), I got rid of my car this year and share a my husband’s. I use a motorbike with higher mpg, also when possible. I would use local buses but I don’t have one! I do all the recycling I can (I get annoyed that people forget that reduce and reuse should come first!)
    We had solar panels for hot water fitted about 20 years ago so avoid using oil in the sunnier months.