Author Archives: Councillor Jonathan Essex

Ambition needed on transport and air quality

I spent Bank Holiday Sunday reading Surrey County Council’s new draft strategies for electric vehicles and for addressing the air quality and climate impacts of transport. What do they all say? Here’s a quick summary of the new strategies, together with a few of the points I submitted in response to the consultation.

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Expanding Heathrow will harm the climate and people’s lives

Last night, the House of Commons voted to approve the Government’s Airports National Policy Statement [1]. This paves the way for a third runway at Heathrow, and signals the government’s intention to fly in the face of international climate change agreements, as well as ignoring those calling for public transport connections, air pollution and noise […]

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Green success as Surrey  County Council agrees to go “plastics free”

Last week, Surrey County Council passed a motion which I had tabled to tackle the scourge of single-use-plastics. The motion follows campaigns across the country to reduce the use of single-use plastics after programmes such as the BBC “Blue Planet II” series highlighted the damage they cause to oceans and marine life.

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DMP: We propose new development policies and object to Green Belt release

East Surrey Green Party submitted a response to Reigate & Banstead Borough Council’s Development Management Plan (DMP) Regulation 19 consolation. We do not believe that the DMP in its current form is sound. The DMP doesn’t set any density targets. If it required higher density at development sites (with different targets depending on the type […]

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Surrey County Council budget: Let’s demand better funding for Councils and invest in services for a better future

Surrey County Council’s financial problems are set to continue as a Council Tax rise of 6% was announced, as well as £66 million of spending reductions required in the next financial year. The proposals will be approved by the County Council’s Conservative Cabinet next week before all Councillors vote on the proposals at the Budget […]

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Call for investment in Stoats Nest

I am writing this on a train and I’ve just written to Crispin Blunt MP and Vic Broad, Leader of Reigate and Banstead Borough Council. I emailed them as I left Redhill on my way to Victoria. Unfortunately there is no longer a fast train service to Victoria from Redhill, it was removed as part […]

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Recycling or incineration? Surrey’s waste turning point

Would you put a bit of effort into separating out your recycling if it meant less need for incineration? Do doorstep collections work best or should residents be asked to take recycling to centres? Do you agree that we might need to build a new waste facility on the Green Belt? Choices we make now […]

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Surrey County Council plans 15% council tax hike

Surrey County Council wants to raise its Council Tax by 15% in the next financial year. The proposal will be tabled at the annual budget-setting meeting on 7 February. Any Council Tax increase of more than 2% must be put to residents to vote. So if this is agreed, a referendum will take place on […]

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Tackling homelessness locally – our response

Reigate and Banstead Borough Council recently consulted on its proposed new Homelessness Strategy. The Council’s review highlights two underlying problems that are making homelessness worse in Reigate and Banstead: increased termination of private rented tenancies, and rising rent prices and a persistent lack of affordable homes. We responded, welcoming the measures set out in their […]

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The Autumn Statement: my response

I had hopes for the Autumn Statement. The Local Government Association and Surrey County Council had talked up the massive funding gap to local councils and social care, which is making 4% a year council tax rise the new normal. And the UK government had, just a week ago ratified the Paris Climate Change Agreement. […]

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