It was very disappointing to read in The Comet of a ‘climate emergency in 2019’, it has been known for several decades. Any reference to increasing biodiversity is insulting when everyone can see concrete being poured over wildlife habitats. The bold target claimed for Stevenage of carbon neutrality by 2030 is cloud cuckoo land. SBC’s only method of addressing this seems to be to force people out of their cars.
As a regular walker and cyclist myself I can see merit in reducing car usage. But in Stevenage and Hertfordshire in general the car represents a huge measure of freedom for most and is often a necessity. The Comet have published letters many letters on this topic. The problem is the Local Plan which requires the now unnecessary extra 7,600 dwellings in Stevenage (UK birth rate is now around 1.6 per couple) and is part of a Council that seems obsessed with going far beyond this, converting Stevenage into a totally urban locality from which many wished to escape. This Local Plan includes the requirement to emit more CO2, not less. The insulation standards for the new dwellings are merely to Building Regulations requirements which do not give carbon neutrality. The use of carbon saving features such as solar panels and, potentially, heat pumps has been rubbished within this plan.
We need better ideas than merely making life difficult for drivers. There is an overall issue of travel. The Stevenage Local Plan was peddled on the basis of providing accommodation for London commuters as well as locals. That was stated clearly at the hearings. Many of those commuters may now prefer to work from home, travel in less often and so have greater choice of where to live. Don’t force local people to cycle in undulating terrain in the cold and rain to the doctor, the dentist and goodness knows where else for the sake of those lost commuters.
Letter to Stevenge Comet, shortened for this website