Press Release: Epping District Councillors and candidates pledge their love for Epping Forest

by Apr 18, 2023Advocacy

Today Epping Forest Heritage Trust has launched our call for all Epping Forest District councillors and candidates to pledge to show their love for the Forest in their decision-making.

Those standing for the council in Epping Forest District will be asked to promise to reflect their love for the Forest in their decision making especially in the key areas of planning, transport, air quality, the environment and climate change.

This follows a highly successful campaign across four councils (Epping Forest District, London Borough of Newham, London Borough of Redbridge and London Borough of Waltham Forest) in 2022 when 84 councillors and candidates signed the pledge.

While the Forest is owned and managed by the City of London Corporation, decisions made by the District Council have a direct impact on the health of the Forest and the ability of local residents to enjoy and benefit from it.

At a time when the general public have been both inspired by David Attenborough’s Wild Isles celebration of this country’s amazing natural world, and dismayed by the amount of it we have already lost, we will be asking all councillors and candidates standing for election to sign up to four simple promises:

  • To put my love for the Forest at the heart of my work as a local Councillor. I will demonstrate this by making it clear in all relevant decision-making that I have considered the needs of the Forest now, and for generations to come.
  • To work to reduce levels of pollution in and around the Forest by ensuring all decision making takes pollution levels into account.
  • To work to increase access to the Forest for all residents from my local area across a range of accessible and sustainable transport modes.
  • To take relevant, appropriate action to tackle climate change, and promote the vital role of the Forest in absorbing CO2 and helping to tackle the climate crisis.

At the launch event, to which all candidates were invited, Judith Adams, Chair of Epping Forest Heritage Trust said:

“Epping Forest is a very special ancient Forest which we have the luck and pleasure to live close to. It improves our health and well-being, is of huge cultural and heritage value and is ecologically important for the diversity of its flora and fauna.

However, it currently faces its biggest challenges in a generation, from adjacent development to climate change, from levels of pollution that are too high to increases in visitor numbers, from real terms cuts to maintenance budgets to damaging behaviour by some visitors.

We are launching this campaign today to raise awareness of the importance of the Forest, and in particular to highlight the role Councillors can play in their decision-making to protect and preserve the Forest for generations to come.”

Attending the event, Councillor Cherry McCredie (Epping Hemnall) from the Liberal Democrats said:

“I cannot overstate the importance of the Forest from the point of view of air quality and sustainability. Even the lichen benefits from taking care of our whole ecosystem! It is such a super place for recreation, walking – with or without dogs, sensible cycling and other great activities.”

Councillor Dave Plummer- (Waltham Abbey South West) from the Green Party said:

“I’m grateful to the Epping Forest Heritage Trust for giving candidates and councillors this opportunity to express our commitment to put Epping Forest’s ecology first.

“The four simple pledges should already be fundamental to everything our councillors do and, by extension, everything our District Council does. Unfortunately, that’s not currently the case. One notable example is the bewildering disregard for our pollinators. They are essential for sustaining our ecosystem yet the District Council persists in taking lawnmowers and hedge trimmers to their sources of pollen and wider habitat.

“I call on all candidates and councillors to sign up to the pledges, making it clear that they #LoveEppingForest.”

Labour candidate for Waltham Abbey North East Angela Ayre said:

“I love the Forest. It was particularly a life-saver during the lockdown. I feel so blessed to live so close to such a beautiful and important resource.”

Lesley Paine, candidate from Lower Sheering, and Councillor Jon Whitehouse, also from the Liberal Democrats, also attended the launch.

– Ends –

Notes for editors

  1. Epping Forest Heritage Trust is the charity dedicated to inspiring and educating people about Epping Forest, engaging people in conserving the Forest, and protecting it now and for generations to come.
  2. Epping Forest is a historic ancient Forest of over 6,000 acres, rich in biodiversity, culture and heritage, much of which is both a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and a Special Area of Conservation (SAC). It is owned and managed by the City of London Corporation as the Conservator of the Forest under the Epping Forest Act 1878.
  3. Details of and resources for the campaign can be found on the Epping Forest Heritage Trust website here.
  4. If you want to find out more about Epping Forest Heritage Trust please join us on Facebook or LinkedIn or follow us on Twitter or Instagram. If you would like to volunteer for us please check out the opportunities currently available on our website. If you would like to sign up to our newsletter please email admin@efht.org.uk.