Two councillors have been officially appointed to lead the Climate Emergency programme across Epping Forest following last week’s Cabinet meeting.

Councillor Nigel Bedford was confirmed as the primary member for Climate Emergency while Councillor John Philip is to act in conjunction a joint member.

The decision comes after Epping Forest District Council was advised at their November 2019 to appoint a leader concerning increasing environmental issues.

During the first Cabinet meeting of 2020 on Monday, January 6, Cllr Bedford said: “We are tapping into it from two directions so the local plan on one side and I will be doing the other side, with regards to the work already put in place

“We are hoping to hold a small conference about the Green Arc about the tree planting we want to get under way going forward.”

Cllr David Wixley expressed concern of the number of proposed trees across the district, with only 120 street trees outlined to be planted.

He said: “I believe there is scope for more street trees because 120 and the population of the district is around 131,000, so its less than one tree per person it doesn’t seem particularly good.

“I wondered if we were working closer working between the two portfolio holders.”

Cllr Bedford responded saying that the two portfolios should be kept together and agreed there is opportunity to boost more trees.

He noted that any trees planted will be about 15 to 20 feet, already mature and no more than 18 inches tall.

Epping Forest Guardian:

Epping Forest District Council declared the Climate Emergency in November 2019

“It’s no good putting that in the road as they will get kicked to pieces in a matter of days if planted,” he said. “There are loads of opportunities for trees to go in, our biggest issue is resources.”

Between April 2018 – 2019 1,261 trees were planted across the district to begin tackling climate change.

Cllr Cherry McCredie also repeated her concerns with planting imported trees in the area and upkeeping the correct after care.

She said: “We don’t want to import more disease.

“We do have a problem in the forest with the oak processionary as some of the Oak trees that have been imported I believe in Belgium have this processionary.

“We do need to make sure we have appropriate trees in the right areas and the right after care so that they do not die.”

Green Party Councillor Steven Neville also noted that quicker action would need to be done to meet the Climate Emergency 2030 deadline.

He said: “As much as trees will be a part of it, they do have a delayed affect combating climate change.

Cllr Philip responded that the district aims to tackle climate change globally in any way the district council can do.

He said: “We are moving in the right direction, we are also looking to improve including air quality. We don’t just look at it from one point of view.”