Greens are the only local party to oppose the policy of growth at all costs. Cambridgeshire’s authorities are currently operating under massive uncertainties created by COVID, Brexit and shifting central Government priorities. We are also awaiting firm plans from the water companies on how demand is to be met in the future. Greater Cambridge is already committed to thousands of new jobs and houses in the adopted 2018 Local Plans – more than enough to meet demand according to latest projections. It makes no sense to expand and accelerate the house building programme, as is currently proposed in the draft Local Plan. Rather than scrabbling to keep up with outdated projections of growth in our region, we must plan for the future we actually want.
Priority should be given to investing in existing communities rather than new development. Any new developments should be based on local need and ideally involve future residents in their design. New settlements must be more than ‘low carbon’: they must provide local services and low-carbon transport options to enable emission reductions across the region. ‘Net zero’ buildings must mean more than minimising day-to-day emissions: the carbon costs of construction, the embodied carbon in building materials, and the loss of carbon stocks from destroying soils, vegetation or existing structures, must be taken into account. Wherever possible, existing buildings should be renovated rather than demolished and rebuilt. Buildings must be habitable in the face of a climate that has increasingly extreme weather events, including insulation to the highest building standards.