“OFFICERS insisted they were limited to the energy policies approved in the council’s local plan”.

So this was the response to Cllr Quentin Abel’s urging of the committee to push Redrow to provide alternative heat sources to gas boilers.

Domestic boilers account for 14 per cent of all greenhouse gases in the UK – a similar level to emissions from cars, and considerably higher than the approx two per cent caused by air travel.

This *IS* something that local authorities have control over. They can refuse planning permission again and again until developers provide alternative sources of heating.

Yes, it is going to be more expensive, but long-term strategies have to start now, not tomorrow, or next year, or after 2025.

It’s distinctly questionable whether more new housing should be built in any case in places like Knutsford. There are acres of empty and derelict houses in the ‘doughnuts’ that surround every city in our country.

Public transport is better in these areas, they are closer to a greater number of jobs, and it would be much, much less expensive to build or renovate many of these properties.

The snag? People don’t want to live there because of social issues.

Better to tackle these issues and encourage people to live in areas like Stretford, Moss Side, and all the other areas surrounding Manchester rather than ducking this problem and building on valuable greenbelt that could be put back into agricultural production, further reducing food miles.

Tackling this would alleviate so many issues. Less pressure on the roads by reducing commuting, and the commensurate reduction in automotive emissions. The regeneration of the ‘doughnut’ areas around our cities, many more affordable first-time homes and much more opportunity for quality social housing rather than paying lip service to a few ‘lifetime’ homes and ‘affordable homes’ on estates where most of the houses are upwards of £250,000 putting them well beyond the reach of most ordinary first-time homeowners.

What is lacking? The will to actually make a difference. We need strong minded, visionary people in our public services, not timid bureaucrats who hide behind every small obstacle to change.

And back to the original comment regarding being limited to the council’s local plan? Change the d*mn plan!

Lisa Pritchard Knutsford