Political grouping: Independent
Dr Sue Roberts is a member of the government-funded HERO group, set up to restore nature in Oxfordshire. She studied wild rabbits for her Oxford University doctorate, “the vanishing of our wildlife is heart-breaking - even rabbits are now on the Red List for endangered species”. She says, “Land-use change is a major reason for ecosystem collapse. Our land and homes have become commodities on the global market”.
Sue chairs Bioabundance Community Interest Company, which attempted to challenge the pushing through of the Local Plan for South Oxfordshire by the Secretary of State. “I am dismayed at the lack of influence of elected council members, within their own councils, and over planning,” she says.
“Our residents are now paying the price of an unachievable housing target”, says Sue. “Even when all our land is allocated to development, the 5-year target of 5500 homes will not be met. Neither the market nor the supply chain can take this. Already our 5y housing supply is lost, and our precious AONB is disappearing. Virgin land taken for development can never be restored for nature, or for regenerative farming. Carbon emissions from non-zero-carbon new-builds are worsening global heating.”
Sue chairs the grassroots South Oxfordshire Sustainability (SOS). SOS observe that the Plan is for four-times the number of homes that can be filled, and excess building has not reduced house prices: “turbo-charging…the South East…drives prices even higher” (Boris Johnson).
Sue chairs Green Lantern, an association of retrofit and renewables industrialists in Wantage constituency working with the local MP. Sue worked for 10 years advising householders on ecofitting their homes for energy efficiency. “We need to re-purpose our building resources for this essential retrofit task”, she says, “It would cost £1.5bn to retrofit the 60,000 homes in South Oxfordshire alone. There are opportunities for economic growth in this industry”.
Sue says, “We should take our focus away from the simplistic model of GDP growth and instead adopt Doughnut Economics: living within our planetary means and promoting social justice”.