TDEG – Our Election Priorities & Questions for Candidates

Two Elections

Tideswell & District Environment Group (TDEG) are aware that there are two important elections in the near future. On 2 May, there will be an election for the Mayor of the new East Midlands Combined Authority. At some point in the next twelve months, there will be a General Election. We wish to ensure our local political representatives are aware of our strongly held views on specific environmental issues. 
TDEG is not a party-political group. But we recognise that many environmental problems are affected by both local and central government decisions. We have created a list of our election priorities and questions for our local candidates – summarised below. This has been sent to all candidates, and we would be grateful if candidates would consider our concerns and respond to our queries. We will share any responses with our members before the relevant elections.

Responses can be emailed to us at

Who we are

TDEG is a local community group whose aims are to learn more about environmental issues, to take action to reduce our own environmental footprint, and to work together and with others to enhance our local environment. More information about our aims and activities can be found on our web site (here). We have around two hundred members (with over four hundred local residents following us on our group Facebook page).

Our vision for the Tideswell and district area is of sustainable, thriving communities, in a landscape which is less polluted and full of wildlife and birdsong. The land will be used more sustainably, producing high quality, local food, whilst protecting and enhancing our soil, air and water resources. There will be better transport for residents and visitors alike, secure low carbon energy supply and lower energy bills.  It will be a special place for those who live here and for those from surrounding towns and cities who come to enjoy and experience the National Park.

The climate and ecological crises have become visibly more urgent. We need immediate local, national and global action to tackle these issues. This will need serious and resolute political leadership, committed to tackling these issues and delivering on our national and international commitments.

Our Members’ Views 

We wish to ensure our local political representatives are aware of our strongly held views on specific environmental issues. We also hope to share with our members the environmental policies of all the candidates in the forthcoming elections in as balanced and fair a way as possible. 

We held a members’ working group on 19 March to develop our election priorities and questions for candidates. The document below is a summary of our discussion. We have added web links to provide further information on some of the issues described and examples of existing good practice (these are highlighted).

We would be grateful if candidates could consider these questions and respond to TDEG before the election.

Any responses from candidates will be shared with all our members prior to the relevant elections.

Our Election Priorities

This summary of our members’ discussion on 19 March is not intended to be comprehensive. But it is indicative of the main issues we see as important in our local area.

We also do not regard these issues as separate, isolated problems. Environmental issues are entirely integrated and related. A healthy, functioning ecosystem is not a `nice to have`, but is a necessary foundation for all our social and economic well-being.

The main priorities raised by our members for action were:

  • Creating more sustainable homes and sustainable communities.
  • Addressing the ecological/biodiversity crisis.
  • Providing adequate sustainable transport and infrastructure.
  • Establishing a circular economy.

The sections below are divided into these topics, but there are also two over-arching questions for candidates to consider:

Questions for our Candidates:

  1. Will you commit to declaring that the East Midlands mayor recognises both a climate emergency and ecological/biodiversity emergency, and that all strategic plans will take these two emergencies into account in future delivery and target setting?
  2. If you could change or introduce one piece of environmental legislation or regulation to improve an aspect of our local environment, what would it be?


A – Sustainable Homes and Sustainable Communities

The climate emergency requires immediate action. We need more affordable, sustainable housing schemes in our area. But regulations and incentives are required to ensure developers produce homes to the highest standards to meet future needs. We also have a significant challenge in upgrading and retrofitting our old stone houses with necessary insulation and energy efficient heating technology. Even if home owners are encouraged to take the necessary steps, our local workforce does not always have the skills to retrofit Peak District homes and our local power infrastructure is poor.

Community energy projects can address some of these issues. Community energy is all about a group of people coming together, taking action and using local resources to reduce, manage or generate their own energy (more information here).

Sustainable communities are also more than just a collection of well-built homes. Our villages need local transport systems, health centres, youth services and social care, libraries and leisure centres, post offices and other services. Many of these are provided by or subsidised by our local authorities and other public agencies. All these agencies have seen huge funding cuts over the last ten years. In our area we are losing many local services or having to provide essential services through volunteers.  We want to see our local communities flourishing, with benefits accessible to all.

Community Energy Projects empowering local people

Questions for our Candidates:

  1. How do you propose to expand affordable and sustainable housing projects in our area?
  2. How would you ensure that issues such as energy conservation, water use and biodiversity enhancement are addressed by house builders? Are you in favour of a new, mandatory Code for Sustainable Homes (more information here).
  3. How will you upskill the retrofitting workforce to help meet legally binding net zero targets?
  4. How will you overcome the (legislative) barriers to implementing rural community energy generation and storage schemes?
  5. How will you enable and incentivise appropriately sited solar panels on industrial and agricultural buildings in the Peak District?
  6. How will you fund local authorities and other public agencies to ensure our communities have access to essential services?


B – Addressing the Ecological/Biodiversity Crisis

The UK is one of the most nature-depleted countries in the world. Immense pressure from decades of pollution and habitat loss has driven wildlife into catastrophic decline (more information here). We care about this ecological crisis partly because of the intrinsic value of nature, and the benefits which access to nature can bring to everyone. But also because healthy, functioning ecosystems are vital to us all – for the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. This is not primarily a rural issue. Urban and rural areas are interdependent in so many ways. 

The UK has a legally binding target to halt the decline in species abundance by 2030, and has also committed to protect 30% of the land and of the sea in the UK for nature’s recovery, by 2030. Yet we are currently failing to deliver on these targets. 

In our area, we have seen significant declines in biodiversity due to agricultural intensification. Outside our small, nationally-protected nature reserves in the local dales, the landscape is now quieter, fragmented, less colourful and less diverse, with many of our iconic species such as Curlew and Swifts, in serious decline.

This is not due to individual farmers, but to agricultural policies which prioritised production over sustainability. Many of our local farmers are trying to support wildlife whilst also producing high quality food. We need to better support those farmers. The whole food system requires change, particularly the impact of supermarkets and their focus on cheap food at all costs (more information here ).   

Local farmers explaining the challenges and rewards of working with nature in the Derbyshire Dales

We are also concerned about the state of our local rivers. We know that Tideswell Brook and the River Wye suffer from sewage overflows and farm slurry pollution. We are also experiencing more flooding events in our villages. Problems experienced in our area inevitably have impacts downstream in our towns and cities. We need commitments from the water companies to address these issues, and effective monitoring and regulation by organisations such as the Environment Agency and Natural England to enforce high standards (more information here).

Questions for our Candidates:

  1. What will you do to ensure biodiversity targets are met in the East Midlands? In particular, how will you ensure more space is made available to help nature recover?
  2. What support will you provide to White Peak farmers to help them provide local, sustainable food and enhance ecological systems and wildlife?
  3. How would you challenge the over-use of pesticides, herbicides and other chemicals which affect our wildlife and water courses?
  4. How would you ensure water companies are investing in infrastructure to prevent sewage overflows and pollution entering our local rivers?
  5. How can farmers be effectively supported to ensure their slurry is properly managed?
  6. How can the relevant enforcement agencies be adequately funded and supported to ensure the monitoring of environmental quality is fit for purpose, and that air, water and soil pollution is properly regulated?


C – Sustainable Transport and Infrastructure

A truly sustainable transport system would reduce the use of fossil fuels, reduce traffic congestion, and provide good access to transport for all groups in our local communities. Households without access to a car are particularly affected by poor public transport opportunities. In our area, buses rarely run in the evenings, limiting the opportunities of young people in particular.

Our public transport system remains patchy and fragemented. Bus and train timetables should be integrated to enable connections for longer journeys to work, education and leisure opportunities.

Local public transport - infrequent and fragmented (John Young)

Questions for our Candidates:

  1. How will you improve public transport to travel to towns, in particular to train stations, including in evenings?
  2. How will you enable and incentivise tourists to visit the Peak District National Park without relying on cars?
  3. What can be done to improve the condition of roads? Will you increase funding to local authorities to better improve our roads and consider the management of heavy traffic through our villages?
  4. How will you facilitate green charging of electric cars and electric bikes in rural areas?


D – Establishing a Circular Economy

We are wasting many finite resources and in turn, creating too much waste. Much of this waste is hugely problematic in our environment – such as single use plastic. The circular economy is a system where materials never become waste; products are kept in circulation through processes like maintenance, reuse, refurbishment, recycling, and composting. The circular economy is based on three principles: the elimination of waste and pollution; circulation of products and materials (at their highest value); and regeneration of nature. More information about the circular economy approach can be found here. 

In 2020, the City of Amsterdam became the first city to commit to building a circular economy, where waste is eradicated and citizens are prosperous. By 2030, the city will halve its use of new raw materials. By 2050, its economy will be fully circular. It will cut waste in three areas: the food citizens eat, the products they use, and construction in the built environment. Most importantly, the city is changing the way its residents and companies think, shifting people from a ‘use-and-dispose’ mindset towards one of ‘rethink- and-reuse (more information here). 

Questions for our Candidates:

  1. What steps will candidates take in supporting local communities, urban and rural, in developing their own circular economies? Would `carrot or stick` approaches be more successful?
  2. Reducing food miles and reducing unnecessary packaging on food – is this best left to the supermarkets or is it the responsibility of Government?
  3. What would you propose is done to improve recycling rates within the Derbyshire Dales?


Amsterdam's road map to its planned circular economy.
Thank you for considering the concerns and questions of our members. Please send any responses to us by email –
We will share any responses to these questions with our members before the election.
For any queries or further information, please contact Tideswell & District Environment Group by email –

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