James is 56 years old and lives in the constituency, in Rivenhall, with his family. He went to school first in Witham and then Colchester. He studied Astronomy at UCL and graduated in 1982. He ran a local small gardening and landscaping business for 30 years and although retiring from that at the end of 2016, maintains an interest on a voluntary basis in woodland management.
He was first elected to Braintree District council in 1999 to represent Silver End and Rivenhall and has been re-elected at each subsequent election, most recently in 2015 for the revised ward of Silver End and Cressing (which still includes Rivenhall). He was first elected to Essex County Council in 2013 in Witham Northern division and was recently re-elected. He has been a parish councillor continuously since 1999.
James has a long-standing interest in planning and highways. He was a member of the Braintree District Council Planning Committee for 17 years and has sat on the Essex County Council planning committee (Development and Regulation) for 4 years. He is a member of the Braintree District Highways Panel.
James Abbott said on his re-selection as the Green Party candidate for Witham Constituency:
"I am grateful to Green Party members for again putting their trust in me to be a candidate for the Witham constituency. It is the area I grew up in and I am looking forward to the coming weeks of the campaign to put across the policies which I believe can both help local communities and protect our shared environment.
It appears that the Prime Minister wants this election to be largely about who is Prime Minister and the flavour of "Brexit". However I intend to concentrate on the local issues that matter to communities – which their MP can do something about. Having just spent several months campaigning in the local elections, including speaking to hundreds of residents, there are clearly many people concerned about issues such as the huge levels of development planned for the area not being matched by services and infrastructure.
I will be standing at this election to support the things that people have told me they do want – such as a Community Hospital for Witham, more integrated local transport and maintaining our key public services - and against things such as the waste incinerator planned for Rivenhall Airfield and the unsustainable level of development planned by the Conservatives; including their "New Towns" plan that would cover over huge areas of countryside around Marks Tey.
I will also be offering a clear choice to voters as a candidate who 100% opposes new nuclear build at Bradwell. The Witham constituency includes part of the coastline and the Blackwater estuary, a valuable area for people and wildlife that should be protected."
The Green Party continues to steadily grow in mid-Essex with the membership much higher than when James first stood in 1992 and with it now being the norm for the Greens to stand widely in council elections and general elections, compared to a much more patchy coverage back in 1992.
There were 54 Green Party candidates in Essex at the county elections on 4th May and a Green presence in all 12 Essex local authority areas with full slates in the council areas covered by Witham constituency. Nationally the Greens stood a record 1,561 candidates, easily overtaking UKIP's total.
The Greens currently hold 7 principle authority seats on 4 councils in Essex.
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