Just 2% backed more gas power in the latest UK opinion poll to show overwhelming support for clean energy
Almost nine in 10 people want to see the government ramp up the UK’s use of clean domestic energy and reduce the country’s reliance on imported gas, a new YouGov poll reveals.
The survey is the latest to signal strong public backing for renewable energy, following Sunday’s YouGov poll for Scottish Renewables that found 71% of Scots supported wind power, and a separate Ipsos MORI survey last week that reported 67% of respondents were in favour of using more wind power.
Currently, only 9.5% of UK electricity comes from renewable energy sources. Friends of the Earth is concerned the government is encouraging a new “dash for gas” by exempting gas-fired power plants from emissions restrictions that will effectively ban new coal power stations.
The wind energy sector is also facing an increasingly vocal campaign against new wind farms, while concerns are mounting that renewable energy investments are being put on hold as a result of investor concerns over the degree of political backing for clean energy.
Today Friends of the Earth is using St George’s Day to launch a new Clean British Energy campaign that calls on the prime minister to use his speech at the Clean Energy Ministerial on Thursday to demonstrate his backing for low-carbon energy.
The group claims that increasing the UK’s reliance on domestic renewable sources would not only help decarbonise the energy sector, but would also enhance energy security and create new green jobs. Government figures show just under £4bn of investment in renewables over the last year yielded nearly 14,000 new jobs.
“The public has given a clear vote of confidence to clean British energy from our wind, sun and sea it makes no sense for the government to pursue an unwanted, costly dash for gas that’s causing our fuel bills to rocket,” said Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth’s director of policy and campaigns. “Ministers have a once-in-a-generation chance to transform our electricity market to help smaller businesses, schools and communities plug into clean and affordable power.
Source: Guardian 23/04/12
Monthly Archives: April 2012
|Apologies to regular followers for the lack of postings in the last week or so.
We are in full electioneering mode and busy canvassing and leafleting in target wards.
We are getting a generally warm reception – although the prevailing mood among the electorate seems to be that of apathy and utter disenchantment with the whole political process. I predict very low turnouts – and this could actually prove beneficial to us as the disaffection is primarily with the parties in power. It could be very close indeed in one or two seats for us – so all to play for!
Our mini manifesto seems to be striking chords in many places – which is encouraging.
The recent flurry of national publicity on fracking has led to a few enquiries on what we know and have been doing about the issue. Our prominence in the national campaigning on this particular issue gives us added credibility.
So in these times of increasing despair and exasperation, the message has got be:
Bridgend Green Party Meeting – 19th April
|Bridgend Green Party Meeting
Thursday 19th April 2012 at the COITY CASTLE INN Lounge.
Bottom of Tremains Road, (by big railway bridge) Bridgend, CF31 1HA . 7.00pm
NOTE – Venue is 2 minutes walk from both the Bus and Train stations in Bridgend.
PLEASE NOTE EARLIER TIME THAN USUAL –
Our own Mark Gabb’s Fracking Video – produced by the Co-operative
It has taken a while for this to surface, as it was shot last summer in the run up to the Co-operative event we helped organise at Bridgend College.
I think the credits should mention the wonderful Sarah Woods rather than Saul Woods (or at least as well as).
Mark does an excellent job, I hope you all agree. A career change beckons methinks.
Apprenticeship programmes and local councils
|We continue to get interesting and welcome feedback on our ‘mini-manifesto’
Today we have had a Labour Councillor suggesting that our pledge to push Bridgend Council to provide quality apprenticeships shows ignorance of the Apprenticeship Programme within BCBC. On the contrary, it is because of our awareness of the tokenistic nature of this programme that we feel so strongly about this issue.
Bridgend CBC is by far the largest employer in the county with over 7500 employees.
How many of these 7500+ employees are on apprenticeship schemes? FOUR (attached to Building Maintenance), or less than 0.05% (five hundredths of 1%)
How on earth can we expect other big employers (who will have a fraction of BCBC’s employees) to take apprenticeships seriously when the Council shows such a lack of commitment and ambition? Where is the hope for our young people in this?
Things are set to improve ever so slightly. There is a commitment in place to add two more to Building Maintenance in the autumn, and add maybe another half a dozen in areas such as Motor Vehicle Maintenance, Groundworking and Highway Maintenance. A dozen in total at best it seems. With the existing hundreds of unemployed youths in the county about to be joined by another batch of school leavers with no prospects of work, this is a scandalous situation that none of can afford to see.
This article in the Guardian, last October, stresses the importance of Councils taking a lead in apprenticeship take-up:
It stresses another strand of our mini-manifesto commitment on apprenticeships. Not only should Councils be taking on apprenticeships, but it should use its buying power to require suppliers to to commit to a minimum number of apprenticeship places during the procurement process. I can find no evidence of Bridgend CBC doing this – but would love to be corrected if possible.
The lack of ambition and commitment in BCBC is highlighted by the good practice shown elsewhere.
Sunderland Council recently received an award from Unionlearn for its quality apprenticeship programme. Their Chief Executive recognises the value to be had:
London Councils have provided over 2600 apprenticeships between 2009 and 2012 in fields as diverse as health and social care, animal welfare, engineering, horticulture, ICT, business administration and construction.
Sheffield City Council is committed to providing 100 apprenticeships a year either in house or through its partner organisations.
There are examples we can learn from from all over the country. Equally there are examples of bad practice we need to learn from too. We are certainly not advocating the abuses of apprenticeship provision highlighted by this recent Panorama programme: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01fm01r
It is absurd that companies like Morrisons can have 40% of its workforce enrolled on apprenticeships schemes. They are clearly exploiting the system with the complicity of private training providers (such as the now infamous A4e, with their Conservative Party connections). Everyone bar the poor apprentice is guaranteed to profit out of this sort of scenario.
As we say in our mini-manifesto, there is no greater blight on our collective futures than youth unemployment and it must be a top priority.
It is clearly not at the moment in BCBC – and only a Green presence in the Council chamber is likely to prick their consciences enough to make it so.
Why local food initiatives are important
|The part of our mini-manifesto on local food initiatives has drawn a few comments from a few people suggesting it is trivial and unimportant in the grand scheme of things.
Let me try and explain why this is a serious misconception.
This video explains many of the aspects of the issue in the context of real people and real communities.
Some people may say that this is all well and good but that often this local food costs more than the stuff in the supermarket and times are hard financially. Well, try growing your own. This video shows one womans experiment to see how much food she could grow from her own garden. She has bees, chickens and rainwater harvesting its an inspiring video take half an hour to watch, or at least listen, to one persons view on sustainability and resilience and the fun she has.
As Judy points out, although you do not need much money, you will need time, energy and a little know how.
And all this is not to ignore the big picture:
A skyrocketing demand for food means that agriculture has become the largest driver of climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental destruction.
Industries of the future
|Our mini manifesto has prompted questions as to what we see as the industries of the future that we should be luring to Bridgend; how about these:Nano-technology to generate power from every window pane:
Large scale battery technology to allow us to store wind and solar energy and allow us to match
supply and demand effectively:
Water desalination using no fuel at all that will solve water shortages:
These are all cutting edge and very ambitious. But can’t we be ambitious? These innovations may have already stolen a march, but we are uniquely positioned to be a world leader in tidal technologies, for example. Where is the encouragement for this locally? Tidal Energy Ltd is a Welsh company attempting to lead the way in tidal stream technology. They have their Head Office in Cardiff and have received some assistance from Welsh Government. We need to do everything possible to ensure they see Bridgend as the best place for future development, engineering, manufacturing and servicing of this potentially huge industry.
|Excellent Green Party video for the coming local elections.
It perfectly underlines our own mini-manifesto, posted below (https://bridgendgreens.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/press-release-bridgend-green-party-to-make-an-impact-in-the-local-elections-in-may/ ) , with its emphasis on doing the right things for future generations, given the awful mess that successive Governments have created.
Please share this video as far as possible via email and Facebook etc. – especially with people in Bridgend county.
Press release – Bridgend Green Party to make an impact in the Local Elections in May (Mini Manifesto)
|BRIDGEND GREEN PARTY – Local elections May 2012Bridgend Green Party are pleased to announce that many of the electorate of the Bridgend area now have a fresh, new, radical alternative at the Local Elections in May.
Only 18 months after re-launching the Bridgend Green Party, we are pleased to say that we will be contesting 8 wards (7 in Bridgend county + one in the Vale) in the County Borough Elections (BETTWS/ BRYNTIRION, LALESTON & MERTHYRMAWR/ COITY/ HENDRE/ MAESTEG EAST/ MORFA/ YNYSAWDRE / St BRIDES MAJOR) and 6 seats on Community/Town Councils (Brackla, Bridgend Town, Garw Valley and Laleston) . I would like to acknowledge the support and encouragement we have received from members of other parties, including some councillors, who recognise that we can offer a much needed injection of new ideas, enthusiasm and passion. We will help push an agenda of sustainable development, a fairer society and of providing a legacy we can be proud to leave future generations instead of the current embarrassing and soul destroying mess.
Let us be clear. The Green Party is a left of centre party. The three mainstream parties have long offered just slightly different brands of right wing politics. As much as we respect many of our councillors, especially Labour and Lib Dem ones, many of them (and many of their supporters) cling to the forlorn hope of being able drag their parties back to the political ground that they know their traditional support, including most of the people of Bridgend and the Valleys, still need. But now we offer them, not a way back, but a way forward to a new brand of ‘Eco-socialism’. Eco-socialists are united in the belief that if we are to have a worthwhile future, the whole world needs to come together to drive capitalism from centre stage and create an alternative society based on principles of social and environmental justice as well as popular participation.
We know we have a long way to go before we can emulate the success of the Green Party in other parts of the country in gaining control of councils. We are realistic about what we can achieve this time around in Bridgend, but whatever the outcome, we will campaign and lobby for the things that will make a difference to people’s lives and provide a future fit to bequeath to our children and future generations. Among other things, we will be promoting the following initiatives:
Another system that desperately needs changing is the Council Tax system. This is not something that Bridgend CBC can do much about on its own, but we will campaign to at least restructure Council Tax bands to make them a progressive tax rather than the regressive tax we have at the moment. Looking through the Property News this week, you can find a property in Pontycymmer for sale for £27,000. Whoever buys this will face a Council tax bill of £861; which is 3.2% of the property value. There is a property for sale in Porthcawl for £1,750,000. Whoever buys this will face a Council tax bill of £3022; which is 0.2% of the property value! This is patently inequitable and unfair. Green Party policy is to ultimately replace Council Tax and Business Rates with a much fairer, simpler and environmentally beneficial Land Value Tax.
Nothing we propose is especially original. All these ideas have been tried and tested and can be seen to work in other parts of the world (Scandinavia, Australia and Germany among them). They are associated with progressive values, innovative thinking and a willingness to grapple with the challenges of the future while we still have a little scope to experiment with and refine the ideas and technologies that we will need to cope. The big challenges we face include the consequences of climate change, an aging population and the need to restructure our supply and demand for energy. In all these cases it is the poor and the vulnerable that are likely to suffer the adverse consequences the most. This is why environmental issues are social issues too; and why Eco-socialism is the way forward.
We are here to ensure that our environment is not sacrificed in the pursuit of the short-sighted capitalist growth agenda, and to ensure that the poor and the vulnerable do not suffer from the cuts and austerity measures demanded by the staggering mismanagement of the economy by successive Conservative and Labour administrations – led by millionaire public school boys. We all instinctively know what is fair and it is not for nothing that we in the Green Party use the following rallying call: Fair is Worth Fighting For. Wherever you can, vote Green on May 3rd.