Monthly Archives: August 2013

Shale Gas can frack off – Community Renewable Schemes are the way to go. Germany proves that this is a viable alternative that provides true energy democracy.

MYTH 1 – “Renewables cannot heat our homes – we therefore need gas.”

Many people believe that renewables can only contribute to any significant extent towards electricity our energy needs. The Germans prove otherwise. In 2012 Germany got 11% of its heating needs from renewables and this is rising rapidly:

MYTH 2 – “Our energy needs can only be met with big infrastructure projects – which is why we are beholden to the big energy companies to provide this for us.”

Much of the heat energy above, was produced by the rapidly growing energy co-operative sector:

The good news, although this is absolutely nothing to do with our fossil fuel obsessed/deranged Government, is that there is support for similar schemes in this country – from places like the Co-operative. Their COMMUNITY ENERGY vision recognises:
“In the UK, people are currently passive consumers when it comes to energy, at the mercy of wholesale gas price rises and large profit-making providers. We want to change the relationship between people and energy to one where communities own, control and benefit from their own renewable energy projects.
Community-owned renewable energy has the potential to deliver significant local economic and social benefits in addition to helping the UK to meet its energy and climate change goals. Amongst other benefits it can revitalise communities and increase public acceptance of renewable energy infrastructure.”
http://www.co-operative.coop/join-the-revolution/our-plan/clean-energy-revolution/community-energy/

Direct support for community energy

Read how they are already helping communities to set up and run their own community energy schemes via their Community Energy Challenge.

So hats off to the Co-operative. They are pledging £1billion towards renewable energy and fuel efficiency projects, while simultaneously supporting our campaign to halt shale gas development. You will remember that they launched their FRACK FREE FUTURE campaign here in Bridgend, in acknowledgement of the pioneering work we did with the Vale Says NO! campaign.
https://bridgendgreens.wordpress.com/2011/09/08/the-co-operative-launch-their-frack-free-uk-campaign-in-bridgend-on-23rd-september/

MYTH 3 – “We cannot get enough of our energy from renewables to make it worth the investment”

Quite simply preposterous. Just look at what has already been achieved across Europe. This graph shows the % of electricity generated from renewable sources in 2010 ( Source: http://epp.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/tgm/table.do?tab=table&plugin=1&language=en&pcode=tsdcc330)

Only Luxembourg, Cyprus and Malta have worse records than us, and yet we have just about the greatest wind and tidal energy potential in the entire world, let alone Europe. Add to this the further largely untapped potential of solar, wave, biogas, river hydro, ground source, air source and geothermal; PLUS the enormous potential still for energy efficiency savings, and it is easy to see through the blatant nonsense behind this myth – propounded by this motley assortment of vested interests, that go right to the heart of this shameful Government:

https://bridgendgreens.files.wordpress.com/2013/08/965403_10151508306717385_475817418_o.jpg

A Green home for unhappy Labour voters – a brilliant letter from Caroline

I’ve been reading with interest the recent correspondence on these pages about the kind of Labour party people would like to vote for. As I read through the list of John Walton’s initial policy proposals (Suggestions for a Labour manifesto, 14 August), it struck me that they all sounded very familiar. And that’s for the very good reason that, almost without exception, they are long-standing Green party policies. Whether it’s repealing the coalition’s disastrous NHS legislation, bringing rail back into public ownership (the subject of my current private member’s bill), abandoning PFI and ending the privatising of public services, or scrapping Trident and ending fracking, these are all policies the Greens have long espoused.
Although imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, I can’t help thinking that the best way to see these policies realised would be for the people who support them to vote for the party that is already signed up to them.
Over a million people voted for the Green party in the last European elections (the last time the UK had a nationwide vote under a proportional system), and a recent YouGov poll for the Electoral Reform Society put us at 12%, ahead of the Lib Dems, and on course to win four more seats at the Euro elections next year, taking our tally to six.
We don’t need a new radical and progressive political party: we need a fairer electoral system to allow the one we’ve got, the Green party, to break through in the general election, and give louder voice to these views. Under proportional representation, there would be no need for “splits on the left”, as some of your correspondents feared – progressive parties could work together in the best interests of everyone who wants to see a socially just and environmentally sustainable future.
Caroline Lucas MP
Green, Brighton Pavilion

Bridgend Green Party Meeting – 29th August

7.00pm Thursday 29th August 2013 at theThe Railway PH at the bottom of Station Hill

ALL WELCOME (Especially new members!)

AGENDA:

  1. Welcome and Introductions
  2. Apologies for Absence
  3. Minutes and matters arising
  4. Officers’ reports (Andy/John/Neil)
  5. Councillor feedback (Kathy)
  6. Elections – target ward considerations + Euro 2014 election (Andy)
  7. Campaigns update – Fracking (John/Trish/Rozz/Andy); PAAA (Andy)
  8. AOB
  9. DoNM

N.B. Message from Rozz Cutler re Fracking demo planning meeting

I have booked : Len Evens Centre, Aberkenfig Welfare Hall, Hope Avenue, Aberkenfig, CF32 9P.

Thursday 22nd August at 7.00pm
The cost of the room is very reasonable at £12, we can make tea or coffee and stay as long as we need to. This is for a MEETING to discuss and delegate what needs to be done for the DEMONSTRATION. Date still to be confirmed.
Can you please let as many people know as possible.

REMINDER – If anyone needs a lift to any of our meetings, let Andy know and we will organise it for you.

RCT/Bridgend People’s Assembly Against Austerity – Join Us!

Dear Friend,

I’m writing to you on behalf of the People’s Assembly Against Austerity group that covers Rhondda Cynon Taff (RCT) and Bridgend. A number of us attended the People’s Assembly in London on 22 June 2013. We were inspired by the justice and rationality of the arguments against the austerity policies being implemented by our UK government and the EU. It demonstrated that we can stop these policies and we were convinced that it is possible to put hope, justice and fairness back into politics: that the working class should not pay for the bankers’ crisis.

We firmly believe that a large proportion of the local population share this view but currently lack a clear voice and support in taking action to resist and fightback.

As a local group, it is our aim to establish a broad network of people who oppose the politics of austerity whether you are a member of a party or not. The intention is to help develop support for the UK coordinated initiatives planned for the 29 September and the 5 November (see the draft statement below); to support, coordinate and share experiences of resistance in the area and beyond; to encourage people to mobilise against austerity both in work and the community.

As a first step towards establishing this network we are asking you to put your name to a letter showing support for a People’s Assembly covering Rhondda Cynon Taff (RCT) and Bridgend. The letter will then be widely published in early September to gain support for a rally to be held at the Pontypridd YMCA on 18 September.

Here is:

1.    The letter for signing
2.    A link to the statement that was agreed at the 22 June meeting in London providing current guidance for action and open to amendment at a recall People’s Assembly in 2014 http://thepeoplesassembly.org.uk/draft-statement/.
3.    A link to some good arguments put by the North East People’s Assembly group http://peoplesassemblytyneandwear.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/why-bother-with-the-peoples-assembly/ .
4.    A link to the speeches made at the 22 June meeting http://thepeoplesassembly.org.uk/category/launchevent/

IF YOU WOULD LIKE TO SIGN THIS OPEN LETTER, LET LEN ARTHUR KNOW (email: len.arthur@phonecoop.coop)  AND HE WILL ADD YOUR NAME TO THOSE SHOWN ON THE BLOGSPOT:
http://pafightback.blogspot.co.uk
(LET HIM KNOW YOUR AFFILIATIONS/ROLES if applicable))

Letter for signing

This is a call to all people in the Rhondda Cynon Taff (RCT) and Bridgend area who face an impoverished and uncertain year as their wages, jobs, conditions and welfare provision come under renewed attack by the government. With some 80% of austerity measures still to come, and with the government lengthening the time they expect cuts to last, we are calling a local People’s Assembly Against Austerity to bring together campaigns against cuts and privatisation with trade unionists in a movement for social justice. We aim to develop a strategy for resistance to mobilise millions of people against the Con Dem government.

The assembly will provide a forum for anti-austerity views which, while increasingly popular, are barely represented in parliament. A People’s Assembly can play a key role in ensuring that this uncaring government faces a movement of opposition broad enough and powerful enough to generate successful co-ordinated action, including strike action. The assembly will be ready to support co-ordinated industrial action and national demonstrations against austerity, if possible synchronising with mobilisations across Europe. The People’s Assembly Against Austerity in our area will meet on Wednesday 18 September 2013 at the YMCA Pontypridd starting at 7pm and finishing no later than 9pm.

We have already agreed to sign and we hope you will decide to join us.

Andy Chyba Bridgend Green Party chair; Unite.

Helena Watson UNISON RCT – branch chair

David Smith UNISON RCT – assistant branch secretary

Angela Pring UNISON RCT – convenor

Dean Price UNISON RCT – branch convenor

Neil Parry UNISON RCT – branch convenor

Anita Lewis UNISON RCT – branch health & safety officer

Neil Holley Unite branch secretary

Terry Evans UNISON RCT – branch education officer

Peter Crews UNISON RCT –  branch secretary

Graeme Beard

Ann Bennett Labour Pontyclun Community Councillor.

Vera Arthur

Len Arthur Labour Pontyclun Community Councillor; UCU (rtd)

Fracking – Mass Acts of Creative Disobedience – Possibly the most powerful testimony to have come out of Balcombe

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=H6xln026QeY

This 12 minute film features particularly poignant and powerful testimony from Rev. Peter Owen Jones, and it is not often I point people towards men of the cloth.
It also features numerous others explaining what is going on down there in Balcombe and why peaceful, non-violent direct action and civil disobedience is the right path for us to be taking and supporting right now on this issue.

I knew that this is what would be needed when I started this campaign more than 2.5 years ago, but wondered if we would ever get to this point as it has been a long hard slog to raise sufficient peoples’ consciousness about this quite technical issue. But the basic implications for our whole relationship with the planet and each other are beginning to permeate across society now – well beyond the clued up fractivist community.

We are are very much at the time and the place to stand up and be counted, like Frances Crack, like Caroline Lucas, like Rev. Peter Owen Jones and countless other selfless people who’s names I do not know. We owe them all our support and our thanks.
Amen.

Andy Chyba

PS – The troubadour sings of us being the descendants of Robin Hood – my mother’s maiden name was Bowman and the family tree can be traced to very near Sherwood Forest, so I hereby claim this as a literal truth in my case! 😉

My response to Caroline Lucas’ arrest in Balcombe on Radio Wales

Radio Wales rang me looking for a local Green Party response to Caroline Lucas’ arrest in Balcombe yesterday and I was happy to oblige.

Had a good 5 minute + conversation with Jason Mohammad at lunchtime.

Catch it here (for the next 7 days): http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b038rvbx at the 2:08:00 mark.

I made it clear that the Party is fully behind her (http://greenparty.org.uk/news/green-party-leader-backs-green-mp-over-arrest-at-peaceful-fracking-protest.html) and that the costs of policing the protests down there pale into insignificance compared to the costs of letting it go ahead.

I also made it clear that the fractivist community is here for the long haul – as long as it takes for the right (correct) and the just to prevail.

Russia Today: ‘Frack Off’ – Protests grow against shale gas drilling in UK

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 21.12.17

(Screenshot – link below))

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fu74e1-RQX0

RT’s news story features excellent coverage from Balcombe, including the ever-impressive Vanessa Vine being interviewed; an excellent summary of the main environmental issues associated with fracking; and a discussion of the political fallout with me, via a satellite link between Moscow and Cardiff (BBC Wales newsroom).

The website includes additional commentary and coverage of today’s events, including the arrest of Caroline Lucas. There are also further quotes from me about the process and geology.

http://rt.com/news/uk-gas-fracking-protest-648/

Andy