Saturday, 15 September 2012

WHY THE ANTI-ENVIRONMENT CABINET IS BAD NEWS FOR KENT AND MEDWAY

Kent Green Party is unimpressed by David Cameron’s reshuffle which favours the anti-environmental extreme right. Dr Hazel Dawe, Campaigns Officer of Kent Green Party, explains why this is bad news for Kent and Medway: “Prime Minister David Cameron has appointed anti-environment ministers in his reshuffled Cabinet. This is very bad news for Kent and Medway since greener policies would boost employment in our County. “The new Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, is opposed to wind farms which are a very important source of clean energy and of employment in Kent (1). The new energy minister, John Hayes, is curiously sceptical about renewable sources of energy in general (2). Energy efficiency and conservation could reduce our current energy use by up to 60%, but not under this Government(3). The Chancellor is collaborating with other ministers to attack planning laws for the sake of housing and new infrastructure. But there are 24,000 empty homes in Kent and other empty buildings and sites waiting for use(4). Kent Green Party is very concerned that this may signal another attempt to build in our forests and continue urban sprawl rather than urban regeneration(5). “Patrick McLoughlin, new Transport Secretary, has neither major aviation nor port issues in his constituency making him an odd choice. Expansion of airports is something the Coalition parties cannot agree about and which is opposed vigorously here in Kent in respect of Lydd, Manston and the rather unlikely Estuary Airport(6). “The potential employment to be gained through greener policies will not become reality in Kent or Medway with this Government.” Ends c265 words FURTHER INFORMATION: Dr Hazel Dawe, Campaigns Officer of Kent Green Party, on 01732 355185 or 079444 71083. Contact address as above. See similar material at: http://hazeldawe.blogspot.co.uk/ Promoted by H.Dawe and published by Kent Green Party, both at 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF. Monthly free ezine KENT GREEN NEWS available for subscription at www.kentgreenparty.org Notes: 1. About 40% of the wind resources in Europe are in the UK and its coastal waters, so Conservative antagonism to using them is at best irrational. New research demonstrates conclusively that a lot of the favoured Conservative myths about wind energy are nonsense: http://www.ippr.org/publication/55/9564/beyond-the-bluster-why-wind-power-is-an-effective-technology 2. Apart from wind power, Kent’s large land area makes it suitable for creating biomass for energy, from fast growing species like willow and hazel and agricultural waste. 3. The 60% figure comes from the Tyndall Centre of the University of Manchester, from recent research. 4. It has been estimated that developers have permission to build 400,000 units at present, roughly three years of home building at current levels. However, the existing brownfield sites offer space for up to 1.5 million units and over 300,000 homes have been empty for more than a year. The total of empty properties in the country now stands at about 1 million. So no new relaxation of planning laws is needed. (Information primarily from Shelter) 5. The Independent Panel on Foresty has stressed the employment, social and environmental value of a larger forest base for the entire country. Kent has appreciable marginal land that could be part of this effort, with positive implications for employment in our rural areas. SEE: http://www.defra.gov.uk/forestrypanel/reports/ 6. It is not possible to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the UK, which is actually the policy of the Coalition in theory, without reducing emissions from aviation. Although all airports are showing passenger reductions this summer, partly a result of the Olympics and partly because of the Government-maintained recession, aviation emissions are still growing at about 6% a year in Europe as a whole. Growth in shipping emissions also needs to be arrested. The employment benefits of domestic tourism, and a growth in public transport use, are compromised by the Coalition’s failure to fund expansion of these sectors as a result of its severe and avoidable cuts to local government. Taxation upon the richest could help to remove many ideologically motivated cuts by the Coalition.

No comments: