Monday, 30 March 2009

LibDems Windy Muddle

LibDem leader Nick Clegg is part of the launch of a new Greenpeace report on energy-efficiency and jobs. Unfortunately the LibDem record on renewable energy is very poor, just like Labour and the Tories. Below are some classic LibDem examples of 'sustainable hypocrisy'.

Sir Menzies Campbell(when he was still LibDem leader) singled out changing the light bulbs that people use as an example of the sort of personal choice consumers should be making. But then he admitted up that every light fitting at his home in Scotland uses the standard filament bulb designed over a century ago, that emits 20 times as much heat as light.....On being asked how many energy-saving light bulbs he used at home, Mr Campbell confessed: "I don't have any”!

Despite the UK's fortunate position in the world making it one of the best locations for using renewable energy, a very windy coastline. There now exists primary legislation to ensure that 10% of our renewable energy (3% of our electricity) will come from wind power by 2010 and 15% by 2015.

The ground on which the turbines are positioned can still be used for agricultural purposes – such as sheep grazing. If the turbines need to be taken down, there is no damage to the environment and no residues are left behind.

As at 16 January 2009 there are 203 UK grid-connected wind farms containing 2,353 wind turbines with the capacity to generate 3257 MW. The Danish island of Samso has completely eradicated its carbon footprint by using wind power.

LibDem Parliamentary Spokesman for Maidstone and the Weald Peter Carroll slammed the Romney Marsh Wind Farm proposal saying; "this wind farm is truly enormous. It is too big. Installations like this should be off shore"! Except the LibDems also oppose off shore wind farms as well.

LibDem Parliamentary candidate, Richard Burt opposes a Worcestershire wind farm “These wind turbines would be enormous within the local landscape, with rotor blades similar to the wingspan of a jumbo jet.“They will cause flicker from rotating blades at sunrise and sunset for residents living east and west of the turbines, others may suffer sleep loss and health problems from noise and oscillation, and house prices may fall.' Well thats a poor excuse for not tackling climate change.

Blackburn LibDems similarly oppose them; "these windmills will be truly gigantic and will derogate greatly the visual amenity of the 30 properties who will find themselves to their great misfortune within a striking distance of 650 metres." So we may run out of power, but those 30 houses will be saved from this fate.

"While wind energy is renewable our finest landscapes are not. Once a power station is built the open countryside for miles around is irredeemably flawed" says Lord Geraint Howells of Ponterwyd (former MP, Ceredigion, LibDem) Who knows little of geology; landscapes evolve, some politicians fossilise.

A six-turbine wind farm in Sheffield were announced last year as part of a Sheffield Council led experiment on wind power generation. The scheme was supported by the previous Labour administration, but was immediately shelved as “unsuitable” after the May elections by the winning Liberal Democrat group.

Plane Stupid say "While they're often painted as the greenest of the major political parties, up and down the country the Liberal Democrats have been supporting climate-wrecking projects and opposing climate-friendly ones. So it was pretty ironic when Chris Huhne, the Lib Dem environment spokesman,....lamented "Labour's rotten record on climate change". It's about time he took a look at his own party's record. Sir Ming Campbell, sit on the board of The Air League. Lembit Opik, who repeatedly makes the false claim that "aviation doesn't represent a significant problem", helped create a parliamentary aviation group to support the air industry. Lib Dem councillors in Norwich, Liverpool, Manchester and Exeter have been at the forefront of pushing through plans for airport expansion. Lib Dem councillors elsewhere have been campaigning to secure the future of other unnecessary, short-haul airports such as Sheffield and Aberdeen.

The Lib Dems' leader in Scotland, Nicol Stephen, ignored an independent public enquiry and threw his weight behind the extension of the M74 motorway, something Friends of the Earth branded "probably the worst environmental decision ever taken by the Scottish Executive". Lib Dem councillors from Cumbria to Lancashire to Essex have been supporting a host of other road-building projects. It looks as though, despite all the spin, little has changed since the days when the Lib Dems were championing the Newbury bypass.

Congestion charging, so successful in London it's now being adopted in New York, was blocked by the Lib Dems in Edinburgh, Manchester and York. Wind farms, the most visible symbols of clean energy, are being opposed by Lib Dems across Britain. Welsh assembly Lib Dems went so far as to oppose an offshore wind farm, Scarweather Sands, which is expected to provide green electricity for the equivalent of 79,000 homes.

Even from within their own party their policies have been much criticized. LibDem "Green policies reflect not so much the 'loony left' as the 'lazy left', reaching for centralised state control and targets rather than setting the rules and leaving individuals, communities and other stakeholders to get on with it. This is Green authoritarianism, not liberalism, and it is at odds with our approach to other areas of the public sphere where we attack targets and scrap government departments that do not work."

And last but not least, Clegg said "I am not like Barack Obama but I think it is clear that the Liberal Democrats share all the policies and values that have proved to be very popular in America." Which sounds like a desperation to me.

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