Monday, 25 May 2009

Conservatives In A Windy Muddle

The Conservative Party's renewable energy policy proposals would cripple the UK wind industry overnight. According to the British Wind Energy Association's (BWEA) director of programme strategy Chris Tomlinson, wind energy is required to help the UK meet energy-saving targets. The Conservatives' proposals are claimed to imply an end of support for onshore wind farms, with the report quoted as criticising the wind industry for making 25 per cent profits on its schemes.

Under the Conservative proposals, the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC), introduced by the Planning Act to accelerate permission for large infrastructure projects, would be abolished. ENA chief executive David Smith said: "ENA is concerned about the Conservative proposal to abolish the Infrastructure Planning Commission. This could place in peril the ability of network companies to deliver essential energy infrastructure in good time.

Rupert Read writes about the con in Conservative.

A significant number of Tory MPs and MEPs are in fact climate-change deniers. David Heathcoat-Amory MP and Mr Lilley MP had a go at the Stern review and the IPCC report; "The evidence in the Stern review relied heavily on the intergovernmental panel on climate change. I have read the bulk of both reports and I am aware of being in the presence of something similar to a secular religion with its articles of faith and its heretics.

Tory Grandee Lord Lawson of Blaby appeared in a sceptic documentary 'The Great Global Warming Swindle'.

A third of Tory MPs who responded to a survey on the environment questioned the existence of climate change and its link to human activity. Two-thirds said tackling climate change should not be a priority for local councils. 55 Conservative MPs replied, 10 said no, while eight that they didn't know. Some 80 of the 91 Labour MPs who responded said yes, together with 15 of the 17 Liberal Democrats.

Tony Juniper, ex head of Friends of the Earth, said the survey results were "disturbing". He said: "That a fifth of MPs say they either don't know or reject the science of climate change is a serious cause for alarm and suggests that many of them are seriously out of touch, because the science is very clear. For them to be making policy without a proper grasp of the science is a major oversight. David Cameron's emphasis on the environment has been one of the most important forces in green politics recently, but he has had some difficulty convincing some of his party that it is the right thing to do. This poll shows he has not won that battle yet."

yes2wind quote Chris Tomlinson "Wind energy is the only renewable source capable of meeting the looming energy gap by 2020 – ending support for onshore wind would make schemes uneconomic and effectively choke off investment overnight."

The Conservative Party in the country often opposes mid-sized wind power developments. Building a national policy on renewable energy has to bear in mind that local Conservative groups will usually fight against renewable energy developments in their areas.

The Conservative policy in Scotland want a for a moratorium on the building of new windfarms. Despite the potential benefit of local community owned wind farm developments; local communities should have the opportunity to generate their own environmentally friendly electricity from renewable sources; the Danish wind energy industry has an annual turnover of nearly £2 billion, employing 16,000 with 95% of the turnover coming from export sales, the Conservative policy is both bad for the environment and bad for business.

A single Conservative Party councillor (Adrian Gunson) was able to raise a strategic objection to a major wind farm off the North Norfolk coast that would provide the energy capacity of about one fifth of a nuclear power station. Councillor Andrew Boswell challenged this decision widely in the Press at the time - this has led to greater debate and awareness at County Hall when looking at wind applications.

Conservative MPs are "perfectly at liberty" to oppose windfarms in their constituencies, despite the party's leadership demanding a greater use of renewable energy. Shadow environment secretary Peter Ainsworth faced accusations in the Commons that his party could not be taken seriously on the environment when its MPs head up campaigns against turbines in their areas. Mr Ainsworth insisted: "Conservative members are perfectly at liberty to take a view about proposals in their own constituencies. It doesn't actually affect Conservative party policy."

If they are not careful the best symbol for their party would be a disconnected wind turbine to show that what is on offer is just empty spin. Mr Ainsworth insisted the problem of how local MPs respond to opposition to a wind farm more often affects the Tories and the Liberal Democrats. "Wind turbines tend to be put up in rural areas with hills and tend to be on the whole more represented by our parties than by the Labour party. It's absolutely essential that the wind energy industry is sensitive to landscape and does not put proposals in places where there is going to be a very clear impact on landscape or biodiversity or any other environmental issue. One of the arguments we have had with the way support for renewable (energy) is currently structured is that it has tended to put money in large onshore wind farms which are naturally controversial in the areas they are proposed. That is not helpful in the long-run to securing renewable energy in this country."

So forget about generating energy in the future, spoiling the view of a NIMBY means no renewables will be built by the Tories. It is often the case that the views they hold so precious have lines of pylons marching across the countryside, these they ignore. Yet wind turbines are far more attractive than pylons.

The trouble with Labour, the Lib Dems and the Conservatives; is that they respond to a political cycle of a less than 5 years. For them a sustainable policy is one that responds before the next election. So they have no interest in coping with more long term problems that effect future generations. Greens think about future generations with regard to every policy, and its one reason we don't do better in elections; if future generations could vote, we would win easily. So how to persuade voters now to think about the future? Comments would be welcome on this and every subject.


Anonymous said...

SATURDAY 20TH JUNE, 11 am - 6 pm at Ruskin College, Walton Street, Oxford

Supporters of the event include Oxford & District TUC & local IWW

Books, talks, badges, workshops, posters, postcards, DVDs, CDs, music, culture, short films, magazines, lectures, warm atmosphere, fellowship, meet new people, education, entertainment, magazine, newspapers etc. To book a stall/more info. email us!

Includes 100th Anniversary of 1909 RUSKIN COLLEGE STRIKE meeting, the first radical student uprising in English history that saw students breakaway to form radical & anti-capitalist educational networks such as the PLEBS LEAGUE and CENTRAL LABOUR COLLEGES + Talks/workshops on anti-fascism & anti-racism, situationism/dada/surrealism, anti-capitalism, people’s history, trade unions, war, peace & empire, radical bookselling, bash the rich marches, psychogeography, feminism & women’s equality, social ecology, popular & radical education, poetry/culture/art, music etc

Speakers include -

COLIN WAUGH Radical educator/FE teacher, active on the Post 16 Educator journal, recently author of pamphlet on the 1909 Ruskin College Student Strike & Plebs League
IAN BONE English anarchist associated with Class War group. In 1984 he was labelled ‘the most dangerous man in Britain’ by a British tabloid newspaper & was involved in the legendary Bash the Rich marches on wealthier areas of England such as Kensington, Henley-on-Thames & Hampstead.
RICHARD SEYMOUR Author of ‘The Liberal Defense of Murder’, a searing critique of the B52 liberals and pro-war left & the brains behind Lenin’s Tomb, one of the best-known political blogs in Britain, listed in 2005 as the 21st-most-popular blog in the country.
ANDREW BURGIN Radical seller/collektor of books, badges, posters, pamphlets & other emphemera. As press officer for the Stop the War Coalition he has worked particularly closely with the Military Families against the War campaign. He has also been linked to the Public Reading Rooms in London . . .
JUDITH ORR Author of ‘A Rebel’s Guide to Women’s Liberation’
MALCOLM HOPKINS Our man from Housemans, London Town’s oldest radical bookshop who boast the largest range of radical newsletters, newspapers and mags of any shop in Brtain! He also does talks on situationism, dada, and surrealism - top bloke!
Cllr JOHN TANNER Lefty Labour Councillor supports good causes like the Palestinians and anti-fascism - top bloke!
DAVID RENTON Independent writer & historian. Written extensively on the history of anti-fascism including ‘When We Touched the Sky’ a history of the Anti-Nazi League & ‘Red Shirts & Black’ (Published by Ruskin College Library) the story of how the facist Blackshirts were driven out of Oxford in the 1930s.
CIARAN WALSH IWW/Wobblie Member involved in Traveller education. ‘The IWW is a union unlike any other. It is a grassroots, democratic and militant union that seeks to organise ALL workers in ALL industries in ALL countries’ … Sounds like a good idea!
PETER DWYER has done many silly and good things including working with NGOs and the labour movement in South Africa and speaking at World Social Forums in Rio, Mali and Kenya. During the daytime he teaches radical economics at Ruskin College
GUY DEBORD Sadly Monsieur Debord can’t make this festival, but we have received a copy of The Society of the Spectacle - The Movie that will receive a free screening and Ruskin College premier during the course of the bookfair
LUCY PARSONS once described by the Chicago police as ‘more dangerous than a thousand rioters’, Parsons died in 1942, she will be brought back to life for one day during the bookfair with a public reading of her infamous address To Tramps


For more info. - or

Anonymous said...

Try reading the report before repeating what others say!

howard thomas said...

Leaving aside the science arguement for a minute-----wouldn't it be a good idea to lower our future dependance on Russia for much of our gas supply.
That might interest the Conservatives if nothing else will!
The Russians have form for cutting off your supplies if you fall out with them.

Adrian Windisch said...

Anon, if you wish to make a point, then please give a reference. Just saying you don't like it doesnt make progress.

Howard, you are correct, so much for the dash to gas.

Wanda said...

That's a great insight. I totally agree that greens always think about future generations. I don't know how we can fix the voting problem besides making people more aware of these future problems.

Adrian Windisch said...

Thanks Wanda, I notice the Tories have abandoned 'Vote Blue go Green' has been replaced with Obamaish 'now for change.'