Thursday, 17 April 2014

Euro-MPs agree to close loopholes on rights for 'posted' foreign workers in London

MEMBERS of the European Parliament have called on national governments to enforce rules designed to protect foreign workers posted overseas from ruthless employers.

The decision should give so-called 'Posted Workers' – those temporarily sent by an employer to work in a different country – the same rights as anyone else at work.

It will protect them from tax scams, ensure they are paid at least the minimum wage, given holidays and so on.

London's Green MEP Jean Lambert said there were a large but ever-changing number of 'Posted Workers' in the capital, and that many had suffered exploitation.

Ms Lambert, a member of the European Parliament's Employment and Social Affairs Committee, said: "This new legislation is an important step forward for the rights of those posted to work temporarily in other EU member states.

"Proper enforcement of EU rules on posted workers will help prevent the exploitation of posted workers and ensure they are granted their rights.

"With countless examples of exploitation, some here in London – most undocumented but particularly in the thriving construction and food processing sectors, it was essential for the EU to take action."

She added: "The responsibility for ensuring 'Posted Workers' get the protection at work to which they are entitled rests very firmly with national governments – and they really need to co-operate better and ensure the rules are enforced."

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Citizens will suffer under rules aimed to boost flights from European airports, says South East MEP

The European Parliament today voted on revisions to EU rules dealing with airport noise. Green MEPs hit out at the agreement, which will enable the European Commission to overrule flight restrictions – such as night bans - at airports.

Keith Taylor, Green MEP for South East England, said:

"This review is a blow for all those European citizens living near airports. It will leave many more people being subjected to the noise, pollution and all other miseries caused by planes.

"Instead of working to ensure stronger EU rules, to reduce the nuisance, pollution, health problems and safety risks posed by airports, the European Commission gave in to heavy lobbying from the aviation industry and the US administration.  Now MEPs and EU governments have cleared these wrong-headed plans for take-off."

Commenting on the UK context, where the Airports Commission is considering increased aviation capacity, Mr Taylor added:

"This vote today in Brussels takes on an added significance in the context of the UK Government's desire to cater for ever-increasing numbers of flights. A new runway at either Gatwick or Heathrow would leave more people affected by noise and air pollution and more climate-damaging pollution.

"This is exactly what European laws should be aiming to prevent, and today's vote is a source of regret to this end. We can't just keep catering for rising growth in flying. Instead, we need to reduce demand and explore how aviation could function within environmental limits."

ENDS

Food bank surge an 'indictment' of British economy, say Greens

New figures from the Trussel Trust, released today, show a surge in the number of people using food banks in the UK.

 

Over 900,000 adults and children have received three days' emergency food and support from Trussell Trust food banks in the last 12 months, a shocking 163 percent rise on numbers helped in the previous financial year. [1]

 

Keith Taylor, the Green Party's MEP for South East England and author of the 'Food Bank Britain' report released earlier this year [2], said:

 

"These shocking new figures are an indictment of the British economy. Whilst Ministers pat themselves on the back this so-called economic 'recovery' is clearly leaving millions behind.

 

Across the UK we're seeing people facing benefits cuts, tougher sanctions and wage stagnation. At the same time bills are going up every month. It's no wonder that so many people are struggling to feed their families.

 

It is clear that the British economy is failing to work for the common good. While some people at the top continue to thrive many millions are suffering the lingering effects of an financial crisis they didn't cause."

 

Mr Taylor, who will publish details of food bank use in South East England next week [3], went on to say:

 

"With every major political party except the Greens signed up to cutting away at the welfare state it's clearly time to change direction. We need to build an economy that works for everyone, and provides people with a decent quality of life. That means making the minimum wage a Living Wage, providing decent social security for those who need it and taking action to cut people's bills."

 

ENDS

 

1)      http://www.trusselltrust.org/foodbank-figures-top-900000

2)      http://issuu.com/greenkeithmep/docs/food_bank_britain_final

Greens vote to protect cyclists: successfully

MEPs in the European Parliament have voted to support measures which will improve the design of lorries to make them safer for cyclists.

The new legislation, on the dimensions of trucks in Europe, will force manufactures to improve windows and mirrors to heighten cyclists' visibility – which in turn could save hundreds of lives across Europe.

MEPs also voted to improve the efficiency of trucks and lorries, and vitally, voted to hold back measures which could pave the way for 25-meter long 'mega-trucks' to hit European roads.

Keith Taylor, Green Party member of the European Parliament's Transport Committee, said:

"MEPs have voted today to introduce EU measures which will make cyclists more visible to lorry drivers. These improvements will reduce the number of accidents which sadly occur on our roads. 

In the UK alone, thousands of cyclists are seriously injured on our roads each year. It's, therefore, good news that measures which will improve visibility for lorry drivers have been passed. It's clear that we must make our streets safer and cleaner, and this can begin by making roads safer for cyclists. 

The Parliament also voted to postpone measures which would give the go-ahead to the cross-border movement of huge mega-trucks. Greens have been fighting hard to ensure that such measures were rejected, which would have put the HGV lobby before the interests of wider road-users."

The European Parliament has required that an impact assessment is carried out before proposals on mega-trucks can be taken any further.

Mr Taylor, the Green Party MEP for South East England, added:

"The measures voted on today will make our streets safer for cyclists and, for the time being, halt moves to bring megatrucks to European roads. It's clearly time for vulnerable road users to be protected and today's vote is a first step in the right direction to making our streets safe for everyone."

ENDS 

Sunday, 13 April 2014

IPCC calls today for an energy revolution - in other words

So, the big news is in from the IPCC, and is top of the media today: the world needs to treble its renewable energy output, so that it can decommission fossil fuels: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/apr/12/ipcc-report-world-must-switch-clean-sources-energy
You might call this a green energy revolution...
   Funny, that: I already did:
Have a read of my 'An energy revolution in the East' report, foreworded by Jonathon Porritt:
 

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Air Pollution Death-figures out today: Eastern Greens Respond


Government must take responsibility for air pollution, says Green MEP-candidate
 
- MEP-lead-candidate Rupert Read says David Cameron should be 'ashamed of himself' for his flippant response to last week's smog.
 
[[RUPERT READ IS AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEW down the line or in studios ON THIS TOPIC.]]
 
Public Health England has released statistics today on the number of people dying because of air pollution. 
 
Across the UK it is estimated that 25,002 people died because of air pollution in 2010. [1]
That includes 2844 people, here in the East.
 
Rupert Read, the Green Party's lead MEP-candidate for Eastern England and a clean air campaigner, said:
 
"These new statistics, which show that thousands of people are dying because of air pollution, make it clear that urgent action is needed to clean up our air. 
 
"The fact that thousands are dying because of air pollution should be a source of shame for Ministers. Yet, despite the mounting evidence of this major public health threat, the Government is doing far too little to reduce air pollution. 
 
"David Cameron, who last week flippantly blamed the smog entirely on Saharan Dust, should be ashamed of himself. The Government know that the smog last week was in part caused by the high levels of pollution we have in this country, yet, shamefully, Ministers refuse to accept responsibility. Now that these stats reveal thousands of deaths are caused by air pollution, it is time for Ministers to take this issue seriously and take urgent action to protect people's health."
 
In Mr Read's constituency 2844 deaths in 2010 [the most recent year for which stats are available - the figures for this year are likely to be higher, because of recent air pollution events here in the East] were associated directly with air pollution. Public Health England's report estimates that 5.6% of deaths in Eastern England were attributable to air pollution. That's a total of 29,096 life-years lost.

Mr Read went on to say:
 
"With well over one in twenty deaths in my constituency caused by air pollution it is abundantly clear that action is needed. Many of our towns and cities need to radically rethink the way they are dealing with air pollution. To protect people's health we need both the UK Government and local authorities to be bold in tackling air pollution.
 
"We need clean public transport options, plus a huge improvement in the numbers of people cycling and walking. We need what I have been calling for consistently: a green public transport revolution.
 
"It's time we recognise that air pollution is a political issue. We can clean up our air, but we need to force politicians to take the issue seriously. Which only Greens do."
 
ENDS
 
1) http://www.hpa.org.uk/webc/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1317141074607 : Figures are available for each local authority in the East, at pp.19-20.

For high quality (non copyright) photographs of Rupert please feel free to use any from his Flickr page: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rupertread/

Taxpayer subsidy for new nuclearpowerstations 'illegal' under EU law, says Green MEP


 

A proposed taxpayer subsidy of more than a billion pounds to two new nuclear power stations at Hinkley Point in Somerset would be illegal under EU law, according to London Green MEP Jean Lambert.


Adding her name to a submission made by scientists from University College London, Ms Lambert said the payment would distort the European energy sector and make it harder to invest in cleaner, safer, renewable energy in future.


"The proposed subsidy would breach EU law," she said, "and, as governments around the world are realising in the wake of the Fukushima disaster, would be promoting a dirty, unsafe energy technology at the expense of the renewable and community-level solutions we need to combat climate change and keep the lights on."


Ms Lambert made her comments as more than 100 academics and politicians of all parties – including a number of Greens - responded to a European Commission consultation on the proposed funding of new nuclear power stations in the UK.


ENDS


Notes to Editors


The full consultation response is available here: http://jeanlambertmep.org.uk/document_detail.php?id=121


Jean Lambert is one of eight MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London in the 1999 European elections and was re-elected in 2004 and 2009.


For an interview with Jean, a print-quality picture of Jean, or for further information please contact: Ben Duncan, Media & PR Officer to Jean Lambert MEP: 020 7250 8417 / 07917 881648 / media@jeanlambertmep.org.uk

www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk




--

Ben Duncan

Media Officer to Jean Lambert MEP

Green Member of the European Parliament for London

Can Mezzanine

49-51 East Road

London

N1 6AH

 

Office: 020 7250 8417

Mobile: 07917 881648

 

Email: media@jeanlambertmep.org.uk

Website: http://www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk  

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/GreenJeanMEP

Twitter: @GreenJeanMEP

P Think of the environment, please don't print this email unless you really need to.



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On Lars von Trier's MELANCHOLIA

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

GREENS PUSH FOR ZERO-WASTE FOR NORFOLK


DEATH OF INCINERATOR OPENS NEW
OPPORTUNITIES

...THE GREEN PARTY HAS SET OUT A NEW TEN POINT PLAN FOR
DEALING WITH NORFOLK'S WASTE AFTER TODAY'S DECISION BY THE COUNTY
COUNCIL TO KILL OFF THE KINGS LYNN INCINERATOR PROJECT...

It would be
based on what is known as Zero Waste principles, to be developed in
co-operation with District Councils. It would involve a shift away from
a single industrial-scale solution such as incineration towards a
mixture of more localised facilities for boosting recycling and
reclamation, and mechanical biological solutions while, crucially,
helping householders produce less waste.

Green Party county councillor
Andrew Boswell said:

"The Greens have been consistent in their
opposition to incineration for ten years. Naturally, we are pleased that
the saga has finally come to an end with no incinerator built. However,
there's no disguising the scale of the financial penalty the Council,
and Council tax payers, must pay. This was avoidable and a full Inquiry
is now needed.

"What I think we need now is a reformed team at the
council to work on an entirely new approach. Norfolk's "Plan B" for
waste management could offer some imaginative new options that are both
environmentally friendly and profitable to local companies."

It would
mean:

MOVING the treatment of Norfolk's rubbish up the waste hierarchy
and meeting County targets for reducing and eliminating landfill;

ABANDONING single, industrial scale solutions, such as incineration;

ADOPTING a range of smaller, more localised solutions and contracts,
with local contractors and entrepreneurs. This means dealing with
rubbish closer to where it is generated. It also reduces the risk of
huge financial penalties as suffered with bloated projects such as the
incinerator with multi-national companies;

EXPANDING building on the
success of small to medium scale anaerobic digestion waste plants,
already happening in Norfolk, and on the food waste schemes happening in
Norwich and elsewhere;

EVALUATING the framework contract negotiated by
Borough Council of Kings Lynn and West Norfolk with 'Material Works' as
a contractual model for implementing processing plants for green waste
across Norfolk's districts;

DEVELOPING plans with providers who have
been 'raring to go' for years on creating reclamation and re-use schemes
- we should create several of these "Recovery Park" sites across
Norfolk;

INCREASING the recycling rate of 70% towards at least 80% by
the end of the decade;

WORKING with District Councils to reduce
residual household waste, building on the new strategy at Norwich City
Council that seeks to help householders generate less waste in first
place;

ESTABLISHING green sector business incubators, and encouraging
local entrepreneurs to work with the Local Enterprise Partnership and
others to deliver the new ways of working.;

AVOIDING incineration
technologies, such as those in Amsterdam or Suffolk, wherever possible,
where short-term interim solutions are required for Norfolk's waste
whilst the new policy is developed.

Rupert Read, lead Green
MEP-candidate for the East of England, commented: "Alongside Andrew
Boswell, Adrian Ramsay, Michael De Whalley and a host of other Greens, I
have been working for this day for over a decade. Congratulations to all
the anti-incinerator campaigners in greater Norwich, in West Norfolk,
and elsewhere, who have worked tirelessly to stop this absurd outdated
technology from hungrily burning up all the resources that should
instead be re-used or re-cycled.
"But today is a day of humiliation
for the Labour Leader of the County Council, George Nobbs, and for the
Conservative ex-Leader, Bill Borrett. Their judgement has been shown to
be appallingly bad; it has cost the taxpayers of Norfolk millions of
pounds. It is time for them to move aside in this matter and let those
who judgement has been vindicated lead the way forward to a 21st century
zero-waste solution for Norfolk. I commend the Green 10-point-plan to
the people of Norfolk."

Lead Green Euro candidate visits Witham Monday 7th April

Dr. Rupert Read, the Lead Green candidate for the European elections, visited Witham on Monday 7th April
 
Lead Green Euro election candidate in Eastern Region Rupert Read (1) visited Witham on 7th April to look at issues with local Green Councillors James Abbott and Bob Wright.

Essex County Council is currently consulting on Recycling Centres. Cuts to opening hours
are likely and the number of Centres across Essex could be reduced. Witham has already had its opening hours reduced at an earlier "review". There are concerns that further cuts will harm recycling and lead to more fly-tipping which will cost local taxpayers to clear as this is a district council responsibility. Picture - Rupert Read with James Abbott and Bob Wright at Witham Recycling Centre.

The County Council is also "consulting" on School Crossing Patrols. The current ECC plans are to make schools pay for the 54 patrols sited on zebra crossings if they want to keep them. But ECC has made it clear in a letter to schools that the WHOLE service could be at risk. The price tag to schools is nearly £6,000 a year per crossing patrol. Rupert Read is strongly backing Essex Green Councillors in their campaign to retain School Crossing Patrols in his role as Transport Spokesperson for the national Green Party.

Greens are continuing to press for rail improvements. A long-discussed passing loop on the Braintree Branch line could double capacity and lead to reduced commuter parking pressure at Witham. Picture - Rupert Read with James Abbott at the branch line just north of Witham station.
 
 
(1)
 
At the 2009 European elections Rupert Read was just 1% short of winning the 7th seat in Eastern Region under the proportional representation system used.  
 

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Don't cut the tube staff!

London Assembly Member Darren Johnson and Eastern Region MEP lead-candidate Rupert Read come to Epping Forest to campaign against tube office closures.

 

For photo opportunities join us at Epping Station at 10am, or in Epping High Street outside St Johns Church at 10.30am.

 

Darren Johnson and Rupert Read are to join Epping Forest Green Party members to campaign against London Underground Ticket Office Closures next Monday 7th April at 10am. They will meet with residents with a petition to save our ticket offices. Dr Read said says 'the London Mayor's, Boris Johnsons, plans to close all London Underground ticket offices and cut 950 staff are a big mistake. His broken pledge to keep ticket offices open has led to strikes and if Boris Johnson gets his way, passengers face disruption and a poorer service for years to come.'

 Closing ticket offices which are only used by 3 per cent of passengers does not sound much of a problem, but this translates to over 100,000 people a day needing assistance to sort out issues which machines can't solve. Ticket offices provide a reassuring focus point where you know you can find someone – somebody to help disabled or elderly passengers down to the platform, to take charge in an emergency, to offer directions or help victims of crime. 

 

District candidate for Buckhurst Hill East, Steven Neville, says 'No other party locally seems to be the slightest bit concerned about this. Only the Greens are standing up to the London Mayor's plans. This will affect 5 out of 6 stations in our area. Yes there is some merit in the idea of using technology to make staff more accessible but this has not been properly thought through.'  Darren adds 'With record numbers using the tube and a massive predicted increase in passenger numbers these cuts to staffing are unnecessary, unsafe and unworkable. I know that Rupert Read will make an excellent MEP who will stand up for the people of Essex on issues like this that really matter to them."

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Lead Green Euro candidate to visit Essex Monday 7th April:

This coming Monday, I am visiting Essex. I'll start in Epping Forest in the morning; campaigning on cuts to tube office staff numbers alongside Darren Johnson A.M., who has commented today: "I know that Rupert Read will make an excellent MEP who will stand up for the people of Essex on issues like this that really matter to them."
 
...I'll then head to Witham:
I will visit Witham during the afternoon and will accompany Cllr. James Abbott, Leader of the Green Group on Essex County Council and County Member for Witham Northern, to view public facilities facing potential service cuts, including Witham Recycling Centre.
 
Conservative run Essex County Council has already made funding cuts to Youth Services and Children's Centres and now is "consulting" on cuts to school crossing patrols and Recycling Centres.
 
The Greens have strongly opposed these cuts which are increasingly affecting Essex residents.
 
The Green Party has had 2 MEPs since 1999 and is working hard to increase its numbers at the European elections on May 22nd, which are held using a form of PR. Eastern Region is a key area for a potential Green gain, with me having been just 1% short of being elected in 2009, the last time the elections were held.
Since then the number of Green councillors and the number of councils the Greens are represented on has increased. In Suffolk and Essex a notable trend has been for Greens to win seats from sitting Conservatives.
 
...Finally in the evening I will address a public meeting on Europe hosted by Colchester Green Party.

Cameron's flippant and ignorant response to smog is disgraceful says Green MEP

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has sought to avoid taking any blame for the smog currently hitting the UK.

 

In an interview BBC1 Mr Cameron said:

 

"I didn't go for my morning run this morning. I chose to do some work instead. You can feel it.

But it's a naturally occurring weather phenomenon. It sounds extraordinary, Saharan dust, but that is what it is."

 

Mr Cameron's comments come despite officials from the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs saying that the UK's pollution problem was partly to blame. Yesterday a Defra spokesperson said:

 

"The high level of air pollution this week is due to a combination of local emissions, light winds, pollution from the continent and dust blown over from the Sahara."

 

Keith Taylor, a Green Party Member of the European Parliament and Clean Air Campaigner, responded to David Cameron's comments. He said:

 

"In the last 10 years nearly 300,000 people have died because of air pollution in the UK, that's the equivalent of a city the size of Newcastle.

 

Yet, despite the ongoing threat of air pollution and the fact that the EU is taking legal proceedings against the UK on this issue, the Prime Minister has the audacity to lay the entire blame for the smog on Saharan dust.

 

We know that the dust was a contributing factor, and one which we have no control over. But the Government also know that 80 people die every day in the UK because of air pollution, and that we simply aren't doing enough to tackle the smog coming from our cars and factories.

 

The Prime Minister's flippant response to this invisible killer is utterly disgraceful. Officials from his own Government are saying that local air pollution is part of the reason for the smog we're breathing in, yet he's blaming it all on Saharan Dust.

 

The reason the EU is taking legal action against the UK is that the government simply isn't doing enough to tackle the problem. We need urgent action on air pollution. That means cutting down the diesel fumes in our towns and cities, and investing in clean, affordable public transport options.

 

David Cameron needs to stop shirking responsibility and start taking action now on air pollution. To wilfully ignore this threat to our health is unforgivable."

 

1) 29,000 people die every year because of air pollution: http://www.hpa.org.uk/webc/HPAwebFile/HPAweb_C/1317137020357


Wednesday, 2 April 2014

I'M FASTING TO END HUNGER IN BRITAIN

GREEN MEP-CANDIDATE'S DAY-LONG FAST IN NORWICH

PEOPLE ALL OVER THE COUNTRY HAVE
PLEDGED TO TAKE PART IN A FAST ON FRIDAY (APRIL 4TH) TO DRAW ATTENTION
TO HUNGER IN BRITAIN.

It's organised by End Hunger Fast, a campaign
supported by the Trussell Trust, Church Action Poverty, the Quakers and
Just Fair.

Green Party Euro-election candidate Rupert Read will
undertake a dawn-to-dusk fast. For much of that time he'll sit at a café
table at Rainbow Wholefoods in Norwich city centre. But he won't be
eating any of the delicious food. Instead he'll be speaking to
passers-by about hunger as he drinks only water.

Dr Read is soon to
publish a report on the use of foodbanks in the east region. It will
reveal:

    * There are now 39 food banks in the East operated by the
Trussell Trust, plus a further 16 non-Trussell food banks.

    * The growth of Food Banks is linked to welfare reform and to rising food
prices.

    * In the East, there are 33,622 people who are affected by
the Bedroom Tax, and 1,759 by the Housing Benefit cap. Of the 690,410
families who receive child benefit and are therefore affected by its
capping, 104,000 have three or more children to support.

    * Benefits sanctions have been issued in the East against 61,797 claimants between
October 2012 and September 2013 under the new regime, compared to just
under 19,080 for the region in the whole of 2008.

    * The average cost of welfare reform to a household has been estimated at £1615 a year (£31 a week).

    * Food prices have doubled in the past 10 years, according
to the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). A survey by _Which?_
magazine in September found that 41% of people were experiencing
increased stress levels due to rising food prices. 29% of people were
struggling to buy enough food for themselves or their household. A
survey in 2012 by 'Netmums' found one in five mothers regularly skip
meals to provide food for their children.

    * Shockingly, the number of
people in the East treated for malnutrition has risen from 209 in 2008
to 331 in 2012.

Rupert Read said:

"By joining the End Hunger Fast
campaign on Friday I'll be calling on the government to make sure that
the welfare system actually does its job of providing a robust last line
of defence against hunger in this country, that work pays enough for
people to properly provide for their families and that food is marketed
in a way which allows people to afford a healthy diet.

"The notion
which the government seems to have, that welfare recipients can mitigate
the reductions they've seen in benefits payments by finding work or
moving to a smaller home is true for only a very small proportion of
people. It is shameful that the consequence has been that more people in
this country are facing hunger."

Details about the
fast campaign may be found here: http://endhungerfast.co.uk/

Government shares the blame for the smog, says MEP-candidate

The smog just Saharan dust, it's from our cars and factories too, says MEP
- Green MEP lambasts Government record on air pollution

As Eastern England is hit by a wave of smog today the Green Party's lead-MEP-candidate is calling on the Government to do more to tackle air pollution.

The smog is caused by a combination of local air pollution, particles being blown from Europe and Saharan dust.

A Defra spokeswoman said: "The high level of air pollution this week is due to a combination of local emissions, light winds, pollution from the continent and dust blown over from the Sahara."

Rupert Read, lead Green MEP-candidate here in the East, said:

"We must not let the Government or local authorities hide behind the 'saharan dust' as they try to escape blame for a pollution problem that they're failing to take seriously. 29,000 people die in this country every year because of air pollution, it's high time politicians start taking responsibility."

Keith Taylor, the Green Party's MEP for the neighbouring region of South East England said:

"When pollution levels are this high it is vital that people with health problems take it easy and follow government guidelines.

But, it's also important that at times like this we focus our attention on those responsible for air pollution episodes. We know that part of the problem is caused by Saharan dust but we also know that the UK has an abysmal record in tackling air pollution in our towns and cities. The smog isn't just from the Sahara, it's from our cars and factories too.

The reason that the EU is taking legal proceedings against our Government over air pollution is that we simply aren't doing enough to protect people from this public health threat."

According to forecasts from the Department of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) the levels of pollutants in the air in some parts of our Region will be at the highest level possible on the measuring scale.

Forecasts, available on the Defra website, show that pollution is set to be at 'level 10'. At this level of pollution the Government advise people to reduce strenuous exercise and those with medical conditions to avoid activity wherever possible.

Last month Keith Taylor MEP suggested that free public transport should be made available on days with high pollution to cut the number of vehicles on the road. He made the proposal after the city of Paris provided free public transport to cut smog levels.

Mr Taylor also highlighted the international nature of the air pollution threat. He said:
 
"This smog, which is affecting Northern France as well as Southern Britain, shows just how important it is that we work with out European neighbours in creating laws that protect our environment and our health.

Here in the UK we need to take urgent action to reduce pollution levels. That means cutting the number of vehicles in our town centres, especially those with diesel engines and it means seriously investing in alternatives to travelling by car."

ENDS

1)      The pollution forecast is available here: http://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/forecasting/
2)      Health warnings for air pollution episodes: http://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/air-pollution/daqi

Monday, 31 March 2014

Great news: Norfolk incinerator project finally on the edge of being scrapped

This news [see below] is vindication for the people of Norfolk - both in the Costessey/Norwich area and in the Kings Lynn area - who have fought for a decade against this absurd incinerator project, supported the whole while by the Green Party. Our congratulations to the Green Party's Michael De Whalley, co-founder of the anti-incinerator campaign KLWin, and to all who have fought by his side. The news is however political disaster for the Conservatives and for George Nobbs, Labour Leader of Norfolk Couty Council, who have unwisely backed this calamitiously-bad incinerator project: calamitous from a financial point of view, and also of course, if it had gone ahead, from an environmental point of view.
We now need to look to a future in which Norfolk recycles and reduces its waste, rather than feeding monstrous burners.

http://www.edp24.co.uk/news/politics/major_twist_in_king_s_lynn_incinerator_saga_as_officers_recommend_controversial_project_is_scrapped_1_3511492

MITIGATING MANMADE CLIMATE CHANGE MUST BE AT HEART OF ENERGY POLICY

Human-influenced climate change will spiral out of control, worsening poverty, inequality and conflict, unless we put renewables and energy conservation at the heart of energy policy.

That was the warning today from Rupert Read, Green Party lead candidate in the east at the European elections, after scientists published the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report today (March 31st).

However, Dr Read said:

"We should see this report not as a document of doom but as a challenge we can rise to with the right thinking.

"Of course we need to tackle high domestic energy prices and excessive profits for suppliers, but we should reorganise the sector, increasing public funding for domestic energy-saving devices and community renewable energy generation and keeping fossil fuels in the ground. This is certainly a wake-up call against fracking."

The new report warns that no-one will be immune from the effects of climate change, but the poorest around the world will be disproportionately affected by food shortages, heatwaves, flooding and other weather-related disasters, unless Governments act to reduce carbon and other emissions now.

 "The report makes stark reading," said Dr Read "Many of us were aware of the effects of climate change in other countries, but this winter's weather has brought the issue home to the East Anglian coast.

 "The EU will really need to play a leadership role in championing the targets proposed by the Greens to reduce emissions by at least 60% by 2030 - probably much more - and to set targets for adopting energy conservation and renewable energy generation measures.

"I promise to be a strong voice for the environment in the European Parliament after the election in May to help that happen."

Poll: Greens on course for MEP seat in the East

Summary of large COMRes Poll from 15/16th March 2014:

Euro Election voting intention in the Eastern Region (among those who expressed a voting intention and said they would definitely vote):


Labour 14%
UKIP 44%
Conservative 21%
Lib Dem 7%
Green 12%
Other 2%

If this result occurs on May 22, then exactly what I have been saying will happen, in terms of seats switching: UKIP will gain at the expense of the Conservatives, and the Green Party will gain at the expense of the LibDems. Labour, weak in the East outside a few old urban strongholds, will remain static in terms of MEP-numbers.

[http://www.comres.co.uk/polls/IoS_SM_Political_Poll_16th_March_2014_%281%29.pdf p.36, for details.]

Encouraging news! Do share it.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

GREEN PHILOSOPHY IN ACTION


RUPERT READ, BEHIND THE HEADLINES

THE PHILOSOPHER AND POLITICIAN
RUPERT READ WILL BE TALKING ABOUT WHAT MOTIVATES HIS WORK IN THE GREEN
PARTY AT AN EVENT IN CAMBRIDGE ON TUESDAY.

"Green Philosophy in
Action" is the title of a talk he'll give at a meeting organised by
Impington and Histon Climate Change Action.

Dr Read, who is lead
candidate for the Greens in the east of England at the European
elections in May, is also Reader in Philosophy at the University of East
Anglia and the author of nine books on political and environmental
philosophy.

He is especially interested in issues around responsible
living, consumerism and economics and has argued in his book "Philosophy
for Life" that philosophy is not a body of doctrine but may be used as a
kind of therapy allowing us to improve our perspective on the world and
our place in it.

On Tuesday, he'll be offering some radical ideas and
suggestions on how to respond to the threat of global warming and
questioning the continuing use by government of GDP growth as a given in
economic success. He advocates a fundamental shift away from
business-as-usual "growthism" with its attendant pollution and use of
resources which has us living as though we have three planets to use
instead of one.

MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA ARE INVITED TO MEET RUPERT READ
AND JOIN THE AUDIENCE IN THE STABLE ROOM, ST. ANDREW'S CHURCH, HISTON,
CB24 9EP, AT 1930 ON TUESDAY MARCH 25TH.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

ENERGY REVOLUTION NEEDED IN BUDGET SAYS PORRITT

Greens offer vision of energy future

 

 One of Britain's best known environment campaigners, Sir Jonathon Porritt, will be in the east of England today, Budget Day (Wednesday March 19th), calling for budget measures to address the long term cost-of-living crisis caused by the "end of oil".

 

He'll be in Norwich and Gt Yarmouth to launch a new report by Rupert Read, lead candidate for the Green Party in the east of England at the Euro elections in May, calling for an "energy revolution" in the region encompassing tidal, wave, wind and solar power plus energy waste-reduction to replace outdated fossil fuels and nuclear.

 

The Green Party says that only an invest-to-save programme such as this can address the cost-of-living crisis which will otherwise arise from the end of the age of cheap oil.

 

Sir Jonathon, who has served as both Director of Friends of the Earth and as Chair of the government's Sustainable Development Commission, has remained a Green Party member throughout his career. He said:

 

"The destabilisation of the world's climate systems – which we had another taste of in Britain with the widespread flooding earlier this year – urgently requires us to rethink how we provide ourselves with the energy we need for our homes, transport, and industry.

"At the same time, the research and development of renewable energy technologies, such as solar, wind, and wave power, has now borne fruit to such an extent that costs are coming down and renewables are rapidly becoming competitive with fossil fuels – without of course the enormous costs which fossil fuels impose on everyone through air pollution and effects on the climate. We should seize the opportunities this happy coincidence provides."

Rupert Read said:

"Our chances of staving off man-made climate change are closely linked to the choices we make about energy use; everybody knows that now. But the Prime Minister has made his choice clear by talking about "green crap" in relation to energy obligations and going "all-out" for fracking, with all its associated risks and damages.

"I don't really hold out any hope at all that the Budget will offer a vision for the energy revolution we need, so I've tried to set it out myself in the report we're publishing this week. This report shows how it is only green measures that can address, long-term, and effectively, the 'cost-of-living-crisis'. Because fossil fuels are just going to go on getting more and more expensive, forever – until they disappear altogether."

 Later in the day, Sir Jonathon will be in Suffolk with Rupert at the invitation of the group "Together Against Sizewell C". He'll give a talk entitled "Why Nuclear Power Still Makes No Sense".

Hard copies of the report, "Time for an Energy Revolution in the East", by Rupert Read, will be available to journalists at the event. It is also available here: http://eastern.greenparty.org.uk/assets/files/easternfiles/energy_revolution.pdf

It calls for:

* An energy revolution to create thousands of lasting green jobs. It is calculated, for example, that 8,600 jobs could be created in the region just from the insulation and retrofitting of existing buildings alone.

 

* Renewables to get the same tax breaks as fracking now gets - tax-breaks which should be removed from fracking, and a moratorium on fracking instead imposed, as in France.

* Capital costs for R & D into projects like the Marine Energy Harvester funded by a tax on bankers bonuses. The running costs of these projects then pay for themselves through the free, clean energy they create.

* Robin Hood tax to fund micro generation: (retro & new build), such as ground source heat pumps in all social housing.

* Grants for communities to set up their own micro-generation projects, funded by tax on bankers bonuses.

* Rapidly deployed marine energy along the coast. Currently a project can be set up in 3-4 years, but the planning process is so slow that it is taking around 10 yrs. Rupert Read would work to remove these barriers at the EU level by streamlining the planning process FP7 for marine energy projects.

Gt Yarmouth, where the report will be launched, has been identified in research as a seaside town in need of regeneration and job creation. It is on the East Anglian 'energy coast' with all its potential for renewables development, and on the River Yare, which could be protected from future tidal surges and simultaneously generate tidal energy, in a manner laid out in the report.

The Caister-on-Sea Passivhaus project showcases how British companies, including local Yarmouth companies, are leading to way in producing affordable homes which will not leak energy. Moreover, these are council houses, which the Green Party also very much welcomes.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Magna Charta redux - media coverage:

Helen Geake and I in conversation at the place where the Magna Charta was drafted: right here in the East, at Bury:

Green Saturday in Cambridge: Tony Juniper and I speaking:


LEADING GREENS BRING SUSTAINABILITY
VISION TO CAMBRIDGE

TONY JUNIPER AND RUPERT READ TOGETHER FOR WEEKEND
EVENT

THE INTERNATIONALLY RENOWNED CAMPAIGNER AND WRITER ON THE
ENVIRONMENT, TONY JUNIPER, IS THE MAIN SPEAKER AT A PUBLIC MEETING IN
CAMBRIDGE ON SATURDAY (MARCH 15TH).

Green Party activists will be
meeting people on the streets during an Action Day in the city as part
of the campaign behind Rupert Read, lead candidate for the Greens in the
European elections on May 22nd.

Later, the two will discuss how to
create a healthy low-carbon economy, and the important role that
Cambridge researchers, businesses and residents have to play in moving
to a sustainable future for our region.

Mr Juniper, a former executive
director of Friends of the Earth, who now advises companies
internationally on sustainability issues, was the Green Party candidate
in his home city of Cambridge at the 2010 general election when he more
than doubled the Green share of the vote. He will be endorsing the Green
Party and Rupert Read in the forthcoming European election.

Dr Read, a
writer and philosophy teacher at UEA, will be talking about the way in
which we are still using up the earth's resources at too fast a rate. He
said:

"Britain's 'footprint' on the world is at present as if we had
three Earths, rather than just one. Changing this is going to involve an
extraordinary economic transformation: a great transition, which needs
also to be a just transition. The exciting thing is that the East of
England - from the Cambridge Research Park to our 'energy coast' - is in
pole position to play a key role in this transition. As your MEP, I
would seek to help offer leadership in this epochal change."

MEMBERS
OF THE MEDIA ARE INVITED TO JOIN THE GREENS' STREET CAMPAIGN BY CALLING
RUPERT READ FROM 1000 SATURDAY TO ARRANGE A RENDEZVOUS, OR TO MEET TONY
JUNIPER AND RUPERT READ AT 1600 AT KEYNES HALL, KING'S COLLEGE,
CAMBRIDGE.


Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Foodbanks - and benefits sanctions


There's been a lot of discussion about exactly why the demand for foodbanks here in the east of England is rising so quickly. Could there be a link between the number of people forced to use food banks and the number having their applications for benefit rejected? The fact is, those rejections have soared under the coalition government.

Green Party analysis of figures for our region compiled by the Department for Work and Pensions reveal that "adverse decisions" against claimants for Job Seekers Allowance and Employment and Support Allowance leapt from about 19,000 to almost thirty thousand between 2008 and 2009. By last year that number had doubled again to nearly sixty two thousand. We believe that this is one of the primary causes of the increased pressure on charitable foodbanks.

A Parliamentary select committee came to the same conclusion in January and called for an enquiry into inappropriate sanctions being imposed on claimants by Jobcentre Plus staff. They said staff should be incentivised to get people into work and not simply off benefits.

Wouldn't it be wonderful if the Government could instead target the tens of billions that are being ripped off us all by a minority of bankers and tax-evaders?

Monday, 10 March 2014

Global over-heat: where do we go from here?: RR speaking in London event with Mayer Hillman, Vicky Pope, Saci Lloyd...

Radical ideas and suggestions on how to respond to the threat of global warming from some of the UK's leading experts and campaigners.

 

April 12th, 2014

 

Conway Hall

Red Lion Square

London WC1R 4RL

Near Holborn Tube

 

£10 (£5 students) free to friends of CFI UK.

 

Tickets available online at: https://humanism.org.uk/events/?page=CiviCRM&q=civicrm/event/info&reset=1&id=52

 

10.30 Registration

 

11am Dr Mayer Hillman. Senior Fellow Emeritus, Policy Studies Institute, London. What do we do now that society is demonstrating all too clearly its strong preference for downplaying the significance and implications of climate change?

 

12.00 Dr Rupert Read. Philosopher and Green activist. Rupert will speak about global over-heat, the end of denialism, and the self-destruction of libertarianism in relation to this issue - and a possible way forward, in terms of guardians for future people. (lunch)

 

1.45 Dr Vicky Pope. The Met Office. Vicky was a founding member of the Met Office Hadley Centre and is a member of the Advisory Board on the UNEP early warning project on climate related hazards. She will present an overview of the latest science from the IPCC report and talk about its relevance for the UK. Vicky will give some idea of weather extremes we might expect.

 

2.45 Saci Lloyd is an Ecological activist and internationally acclaimed writer. She is the author of Carbon Diaries.

 

3.45 End

 

CFI UK reserves the right to change the programme.

 

Leaked LD memo backs ultra-neo-liberal 'trade' deal - and smears Green Party

NEWS: LibDem confidential memo that wrongly attacks Greens revealed here, by yours truly: