Environment

This article comes from the Campaign to Protect Rural England and is aimed at creating better planning laws that benefit local communities and protect the countryside.

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Last month we wrote to people to ask them to take a moment to send a letter to their MP about how the Government is pushing through a raft of changes to the way planning works in England. These changes are eroding your right to a fair say on planning decisions that shape our towns and cities and could mean losing precious countryside forever.

It’s not too late to send that letter.

We know the civil servants are working through the new guidance and we can still influence the changes.

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We need to build more affordable homes in the right places for local communities.

By building homes on brownfield sites we can regenerate our towns and cities and help save precious countryside. To make this happen we need good planning, that gives local communities a fair say in the kind of housing that is right for them and protects the countryside.

The Government’s continuous reforms to planning have focused on making it easier for developers to get planning permission to build homes wherever they want. The result has been an increase in planning applications in the countryside and Green Belt. Our research has shown that there is already enough land with planning permission for 650,000 new homes, so there is no need to sacrifice our countryside. Granting permission on more land in the countryside isn’t the solution to getting more homes built – getting housebuilders to build the permissions they have, is.

We want to persuade the Government to take a sensible approach to planning that will give us the homes we need in the right places and protect the countryside.

What we want from the Government

  • Allow local authorities to set realistic housing targets based on local need.

  • Make developers build out the developments for which they already have planning permission before they can have further sites.

  • Make building on suitable brownfield land in urban areas a priority before building on greenfield land.

  • A clear commitment to a Green Belt policy that protects the countryside.

Take action

Please take a few moments to send a letter to your local MP, to persuade the Government to rethink their proposed changes to planning that will result in unnecessary loss of countryside. We need to act urgently as time is running out before a decision is made in the coming weeks.

Send a letter to your local MP.

Thank you,

 

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Paul Miner

Planning Campaign Manager

Tell the Government to Stop Unnecessary Greenfield Development

This article comes from the Campaign to Protect Rural England and is aimed at creating better planning laws that benefit local communities and protect the countryside. Last month we wrote...

Note: this article was written by Emma Thompson, actress and campaigner for Greenpeace 

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As you read this, I’m occupying a field in Lancashire earmarked for fracking. 

Very soon, Cuadrilla could be drilling for dirty energy at my feet – but not if I’ve got anything to do with it! I’m here with my sister Sophie and we’re using whisks and wooden spoons (and a bit of humour!) to expose the dangers of fracking.

We desperately need your help to amplify the noise we’re making.

Click to watch and share our unique anti-fracking protest live from Lancashire: https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/frackfreebakeoff

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The people of Lancashire are our inspiration for this unusual, illegal protest. In 2014, twenty-or-so mums and grandmas – known as the 'Lancashire Nanas' – set up a protest camp in the same field I’m stood in now. For three weeks they protested peacefully, giving out cakes and tea as they explained the dangers of fracking to people who passed by.

After the Lancashire Nana’s occupation, Cuadrilla got desperate – they took out a legal injunction to block more protestors from trespassing on their fracking site. But if Cuadrilla thinks their injunction will stop us making ourselves heard then they’re wrong.

That’s why today we’re back on the fracking site the Lancashire Nanas occupied. This time we’re using Bake Off – the UK’s best-loved TV show – to help get fracking onto the front pages of newspapers and onto politicians’ lips. You might have friends and family who don’t know much about the dangers of fracking, so please click to tune in to our Frack Free Bake Off and help get the message out:

In Lancashire public opposition to fracking is overwhelming, just as it is in so many other parts of the UK. But it looks like David Cameron’s government could still give the industry the go ahead here. That’s not what I call democracy! – and I know that there are so many who agree. That’s why more than 100,000 of us have told the government not to silence communities that vote against fracking. So today it would mean a lot to me if you can spare a minute to spread the word about how we’re pushing back.

https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/frackfreebakeoff

Thank you so much for everything you do!

It's a Fracking Bake Off!

Note: this article was written by Emma Thompson, actress and campaigner for Greenpeace    As you read this, I’m occupying a field in Lancashire earmarked for fracking.  Very soon, Cuadrilla...

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Greenpeace action on fracking

Read more

A precedent could be set for development on any National Heritage sites

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Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire is a Grade 1 listed building which welcomes 120,000 visitors from home and abroad every year. The Hall and immediate gardens are owned and run by the National Trust, the wider setting, which is now under threat, is owned by a group of trustees. The Robert Adams setting of Kedleston Hall has been protected for over 200 years. That is why we can all enjoy it today as an oasis amid the urban sprawl and hectic routines of modern life.

Since the changes to the National Planning Policy Framework in 2012 our beautiful open spaces are under threat from developers. Across the land there are groups of people fighting to protect their environment.

You may imagine that the nationally recognised heritage site of Kedleston is protected and safe from the clutch of developers but, like many other cherished open spaces, this land is currently under threat from two planning applications.

There is massive local opposition and an action group called Kedleston Voice (www.kedlestonvoice.com) is fighting to save our heritage. Perhaps surprisingly for its members, who might expect a robust defence of a Grade I listed asset, the National Trust has given a rather understated objection. Thanks to Kedleston Voice representing a vast number of residents much has already been achieved and the application was refused by Amber Valley Borough Council on the grounds of harm to a heritage setting.

The developer has now appealed to the Secretary of State and there is a Public Inquiry this summer. Kedleston Voice has Rule 6 status and is instructing a barrister to represent residents at the Inquiry. There has now been a second smaller application and this will also be considered at the Inquiry incurring more costs. It is an expensive process.

We are at a pivotal moment which could be nationally significant. Please help us, for the sake of all heritage sites and open spaces, to stand up to the bias towards building on green fields rather than the many available brown field sites.

Kedleston Voice is a non political coalition of local people .

They have set up a crowdfunding site at http://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/protect-our-national-heritage.

Please help by visiting and sharing this link.

We have to take a stand not just for today but for the sake of future generations.

We need to Act Now to Protect our Heritage

A precedent could be set for development on any National Heritage sites Kedleston Hall in Derbyshire is a Grade 1 listed building which welcomes 120,000 visitors from home and abroad... Read more

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This Blog was original published at http://belperstuff.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/zero-carbon-britain-how-to-power.html as part of the BelperStuff.Blog

In yesterday's blog post mention we looked at the Belper News feature where Tom Pickering of INEOS Upstream, the fracking company active in Derbyshire, made a series of unsubstantiated statements. The one that really took the biscuit was the claim that, and once again I quote,

There is no risk free energy solutions but, if we don't find a solution, the lights really will go out ............. renewables simply don't provide enough energy all of the time.

Pickering claims that the fracking industry has matured and sorted out some of the earlier problems but he has not kept up with developments in the sustainable energy sector where exciting new advances have and are being made in storage and battery technology. This, coupled with an awareness that a significant impact can be made by reducing the energy needed to power the country by increasing the insulation and heat retention capability of our homes and buildings, the gradual switch to low energy devices and the use of smart technology to control consumption ........... this is apparently ignored by Pickering.

I would be more disposed to his reasoning if he could produce authoritative academic evidence for fracking but try as I might the only pro-fracking sources would appear to be sponsored by the fossil fuel industry themselves ........... oh and of course politicians who are funded by the big energy companies. There is rather a lot of evidence to back up that statement both in the US and the UK. 

How Energy Companies Control Governments

The US presidential candidates have been heavily funded by energy companies (follow this link to an interesting website detailing US candidate funding) and here in the UK there is similar funding to the Tory party (Tory Party being fuelled by energy fatcats article in the Daily Mirror) and here (A Greenpeace article - Tory-donors-linked-unconventional-gas-industry) not forgetting of course this from the Guardian (Conservative links with the energy sector).

The only way to counteract this in the UK is to get rid of the Tories and return to the forward thinking policies of the Labour Party, perhaps via a common commitment by Labour, SNP, SDLP and Green MP's. 

Can Sustainable Energy Power the Country?

This question is at the heart of the debate and doubts about this are wheeled out ad nauseum by proponents of fracking, UCG and the financiers backing the nuclear option. There are many more erudite than Tom Pickering who claim that sustainable energy alone will not be enough but none of them ever point to academic studies that prove their point .......... oh except for odd studies that they themselves have commissioned and wooly reports such as this, commissioned by the Department of Energy from a body named the Technology Strategy Board (Energy_Supply_-_Strategy_2012-2015.pdf) ............ what a load of guff.

2012 was the real turning point in the UK with legislation enacted by the Tories that started to erode the commitments brought in by the previous Labour government in accord with the 2002 Kyoto protocol. Now post the 2015 election the Tories are pushing further with their fossil agenda, able to escape claims that they are in breach of the commitment to achieve an 80% reduction in harmful emissions by 2050 because the effect of the now 8 year economic slowdown has of itself allowed us to reach the milestones that are enshrined in the 2008 Act.

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Zero Carbon Britain ........... How to Power Britain from Sustainable Sources of Energy

This Blog was original published at http://belperstuff.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/zero-carbon-britain-how-to-power.html as part of the BelperStuff.Blog In yesterday's blog post mention we looked at the Belper News feature where Tom Pickering of INEOS Upstream, the fracking... Read more

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This Blog was original published at http://belperstuff.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/we-need-to-work-together-for.html as part of the BelperStuff.Blog

BelperStuff has been quiet of late as other tasks and priorities have taken precedence (the astute amongst you will no doubt have detected this oft used euphemism for laziness). There is no lack of subjects to write about but, to be honest with you, sometimes the intellect slumps, the fighting spirit needs a rest. However here I sit on a quiet Sunday afternoon creating yet another blog post. I am motivated by an article ........ no it's dubbed a "feature" ........ in last week's Belper News.

I bought the paper to see if they had printed an article submitted to them to publicise the "Working together for the environment" meeting that is being held in No.28, The Market Place, Belper at 19:30 on the 6th April (next Wednesday) but unfortunately it failed to make last week's paper. You can however read the article here on the web based Belper Alternative News - NailedLabour environmental campaign offers new hope. The resultant poo - pooing of the article by the Green Party was regrettable but the the similarity to the People's Front of Judea sketch in Monty Python's Life of Brian film (couldn't resist it, here is the link: Monty Python Life of Brian Judean sketch) has lessened the sadness I felt at the criticism.

Opening up the Belper News in hope of seeing the submitted piece it was rather unpleasant to find this:

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This item of journalism is rather strange in that the title would have you believe that the "green lobby" might not be against fracking after all (of course it's against it). The article itself makes the claim that,

In the interests of balance, we have spoken to INESCO Upstream -the company which has been granted the fracking licenses for our area.

The operations director of INESCO is Tom Pickering and he says,

There is no risk free energy solutions but, if we don't find a solution, the lights really could go out. Coal is dirty, nuclear is expensive, importing gas means that we are dependent on getting supplies from some of the most unstable regions in the world, and renewables simply don't provide enough energy all of the time. We believe shale gas could play an important part in providing us with the energy that could power the nation into the future and help reduce CO2 emissions.


Tom Pickering goes on to claim that the anti-fracking lobby are clouding the debate by referencing images and disasters from the early days of fracking and ignoring the fact that the industry has moved on to,

Demonstrate that the shale gas extraction can take place sympathetically and with no or minimal lasting impact to environments and landscapes.

He went further to claim that,

A typical 10km square site would lead to around £375 million invested back into the area over the operation's lifetime.

To say that I am not convinced would be an understatement. There is just too much contemporary evidence that fracking is bad for both the local and planetary environment to counter Tom Pickering's claims.

Before I get into that let's just remind ourselves what is involved with shale gas extraction:

We Need to Work Together for the Environment .............. Fracking

  This Blog was original published at http://belperstuff.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/we-need-to-work-together-for.html as part of the BelperStuff.Blog BelperStuff has been quiet of late as other tasks and priorities have taken precedence (the astute amongst you will... Read more

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