I won the ballot for Topical Oral Question, for the first time, on 20th April with this question: To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the passing of a law by the National Assembly of France to prohibit domestic flights to destinations that can be reached by train in two and a half hours or less, what consideration they have given to reducing domestic air travel in the United Kingdom.Continue reading “New climate targets, but no restraint on domestic flights”
London has seven incinerators and the lowest recycling rate of any region in the UK by far.
I’ve spent over 13 years explaining how these giant polluting towers burn waste that should be recycled. London’s Labour, Conservative and Lib Dem councillors have all promoted Energy from Waste plants as a good solution, despite the health worries about pollution and the growing evidence that burning plastic is very bad for climate change. London’s seven incinerators, many fed by waste from Labour controlled councils, are the reason why Sadiq Khan won’t deliver on the promise of a zero waste London.
I thought I would share this email from Lord Berkeley who served as Chairman of the Rail Freight Group, the industry representative body for the rail freight sector, and is elected as a board member of the European Rail Freight Association. I don’t agree with all the detail, but it shows that there is a cheaper, viable alternative to the environmentally damaging HS2. Interesting snippet: “NIC Chair Sir John Armitt said at the All-party Rail Group meeting on 26 January 2021, ‘you can have the rest of HS2 or you can have regional rail improvement but I cannot see ministers agreeing to both’! ”
There IS an alternative to HS2 – invest in rail in the regions to bring benefit by 2025, nearly 20 years earlier than HS2, and still save £135bn! Continue reading “Rail Freight expert outlines alternative to HS2”
The government has rejected the most basic attempts by the Lords to amend the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill. Conservative MPs rejected judicial oversight and they rejected an attempt to rule out rape, murder and torture from the list of crimes that could be authorised. This will give over 500 senior police officers and numerous other organisations the ability to break any law when they (not a judge) deem it reasonable and proportionate to do so.Continue reading “Spy cops (CHIS) bill back in Lords”
The House of Lords has once again stood firm as a voice of morality and reason as this government seeks to reject any imposition of minimum standards when making trade deals. The Lords has become a major source of opposition to this government as Conservative and independent peers regularly find themselves at odds with the right wing cabal that operates from Downing Street.Continue reading “Trade, minimum standards and no genocide please”
Jenny Jones: “Labour must dramatically change its position in the next few days on this bill or else it will be complicit in future acts of state oppression”
Green Party peer Jenny Jones has submitted a fatal amendment to the Covert Human Intelligence Sources Bill which will be voted on in the Lords on Thursday during the legislations Third Reading. She has urged Labour MPs and peers not to vote for the spycops bill as it goes through its final stage in the coming week.
Probably the most dangerous legislation I’ve seen in my lifetime is back in the Lords today for amendment and despite the determined efforts of Shami Chakrabarti, until now Labour peers have mostly sat on their hands. On Monday, Labour abstained on the big vote of replacing blanket immunity for Covert Human Intelligence Sources with the existing system of a public interest test and legal defence. The government has promoted this Bill as merely putting the status quo into law, but this Bill goes way beyond that. Laws passed by Parliament and developed over time through case law, can now be by-passed by over 500 senior police officers who can authorise officers, civilian employees and criminals to commit crimes, with immunity.
I will be voting with my Green Party colleagues against the Trade Agreement this government has negotiated with the EU. I resent the loss of democracy in the way that Parliament is being expected to rubber stamp a deal with minimum scrutiny and no ability to amend, nor even seriously question Ministers. This is not the UK Parliament taking back control, it is a power grab by the executive and we must renegotiate the terms of the agreement, once a general election has given the public their say. I reject the minimal guarantees on standards for the environment and the loss of freedom of movement. Our young people will miss the advantages of travel and study with the Erasmus scheme. And we have all gained an additional set of expenses for health insurance and other costs every time we take a trip across the English Channel.
I voted for Brexit, but I cannot vote for this disastrous deal that leaves British people far worse off. Instead of creating 50,000 jobs to deal with the growing crisis of the climate emergency, this government has created 50,000 custom agents to check over the estimated 211 million extra forms that exporters will need. Above all, I am not prepared to vote for lower environmental standards and less rigorous enforcement of them. This government have the numbers to pass their deal, but this is nowhere near the best deal and I won’t legitimise what our Government has negotiated by voting for it.
Cancel HS2 and reallocate all public funds to a zero carbontransport future – below is an explaination of why the Green Party voted to oppose HS2. Useful when arguing with those who express environmental concerns, but don’t understand the detail of this destructive project.
HS2 is bad value for money and very bad news for the environment. It’s also hoovering up all the funding that we desperately need for investment in high quality public transport at a local and regional level.
We must stop HS2, prevent any more destruction of ancient woodlands and reallocate the billions of pounds to projects that will reduce air pollution andCo2 emissions at a local level.
Covid has already transformed the way that millions of people use digital networking instead of long distance travelling; the government needs to catch upwith how a modern economy works and see that HS2 is the white elephant that the Green Party always knew it was.Our opposition is based on 6 main areas of concern:
1. The project is not in conformity with clear national guidance on Transport Appraisal Guidance. Guidance is clear that for any transport project the exact nature of the problem to be solved must be stated and a wide range of options examined before selecting the best performing option. This was not done
2. HS2 is the most expensive, wasteful and destructive project in UK history and is set to destroy 108 ancient woodlands, 693 wildlife sites, 33 Sites of Special Scientific Interest, 5 Internationally important wildlife sites, protected by UK law, 2000 homes and businesses and 19,500 permanent, proper jobs.
3. The project will not reduce transport’s carbon emissions. Only 5% of predicted journeys are transfers from road and air and 69% are transfers from classic rail which has a lower CO2 per passenger kilometer emission factor than HS2.
4. Rail professionals at a conference in York University in 2016 identified a number of engineering upgrades at key pinch points to increase capacity on the existing rail route. A totally new line was not needed.
5. The total cost is estimated to be over £100 billion (note 3) and at £403 million per mile is 15 times more expensive than the French TGV6. The Uk very urgently needs a major upgrade to rail services as a whole including electrification of lines currently served by dirty, polluting, climate damaging diesel trains and a major upgrade to city-region public transport so that all our cities can be improved tothe standards to be found in Vienna, Frankfurt or Zurich. HS2 is a very low priority compared to projects that have proven impacts on reducing transport carbon and serve the majority of the population and all income groups and get people out of cars
The death of Ella Kissi-Debrah has put a child’s face on a huge public health emergency. The struggle by her brave mother, Rosamund, to get air pollution recognised as the killer of her daughter can pave the way for a new Clean Air Act that will end the hundreds of thousands of premature deaths. Continue reading “Justice for Ella can pave the way for new Clean Air Act”