Public Order Bill arrives in Lords

The Government really do not need the sort of repressive powers in the Bill that are worthy of Russia, China or Iran. We should vote against this legislation—again—to protect the right to freedom of expression, the right to freedom of assembly and the right to protest, which is what we expect in a free society. Of course protest is inherently disruptive; that is its nature. But do the Lords know what is more disruptive? The fossil fuel companies and extractive industries that are destroying our planet, and the billionaires who are amassing huge claims over the world’s resources while everyone else worries about how to pay our energy bills this winter. BP has made £7 billion profit in three months, yet we will pay the extra cost of coastal defences and higher food prices for the next three decades or more. Shell makes £9.5 billion profit in a quarter. They have billions in the bank; we will have a country that swings from drought and wildfires to floods of sewage. Every dollar or pound that the oil and gas companies make equals the world becoming a worse place for generations. That is what real disruption means, and we have a Government encouraging it with tax breaks and licences for big business. Continue reading “Public Order Bill arrives in Lords”

Energy Prices Bill

I understand that something must be done, but this is not it. I want the Minister to explain two issues: will people be able to pay their energy bills, and will this cause more investment in dirty oil and gas? This Bill has so little detail, the Government are proposing to fill in about 90% of the details at a later date, and they expect us to just wave it through. We cannot know the impact of this Bill on ordinary people, but we know the Government have been determined to protect the profits of oil and gas companies. The Government are expecting us to take this Bill on trust and I do not trust the Government. Continue reading “Energy Prices Bill”

Drax subsidy should be spent on insulation and solar panels say Green Party Baroness

Green Party Baroness, Jenny Jones, has called for the billions of
pounds currently being used to subsidise Drax Power Station to be used
for insulating homes and putting up solar panels. A BBC investigation
(Panorama 3/10/2022) has exposed the truth behind National Power’s
claims that it uses sawdust and  waste wood to fuel its giant,
electricity producing incinerator. Whole trees are being felled and
transported from as far away as Canada to burn in the UK. Much of this
is Drax logging precious ancient forest in British Columbia as well as
South East USA.

Continue reading “Drax subsidy should be spent on insulation and solar panels say Green Party Baroness”

Energy Bill payback due from renewables

Renewables are due to start paying back money to consumers this month, as the cost of producing energy from wind and solar drops well below the cost of energy bills. The figures on how much is cut from bills will be announced every quarter, with a small change growing into a more significant sum as the price cap rises in October and the new year.

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Recycling down – blame Covid

Why are the government hiding the fact that English local authorities now burn far more of your household waste than they recycle? A few weeks ago the government put out pages of statistics on the decline of recycling in 2020 and blamed Covid. Some journalists printed it, most ignored it, none looked at how it fitted a long term trend of recycling flat lining because incineration has increased.

Continue reading “Recycling down – blame Covid”

Smoke, gas and mirrors

Rishi Sunak is cutting £400 off average energy bills which have risen by £1,500. It will help, but it’s not enough. The real solution would be to double the investment in renewables which have been putting a brake on energy prices over the last year, but there is nothing in the  government’s announcement that encourages that. In fact, they appear to have focused exclusively on a huge tax break for oil and gas companies that invest in UK fossil fuels – we will be asking questions on this.

Continue reading “Smoke, gas and mirrors”

Double renewables to give consumers a big payback

Green Party peer, Jenny Jones, has welcomed the big payback from renewables that will be helping to reduce energy bills in the autumn and called on the government to double the size of the investment allowed in the next round of renewable energy licenses.

The contract for difference scheme previously acted as a subsidy for renewable energy by offering investors a guaranteed price, but with rising gas prices forcing up energy bills, that guaranteed price is now well below what consumers are paying. A report by the right of centre think tank, Onward, worked out that renewables already save consumers £221 a year because they had displaced gas consumption.

Continue reading “Double renewables to give consumers a big payback”

Clean Air comes top

My Clean Air Act is top of the Lords’ ballot for private members bills which means that it stands a good chance of getting through all three stages in the Lords, before moving into the Commons. The bill aims to protect the public against air pollution which is one of the biggest public health hazards of our time and responsible for tens of thousands of premature deaths in the UK. I’ve been working on this issue for over twenty years, but this is my best chance to get the government to take decisive action.

Continue reading “Clean Air comes top”