Andrew Cooper Talk – 20/07/2016

andrew cooperOn Wednesday 20th July, Cllr Andrew Cooper visited Barnsley for a free, public talk on Energy. Andrew is the Green Party’s Energy Spokesperson, and has been a Councillor in Kirklees for 17 years. In that time, he has implemented a number of Green Party policies on housing and energy. He is also the Lead European elections candidate for the Yorkshire region.

The first thing that strikes me about Andrew is his passion for what he does. His enthusiasm and pro-active work ethic resonates when he is speaking, and his knowledge from 20+ years working in the energy efficiency industry makes it clear why he is Green Party’s energy spokesperson.

The conversation started with the last General Election. Despite not winning, the Greens have the best energy policies of any mainstream, UK party. Policies such as the Free Home Insulation Programme, which aimed to insulate 4 million homes every year, were discussed at the meeting. Such a programme would cost £4bn a year and create 80,000 jobs. More information can be found here. Andrew talked about the future benefits of this scheme, which would decrease energy use and emissions, save people money on their energy bills, and therefore mean less money going to energy providers – win, win, win!

Andrew then talked about his job as a councilor in Kirklees, and how he has introduced Green housing and energy policies to the area with enormous success. He has already led a successful effort in insulating 50,000 homes across Kirklees for free. This was directly inspired from Green Party national policy. Approximately £3 million a year has been saved in energy bills from these newly insulated homes. Imagine if this policy was rolled out across the UK!

We then moved on to discussing solar energy, which Andrew has called for a massive re-investment in after the industry has declined in recent years. When creating the solar policies for the Green Party, Andrew explained how he visited solar companies and consulted with professionals for their input. He said:

I approached them and asked them for their most ambitious but realistic solar policy.

By going directly to the professionals, the Green Party was able to create a progressive, yet robust solar policy, which would benefit the environment and stand up to scrutiny.

The conversation topic then moved on to Passivhaus (pronounced: passive-house), a standard to which properties are built which can save 10% of energy use, which equals to a saving of around £1,000 a year in energy bills. It is Green Party policy that all new build homes and buildings should be built to Passivhaus standard.

Fracking was also a heated topic of discussion, after Barnsley Councils recent Local Plan has revealed that the council will generally support fracking in the area. It is, however, a completely different story in Kirklees, where the Green Party motion to oppose fracking was passed. In their Local Plan, the council are clear about the fact that fracking applications in the area will be considered providing  the company can produce evidence that their operations will have not have a negative impact on climate change. Clever, right?
This policy doesn’t necessarily mean the government will abide or even listen, but it sends out a message about what their values as a council are.

Finally, the conversation moved to discussing the current government’s green energy initiatives, and the EU. So far, tariffs have been cut for solar energy, it has been made even harder to utilise offshore wind energy, and the climate change department has been scrapped by Theresa May. Andrew stated that this current government have come up with the worst energy efficiency programme he has ever known, and the repercussions for this will be huge.

As for the EU, Andrew explained how all countries that are part of the European Union were expected to follow the 2020 climate change and energy targets. This legislation set targets for countries to achieve a 20% cut in greenhouse gas emissions (from 1990 levels), 20% of EU energy from renewable, and a 20% improvement in energy efficiency. As we are now quickly approaching the deadline, countries like Sweden and Germany are steaming ahead and will not only achieve, but surpass their green energy targets. The UK, on the other hand, will almost certainly fail theirs, despite been given only a 15% target to achieve.

This is not only disgraceful, and proof of how backwards recent governments have been in their energy and climate change initiatives, but the UK will also be expected to pay a hefty fine for not reaching the target – a cost which was completely avoidable.

This isn’t just about green energy, it’s also about conserving energy and reducing demand. This is why Green Party polices on insulating homes and Passivhaus are so important, and would be effective in reducing energy consumption and climate change.

Finally, we were reminded that when all else fails, plant trees! Take carbon out of the atmosphere and highlight the fact that the government needs to do more.

The Barnsley Green Party can be found on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/GreenPartyBarnsley/
We hold meetings at 7pm on the second Thursday of every month, at the YMCA in Barnsley.

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Barnsley Council’s Local Plan “Opens the Door” for Fracking in the area

We at the Barnsley Green Party urge local residents to oppose Barnsley Council’s Mineral’s Policy in their Local Plan consultation.

The document states that hydraulic fracturing, commonly known as fracking, will be supported by the council. We only have until August 19th to tell Barnsley Council not to allow fracking in our area.

The Minerals Policy (Under section 22 of the plan) states that ‘proposals for the exploration and production of oil and gas (including petroleum, natural gas, coal mine methane, coal bed methane or underground gasification of coal), will generally be supported’, and that ‘proposals for the exploration and production of shale gas via hydraulic fracturing will generally be supported.’

The Green Party is the only mainstream party in the UK to completely oppose fracking, as unfounded support for fracking puts corporate wealth before public health. We therefore call for a ban on all UK fracking operations, and for the UK to close loopholes which put our towns at risk.

Our objections to fracking are based on empirical, peer-reviewed evidence. Not only is fracking linked to health problems such as respiratory and reproductive issues, cancer and headaches, but it is also damaging to the environment due to methane gas, radioactive elements, and carcinogenic chemicals being released in to the atmosphere. There is also an increased risk of earthquakes caused by drilling, as well as risk of groundwater contamination, resulting in water shortages and health problems.

Fracking also puts our farming and agricultural industry under threat. In the US, fracking near farming areas has caused water contamination which has lead to livestock sickness, infertility, deformed young, and death. The risk of groundwater contamination has also led to a significant fall in property values.

In 2016 we should be striving to produce safe, renewable energy. We have the money, infrastructure and resources to stop burning fossil fuels and invest in green, sustainable energy. We are incredibly disappointed that Barnsley Council would put residents’ health at risk like this, and adopt such a regressive policy.

We therefore call on Barnsley Council to remove the statement of support for fracking from the Local Plan, and encourage everyone to raise their concerns by commenting on the Local Plan consultation website. The Local Plan consultation can be found here: http://consult.barnsley.gov.uk/portal/development/planning/lppd2016/lppd2016

We also encourage residents to write to their local and parish councilors objecting to this support and to attend one of the remaining Barnsley Council consultation events:

  • Thursday 21st July (5pm-7pm)
  • Goldthorpe Library, Barnsley Road Friday 22nd July (10am-12 noon)
  • Wombwell Library, Station Road Saturday 23rd July (10.30am-12.30pm & 1pm-3pm), Better Barnsley Unit, Cheapside, Barnsley Town Centre.

Find us on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/GreenPartyBarnsley
We hold monthly public meetings on the second Thursday of every month from 7pm at the YMCA in Barnsley town centre.

 

 

Dale Turner – Your Candidate for Penistone East

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Help elect Barnsley’s first Green councillor! Click here to support our campaign.

I am standing as the Green Party candidate in Penistone East Ward in the Barnsley local elections on 5th May 2016.

We have been canvassing hard recently in the area and spending what little funds we have on producing excellent literature to help get our message across to the electorate. Unlike the major political parties we are up against, we don’t have large financial backers and other funds to call on.

This is where you may be able to help. As a Green Party member or supporter, you can make a donation to help us fund our campaign this time and also give us a kick-start towards future elections and the production of a quarterly newsletter.

So why not help us build on the Green Surge and achieve our goal of electing Barnsley’s first Green councillor.

However much you can give would be very much appreciated by myself and everyone on our team who is working so hard to achieve our goal.

So if you can, get involved and let’s bring about the change to local politics that Barnsley really needs.

Please give what you can spare and help elect me to represent the good people of Penistone East on 5th May 2016.

All Barnsley wards that the Green party is standing a candidate:

Central – Kate Raynor
Old Town – Amy Walker
Kingstone – Chris Scarfe
Dodworth – Ian Parker
Worsbrough – Lauren Conway
St Helens – Alan Jones
Penistone West – Richard Trotman
Penistone East – Dale Turner

Meet the Greens!

Barnsley Green Party are hosting a social event including live music from Emily Worton, Lauren Conway and more.

There will be snacks, a raffle and other activities, plus the opportunity to meet local party officers and candidates who will be standing in the May elections. This event is open to all, non-members are welcome.

Friday 8th April, 7pm – Meet the Greens! Social with live music
Generations Cafe Bar
Regents Court, St Marys Street, Penistone S36 6DT

Natalie Bennett visits Barnsley

On Friday 11th March, we were pleased to welcome Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett to Barnsley. She visited local projects such as the Barnsley Churches Drop-in Centre, Springvale Community Gardens in Penistone and the YMCA, before speaking at The Core.

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Barnsley Churches Drop-in Centre

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Springvale Community Gardens

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With gardeners at Springvale Community Gardens

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Being interviewed by Penistone FM

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Barnsley YMCA

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Speaking at The Core

Natalie Bennett to visit Barnsley!

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Natalie Bennett, Leader of the Green Party
Friday 11 March, 6.30pm
The Core, Country Way, Barnsley S70 2JW

Barnsley Green Party are proud to present and evening with Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party, at the Core in Barnsley.

Natalie has been the elected leader of the Green Party since September 2012. She was previously the Co-ordinator of Camden Greens and founding chair of the Green Party Women’s Group. In the 2015 General Election, she stood in Holborn and St Pancras, winning 13% of the vote.

Within the party she’s been an active worker on policy, on issues ranging from the abolition of the Corporation of the City of London to abortion rights, proportional liability on the roads to job-share MPs and a 40% quota for women on major company boards, the treatment of women offenders and the rights of asylum-seekers and sex workers.

Natalie served as the internal communications coordinator for the party from September 2007-2010 and was the founding chair of Green Party Women.

Natalie will be visiting local projects during the day then is speaking from 6.30pm. It’s “pay what you can afford” event with a suggested donation of £2/£3. It would be great to see as many people as possible there. We’re also planning to hold a raffle; if you are able to donate a prize let us know.

We would like to hear your views

Barnsley Green Party think that it is important to give Barnsley people a voice. We want to understand your concerns about where you live and know what you think the important issues are in your area.

Please take part in our poll and choose a category. You can leave additional comments in the contact form below. It would also be helpful to know which Barnsley council ward you live in.

Would you be happy to discuss these issues further? If so please contact us.

Thank you for your time and consideration!

Appeal for local groups to meet with Green Party leader

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Do you have a local group worth shouting about? Natalie Bennett, leader of the Green Party is visiting Barnsley on Friday 11 March and would like to meet with some of our community groups.

“Natalie’s visit could really help to raise the profile of the fantastic work that many of our local groups carry out in the community,” explained Barnsley Green Party’s Dale Turner.

“We would like to hear from any local groups around Barnsley centre that are open on a Friday afternoon and would like to meet with Natalie.”

Any interested groups should contact Barnsley Green Party on 07769 688170 or email info@barnsley.greenparty.org.uk.

Natalie Bennett to visit Barnsley

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Exciting news! Natalie Bennett, the leader of the Green Party has agreed to visit us in Barnsley on Friday 11 March 2016.

We are currently finalising the details of a venue for Natalie to deliver a speech to a public meeting and hope that as many Barnsley Green Party members as possible will attend.

More details soon.

Can we still afford the luxury of green belt? Yes we can!

On January 29th, the Barnsley Chronicle published a letter by Michael Clynch, an architect from near Penistone, under the title ‘Can we still afford the luxury of green belt?’

Barnsley Green Party member Dale Turner has responded.

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Dale Turner of Barnsley Green Party

Michael Clynch: Currently the Barnsley borough has 77% of its land designated green belt. Most of the land is agricultural, but much is of poor quality, of little visual value and often with oddly drawn boundaries which defy logic and common sense. Nationally only around 11% of land is actually built over including highways and railways. Much of the land has green belt status. The original purpose of green belt land was intended to prevent “ribbon developments” where developers bought up road frontage land connecting towns and villages. Build costs were low because highway access and drainage was freely available. Unfortunately green belt has achieved an almost religious status among Friends of the Earth and other unelected quangos and lobby groups who would prefer no development at all and certainly no housing where people would actually like to live.

Dale Turner: We should all be thankful that we are lucky enough to live in an area with such a high proportion of designated green belt.

As Michael mentioned the main purposes of green belt land are to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built up areas and to prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another. However there are other purposes which are to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment, to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns, and to assist in urban generation, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land. We must also remember that we share this planet and the land within it with other species and flora and fauna. Green belt land protects their habitat and allows the planet to provide enough oxygen for us human beings to thrive. So the more green belt land we build on, the less oxygen is provided for the human race to live harmoniously alongside the other species and flora and fauna of this planet. We are only one species amongst many so what right have we to use up all the land for our own ends.

MC: The government has wisely abandoned ‘zero carbon’ housing initiatives not least because the Royal Institute of British Architects calculated that it would add £50,000 build costs to a family home.

DT: As for the government wisely abandoning zero carbon housing initiatives because of costs it is stated in research carried out by the “Sweett Group for the Zero Carbon Hub” that current additional build costs of a semi-detached house are under £5,000 and it is expected that these will reduce to £3,500 by 2020. This seems to be very much at odds with the figure of £50,000 quoted by Michael.

MC: The green lobby has covered the country with useless windmills and forced up energy costs massively for factories and homes and is a major reason we recently lost our steel industry.

DT: The useless windmills that Michael refers to are currently along with other renewable sources such as solar power generating 21.6% of the UK’s electricity grid. A survey conducted by consultants for the parliamentary climate change committee states that the UK could be generating at least 65% of the UK’s demand by 2030, but only with sufficient investment. The main reason that the UK has all but lost its steel industry is almost entirely due to the flooding of the UK and European markets by cheap massively subsidised Chinese steel driving prices and down and meaning the UK’s steel industry is unable to compete. In short successive UK governments have allowed unfair competition to decimate our steel industry and have stood by and let it happen.

MC: Recent flooding is not caused by global warming, but by lack of river clearance in the green ‘biodiversity’ cause i.e. care of a few fresh water mussels and crayfish counts more than people’s lives.

DT: Whilst the recent flooding is not exclusively caused by global warming it contributes massively to the changes in our weather patterns and the repeat of 200 year flooding events 3 times in one decade is all the proof we need. Climate change sceptics need to wake up and smell the coffee. The other major factor in the recent floods in the north was the clearing of bogs on the moors by landowners to provide grouse shooting for the wealthy few. We must not overlook the fact that these floods were predicted and could have been reduced, if not fully prevented, had the government not cut the funding it had promised to deliver.

MC: The ‘no fracking’ group are following a similar route. There is a great opportunity or England with new sources of gas in a well regulated industry. This will provide reduced heating costs for our homes and factories as it has done abroad with no real risks.

DT: The ‘no fracking’ group are protecting us all from an inept industry, with no real regulation that will destroy our beautiful countryside and pollute our air, cause earthquakes, pollute our drinking water with a toxic mix of chemicals used to fracture the bedrock. Each well will use up to 5 million gallons of our precious clean water over its lifetime. The toxic mix will escape via split or deteriorating well casings and pollute our water supply and farmland, and once it is polluted there is no treatment that can remedy this. Also property values near to wells will be adversely affected. Need I go on, the scientific evidence is there for all to see from the USA and Australia where local communities are fighting back to ban fracking in a number of states now they can see the effects on their landscape and the massive risk to health it brings.

The reduction of heating costs from shale gas is a complete myth and the continued development of renewable energy sources will render this irrelevant. Most of the gas will be exported abroad once it has been produced anyway.

MC: We need many new homes and not just on expensive to reclaim brown field sites. The green lobby should recognise a period of silence from them would be a good idea.

DT: I agree we need to build many new ‘affordable and sustainable’ homes and doing this on brown field sites is much better than stealing green belt land for this purpose. To meet our commitment to the Paris Climate summit of limiting increase in global temperatures of no more than 1.5% much more is needed to be done by the government and every single one of us. Not just moving towards renewable energy sources but also reducing our consumption of the planets resources. Unless we all strive to reduce our usage of this planets resources it will all be too late sadly, not for us but for future generations.

It is only the green lobby speaking up that will save our planet from catastrophe.