My fact-finding tour of Suffolk:

Green Party lead candidate for Europe tours Suffolk projects.

   Green Party campaigning in Suffolk stepped up a gear this week when the lead candidate for the European elections, Rupert Read, came to Suffolk on Monday for a series of fact-finding visits to projects which the Green Party is keen to encourage.

   His first visit was to the Oak Tree Farm Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) enterprise at Rushmere St Andrew just outside Ipswich. There he met Tom Wilmot, one of the directors of the community interest company. CSA ensures a supply of good quality locally grown produce and also enables many Ipswich people to directly grow some of their own food. Rupert was pleased to see the wide range of vegetables available, even in winter, helped feed the pigs (who are being kept in exemplary conditions), and heard about the plans for fruit production, cattle and bees.

   Second call was to the Energy From Waste (EFW) plant at Blakenham where Rupert met manager Cliff Matthews and Councillor Michael Blakenham. Councillor Blakenham is playing a leading role in a proposed tomato-growing business which will use much of the waste heat from the EFW plant.    Rupert commented:

“Using heat to produce electricity is inefficient, that is well known, but hearing the full extent of plans to use much of the formerly wasted heat, from real enthusiasts for a full-scale area heat network, was a revelation. I’m still against incineration, of course, but this visit today was about being pragmatic : once an incinerator is up and running, then the way to make it make a certain amount of environmental- and energy- sense is to do what is now being planned in mid-Suffolk, and use the huge amount of heat it generates”.

Councillor Blakenham works closely with the four Green Party councillors of Mid Suffolk District Council, one of whom, John Matthissen, accompanied the Green Party candidate throughout his visit to the county.

   To view biodiversity in action, Rupert Read then visited Bradfield Woods near Bury St Edmunds, a Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserve which has been actively managed through coppicing for almost nine hundred years. Woodland manager Peter Fordham, MBE, was on hand to explain the Trust’s work, laying particular emphasis on the need for wildlife corridors and connections between habitats without which many species present in Bradfield Wood could not survive. It was also encouraging to see the range of woodland products which are sold from Bradfield into the local economy, while meeting some of the trust’s costs.






Hilarious fail by Twitter: ‘Your Tweet has not been approved for use in your Twitter Ads campaign’

 Twitter doesn’t know the proper spelling of ‘Canute’. Goto the link below, to see my tweet, and you’ll see what I mean!
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AIR POLLUTION: The EU rightly takes our dirty-air Government to court



NDR set to increase health risk


Air pollution in the east of England is bad enough to figure in new EU legal proceedings against the British government.

Further road-building projects, such as the Northern Distributor Road in Norwich, are likely to make the situation worse.

Last year, the Department of Health’s own figures revealed that  Watford and Luton are the worst places in the Eastern Region for causing death through man made air pollution with 6.50% of deaths in Watford and  6.43%  in Luton attributable to air pollution, above some London boroughs.

The UK now faces court appearances and fines of up to £300m a year after the European Commission launched legal proceedings against it for failing to reduce “excessive” levels of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution from traffic in line with the air quality directive which should have been adopted in 2008. The British government has been given two months to respond.

The east of England is named as one of sixteen areas of the country where air pollution limits are regularly exceeded.

The Green Party’s national spokesman on transport, Rupert Read, who is also lead candidate in the east for the Euro elections in May, said:

“The European Parliament did great work in setting limits on air pollution to protect our health and save huge sums in care costs. But it’s being undermined by our government’s failure to meet them.

“I agree, of course, with the European Commission that nitrogen dioxide, which mostly comes from traffic fumes, is the main precursor for ground-level ozone causing major respiratory problems and premature death. We’ve got to clean this up.”

Green Party councillor and campaigner against the Norwich Northern Distributor Road Denise Carlo said:

“The Government has made the Norwich NDR one of its top 40 infrastructure investment priorities, designed to cater for 40% more traffic by 2040 in support of economic growth. As a generator of traffic, the NDR would increase air pollution from nitrogen dioxide, diesel particulates and ground level ozone across the built up area and beyond. Public Health England has stated that the NDR is likely to cause deterioration of air quality at certain locations. 

“The road would come at a high price to the health and well- being of local communities, especially the young, the elderly and those with respiratory and heart conditions”.    

Air pollution causes 29,000 early deaths a year in the UK and the World Health Organisation has confirmed that air pollution causes cancer. Poor air quality also causes heart attacks and children living near busy roads in the UK have been shown to grow up with underdeveloped lungs.

Green MEP: We must be included in election debate

– Keith Taylor MEP takes swipe at Lib Dems for their role in the Coalition and at UKIP for their frequent absence from the European Parliament
One of South East England’s Euro-MPs has demanded that the Green Party is included in any national debate ahead of the European Elections. 
Keith Taylor, one of two Green MEPs for the UK, has demanded that his party is included in any television debate. His call comes after Nick Clegg challenged Nigel Farage to a debate ahead of the European Elections. 
Mr Taylor also attacked the Lib Dem’s for attempting to brand themselves as a ‘party of change.’
Mr Taylor went on to criticise UKIP for their ‘inability to represent the people who voted for them’. 
Mr Taylor represents the same region as Nigel Farage, but has been present at double the amount of key votes in the European Parliament than the UKIP leader. [1]
Keith Taylor, Green Party MEP for South East England, said:

“It’s clear that voters want to see a change at this European election, and it goes without saying that the Lid Dems, a party in Government, won’t offer anything new. It’s no wonder voters are abandoning Clegg’s party in droves. 

If there is to be a national television or radio election debate before the European elections then I fully expect the Green Party, which has representation in both Brussels and Westminster, to be invited.”

Mr Taylor went on to say:

“In the European elections we need to see the right kind of change. That means voting for politicians who want to change the EU to make it more accountable to all of us, rather than allowing it to continue to serve big business. 

As Lib Dems in the cabinet sit by and watch while the Government offers handouts to fracking firms and cuts the budget of the Environment Agency, it’s clear that they can’t be trusted to protect our environment. 

Only the Greens are offering people a chance to make a real change in these elections. We want to stay in the EU, but unlike the Lib Dems we support a referendum so we can all have a say. We want things in Brussels to change, but unlike UKIP we want to continue working with our European Neighbours as part of the EU. 

UKIP’s voting record in the European Parliament shows their inability to represent the people who voted for them. They often don’t turn up for the crucial votes that affect all of our lives. 

As the UK faces queues at food banks, flooded streets and fracking in our countryside it is clear that change is needed. Greens are the only ones offering voters the right kind of change.”


1) Keith Taylor has been present at 91.66% or roll-call votes, Nigel Farage has been at 46.05%. 

Greens win Euro-Parl call for suspension of EU trade deal with US over spying scandal

This is great news!:
EURO-MPs have backed Green demands for the immediate suspension of talks leading to a proposed new trade deal between the EU and the US after an investigation found ‘overwhelming evidence’ of a programme of mass surveillance of EU citizens by US security forces.

Members of the Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee said the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Programme (TTIP) should not be pursued – at least until the US agrees to change its law and halt all ‘data mining’ from ‘phone and Internet use in the EU.

The investigation, set up by the committee after whistleblower Edward Snowden lifted the lid on the US PRISM project to monitor and record EU citizens’ telephone and Internet usage, condemned PRISM, which it said ‘may entail a breach of EU ctizens’ fundamental rights’.

It calls for an end to all mass surveillance, observing that privacy is not a luxury, but a fundamental right in a free and democratic society.

But Greens called for EU action to go further, establishing a ‘Digital Declaration of Independence’, ensuring that no data is collected – without express permission – on any EU citizens’ Internet or ‘phone use, that the EU ends all co-operation with the US unless and until it changes its law to prohibit all mass surveillance, and that EU states offer asylum to Edward Snowden and all US ‘whistleblowers’ shedding light on US spying activities in the EU.

Jean Lambert, London’s Green MEP and a member of the Civil Liberties Committee which conducted the investigation, said: “The US has behaved abominably here – and the EU must defend the rights of its citizens’ from this unwarranted attack on their basic human rights.

“More and more of us are using the Internet, and smartphones, to access basic goods and services, and we really must be able to do so without our privacy being breached.

“We must offer protection to everyone who sheds light on these activities, and end negotiations on TTIP, at least until the US has gauranteed such a blanket approach to hoovering up data will never be used again.”

The European Parliament as a whole will vote on the Green proposals when it considers the investigation report next month.

Green Party reveals ten point flood prevention plan

The UK’s response to the flooding crisis must centre on a long-term strategy to address climate change the Green Party says today, as it recommends a series of ten measures to improve the country’s flood resilience in future.
It says sustained political action on climate change is crucial to reducing the risk of severe flooding happening again.
The Party is calling for Environment Secretary Owen Paterson to be sacked and for the Prime Minister to remove Cabinet Ministers and senior government officials who refuse to accept the scientific consensus on climate change (1). The Met Office has said (2) that the evidence points to climate change contributing to these extraordinary floods.
Keith Taylor, the Green Party’s Euro MP for South East England, said:
“These floods, which are now affecting thousands across my constituency, bring into focus the devastating risk of inaction on climate change. 

We need to do all we can right now to help those affected by flooding, including applying to the EU for extra financial help. In the longer term we must reverse staff cuts at the Environment Agency and strengthen planning rules to prevent further development on flood plains.”
The Green Party’s ten point plan on flooding includes:
1. Reverse staff cuts at the Environment Agency, review its budget, and drop plans to impose a duty on the EA to consider economic growth which could get in the way of providing independent expert advice
2. Strengthen planning rules for urban and rural areas to prevent further development on flood plains and ensure developers prioritise flood resilience and prevention – including through incorporation of SUDS in new developments as well as a programme of retrofitting SUDS to existing communities. Ensure better transparency of decisions so public can hold decision makers accountable.
3. Sack any cabinet Ministers or senior governmental advisors who refuse to accept the scientific consensus on climate change or who won’t take the risks to the UK seriously. 
Natalie Bennett, Green Party Leader, said:
“Politicians who ride roughshod over the painstaking findings of climate scientists (3), sometimes motivated by their inappropriately close links to fossil fuel big business, endanger our future and our children’s future” 

“It’s a crying shame more of the recommendations made by the The Pitt Review into the 2007 floods (4) haven’t been taken seriously by Labour, the Tories, and their Coalition government lackeys in the Lib Dem Party. But it is not too late for action.”
 Caroline Lucas, the Green Party MP for Brighton Pavilion, said:
“Across the country, homes and businesses are being devastated by the floods, and our hearts go out to everyone whose life is being turned upside down.  Nature is giving us another wake-up call.

“In addition to making sure everything possible is done to help people affected by the immediate crisis, we need a credible long term strategy to tackle the risk of flooding and extreme weather to people’s homes and liveilihoods in the futrue.”  
The call to government urges ministers to adopt the recommendations of a major independent cross sector coalition   for  a Cabinet-level committee on infrastructure and climate change resilience and a Royal Commission on the long-term impacts of climate change on land.
The Green Party is also calling for all staff cuts at the Environment Agency to be cancelled, planning rules to be strengthened to prevent further development on flood plains, and for increased levels of spending on flood defences to a level in line with expert recommendations from the Environment Agency and the Climate Change Committee.
And it is supporting the call of campaigners for  the billions of UK fossil fuel subsidies and tax breaks to be used to help the victims of flooding . 

“This redirection will address the underspend and assist the victims of flooding, as well as putting a halt to public money exacerbating the problem of climate change that is making the floods so much worse”, noted Bennett.

Greens on UK Flooding: “We need to talk about Climate Change”

One of the South East of Englands MEPs is demanding that the UK Government and mainstream media ‘wake up’ to the links between flooding and climate change.

Keith Taylor MEP, whose constituency has been hit hard by flooding, is demanding that the threat of increased extreme weather is taken seriously.

“Though individual weather events can’t be explicitly linked to climate change the evidence suggests that we can expect more of this kind of extreme weather in the future. It is, therefore, amazing that there have been so few mentions of climate change in the media as thousands of people are hit hard by this unusually wet weather.

The Government and the media need to wake up to the links between weather like we’re seeing and the global climate change that our fossil fuelled economy is causing. Though better planning and flood defenses will help us mitigate the risks of climate change the only way to properly protect ourselves is to take radical action to lower of reliance on fossil fuels.

If the Government is serious about protecting the UK from flooding, and wants to live up to it’s claim of being the ‘Greenest Government Ever’ then it will end it’s obsession with climate change causing energy production like fracking.

We know that widespread fracking would see us pumping evermore harmful emissions into our atmosphere when we should be drastically cutting levels of greenhouse gases, yet the Government are falsely touting shale as some sort of ‘green’ solution. It’s time to expose this fallacy and move towards using sustainable sources of energy that don’t lead to increases in extreme weather.”


Yesterday Keith Taylor called for cuts to the Environment Agency to be reversed and for the Environment Secretary to be sacked. He said:

“The Government’s planning for this flooding, and their response since it began, has been utterly inadequate. We have known for a long time that climate change will cause more events like this, yet we were utterly underprepared for these devastating floods.

Though individual weather events can’t be explicitly linked to climate change the evidence suggests that we can expect more of this kind of extreme weather in the future.

If the Government is serious about tackling flooding in the future than they must both work to develop flood defences and, crucially, do everything in their power to cut our addiction to climate changing fossil fuels.

The fact is that the Government’s Environment Secretary, Owen Paterson, has cut funding on measures aimed at protecting Britain from global warming and he repeatedly fails to take climate change seriously.

In the short term the Government can do two things to help the fight against flooding. Firstly they should reverse cuts to the Environment Agency and secondly they should sack Owen Paterson, an Environment Secretary who just isn’t up to the job of protecting our environment.”

Mr Taylor call for Owen Paterson be sacked comes after he was accused by environmental groups of ‘incompetency’ after slashing spending on measures to help Britain cope with global warming.