Archive for January, 2011

Green Party welcomes NHS report calling for hump-free, bump-free 20mph speed limits on all residential roads

January 24, 2011

Health directors’ new report agrees with long-standing Green Party policy

The Green Party this morning welcomed a new NHS report (1) on road deaths and injuries which strongly recommends a general 20 mph speed limit, without humps and bumps, on all residential roads.

Directors of Public Health in the North West have produced the report, which draws attention to the high rates of death and injury on roads in the region where children are more likely to be injured in RTCs than anywhere else in the country.

Green Party spokesperson on sustainable development Prof John Whitelegg commented:

“This is an incredibly important report from NHS Directors of Public Health. It says we have a serious problem with death and injury on the roads and it says the solution is a 20 mph limit. I agree.

“The report presents compelling evidence that lives could have been saved and injuries reduced if 20 mph limits had been introduced in residential areas.”

The reports main points include:

· Child casualty information shows that two-thirds of children who are killed or seriously injured on the roads are boys.

· Over four-fifths of child casualties occur on roads that have a speed limit of 30 mph, and statistical modelling shows that up to 140 killed or seriously injured child casualties could be saved each year if 20 mph speed limits had been applied in these areas.

In the report, road traffic casualty rates are measured for all local authorities in the North West. Stockport is the “best” with 342 casualties per 100,000 population and Eden the worst at 793 per 100,000 population. Lancaster is 477 casualties per 100,000 population.

Other regions may have slightly better records, said the Greens, but they would be advised to follow the 20 mph policy to reduce road deaths further.

Notes

1. The full report, Road Traffic Collisions and Casualties in the North West of England, was produced by the North West Public Health Observatory in conjunction with NHS North West, the Centre for Public Health at Liverpool John Moores University, the Child and Maternal Health Observatory and the Trauma and Injury Intelligence Group. See http://www.nwph.net/nwpho/Publications/Forms/rta.html.

2. Further information from Green Party press office, 020 7561 0282.

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John Whitelegg’s letter in response to an article by Boris Johnson in the Telegraph

January 24, 2011

Boris Johnson writes that fuel prices seem to cost twice as much as they did a decade ago, yet, despite his intuition, government figures have shown that the real cost of motoring has decreased by 14% since 1997. A fuel stabiliser is an inadequate short-term dressing on a gaping wound: we can’t go on expecting fuel prices to remain low forever. Prices are bound to increase. Demand from China and India is accelerating and new oilfields are not replacing the ones in decline.
The Green Party is well aware that fuel price increases bear down heavily on low income groups and on rural residents. This requires a twin track approach. First, the tax system as a whole needs to be far more progressive than it is now so that it extracts more from the rich and less from the poor. Secondly, we need a revolution in transport planning so that all our communities have world-best walking, cycling and public transport systems and people can then make the choice to avoid expensive fuel.
We still have time to get transport right and to produce reductions in noise, air pollution, death and injury and greenhouse gases. We can produce huge financial savings for ordinary people who need not become hostages to fuel price increases and at the same time create jobs in local public transport.

Professor John Whitelegg
Green Party Spokesperson on Sustainable Development

BRITAIN NEEDS A “WAR FOOTING” TO TACKLE CLIMATE CHANGE AND ENERGY CRISIS

January 20, 2011

_Six-month nationwide search begins for best ideas from the generation who ran the Home Front_

Britain must move to the equivalent of
a “war-footing” if we are to overcome the threat of climate change, according to the New Home Front initiative, launched at the Imperial War Museum on Thursday 20th January 2010.

The New Home Front is launched by
Green MP Caroline Lucas, with a report written by Andrew Simms, Fellow of nef (new economics foundation) and author of _The New Economics_. Along with experts on climate change, food and community organisation, the new initiative looks at how Britain finally mobilised in the approach to World War Two, in order to see what can be learned to help with the urgent threat posed by climate change and the end of cheap, abundant oil.

Caroline
Lucas, Green Party leader and MP for Brighton Pavilion said: “While the nature of the threat we face from climate change is clearly very different from that which we faced in 1939, the level of the threat means we will need to mobilise on a scale not seen since the war. If we’re to overcome the climate crisis, we must move onto the equivalent of a ‘war-footing’, where the efforts of individuals, organisations, and government are harnessed together – and directed to a common goal.

“In doing so, we can
learn much from the creativity and boldness shown by the public in those years which we can re-interpret for today.

“That’s why we’re also
launching today the ‘Home Front Wisdom’ initiative, to spend time talking to people whose imagination and resilience helped Britain to survive and thrive all those years ago. We want to learn from their experience, and not let it go to waste. All the best ideas will be collected, published and presented in Parliament, and to the government.”

Andrew Simms, fellow,
new economics foundation, added:

“More recently, it took a war-like
effort internationally to stage a short-term rescue of the economy. Almost overnight, the billions required to bail out the banks were found – something that, in a properly regulated system, should never have been necessary.

“Yet it sets a real precedent for what governments can do when the political will is there. The New Home Front, responding to climate change, energy security, peak oil, and threats to the food chain, presents the next battle line and call to action. No longer should anyone be able to say, this cannot be done.”

The report reveals that:

* In just six years
from 1938 British homes cut their coal use by 11 million tonnes, a reduction of 25%.

* By April 1943, 31,000 tonnes of kitchen waste were
being saved every week, enough to feed 210,000 pigs.

* Between 1938 and
1944, there was a 95% drop in the use of personal motor vehicles, while public transport use increased 13%.

* The nation’s health improved as
diets changed and people become more active, while infant mortality fell.

* A determination to enjoy life grew. Spending on “amusements” went up 10%, while suicide rates fell.

Over the next six months, the New Home
Front is calling on people to speak to friends and relatives who lived through those times to see what can be learned from how they survived and thrived. We want people to tape, film and write down their ideas and experiences which might help us deal with the new realities of changing climate and needing to make a rapid transition to a low carbon economy.

Prof. Kevin Anderson, Tyndall Centre, said:

“Matching step for step the
relentless rise in emissions has been the escalating rhetoric on the importance of climate change. The Rio Earth Summit was in 1992, yet the subsequent nineteen years have seen little more than appeasement – with national initiatives on mitigation, international agreements on climate change and many conferences – but no sign of emissions abating.

“Whilst
elaborate mechanisms and markets to make carbon count have failed to bring emissions down, this report goes back to basics and demonstrates how lessons from history may offer practical guidance to meaningful mitigation. At a time of abject failure to curtail emissions, the New Home Front offers a refreshing and essential read for all those with the courage to think differently about climate change.”

The report can be read at
http://www.greenparty.org.uk/reports

Development, Profit And Sustainability

January 18, 2011

21,000 potential houses around Northampton, Daventry and Towcester is shocking but really no great surprise.
It just proves that ruthless development corporations still wield political might and have the riches to buy political power so that the rules flow in their favour. To developers and their puppet politicians our county is merely a property on Monopoly board UK, on which they can carry out environmental rape to further feather their already feathered nests. When the mess hits the fan, they will have the riches to move on, whereas the rest of us rabble must face the consequences of their ecological crime.
With populations increasing worldwide and at home, developmental devourment of arable land is unsustainable. It should be logical to prioritise food production and retention of natural environment over bleak, sterile, life-choking, concrete landscapes and all the pollution that modern lifestyles bring with it.
Statistics from Optimum Population Trust suggest that land in the UK can only support up to 30 million people, while a third of the public believe population growth is the biggest threat to future well-being, according to a 2006 Ipsos-Mori poll. There is no guarantee of continued world stability allowing further UK reliance on imports for food supplies.
I’d suspected many months back that the recent WNJPU land availability assessement consultation was a precursor to announcement of further development, testing the water for strength of local oppositions. Although local democracy means nothing in the face of development, that’s why i ran a little campaign against it in my area. More houses are a cash cow for developers. More people, a cash cow for council, corporations and government. This, just a part of an unsustainable economic system doomed to collapse due to reliance on consumption of diminishing resources.
The future holds a sprawling unnaffordable suburbia with unemployment and sparse services due to cuts. Recent debt enslavement of future generations through banking bail-outs, instead, could have financed service and infrastructure investments such as UK manufacture and fitting of solar panels to provide jobs, stimulate economy, reduce pollution and become more sustainable.
The only problem is that sustainable living and services do not reap the same profits that feather the nests of those assuming authority as our corporate and political masters.

http://www.assumedauthority.net/blog/?cat=16

MPs approve plans for Royal Mail privatisation

January 13, 2011

MPs have approved legislation paving the way for the sell-off of Royal Mail.

The Postal Services Bill, which could see 90% of the firm end up in foreign hands, was approved by the Commons with a government majority of 81.

Ministers say a sell-off is needed to attract new investment, to modernise the business and to protect the existing universal service obligation.

But Labour said ministers had “not made the fundamental case” for privatising such a “vital part of infrastructure”.

Under the proposals, which have yet to be approved by the Lords, employees would be in line get at least 10% of shares in the company.

The business will be split from the Post Office, which will remain in public hands.

During Wednesday’s debate, the coalition saw off an attempt by two backbench MPs to ensure that Royal Mail would have to agree a 10-year deal with the Post Office to guarantee its custom.

The amendment, by Northampton Conservative Brian Binley and Lib Dem Bob Russell, was defeated by 58 votes.

The legislation had been previously amended to ensure the monarch’s head remains on stamps issued by Royal Mail amid fears a private buyer could drop the Queen from its designs.

Campaigners from Herts Without Waste lodge waste plant article complaint to Hertfordshire County Council

January 11, 2011

A campaign group opposed to the building of a rubbish fuelled power station have blasted Hertfordshire County Council for making “misleading, inaccurate” and “patently untrue” claims about the project.

Herts Without Waste, which is campaigning against the scheme – planned for one of two sites near Radlett or Hatfield – has lodged a formal complaint against an explanatory article published in the council’s Horizons magazine.

The taxpayer-funded publication, sent to homes across the county, claimed incineration is “one of the cleanest forms of energy generation” and would help to boost recycling rates.

But Herts Without Waste, in conjunction with Hatfield Against Incineration and the St Albans Green Party, has complained to the Department for Communities and Local Government about the allegedly “subjective and misleading” article.

Group spokesman David Ashton said: “The council seems to be more interested in publishing subjective and misleading information than in properly informing people about what’s happening. Ratepayers are paying for this magazine, so they deserve to be told the truth.”

Campaigners, who suggest the article contravened the Government’s 1988 Code of Practice for local authorities, objected to a “misleading” diagram showing the emission of “clean flue gasses” and recyclable ash – a substance they claim to be hazardous.

They also complained against a suggestion that incineration is a “clean” way to produce energy.

Two bidders, Eon Energy and Veolia Environmental Services, have asked the council for permission to build an “energy from waste plant,” with Eon favouring a site in Harper Lane, Radlett, and Veolia supporting a former school site south of Hatfield.

The council claims such a plant would save millions of pounds a year, reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill and help the environment.

A decision on which site to develop is expected to be made later in the year.

Simon Grover, of the St Albans District Green Party, is one of many protestors who claim the idea should be abandoned completely.

He added: “The Council has been swayed by lobbying from incinerator-builders, and now they seem to think there is no other alternative to landfill. They are wrong, and they risk emptying our pockets and polluting our lungs. They must stop printing nonsense about this issue, and start listening to the arguments.”

Hertfordshire County Council confirmed this afternoon that it had received the complaints and said it would respond, in detail, in due course.

Spokeswoman Jo Brown said the authority could not comment any further at this stage.

Object to Lap Dancing Licence

January 7, 2011

In May 2010 Northampton Borough Council decided to adopt the new law relating to lap dancing clubs. This means that lap dancing clubs are now recognised as ‘Sex Entertainment Venues’ under the Policing and Crime Act 2009 which means that local people and local communities can have much more say on the opening of such clubs.

The Urban Tiger Lap Dancing Club Wellingborough Road Northampton NN1 4AA has now submitted its application for a Sexual Entertainment Licence under the new legislation.

The Urban Tiger is situated in a central area of town which is completely inappropriate for a sexual entertainment establishment. It is surrounded by places frequented by children such as the school uniform shop and the Games Workshop, and is close to bus stops where women often have to wait alone late at night for transport home.

Lap dancing clubs fuel a sexist culture in which it is increasingly acceptable to treat women as sex objects, not people. This has been recognised by the UN Convention on Eliminating All Forms of Discrimination Against Women as having clear links to discrimination and violence against women. Areas surrounding lap dancing clubs can become ‘no-go’ areas for women, with many women and girls reporting that they feel unsafe in the vicinity of such venues, and research reveals that individuals performing in the clubs face exploitative working conditions. Research shows that the presence of lap dancing clubs increases the demand for prostitution services nearby.

If you feel that Northampton would be a better town without sexual entertainment on our high street then you have until 11th January 2011 to get your objections in. These can be sent by post to:

The Licensing Officer

Northampton Borough Council

Borough Solicitors Division

The Guildhall

St Giles Square

Northampton

NN1 1DE

or by email to pbayliss@northampton.gov.uk