Archive for October, 2011

The Green Party ahead of Liberal Democrats in new poll

October 17, 2011

The Green Party are surging ahead of the Liberal Democrats according to the latest voter intention figures published by ComRes. Public support for the Liberal Democrats has declined dramatically thanks to a growing disillusionment with the coalition government over controversial NHS reforms, cuts in housing and education and a U-turn on tuition fees.

The report coincides with another election poll released earlier this year by polling company, Marketing Means, which revealed a large swing to the Green Party in March this year. However, while previous voter intention surveys such as Market Means have indicated the Green vote is increasing, the new ComRes report which came out on the 16th October 2011 proves that the Green Party is now a real alternative for traditionally Liberal Democrat voters.

Caroline Lucas, leader of the Green Party recently called on disaffected Liberal Democrats to look to the Greens, saying:

“I have a special message for those Lib Dem supporters who are beginning to despair of the path their leadership has taken them down. If you became involved in politics to serve your local community, to protect the environment, or to challenge inequality, then join us.”

The ComRes report coincides with another election poll released in March this year by polling company, Marketing Means which revealed a large swing to the Green Party.

The report shows when asked if voting were compulsory, 7% of those asked would vote Green, where only 6% would vote Lib Dem. The same question indicated a decrease in support for the Conservative Party, with 15% choosing Labour compared to 13% saying they would probably vote Conservative.

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Green MEP To Visit Organic Farm To Highlight Need For EU To Support Sustainable Farming & Higher Animal Welfare

October 13, 2011

Keith Taylor, Green MEP for Oxfordshire and the South East, will visit Step Farm in Faringdon on Friday 14 October to meet with farmer Daphne Saunders to discuss animal welfare issues and the reform of the EU’s Common Agricultural policy.

On Wednesday the European Commission announced plans to reform the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Reforms include giving small landowners in remote areas more financial assistance and reducing the payments made to large landowners. The reforms will also require farmers to carry out certain environmental measures to receive subsidies. 30% of current direct payments to farmers will be conditional on farmers doing more to protect the environment, such as leaving 7-10 per cent of land without crops on it, ensuring arable farms grow at least three crops and extending hedgerows.

Keith and his fellow Green MEPs have argued for stronger measures in the CAP to promote sustainable farming systems. Keith has also been working to raise the issue of poor animal welfare with the UK’s major supermarkets and has called on them to sell either free range meat or meat produced to RSPCA ‘Freedom Food’ standards.

Keith said: “British organic farms are a great example of an approach to food production which is less harmful to the environment, protects biodiversity and ensures a higher level of animal welfare. This week the European Commission proposed changes to the Common Agricultural Policy which are a step in the right direction, but represent a missed opportunity for fundamental reform of farming in the UK. Sustainable farming and food systems are crucial for tackling the challenges agriculture is now confronted with, like climate change, loss of biodiversity and water and soil protection.

Keith continued: “The Common Agricultural Policy should be a vital tool to promote sustainable agriculture and fair incomes for farmers and the Commission’s proposals represent a missed opportunity for fundamental reform. But this is not the end of the road; the proposals will go to the European Parliament later this month. I will work with my Green colleagues to press for a European agriculture policy which takes seriously the challenge of fighting climate change, protecting biodiversity and promoting a food system that offers healthy food and fair distribution of public money for all.”

Keith added: “It’s fantastic that Step Farm has such a high regard for animal welfare. I believe all consumers have a right to know that the meat they eat has not been produced in a way that has a detrimental impact on animal welfare. Earlier this year I wrote to the EU Commission to ask them to put pressure on EU member states to fully enforce the Pigs Directive, which sets out pig welfare standards.”

Step Farm is a 345 hectare mixed farm in the upper Thames valley near Faringdon, where the Saunders family have been producing food organically since 1982. They have a mixture of enterprises including dairy cows, sheep, beef and cereals. Step Farm has a doorstep milk delivery scheme operating in Oxfordshire and its shop supplies organic beef and lamb. Conservation is an important aspect of the work on the farm. A pond has been created and new hedges provide valuable wildlife corridors through the farm. The farm has a site of special scientific interest that supports a host of rare species, including the yellow rattle, hairy buttercup, black hairstreak butterfly and great green cricket.

Dale Farm: Common sense should prevail says Green Party

October 13, 2011

The Green Party is disappointed at the announcement that the eviction at Dale Farm should go ahead despite the ten years of wrangling over the site and the apparent refusal of Basildon Council to find alternative sites.

The Homes and Communities Agency have offered alternative land in Basildon, subject to planning permission but Basildon Council will not halt the eviction until the planning issues have been resolved.

The cost to the tax payer is estimated to be over £18 million to evict 400 travellers, most of whom have nowhere else to go. Children have been settled in local schools for over a decade and this eviction will ensure that their education is disrupted.

Penny Kemp, Environment Spokesperson for the Green Party, said ”Common sense should prevail. This site is owned by the travellers, planning permission has been granted for half the site and the other half, home to more than 400 people does not have the requisite planning permission. As the residents have said that they are prepared to move to an alternative site, and there is another site in the wings, I cannot understand the problem.”

She continued, ”The Government and Local Authorities have a duty to respect and facilitate the gypsy and traveller way of life, and to improve the well-being of children. It would appear that this is not the case at Dale Farm.

“Whilst the Green Party believes that the planning system is the correct mechanism to determine planning issues and we are contributing to the Government’s planning reform consultation paper, we feel in the case of Dale Farm, a more sensitive approach would be helpful especially as there are potential alternative sites in the area.”