Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

Now it’s Fracking Bribery

January 14, 2014

The cynicism of the Con Dem government is staggering. It has deliberately driven Councils and Communities to desperation by cutting their budgets, and now it is bribing those same struggling Authorities to give permission for fracking that local communities have clearly rejected. If they do as the Government demands, turn a blind eye to the hazards, and the opinion of the electorate, they will be rewarded with extra cash from the fracking companies. Like some medieval torturer who, having starved his victim allows the smell of a succulent meal to drift into the torture chamber, so the Government waves the promise of cash at these desperate Councils. Inevitably this action will weaken further the trust between Councils and their electorate, as the Tories intend – residents will never be sure if a permission was given in the best interest of the community and country, or for the cash.

Cameron is now just acting as the industries mouthpiece. On the very day Total, the French energy company who are unable to frack in their own country because the French Government has banned it, announced a £30 million stake in UK fracking, he turns up at a drilling depot in Gainsborough. It just happens that Total have taken a stake in the companies that have exploration licences in Gainsborough. Doing the job of a company PR spokesman, he dutifully reiterated the claim that fracking will produce much needed investment, create jobs and lead to energy security, and that our robust regulations make it completely safe. There is no justification for any of these claims. They come from, a report commissioned by the frack company Caudrilla, headed by his friend Lord John Browne, ex of BP, that suggests that Britain can benefit by £3.7 billion a year extra revenue and 74,000 new jobs. These figures are just guesses. The 74,000 job claim included the extra staff needed in local shops to serve the security guards buying sweets! One wonders just how many of these 74,000 people will be security guards, such has been his governments and the industries failure to convince the British public that we need fracking.

To talk up the robust environmental regulations in the UK is to ignore the fact that the Conservative Party is doing all it can to abolish these regulations as ‘red tape’. It also conveniently ignores the fact that if the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations with the USA that they are so keen on, does get the go ahead from Europe, then all such regulations will prove to be useless. Governments will do all they can to minimise green regulations for fear of being sued by corporations for loss of profit.

The dash for gas is a high risk strategy, not one that can lead to energy security. It is not known how much gas can be won or at what price. The demand for water will be colossal and will lead to escalating domestic water bills and water shortages. The cost of the disposal of trillions of gallons of polluted waste water is unknown and we can’t be sure that we, the tax payer won’t be left with the disposal bill. The same applies to the costs of the pollution incidents that will inevitably occur. And the gas will run out but we will be tied to a gas energy infrastructure, then what?

The one claim, that Cameron didn’t make and that has been quietly dropped by the industry is that fracking will lead to cheap energy. It will do nothing for energy costs since the gas, if it is ever produced will be sold on the open market just as the North Sea oil was, and we British consumers will have to pay a premium price, as we did for North Sea oil, so that the big energy companies can maintain their bloated profits.

In all, this is a thoroughly bad deal for the British energy consumer and tax payer. The only beneficiaries are the big energy companies and their shareholders who will send their profits off shore. It is an even worse deal because there is a real deal available that would give us affordable and secure energy. This is to use the free energy that blows over our heads, laps on our shores and shines in our faces. Yes, the wind, the sun and the tides are free energy, all we needed to do was invest in the infrastructure to capture them, store the energy as necessary and distribute it. No big deal any of that, just use the technology that’s already there. But, no one can take a monopoly on the wind, the waves or the sun, no one can threaten to divert it or switch it off if they don’t get their own way. No one can put it in a barrel or down a pipeline and sell it back to us at a profit. So this Government of millionaires, for millionaires isn’t interested.

There is only one Party seriously opposing fracking and that is the Green Party. We also have a clear and workable alternative energy strategy that would end fuel poverty and our reliance on fossil fuels. The only thing that will make the main parties rethink their fossil/nuclear energy [policies is a big green vote. Work with us to make this happen.

January 14, 2014 by 

Horse Meat Scandal: Regulate & Re-localise Our Food Supply Chain

February 12, 2013

burger-king-horse-meat-300x173THE GREEN Party has criticised the inadequate regulation of our food industry, and called for the re-localisation of the supply chain to support farmers and improve traceability.

The call comes amid growing concerns over the potential health risks associated with the horse meat scandal, after Anne McIntosh MP, Chair of the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Select Committee, advised the public to buy their produce locally, and supported a temporary ban on meat imports.

Caroline Allen, Green Party spokesperson, said: “With the news that Burger King is now admitting that horse meat made its way into their burgers, it’s time to reflect on the real problem here. This is a wake up call about our whole food supply chain.”

“Poor traceability, the search for cheaper and cheaper ingredients, large suppliers and distant producers mean that increasingly, we just can’t be sure what we are actually eating.

“Given the multiple crises affecting our food supply chain it is not surprising that cheap filler ingredients make their way onto supermarket shelves.

“The relentless rise of food prices – including feed price for animals – means that processors will have to be increasingly inventive to continue to provide the cheap food the supermarkets require. Meanwhile, increasingly unpredictable weather patterns mean that recent price rises are probably the beginning of a long-term trend.

“At the same time massive cuts at the Food Standards Agency have left it hardly able to provide its most basic duties regarding food safety and traceability. The work they carried out on issues such as food labelling and nutrition has all but ceased, at a time when it is most desperately needed.”

The Green Party believes that globalisation of the food supply has exacerbated many environmental and social problems and that answers lie in sustainable agriculture, re-localisation, shortening of food supply chains and self-reliance on a regional and local basis.

Ms. Allen said: “With inadequate policing of this massive industry these scandals will continue. It is surely time for a regulator of the supermarkets and food processors with real powers, a well funded body properly monitoring what is being placed in processed food.”

“But more importantly, we need to re-localise the food chain; reducing waste, improving traceability, supporting our farmers, and creating a system of food production with resilience in face of the challenges of a changing climate.”

Keith Taylor helps launch the European ‘Year of Air’.

January 7, 2013

People_Keith_TaylorKeith Taylor MEP has joined campaigners and other politicians in launching the European Year of Air for 2013. With key European legislation up for review this year, and an estimated half a million premature deaths in Europe caused by air pollution, Mr Taylor is calling for the UK government to halt its efforts to weaken existing EU air quality standards..

EU air quality safe levels were set in the 90´s and there have been mixed results since then. While air quality has generally improved the levels of some dangerous pollutants has increased. Currently 95% of city residents in the European Union breathe ozone at levels exceeding World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended levels.

In the UK air pollution causes 29,000 deaths and contributes to over 200,000 premature deaths per year. In Mr Taylor’s constituency, the South East of England, the problem of air pollution particularly affects both city dwellers and the thousands of people who commute into London.

Mr Taylor said:

“With children and the elderly being hit hardest by poor air quality, and the levels of some noxious pollutants on the rise, we badly need to see strong legislation from the European Union in 2013.”

The UK government has been accused by campaigners of attempting to weaken air pollution legislation. The UK department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs proposed “Working in partnership with other Member States, we will … amendments to the Air Quality Directive which reduce the infraction risk faced by most Member States, especially in relation to nitrogen dioxide provisions’. 

Responding to this Mr Taylor said:

“It beggars belief that the UK Government is trying to water down European Legislation that will protect the lives of British citizens. I urge them to back strong laws on air pollution and to improve people’s health.”

Keith recently published a public information leaflet, ‘Air Pollution: The Invisible Killer’, to raise awareness of air pollution and its damaging health impacts. The leaflet explains how air pollution is created, how widespread the problem is, how it affects our health and how pollution can be reduced.

Notes 

1) A guide to Air Pollution and the ‘Year of Air’ can be found here: http://cleanairinlondon.org/news/quick-guide-to-air-pollution/ 

2) Keith’s Guide ‘Air Pollution: The Invisible Killer’ can be found here: http://www.keithtaylormep.org.uk/air-pollution/

Matthew Butcher Media Officer
Office of Keith Taylor,
Green MEP for South East England
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London N1 6AH UK
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Green Party conference strongly criticises NHS privatisation

September 11, 2010

An emergency motion, passed unanimously at Green Party autumn conference, has strongly criticised the privatisation of the NHS.

The motion called for a campaign to have those health providers which have already been privatised brought back into the NHS, and for the NHS to be promoted as a public service free of commercial interests.

Caroline Lucas, Green Party leader said: “The White Paper spells out just how far the Tories and Liberals will go with their destruction of our essential services. They are planning on full privatisation of NHS service across England, a move utterly opposed by us. They have hidden their idea as Foundation Trusts and Social Enterprise, but as residents in Huntingdon have found with their local hospital this is just a short step from takeover by corporate giants.”

“Health care is not a market and shouldn’t be run as one. Buying and selling packets of treatment like widgets in a factory is the wrong way to provide health care. It is expensive, fragmented and destroys quality. Health care is a service, an essential one, and should be run as such. Health care does not lend itself to the business models of Tesco or Asda.”

“The new government’s ideas are a death knell for the NHS and we will fight these changes. The NHS is a public service and should be publicly owned and run as such. ”