Energy revolution needed in budget, says Porritt

18 March 2014

Energy revolution needed in budget, says Porritt

One of Britain’s best known environment campaigners, Sir Jonathon Porritt, will be in the east of England on Budget Day (Wednesday March 19th) calling for budget measures to address the long term cost-of-living crisis caused by the “end of oil”.

He’ll be in Norwich and Gt Yarmouth to launch a new report by Rupert Read, lead candidate for the Green Party in the east of England at the Euro elections in May, calling for an “energy revolution” in the region encompassing tidal, wave, wind and solar power plus energy waste-reduction to replace outdated fossil fuels and nuclear.

The Green Party says that only an invest-to-save programme such as this can address the cost-of-living crisis which will otherwise arise from the end of the age of cheap oil.

Sir Jonathon, who has served as both Director of Friends of the Earth and as Chair of the government’s Sustainable Development Commission, has remained a Green Party member throughout his career. He said:

“The destabilisation of the world’s climate systems – which we had another taste of in Britain with the widespread flooding earlier this year – urgently requires us to rethink how we provide ourselves with the energy we need for our homes, transport, and industry.

“At the same time, the research and development of renewable energy technologies, such as solar, wind, and wave power, has now borne fruit to such an extent that costs are coming down and renewables are rapidly becoming competitive with fossil fuels – without of course the enormous costs which fossil fuels impose on everyone through air pollution and effects on the climate. We should seize the opportunities this happy coincidence provides.”

Rupert Read said:

“Our chances of staving off man-made climate change are closely linked to the choices we make about energy use; everybody knows that now. But the Prime Minister has made his choice clear by talking about “green crap” in relation to energy obligations and going “all-out” for fracking, with all its associated risks and damages.

“I don’t really hold out any hope at all that the Budget will offer a vision for the energy revolution we need, so I’ve tried to set it out myself in the report we’re publishing this week. This report shows how it is only green measures that can address, long-term, and effectively, the ‘cost-of-living-crisis’ because fossil fuels are just going to go on getting more and more expensive until they disappear altogether.”

Later in the day, Sir Jonathon will be in Suffolk with Rupert at the invitation of the group “Together Against Sizewell C”. He’ll give a talk entitled “Why Nuclear Power Still Makes No Sense”.

Members of the media are invited to meet Sir Jonathon Porritt and Rupert Read at the following locations:

In Norwich: At 14:00 on the Novi Sad Bridge at Riverside, a piece of ‘green’ infrastructure designed to encourage pedestrian instead of car movements around Norwich city centre.

In Caister-on-Sea, Yarmouth: At 15:30 in Charles Close, where impressive new council homes built to energy-efficient “Passivhaus” standards at no more than normal house-building costs are nearing completion, and the Scroby Sands windfarm is visible offshore.

In Stratford St. Andrew: At 1900 in the Riverside Centre, IP17 1LL.
The report, “Time for an Energy Revolution in the East”, by Rupert Read, is available here:

It calls for:

* An energy revolution to create thousands of lasting green jobs. It is calculated, for example, that 8,600 jobs could be created in the region just from the insulation and retrofitting of existing buildings alone.

* Renewables to get the same tax breaks as fracking now gets - tax-breaks which should be removed from fracking, and a moratorium on fracking instead imposed, as in France.

* Capital costs for R & D into projects like the Marine Energy Harvester funded by a tax on bankers bonuses. The running costs of these projects then pay for themselves through the free, clean energy they create.

* Robin Hood tax to fund micro generation: (retro & new build), such as ground source heat pumps in all social housing.

* Grants for communities to set up their own micro-generation projects, funded by tax on bankers bonuses.

* Rapidly deployed marine energy along the coast. Currently a project can be set up in 3-4 years, but the planning process is so slow that it is taking around 10 yrs. Rupert Read would work to remove these barriers at the EU level by streamlining the planning process for marine energy projects.

Gt Yarmouth, where the report will be launched, has been identified in research as a seaside town in need of regeneration and job creation. It is on the East Anglian 'energy coast' with all its potential for renewables development, and on the River Yare, which could be protected from future tidal surges and simultaneously generate tidal energy, in a manner laid out in the report.

The Caister-on-Sea Passivhaus project showcases how British companies, including local Yarmouth companies, are leading to way in producing affordable homes which will not leak energy. Moreover, these are council houses, which the Green Party also very much welcomes.

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