Open cast coal mining at Druridge Bay

Below is a copy of the submission made by the Green Party regarding the application by Banks for an opencase coal mine at Druridge Bay in NE England.

2017 May 31 raly at Druridge Bay Inquiry

____________________________________________________________________________________________

Submission to Highthorn Inquiry from the NE Region of the Green Party

Planning Inspectorate Reference APP/P2935/V/16/3158266

The NE Region of the Green Party of England and Wales wishes to make the following objections to the proposal for open cast coal mining at Highthorn. The application embodies a quite unsustainable and irresponsible approach, both in terms of local impacts in the Druridge Bay area and wider consequences. Northumberland County Council made, we believe, a quite unsound decision in approving the application. The evidence actually indicates that current government policies and guidance ought to be interpreted as grounds for refusal.

We will focus on the first two items on the inspector’s list, though we also wish to make clear our endorsement of the arguments put forward by local residents via the Save Druridge Bay Campaign about other detrimental impacts such as noise, dust, road traffic and damage to the tourist economy.

We will argue that the proposal is unsound, contradicting the evidence about the urgent need to curtail all forms of coal mining. There is also compelling evidence that biodiversity across the country is at serious risk. Proposals threatening areas of particular wildlife significance cannot constitute the ‘sustainable development’ sought by the National Planning Policy Framework. Furthermore, this particular plan is ineffective, failing to deliver a plan for the long-term common good of the area. It is also not in accord with key national policies and international agreements.

First, however, we would ask the inquiry to reject a spurious argument that there is coal mining in other regions and countries and that it is therefore appropriate to mine coal at Highthorn. Such an argument has no legal validity. Indeed it is one that would justify all sorts of crime if accepted. In moral theory, one ‘wrong’ has ever legitimised another ‘wrong’.

Our main objections are as follows:

  1. There is now overwhelming evidence of the threat from climate change and the critical part played in that danger by the burning of coal.[i]This ‘climate emergency’ is the biggest issue of our lifetimes. Its resolution tops all other priorities. The priority now must be to leave all remaining coal in the ground, especially in richer countries such as the UK. It might be noted that when Peabody Coal, then the world’s largest private coal operator, went to court to challenge those calling for the rapid phase out of the coal industry, it lost.[ii]
  2. We note that, on November 4, 2016, the ‘Paris Agreement’ on climate change[iii]came into force, with legally binding commitments to act on rising global temperatures. This agreement has to be regarded as a minimum since the evidence now suggests that climate change and related warming is happening at an accelerating rate[iv]. UK government policy is founded, of course, on the 2008 Climate Change Act and the likelihood is the UK climate action will follow the Paris agreement.[v]
  3. We would further stress that there is no case for claiming that coal can be made clean’ via technological innovation.[vi]It is of course highly relevant that the DECC has stated that“he government is absolutely committed to phasing out power production from unabated coal by 2025 and it is nonsense to suggest otherwise”.[vii]The NPPF calls for “radical reductions in greenhouse gas emissions”. The Highthorn application clearly contradicts government intent, including recent planning guidance.[viii]
  4. The costs of ‘renewables’ and batteries continue to fall each year, as is well documented. Indeed so rapid are the advances that the argument about the ‘need’ for more coal production is undermined by those very developments alone. We are living through an energy revolution and it would be quite unsound to ignore its impacts on the current energy supply and demand.
  5. The overall ‘architecture’ of the energy system is changing too, partly due to digital technologies. The latter favour flexibility rather than volume, as in previous systems of high volume coal production and centralised power generation. Investment in developments such as that proposed for Highthorn are not only damaging but also retrograde.[ix]
  6. Remaining coal is now best left in the ground for the sake of containing carbon emissions and resulting temperature rises[x]. The coal market is heading for crisis. In particular, a so-called ‘carbon bubble’, with ‘stranded assets’,[xi]is dangerously building, as climate change policies further bite into coal consumption. Power generation from coal in the UK is falling by record amounts[xii]and many other countries are seeking cutbacks, including China.[xiii]This point raises questions about the capacity of operators such as Banks to deliver commitments to restore the site once mined. There is sound evidence to suggest that companies dependent on income from coal could face real financial difficulties in the near future.[xiv]
  7. With regard to ‘question 2’, it is widely recognised that the Druridge Bay area is of special landscape and wildlife significance. However, recent evidence has spotlighted the parlous state of biodiversity in the UK.[xv]It demonstrates that core biodiversity areas must be protected from disturbance. The impact from open cast coal mining cannot but be serious. In the case of Highthorn, coal mining would seriously contradict stated government policy in the field of biodiversity and ecosystems.[xvi]
  8. Regulation of open case coal mining has a poor history. There is no reason to make the gratuitous assumption that ‘Highthorn’ will be better, whatever the applicants may claim.[xvii]We would support the argument of the RSPB that there is evidence of systematic regulatory and market failure.[xviii]Debate in parliament last year spotlighted just how high the costs of restoration on existing sites have become.[xix]
  9. The very notion of ‘reclamation’ flows, of course, from the degradation of land caused by open cast coal mining. That, in turn, begs questions about the extent to which land can be fully restored. Elsewhere, we provide evidence about the capacity of open cast operators to honour whatever commitments they undertake in the light of both developments in the current coal market and the developing ‘carbon bubble’. ‘Non-restoration’ is a real possibility.[xx]
  10. We would naturally endorse the Government’s ‘Natural Choice’ White Paper of 2011[xxi]when it stated “we will take a strategic approach to planning for nature… We will retain the protection and improvement of the natural environment as core objectives of the planning system. …We will improve the quality and increase the value of the natural environment across England. “
  11. In conclusion the NE Green Party calls for the rejection of the Bank application. Its costs outweigh any benefits, the latter being, at best very short-term (the lifetime of the site working) and, more likely, uncertain in the context of rapidly changing energy markets. The legacy would be severe ad unnecessary damage to an area much cherished across the region and beyond, with better options for truly sustainable development foregone.
  12. We propose instead, following the spirit of the above white paper, a network of nature reserves expanded across the whole of Druridge Bay and its immediate hinterland, creating a world-class example of biodiversity action planning.[xxii]It could be coupled to ‘wildlife tourism’ and other compatible recreational opportunities all of which can feed money into the local economy on a lasting basis. At the same time, we support the expansion of renewable energy and energy conservation programmes in the area. These two goals can be harmonised for the sustainable common good of all.[xxiii]


References

[i]For an overview of why coal must be rapidly phased out, see:
http://www.ucsusa.org/clean-energy/decrease-coal-use#.WBy12XecaWYand http://oneworld.org/2016/09/26/global-warming-flashpoint-could-be-reached-by-2050-warn-scientists/.
Some key data sets are laid out here: http://www.pik-potsdam.de/~stefan/5datasets_rahmstorf.pdf
Recent evidence is summarised here:
https://newrepublic.com/article/136987/recalculating-climate-math. ‘
See also:
http://responsiblescientists.org(statement by 375 leading scientists, including 30 Nobel Prize winners); https://www.researchgate.net/publication/306531229_Limiting_global_warming_to_2_C_What_do_the_latest_mitigation_studies_tell_us_about_costs_technologies_and_other_impacts;
http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v5/n6/full/nclimate2572.html;
https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/why-are-we-waiting;

The WMO has produced a new study of global temperatures:
http://public.wmo.int/en/media/news/carbon-dioxide-levels-atmosphere-spike

[ii]https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2016/may/11/coal-made-its-best-case-against-climate-change-and-lost

[iii]http://unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/9485.phpand http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2008/27/contents

[iv]http://capacity4dev.ec.europa.eu/unep/document/emissions-gap-report-2016-unep-synthesis-report; http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/news/20161017/

[v]https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/uk-action-following-paris/

[vi]Fixes’ such as carbon capture and storage are still not proven technologies. Assuming they work and can avoid attendant risks (carbon leakage, etc), their deployment could not come soon enough to make any material difference and in any case they fail to solve other problems inherent in the ‘coal cycle’. See: http://www.climatechangenews.com/2012/10/02/carbon-capture-and-storage-time-to-bury-the-myth/and https://www.technologyreview.com/s/516166/what-carbon-capture-cant-do/. Indeed some ‘clean coal’ projects have been rather a disaster eg https://www.cato.org/blog/admitting-futuregens-failureThe evidence suggests that ‘clean coal; is an oxymoron (http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/energy/a4947/4339171/and http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2015/jun/10-reasons-clean-coal-is-a-marketing-myth)

[vii]http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/06/03/government-denies-watering-down-coal-power-phase-out/

[viii]http://planningguidance.communities.gov.uk/blog/guidance/renewable-and-low-carbon-energy/developing-a-strategy-for-renewable-and-low-carbon-energy/

[ix]Currently, peak demand for electricity in Britain is some 60GW for a very short time on the coldest day. Baseload demand is around 30GW. The total generating capacity available is some 85GW. Energy efficiency has reduced electricity demand by 25TWh since 2010. A McKinsey report for the Government estimates that by 2030 demand could be reduced by a further 23% while reducing consumer bills. For a DECC response to the possibilities, see: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/246125/government_response_edr_consultation.pdf.

Solar electricity from solar power is now cheaper than Hinkley having fallen by half in the last five years. Solar panels now provide about 1GW, half of which was delivered in 18 months. In cloudy Britain, solar exceeded coal over the last 6 months. Globally, renewables overtook coalas the world’s largest source of power capacity (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/10/renewables-have-overtaken-coal-the-iea-says-its-a-turning-point/; https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/25/renewables-made-up-half-of-net-electricity-capacity-added-last-year;http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/iea-ups-renewable-forecast-13–hails-impressive-progress-of-pv-manufacturers_100026637/#axzz4P98hgmHb).

The data indicates that policies based on inflexible system (eg coal mining and centralised generating plant) are likely to be unproductive investments, regardless of other considerations. Investment in an integrated mix of renewables, and in efficiency and conservation programmes is truly ‘sustainable development’ (on efficiency, see: http://www.iea.org/eemr16/and http://www.climateworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/ExecSummary_How-Energy-Efficiency-Cuts-Costs-For-A-2-Degree-Future.pdf.
For an overview of the renewables revolution from the International Energy Agencysee: https://www.iea.org/newsroom/news/2016/october/medium-term-renewable-energy-market-report-2016.html
See also: http://www.ren21.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/GSR_2016_KeyFindings1.pdf. This report from President Obama’s advisors demolishes one common myth about renewables and obstacles to their deployment: https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/page/files/20160616_cea_renewables_electricgrid.pdf

[x]http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v517/n7533/full/nature14016.html

[xi]Several references can be found here: http://www.carbontracker.org/?s=carbon+bubble
See also:
http://blog.ucsusa.org/tag/king-coals-stages-of-grief#.WBy1qXecaWYand http://www.carbontracker.org/report/stranded-assets-danger-zone/.
The ‘bubble’ is visualised here:
https://thinkprogress.org/infographic-the-22-trillion-carbon-bubble-d15a0837295f#.jpqb9dw0c

[xii]https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/02/uk-coal-powered-electricity-projected-to-fall-by-record-amount

[xiii]http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/china-coal-power-stations-plants-electricity-supply-green-energy-greenpeace-a7134596.html

[xiv]https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/13/worlds-largest-coal-producer-files-for-bankruptcy-protection;

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-21/the-coal-miner-on-everybody-s-list-as-next-bankruptcy-victim; http://www.heraldscotland.com/business/13104332.Scottish_Coal_liquidation_leads_to_dispute_over_clean_ups/

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/18/vattenfall-exits-german-coal-unit-as-it-seeks-sustainable-energy

https://www.ft.com/content/072b6e80-8469-11e5-8e80-1574112844fd

[xv]https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/our-work/stateofnature2016/

[xvi]http://planningguidance.communities.gov.uk/blog/policy/achieving-sustainable-development/delivering-sustainable-development/11-conserving-and-enhancing-the-natural-environment/and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/2010-to-2015-government-policy-biodiversity-and-ecosystems/2010-to-2015-government-policy-biodiversity-and-ecosystems

[xvii]https://www.east-ayrshire.gov.uk/Resources/PDF/C/Coal-Independent-Review-of-the-Regulation-of-Opencast-Coal-Operations-in-East-Ayrshire—Redacted-report-by-the-Independent-Review-Team.pdf

[xviii]https://www.rspb.org.uk/Images/briefing_coal_tcm9-365075.PDF

[xix]http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm150129/debtext/150129-0004.htm
It adds up to over £469m and that total is probably an underestimate. The cost of restoring the Potland Burn site, for example, was put at £ 3.86m, the East Pit site £112.5m, and the Parc Slip site £52.5m.

[xx]http://gov.wales/topics/planning/planningresearch/publishedresearch/failure-to-restore-opencast-coal-sites-in-south-wales/?lang=en. Here are some examples:  http://stopopencast.org.uk/index.html%3Fp=382.html;http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-30504447Part of the problem is the gap likely to emerge between monies set aside by coal companies for promised work and actual full costs for proper restoration eg http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13108170.Coal_firm_gives_just___1m_for_clean_up_of_disused_mines/and http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13135416.Councils_left_with___200m_shortfall_in_funds_to_clean_up_opencast_mines/

Some more cases are documented here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/28/big-coal-keep-it-in-the-ground-energy-opencast-mines

[xxi]https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/228842/8082.pdf

[xxii]The NPPF calls for “a plan for biodiversity at a landscape-scale” (NPPF, 117, bullet point 1

[xxiii]This report explores the resolution of possible conflicts between biodiversity and renewable energy projects of the kind the Green Party would advocate on land and offshore in Northumberland: http://www.rspb.org.uk/Images/energy_vision_summary_report_tcm9-419580.pdf

/publication/306531229_Limiting_global_warming_to_2_C_What_do_the_latest_mitigation_studies_tell_us_about_costs_technologies_and_other_impacts;
http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/v5/n6/full/nclimate2572.html;
https://mitpress.mit.edu/books/why-are-we-waiting;

The WMO has produced a new study of global temperatures:
http://public.wmo.int/en/media/news/carbon-dioxide-levels-atmosphere-spike

[1]https://www.theguardian.com/environment/climate-consensus-97-per-cent/2016/may/11/coal-made-its-best-case-against-climate-change-and-lost

[1]http://unfccc.int/paris_agreement/items/9485.phpand http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2008/27/contents

[1]http://capacity4dev.ec.europa.eu/unep/document/emissions-gap-report-2016-unep-synthesis-report; http://data.giss.nasa.gov/gistemp/news/20161017/

[1]https://www.theccc.org.uk/publication/uk-action-following-paris/

[1]Fixes’ such as carbon capture and storage are still not proven technologies. Assuming they work and can avoid attendant risks (carbon leakage, etc), their deployment could not come soon enough to make any material difference and in any case they fail to solve other problems inherent in the ‘coal cycle’. See: http://www.climatechangenews.com/2012/10/02/carbon-capture-and-storage-time-to-bury-the-myth/and https://www.technologyreview.com/s/516166/what-carbon-capture-cant-do/. Indeed some ‘clean coal’ projects have been rather a disaster eg https://www.cato.org/blog/admitting-futuregens-failureThe evidence suggests that ‘clean coal; is an oxymoron (http://www.popularmechanics.com/science/energy/a4947/4339171/and http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2015/jun/10-reasons-clean-coal-is-a-marketing-myth)

[1]http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2016/06/03/government-denies-watering-down-coal-power-phase-out/

[1]http://planningguidance.communities.gov.uk/blog/guidance/renewable-and-low-carbon-energy/developing-a-strategy-for-renewable-and-low-carbon-energy/

[1]Currently, peak demand for electricity in Britain is some 60GW for a very short time on the coldest day. Baseload demand is around 30GW. The total generating capacity available is some 85GW. Energy efficiency has reduced electricity demand by 25TWh since 2010. A McKinsey report for the Government estimates that by 2030 demand could be reduced by a further 23% while reducing consumer bills. For a DECC response to the possibilities, see: https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/246125/government_response_edr_consultation.pdf.

Solar electricity from solar power is now cheaper than Hinkley having fallen by half in the last five years. Solar panels now provide about 1GW, half of which was delivered in 18 months. In cloudy Britain, solar exceeded coal over the last 6 months. Globally, renewables overtook coalas the world’s largest source of power capacity (https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2016/10/renewables-have-overtaken-coal-the-iea-says-its-a-turning-point/; https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/oct/25/renewables-made-up-half-of-net-electricity-capacity-added-last-year;http://www.pv-magazine.com/news/details/beitrag/iea-ups-renewable-forecast-13–hails-impressive-progress-of-pv-manufacturers_100026637/#axzz4P98hgmHb).

The data indicates that policies based on inflexible system (eg coal mining and centralised generating plant) are likely to be unproductive investments, regardless of other considerations. Investment in an integrated mix of renewables, and in efficiency and conservation programmes is truly ‘sustainable development’ (on efficiency, see: http://www.iea.org/eemr16/and http://www.climateworks.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/ExecSummary_How-Energy-Efficiency-Cuts-Costs-For-A-2-Degree-Future.pdf.
For an overview of the renewables revolution from the International Energy Agencysee: https://www.iea.org/newsroom/news/2016/october/medium-term-renewable-energy-market-report-2016.html
See also: http://www.ren21.net/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/GSR_2016_KeyFindings1.pdf. This report from President Obama’s advisors demolishes one common myth about renewables and obstacles to their deployment: https://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/page/files/20160616_cea_renewables_electricgrid.pdf

[1]http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v517/n7533/full/nature14016.html

[1]Several references can be found here: http://www.carbontracker.org/?s=carbon+bubble
See also:
http://blog.ucsusa.org/tag/king-coals-stages-of-grief#.WBy1qXecaWYand http://www.carbontracker.org/report/stranded-assets-danger-zone/.
The ‘bubble’ is visualised here:
https://thinkprogress.org/infographic-the-22-trillion-carbon-bubble-d15a0837295f#.jpqb9dw0c

[1]https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/nov/02/uk-coal-powered-electricity-projected-to-fall-by-record-amount

[1]http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/china-coal-power-stations-plants-electricity-supply-green-energy-greenpeace-a7134596.html

[1]https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/13/worlds-largest-coal-producer-files-for-bankruptcy-protection;

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2016-01-21/the-coal-miner-on-everybody-s-list-as-next-bankruptcy-victim; http://www.heraldscotland.com/business/13104332.Scottish_Coal_liquidation_leads_to_dispute_over_clean_ups/

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/18/vattenfall-exits-german-coal-unit-as-it-seeks-sustainable-energy

https://www.ft.com/content/072b6e80-8469-11e5-8e80-1574112844fd

[1]https://ww2.rspb.org.uk/our-work/stateofnature2016/

[1]http://planningguidance.communities.gov.uk/blog/policy/achieving-sustainable-development/delivering-sustainable-development/11-conserving-and-enhancing-the-natural-environment/and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/2010-to-2015-government-policy-biodiversity-and-ecosystems/2010-to-2015-government-policy-biodiversity-and-ecosystems

[1]https://www.east-ayrshire.gov.uk/Resources/PDF/C/Coal-Independent-Review-of-the-Regulation-of-Opencast-Coal-Operations-in-East-Ayrshire—Redacted-report-by-the-Independent-Review-Team.pdf

[1]https://www.rspb.org.uk/Images/briefing_coal_tcm9-365075.PDF

[1]http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm150129/debtext/150129-0004.htm
It adds up to over £469m and that total is probably an underestimate. The cost of restoring the Potland Burn site, for example, was put at £ 3.86m, the East Pit site £112.5m, and the Parc Slip site £52.5m.

[1]http://gov.wales/topics/planning/planningresearch/publishedresearch/failure-to-restore-opencast-coal-sites-in-south-wales/?lang=en. Here are some examples:  http://stopopencast.org.uk/index.html%3Fp=382.html;http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-30504447Part of the problem is the gap likely to emerge between monies set aside by coal companies for promised work and actual full costs for proper restoration eg http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13108170.Coal_firm_gives_just___1m_for_clean_up_of_disused_mines/and http://www.heraldscotland.com/news/13135416.Councils_left_with___200m_shortfall_in_funds_to_clean_up_opencast_mines/

Some more cases are documented here: https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2015/apr/28/big-coal-keep-it-in-the-ground-energy-opencast-mines

[1]https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/228842/8082.pdf

[1]The NPPF calls for “a plan for biodiversity at a landscape-scale” (NPPF, 117, bullet point 1

[1]This report explores the resolution of possible conflicts between biodiversity and renewable energy projects of the kind the Green Party would advocate on land and offshore in Northumberland: http://www.rspb.org.uk/Images/energy_vision_summary_report_tcm9-419580.pdf

Green Party elections 2018

One of the better things about the Green Party these days is that, during internal elections, there are now some good candidates in the field. Regarding forthcoming Green Party elections, for instance, three caught my eye. They are:

1. Andrew Cooper
2. Liz Reason
3. Rupert Read

The context to these elections is particularly significant. The last General Election was a significant setback for the Green Party. It certainly faces a hostile external environment in many ways. Yet the party also sometimes make things more difficult for itself. Its external campaigning has often been unnecessarily weak, both at election time and in terms of campaigns over specific issues. Internally, things still need to be tightened while internal democracy and transparency could also be much improved. I feel sure that the election of all three candidates will greatly help the party in these and other respects, not least strengthening ‘regionality’ inside the party.

Andrew CooperAndrew Cooper is one of the party’s best voices and activists. He has been a regular visitor to my region, the North East, and was a great source of support with regard to the threat of open cast coal mining at Druridge Bay. He is, of course, well known for his achievements on Kirklees Council in the field of energy conservation. He proposed the UK’s first universally free insulation scheme, with over 50,000 homes insulated. In 2000, he initiated the Council’s Renewable Energy Fund that has seen Kirklees become the leading authority in the deployment of micro-generation technologies. Andrew embodies that mix we need so much of real vision coupled to practicable policies for the here and now. As I know from walks with him around the ward he represents, he is very good at relating to those outside our ranks. I spent the first 18 years of my life there and more recently I had quite wrongly not seen Newsome as fertile ground for the Greens. The fact he is from ‘up North’ is a particular asset since there is, arguably, a certain London-centrism at national level in the party. I think he would be a strong voice for all the regions in the post for which he is standing.
See: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dy7vteD16mk&t=8s

Liz Reason

Liz Reason is probably best known inside the party for the lead she gave in setting up a thorough-going review of party governance. Previous efforts in this area were going nowhere and, worse, some bad ideas were abroad. Liz really did come to the rescue: it is down to her that we have a real chance of taking a good hard look at the workings of the party. She has long experience in energy conservation but it is the organisational side of her career that really boosts her credentials for the post she is seeking. Indeed, she has extensive community building, political and business skills. For example, she has been chair of ‘Sustainable Charlbury’, a community organisation whose major achievement was to build a 4.5MW solar farm, developed, financed and managed by the community. She is now chair of ‘Southill Community Energy’, a community benefit society, which runs the solar farm and distributes its surpluses to environmental projects. Liz is exactly the person needed to keep national decision-making grounded in reality. I’d note also that she is particularly strong on fund-raising and, in my experience, works in genuinely collaborative ways
For some background on Liz, see: http://lizreason.co.uk

Rupert Read

Rupert Read is standing for a post with a more external focus and one that would require a first class speaker and debater to ensure our message is effectively projected. Rupert has the right qualities: a sharp thinker and quick on his feet in debate. His work at the Green House think tank is widely admired. It has provided a steady stream of excellent publications (https://www.greenhousethinktank.org/publications.html ). The Green Party really needs to have the intellectual tools with which to challenge the dominant mind-set if it is to play its part in changing society. I particularly admire the work Rupert has done on the ‘precautionary principle’ and, more generally, ‘post-growth’. On YouTube you can see plenty of examples of how effective Rupert can be at public meetings and on TV.
See: https://rupertread.net

If you are member of the Green Party of England and Wales, I hope you’ll vote for them in the relevant contests. If you agree with me, encourage other people you know across the party to do likewise. I am sure that all three would welcome message of support