My apologies for the lack of a Letter from Bassetlaw last weekend but I was cajoled in to celebrating my 60th Birthday by my family and simply couldn’t find the time.
Our winter still continues to surprise. After a few days of frost & cold, we have had some rain then some sun and even a bit of snow, all mixed in with a lot of wind.
While this isn’t conclusive proof of man-made Climate Change, the weather we have had this winter and over the last few years, is a good indicator that something fundamental has changed, and is still changing, in our climate. The speed of this change and amount of it we are seeing points to it being more than natural variation. With this in mind, can we take the risk of assuming it is not driven by the emissions we make in our modern society? Can we take the risk of not doing all we can to reduce those emissions and looking for ways to make sure that our need for energy is met from sources that do not emit carbon dioxide or methane into the atmosphere?
This is why looking for more and more marginal sources for gas & oil is so crazy. Even if we can extract them in a way that does not damage the environment (which is far from being the case), we simply cannot afford to burn them. The extra carbon that would emit into the atmosphere would cause a great deal of damage and stop us reducing our emissions as we need to do.
This leads me on the County Council’s recent decision to allow test bore drilling near Misson.
Let’s be clear, while the County Council Planning Committee (& Bassetlaw’s Planning Committee before them) have been spineless in not voting against the development, the reality is that it is the Tory Government’s desire to press ahead with Fracking at all costs meant that the drilling was always going to be allowed, if not by the County Council then by DCLG.
However, we also need to be clear that the reasons behind this have nothing to do with filling our imminent energy gap or even to secure the UK’s supply of gas in years to come but all to do with making surer that the big energy suppliers keep their hold on our energy supply.
Even the most optimistic prediction says it will be at least 5 years before gas in usable quantities comes out from any shale gas wells, be it by fracking or other techniques, yet we could be facing energy shortages as soon as next winter. In spite of this, our Government has been moving subsides from renewable energy which could plug that gap to hydrocarbons that cannot. It simply beggars belief that Cameron, Osborne & others are doing this simply to make sure that the big oil & energy companies (most of which donate money to the Conservatives) keep control of the energy we use.
There are no reasons why Fracking should be allowed to continue apart from the greed of the large energy companies & their need to control our energy supply. While we may have lost a skirmish in fight to against fracking when the County Council Planning Committee didn’t stop the iGas proposal to drill near Misson, that fight will definitely continue and we need to make sure that everyone realises that the drive for fracking is nor about securing an energy supply for the UK but all about securing control of the supply.
On another “Green” issue, I was disappointed to see that Bassetlaw ranks 322nd out of 326 areas[i] in England for recycling. Only 3 London Boroughs & the Isles of Scilly had a worse “Percentage of household waste sent for reuse, recycling or composting” than the 19.2% Bassetlaw managed. This is truly appalling and Bassetlaw & Sherwood Liberal Democrats will soon be issuing a report highlighting this as well as asking the District Council what they will be doing to improve recycling rates in our area.
Finally, plans are advancing for the Remain In campaign launch in Bassetlaw and I hope to have news about this soon. It is vital that the UK remains in the EU, not just for those like me who (to put it bluntly) have lived most of our lives but for the generations to come. Outside the EU, our country will be a diminished place to love, diminished economically, diminished in our influence abroad, diminished educational & culturally. We must not let this happen, we owe it to our children to stay in the EU, to “Remain And Gain”.