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Keith Taylor, the Green MEP for South East England, has voiced his opposition to the recently announced proposals to build a nuclear research and disposal facility on Romney Marsh.

Shepway District Council is currently consulting residents about a proposal to build a facility which stores nuclear waste in secure containers deep underground. Keith is concerned about the impact on local people and the surrounding environment.

Keith said: "Romney Marsh is at sea level and at risk of flooding. The reason that Dungeness was deselected as a site for a new-build replacement nuclear power station was that it was too vulnerable to sea level increases, so it's clearly not a suitable location for the long-term storage of highly toxic nuclear waste. As high level nuclear waste needs to be securely stored for thousands of years we must be confident that any site chosen is future-proof. Romney Marsh is also one of the most precious wildlife-rich wetlands in the country and home to many rare species. This is a common resource which should be protected for people to enjoy."

Keith continued: "If this storage facility went ahead, highly hazardous waste would have to be transported through densely populated areas such as London and the South East, a plan which raises many concerns about public safety. Of course my constituents in Romney Marsh need jobs, but these should come from investment in energy efficiency measures and clean renewable energy generation which doesn't leave the toxic legacy of nuclear."

Keith said: "The question of where to store this highly toxic waste highlights one of the major problems with nuclear energy generation. The government is now compounding this problem by backing the creation of new nuclear power plants. This is a wrong- headed move as there is no safe disposal or decontamination method for nuclear waste. The government is displaying a distinct lack of imagination; what they should instead be doing is investing in sustainable long term jobs which make a direct contribution to tackling the social problem of unemployment and the environmental problem of climate change. I would urge local residents to oppose these plans."


Green MP slams ‘expensive bias' towards nuclear, gas and big energy players; calls for focus on smaller generators and community schemes.

The Government will today publish its draft energy bill, with proposals for a reform of the electricity market aimed at unlocking the billions of pounds of investment needed in low carbon infrastructure over the next 10 years.

The Coalition has made clear its plans to build 16GW of new nuclear without tapping into public money, yet has been repeatedly forced to deny that the contracts proposed under the Electricity Market Reform (EMR) represent a subsidy.

Brighton Pavilion MP and leader of the Green party, Caroline Lucas, said:

"While I welcome efforts to address the UK's dependence on fossil fuels, reduce our exposure to volatile energy prices and boost long term investment in renewables, this draft energy bill is deeply flawed and looks likely to benefit only the industry's most powerful players.

"The Government has made a big noise about being ‘technology neutral' and not putting all of its eggs in one energy basket, but the Electricity Market Reform proposals expose a clear bias towards nuclear and gas.

"We know that subsidising new nuclear would fly in face of the Coalition's promise not to use taxpayer's money for nuclear, yet no matter how much Ministers deny it, EMR will gift EDF and other potential nuclear operators with billions of pounds in subsidies over the lifetime of a power station."

Caroline Lucas continued:

"If we're to avoid ending up with an insecure, dirty and expensive electricity system, we need a far more ambitious energy bill from this Government, which contains an absolute commitment to decarbonise electricity generation by 2030 - based on advice from the Committee on Climate Change (CCC).

"What has also been missing from the EMR proposals to date is a recognition of the vast, untapped potential of energy saving.

"The Energy Bill must introduce mechanisms - such as a feed in tariff for energy efficiency - to equalise support for demand reduction and energy saving as a matter of priority."

On gas, Lucas said: "Like nuclear, the obsession with gas is another expensive distraction from a decisive and rapid shift to an efficient and truly sustainable power system.

"Gas has a role to play as a bridging technology and in meeting peak demand, but the Energy Bill must categorically rule out a new dash for gas - both to keep energy costs for householders and businesses down, and to meet our carbon targets.

"A strong Emissions Performance Standard on gas fired power stations is essential, but what we have so far from the Government is utterly inadequate - with the CCC also warning that allowing unabated gas-fired generation from new plants through to 2045 risks diverting much needed investment away from genuinely low carbon technologies like wind and solar."

Lucas concluded: "Finally, an energy bill fit for the 21st century must have at its heart the Coalition's own pledge to ‘support community ownership of renewable energy schemes'.

"Medium scale renewables are the squeezed middle of energy policy, largely ignored by the main parties - but their potential is illustrated by Germany, where renewable sources are now responsible for over 20% of Germany's electricity, with communities generating around a quarter of this, compared to less than 1% in the UK."

16 May 2012

Councillor Andy Hodgson said, "I have often been a lone voice in standing up for Shirley within the Liberal Democrat Group. They are not providing the strong and effective opposition the people of Solihull deserve. In contrast, I have been impressed by the vigour and leadership shown by the Green Group in holding the out-of-touch Conservative Council to account."

Worthing, West Sussex county councillor joins Green Party

15 May 2012

Councillor James Doyle said, "I am really pleased to be able to join up with the Green Party, a party under whose banner I will continue to fight for the environment, and a progressive and just society. Since 2011 I have sat as an Independent member on both local councils; I will see out my term on West Sussex County Council as an Independent and fight to retain the seat as a Green Party candidate in 2013."

'Now is the time to make space for new talent'

15 May 2012

Caroline writes in the Guardian about her decision to step aside as Green leader

Caroline Lucas Opens Door to New Green Party Leaders

13 May 2012

Caroline Lucas said: "I'm hugely honoured to have served as the first Leader of the Green Party and I'm proud that during the four years of my term, we've moved Green politics forward to a higher level, with the Party by far the most influential it has ever been."

Caroline Lucas MP (Green, Brighton Pavilion) is the leader of the Green Party We are entering a critical week for the future of the National Health Service as we know it, because despite the hollow government assurances of recent weeks, and cosmetic tinkering around the edges of the health and social care bill, the reality is that the core intention – to vastly increase the commercialisation of the NHS – remains intact. I wish this were scaremongering, but it isn’t. Under this administration, we can already see the ground opening up to more NHS hospitals being run by the private sector. Just last week, for example, George Eliot Hospital in Warwickshire confirmed it is open to a takeover and in talks with potential private partners including Serco, Care UK and Circle. This comes after the government tried to downplay the privatisation of Hinchingbrooke Health Care Trust in Cambridgeshire as a ‘one off’.

We've got a senior government minister suggesting Britons turn their homes into potential deathtraps; we've got police being called in to break up fights in long queues at petrol stations.

You might think Britain has a problem. And you'd be right.

But it goes a long way beyond Francis Maude's potentially deadly gaffe, and the Unite tanker drivers' concern over their pay and conditions. Because what's caused this problem is a threat to the supply of fuel in Britain, a threat that won't go away after the last stamp has been put on the inevitable deal between Unite and employers. There's the threat that global supplies could be threatened by political instability or war; the threat of disruption caused by natural disaster and industrial catastrophe; and most of all there's the fact that oil is a finite resource and we've already passed its peak supply. And our national life is built, to a totally unnecessary and harmful degree around this commodity. The words of one driver in Plymouth pretty well sum it up: "Most of us are crippled without our cars." That's not the fault of individuals. The facts of house prices and the push to make home ownership the default option, plus the shortage of employment and the pressure for worker "flexibility", has left huge numbers of Britons commuting great distances each week to their work.

Pressures on schooling, and the closure of local schools, have left huge numbers of children relying on cars and buses to reach their schools, when once walking to school was a standard part of everyone's childhood. And as we saw the last time we went through this cycle, we're utterly reliant on fuel - and large amounts of it - to move all of the basic stuffs of life - milk, bread, vegetables, eggs - to the shops we use. Francis Maude is now going to be forever remembered as "the jerry can man", and the media in the next day or so will be consumed with accounts of minor hysteria about this event. But let's all take a deep breath and think. If it is like this now, what would it be like if the Straits of Hormuz were blocked by conflict? Or if a major supply is taken out long term by an environmental or industrial disaster? Or when Chinese/Indian consumption rises and supplies fall, doubling the price? Times columnist Caitlin Moran has come up with one solution to this, on Twitter: "Two petrol-crises in ten years. Fuck this. I'm going self- sufficient *starts compressing zooplankton under sedimentary rock*." Nice line if you've got a few million years. But since we don't, there are alternatives. First, we could dramatically improve public transport so more people can use it to get to work, to school, to their lives.

And we could seriously promote electric cars - for situations where that private transport is really essential. Both those steps would also save many thousands of lives by cutting air pollution and make our cities and towns far more pleasant places, by the way. That's what the Green Party is offering in its plans for London's future. And we could start to relocalise our economies.

Instead of shipping carrots from Scotland to East Anglia, then back to Edinburgh and Glasgow for sale - not an extreme example but an everyday occurrence, we could start to rebuild the network of market gardens that once surrounded our cities, and supplied food direct into stores. We could rebuild a local dairy industry, and even return to local flour mills and bakeries. We could, and we must, for we really have no choice, as Francis Maude as so helpfully assisted in demonstrating. This article by Natalie Bennett first appeared in The Huffington Post

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