Local ‘open forum’ Environment Meeting – chaired by Dr Therese Coffey

Great to attend an open forum meeting to discuss environmental matters with our local MP Dr Therese Coffey, at Campsea Ash Village Hall.

Lots of frank comments and questions from the floor, with direct answers being given.

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I took as many notes as I could, please find them below. If you’d like a pdf copy of them, please email me and I’ll send them over.

Climate Change Meeting – 19th July at Campsea Ashe Village Hall

Hosted by Dr Therese Coffey

Here’s my summary notes from statements made & questions from the room, and DrCoffey’s responses, as I recorded them.

Hopefully this reflects accurately on the meeting, I didn’t catch the names of the questioners – happy to chat about my recollections of the meeting if any of these notes are not clear.

Opening statement made about the importance of 2020 and the performance against the global (and national) targets set to be reached by 2020.

The UK Government is an active contributor to the following:

1) Global report on Loss of Habitat and Climate Change 2) UN Oceans Conference
3) Conference on Climate Change

UN Treaty is upcoming covering ‘Beyond National Treaties’ designed to protect not onlyocean habitats, but also the Arctic & Antarctic, where a global consensus will be sought to protect areas of the planet not directly covered by national jurisdiction.

Sustainability Goals are being reset in 2020

2020 Review of Paris Treaty performance 5 years on – the UK view is that there is not enough commitment from enough countries at present.

Sizewell ‘C’

Dr Coffey commented ‘Industry & the environment can co-exist’
Sizewell A – built in the 1950’s, with the area designated an AONB in the 1970’s
UK committed to zero carbon emissions, so believe that a nuclear solution is needed as well as renewable energy solutions

The decision about Sizewell C is not finalised, as there are many environmental & financial solutions still needing to be decided, before any construction starts.

Plastics

There are national recycling issues, with no national agreement on recycling at present. The Givernment has just concluded consultation about plastic recycling, and are removing TEPEexemptions, and are refining the ‘producer pays’ principal – planning to introduce different charges for plastic use, based on the recyclability of that product.

Exploring deposit return schems

Still work to do on the viability of the recycling of plastic films

Explore & reduce the use of single use plastics in the NHS – currently the biggest user of single use plastic?

European plastics pact

On Shore Wind was raised – this has been devolved from UK Government to local councils to decide, to better consult with local residents, as previously there was no mechanism for local residents to object / comment.

Solar Panels

Feed-In Tariff reductions? The existing ones were over subscribed – costs too high & demand far greater than was panned & budgeted for.

Solar on all new build & municipal buildings? – Not always beneficial to add to all new buildings as dependent on orientation & location.

UK drive on solar has reduced the global costs on PV panels, benefitting the rest of the world, with 99% of solar panels in the UK being installed after 2010 when the feed in tariffs were bought in.

De-Carbonisation of Energy production is crucial

The Montreal Protocol

Reduction in CFCs & HFCs – the most successful global greenhouse gas / carbon reduction treaty to date.

VAT / Taxation rates on Energy
Treasury decision, but bound by EU rules, cannot unilaterally lower an exiting taxation rate Green Print Forum
Engage with all town & parish councils to declare local climate emergencies

East Suffolk Council’s James Mallinder spoke about the upcoming Climate Emergency voteto be heard next week.

Palm Oil & its importation to the UK
Loss of Habitat is a huge problem but the alternatives are worse for Carbon emissions.

A sustainable supply chain is needed for alternatives
UK is participating in a global supply chain summit, to discuss setting up sustainable supply options.

Northern Route Ipswich

Hot topic for discussion, as consultation just launched
Dr Coffey is not convinced of the scheme, nor the net gain for development in this area.

2050 Targets were mentioned by a young audience member (Eva? Aged 12)

Looking that the UK will fall short, with Emissions Trading is being used as an excuse

At best she commented that its 50:50 that we will make the needed 1.5C reduction

‘Feel the Fear’ of the younger generation who will inherit problems that our generation hasn’t sorted out.

Dr Coffey responded that the UK has made the biggest CO2 reduction of all the global / ‘big’economies.

Commitment to no fossil fuel cars being sold from 2040
Making & implementing ‘challenging policies’ to face into the issues.

Work diplomatically to ensure that ‘other countries’ achieve against targets and ‘do their bit’

UK Government is committed to achieve targets asap, but don’t want to ‘over promise’

Comment from the floor from another young member present:

Global Warming is the biggest problem facing population, and the behaviour diaplyed bypoliticians suggests that ‘the children are the adults, and the adults are children’

Animal agriculture is a big problems – suggest meat & dairy free days

Response: – Work to encourage alternative habitats, Mangrove is a great CO2 sink, and has huge benefits for eco-diversity – the UK ‘version’ is salt marsh which carries much of the same benefits.

From floor: Declare local climate emergencies at local government levels, yet how can these be implemented with austerity cuts reducing the funding options available from central treasury

How can the speed of change be increased, as climate change is ‘non-linear’ andunpredictable. How ready is the UK Government for climate change crisis and what’s theplan to bring the population in board to accept the necessary speed of change?

UN Secretary General – requested change by 2020, is there appetite to ‘ration behaviour’ and implement a ‘war time’ mentality on the population? Action is needed now, not in 20 years time..

The Timelines need bringing together for change

Concrete – accounts for 8% of global CO2 emissions, yet still being used in all government large infrastructure projects.

Dr Coffey stated that more information will be sent to me about this, and also commentedthat the UK is ‘wedded to bricks & mortar’ and this needs to change.

Consumerism – a circular economy. More action needed under ‘producer pays’. With a newlevy coming in that will increase the taxation / levy is materials are used that contain less than 30% recycled material.

Encourage better design & lifespan of consumer products.
WEEE obligations currently have less than 50% take up from consumers

Uganda – poverty was discussed, as a Commonwealth country, so part of the Blue Charter on marine plastics & waste management
UK Government is committed to support Commonwealth countries with recycling & waste management policies / projects

Export of Plastics – UK needs more resource & infrastructure for plastics recycling domestically. Prosecutions pursued (Biffa) for those not exporting recyclate / waste incorrectly

Work within EU rules for food safety to discourage plastics use, reduce polymer lengths in films / plastics.

Sizewell ‘C’

Comment from floor: Energy white paper proposed that will add a levy to fund Sizewell C on all electricity bills, yet the project hasn’t been approved or even left the consultation stage.

Response: This is about funding nuclear energy, not specifically Sizewell C, and is part of the UKs ‘contract for difference’ approach that raises funds for future projects in advance. This is similar to the Thames Tideway Tunnel financial model, to prepay (save-up) for the project.

From floor: The UK Government is not clear on it’s Climate Emergency Message, what resources are being made available to get this message out more efficiently? Also, how is the Government monitoring progress / change against carbon targets?

Response: The committee for climate change monitors progress and reports back. From Floor: What about Tidal or wind power?? Why is more nuclear needed?

Response: They aren’t efficient enough / consistent enough at this stage, if battery tech improves dramatically, then these will be reviewed.

Meeting closed.

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