Yesterday, Mondagreenpeacey 28 July, ministers opened the bidding process for companies seeking licences to explore the UK for onshore oil and gas by the process of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking.

Companies now have the details they need to apply for licences which will enable them to start exploring for shale gas across the UK. Whilst this is only the first step and further drilling requires planning permission, permits from the Environment Agency and sign-off from the Health and Safety Executive, this action highlights the lack of commitment to exploring renewable, clean energy in the UK.

There has also been guidance released for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, World Heritage Sites, National Parks and the Broads, which state that if exploration in these areas is rejected by local authorities, the Communities minister will automatically review and can overturn the decision.

This is not the way towards a stable energy market, with lower prices for consumers. There is a multitude of risks to fracking: methane contamination of drinking water; accidental spillages of fracking fluid contaminating waterways; minor earthquakes and landslides; problems disposing of contaminated fracking fluid; and noise, disruption and local air pollution from lorries and rig operations.

This is why we need to put pressure on the Government to champion clean, renewable energy sources and not those that impact our environment, health and the global climate.

Follow the link to sign Greenpeace’s petition:

https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/page/s/fracking-david-cameron-most-shocking-speech?source=em&subsource=20140728fraem02&utm_source=gpeace&utm_medium=em&utm_campaign=20140728fraem02

insulation

Loft insulation was subsidised through the now closed Green Deal Home Improvement Fund

On Thursday 24 July the Government announced the closure of the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF), just six weeks after its launch in June. The closure was in response to a surge in applications following the announcement of the funding cut on the 22 July.

The applicants are largely property developers and construction firms, not the local installers that are working in communities with hard to treat properties. The number of households helped via the fund is miniscule compared to the number of hard to treat properties in the country.

The funding cut meant that from Friday 25 July 2014 new applicants would receive one third less, or £4,000, towards installing external wall insulation, instead of £6,000.  Then suddenly on Thursday 24 July, DECC and MP Amber Rudd, the newly appointed Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Climate Change, announced that due to overwhelming popular demand, the GDHIF was closed for applications with immediate effect. The £50 million budget had been reached.

The cut to the GDHIF is damaging as many of the measures included have long payback periods discouraging investment.  DECC’s impulsive action to close the fund means that homeowners may no longer be interested in pursuing the planned installations. In turn this will affect insulation installers, especially smaller, local businesses, which, due to the inconsistent policy and sudden changes, spend a lot of time quoting for the work only to lose customers and consequently income.   This is on the back of the recent cuts in Energy Company Obligation (ECO) funding that will impact people in fuel poverty this winter.

This rash action from the Government is not new.  Delays in starting the Green Deal, meant that the transition from CERT and CESP to ECO created an instable investment market, stagnating the economy. It has also been revealed that the Green Deal costs more to operate than it has given out: figures from 2013 highlighted administration costs of £44,586 a month*.

In 2011, the Feed In Tariff (FIT) for electricity from solar panels was cut by 40% after less than a year.  This is despite the success of the programme, with 316MW of solar PV installed, enough to power 72,000 homes, in the first 18 months.  The FIT programme saw the rapid rise in Solar PV suppliers, from about 700 in 2009 to almost 4,000 by 2011.  This number has now declined to 2,700.  We are now seeing the same for insulation firms, illustrating the government’s consistent failure to stimulate growth in the labour market for clean tech industries.

The green economy is growing at 5% per annum**, despite these changes.  We can only speculate on the growth rate that would occur were the government to adopt a logical and consistent policy for supporting the clean tech economy which is necessary for the UK to become more energy secure, reach it’s climate change targets and most importantly allow our population to live in more comfortable, energy efficient and less expensive homes.

*http://www.clickgreen.org.uk/news/national-news/124287-exclusive-decc-spends-more-than-3-million-on-green-deal-admin-each-month.html

**http://blueandgreentomorrow.com/2014/03/19/budget-2014-the-reaction/

 

the crew clubBHESCo will be at the Due East- Whitehawk Community Festival on Saturday 19 July.

When? Saturday 19 July, 12.00-16.00

Where? Crew Club and surrounding fields. Address: 26 Coolham Drive, Brighton, BN2 5QW

What? Discover, play and be entertained at this action-packed community festival in Whitehawk.

Traditonal crafts, outdoor displays, exhibitions, live entertainment, stalls, food, games, sport and children’s activities. Fun for all ages from 12 – 4pm.

BHESCo will be providing information to visitors about BHESCo and energy efficiency within the home.

We look forward to seeing you there!

 

pencil-windmills-7BHESCo will be at the Crew Club on Monday 14 July at the Here Comes the Summer event.

Where? The Crew Club, 26 Coolham Drive, Whitehawk, BN2 5QW.

When? Monday 14th July , 15.00- 17.00

What? We will be making paper windmills with visitors for them to take away. We will also be giving out information about BHESCo and how to improve the energy efficiency of homes and businesses in the community.

We look forward to seeing you there!

 


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