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April, 2008


How disenchanted can we get?

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  Well, with the promotion of Gordon Brown it gets worse. He is carrying the baggage from his previous job which included insulting pensioners with derisory pay rises and currently alienating poor sectors of his domain by abolishing the 10p rate of income tax. As we write he is struggling to save his career, but by the time you read this we should know one way or another. For a left winger these policies were bad for the vulnerable minorities affected. We were penalised minimally, but our main gripe is his declared policy of expanding nuclear power generation. This decision, we believe, will resound with disastrous consequences for generations to come and its not only the poor and retired who will carry those burdens.
    This policy to go for nuclear is a triple whammy because, apart from the pernicious dangers, it means that we shall be placing our power supplies partly in the hands of foreign nations; beyond that the driving force for benign renewables, namely subsidies and feed-in tariffs, will be diminished or even extinguished. This latter effect is evidenced by the incompetent and irresponsible way in which subsidies have already been removed or made so difficult to qualify for that they are almost nonexistent. Our private communications with renewable energy firms confirms our worst fears in this respect and there are portents of future deterioration.
    It is only a few months ago that we bemoaned the very poor positioning of the UK in the European league table of renewables. As a case in point, as Friends of the Earth state, Germany generates 200 times more solar power than England. Why? Because Germans get paid generously for generating energy to feed into the grid. This feed-in tariff is key, just imagine the attraction of substantially reducing your electricity bill (conceivably to zero or beyond) for the outlay of several thousand pounds and the satisfaction of knowing that you are doing it sustainably.
    We in the UK don't have such a feed-in system. Just try phoning your supplier to see what they offer (go on, do it). You may find that they are ignorant of such a scheme and those that are aware will only offer a paltry sum, much below what they charge to provide you with electricity. What can you do to make things better? It just so happens that The Energy Bill is going through parliament now, but it needs amending if there is to be a legislated feed-in tariff. The appropriate part of the bill is Clause 4 and we really need it.
    Your action should be to write to your MP and ask him or her to sign for Clause 4. Too much trouble? Don't worry, FoE has got it organised, go to their web site where there is all you'll need including a link to your MP and a standard letter, or free text SOLAR and your email address to 80800.
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Originated: 18 December , 2007,  Last amended: 7 May, 2013
7 May, 2013