At the Council Meeting on Thursday evening councillors received the ‘Statement of Accounts’ for Swansea Council for 2010/11 (1).
Buried deep in this long and complex document (page 209) was a small table showing that Carbon emissions from the Council’s buildings and transport decreased from 77,487 tonnes in 2009/10 to 70,649 tonnes in 2010/11 – a reduction of 7198 tonnes (9.25%) over the year.
Keith M Ross of Swansea Green Party said, “Swansea Council is to be congratulated for this reduction of their Carbon Footprint. This is just short of the 10:10 Campaign (2) objective of 10% reduction during 2010 and ahead of the Green Party’s target of 9% per annum across the UK – a significant achievement for an organisation the size of Swansea Council.
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Save Morfa Beach is a community group formed by the people of Port Talbot to stop Neath Port Talbot Council and Tata Steel shutting off access to Morfa Beach.
This beautiful bay has been a place of tranquility, solitude and recreation for generations. A stunning open space stretching across to the Kenfig River and beyond.
Save Morfa Beach represents the interests of all users of Morfa Beach: walkers, cyclists, fishermen, horse-riders, campers, surfers, photographers, artists, ornithologists; not to mention families.
We are a non-political, non-profit community co-operative whose aim is to engage with the public, Neath Port Talbot Council and Tata Steel to reach common ground to ensure that future generations can enjoy the wonders of a breathtaking and unique stretch of unspoilt coastline.
For more details see: http://savemorfabeach.wordpress.com/
Facebook Group: Save Morfa Beach
The Green Party has submitted objections to 118 of the Candidate Sites proposed for the inclusion in the Swansea Local Development Plan (LDP).
The Greens are objecting to the proposed use of green space, woodland or agricultural sites for the building of new houses or for industrial development.
We recognise the urgent need to build more homes in order to address the housing crisis in this country, and the need to provide employment in rural areas, but this cannot be done at the cost of our natural environment. We need to minimise the encroachment onto agricultural and green space sites, by re-using previously developed sites that have fallen into disuse wherever possible.
Globally over-exploitation of resources, loss of genetic diversity and damage to ecological processes and life-support systems has dangerously reduced the planet’s capacity to support people in both developed and developing countries. The UK is no exception to this.
The countryside is a living organism, a vital and irreplaceable natural gift, not a resource to be turned into money. No one has the right to destroy its ecologically diverse character. To do so would be to the detriment of the community at large.
The availability of land on which to grow food will become increasingly important for future generations. Agricultural land needs to be protected and preserved.
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The Green Party is concerned by the news that energy firm Cuadrilla Resources intends to begin drilling up to 400 wells in Lancashire to extract shale gas using a process known as “fracking.”
Cuadrilla claims that shale gas extraction could provide 5,600 jobs in the UK. However, in addition to posing many extremely serious environmental concerns, it would not create as many jobs per kWh as investment in renewable energy (1).
The jobs likely to be created by shale gas extraction are highly skilled, so although there would be some stimulation of the local economy, most of the jobs directly created would not be filled by local unemployed workers. The local economy could also be hurt by this fracking, not helped, if a pollution incident occurred in the agricultural area.
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(Letter to the South Wales Evening Post)
Council Leader Chris Holley praises the Vetch Veg project and comments, “It will be a demonstration project that will raise awareness of the potential for community food growing across the city.” (Evening Post, Wednesday 14 September, page 14)
With household grocery bills predicted to double over the next twelve months, the ability to grow at least some of their own food would be a valuable asset to hard-pressed local families.
Despite the fact that local councils are required by law to provide allotments if there is a demand for them, recent years have seen continuing decline in the number of allotments available, and waiting lists for allotments growing ever longer. Swansea is no exception to this.
In view of this, perhaps Councillor Holley and his colleagues will now consider including space for permanent allotments in the new “master plan” for the Vetch Field site.
Keith M Ross, Swansea Green Party
At its Autumn Conference in Sheffield this past weekend, the Green Party voted to adopt new policies that address the challenges facing rural communities, as well as strengthening protection for habitats and wildlife.
Keith M Ross of Swansea Green Party said, “Policies that may work in urban areas can be inappropriate in rural areas. The drive for so-called efficiency and cost cutting is leading to many rural communities in Wales and across the UK being left without adequate access to basic facilities. Our policies aim to reverse this trend and reinvigorate rural life.
“We are calling on the governments in Westminster and Cardiff to ‘rural proof’ policies, so that all people in rural areas, not just the economically privileged, can enjoy the same level of essential services as their urban counterparts.” Continue reading »
(Letter to the South Wales Evening Post)
Recent announcements by Tata Steel about a pause in production at Trostre to avoid redundancies, and the appointment of 81 new apprentices at Port Talbot (Evening Post, Saturday 10 September, pages 6 & 7) present the image of a caring employer with an eye to future generations.
Strange then that Tata would risk the goodwill that these moves might generate among the local population by seeking to restrict public access to Morfa Beach by the closure of Longlands Lane (Public Footpath 92).
If, as the company claims, “There are no plans to extend the landfill site” and “It is to discourage people from crossing operational land” (Evening Post, Wednesday 7 September), this could easily be achieved by better fencing and more signage. Continue reading »
Wales Green Party has reacted to news that the Plaid Cymru conference has voted to support a new nuclear power station on Anglesey.
Jake Griffiths, Leader of Wales Green Party said, “People are very familiar with Ieuan Wyn Jones supporting a nuclear power station in his constituency despite it contradicting his own party’s policy, but it’s disappointing to hear Plaid Cymru as a whole has now voted to support it.
“Nuclear power is expensive, unsafe and unnecessary. Thousands more jobs could be created in Wales, including Anglesey in safe renewable technologies. Support for nuclear power will be at the expense of safe clean renewable energy. Countries such as Spain, Germany and Denmark already produce 30% of their electricity from renewable sources.
“The recent nuclear accident at Fukushima in Japan shows just how unsafe nuclear power can be.
“It is ironic that Plaid has just made a commitment to an independent Wales, yet is supporting a nuclear power plan that was designed by Westminster to satisfy England’s energy demands. Plaid support for nuclear seems nothing less than political opportunism to safeguard their Assembly and Westminster seats in Anglesey and Gwynedd.”
Green Party members meeting for their annual Conference in Sheffield yesterday passed a motion calling on the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to stop using IT firm ATOS as its assessor of benefit claimants.
ATOS Healthcare, a subsidiary of ATOS, conducts disability assessments on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) for people claiming a range of disability benefits including Employment Support Allowance (ESA), Incapacity Benefit, Disability Living Allowance (DLA) and Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit.
Concerns have been raised over the company’s suitability to conduct assessments, ranging from the lack of disabled access at their assessment centres to the shocking fact that 40% of their decisions have been found to be wrong on appeal .
Keith M Ross of Swansea Green Party and a former benefits adviser said, “I know from personal experience working with clients in Swansea that the “box-ticking” method used to assess claims for ESA and DLA is close to useless when dealing with conditions such as autism or post traumatic stress.”
“Over the past few years I’ve dealt with numerous cases where the claimant has been assessed as fully fit for work by ATOS, only for the decision to be overturned without demur by the appeals tribunal. In at least two cases in the last year the tribunal granted the application for DLA without even interviewing the claimant, the case being so obviously compelling.”
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“I’d like to thank the thousands of people who put their faith in us, and gave us their votes in May’s Assembly Election. You put your faith in us when people were naturally feeling defensive, when it was all too clear what damage was being done by the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats in London.
“Thousands more people than ever before, responded to our positive campaign, showing that there is a real alternative to the politics of public service cuts, environmental degradation and punishing the vulnerable for the mistakes of the super-rich.”
“Whilst we were not successful this time we were just 2% short of electing our first Assembly Member, at a time when we could have easily fallen backwards.
“In some of our strongest wards, including my home ward of Canton in West Cardiff, we polled as high as 20% according to election night tallying.
“This shows that where we’ve put the work in over the years, more and more people are coming to like the green message and are prepared to vote for it. And that’s great news for the Local Elections next May, where we are fully focussed on electing Councillors. “