The Government is putting thousands of lives at risk by trying to water down EU air quality rules instead of prioritising action to cut pollution on UK roads – according to Parliament’s green watchdog (the Commons Environmental Audit Committee). (1)
A report published by the Environmental Audit Committee this week concludes, “The costs to society from poor air quality are on a par with those from smoking and obesity.
“It is estimated that around 4,000 people died as a result of the Great Smog of London in 1952. That led to the introduction of the Clean Air Act in 1956. In 2008, 4,000 people died in London from air pollution and 30,000 died across the whole of the UK. The Government needs to act now, as Government did in the 1950s, to save the health of the nation.”
Green Party Leader Caroline Lucas MP, a member of the committee, said, “Ministers must take urgent action to improve air quality across the UK – and step up efforts towards a greener transport policy to encourage people out of their cars and onto public transport”. (2)
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(Letter to the South Wales Evening Post)
Gordon Trigg’s concern for the taxpayer (‘It’s us who’ll pay the price’, Have Your Say, Tuesday 8 November) is touching.
However, if he were to apply the same analysis to his favoured option of nuclear power he would find that the cost of subsidising wind power pales into insignificance alongside the costs involved in supporting the nuclear industry. In this case the money will benefit a French company (EDF) rather than German – the Germans having taken the sensible decision to phase out nuclear power.
If just 10% of the money used to subsidise nuclear power had been devoted to research and development of renewables, the UK would now be a world leader in renwable energy technology rather than trailing in the wake of our European neighbours.
With just this small amount of money we could stimulate a growth industry and create tens of thousands of jobs across the UK. Pound for pound, investment in renewables would create 15 times more jobs than nuclear, and four times more jobs than other conventional methods of electricity generation.
That looks like a good investment to me.
Keith M Ross, Swansea Green Party
The Green Party is urging householders to install solar panels as soon as they can, following the announcement that the Government has plans to halve the Feed In Tariff for solar photovoltaic panels (1).
Under the Feed in Tariff scheme householders and others can currently claim 43 pence for every kilowatt of electricity they generate off their roof. The government now plans to cut this to around 21p from the beginning of December.
Keith M Ross of Swansea Green Party said, “If people install solar panels now, before the cut is due to take place in December, they will get the 43p rate for the next 25 years; if they were to install them after that they would get less than half the amount.
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