21 APR 2010

Transition Town Totnes Election Debate

This was an opportunity to debate environmental and other issues, organised by Transition Town Totnes.

The town has a national and international reputation for environmental activism; I would be proud to offer my support if elected as MP.

I was asked by one participant, what MPs could do to help the environment. In my view, we can achieve most by making it as easy as possible for people to reduce their carbon footprint. If 90% of people can put in place an energy descent plan of 10%, that will achieve more than the other way around. Conservatives will introduce a green deal with the right to home energy efficiency improvements of up to £6,500. There would be no up front costs to the customer but it would be paid for over 25 years from savings on energy bills.

I see the implementation of a smart grid and smart metering as the way forward to encourage individuals and businesses to take up micro-generation through a variety of means. Feed in tariffs should not discriminate against those who have already invested in technology such as wind and PV solar panels.

We need to promote more investment in renewables so that we are not left behind, and the Conservatives propose a green investment bank to provide capital and green ISAs.

No government should put their head in the sand in the manner that we have seen in the past decade. With the advent of peak oil, we must face up to a future with ever increasing energy costs and reduce demand. We cannot afford to delay building the infrastructure that is needed to replace the coal and nuclear power that are reaching the end of viability. These must not be replaced with polluting traditional coal fired stations which is why the conservatives will push forward with at least 4 sites for the development of carbon capture and storage.

I have a particular interest in promoting safer cycling and have already been active, at the request of the cycling group, in promoting the Littlehempston to Totnes route, which could then become a vital link in NCN2. In countries where cycling is safe and there is secure bike parking, many more people chose to leave their cars behind.

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