The government’s Environment Bill takes the emergency out of climate emergency and is full of holes

As the Brexit skirmishes continue, it is easy to lose track of other important pieces of legislation struggling to get parliamentary time. One of those is the Environment Bill. The second reading of the bill on 23 October was abruptly cancelled to make way for the Withdrawal Agreement Bill. That’s ironic as a large part of the Environment Bill is concerned with reinstating the environmental protection the UK will lose if it ceases to a member of the EU. The bill aims for a lot more, including a deposit return scheme for drinks containers, measures to improve air quality, and rules to ensure biodiversity net gain from housing and some other developments.

It’s a great forward looking bill. At least, that’s what ministers say. In practice the bill is colander bill. It is full of holes. It fails to incorporate the principle of non-regression into law. It sets 2037 as the earliest date for any environmental targets and those targets are at the behest of ministers. It allows environmental policies to be watered down by ministers at a whim, including the target for biodiversity gain. It is a bill that takes the emergency out of the climate emergency. Continue reading “The government’s Environment Bill takes the emergency out of climate emergency and is full of holes”

New petition to put the emergency into Shropshire Council’s climate emergency – it needs 1,000 signatures to trigger a council debate

In May, Shropshire Council agreed to follow the lead of councils around the country and declare a climate emergency. But the council leader would not allow councillors to set a deadline for the council or the county becoming carbon neutral. The result was a declaration of a climate emergency without any sense of emergency.

A petition from Shewsbury Friends of the Earth published on the council website today calls on the council to achieve net carbon zero emissions from the council’s activities by 2030. It is vital that the council achieves carbon neutrality by 2030. That will contribute towards the future of the planet. It will also to show civic leadership towards employers and businesses across the county and encourage them to put future carbon neutrality at the core of their business plans.

I urge everyone to sign this petition. If it gains 1,000 signatures in the next few weeks, it will be debated in the council chamber on 12 December.

Continue reading “New petition to put the emergency into Shropshire Council’s climate emergency – it needs 1,000 signatures to trigger a council debate”

This is what Shrewsbury Extinction Rebellion would have told yesterday’s Shropshire Council meeting if they had not been thrown out

I have written about events at yesterday’s meeting of Shropshire Council, including the walkout by Tory councillors who could not stomach listening to an Extinction Rebellion protest. That’s ironic. The Tories walked out because they did not want to listen to a protest about the climate emergency. They were more concerned with getting on with the business of building motorways in Shropshire.

The Conservative walkout was just ahead of the protests by millions of people around the world today at the lack of progress by our politicians on tackling the climate emergency. Many, but not all, politicians accept the threat of climate change. They just don’t understand the word emergency. Shropshire Council is a microcosm of the world’s approach to climate change. Do as little as possible as late as possible.

Richard Davies from Shrewsbury Extinction Rebellion was thrown out of the council meeting by the speaker who asked members to: “Treat [these people] with the contempt they deserve.” The Tories had a fixed look of contempt as they left. 

Today Richard has provided a copy of his intended statement. You can read it below. I hope all members of Shropshire Council and town and parish councillors read it.

Continue reading “This is what Shrewsbury Extinction Rebellion would have told yesterday’s Shropshire Council meeting if they had not been thrown out”

Extinction Rebellion protest at Shropshire Council today forced Tories to leave chamber – that was a disgraceful action

I have never seen such disgraceful scenes at Shropshire Council since the chief executive confiscated cameras to prevent filming of a debate in 2015. Meeting in full session, the council faced protests on the climate emergency by Shrewsbury Extinction Rebellion. As XR activists tried to address the council in guerrilla action on the behalf of our future, the Tory Speaker who oversees the meeting ordered all councillors out of the chamber. Like lambs being rounded up by a sheepdog, all the Conservative members filed out of the chamber with studied looks of disgust on their faces. Their action was a disgrace. The Speaker told councillors to treat the protest with the contempt it deserved as they were moved out by security. That was also a disgrace.

This is deeply ironic because tomorrow millions of people will be walking out of schools and workplaces to protest about lack of action on climate change. Tory councillors walked out of a council meeting because they did not want to hear a protest about climate change!

Continue reading “Extinction Rebellion protest at Shropshire Council today forced Tories to leave chamber – that was a disgraceful action”