Photo: Tory leaflet
Well a leaflet by the Conservatives in this local election has caused a bit of a stir. We read that the Tory candidate, Cllr Cooper, says he is “particularly interested in ... renewable energy”. However, at November's Full Council Meeting, still on the District Council's webcast, Cllr Cooper, who is also Cabinet Member for Finance, was pressed by Green Councillors to get specialist advice on investment in renewable energy to generate income for the cash-strapped Council. His response was: “Quite honestly, I don't have much appetite for that kind of suggestion to carry it through.”
We do urgently need to make a step change in our response to climate change, fuel poverty and energy security - yet when we are seeking the council to get advice on how to do this we got that brush off.
As Green Councillors have been urging the Council for some time, it isn't enough to save money with green energy. With new feed-in tariffs, Councils across the country, from Cornwall to Scotland, are investing in new green energy infrastructure, creating jobs and new income streams for their coffers. Green group leader Fi Macmillan has responded to this when asked saying: "I do hope that Councillor Cooper will not revert to his old lack of appetite after the election and that he now realises that renewable energy makes both financial and environmental sense for our Council. Come on Nigel, let's catch up with the rest of the country - or this is just going to look like electioneering”.
Meanwhile another Green, also wanted to put straight info contained in his leaflet. Mark Rogers, who lives in Rodborough, has written saying:
Nigel Cooper's leaflet in support of his candidacy for the Rodborough by-election says, "Nigel has lived in the District for 14 years.." Let's be clear, he lives in Cranham, not Rodborough. So if you think local is important, he is your fourth choice.
He tells us Gloucestershire became the first 10:10 County, but not that Stroud District Council did it first, following an initiative by Green Party leader Fi MacMillan. He goes on to claim the credit for the District Council's "substantial shift of focus onto Green issues." Deary me, he seems as desperate for the green vote as was Mr Drew when, at the General Election, we had to suffer an advert portraying him as the Green candidate with no reference to his Labour credentials. Our Lib Dem friends green intentions too, all went out of the window with the coalition.
We have an excellent Green Party councillor in Sarah Lunnon representing Stroud East. She has persuaded the County to consider urban 20mph limits, is fighting the Tory plan for a mass burn incinerator, pressing the County to use its powers to up the recycling rate, getting parked cars off pavements & campaigning for a more pedestrian & cyclist friendly Merrywalks. We don't need another 'pretend green' Conservative back-bencher at Shire Hall. Sarah needs support, so let's have the real thing - another Green County Councillor.
Infact Stroud have moved a long way further than many councils, as I've noted before, in terms of energy efficiency - Greens have been pushing hard all the way - but the truth is we urgently need to shift up a gear - there are huge opportunities that make economic sense - we need to grasp them.