It has certainly been a very interesting couple of weeks in the UK with regard to Climate Change.
Firstly, we have had the landmark decision by the court of appeal over the third runway at Heathrow airport. It was decided that ministers hadn’t adequately taken into account the Governments commitment to climate change- in particular the COP21 Paris Climate Agreement. Although this is likely to be contested by the airport, it could set a legal precedent and is already being used as an argument against pending infrastructure works pertaining to increasing national road networks. With transportation emissions responsible for a quarter of the UKs carbon emissions, it is senseless to increase the capacity of the road networks, as it is well documented that additional capacity becomes filled- swiftly. It is far better to change the model, increase accessible and affordable public transport, to invest in the rail networks (in addition to electrifying rail nationwide) and to explore and offer alternatives such as first and last mile solutions. This should certainly not be seen as a reason to argue against the adoption of Electric Vehicals (EVs). There are incredible tangible benefits in displacing traditional internal combustion engine (ICE) vehicles with battery electric vehicles (BEV), for which we shall soon have an article on soon. The point is that our traditional model is not fit for purpose.
NOTE: Castlepoint has very few (read 1) public electric vehicle charge points (Morrisons, Hadleigh) at this moment in time and Castlepoint Council (@castlepointBC) would be wise to remedy this. There is Government funding for homecharge and commercial installations (up to £10,000), which would assist the adoption and save the costs to local tax payers if this is adopted. Castlepoint council already know that the air quality of their borough exceeds the national average and should promote and assist the adoption of EVs-particularly for the local taxi fleet.
There are many positive examples of local authorities that have taken this approach.
Dundee- is a great example: https://www.smartcitiesworld.net/video/video/video-swapping-petrol-stations-for-charging-hubs--dundees-drive-for-100-e-mobility-by-2030
Secondly, we have had the unexpected change to the Contracts for Difference (CfD), that had seen onshore wind and solar generation frozen out of the mechanism needed to support investment in future generation capacity. The effective ban followed David Camerons comment that on-shore technologies were unpopular by the public, a view that was continually discounted by numerous polls conducted, particularly in the constituencies local to existing schemes. It’s important to note that on-shore wind generation offers considerable benefits to the electorate. On-shore wind generation is cited to be £30 million per GWh cheaper than off-shore wind and £100 million per GWh cheaper than nuclear, thereby offering credible and impactful savings to the end user. Couple these figures with the fact that there would also be an increase locally generated jobs (providing infrastructure, connections and maintenance), this really is an important change- particularly to local community energy generation schemes...Castle Point is well sited for this!
Thirdly- Coronavirus- or to give it the current and correct term- COVID-19. As the events and potential consequences of this virus continue to unfold, it is becoming obvious that global reliance on a global supply chain leaves all aspects of the modern world at risk of collapse. The rapid rise in globalisation and the adoption of the ‘Just-in-time’ supply model means that any chink in the armour now has a far reaching impact. Obvious examples are over reliance on products that are entirely produced overseas (read China). Unfortunately, it is often the case that products produced closer to home (and labelled produced in the UK), may often contain a specific component that is manufactured overseas. The inability to obtain a specific component is likely to impact the completion of said product. Production halts-cash flow for the business falters, customers are let down, employees are left waiting in limbo and accountants, directors and lenders feel a cold sweat.
This isn’t limited to manufacturing. Our appetites are now adapted to a whole range of foods. Globalisation has allowed us to enjoy any produce; fruit, vegetables, meats and their derivatives at any time throughout the year. We have come to expect strawberries in winter (how better to garnish your Christmas Prosecco?), an avocado in my ‘super green salad’, asparagus with every meal. We are now out of tune with our environment...because we haven’t had to be. If it was winter here- somewhere else it was summer and they would grow and ship what I need (read- want).
Covid-19 will disrupt some of these supply chains and to what degree will remain to be seen. Hopefully, the impact will be minor, and if so, we should consider this as a ‘warning shot across the bow’.
The ability for families, local communities, counties and countries to live sustainably, through locally grown seasonal foods and locally produced energy generation are important considerations for a sustainable and survivable future.
#climate change #CfD #Covid-19 #coronavirus #castlepoint #sustainability #solar #windfarm #essex #essexcountycouncil #EV #castlepointBC