EFoE news June 2015
We all love something that could be affected by climate change - from your morning coffee, to walks on the beach, or your local community.
So this month we'll be coming together in our thousands to ask MPs to commit to strong action on climate change to protect all the things we love. It's our first opportunity after the General Election to tell our newly elected representatives what matters to us in this crucial year for climate action.
Join us on June 17th for a day of action and celebration as we Speak Up For The Love Of all we hold dear. To find out more, and receive updates, go to http://www.theclimatecoalition.org/fortheloveof
Run on Sun
FoE is campaigning for every school to have the chance to install solar power. Most schools have large roofs which are perfect places for solar panels, and they use most of their electricity during the day when the sun is at its strongest. Schools could save thousands of pounds on their energy bills. However, government rules prevent many schools from accessing funding to pay for solar panels.
DECC’s recent solar strategy stated that Government “will lead an initiative specifically targeted at England and Wales’ 24,000 schools”. But so far no plans have been announced, beyond a pamphlet for schools published on DECC’s website and emailed to local education authorities. More is needed.
FoE is calling for the Government to ensure that every school gets the support it needs to go solar within three years., by allowing schools should be allowed to borrow money to invest in solar providing guaranteed grid connections for solar school projects, and setting up an impartial one-stop shop for solar schools information, with a dedicated schools assistance contact. All new schools should have renewables and high levels of energy efficiency as standard.
See https://www.foe.co.uk/act/run-on-sun-count-me-in for more information and to sign your support. We will be taking information and postcards to our stalls this summer, and will have a giant fluffy sun to publicise the campaign at the Hanwell Carnival!
M4 Motorway Campaign
Reading Friends of the Earth is campaigning against the widening of the M4. The proposals involve permanent use of the hard shoulder between junctions 3 and 12 - ie from near Heathrow out to Reading. As one of the key routes into London and Heathrow the scheme would affect a wide area. It would increase air pollution in an area already above legal limits as well as increasing CO2 emissions. Reading Friends of the Earth opposes the use of the hard shoulder on grounds of: reduced safety; increase in traffic affecting noise, air quality and climate change; loss of capacity to cope with accidents and road repairs; unnecessary cost.
We have been asked to consider whether EFoE could take an active part in the campaign, so we will be discussing this at the June meeting.
You can register online as an interested party to the examination, which takes place this autumn, and suggest topics to the inspectors (this is easy to do, and does not commit people to further action). By doing so, you'll help to show the strength of opposition.
This is being treated as a Nationally Significant Infrastructure Project (NSIP) and it is therefore important that we get as many people to register objections as possible.
The deadline for registering is July 3rd. More information at www.readingfoe.org.uk/m4
Take action to defend nature laws
In the UK some of our best-loved nature sites, known as Special Areas for Conservation, such as Dartmoor and Snowdonia, are protected by the European Birds and Habitats Directives, known collectively as the Nature Directives. The vital laws have played a part in the recovery of some iconic birds and animals, and protect places that rare bees depend on.
However, these sites are now under threat as part of a review of regulation by the European Commission, called the Regulatory Fitness and Performance Programme (REFIT). So far this process has weakened environmental laws and blocked new environmental protections.
The wildlife protected by these laws is unique and irreplaceable. And increasingly evidence shows that in our hectic lives, time spent in nature is good for our health and well-being. But nature is in trouble. Over the past 50 years 60% of species in the UK have declined, mainly due to loss of, or damage to, their habitats. And now climate change is having an increasing impact.
It is crucial that laws that require the protection and restoration of key habitats are kept intact and properly enforced across Europe.
If enough of us tell the European Commission that we need to keep and enforce these laws, they will have to listen.
You can respond to the consultation on the central FoE website www.foe.co.uk/page/defendnaturelaws
Garden Birdwatch results
Top ten birds spotted in Greater London were (highest number first):
National top ten was:
robin and wren numbers rose, but song thrush, greenfinch and starling sightings
You can see the full results on the RSPB website www.rspb.org.uk
Mikron Theatre tour by narrowboat up and down England's canals and rivers, putting on plays that tell uniquely British stories.
Sunday 21 June at 1 pm, Perivale Wood, Sunley Gardens, UB6 7PE
“Raising Agents” celebrates the first 100 years of the Women's Institute. The WI is well known not just for jam and naked calendars but as a vigorous campaigning body on many of the causes dear to FoE such as climate change, bees and food production.
This is an open-air production with a shelter/indoor backup. No tickets required; there will be a cash collection. Bring a picnic, chairs and blankets.
Tuesday 23 June 7.30pm at Framfield Allotments, Dryden Avenue, Hanwell W7 1ES
“One of Each” is a savoury tale about Britain's favourite dish – fish and chips.
This is an open-air production with a shelter/indoor backup. No tickets required; there will be a cash collection. Bring a picnic, chairs and blankets. Refreshments and bar available.
For more information go to www.mikron.org.uk