The Energy Bill: Public Meeting

The group is holding a public meeting on the Energy Bill (energy we can all afford) on Friday 1 March at 7.45pm at the Leigh Community Centre, Elm Rd, Leigh. We will have two national campaign speakers and local MP, David Amess, to discuss the implications of the Bill. The format will be in question time style so people can pose questions on the crucial issues of the cost of gas and electricity, the need to decarbonise the energy supply and other issues of concern to them.

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Bee Cause they’re worth it…

Bee-friendly flowers spotted on the Bee Walk
Photos copyright © Denis Walker

Bees are under threat and without them, so are our food and our economy. We may not always see bees working away, but we rely on them and other insects to pollinate most of our fruit and vegetables. Without bees, food prices would rise because pollinating crops in other ways would cost farmers over £1.8 billion a year.

On 28th April, members of Essex Friends of the Earth local groups met in Chelmsford for a day of Bee training. This included honey tasting, information about the Bee Cause campaign, a talk from a local beekeeper and a Bee Walk. Some bee-friendly flowers spotted during the walk can be seen right.

To find out more about the campaign and sign the petition, calling on David Cameron to adopt a National Bee Action Plan, visit http://www.foe.co.uk/bees. With immediate action, we can reverse the decline in bee populations, protecting the environment and the economy.

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No Estuary Airport

SEEFoE has helped set up the No Estuary Airport campaign, contributing towards the first public meeting in Leigh on Sea (10th Feb) and distribute materials alerting people to the huge threat posed by these proposals. Working with Friends of North Kent Marshes, our campaigners have set up www.NoEstuaryAirport.co.uk to work to stop the destruction that any estuary airport would cause.
 
If you would like to support the campaign and keep informed of developments please contact: –
 
noestuaryairport@hotmail.co.uk
 
SEEFoE is opposed to all expansion of aviation, recognising that it is impossible to tackle the threat of climate change by increasing polluting activities like aviation. We are also concerned by the devastating impact an estuary airport would have upon wildlife, local wildlife habitats, noise and visual intrusion, and the negative impact upon the south Essex tourism industry. SEEFoE is doing all it can to support the No Estuary Airport campaign.

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PRESS RELEASE: Did Southend Council pay for Green Award?

Recent news that Southend Borough Council had scooped a green award will have struck very many Southend residents as surprising. But a Freedom of Information request [4] issued to Southend Borough Council has revealed that the council paid to join The Green Organisation [1], which makes the awards, at a cost to council taxpayers of £720.00 [2].

In recent years, Southend Council has made many environmentally damaging decisions, including their controversial approval of expansion of the local airport, road schemes that caused the felling of many of the town’s mature trees and bad planning decisions that have encouraged edge-of-town development and the associated increased car use. Inevitably, these decisions will lead to a dramatic increase in greenhouse gas emissions in the borough, making the “Green Apple Award” for “Looking for carbon” particularly ironic.

South East Essex Friends of the Earth [3] Group coordinator, Denis Walker said:

“Southend Borough Council has sought to paint a picture of environmental responsibility by joining an organisation which makes environmental awards. But the fact that the Council has paid for bronze membership of the Green Organisation casts doubt upon the credibility of the award. The public will inevitably question whether membership of the organisation resulted in the award being given, meaning that the decision to spend this money represents exceptionally poor value and poor judgement on the part of those who approved it.

The fact that Southend Borough Council has paid a not insignificant sum on such a worthless piece of “greenwash” publicity at a time of such extreme austerity must be condemned.

If Southend Council is desperate to be recognised for the good things that it does it could easily ask local groups to comment upon its work on a red, amber, green basis – a service which could easily be obtained free of charge.”

ENDS.

Notes to Editors:

  1. The Green Organisation exists primarily to issue awards. Its website is at http://www.thegreenorganisation.info/
  2. Membership fees for The Green Organisation are shown at http://www.greenorg.livewirecms.com/GO_Membership_FormV6.pdf – note that these exclude VAT, which has to be added
  3. More information about South East Essex Friends of the Earth at http://seefoe.org.uk
  4. Freedom of Information response from Southend Borough Council:

Subject: FOI Response 468
Date: Wed, 11 Jan 2012 11:15:21 +0000
From: DebeeSkinner@southend.gov.uk
To: Jon Fuller

Dear Mr Fuller

In response to your Freedom of information request number 00468, in which you asked the following questions

Please can you inform me if SBC is or has ever been a member of the Green Organisation, if it is or has been a member please inform me of at what level SBC joined (Bronze, Silver, Gold or life)?

I can confirm that a search for the information has been completed.

Southend-on-Sea is a member of the Green Organisation and we have a Bronze membership.

If you are unhappy with the service you have received in relation to your request and wish to make a complaint or request a review of our decision, you should write to Complaints Officer, Support Services Department, PO Box 6, Civic Centre, Victoria Avenue, Southend-on-Sea, Essex, SS2 6ER.  If you are not content with the outcome of your complaint, you may apply directly to the Information Commissioner for a decision. Generally, the IC cannot make a decision unless you have exhausted the complaints procedure provided by the Council. The Information Commissioner can be contacted at: The Information Commissioner’s Office, Wycliff House, Water Lane, Wilmslow, Cheshire, SK9 5AF.

Debee Skinner | Business Intelligence Officer | Performance and Business Support
Enterprise, Tourism and the Environment 
Southend on Sea Borough Council | Floor 13 Civic Centre | Victoria Avenue | Southend on Sea | SS2 6ER
Email: debeeskinner@southend.gov.uk | Website: www.southend.gov.uk
P Before printing, please think about the environment.
Safe  clean  healthy – prosperous  excellent  Creating a better Southend

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Essex Local Groups call on Essex to dump Waste Contracts

Essex Friends of the Earth campaigners at County Hall

Friends of the Earth local groups from across Essex descended on the steps of County Hall, Chelmsford on Thursday, calling on ECC Leader Cllr Peter Martin and Cllr Kevin Bentley, new Cabinet member for waste, to dump the hugely costly and widely-opposed 28-year PFI waste disposal contracts they are currently pursuing.

Paula Whitney, for Essex Friends of the Earth, said:
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