ARF Campaigning

I campaign across a shifting portfolio of local, regional and national environmental issues. Here are some of them:

– National:  In its reorganisation at the end of 2011 Friends of the Earth reassigned the staff post of Aviation Campaigner, but we’d working on the subject for the previous 10+ years – gaining some momentum which could not now be put at risk – so I suggested that the activity be undertaken instead by a volunteer campaigner. After all it’s not as if NGO staffers have a monopoly on such expertise. After some debate the necessary protocols have been established – where I work to FOE Head of England Jane Thomas – so now they have their aviation analysis provided free of charge, and  the organisation has been able to keep in the debate as the Davies Commission on Airports Capacity carries out its investigation 2012-15.

You’ll find here the evidence I’ve written wrote for Friends of the Earth concerning the DfT Aviation Policy Framework (submission to the Transport Select Committee – Oct 2012; and to the DfT – November 2012), and then to the Airports (or Davies) Commission concerning Climate Change (May 2013)  and Connectivity/Economic Impact (April 2013). I also appeared before the Select Committee representing FOE on 3rd December 2012 (the evidence is here)

– Regional: the abandonment of the regional tier of policy and decision making (by all three main political parties) has been a major setback for efforts to rebalance the overcentralised British state and the overdominant SE economy. I participated in some of the consultations by IPPR North Northern Economic Futures Commission, leading up to the publication of its report in November 2012 but its interesting conclusions – with the exception, ironically of those relating to airports –  will make no headway against the self-interested inertia of the metropolitan establishment. We do have one outstanding champion in England of the effectiveness of regional powers; unfortunately it’s the Mayor of London.

-Local: After years of campaigning by the local Friends of the Earth group Calderdale Council finally approved in Spring 2012 its climate change reduction strategy and target:  a 40% reduction in carbon emissions by 2020 from a 2005 baseline. Now with just 7 years remaining the real challenge is to devise, organise, finance and implement a carbon reduction process that will bring down the area’s CO2 emissions by around 40,000 tonnes every year. I recently asked the Climate Change minister Greg Barker MP whether his Department for Climate Change & Energy could provide a willing local authority like Calderdale with any assistance in setting up that reduction framework in a way consistent with and contributing to his own national effort – and to prevent councils up and down the land having to reinvent that particular wheel – and his answer, in essence, was No. ‘Localism’ means … you’re on your own.

Nonetheless we will persevere. The first annual Calderdale’s Energy Future conference, trying to energise the process will be held on Monday 14th October 2013 and I’m spending a lot of time on its organisation.