If you are finding it hard to keep up with UK Government policy changes that are being accused of undermining their low carbon commitments, this Guardian article may help you: http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/jul/24/the-9-green-policies-killed-off-by-tory-government?utm_content=buffer4683e&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer. Of course we must add that the Government does not accept such criticisms.
Last week Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss went against growing scientific evidence and a European ban and accepted a request made by UK farmers to use the bee-harming pesticide neonicotinoids again this autumn. We need bees to pollinate so many of our crops and flowers. This petition asks Ms Truss to reverse her decision: https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/bees-at-risk. Perhaps more importantly there is also a petition to the PM to override her decision at https://speakout.38degrees.org.uk/campaigns/bees-emergency-petition.
Welsh Government is to seek views on the design of the proposed M4 relief road. Exhibitions will be held (11am – 7.30pm) at Castleton Village Hall (7/8 September), Caerleon Town Hall (10/11 September), Nash Community Centre (14/15 September) and Ebenezer Baptist Church, Magor (September 16/17). Further information at http://gov.wales/topics/transport/roads/schemes/m4-road/m4/?lang=en.
Some EU/Welsh Government Rural Development Plan 2014-2020 programmes are now inviting Expressions of Interest. For example the Rural Community Development Fund supports small scale infrastructure (including renewable energy) and the improvement or expansion of local basic services and/or public amenities. Start learning more by looking at: http://gov.wales/topics/environmentcountryside/farmingandcountryside/cap/ruraldevelopment/wales-rural-development-programme-2014-2020/?lang=en. Then contact Monmouthshire CC’s Rural Programmes Manager, MichaelPowell@monmouthshire.gov.uk.
The newly updated www.monecoopendoors.org.uk features the 22 fantastic and inspirational properties opening up for the 2015 Eco Open Doors weekend, which will be held on 12 – 13 September. There are a huge variety of types of property open to visitors over the weekend, which all showcase different aspects of renewable energy, energy saving and sustainable living. There are lots of new properties opening this year, with biomass (wood) being used in lots of them for heating and hot water. If you fancy a bit of walking to complement your visit, you can go to Llandegfedd Reservoir’s brand new visitor centre. If you would like to find out more about how aquaponics can help us grow more food, Kate Humble’s farm Humble by Nature will be opening its doors. There is something of interest for everyone.
The Welsh Government’s Minister for Natural Resources has invited community groups and third sector organisations to bid for small scale project funding (£1,000 to £15,000), including projects to tackle noise and air pollution and create tranquil green spaces. Interventions eligible for funding include noise barriers/bunds, on-site traffic calming measures, developing wasteland into tranquil green spaces, community initiatives to reduce car use, improve driver behaviour and encourage walking and cycling, and education and awareness-raising. The deadline for applications is 11 September, the money must be spent by the end of March 2016, and the guidance and application form can be downloaded from the bottom of the following web page: http://gov.wales/topics/environmentcountryside/environment-grants/?lang=en
The latest round of NRW competitive funding is also now open. It is for organisations looking for financial support for projects to run between April 2016 and December 2017. Projects must either improve Natura 2000 sites or achieve certain social or economic benefits. Information at https://naturalresources.wales/about-us/funding/?lang=en. Deadline 7 September.
This petition calls on the people who manage our savings – from our pension providers to investment managers – to offer us the choice to save for our futures without investing in fossil fuel companies. You can sign & share the petition here: iwanttobreakfossilfree.org. This type of savings product already exists in other countries but still has not been made available to UK savers. The petition aims to show the need.
Following the budget proposals to axe the CCL exemption for businesses committing to renewable source electricity, local MP and climate change sceptic David Davies wants the £9 billion levy, which subsidises renewables generation, scrapped altogether. He maintains that Wales is already doing more than its share of renewables generation, exceeding targets, and that the levy puts UK businesses at a disadvantage compared with competitors. Those with different views see the CCL exemption as a weakening of the UK Government’s resolve to counter climate change, and part of an attack on wind farms.
The Climate Change Commission for Wales want to know how global warming is affecting your organisation. Your input will feed into the CCCW’s preparation for December’s major UN conference on climate change, so this is an important opportunity to be heard. Take the survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/B985KF8 before 31 July.
WCVA has issued a paper – http://www.wcva.org.uk/media/2208303/election_briefing_for_2016_english.pdf – outlining how you can feed your views into their manifesto preparation processes for the 2016 Assembly elections.