Friday, 20 October 2017

Major 'own goal' by North Yorkshire Police at Kirby Misperton Fracking site

Kirby Misperton the Fracking Frontline

Today marked the first 'Green Friday' trip to Kirby Misperton where the Green Party & the wider Green Movement are being mobilised to support the Prrotectors at the Habton Rd Fracking site. 

There was a major own goal by North Yorkshire Police by not allowing the request for a slow walk by protestors in front of one of the lorry convoys today on their way into the site. By not allowing people their right to peacefully protest North Yorks Police unequivocally put themselves on the side of Third Energy and against the right for people to legally demonstrate their opposition. Instead people were effectively 'kettled' and risked arrest if they moved outside the police cordon. Police on the ground appeared to be ready to facilitate the request but were overruled by their remote commanders demonstrating their poor leadership. Not their finest hour but sadly not their worst either at KM. They have effectively 'upped the temperature' by taking a draconian approach that overtly favours the Fracking company. 

'Tea Lady' Jackie Brookes on the left with frien
Of course the temperature is already high with several arrests following 'lock ons' and towers constructed outside the entrance to the site with protestors atop. The arrest of the 79 year old 'Tea lady' Jackie Brookes has gained worldwide coverage and done nothing to help North Yorkshire Police's reputation for having a heavy handed approach to dealing with objectors to Third Energy's plans. Today's request for a 'slow walk' protest in front of the lorry convoy with police consent offered them a chance to repair their reputation. It was sadly ignored. All that will occur as a result is a renewed resolve by those opposing the Government's plans.

The cost of policing at the Fracking site at Preston New Road in Lancashire has been estimated at £450'000/month. With the heavy and excessive police presence we saw today then we would expect a similar figure for Kirby Misperton. There are enough reasons to oppose Fracking in its own right, but now we have the waste of   millions of pounds of police resources protecting corporate interests that threaten our environment and our communities as well.

The Kirby Misperton site is expected to commence Fracking within days and is the frontline in the battle against corporate greed, climate change and threats to our fundamental liberties. People of goodwill need to act and get themselves up to Kirby Misperton as soon as possible and as often as possible.
With Carolyn Popple, one of the Core Group of No Fracking Way walkers from March this year
Outside the entrance to the Fracking site

Wednesday, 18 October 2017

First look at the new Mount Pleasant Primary School at Lockwood

Pupils from Mount Pleasant School in Lockwood will be moving into their new School  on the Thursday after half term. It has been built adjacent to the old school which will be demolished over the coming year. The old school  was a 'mish mash' of Victorian buildings with 70's and 80s extensions. The roof leaked badly and frequently despite several patching up attempts. I've seen the new school grow in my role as one of the School Governors. Today myself and Cllr Julie Stewart Turner got a good look round and it is impressive and will be a much improved teaching environment for a school which is performing well.
The new Mount Pleasant Primary School
The School Hall with Headteacher Naeem Nazir on the right
All classrooms equipped with smart boards

Artists impression

New School  on the left old School on the right

New classroom looking out on the old school

Friday, 13 October 2017

Speech to the EU Committee of the Regions on Locally Determined Contributions to address Climate Change

After a lengthy process my Opinion to the EU Committee of the Regions on the EU Environmental Implementation Review was dealt with in a few minutes. The clause on establishing Locally and Regionally Determined Contributions to tackle Climate Change was opposed by a minority of groups but people within both those groups worked on my behalf to argue for them for which I am very  grateful. The votes on 3 amendments to the report ( 2 of which sought to remove LDCs/RDCs) were defeated. Now LDCs/RDCs will be a key message of the EU Committee of the Regions as we work towards the COP23 Climate Summit in Bonn in November. Onwards.

Lockwood footpath cleared of vegetation

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Councillors Julie Stewart Turner and Karen Allison's visit to Newsome Junior School

Councillors Julie Stewart-Turner and Karen Allison visited Newsome Junior School to answer questions from pupils today as part of Local Democracy Week.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

EU Committee of the Regions backs Local Targets on Climate Change

The EU Committee of the Regions, (the body that represents the views of Local and Regional Government in the European Union) today backed an innovative new way of giving Local and Regional Government the ability to contribute directly towards the Paris Climate Goals that were agreed 2 years ago.

The Carbon Savings agreed as part of the COP23 Paris Climate Agreement were made up of Nationally Determined Contributions where national Governments decided what level of carbon savings they could commit to. It has become clear that the emission reductions agreed are not sufficient to limit the rise in global temperatures rise to 1.5 to 2 degrees risking runaway climate change on a global scale.

The proposal by Green Party Councillor Andrew Cooper is to establish Locally Determined Contributions which will enable Councils and Regional bodies around the world the ability to produce their own carbon reduction plans to contribute directly into the Paris Climate goals. This could help bridge the gap between the carbon savings so far identified and those that we need to limit climate change to survivable.

Councillor Cooper said,

“I am really pleased that the EU Committee of the Regions has got behind this proposal today. We can now take this forward to the COP23 Climate Change Summit in November and see if we can get it accepted as a global proposal empowering Local and Regional Governments around the world to take action on climate change.

 As a UK member of the EU Committee of the Regions if we can get Locally Determined Contributions adopted as a global concept then it will be applicable to the UK, Brexit or no Brexit

Another benefit of this proposal is that it enables Individual States in the USA the ability to act on climate change despite the Trump Presidency’s decision not to ratify the Paris Climate Agreement. 

The EU Committee of the Regions will use its contacts with the US Conference of Mayors to ensure local action works for global benefit happens regardless of the opinions of the US National Government”.

Briefing Note on Locally Determined Contributions

Monday, 9 October 2017

PRESS RELEASE Eagle eyed Parish Councillors save Kirklees Library Service £12,000

Kirkburton Parish Councillors Steve Beresford and Robert Barraclough have saved Kirklees Library Services £12,000 by spotting on omission on Kirkburton Library’s finances.

 Parish Councillor Steve Beresford noticed that Kirklees had not claimed Rural Rate Relief on Kirkburton Library for the last 2 years and asked fellow Parish Councillor Robert Barraclough to take it up with Kirklees. Robert raised the issue with Kirklees Councillor Andrew Cooper and the error was quickly rectified and the money claimed back by Kirklees officers.

Robert Barraclough said “Credit to Steve Beresford. As a former Kirklees Senior Finance officer he has the background and the knowledge to spot these sort of errors. The rural rate relief is vital to ensure we have a strong business case for retaining Kirkburton Library as a viable and valued local facility. We now need to get on with ensuring its future is secured for our local communities”

Kirklees Councillor Andrew Cooper said, “I’m glad this issue has now been rectified and I am told systems are now in place to ensure this issue doesn’t arise again. These mistakes will happen with large Government cuts to Kirklees budgets and experienced staff disappearing on an almost daily basis. I’m glad that there are Parish Councillors like Steve and Robert doing positive thing like this to keep money in rural areas in difficult financial times.”