Sunday, 26 September 2010

Me, Mr Ed and the Earth Centre

My Ed Miliband anecdote is from the General Election Campaign where we both appeared on 'The Politics Show' at the doomed Earth Centre near Conisborough. On the panel was Paul Scriven Sheffield Council Leader and General Election Candidate, Mr Ed himself, a Tory replicant candidate recently let out of the factory that produces them, a mad woman from the BNP who blamed climate change on immigrants (where from? - Mars) and yours truly. Ed was of course unashamedly pro nuclear despite no real work having being done to prove the necessity for nuclear power - its just something people say "We need nuclear or the lights will go out - no really they will". What struck me about Ed was how mind bogglingly serious he was. I don't remember him smiling once. I'm sure he does on occasions. One of the BBC North reporters, Len Tingle, asked me, off camera, if I ever dreamt of being on a panel with Ed Miliband? I was charactaristically undeferential suggesting Ed might benefit from the encounter more than I would given our respective records on tackling climate change.

Avast me hearties, the Earth Centre pirate ship.

The venue, the Earth Centre, is a real tragedy. A reasonable idea at the time it was opened just over 10 years ago. A top of the range environmental awareness raising centre it has now been abandoned for the last 6 years and there's a local campaign to bring it back into use.There are low energy buildings, reed bed serviced bogs, a massive 50kWp solar array and a mock Pirate Ship, which my son Dominic played on when we visited it around 7 years ago. It was a nice, if a bit of a pricey day out. A couple of years ago I was asked to have a look around the site by Doncaster Council to give a few opinions on how the site could be brought back into use or at least pay its way. My suggestion was to put some significant size wind turbines on the large Earth Centre site to generate electricity and some valuable revenue to at least help support the site and possibly bring some much needed cash to the Council. The Council has been able to make some cash from the Earth Centre as a film location for a post apocalyptic HQ following a plague in the BBC series 'Survivors'. The Earth Centre was ideal and the only thing they had to CGI on the skyline to complete the picture were some large wind turbines.

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