The SCAN environmental general election guide

There is a lot of conflicting information and narratives out there. Who to believe? Facts are difficult to dispute, such as the voting records of MPs and political parties. So, we have produced this article with links to that information. For the Plastic Free Swindon campaign, we have written to all local parliamentary candidates to ask for commitments to end plastic pollution. This article provides a simple summary as well as full details for those who want them. ‘Swindon Climate Debate: Action or Extinction?‘ is to be held at New College. Each candidate will be asked what their party’s plan is to deal with climate change, followed by audience questions. Please note that the hustings event at Lydiard Park Academy has been cancelled.

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Swindon conservation activities to counter climate change – updated 5th December

Trees play a vital role in the health of our planet, helping deal with climate change. SCAN support Friends of the Earth campaigns to double the amount of tree cover in each region of the UK, and to make our towns and cities ten times greener. The UK is the second least wooded country in Europe (after Ireland). In Swindon, we need to create more green spaces. We currently have 8% tree cover. This compares to Bath 20%, Salisbury 19.8%, Newbury 22%, Abingdon 16.3%, Oxford 21.4%, Gloucester 13.6%, Cheltenham 12.8%, Bristol 18.6%. There are tree planting and other conservation activities planned around Swindon. Working together, we can all play a part in dealing with climate change and make the town a brighter, healthier place to live, where nature thrives. Volunteers needed! Upcoming events and ongoing activity:– Peatmoor Community Woodland – Open Morning.– Central Swindon North Parish tree planting – Ferndale[…]

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Naturehood project encourages Swindon residents to do ‘One Thing for Wildlife’ this autumn

Earthwatch Europe’s community wildlife project Naturehood is embarking on a new campaign to encourage residents to take positive action for nature this autumn. The ‘One Thing for Wildlife’ campaign will focus on the first Naturehood communities in Swindon and Oxford, encouraging them to make the most of the season before hibernation begins in earnest. Many people associate acting for nature with the spring and summer months, and tend to spend less time outdoors once the autumn begins. But this is a crucial time to support wildlife. Dr Tristan Pett, Research Manager for Naturehood, says: “The nights are drawing in, which means that now is the time to help local wildlife get ready for winter. The actions people take now can make a real difference to some of our favourite species, like sparrows and hedgehogs, and ensure they get the best possible start when spring comes.” The Naturehood team is promoting[…]

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Plastic pollution commitments from Swindon’s parliamentary candidates

We wrote to all local general election candidates asking them for commitments on phasing out plastic pollution; two simple questions:1. Do you and your party support the aims of the Plastic Pollution Bill?2. Do you and your party support a permanent ban on fracking? Show full letter Dear (candidate), Plastic Free Swindon is a campaign to help phase out plastic pollution as soon as possible. It is one of the many plastic-free campaigns around the UK and part of the global Break Free From Plastic organisation. The campaign launched for Plastic Free July 2018 and has been very active in Swindon. The campaign so far has included the introduction of the Refill campaign to Swindon, the launch of Nude Foods (zero waste shop), litter picks around Swindon, an ecobricks group, education, lobbying, articles, art, music, and engagement. For further information, please have a look at the website: https://swindonclimate.org/plasticfreeswindon/. Pollution, environmental[…]

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Plastic pollution commitment letters – Justin Tomlinson

Thanks Ben. I am proud that as a Councillor I introduced the kerbside recycling scheme. I have opened the two Advanced Recycling Technology facilities in Swindon (it is great, that we as as town are at the heart of a potential commercial breakthrough) and I have supported the additional money being invested into research to seek alternatives. I have also fully support pressure on retailers to reduce unnecessary packaging, including with plastics. Thank you for the work you are doing in this important area. Happy to meet you post election to discuss ongoing works / campaigns, should I be re-elected. Cheers, Justin. For clarification: Neither of the questions we asked have been answered, hence we signified that an answer was ‘not stated’. We wrote back to Justin Tomlinson asking for further clarification but are still waiting for a response. This letter is in response to a letter we sent to[…]

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Plastic pollution commitment letters – Robert Buckland

Dear Ben, Thank you for your email. On the question of legislation, we will introduce our flagship Environment Bill. Leaving the EU is a defining opportunity for the UK to set its own course and take ambitious action to protect our natural environment for future generations. We are taking world leading action to take on the scourge of plastics. We have already banned plastic straws, drinks stirrers and cotton buds from April 2020 and the Environment Bill encourages producers to cut waste and protect our water resources. This is on top of the action we have taken to ban microbeads, which can be so harmful in our waterways . Thanks to our efforts, plastic bag sales are down 90% since 2015 and the fee we introduced is being used for environmental causes. Our manifesto announced that we will introduce a new levy to increase the proportion of recyclable plastics in[…]

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Plastic pollution commitment letters – Kate Linnegar

I absolutely support the plastic pollution bill. A statement from our Shadow environment secretary Sue Hayman, “Labour is calling for a truly comprehensive waste and recycling strategy that tackles our lack of domestic infrastructure to deal with what we throw away as well as further action to reduce waste at source and improve levels of recycling”. And from our shadow minister for waste and recycling, “Labour is calling for a root-and-branch comprehensive approach to dealing with our waste which reduces the amount created in the first place, recycles the maximum of waste that is produced and protects our environment from pollution”. Both myself and the Labour Party support a permanent ban on fracking. Kind regards, Kate Linnegar. This letter is in response to a letter that we sent to all of Swindon’s parliamentary candidates for the 2019 general election. See this post for details.

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Plastic pollution commitment letters – Katie Critchlow

Many thanks for taking the time to write to me about Plastic Free Swindon and Swindon Climate Action Network. As a long term eco activist I’m glad to be able to thoroughly support the aims of the campaign which you outline in your letter. In my own career I have worked at Marks & Spencer HQ as Sustainable Development Manager where I helped turn the company Carbon Neutral, move to 100% sustainable wood and palm oil sourcing and to aim to send zero waste to landfill from the stores. I also introduced the 5p carrier bag charging scheme nationwide in M&S stores a full 7 years before the government caught up. I’ve worked in Indonesia with WWF to stop the destruction of the rainforests of Borneo and I’ve also run start ups in the UK focussed on renewable energy and nature monitoring. The former, using recycled batteries from electric vehicles[…]

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Plastic pollution commitment letters – Sarah Church

Many thanks for this. I read the Plastic Pollution Bill with interest and certainly commit to support its aims. I would go so far as to offer to sit on the Committee because I do believe that only through a combination of behaviour change and scientific understanding of the life cycle impacts of the materials we use, will we be able to combat plastic pollution and also reduce carbon emissions. I have some policy experience in this area. I also fully support a full ban on fracking, so does the Labour Party. There is no need at all to start down a road of setting up further fossil fuel extraction infrastructure when we should be focussing all our energies to reducing energy consumption and replacing fossil fuels with renewables. Kind regards, Sarah. This letter is in response to a letter that we sent to all of Swindon’s parliamentary candidates for[…]

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Plastic pollution commitment letters – Stan Pajak

I really enjoy it when I can easily give an answer to a very important question. To both questions the answer is yes. Significantly on this day [15th November] the Lib Dem party launched its policy on combating the climate emergency. Lib Dems will spend £100bn on combating the climate emergency:– The Lib Dems have set out a clear plan to tackle the climate crisis. – An extra £100 billion will be pumped into combating climate change and protecting the environment when the Liberal Democrats take power. – Across a five-year Parliament, Liberal Democrats will spend and invest an extra £100 billion of public finance on climate action and environmental preservation. – This includes a new £10 billion renewable power fund to leverage in over £100 billion of extra private climate investment. – This will fast-track deployment of clean energy, to make Britain not just the world leader in offshore[…]

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