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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Central Swindon North Parish tree planting – Ferndale area, SN2

‘My name is Hakan and I am an allotment officer in Central Swindon North Parish Council.  I am proud to say that the parish is focusing on planting lots of trees, looking after our green spaces for future generations.  I have been asked to organise a tree planting session on Tuesday the 10th December 2019 around Cobden Road, Ferndale Road, Iffley Road and Wembley Street, SN2.  We have around 550 tree whips (60-80cm tall) of different species to plant. I have been asked to get as many people as I can with tree planting on the day.’ To get involved, please contact Hakan on 07741 849106 or by email. Please bring suitable clothing for all weathers, including boots. And please, if you can, bring a shovel. Children to be accompanied by a responsible adult(s), thanks. Here’s a list of the species that will be planted, with links for further info:10x[…]

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MPs’ voting records on the environment

SCAN regularly meet with MPs and political party representatives to discuss environmental issues. We encourage them to act in the best interests of our planet. So, how have Swindon’s MPs voted on environmental issues? South Swindon:Robert Buckland ‘generally voted against measures to prevent climate change’:https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/24843/robert_buckland/south_swindon/votes#environment North Swindon:Justin Tomlinson ‘generally voted against measures to prevent climate change’:https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/24870/justin_tomlinson/north_swindon/votes#environment And how have the leaders of each party voted? Conservative:Boris Johnson ‘almost always voted against measures to prevent climate change’:https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/10999/boris_johnson/uxbridge_and_south_ruislip/votes#environment Labour:Jeremy Corbyn ‘generally voted for measures to prevent climate change’:https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/10133/jeremy_corbyn/islington_north/votes#environment Liberal Democrats:Jo Swinson ‘voted a mixture of for and against measures to prevent climate change’:https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/11971/jo_swinson/east_dunbartonshire/votes#environment Green Party:Siân Berry and Jonathan Bartley. Neither of the joint leaders have been an MP. Caroline Lucas was the former leader and is the only Green MP to date. She ‘generally voted for measures to prevent climate change’:https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/24910/caroline_lucas/brighton%2C_pavilion/votes#environment Other issues of social justice also have environmental impacts. Equality and[…]

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Amnesty and the Climate Crisis

‘For nearly six decades Amnesty International members around the world have been holding governments to account for their violations of basic human rights. What began in 1961 as a campaign to free Prisoners of Conscience is now a global movement that works to protect people from a broad range of human rights abuses in order to create a safer, more just world for us all. A key priority now is to hold governments to account for their inaction over the climate emergency. The need to put people and their human rights at the centre of the climate debate is increasingly urgent. Whether it is floods, drought, rising sea levels or burning rainforest, the climate crisis threatens rights across the board: the right to food and water, health, housing and homes, livelihoods, culture and development and, of course, the right to life itself. It impacts upon each and every one of[…]

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Equality and the Environment – Swindon Equality Group

‘Equality matters in terms of health and happiness, but surprising new data reveals that it is also better for the environment – in the more equal rich countries, people on average consume less, produce less waste and emit less carbon.’– Danny Dorling: Professor of Human Geography at the University of Oxford. Author of books on equality such as ‘The Equality Effect’. The UK is one of the most unequal countries in the developed world. Besides causing enormous suffering to people / communities / society (see the research published in ‘The Spirit Level’ book), the effects of inequalities on the environment are increasingly being realised. Check out this article, ‘The Rich, Poor and the Earth‘ by Danny Dorling, for an overview. Swindon Equality Group (SEG) are affiliated to the Equality Trust. They campaign locally to improve the quality of life in the UK by reducing socio-economic inequality, of vital importance for[…]

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BEIS climate emissions analysis

The government produces an annual analysis of climate change emissions, but the final report is not done until a year or two after the reporting year, so the latest full analysis available is for 2017 emissions. There has been some further progress in reductions particularly due to offshore wind coming onstream. The chart shows a very simple summary of the largest emissions sectors. The numbers are from table 5 in this report that explains further: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/776085/2017_Final_emissions_statistics_-_report.pdf The first thing to note is that this just accounts for emissions that happen in the UK, and does not count those that are accounted for overseas due to things we import – particularly meat/dairy, animal fodder and biomass (wood and palm oil etc), which have a major impact due to deforrestation, for example in South America. Most of the UK emissions come from burning fossil fuels, either for transport (27%), electricity generation (24%),[…]

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Serious omissions From Swindon’s Local Plan

SCAN are currently working alongside other local people and groups, including Extinction Rebellion and parish councils, to address changes to / omissions from the Local Plan. At a time when we need to be addressing environmental issues, facilitating vital changes, the Local Plan includes less environmental stipulation; for example, a section on sustainable development has been removed. This letter to the Swindon Advertiser from Jane Milner-Barry, councillor for Old Town and East Wichel, explains further: ‘Local Plan Review: Swindon residents who care about cutting carbon emissions have until 23 September to help shape a crucial document that will determine the development of our town for years to come. A revised draft of Swindon’s Local Plan is now out for public consultation. This hugely important document will decide how many houses get built and where they go. It will also decide whether Swindon gets on track to reduce greenhouse gas emissions[…]

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Effects of temperature rise on Swindon

The BBC recently produced a report on increasing temperatures in towns and cities with predictions up to 2100, and it included Swindon, see here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/resources/idt-985b9374-596e-4ae6-aa04-7fbcae4cb7ee . However it does not elaborate on what that would mean for us, so here are some thoughts. Seemingly small increases in average temperatures over a relatively short timescale would cause huge problems even for places like Swindon, which would not likely be directly affected by sea level rise. London, Bristol and all our coastal towns and cities would be directly affected by substantial sea level rise, causing displacement of people worse than after world war 2 and making Swindon a destination for refugees from these cities within the UK let alone from other countries that would feel the effects of global warming more directly. Increases in extreme weather, both heat in summer and cold in winter, would put pressure on our food supply and[…]

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The Time Is Now – collective lobbying event at Parliament

The climate crisis has become more prolific in the news recently aided by the Extinction Rebellion protests. These were followed by the publication of the UK Committee on Climate Change report – which proposed net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 – and the UN’s assessment of how quickly we are losing natural ecosystems on which we all depend. You can read more in these articles by the Committee on Climate Change and the UN. According to both sources, ‘transformative changes’ are urgently needed. Those changes are possible but we need everyone to play their part, including governments around the world. So here’s one thing we can all do: ask our MP to support the proposals of the Committee on Climate Change for a zero carbon UK. On 26th June some of us will be going to Westminster to meet our MPs. Do join us! You can register through the[…]

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