I am surprised by UKIP’s (Guardian, 6th February 2014) attitude towards our stance on part-night street lighting. We talk with local residents and we also know that the last trains get in around 1am, so having the lights on side roads go off after 1.30am on side roads seems sensible, does he not agree?
Street lighting is expensive mainly because of outdated technology still in use. Also it should be noted that Essex embarked on this policy initially some 7 years ago, long before the hike in energy prices.
Anyway, the assertions of ‘green’ policies being the main reason for the energy bills is incredibly simplistic and basically not true. Of the rise in energy bills such policies accounted for just 15%. Importantly, it doesn't include certain discounts to fuel-poor customers, and savings people will have made from having more energy efficient households as a result.
In total such ‘green’ policies make up 9% of people’s bills, and almost half of that includes measures to pay for insulation, especially for vulnerable people and energy-saving measures. These bring people’s bills down.
The funding is pump-priming to get new industries and technologies going and the long-term aim is to remove the subsidy as the cost of renewables come down. This is happening rapidly, as with any new industry. Indeed solar energy has come down in price by 60-80% in 5 years, as Lord Browne of fracking company Quadrilla admitted.
Subsidies for renewables are actually quite small compared to those for nuclear energy and fossil fuels. Our unreliable imported fossil fuels are much more of a reason for energy prices going up! A fact which UKIP seems to have forgotten about.
The government currently has a badly misplaced renewable policy, putting money into biomass, which is actually not that green; if it had a sensible energy security plan it would invest in a good renewable infrastructure, using onshore/offshore wind, solar and wave power - things would be different.
The beauty of such technologies is that they harness nature rather than plunder it, as with fossil fuels and fracking, or damage it, as in nuclear power (and fracking again!). They are also far better for dealing with man-made climate change, which will see more extreme weather events such as our recent flooding or the US super freeze. If we fail to deal with this issue it will hit people even harder in the future.
How does he intend to deal with our energy crisis? Nuclear? Potentially dangerous, and what will be done with the toxic waste? Fracking? Lord Browne is not even sure if it is viable in the UK, and it will take 5 years to find out. Not the answer one wants to hear! It is also yet another fossil fuel, and to get it people have experienced tremors, and there is the danger of polluting water supplies.
No - for reliable and safe technology that is here now and will not add to climate change we need the government to have the proper renewables strategy highlighted which will provide much needed jobs.
Steven Neville, Epping Forest Green Party, Rous Road, Buckhurst Hill