Thinking of voting Green?

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This piece was first published in 2015. The argument still stands: If you want a government that will protect the environment, Vote Lib Dem.

Last night on the doorstep I met a couple of people who were thinking of voting Green. I would like to address their concerns, here, and make it clear: if you are worried about the environment and climate change – please vote Lib Dem. These are the reasons why: 

In government, Ed Davey and the Lib Dem team delivered a significant green agenda for the UK. This included:

  • Securing £37bn investment in renewable electricity
  • Establishing the world’s first Green Investment Bank
  • Leading Europe to agree a new more ambitious EU-wide climate change target
  • Planting more than 1 million trees

Our team also halted Conservative plans to scrap Natural England and give up on the England Coast Path (comment, here, from our own MP). I’m pleased to report that when Dan Rogerson took over in DEFRA he secured safe funding for the coastal project.

The Lib Dem manifesto takes the environmental agenda even further. At the heart of our plans are Five Green Laws which will stimulate more green growth, improve greener transport options, create more energy efficient homes, improve our air quality, reduce household waste and create a zero-carbon Britain within a generation.

Here in Newbury and West Berkshire, I need your support to put a halt to ten years of Conservative neglect of the environment in our area. 

If you want to create a more environmentally friendly, fairer society in Britain, voting Lib Dem, you are safe.

See also:

– Dan Rogerson DEFRA Minister visits West Berks: 

– Green in Government

– Five Green Laws

George Monbiot, “the minister destroying what he is paid to protect”

Green in Government

If you support the environment and green policies, please have a read of the post below. While in government Liberal Democrats doubled renewable energy generation in the UK and planted 1 million trees,  extended the coastal path and set up nationwide schemes to promote home insulation. 

Read on for more information about the amazing work done by Ed Davey on renewable energy:

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10th March 2015

Under Ed Davey’s determined stewardship in the department of energy, somewhat to the consternation of conservatives such as Michael Fallon and George Osborne, there has been massive investment in renewables:

  • Electricity generation from renewable sources has doubled since 2010 and now supplies 15% of the UK’s electricity.
  • The average annual investment in renewables has more than doubled since 2010.    
  • In 2013 alone, £8bn investment in renewables.
  • Solar PV 2011 – 2013: £6.4 billion. Rather wonderfully, the cost of installation has halved since 2010.
  • Biomass and Bioenergy 2010 – 2013: £6.3bn investment.
  • carbon capture and storage research supported to the tune of £1bn – not bad for research funding.  

New manifesto plans include legal targets for clean air and water, an end to dirty coal power stations and an ambitious decarbonisation target for the electricity sector.

We will introduce Five Green Laws to protect nature and fight climate change.

If you want to read more, take a look at: 

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/331071/DECC_Energy_Investment_Report.pdf

http://www.libdems.org.uk/electricity_generated_by_renewables_has_doubled_since_2010

Lib Dem Manifesto 2015 – in full

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Today we published the Liberal Democrat Manifesto for 2015.

Our five top priorities are: 

  • A World Class Education for all: Guarantee education funding from nursery to 19 and qualified teachers in every class.
  • Prosperity for all: Balance the budget fairly and invest to build a high-skill, low-carbon economy
  • Quality health care for all: Invest £8 billion to improve our NHS and guarantee equal care for mental health.
  • Fair taxes: Raise the Personal Allowance to £12,500, cutting your taxes by an additional £400.
  • Our environment protected: Protect nature and fight climate change with five green laws.

The full manifesto also gives details on our policies on housing, policing, security, foreign policy and equal rights.

Read the full manifesto, herehttp://bit.ly/1IKxqKZ.

Hustings update

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LOCAL NEWS:

Last week saw parliamentary candidates in our constituency taking part in the Hungerford Question Time, always an important staging post in election campaigning.

The usual suspects were on the panel, with Paul from the Green Party replacing UKIP Katherine who was indisposed. Proceedings were well chaired by Greg Furr.

Questions ranged from rail electrification (supported by all parties) , to business rates (Lib Dems launched wide ranging review last week), to plans for the NHS (lots of vague promises, Lib Dems only party with a costed plan to provide £8bn a year extra funding for NHS by 2020).

There will be further opportunities to quiz your representatives on:

  • Sun 19th April – 19:00             Streatley Hustings
    The Morrell Room, Church Lane, RG8 9HT
  • Weds 22nd April – 17:45         Newbury Political Debate, hosted by Buzz Magazine
    St Bart’s School, Andover Rd, RG14 6JP
  • Thurs 23rd April – 07:45         Economy, Taxation & Business hosted by Grant Thornton
    I will be debating with Ed Vaizey, Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries, at a Thames Valley hustings  in Reading
    Madejski Stadium, Junction 11, M4, Reading RG2 0FL

If you are able to come along to any of these debates, I look forward to meeting you. Do come and say hello at the end of the event.

Walking and Nature – Preserving the Countryside

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Walking is a great way of exploring nature and the outdoors and has clear benefits to health and the environment. If more people walk, rather than take the car, we can cut air pollution, have fewer problems with asthma and bronchitis, tackle obesity and reduce heart problems. As many of my correspondents have pointed out, recently, walking also has the potential to decrease feelings of social isolation and can have important economic benefits.

The Liberal Democrats are the only party that puts the environment at the heart of our thinking and we’ve done much in our time in Government to support walkers and walking.

We are taking steps to encourage people to walk and leave the car at home. We know that the vast majority of car journeys are over distances that could be easily walked, so Liberal Democrats in the Department of Health have secured £1m of funding this year for walking initiatives to help cut down on short car journeys.

The recent Infrastructure Act has created a new requirement for the Government to produce a Cycling and Walking Investment Strategy. The Strategy will set out the Government’s objectives on walking and cycling, and what financial resources will be made available to achieve these goals. It is a welcome step forward.

There are a series of other measures that Liberal Democrats want to introduce if we form part of the next Government that will be of benefit to walkers. As part of the Coalition, we introduced the Local Sustainable Transport Fund in 2011. As well as supporting buses, railways, cycling and other green infrastructure projects, it has also helped fund walking initiatives. We want to see that continue and we are committed to continuing this fund in future years if we are returned to office.

We also want to introduce five new green laws, including: a Green Transport Act and a Nature Act. The Green Transport Act would establish a full network of charging points for electric cars and incentivise green travel choices. Most important of all it will update planning laws to ensure that the needs and requirements of walkers, cyclists and public transport are taken into account when new developments are designed.

Our proposed Nature Act will help us to protect our natural habitat and deliver a massive increase in accessible green space for everyone to enjoy. As well as completing the coastal path, we want to introduce a general right of access to the countryside in England, as has already been put in place by the Liberal Democrats in Scotland.

I hope everyone in West Berkshire will support these initiatives.

 

Green in Government

key_greenwindfarm

Under Ed Davey’s determined stewardship in the department of energy, somewhat to the consternation of conservatives such as Michael Fallon and George Osborne, there has been massive investment in renewables:

  • Electricity generation from renewable sources has doubled since 2010 and now supplies 15% of the UK’s electricity.
  • The average annual investment in renewables has more than doubled since 2010.    
  • In 2013 alone, £8bn investment in renewables.
  • Solar PV 2011 – 2013: £6.4 billion. Rather wonderfully, the cost of installation has halved since 2010.
  • Biomass and Bioenergy 2010 – 2013: £6.3bn investment.
  • carbon capture and storage research supported to the tune of £1bn – not bad for research funding.  

New manifesto plans include legal targets for clean air and water, an end to dirty coal power stations and an ambitious decarbonisation target for the electricity sector.

We will introduce Five Green Laws to protect nature and fight climate change.

If you want to read more, take a look at: 

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/331071/DECC_Energy_Investment_Report.pdf

http://www.libdems.org.uk/electricity_generated_by_renewables_has_doubled_since_2010

Revitalising the Rural Economy

Judith Bunting summating for the debate on Revitalising the Rural Economy. Passed unanimously. Brighton Lib Dem Conference, March 2013

 

Judith Bunting was part of the team proposing the motion Revitalising the Rural Economy at the Liberal Democrat Spring Conference, Brighton 2013.

Summating for the motion, Judith said: 20% of the UK population lives in 80% of the country – what does that tell me? It tells me that those people have a long way to travel to do anything – especially to go to school. We need good roads, fine public transport and modern infrastructure like mobile phone masts and broadband to be supported in rural areas by Government and by every Council that takes care of a rural constituency.

Rural communities can and should be thriving and vibrant places but in reality, that’s not always the case. Our rural communities are facing many issues from unemployment to high housing and energy prices, not to mention the dreadful conditions our farmers are fighting as I write.

The motion calls for:

  • Investment in rural high-speed broadband
  • Fair trade for British farmers through a more transparent market and further reform of the Common Agricultural Policy
  • Investment in ‘joined up’ rural transport schemes to improve access and ensure ease of use.
David Heath, the coalition government’s Secretary of State for the Department of Environment and Rural Affairs, spoke strongly in favour of the motion, as did members from constituencies as far afield as Cornwall, Northumbria and, of course, West Berks.
Did you know:
  • A third of bus passengers in rural areas will struggle to make essential trips if bus services are cut?
  • Up to a fifth of people in rural areas still do not have broadband services of even 2 megabits per second?
  • Sheep farmers, like those around Hungerford, do not enjoy the same protection as beef farmers in the assessment of their animal carcasses at abatoirs?

Judith Bunting went on to say: The Liberal Democrat Party wants to support these communities because they form a vital part of our society. As part of the Coalition Government we are already doing this through the establishment of the Grocery Code Adjudicator and ending the Council Tax discount for second homes. I want to do more to build sustainable rural communities with strong local economies where everyone can get on across West Berkshire, through investing in broadband, reforming European agricultural policies, joined-up local transport policies and creating more affordable housing. The Liberal Democrat Conference has endorsed a clear vision for the future of rural communities.

To keep up to date with Judith’s Views and activities around West Berks go to: http://www.facebook.com/JudithBuntingforNewbury