Belper News Article January 2015

Going green and using less energy is something that we all aspire to.  Whether you do it just to balance the books at home, or are just concerned about the emissions you cause, the benefits are for all to see. 

You may have seen that recently, the Secretary of State for Transport, Derbyshire MP Patrick McLoughlin appeared on the Sunday Politics, speaking about what the Government is doing to make transport greener and cleaner.  One of the major aims of this Government, of course, has been to get more people off the road and onto public transport.  It is for this reason that the Government body, Network Rail have invested £38 billion in the railways.  The Transport Secretary went on to mention the work his Department are doing to reduce car emissions, by improving the road network. £15 billion has been allocated to the project, which will see a number of bottlenecks and congested roads improved to prevent jams and in so doing, reduce carbon emissions.

Energy policy has also seen a move towards more sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives.  It was this Government that created the Green Investment Bank, which has been instrumental in securing investment in the decarbonisation of the UK’s energy supply.  It is that acknowledgement that creating a source of sustainable energy requires investment that has led to the surge in renewables, and since 2009 Britain’s share of electricity generated from renewable sources has doubled. 

It is clear that the Government also wants to engage the taxpayer in promoting energy efficiency and reducing energy usage in the introduction of its Green Deal.  Under the deal, homeowners can make energy-saving improvements to their home, and could receive up to £1,000 from the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund to help with installing insulation, solar panels or double glazing.  I think that engaging the public is key in fighting the threat that climate change poses, and in economic times such as these, offering solutions that will save the consumer money in terms of installation costs and energy bills will be an attractive incentive to do this.

Whilst I was the Mayor of Derby, I initiated various measures to make people more green aware.  Recently, I have also been trying to be more eco-friendly.  My husband and I are in the process of building a new eco-house at the bottom of our garden.  It will be highly insulated and easier to heat, which will reduce our carbon output, not to mention lowering our heating bills!  The build will also be made of natural, locally-sourced materials like sycamore wood from trees that grow in the abandoned quarry at the back of the site and stone taken from it.  The glass roof will be fitted with special glass that will generate electricity for the home and power its underfloor heating. Our water supply will come from a borehole, with waste water feeding into a soak-away, meaning that the property will be entirely self-sufficient in terms of its use of utilities.

 

Combatting climate change has long been central to the ethos of the Conservative Party, with Margaret Thatcher being one of the first world leaders to demand action on climate almost 25 years ago.  Since that time, the UK’s greenhouse emissions have decreased by a quarter, and things look set to improve in the coming years.  Nevertheless, there is still much more to be done and I believe that given their leadership on climate change, it is a Conservative Government that would be best placed to do it.