Climate Change: we do loads in Nottingham, and in The Meadows; we need to do loads more; we need a government that does more, much more. = = = = = Nottingham City Council has won a Guardian award for its green policies this week. Cllr. Sally Longford, our portfolio holder, recently won an LGIU award for innovation on green policies. Environenergy has won an award for its decentralised energy work. (And remember too how it extracts metal from the waste stream.) – I attended the Meadows O-zone Energy Services AGM tonight at which they announced a surplus and the payment of loans taken, the positive results from Project SENSIBLE were reported, Enterprise presented on their car club (how its car fleet is electric and they want to start operating from The Meadows) and Extinction Rebellion spoke of the change in public mood this year (acknowledging David Attenborough and Greta Thunberg). – Meanwhile the Government did not make good on the payments due for MOzES’ solar panels and Boris Johnson and the Brexit Party leader did not attend the Channel 4 leaders’ debate on climate change. – We are delivering on climate change, and technological developments are helping, but we’d do so much more with national leadership that is radical and ambitious (Labour pushed its Green Industrial Revolution again this morning), and with a framework that means it isn’t just local authorities run by Labour that make the changes. – And then some. Travel less, especially by air and change our diet.
In Britain, we subsidise businesses who pay poor wages via the benefits system. We don’t support people in genuine need enough. We too often disqualify people from support when they are genuine need. We count people as employed, even if they only work 1 hour in a fortnight. Too often, people are working low hour contracts and difficult hours at the expense of stability in the home. – We have not expanded the NHS at the rate needed to support our ageing population. We see too many people living rough and dependent on drugs, in a way that sustained and expanded drug dealing, and the numbers of Police officers has been cut. The public health and support services for people have been cut. – The general public services for the things we love like parks and libraries and events have ben cut. We have often lost the youth services and community development services that develop the potential of our neighbours and neighbourhoods. Having created a surer start for our children, the level offered has been reduced and many children’s centre have been limited, subsumed or closed. Our schools are receiving less funding and the pressure on teachers has seen too many give up on the vocation and career. – We no longer count the jobs available in work properly and the threat of Brexit has reduced the growth of our economy. Despite 9 years of austerity – in fact because of it – our national debt is massive. Wages have not kept pace with prices and levels of personal debt is massive. We no longer talk about the expected norm of growth at 3%. Major firms have closed operations in Britain and others have moved future investment elsewhere, especially if they want the assurance introduced by a trade deal with Japan that the EU have just brought in. Even if we leave, Brexit isn’t over, cos it would be followed by years and years of trade deal negotiations. Rather than support economic development in a focussed and planned way, we’ve given a £5 billion tax break to the banking sector and an £8 billion tax break to corporations. Small businesses and. town centre shops are struggling to compete against businesses such as Amazon, who pay no tax. – And even if we were getting things right, there would still be the challenge of greenhouse gas emissions to meet. Yet we’ve backed smart motorways – expensive and now regarded as not smart enough – at the expense of projects like electrifying the Midland Main Line. Popular tram systems that could be expanded require money from councils when new roads don’t. Bus networks are being reduced, not least cos the fuel subsidy they had was taken away. The new nuclear power station is – as might have been predicted – already running late and will charge much more for electricity than people currently pay. Home improvement through better insulation meanwhile, is pitiful – And our understanding of all these problems is diminished by a media culture that praises itself, thinks their puns are required and funny, yet cares little for whether a fully informed society exists. We have a Prime Minister who cares too little about racism, sexism and facts, and who is under suspicion for awarding contracts to personal friends and wasting money like £11 million for a 50p Brexit themed coin and an abandoned garden bridge for which nothing was seen for the £35million spent. Our political culture too often depends on questioning personal motivation rather than being outlooking and accountable. – We need radical change.
Pleased to explain how Nottingham has met environmental challenges in the past and has set itself a challenging one for the future – carbon neutrality by 2028. – Positive coverage everywhere, including BBC East Midlands Today. Kinda unusual. – Nice to be part of something that what protested about across the planet. – But a bit too much to expect many kids to attend. We’ve spent years drilling into schools that they must ensure children attend and that they are responsible for child safety. And notable that there were a few parents around.
An N Post article highlights NCT’s plans to redevelop the west end of the larger of its 2 depot buildings, with a new and extra entrance from Pyatt Street. The proposal could enable a larger electricity sub-station to re-charge more buses (and potentially do more for other Meadows development, including for green projects); and may also enable the demolition of the Gotham bus depot – for housing. In 2011, the expectation was that the 2 main city NCT bus depots would move to the former Manvers school site and the Meadows site cleared for housing. But that plan went some years back. Now, the Lower Parliament Street bus depot has become about servicing the double deckers and The Meadows depot about the single-deckers, some of which may become electric powered over time. But, there may be features within the buildings worth protection, and the existing perimeter buildings blend in incredibly well with the existing streetscape – you can forget that they are there. Hard to envisage modern buildings fitting in so well. The Civic Society have raised concerns and some constituents have protested.
The city and county are pioneering ways to become ‘greener’ claims Kit Sandeman, a Local Democracy Reporter for the N Post (and I think the BBC). 17 initiatives are highlighted; the article is helpful to read and to have, though I quibble with the emphasis given (or not given). What sets Nottingham apart is –
incinerating waste otherwise destined for landfill, using resultant high pressure steam to generate electricity , and the resultant hot water to heat the city centre, St.Anns and Sneinton; whilst equivalent schemes elsewhere in the country fail to start and other schemes to sort waste more first have financially failed.
determined and early prioritisation for buses (bus lanes, and city centre clear zone), and the first bus passes for older and / or less mobile people anywhere in the country;
workplace parking levy; asking the commuter to pay for better public transport rather than the general tax or council tax payer;
What sets The Meadows apart is the Meadows O-zone energy services company (Mozes) – providing solar panels and now a domestic energy initiative (Project Sensible). At various times, companies have demonstrated excellence – from memory, Experian and their management of energy at their offices and computer bureau.
We’ve had set backs too. The loss of a city-wide food re-cycling scheme. The loss of the local food scheme for our hospital catering. An inability to do more with anaerobic digesters. Slow progress on green architectural technology. Wasted time as some of the green progress made has been threatened from within. The lack of progress for an electrified Midland Main Line, the nonsense of the dual energy trains proposed instead and the very limited progress on a south Notts rail network.
I’m intrigued by new possibilities – such as –
outer leaves being used instead of plastics to sell fruit and veg.;
copying European ideas – much more adventurous use of heat pumping to heat and to cool;
the return of biodigestable plastics; and
can’t we do more with paper instead of plastic?
We also need to re-balance the country and our education provision so that people travel less to work and to school.
Better financing for councils will allow general progress across services and in the design of projects. Calls for councils to do more without the extra finance can only frustrate.
A reminder of how it all started. A district heating scheme to be powered by burning coal (cleaner air in the city needed the coal to be burned in a controlled way) and district heating would be relatively cheap to install when St.Anns was being re-built. (A separate scheme for The Meadows was not to be so successful.) It was soon converted to burning waste – 100 kilo tonnes is incinerated, (a further 80 kilo tonnes recycled) providing steam at 800 degrees and 30 barrs. 10MW of electricity is supplied to a local private wire network (59 GWh per year) and the condensed steam providing 141 GWh of heat to the district network of 95km of pipes at 85 and 100 degrees at 10 Barrs to 4,800 customers in St.Anns. An infra-red survey of the neighbourhoods from a drone found cracks in the pipes that lost 120 metres cubed of water every day, and repairs triggered have reduced the loss to 10 to 20 metres cubed. All this is heavily regulated. More could be done to re-use material (e.g. more maintenance that simply replace, use less plastics in the first place, re-process wood and fibre), reduce the amount to be disposed (e.g. the recycling of food waste was lost cos of revenue cuts), extract more materials for re-use (e.g. gasification can extract a greater range of metals; bio-digestion to create gas for burning and compost for soil) but these technologies need new investment and subsidy (most sensibly from taxing the creation of waste). Extracting energy from waste still beats the burial of waste and there will be plenty fo waste to be incinerated for a long time into the future. Profits for the last year of £487k was reported. ENGINEERING NUMBERS TO BE RE-CHECKED