ENERGY DEBATE KICKS
OFF AS MINISTERS WARN DOING NOTHING NOT AN OPTION
THE debate on future energy policy for the UK was thrown open this
week at the start of the public phase of the Government's Energy
Speaking at a launch event for the
3-month consultation attended by representatives from the industry,
business and environment bodies
and other stakeholders in Central London, Alan Johnson, Secretary of
State for Trade and Industry, said:- "I want the widest
possible engagement in this vital debate. We need to look at the
risks to security of supply, our climate change commitments and, to
the long term, to make sure we take the necessary action. There is
not a do nothing option. We start from a strong base. We have
enjoyed some of the cheapest prices in Europe for a decade now
despite recent increases. We have lifted 4 million households out of
fuel poverty since 1997 and our economy is on track to meet our
Kyoto targets on climate change. We're getting more energy
from renewables than ever before. But there are important
challenges ahead and the consultation document serves as a wake up
Global fossil fuel prices are on
the rise and we're becoming a net importer of oil and gas, like many
other leading economies, as production from the North Sea declines.
In a world of heightened concerns about energy security, highlighted
by the recent dispute between Russia and the Ukraine, we need to
look carefully at the risks of this new situation. By 2020,
coal and nuclear power plants generating about 30% of today's
electricity are expected to have closed. Companies will need
to decide how this capacity should be replaced. These are big
investment decisions so the Government needs to provide a clear
framework. If gas, as well as renewables, were to fill the gap, how
comfortable will we be relying on imports for 80% of our supplies?
And what would be the impact on our ability to reduce carbon
Energy Minister Malcolm Wicks, who is leading the Review, said:-
"We set out today the energy challenges. They are complex,
interrelated and call for a rational, evidence-based and grown-up
debate. There is no single simple option that will answer all the
questions we're asking and no tick-box 'yes' or 'no' answers.
As well as energy supply we also need to look at demand. I am
determined that we make the connection between this review and the
energy we consume in our everyday lives. We are all part of the
problem and we need to become part of the solution.
30% of energy is used in our homes and the plasma TV
generation is increasingly packing those homes with consumer
electronics, domestic appliances and gadgets, often left needlessly
on standby. This squanders more than £740 million worth of energy
and results in over 4 million tonnes of excess carbon dioxide
emissions every year, significantly contributing to climate change.
One unnecessary 100W light bulb left on in every home requires 2.5 Gigawatts, which takes the equivalent of 2 sizeable power stations
to supply. If we are going to make the best decisions for our
energy future, we all, experts and public alike, need to engage
constructively in the debate over the coming months."
The key questions posed by the consultation document are:-
* What more could the Government do on the demand or supply side for
energy to ensure that the UK's long-term goal of reducing carbon
emissions is met?
* With the UK becoming a net energy importer and with big
investments to be made over the next 20 years in generating capacity
networks, what further steps, if any, should the Government take to
develop our market framework for delivering reliable energy
In particular, we invite views on the implications of increased
dependence on gas imports.
* The Energy White Paper left open the option of nuclear new build.
Are there particular considerations that should apply to nuclear as
the Government re-examines the issues bearing on new build,
including long-term liabilities and waste management? If so, what
are these, and how should the Government address them?
* Are there particular considerations that should apply to carbon
abatement and other low-carbon technologies?
* What further steps should be taken towards meeting the
Government's goals for ensuring that every home is adequately and
Comments are also invited on:-
* The long-term potential of energy efficiency measures in the
transport, residential, business and public sectors, and how best to
achieve that potential.
* Implications in the medium and long term for the transmission and
distribution networks of significant new build in gas and
* Opportunities for more joint working with other countries on our
energy policy goals.
* Potential measures to help bring forward technologies to replace
fossil fuels in transport and heat generation in the medium and long
The issues will be looked at in the context of the Government's
policies for competitiveness and sound public finances.
Council's 'cashing in' on parking fines
A LEADING business pressure group says councils are cashing in on
parking as a stealth tax after it was revealed that the number of
parking fines issued to motorists has doubled to a record 2.8
million in just 2 years. The figures have been released by the
National Parking Adjudication Service (NPAS) and it is estimated
that drivers are paying more than £400m in fines as more councils
bring in private wardens to patrol streets.
The Forum of Private Business (FPB) said councils are 'milking'
the so called decriminalisation of parking schemes that allow town
halls to take over responsibility for traffic enforcement from the
"These figures show there is a postcode lottery of parking
fines,' said the FPB's Chief Executive Nick Goulding.
"Certain councils like Birmingham, Brighton, Manchester and
Liverpool are making serious cash by operating aggressive, awkward
and expensive parking policies. Car parking is being abused as a
license to print money. The huge increase in the number of
parking fines being doled out is extremely worrying for small
businesses. Many FPB members are facing increasingly stiff
competition from supermarkets, out-of-town shopping centres, which
offer free parking, and, of course, the phenomenal impact of the
Internet. Councils can rub their hands with glee watching the
coffers being swelled by parking fines, but having an over-zealous
parking policy can only undermine trade in any town or city.
Councils should stop fleecing motorists and do all in their power to
attract shoppers, not scare them away."
Mr Goulding urged local authorities to build more car parking spaces
and make parking more convenient and affordable. "Our
members are telling us loud and clear that too many wardens are
completely over the top,' he said. "This adversarial
attitude must change. Shoppers need to see parking wardens
exercising discretion and reason otherwise a town centre just gets a
Before Christmas the FPB made an appeal to councils to suspend car
parking charges over Christmas and New Year to help attract shoppers
to town centres in the most critical period in the retail calendar.
A selection of comments from FPB members:
Frank McKenna, Chairman of Downtown Liverpool in Business, an FPB
partner said:- "There just aren't enough parking spaces in the
Liverpool business district. Although there is a multi-story car
park being built on the dock that is not convenient for the business
area. And the wardens attitude is appalling."
Mr AR Metcalfe, Armet Logistics Limited, Great Howard Street
Liverpool said:- "Parking in Liverpool city centre is mission
impossible. The transport system isn't good enough so you're left
with no option but to use the car. We have real problems getting to
the bank because we have to travel into the city centre and there is
no parking near the bank. This poses massive difficulties if we're
in a rush. It is the same with the post office and the passport
office. We know that the wardens are unlikely to be reasonable and
give you good grace. That is not how life should be. Liverpool
desperately needs more car parking spaces and the wardens need to
take a more reasonable approach."
Mr Latham, CH Latham the Baker Ltd, Southport said:- "Parking
is not good in Southport. There is a real shortage of spaces.
Although we have a park and ride scheme that is not always
convenient for shoppers. I think people want to be able to park near
the stores they want to visit. The traffic wardens also give no
leeway and are over zealous. All these factors are a disincentive to
shoppers and visitors."
pave the way for business opportunities
THE International Trade Centre for Greater Merseyside is leading
trade missions in February 2006 to Madrid, Barcelona and
Dublin, with opportunities available for Merseyside businesses.
The mission to Madrid and Barcelona on 5-10 February is the first
step for any Merseyside company wishing to develop their business
overseas, opening a potential customer base of 40 million people.
Spain has a rapidly expanding industrial base, an increasing number
of quality-conscious consumers, a stable and prosperous economy,
well-educated and skilled workforce and a comprehensive transport
and telecommunications system.
The mission to Dublin will take place on 13-15 February. Ireland
offers a buoyant economy along with an openness towards UK
suppliers. It currently represents the 4th largest export market for
UK products and services, with a travelling time of under an hour
Colin Gardner, director for International Trade Centre for Greater
Merseyside, said:- “These missions offer a huge opportunity
for businesses. Eligible companies receive a subsidy of 50% off
mission expenses, which includes flight and in-country travel,
accommodation, in-market telephone calls and market research.”
'ONE person can make a difference' is the theme of this year's
Holocaust Memorial Day event in Warrington.
Memorial Day is an annual national event on 27 January 06 when
thousands of people across the country hold various activities to
raise awareness and understanding of the Holocaust.
Warrington Standing Advisory Council for Religious Education (SACRE)
has organised an event on the day at St Elphin's Parish Church where
children from a number of schools across the borough will come
together to present the theme through drama, music, pictures and
reflections. Central to the service, and to reflect the theme for
the day, will be the little known story of Sempo Sugihara, a
Japanese diplomat who was responsible for saving the lives of up to
40,000 Jewish people during World War Two by issuing exit visas via
Lithuania, against the orders of his government.
Members of school councils from across the borough have been invited
to present a paper crane as part of Friday's service and to reflect
on one of the most valuable lessons of the Holocaust and the theme
for the day - that 'one person can make a difference'.