Claire Perry, MP for Devizes
12:00pm Thursday 31st January 2013 in Latest News
It's been a green week for me and not just because the snow melted and it was possible to see the very soggy lawn again.
Last Thursday I joined a panel in Devizes Town Hall for a Green Question Time where we debated questions on topics such as wind projects, global warming, fracking, transport policy and horse burgers, with a varying degree of consensus.
I am committed to change in this area, believing that global warming is real and represents a real challenge for governments across the world. However, we have to be pragmatic about what can be inflicted in the name of green energy policy on British consumers.
With many families struggling with the cost of living, huge hikes in utility bills to support a shift in energy policy will never be palatable, while after more than a decade of underinvestment in energy infrastructure our Government is facing investment needs of up to £200 billion to make sure the lights don’t start to go out across Britain.
But these decisions have to be made carefully and without too much ideological bias; the last thing that consumers want is more Big Brother tactics with, for example, wind farms being plonked on local green spaces against local wishes. Far better to have alternative energy projects that are supported by local communities and which deliver real benefits like employment or cheaper local energy.
All panellists did agree on one thing: the importance of the Government’s Green Deal which was launched this week and which aims to help people with the problem of rising energy costs and the fact that our houses are some of the least energy efficient in Europe.
With this deal, people will be able to make a range of green home improvements with no upfront money spent, and pay for the improvements with the savings made on their energy bills. Much more information on the scheme can be found at www.gov.uk/greendeal or by phoning 0300 123 1234, and I would be happy to answer any questions you have.
Finally, another feather in the cap for localism came during a meeting this week between various leaders from Devizes and the Planning Minister Nick Boles over the contentious Coate Road housing proposals. We heard that Wiltshire’s Core Strategy is very well advanced compared to other areas and that the development guidelines in this plan should take precedence, meaning that we left the meeting feeling encouraged and optimistic about the chance to make localism a reality.