James gray MP for North Wiltshire
2:53pm Thursday 15th August 2013 in Latest News
Every aspect of our lives is dependent on a readily available and affordable source of energy.
From the moment we wake up in the morning, turn on our bedside light and turn off our alarm clock in one sleepy movement, jump into a hot bath, cook our breakfasts, drive to a warm and well-lit office, stroll home through streets as bright as day under artificial light – every single thing we do is dependent on energy. Yet few of us have the faintest idea what it is, or where it is coming from.
Most of us are dimly aware that oil is running out, that coal-fired power stations are polluting the atmosphere, and that it is getting harder to afford our most basic dependence on easy energy. It costs £80 to fill up the car, and we’d prefer not to open the gas bill!
Some of us remain pretty sceptical about climate change, although a couple of trips I have been lucky enough to make to the polar regions in recent years have more than convinced me that something pretty alarming does seem to be happening. I’ve got a book about it all – Poles Apart – coming out in October. At all events, most of us would probably adopt a precautionary approach.
For me that means two things. First, where we can, we must use less energy. I applaud Wiltshire Council, which is turning off street lights in the wee small hours.
And second, where we can, we need new sources of energy. I can’t stand on-shore wind farms. They ruin the landscape, and don’t really work anyhow.
Solar power seems to be all the rage, and I support it insofar as it is more or less invisible to the neighbours (unlike the wholly unacceptable one proposed for the Foxham area); and the environmental concerns about fracking seem to be more imagined than real. Or at least are they more or less serious than environmental concerns about the alternative – greater use of fossil fuels? And above all the lights will only stay on over future generations if we rely more heavily on nuclear power.
All of these things have their environmental costs as well as benefits.
So let’s adopt a sensible pragmatic approach. Let’s do what we can to avoid the worst pitfalls of environmental negligence and the worst effects of over-compensating for it. Extreme environmentalism or extreme industrialisation are equal sins. A bit of British common sense would go a long way towards keeping us all warm, cutting our fuel bills and saving the globe for future generations.
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