June 13 2012
In the North West Evening Mail of June 4 2012 was published a response from a local doctor to my letter “Three Take Same View
“. Here I am reproducing the letter as well as my reply which was published today in the same newspaper.
Decision Has To Be Independent
In his letter (Evening Mail, Thursday May 31), Noel Matthews states “The conditions which both permit and encourage (Centrica) to undertake a project such as (the biomass power plant at Roosecote) exist because of the so-called ‘renewables obligation’ of the UK”
Does he mean that the UK should not recognise any obligation to invest in renewable energy sources?
If so, does he deny both the impending oil crisis and climate change? If climate change denial is part of the philosophy of UKIP, no reasonable person should vote for them.
The arguments for and against the plant must be based on reason and not emotion.
They rely on scientific data which are complex, difficult to evaluate and are sometimes contradictory.
Of course the general public should have the basic issues explained to them, and those who attend meetings hoping for an interesting and balanced discussion should have the right to do so.
Party politics and unorthodox beliefs should play little part. The final go ahead should be given by an impartial, high powered body independent from outside pressure from powerful organisation including government.
At present a project of this size ( a power plant of 80MW capacity) will be decided by a body called the Infrastructure Planning Commission.
But not for long.
The government plan to abolish the IPC and the final nod will be given by the secretary of state for energy and climate change – in other words a politician, whose views of the future will not extend beyond the date of the next general election.
Dr Richard Rowlatt
And my letter of reply (published 13 June)
4 June 2012
I am writing to you today to respond to the letter from Dr Richard Rowlatt (EM 4 June 2012) .
Dr Rowlatt seeks, in his letter, to associate climate change denial with UKIP. Policy. My party does not and has never denied that climate change is a scientifically proven fact. The debate, which remains ongoing, is whether climate change is man made or part of the earth’s natural cycle. This part of the argument is driven by the complex scientific data he mentions. But even if I fully bought into the theory that climate change is man-made then I might well still agree with Friends of the Earth who say biomass is neither green nor carbon neutral. Their point is that burning wood creates CO2 NOW and that waiting 40 years for a tree to grow is of no value in countering this problem.
I can therefore assure him that I hold no unorthodox beliefs. Science and the proof of facts is a slow moving process. Conclusions sometimes take decades, if not centuries. Politics and business however is a much quicker game and while Dr Rowlatt may wish for an independent decision on Roosecote I’m afraid it will remain just that, a wish.
The IPC has been replaced by the Planning Inspectorate and it is now the case that the man from the ministry decides. So again, despite his desire for a best case scenario I’m afraid Dr Rowlatt must face facts. Party politics has brought us to this point and (stupid)* politicians from the three main parties are firmly behind it. UKIP are the only party bringing any opposition and it is clear to anyone with two eyes that wood burning biomass fails to make a case either environmentally, economically or politically and over 8000 local residents agree.
I note that Dr Rowlatt is a retired Consultant Paediatrician. Perhaps rather than debating the scientific or political issues he might be better to comment on whether or not the proposed biomass plant poses a health risk to children in the area. I’m certain that many parents will be interested in his views.
Cumbria County Chairman
UK Independence Party
* – Edited out by the press