Sunday, 25 December 2011

Merry Christmas All

Got the sprouts from the allotment Christmas Day morning.

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

Councillor Graham Simpson – 2011 Annual Report to Newsome Residents

Councillor Graham Simpson – Annual Report 2011

I have had a period of illness this year and so have not been as active as I would have liked but I’m pleased to say I’m on the mend. Despite this I have still got a number of things to report back on in from the past year.

I spoke out at the Kirklees Council Budget meeting this year against the cuts which were being imposed on us by central government. I and my Green Party colleagues are opposed to the reductions in budgets and services for elderly and disabled people. Green Councillors engaged fully with the budget process to understand in detail what the implicatoions of the cuts were and what, if any room for manoeuvre there was and in truth there was very little. What disappointed me was real cuts in provision being presented by the Labour Party as ‘improvements’. We should be straight with people about the impact of decisions we make even if they are unpopular.

I was actively involved in the protest on the land between New Laithe Hill and High Lane earlier this year. It was great to see so many people turn out and the photograph of the crowd there has been used on a number of times in the Examiner highlighting our opposition. The land is used regularly by walkers,especially dog walkers & children as recreation area's If this land and the land adjacent to Jackroyd Lane and Newsome Road was developed Newsome would lose its individual identity and become an extension of the town centre.

I also spoke out at the scrutiny enquiry into the future management of council housing in Kirklees. I thought that the proposals to include non housing services in the new contract needed more work to see if they would benefit tenants and also that there had not been enough information or consultation with tenants on how the new proposals would affect them. I am pleased that this matter was then referred back to Cabinet and it has now been agreed that the management contract will continue on the existing terms until more information has been provided to tenants and that tenants and there representatives will be fully consulted to see if they agree with any proposed changes before they are implemented.

My main activity this year as a Councillor has been to take up local issues and concerns. Here are just some examples

• I asked Kirklees Highways to address an issue on Colne Street, Aspley by the carpet warehouse and the Flyboat Pub where the road surface was worn down to the cobbles in places and had numerous potholes.

• I sought to get a supply of grit for the residents of Aspley some of whom are unsteady on their feet.

• Another road issue I took up was potholes on Daisy Royd Newsome.

• Drains on Cross Lane Primrose Hill were overflowing at the bottom end of the road and I asked Kirklees Highways to get these cleared.

• I was contacted by local residents about Bankfield House in Taylor Hill. Planning permission was granted in 2008 and the site was secured, work started and construction materials were brought onto site. However nothing has happened for the last couple of years and residents are concerned that the site is not secure and boundary panels frequently fall over or are vandalised. I asked the Council to contact the owners to ensure the site was properly secured. This is an issue I’ll be keeping a close eye on

• I have taken up a number of complaints regarding empty properties around the Newsome Ward. At a time when we are under pressure by the Council and central government to build more houses it makes no sense that we have so many standing empty

These are the ‘bread and butter’ issues of being a local Councillor which affect people’s everyday lives.

I’ve played a key role in getting the thousands of leaflets out to you that we get printed and distributed using our own funds and legwork. If you’d like to help us with either this would be greatly appreciated.

I have joined my fellow Green Party Councillor Andrew Cooper at some of the Green Party advice surgeries at the Monkey Club, Armitage Bridge that we hold on the first Sunday of the month between 1pm and 2pm. Please come along if you have any issues you would like to bring to our attention.

A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you all

Cllr Graham Simpson Mobile 07814 239317

Councillor Julie Stewart-Turner - 2011 Annual Report to Newsome Ward residents

Councillor Julie Stewart-Turner – Annual Report 2011

This has been a year full of new and difficult challenges; here’s some of those challenges along with some highlights.

January: Andrew and I started the year being very heavily involved in budget briefings and debates. We weren’t willing to accept large reductions in care for vulnerable people, and so we took an opposing position (along with the verbal abuse from the 3 larger parties) We are confident we did the right thing.

February Kirklees successfully gained Fairtrade status, and many community groups, children’s centres and schools joined us in celebrating this achievement during Fairtrade fortnight. The Fairtrade Foundation was successful in gaining the world record for the longest length of bunting and it was all made from Fairtrade cotton. Many of the bunting triangles came from Kirklees. In February I was being re-elected as Chairperson of Newsome Ward Community Forum. The title of Chairperson gives the impression of leading on the work we do, and in some cases that is true, but in other cases, the team just tell me what to do now!

February included the ongoing debates over the budget and we continued to champion the needs of vulnerable people. We also had a visit from Caroline Lucas Green Party MP, and I hosted the public meeting where she addressed a large crowd, supported by our Andrew. The questions from the public were constructive and considered.

In March I went to a free conference provided by the Local Government Association about Localism. I know many people are anxious about the bits of information in the news and how it would affect local people. The conference didn’t help much, it focussed mainly on Social Enterprises and working with the voluntary sector; something I already do a lot of and is commonplace across Kirklees.

April I lead on arrangements for a street party in my neighbourhood for the Royal Wedding, and it was great to see so many people, from many different backgrounds, come out to celebrate just being British. April was also very busy with the build up to the local elections, but also very enjoyable, as I got to speak to many positive people.

May: What a great result in the Local Elections! I was delighted to have won so convincingly with over 50% of the vote. Thank you to all of you who believe in me – I won’t let you down.

Following the elections I was reappointed as Lead Member for the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Panel for Resources. It oversees very complex fast moving issues due to the need to restructure the Council due to big reductions in Council budgets. Trying to save £83m without impacting on front line services will be difficult to achieve, e.g. front line workers need to do their own admin / office work as back of house staff are reduced, so they can’t be out doing their main role as much as they used to.

In June I was appointed to the Board of Trustees for the One Community Foundation. It was established in May 2010, to generate financial support for local community activities. Our role is to build and manage a series of endowment funds, so that we can make a lasting contribution across Kirklees, by delivering grants to local groups and the wider community. You can help raise funds by doing your on-line Christmas shopping via

In July, I made time to do a sponsored Dragon Boat Race for the Huddersfield Rotary, and I got to Captain their team. The majority of the money raised went to the two hospices, with a little of the profits going to their local charity funds. I also managed to do the Race for Life this year, I’d not been able to do it for a couple of years, and it was great to be a part of it again.

The Newsome Out To Play sub group of the community forum gained funding to develop local play opportunities for children of all ages, arrange training for volunteers, enable better co-ordination of activity, etc. One of the highlights of the year was the Play Day event on 3rd August; I was amazed by how many people joined in.

August: Newsome High School had tremendous GCSE results, and is going from strength to strength. I’ve been a Governor at the school for several years and I’m so pleased with the continual improvements and achievements.

September: Members of CPRE (Campaign for the Protection of Rural England) arranged for us to talk to local residents at a public meeting in Hall Bower Chapel, which was very helpful. Andrew and I were able to share our views about the impending Localism Bill and the National Planning Policy Framework, and listen to concerns of local people.

October: While I was Mayor of Kirklees, I chose to champion local farming and local food production, and this campaign had several lasting legacies. In October I was delighted to help present awards to several more schools who have achieved the Soil Association Food for Life Bronze Awards. We now have 24 local schools who have achieved this award and 25 more progressing towards it. The School Catering Service itself has achieved the Soil Association’s Bronze Food for Life Catering Mark for its healthy meals supplied to 184 schools across Kirklees. The March figures show that Kirklees Catering Service was the second largest local authority caterer in the country and the only one in the Yorkshire and Humber region to have achieved this award.


There is a Special Meeting of Council scheduled for 23rd November regarding the LDF, which hadn’t taken place at the time of writing this report. We will do all we can to influence the LDF policies; to protect our valuable open spaces, to ensure there is space for agriculture, and to ensure development is targeted at the real needs of our communities.

December: We’ve arranged a Special Public meeting for 1st December to help raise awareness about Welfare Reform. Another huge challenge facing everyone is the cuts to benefits, there are 47 in total which are being introduced in stages until April 2013. One of the biggest changes will be the Housing Benefit changes which will be introduced in January. Council have produced an information booklet to try and help. Copies are available at Together Shop in Newsome, as well as Children’s Centres, Council Information Points and Job Centre Plus.

The Budget process starts again in December, meaning another series of briefings and debates on the best way to manage the huge reduction in funds provided by the Government. It’s a position no one would want to be in and some tough decisions will need to be made. I’m not looking forward to it, but I do take it very seriously and will be taking an active part in the process.

The ‘Kiddies Xmas Party’ takes place again on 10th December, all organised by volunteers of Newsome Ward Community Forum, and always a wonderful occasion; the start of the Christmas season for me. I’ll be doing the ‘Santa Dash’, organised by the Lions Club of Huddersfield, in Huddersfield the next day to help raise funds for the Mayor’s Charity Appeal – the ‘Forget Me Not Trust’; a very seasonal weekend.

Throughout the year, casework for individuals seems to be getting more complex; I’ve helped people with things that are common concerns e.g. planning, highways, cleansing issues, but this year there seems to be an increasing number of more personal issues, e.g. home care, care for people with dementia, domestic violence, and anti-social behaviour.

Despite this sad note to end on, I am looking forward to Christmas and wish you all warmth, health and happiness this Christmas and for the year ahead.

Cllr Julie Stewart-Turner

Councillor Derek Hardcastle – 2011 Annual Report to Kirkburton Residents

Councillor Derek Hardcastle – 2011 Annual Report

Dear Resident,

This year has been one of the most challenging in my time as one of your local Councillors. We have had one of the toughest budget settlements the Council has ever had to face with central government slashing £80 million from Kirklees Council services over the next 4 years with no reduction in the Council Tax we have to pay. We have had the Local Development Framework which threatens green fields and spaces (and not just greenbelt) right across the district. It is against this background that the Green Party team have been continuing to take up issues at the Kirklees and Parish level.

In February this year the Green Party leader and MP for Brighton Pavillion visited Huddersfield and we held a well attended public meeting the evening before Kirklees Councils budget decision. I must say she is a real asset to our Party and has impressed many people with her insights into the actions of the government and the impacts of the cuts on ordinary families up and down the country.

In the Council Budget meeting the Green Party stood alone in opposing Council cuts to services for elderly and vulnerable people. The majority of the cuts fell on those in the greatest need. The budget for care for older people was slashed from £52 million to £40 million. Daycare services were cut from £5.3million to £1.5million. We believed as a matter of principle that to cut services for those who are in the direst circumstances is morally wrong particularly when the bankers who got us into this economic crisis seem to be able to continue to reap the same rewards as before. You don’t have to be a ‘socialist’ to see that this is wrong. The Green Party made these points strongly in the Kirklees Budget meeting in February and received a lot of abuse from the other Parties on the Council for making that stand. We still believe it was right that we spoke for those in most need. As it turned out some of the proposed cuts to day care services were withdrawn following a legal challenge which has at least brought respite for some people. What really annoys me is when cuts are characterised as ‘improvements’ to services. If we have to make cuts the least the Council can do is be upfront with people about the impacts on heir everyday lives.

This year was the end of my first 4 years as one of your Councillors and so I was up re-election in May. What I really enjoyed was getting round to seeing so many people in the run up to the election. It is a huge ward that stretches from Farnley Tyas to Flockton so we had a big area to get round. As usual it was a nail biting election count and I was re-elected by 82 votes but then I‘ve lost by 5 in the past so I was very pleased. I still can’t get used to the misinformation and half truths from my local opponents that I get during local campaigns. There were some very misleading statements about my attendance at meetings and dodgy montages of a wind turbine at Grange Moor (which I actually opposed at Planning Committee). All I can really say to people is that if you see some criticism of us in our opponents please don’t take it at face value please ring me or one of my colleagues and we’ll give you a straight story. Having said all that I found my Conservative opponent Amanda Shaw to be a pleasant and capable candidate and I’m sure she wasn’t responsible for much of the material in her leaflets.

The other elections that were held this year were those for the Parish Council and I was really pleased that the Green Party got the most votes and Parish seats of all the parties and that every village in the Kirkburton Ward has a Green representative. We are the only party that can make that claim. Our candidates topped the poll in Kirkburton/Highburton, Shepley, Grange Moor and Farnley Tyas and Thurstonland. Thank you to everyone who voted for us.

Of course the day to day role of a Councillor is taking up local issues. Here’s a small selection of the issues we’ve taken up this year:-

• Getting Moor Top Avenue resurfaced at Thurstonland

• Helping get funding for ‘The Hub’ at Kirkburton

• Helping get a new bench for Stocksmoor (then getting Kirklees to turn it round to face the right way!)

• Helping householders with planning advice for installing solar panels on their roofs

• New street lighting for Grange Moor on Bedford Avenue

There are issues which continue to frustrate me such as the need to get the footpath at Paddock Road in Kirkburton resurfaced. I must confess that it has been difficult to get this issue resolved been one voice among three local Councillors who don’t share my view on this. The other issue I really want to see progressed is traffic calming in Stocksmoor. We successfully worked with local people in Farnley Tyas and Thurstonland on their schemes now we need to get some impetus behind resolving issues in Stocksmoor. My Parish Colleagues Robert Barraclough and Andrew Cooper are helping me and liaising with the village association.

Wind turbines continues to be a concern for some householders and I and my Green Party colleagues have taken a balance approaching where we have opposed those that are poorly sited and intrusive and supported those that aren’t. I have opposed new turbines at Shelley and Grange Moor but supported 2 small turbines on farmland at Thurstonland. Sadly there was a rather political letter produced at Kirklees expense distributed in Thurstonland by the 2 Conservative Councillors on the subject of the wind turbines and the Green Party response to this. I have no objection to people putting their opinions in a leaflet and letter but no funded by the Council Tax. We have always taken the trouble to speak to the Thurstonland Village Association about local concerns and we had in this instance and I think actually talking through some of the issues we managed to address a number of concerns people had which were associated with much larger turbines.

My year will end very much like the last one. I will be driving a minibus on Boxing Day from Flockton to Grange Moor through Lepton and on to town. We have been running this free service for local people for 4 years now and I really enjoy it.

A Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.

Yours sincerely

Councillor Derek Hardcastle

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

PRESS RELEASE - Greens select Robert Barraclough to contest Kirkburton election next May

Robert Barraclough
Following Derek Hardcastle’s successful re-election for a four year term as a Kirklees Councillor for the Kirkburton Ward last May the Green Party have selected Robert Barraclough as their candidate for the May 2012 elections.

Robert has been a Parish Councillor representing the Thurstonland and Farnley Tyas Ward on Kirkburton Parish Council since 2007 and in 2009 was elected Chairman of the Parish Council. He has lived and worked in the Kirkburton ward all his life and is a tenant farmer at Farnley Tyas. He became involved with the National Farmers Union (NFU) in 1994 becoming Local Branch chairman until 2003 holding office through both the BSE and Foot & Mouth crises. During this period he also represented the NFU on the Kirkburton Parish Council Environment Committee.

Robert said of his nomination as Green Party candidate,

“I will aim to make a real difference as a local Councillor for the Kirkburton Ward. It is an area I know well and have a genuine concern for, which goes beyond party politics. I already engage with local groups in the area and am always keen to see community involvement in the delivery of local projects. During my time as Chairman of the Parish Council I was able to meet and help a number of community organisations across the area so I feel well placed and up for the challenge of representing our area at the Kirklees level.”

Councillor Derek Hardcastle said,

“People who know Robert know he can be trusted, is straightforward and hardworking . He is a real asset to our area and I would greatly value his support on Kirklees Council.”

Green Party Council Leader Councillor Andrew Cooper,

“I’m really pleased Robert has been selected as our prospective candidate. His knowledge of rural and community issues is very strong and he brings a whole new set of skills to the Green Party Team.”

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Councillor Andrew Cooper –Annual Report 2011 to Newsome Ward residents

Councillor Andrew Cooper –Annual Report 2011

This has been my twelfth year as one of your local Councillors and almost certainly one of the busiest I can remember. Much of the beginning of 2011 was dedicated to the Kirklees Council budget as we grappled with the £80 million of cuts imposed on Kirklees by the Coalition Government. I spent hours in budget meetings going over proposals to come up with a solution which did not result in huge cuts to adult social care. In the end I and my Green Party colleagues were not prepared to vote for the Kirklees budget as a matter of conscience and principle. We could not vote for a budget which saw care for older people reduced from £52 million to around £40 million over the next 4 years and Day Care Services to drop from £5.3 million to £1.5 million and all this at a time when the demand for these services is likely to rise. All this is happening at a time when the banks are seemingly unscathed, benefits are being cut and services are disappearing all around us.

Planning was also a major item for me in this Council year. I was the only Councillor, not on the Planning Committee to speak against the proposed Tesco development to be built on the site of the current Sports Centre. Bizarrely many of the Councillors on the Planning Committee had huge reservations but ended up voting for it. Could it have been anything to do with the ‘bung’ Kirklees were getting from Tesco to build a new Sports Centre at Springwood? Also last month I attended and spoke at the Public Enquiry into the Tesco Planning Decision along with Barry Sheerman MP who spoke in favour of the Planning Decision being overturned.

Another key big issue this year was changes to planning policy both at the national and local level. The Coalition Government has introduced a new National Planning Policy Framework which in a nutshell makes it easier for developers to build on greenfield sites. I have spoke out regarding this issue at a number of meetings including a well attended one at Hall Bower Chapel. I have also used links with the Local Government Association to get some direct input into the Conservative Minister responsible Eric Pickles MP. As things stand I don’t anticipate much change. At the Kirklees level we have the Local Development Framework which will contain the policies which guide where housing will and will not be developed working with Julie and Graham we are continuing to press hard on the Labour led Council not to allocate greenfield land for development we have particularly mentioned land adjacent to New Laithe Hill and Jackroyd Lane on a number of occasions. We’ll keep people updated with developments.

I was particularly pleased this year to welcome Green Party leader Caroline Lucas MP to Huddersfield. She spoke at a meeting in February in the Hudawi Centre about her work as an MP and the impact of government cuts.

The Newsome Ward continues to be a national beacon for renewable energy and I was able to help Newsome South Methodist Church with sourcing funding to get solar panels installed on their roof. The Church did a lot of fund raising itself and the panels will help them save electricity costs and provide funds to keep this well used community building going.

When I first started knocking on doors in Newsome in 1993 I took up the issue of traffic calming on Hangingstone Road Berry Brow. This year we finally got the funding sorted out. I asked the Highways Engineer leading the project how old he was in 1993 and he told me he was just 5! In the end the real success of this was local people getting together to put their case strongly to Kirklees with me as local councillor providing help and guidance.

I continue to be a strong supporter of the Growing Newsome project and I share an allotment in Primrose Hill where I’ve grown food now for the last couple of years. I‘m especially pleased that the Stirley Farm project is up and running to support local food initiatives and it now has its own cattle in addition to its vegetable and fruit growing activities. It is important that the green land around the area is worked and useful to protect it from those would see it as ripe development land but it is also a great project in its own right and lots of local people are getting involved.

One issue which has affected a great number of people in the Ward has been Labour’s proposed £30 charge for permit parking. Many people in Aspley, Highfields and Springwood are on low or fixed incomes and even though many don’t have, or can’t afford, a car they are able to offer visitors, carers and relatives a car parking space. This proposed charge is effectively a £30 increase on the Council Tax for people who are generally on lower incomes. I have been very vocal on this issue in Council and have asked for an equalities impact assessment to be carried out on this decision.

I was originally a sceptic but now have a ‘blog’ which is basically an online diary of my views and opinions on things affecting the Newsome Ward and Kirklees in general. Again I was sceptical about Twitter but now I am an avid user of it. If you want to ‘follow’ me I’m at @clrandrewcooper

My New Year will begin as it did last year driving Newsome’s New Years Day Bus Service. This is now in it’s 19th year and thanks to everyone who helps with and uses this service.

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Andrew Cooper

Monday, 5 December 2011

Solar Downfall - Hilarious!

Feed In Tariff letters in Huddersfield Examiner

Another recent exchange of emails regarding the cut to the solar PV Feed In Tariffs in theHuddersfield Examiner. RJ Bray can be forgiven for taking some of the dubious misinformation from Government and in the papers about the cost of Feed In Tariffs at face value but maybe not on describing me as "Clr Khan’s friendly Green ". More research required R J! If he'd stuck 'occasionally' in front that would be fine! Anyway here's R J followed by myself

KIRKLEES Council leader Clr Mehboob Khan’s latest gripe is that money which he hoped to receive for a solar energy panel scheme which were to be fitted to 1,000 council properties has now been cancelled.

Clr Khan’s friendly Green Clr Andrew Cooper told the Examiner that it was a blow to the elderly and vulnerable people currently living in fuel poverty.

So does Clr Cooper’s statement mean that there are only 1,000 people in the Huddersfield area living in fuel poverty and all are currently living in council property? I think not.

Come the cold months myself and her that shall be obeyed will be wearing more layers than an onion has skins due to the criminally high energy prices.

Clr Khan and Clr Cooper I feel would have more credibility if they represented the collective rather than a select few.

Why do they not campaign for cheaper energy for everyone or more winter fuel allowance for those in more need?

Instead, they help create higher energy bills for people by having them fund through their meters the feed-in tariffs for those who have solar panels or wind turbines.

In this manner they also put more money into the energy companies’ pockets. In all fairness, is this right?

Alternative energy will never drive our country forward. It will have the reverse effect and send our country back to the Stone Age.

Industry along with our homes cannot be sustained by wind, solar or wave power. It’s a little like a dripping tap into an empty reservoir at the height of summer.

The country needs a nuclear project and it needs it now if we are to get away from fossil fuels and be less dependent on gas from overseas. Let’s not forget the madcap carbon capture process that is to get underway at the cost of billions of pounds to the taxpayer along with industry itself.

Maybe Clr Khan and Clr Cooper could ask for some money from that major worthless project called the European Union which drives these schemes.

I agree that we must pollute our atmosphere less and giant steps have been taken – but let us remember that this cannot be at the cost of the extinction of mankind, otherwise what has it all been for?

R J Bray


Read More

To the Editor

RJ Bray (Examiner 3/12) takes me to task for my dismay over the government cuts to the funding of the Feed In Tariff for solar panels and in particular the suspending of the Council scheme to install solar panels on the homes of 1000 Council Tenants. He says,

“does Clr Cooper’s statement mean that there are only 1,000 people in the Huddersfield area living in fuel poverty and all are currently living in council property?”

No I don’t, but it would be a start to help those people by running such a scheme which could then be expanded later. There are also currently schemes available for private householders where the panels are installed for free and the householders get the benefit of the electricity in return for handing the Feed in Tariff to the installing company. A number of households around Huddersfield have done this already. If he wants details I’ll pass them onto him. Of course not everyone can benefit from this scheme due to the orientation or size of their roof but many can. So the existing policy framework for solar is one which many people can take advantage of but changes by the government threaten its viability for everyone.

Mr Bray says that Feed In Tariffs,

“help create higher energy bills for people by having them fund through their meters the feed-in tariffs for those who have solar panels or wind turbines”

The actual impact of the Feed In Tariff policy on energy bills last year was 30p for the average household. This is less than a penny a week. The cost of a new nuclear power station, which Mr Bray is so keen on, can be a round £4.25 Billion and that doesn’t take into account the decommissioning costs and the costly handling of dangerous nuclear waste. This will have a much more significant impact on energy bills.

He asks of myself and Cllr Khan,

“Why do they not campaign for cheaper energy for everyone”

I don’t presume to speak for Cllr Khan but for my part I successfully proposed making insulation free for all householders in Kirklees, I was the trustee of a national fuel poverty charity for 8 years and have helped many householders reduce their fuel bills through advice on energy tariffs and by getting information out to householders on a number of ways to help reduce fuel bills. So I don’t believe I’m deficient in wanting to help people reduce their bills.

Mr Bray goes on to say,

“Industry along with our homes cannot be sustained by wind, solar or wave power.”
I agree to a point. In addition we are going to need greater levels of energy efficiency in buildings better controls and energy management, district heating systems, anaerobic digestion and a whole host of other actions to make the future of energy supply in the UK more secure. Althis l does rather beg a question why only Malta and Luxembourg in Europe have a worse proportion of their energy generated from renewable sources than the UK. What is technically possible on the continent seems somehow difficult here. The laws of physics are not different this side of the channel but some attitudes, prejudices and opinions among some certainly are.

Councillor Andrew Cooper - Green Party

Saturday, 3 December 2011

FIT to drop! Solar PV - A question of priorities

A ground mounted PV install in Brockholes where I live.
Will the flag be at half mast on the 12th of December when the FIT rate drops?

Somehow I can’t separate in my mind the cuts in Solar PV tariffs from other unrelated news items other than they are all outpourings of policy announcements from Government.

The basic mantra from Climate Change Minister Greg Barker is ‘Solar PV is expensive, the tariffs are unaffordable, capital costs are dropping so fast that the FIT is overgenerous that’s why we are cutting it. Its times not right yet for mass deployment, it’s a regressive tax on energy bills and adversely affects the fuel poor. Its like the poll tax and we all know how unpopular that was!’

This line doesn’t stand a lot of examination but it represents their expressed views and it would seem that DECC have pulled the drawbridge up on this one and are sticking their fingers in their ears to reasoned argument. So given it only cost a few million last year, the equivalent of 30p on the average energy bill what other things have the government been spending our money on? Well there’s the £600 million for Free Schools, a totally unnecessary support for a new school system usually parent led which will run parallel and in addition to local authority schools. There was the £250 million by Eric Pickles offered to councils to recommence weekly bin collections which actually nobody is much bothered about. Then there’s all the money for new infrastructure projects that has been announced this week. All this yet solar PV a technology that has been made available for the fuel rich and the fuel poor, that can be quickly deployed, that significantly reduces fuel cost and carbon emissions is regarded as too expensive (it isn’t). It simply doesn’t add up as an argument. You can’t really believe that they believe it. When we are talking about expanding nuclear generation this is couched in the terms of energy security and there’s no real reference to the impact on energy bills. The same arguments could be used for solar PV but they aren’t. So what is really going on? I’ll stick my neck out and say that it must be lobbying from the energy generators and suppliers. How would you feel if your monopoly over the provision of electricity was under threat from millions of people sticking solar panels on their roofs and then you have to pay them for the privilege. I’ve heard no mutterings, I have no proof but given the government’s position on FITs isn’t really credible this seems like a believable explanation. DECC Ministers may wag their fingers at the suppliers and generators but ultimately they’re going to need them to pursue their energy ambitions for new nuclear. May lord have mercy on us all!