Wednesday, 22 March 2017

The Good, The Bad and The Muddly Energy Mix

Presentations and discussions on energy resources and prospects.

Monday 3rd April Firstsite Café - Colchester 7:15pm for 7:30pm

The current government’s energy policy is in disarray. The House of Lord’s is already questioning the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) documentation on energy provision and security. With the challenge of meeting the reduction in Carbon emission levels whilst maintaining sufficient supply is it simply naive to consider that the immediate solution is to rely exclusively on renewable energy?

So please come and contribute to our Energy Matters evening where presentations and collaborative sessions will attempt to navigate a way forward.


Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Love Letters to God - Nahko Bear...

Once seen, never forgotten... Nahko and Medicine for the People were the outstanding musical moment from last year's Greenbelt Festival, an annual pilgrimage. In fact the performance was one of the best gigs I've ever been too. And to be one of the many standing to challenge corporate oil, respect.


Tuesday, 11 October 2016

Living with the local Bradwell Nuclear Dump...

On Friday September 23rd 2016 Essex County Council voted to allow Magnox Limited to move intermediate level nuclear waste from their Sizewell and Dungeness nuclear power stations into the new storage facility to the east of the Bradwell reactor buildings just across the water from Mersea.

The experience of watching the Development and Regulation Committee (think Planning) consider the application swung between watching your sports team playing far better than the opposition yet still conceding against the run of play and a weird, dark drama where the truth is subverted in deference to the Party line by deliberately missing a penalty.

Essentially this application is for a lifting of the planning restrictions the same Council voted for just 4 years ago ie: that the Interim Storage Facility (ISF) could only contain Intermediate Level Waste (ILW) from Bradwell’s own decommissioning processes.

After a lengthy submission by the Planning Officer opportunities were given for pre booked presentations for and against the proposal which could last for only three minutes. First to go was BANNG's Barry Turner who ably delivered a compelling romp through the inconsistencies in the documentation. This was followed by Mrs Judy Lea, from the Maldon area, who gently made emotive points that conveyed the seriousness of the impact this would have. There then followed two brief pitches for the proposal from Magnox and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA - keep up!) which were astonishingly poor in delivery, conviction and believability.

Thereafter the debate was conducted solely by the councillors with Mersea resident Cllr John Jowers (Conservative Party) giving a remarkable sermon in full support of his constituency passionately condemning the proposal. Then, inexplicably, as he neared the end of his contribution confessed he felt bound to vote for the proposal on the grounds of a ‘quasi judicial issue’ simply because it would eventually go through on appeal from Magnox. Astonishing!

The Mersea posse was stunned along with representatives from Tollesbury and Maldon. Furthermore Cllr Jowers was given the impression that the radioactive discharges into the river arising from the Fuel Element Debris (FED) dissolution process have finished. This is fundamentally both erroneous and deeply concerning in that this was not corrected, at the time, by the Planning Officer. I would like to think this would have enabled a vote more in line with conviction rather than acquiescence to national government ‘policy’.

Next to speak was Cllr James Abbott (Green Party) who made specific requests to establish where the data was in the application to support the generic claims made on Climate Change aspects comparing effects of transport versus buildings. This was bounced back to the planning officer who effectively dismissed these points on the basis that Magnox had done their homework, therefore it was fine and also, in his opinion, it was ‘basic common sense’.

Cllr Michael Mackrory (Liberal Democrat Party) also made considered points including drawing reasonable conclusions on the potential high level of risk from the caution given about time windows to transport the ILW containers through villages in the Dengie. Furthermore he was concerned about project creep as he considered members only granted the original permission because of the condition they were now being asked to rescind. Cllr Colin Seagers (Conservative Party) suggested that actually an amount of ‘aforethought’ was Magnox’s ‘intent always to use this as additional storage for other sites’ at the time of the original planning application. Amongst other contributions Cllr Sue Lissimore (Conservative Party) also made a pitch that aligned herself with Cllr Jowers and said she was not comfortable with abstaining... and then abstained.

So respect to Cllrs Abbott and Mackrory for having the spine to vote in line with the courage of their convictions, the laws of physics and putting people above political and fiscal expediency. For the BANNG team I travelled with and yours truly it was both shocking and disappointing. However, on reflection that personal disappointment is tempered with the determination to do much more…

We all know that what looms on the horizon is massive, let’s choose to sing in perfect harmony… all together now “there may be trouble ahead”.

Peter Banks - First appeared in the Mersea Island Courier 2nd October 2016

Click here to hear full audio from Essex County Council website

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Colchester Green Electric Car Event

We had a great time at the Colchester and District Green Party's EV Workshop in and outside the impressive Firstsite Art Gallery. Check out the video above from one of our Q & A contributors James Cooke.

An unexpected delight was fellow EV car drivers turning up and aligning their cars alongside the display models, an embodiment of a like minded community!

Here are some further links to websites and commentators we mentioned during the presentations:

Darren Smith's featured car, Nissan LEAF:

James Cooke’s YouTube Channel:

Tesla Motors UK:

Robert Llewellyn’s TEDx talk:

Fully Charged YouTube channel:

Electric Highway:

UK Grid displays:

(alternative for more detail but excludes Solar)

I've had a few requests for more information on my own LEAF purchase and am more than happy to share the figures if you get in touch.


Monday, 19 September 2016

After The Fire Spotify Chart (for statistics nerds)

1Der KommissarDKCBS1,003,100
3One Rule For YouDKCBS22,792
4Laser LoveDKCBS9,769
6Who's Gonna Love You?DKCBS8,121
8Rich BoysDKCBS6,486
10Dancng in the ShadowsDKCBS4,890
11Love will always make you cryDKCBS4,627
12Frozen RiversDKCBS4,578
13Billy, BillyDKCBS4,454
14Sailing ShipDKCBS3,411
15Bright LightsBBCAA2,218
16Life in the CityBBCAA2,102
17Dance of the MarionetteSoCAA1,896
18Suspended AnimationBBCAA1,544
20A Little Sun, A Little RainBBCAA1,375
21Back to the LightSoCAA1,344
22Now that I've FoundSoCAA1,308
23Time to ThinkBBCAA1,229
24Step by StepAT2FAA1,170
25Signs of ChangeSoCAA1,169
26Like the Power of a JetBBCAA1,103
ATF post 2005
28Der Kommissar (re-recorded & remastered)SingleAA/Cleo362,551
29Der KommissarORRMX14,400
32One Rule For YouORRMX1,710
33Dungeon GhylORRMX1,497
34High FashionORRMX1,471
35Laser LoveORRMX1,212
36Dancing in the ShadowsORRMX1,129

Label Key: CBS = CBS / Epic / Sony : AA = Angel Air Records : Cleo = Cleopatra : RMX = Roughmix

Over the weekend (10th Sept 2016) Der Kommissar went past 1 million plays - so a statistic like that gets me going! Certainly the songs that were singles do well, but there are notable absences that were popular live.