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Friday, 28 April 2017

Being Green #MyManifesto week four


Take me Higher - Aspiration not Austerity
Everyone needs encouragement whether starting out or later in life. There has to be a culture in which aspiration is encouraged and nurtured [read more]

Ban the Bombmongers...
Tory Sir Michael Fallon's extraordinary statement declaring the UK's Nuclear arsenal is no longer considered just as a deterrent but as the possibility of a first stike... [read more]

Stop calling us Ordinary, we're all Extraordinary!
I know I'm not the only one who gets infuriated when politicians refer to the general public as 'Ordinary People'! How very dare politicians unilaterally decide to distinguish themselves as Extraordinary whilst implying the rest of society isn't? [read more]

Learning not Loading - Love your Teachers
So everyone needs to value our teachers more. Let us allow our teachers to inspire without the enormous burden of endlessly having to submit data [read more]


and from:
Being Green - #MyManifesto week three

Don't throw your love away - Love not Litter
My local rant about the weekend litter around the bins on Mersea has received more views, to date, than all the previous blogs below [read more]
Be Ye Transformed - Rich but not Wealthy  Part Two of my previous day's post as we still consider the ramifications of the forthcoming snap election whilst in the throes of challenging for the local county council elections [read more]

Equality not Inequality - Looking Through You
A reaction to the news of the snap election focusing on how inequality blights this country and increases poverty [read more]

What is Normal? Discover not Dismiss
Celebrating the diversity of the human condition. Therefore relishing campaigning for more support for those that need to rely on extra care - whether from disability, illness, old age or dementia and championing the many Guardian Angels in our midst [read more]


and from:
Being Green - #MyManifesto week two

Welcome not Waiting - transforming finances...
A criticism levied at political parties when they criticise a rampant austerity policy is “how will you pay for everything?”. For the Green Party some major contributions to the public purse seem all too obvious with the response “stop commissioning white elephants”! [read more]
Homes not Houses - Wherever I lay my hat, that's my home...
It seems every hamlet, town, village and city is under pressure to accept unsustainable housing quotas. The Green vision is for the creation of affordable, energy efficient homes rather than comply with excessive, energy hungry property developments. [read more]

Health not Wealth - Song for Nye
We need to recapture the vision of Nye Bevan and restore the NHS to its rightful place of a fully funded public service to all rather than a creeping privatisation primarily serving shareholders. It is abundantly clear the NHS needs substantial investment and appears to be feared by some members of the current government. [read more]

Trust not Terror - Mersea Island beach hut fire... My short report and photographs from the morning after. I support our police, military and emergency services receiving extra funding rather than the crippling budget cuts they are enduring. How much better would it be if our communities and the true public servants felt secure and valued? [read more]


and from:
Being Green - #MyManifesto week one

May the Fourth be with you...
One month until May the Fourth be with you when it will be: Essex County Council elections day too! [read more]

Travel not Traffic
The Green vision is to re-vitalise and re-own public transport as well as encouraging cycling and walking. Problems of congestion and parking are simply caused by too greater dependence on private cars and the more on the road the greater the air pollution. [read more]

Nature not Nuclear
Old nuclear has served its time but left a dangerous and lengthy legacy of radioactive waste. It is urgent and essential to invest in developing renewable technologies for the future of our country and planet. [read more]
Respect not Reject
In these politically turbulent times politically we need to be a country that offers empathy toward those who suffer from the terror of trafficking and war.

P

Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Banks, both of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Take me Higher - Aspiration not Austerity


To make an idea come to life is always going to involve hard work. The ratio of inspiration to perspiration is always going to favour the latter! However, there has to be an environment in which aspiration is encouraged and nurtured.

Ironically, sometimes the energy for embarking on a visionary project can be birthed in the very circumstances you want to leave behind. Even relative poverty can be the driver to pursue your original idea. But that should never, ever be used to justify Tory style policies of austerity.

The Green Party is committed to building a fairer and more equitable society with policies that will give the opportunity to be aspirational:

  • Citizen's Income - where everyone has an income regardless. This actually saves taxpayer's money
  • Three Day Weekend - a vision to improve health and wellbeing - yielding more efficiency and safer productivity

Furthermore their is a rational commitment to reducing spending on flagship, grandstanding projects:

  • NO HS2
  • NO Hinkley Point C
  • NO Trident renewal

Let's move away from complacency and cynicism. They are the greatest hindrance to aspiration.

And on that note it is just one week to the Essex County Council Elections, make your voice heard by voting Green!

P

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

Ban the Bombmongers...



Although I consider negative campaigning somewhat of a soft option I could not let this moment pass. A couple of days ago the so called Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon speaking on BBC Radio 4 Today's programme stated "We have made it very clear that you can't rule out nuclear weapons as a first strike". Now this is an incredibly dangerous statement that has serious implications.

Firstly I think it is important to recall that it was this same Michael Fallon that, on the appointment of Jeremy Corbyn to Labour Party Leader, repeated ad nauseam on news broadcasts that Mr Corbyn's dire faults included "a threat to our national security". This is because of Mr Corbyn's history with the Campaign For Nuclear Disarmament (CND). Ever since the criticism of the Labour Leader has been relentless in respect of his views that he would not consider pressing the nuclear button in response to a nuclear attack. Good for him!

Secondly Parliament has been persuaded that the whole point of the Trident renewal programme is based on the premise of the UK needing a Nuclear deterrent. However, this latest statement, which included that chilling phrase "first strike", therefore means the Tory government no longer considers our nuclear arsenal as a deterrent but one of an initial attack as a Nuclear Aggressor.

I put it to you that Sir Michael Fallon is a danger to our national security, a warmonger and, along with his cronies, is not fit to serve this country. Ban the bomb, ban the Tories and Vote Green for our National Security...

Here endeth the Lesson

P


Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Banks, both of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD

Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Stop calling us Ordinary, we're all Extraordinary!


I know I'm not the only one who gets infuriated when politicians refer to the general public as 'Ordinary People'! It seems to appear during every Party Political Broadcast, quoted during interviews and used by BBC Questiontime panels. It is such an insult! How very dare politicians unilaterally decide to distinguish themselves as Extraordinary whilst implying the rest of society isn't?

People are ALL extraordinary and, if I am to make my point completely inclusive, EVEN politicians!!!

It is inevitable that whatever career or vocation you follow that there is a 'bubble' factor in that it takes a degree of extra effort to look beyond the boundaries you find yourself in. However, that should not be used as an excuse to continue to use inappropriate categorisations of the 'Other'.

In the Green Party we are blessed with having such an extraordinary Member of Parliament in Caroline Lucas. If you have yet to read her book 'Honourable Friends?' then now is the perfect time before this snap General Election to see why voting Green is Extraordinary!

P


Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Banks, both of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD

Monday, 24 April 2017

Learning not Loading - Love your Teachers


My first proper, full time job was as a schoolteacher. I'd just left university (UEA), having struggled through my physics degree, and had not secured a job despite having run a up a sizeable debt buying my first Hammond organ. The doors of the music business were not flung wide open and I was bandless and, frankly, clueless!

As one of the first ever Uni graduates from my old school, Gaynes School Upminster, I visited to say thanks to teaching staff and found myself promptly ushered into the headmaster's study and interrogated as to my career plans. My two cunning, alternative plans of becoming a rock music star or steam engine driver were, putting it politely, frowned upon! However, I walked out with a completely unexpected job offer.

As it turned out it was another couple of years before it became possible for me to take the plunge into full time music. But my time in the teaching profession was formative and I loved it. It is clear to me that the job has radically changed since back then. Now there is a disproportionate onus on submitting data to faceless bureaucrats rather than being the role model that inspires the next generations.

And teachers are given such a hard time in the press! I find the whole business of parents going to court to challenge schools about taking time out during term time astonishing... no one ever mentions the scandalous outcry that would ensue if teachers decided they should take advantage of out of season air fares?

So everyone needs to value our teachers more. Let us allow our teachers to inspire without the enormous burden of endlessly having to submit data.

And thanks, you certainly inspired me...

P


Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Banks, both of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD

Saturday, 22 April 2017

Being Green - #MyManifesto week three


Don't throw your love away - Love not Litter
My local rant about the weekend litter around the bins on Mersea has received more views, to date, than all the previous blogs below [read more]
Be Ye Transformed - Rich but not Wealthy  Part Two of my previous day's post as we still consider the ramifications of the forthcoming snap election whilst in the throes of challenging for the local county council elections [read more]

Equality not Inequality - Looking Through You
A reaction to the news of the snap election focusing on how inequality blights this country and increases poverty [read more]

What is Normal? Discover not Dismiss
Celebrating the diversity of the human condition. Therefore relishing campaigning for more support for those that need to rely on extra care - whether from disability, illness, old age or dementia and championing the many Guardian Angels in our midst [read more]


and from:
Being Green - #MyManifesto week two

Welcome not Waiting - transforming finances...
A criticism levied at political parties when they criticise a rampant austerity policy is “how will you pay for everything?”. For the Green Party some major contributions to the public purse seem all too obvious with the response “stop commissioning white elephants”! [read more]
Homes not Houses - Wherever I lay my hat, that's my home...
It seems every hamlet, town, village and city is under pressure to accept unsustainable housing quotas. The Green vision is for the creation of affordable, energy efficient homes rather than comply with excessive, energy hungry property developments. [read more]

Health not Wealth - Song for Nye
We need to recapture the vision of Nye Bevan and restore the NHS to its rightful place of a fully funded public service to all rather than a creeping privatisation primarily serving shareholders. It is abundantly clear the NHS needs substantial investment and appears to be feared by some members of the current government. [read more]

Trust not Terror - Mersea Island beach hut fire... My short report and photographs from the morning after. I support our police, military and emergency services receiving extra funding rather than the crippling budget cuts they are enduring. How much better would it be if our communities and the true public servants felt secure and valued? [read more]


and from:
Being Green - #MyManifesto week one

May the Fourth be with you...
One month until May the Fourth be with you when it will be: Essex County Council elections day too! [read more]

Travel not Traffic
The Green vision is to re-vitalise and re-own public transport as well as encouraging cycling and walking. Problems of congestion and parking are simply caused by too greater dependence on private cars and the more on the road the greater the air pollution. [read more]

Nature not Nuclear
Old nuclear has served its time but left a dangerous and lengthy legacy of radioactive waste. It is urgent and essential to invest in developing renewable technologies for the future of our country and planet. [read more]
Respect not Reject
In these politically turbulent times politically we need to be a country that offers empathy toward those who suffer from the terror of trafficking and war.

P

Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Banks, both of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD

Friday, 21 April 2017

Don't throw your love away - Love not Litter



I find it very difficult to be positive about litter! So, instead, I decided to respond to plenty of online ire about the litter near me on Coast Road, signed up to be one of Colchester Borough's Litter Warriors team and get my hands (well, gloves!) dirty. Now this is not a pleasant job at all but, as the saying goes, someone needs to do it otherwise, overnight, the seagulls and foxes transform the adjacent landscape into a piece of kinetic modern art worthy of display in the turbine hall at Tate Modern (just jokin').
I perceive there has been a cultural change in the attitudes towards litter in that there is a responsibility to want to dispose of litter but at the expense of abandoning the better practice of taking it home and, if no space left in the bin, piling it up alongside for volunteers, like yours truly, to clear up.


I'm not sure if there is an easy answer as it seems to be that piling it up is preferable to discarding anywhere. It begs the question: would removing bins make it worse or would that force folk to take their waste home? What I can say authoritatively is that the Island's food vendors must look beyond their forecourts to see how much the bulk of their boxes, rather than simple (news)paper wrapping, causes the bins to overflow far too quickly. Show responsibility where it is clearly due, please. I must stress that West Mersea Town Council is mindful of these issues and has recently changed the process around bin emptying. This has moved responsibility onto Colchester Borough's contractors and, since that contract commenced this April, has worked well. The exception was the incredibly mild and sunny weekend a couple of weeks ago, I collected 9 bags in total, 2 on the Saturday and 7 Sunday, just from the mess around the bin at Monkey Steps and the two bins by the Boardwalk... Rant over, to be continued! P

Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Banks, both of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD

Thursday, 20 April 2017

Be Ye Transformed - Rich but not Wealthy...


This is a quick Part Two from my post yesterday as we still consider the ramifications of the forthcoming snap election whilst in the throes of challenging for the local county council elections.

The religious folk will appreciate the first part of the title above comes from the Bible (Romans chapter 12) and the section I refer to is "be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind". Generally a lot of religious activity is perceived as 'mindless', whether that be repeating the same words week on week or in a violent response. Yet what this is saying is contrary, start thinking differently, don't go with the status quo, refresh the grey matter...

The second half of the title is a comment I heard from a First Nation Indigenous Native Tribal Chief living in what we call North America. The context was an interview with a tribal chief about the financial prospects within his reservation where a restriction was about to be lifted which would yield an exclusive revenue stream. The interviewer suggested that these folk would now 'become rich' and the wise response was "we've always been rich, just not wealthy". The reason it stuck with me is because of equating both the word "rich" and "wealthy" with money was a narrow perception. We can now also see to be rich can actually have a much wider meaning to do with history, culture and knowledge.

So where am I going with this?

I very much see the Green Party is able to fulfil and match these points because it thinks differently:

  • Whilst employment figures are needed, contentment in employment is more important.
  • National security should not be defended by an out of date (and probably faulty) nuclear deterrent but rather by, as a minimum, equipping our armed forces with appropriate protective wear and by recruiting more police.
  • Our Benefits system could be completely overhauled by implementing a Citizen's Income model.
  • Our public transport systems can be revitalised by cancelling the ridiculous HS2 project and returning services to public ownership where we can share the profits.
  • Instead of planning for more traffic we need to switch to zero emission vehicles and reduce car ownership. This will protect urban and rural air quality.
  • Our investment into the NHS has to increase massively, even if it means a tiny, negligible increase in taxation along with marrying both health and social care.
  • Scrap plans for Hinkley Point C, Sizewell C and Bradwell B. Within the renewable energy sector invest in energy reduction, community energy and energy storage systems... creates plenty of jobs!
(watch this space - I will probably add to this!)

P

Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Banks, both of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Equality not Inequality - Looking through you...



So we've had the announcement, confirming some rumours late in 2016, just when you thought it was time to draw breath, another election, this time, the big one! Of course, it means all the non-in-power parties have to rush around with just a few weeks to make their pitches. It is unlikely the polls will be massively incorrect this time, so the outcome is both a foregone conclusion and challenging.

Here, on Mersea Island, during the 2015 hustings held in the local parish church there was a question about Food Banks. Bernard Jenkin (Conservative) answered the question with a flourish of positivity suggesting that Food Banks were wonderful and to be applauded. Apart from the resulting derision from the assembled masses two things stuck in my mind. Firstly was the extent to which he completely misgauged how to approach an answer and secondly how he refused to see there was even one speck of responsibility of the (then) Coalition Government's austerity measures.

Inequality blights this country and whilst I do not for one minute imagine society all at the same level I absolutely believe a more equitable one can exist. And where this has been achieved in other countries their world is better with better employment, lifestyle and minimal crime. The Green Party has positive ideas to move towards this goal and I applaud its vision.

P


Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Banks, both of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD

Tuesday, 18 April 2017

What is Normal? Discover not Dismiss...



Back in the early noughties I attended an inspiring and prophetic lecture by Peter Cochrane, a technical futurologist, who laid out some predictions. The significant core of his presentation was how the public would research less and less using reference books / papers and, instead, would seek information predominantly online using Wikipedia pages and search engine results.

Roll forward to today, 15 years on, and we have seen the emergence of the expression 'Alternative Facts' referring to a piece of false propaganda. Beyond this we have seen the use of online health diagnosis tools to such an extent that it seems we can decide nearly everyone is afflicted by some obscure condition or another.

So, surely the question "what is normal" is somewhat obtuse?

In the past, folk with an apparent mental illness, including stress disorders attributed to military service plus those on the Autistic Spectrum were often banished to institutions into living conditions that would now be considered appalling.

Right now, and speaking from personal experience, I want to celebrate the diversity of the human condition. Therefore I relish campaigning for more support for those that need to rely on extra care - whether from disability, illness, old age or dementia and championing the many Guardian Angels in our midst.


P
Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Banks, both of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD

Monday, 17 April 2017

Bradwell B: expensive, dangerous, unnecessary



will hold an
Open Meeting on 25 April at 7.30 pm
at
United Reform Church Hall, Market Hill, Maldon CM9 4PZ
(parking at central White Horse Lane or Butt Lane public car parks, £1 in evenings)
A new nuclear power station
at Bradwell – expensive,
dangerous and unnecessary

Speakers

Prof. Stephen Thomas, University of Greenwich, Expert in Energy Policy Prof. Andy Blowers, OBE, Open University, Chair of BANNG, author of The Legacy of Nuclear Power (2017) Prof. Keith Barnham, Nuclear & Solar Physicist, Imperial College London, author of The Burning Answer: A User’s Guide to the Solar Revolution (2015)

There will also be a Question and Answer session.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Being Green - #MyManifesto week two

Welcome not Waiting - transforming finances...
A criticism levied at political parties when they criticise a rampant austerity policy is “how will you pay for everything?”. For the Green Party some major contributions to the public purse seem all too obvious with the response “stop commissioning white elephants”! [read more]
Homes not Houses - Wherever I lay my hat, that's my home...
It seems every hamlet, town, village and city is under pressure to accept unsustainable housing quotas. The Green vision is for the creation of affordable, energy efficient homes rather than comply with excessive, energy hungry property developments. [read more]

Health not Wealth - Song for Nye
We need to recapture the vision of Nye Bevan and restore the NHS to its rightful place of a fully funded public service to all rather than a creeping privatisation primarily serving shareholders. It is abundantly clear the NHS needs substantial investment and appears to be feared by some members of the current government. [read more]

Trust not Terror - Mersea Island beach hut fire... My short report and photographs from the morning after. I support our police, military and emergency services receiving extra funding rather than the crippling budget cuts they are enduring. How much better would it be if our communities and the true public servants felt secure and valued? [read more]


and from:
Being Green - #MyManifesto week one

May the Fourth be with you...
One month until May the Fourth be with you when it will be: Essex County Council elections day too! [read more]

Travel not Traffic
The Green vision is to re-vitalise and re-own public transport as well as encouraging cycling and walking. Problems of congestion and parking are simply caused by too greater dependence on private cars and the more on the road the greater the air pollution. [read more]

Nature not Nuclear
Old nuclear has served its time but left a dangerous and lengthy legacy of radioactive waste. It is urgent and essential to invest in developing renewable technologies for the future of our country and planet. [read more]

Respect not Reject
In these politically turbulent times politically we need to be a country that offers empathy toward those who suffer from the terror of trafficking and war.

P

Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Banks, both of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Sorrow in my heart - Garden of Gethsemane

Welcome not Waiting, transforming finances...


A criticism levied at political parties when they criticise a rampant austerity policy is “how will you pay for everything?”. For the Green Party some major contributions to the public purse seem all too obvious with the response “stop commissioning white elephants”!

Contained within the Government’s Major Project Portfolio is a staggering list of troubling entries concerning hospitals and the benefits system. However, it is the so called ‘flagship’ projects that provide ready answers to the fiscal equation.

So let’s re-allocate funds from:

HS2
Hinkley Point C
Trident


This could enable transformation of the NHS, social care, nursing homes, schools, emergency services and infrastructure. That's just for starters.

P


Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Banks, both of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Wherever I lay my hat, that's my home...




I remember how difficult it was to secure a mortgage back when I purchased my first home a few decades ago. I admit we had to tap into an ‘old boy’s network’ that my dad was on the edge of to even open the door of the building society. Nowadays it seems to be the opposite extreme where borrowing has become the easy part of the process.


And as a result of this there is now an uncomfortable truth in that the perception has changed. Often ‘Houses’ are talked about rather than ‘Homes’ and where the purchase is seen more of  as an investment. It is said you can tell how well a country is doing economically by seeing how many houses are being built. However, surely reducing a multilayered, complex issue to such a simplistic formula is misleading?

Running alongside the critical need for accommodation is a larger investment model, one where often overseas finance enables a property developer to build prestige flats in a prime location that often remain empty, sometimes decaying, whilst the investor reaps their reward remotely.


The current government is effectively imposing new housing quotas onto local authorities which then attempt to fulfil these by expecting local communities to shoulder a proportion of that burden. The principles behind this process are contained within a government white paper called the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), a document I am now all too familiar with!


This is how Neighbourhood Plans (NP) came about. Each parish or town council can encourage a local committee to voluntarily produce a document (NP) to moderate their local authorities requirements laid out in the Local Plan (LP) by, in our case, Colchester Borough Council (CBC).


Without the Local Plan and, to a lesser extent, a Neighbourhood Plan the problem arises in that it plays into the hands of the larger developers to build larger, therefore more profitable houses, rather than determining what the actual housing needs are and then building homes that match those needs.


It is an irony that often the so called ‘affordable homes’ in new developments are not bought by local folk, they simply cannot afford them, and that can lead to just the arrival of the wealthy retired and then departure of the younger locals . How much better would it be to concentrate on smaller, energy efficient homes targeted mainly for the younger couples and families. With homes built to a Passivhaus standard or similar eco-home model running costs would be manageable and the load on the utilities would be reduced. This is what I am encouraging in West Mersea’s Neighbourhood Plan.


I have attended the CBC Local Plan meetings (I know how to party!) and seen firsthand how it has been moderated as a result of both public response and local  council’s input. So despite the concerns I have I am optimistic that our Neighbourhood Plan will be the method to navigate a positive way forward for our local community.

P


Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Banks, both of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD

Monday, 10 April 2017

Song for Nye - Health not Wealth


“It's also meant to celebrate the amazing women and men who work selflessly within it. The care they give is a beautiful thing and make our lives better in so many ways. Yes there are problems, but as the song reminds us, try falling sick in the USA and see what it costs you.” Martyn Joseph quoted here: http://eyesopenmedia.co.uk/blog/martyn-joseph-nye
We need to recapture the vision of Nye Bevan and restore the NHS to its rightful place of a fully funded public service to all rather than a creeping privatisation primarily serving shareholders. It is abundantly clear the NHS needs substantial investment and appears to be feared by some members of the current government.

P
Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Banks, both of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Mersea Island beach hut fire...


So this happened overnight, early Sunday morning, around 10 of the unique Mersea Island beach huts completely destroyed. At the time of writing the true cause has not been established. However, assumptions are readily made, particularly as there have been spates of vandalism up and down the rows of huts. However this was triggered it doesn't alter the heartbreak of the destruction of someone's little corner of personal paradise.


It is inevitable that the lack of a regular police attendance here on Mersea will be raised. Regardless of whether it is proven that this inferno was actually caused by vandals I do support the view that a greater police presence is very much needed. But that is definitely not limited to just this wee fair isle.


Therefore I support our police, military and emergency services receiving extra funding rather than the crippling budget cuts they are enduring. How much better would it be if our communities and the true public servants felt secure and valued?

P
Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Banks, both of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Being Green - #MyManifesto week one


May the Fourth be with you...
One month until May the Fourth be with you when it will be: Essex County Council elections day too! [read more]

Travel not Traffic
The Green vision is to re-vitalise and re-own public transport as well as encouraging cycling and walking. Problems of congestion and parking are simply caused by too greater dependence on private cars and the more on the road the greater the air pollution. [read more]

Nature not Nuclear
Old nuclear has served its time but left a dangerous and lengthy legacy of radioactive waste. It is urgent and essential to invest in developing renewable technologies for the future of our country and planet. [read more]

Respect not Reject
In these politically turbulent times politically we need to be a country that offers empathy toward those who suffer from the terror of trafficking and war.

P



Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Banks, both of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD

Thursday, 6 April 2017

Nature not Nuclear - Presentation Notes






Over the last 60+ years commercial nuclear power stations in the UK have produced a vast amount of energy that we readily consumed along with other similarly huge quantities generated by coal and gas fired plants. Now there are also the ‘green’ renewable sources such as tidal, solar and wind in the mix.


With central government and lobbying groups all vying for our attention along with honourable aspirations for an environmentally survivable future are there answers to the conundrums that pervade the energy landscape? With the rapid developments in technology and the popular will to defend our planet are we also ready to contribute to a greater plan by reducing our own consumption?


So in this article I want to provide some tools to navigate a way through these questions. Whilst this will not be particularly complex the arithmetic itself may be best tackled with a calculator.


Energy and Power - spot the difference


A useful starting point would be to consider what is the distinction between energy and power and the comparison between the various sources.


Our electricity usage is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh). This is the energy we’ve used. Power is the rating of a particular device or process. So a 100W bulb needs 100 watts of power to make it work. If we have leave this 100W light on for 10 hours the simplest of calculations looks like this:


100 Watts (power) X 10 hours (time) = 1,000Wh which, in turn, is equal to 1kWh


Another example is making a hot drink. I timed my 3kW rated kettle which took 3 minutes to boil. 3 minutes equates to 1/20 of an hour (3/60 in minutes) so the full calculation looks like this:

3kW (power) X 1/20 hours (time) = 0.15kWh, therefore 10 boils per day = 1.5kWh


At first glance it would appear these consumer based examples are fairly irrelevant as far as industrial scale electricity generation by power stations. However, when these examples are scaled up nationally it gives a sense of what the National Grid needs to be capable of addressing. Here are the quantities of measurement that are in use:


1,000 W (watts) = 1 kW (kilowatt)
1,000,000 W or 1,000 kW = 1 MW (megawatt)
1,000,000,000 W or 1,000,000 kW or 1,000 MW = 1GW (gigawatt)
1,000,000,000 kW or 1,000,000 MW or 1,000 GW = 1TW (terawatt)


Now we can compare the output for the UK’s power stations and microgeneration:


Type / Fuel
Name / Location
Maximum Output
Staffing
Coal / Biomass
Drax
3960MW
830
Nuclear
Sizewell B
1195MW
520
Wind Farm
London Array
630MW
90
Gas / CCGT
Enfield Power St
400MW
35
Solar Farm
Langenhoe
22MW
5
Domestic Solar
On the roof
0.004MW
0
Nuclear (closed)
Bradwell A
246MW
500
Nuclear (new?)
Bradwell B
2300MW
500-5,000
Nuclear (new?)
Hinkley Point C
3200MW
500-25,000


List (incomplete) of former and current electricity generating power stations:
UK Nuclear Power Stations Daily Statuses: www.edfenergy.com/energy/power-station/daily-statuses

Energy Demand and Mix


Since the 1920s the demand for energy gradually increased until 2006 and has started to fall ever since:


1920-2015 - Edited (1).png
This is due to a number of factors including product efficiency, LED lighting, wind turbines, solar power and other renewables. The energy contribution from solar power, even in March, makes an identifiable dip in the daytime:
Daily_Energy.png
For a breakdown of sources here is a snapshot taken at 11:50 March 14th 2017:
Screenshot 2017-03-14 at 11.49.29 - Edited.png
The proposed target for CO2 emissions is ~100g/kWh by 2030 yet the largest component of the Energy Mix is gas, a fossil fuel. Furthermore this is just the picture of Electricity generation, it does not include all the gas used for heating and industrial processes. During last summer (2016) coal was eliminated by the contribution of solar and wind, but on certain days during the winter months coal use was up to 17% and gas regularly around 50% during the daytime peak.


The relative contributions can be followed in this graph from data collected over the last 12 months. Whilst renewables very much part of the mix it is clear they cannot yet match current demand:
Screenshot 2017-03-15 at 08.11.51 - Edited.png


Challenge versus Compromise


So the question is how to fully address the two apparently conflicting issues of reducing Carbon whilst providing sufficient generation to matching demand?


Central government is hell bent on answering this apparent paradox by securing overseas investment in untried and experimental technology for massive nuclear power stations. Whilst in operation it is unarguable that the electricity produced would be low carbon, the lifetime CO2 is off the scale along with the price tag. It is established there is no long term solution for nuclear waste beyond temporary storage for 1000s of years.


Meanwhile the same government is claiming Fracking is environmentally friendly and the answer to the need for energy security in gas procurement. Concurrently the government’s investment in developing renewable technologies is derisory, even though viable projects, such as tidal lagoon generation, await the go ahead.


So let’s have a look at the two renewables that are very much in place.
Renewables - wind


Whilst wind and solar are variable and intermittent in the short term, they are surprisingly predictable over extended periods. However, as wind and solar are two of the most visible renewable systems, they come in for the most criticism.


Here is a capture from 1010uk.org/winddial taken on 14th March 2017. The live webpage includes the ability to scroll back and forth to compare output:


Screenshot 2017-03-14 at 16.48.51 - Edited.png
Renewable - domestic solar


Being a bit of a statistics geek I have plotted the output from my roof based solar Photovoltaic (PV) 16 panel system. This graph compares the predicted output to the five year average of actual generation along with input from the National Grid:
solar_data - Edited.png




kWh/year
A
Typical Annual usage
3960
B
Usage for house with 16 panels Solar PV
2506
C
Electricity Saved (A-B)
1454
D
Solar PV Generation
3512



E
Returned to GRID (D-B)
1006


Therefore as my standard solar system produces 1MW per annum we could make an assumption that if every one of the 25 million homes in the UK had a similar solar array then that would yield 25TWh, 7% of the ~360TWh annual demand. However, around midday in the summer, allowing a conservative 2kWh output per roof, the generation would be 50GWh, more than matching demand.


This is idealistic, but the cost of carrying this out is 1/80th of Hinkley Point C!


Maximum Load and Load Factor


We use these units to compare different sources of power and then apply formula to estimate how much each is both capable of and what their expected output could be. These are then placed in this formula to determine the Load Factor:




Let’s start by taking a look at the Load Factor for Wind Turbines. Although the UK has 40% of Europe’s wind a criticism of Turbines is they only run a ⅓ of the year.
An offshore wind turbine (3mW) on the coast the calculation would look like:


There are 8760 hours in a year - 365 days x 24 hrs per day = 8760 hours per annum
The turbine on full output all year round is 8760 x 3mW = 26,280mWh or 26.28GW
It actually produces 30% (26.28GW X 30%) = 7.884GW (because of amount of wind)


7.884
    Load factor -------  x  100 = 30%
26.28


The load factor only really compares efficiency rather than output, nevertheless it reveals another component to be considered in the electrical generation mix. Downtime for maintenance reduces the load factor considerably:


Load Factor of Nuclear, Coal and Gas ~50%


One of the least impressive load factors is of cars, which works out around just 2%.


Typical annual mileage 12000
--------  x  100 = 1.96%
8760 x 70 (mph)      613200
Forward Facing Formulae


Whilst carrying out some of the back of envelope arithmetic as in this article it is not easy to present an obvious and simple solution for a low carbon energy mix. During last year the overall consensus from the Energy Live 2016 conference exhibitors and presenters was about these three missions:


Energy reduction - use of LEDs, demand management (see below)...
Local generation - community projects and rooftop microgeneration…
Storage - from pumped storage to batteries including electric vehicles...


Energy Demand Management


For many of us growing up in the 50s and 60s and even later will remember power cuts. These were relatively frequent compared to today when they are apparently both rare and random, usually accompanied by extreme weather conditions. Furthermore the way electricity provision was managed was solely governed by the guaranteed, regular generation at any given time, referred to as ‘Base Load’. With the huge advances in software control the opposite approach is now taken to manage demand rather than capacity.  


In addition, as battery storage becomes more financially viable, temporary storage of surplus electricity from wind and solar smooth can be utilised to smooth the peaks and troughs of demand. Large scale hydro pumped storage has been around for the last decade or so. Recently new projects have been given the green light to be constructed that essentially pump water to a higher reservoir when demand is lower than supply. Sophisticated software now can reduce the consumption of a larger hotel for a short period to supplement demand and provide payments back to the hotel, see more here:




Every weekday the National Grid face a critical supply 5 minutes, called a TV pickup, when millions of people switch on their kettles after the drums roll in the credits as Eastenders finishes. Typically this 3GW surge is controlled by a duty manager who actually watches the programme to best predict the optimum time to increase supply. This illustrates how vital and instant Energy Demand Management is at the very heart of the National Grid:




In conclusion...


This is an outline document to give perspective to the discussions around the foolishness, anachronism and fiscal recklessness of massive new nuclear projects in the UK. It doesn’t cover topics such as comparative Strike Prices and the role of capitalism in optimising profits for the benefits of shareholders rather than the customers. This latter point effectively reduces the safety margins, especially in huge price tag power stations such as Hinkley Point C.


Equally I hope this piece will encourage reasoned thinking to avoid making assumptions based on little or no mathematical evidence. I trust it has been helpful, you are welcome to respond, details below.


© 2017 - Peter Banks B.Sc.


Peter Banks is the Events Officer for the Colchester & District Green Party and will be standing in the forthcoming Essex County Council elections for the West Mersea & Tiptree district. He serves as a councillor on West Mersea Town Council and is on the Core Steering Committee of the Blackwater Against New Nuclear Group (BANNG).


Promoted by Robbie Spence on behalf of Peter Banks, both of 124 Morant Road, Colchester CO1 2JD