Written evidence submitted by Frank Kennedy,
member of Ormskirk and District Friends of the Earth |
I wish to make this very brief submission as a member
of Ormskirk and District Friends of the Earth.
1. As a voluntary local group, we have only this
week become aware of the consultation and as today is the deadline
for responses we are unable to make a fully considered response.
2. I am aware that North West Environment is
considering a response to the consultation, and indeed have encouraged
this body to do so. In my experience, the standpoint of NWEL would
carry the confidence of a great many local community organisations
which are passionate about the environment and sustainability,
as NWEL is an alliance of most of the major voluntary environmental
organisations across NW England (including Friends of the Earth
3. As the resources of NWEL are so slim and the
bulk of its work is done on a voluntary basis, it has not been
possible to convene members to give due consideration to this
consultation before today's deadline. However, I believe that
the outcomes of its forthcoming conference on 27 October (on the
theme of The Big Society) will valuably inform your Committee.
Ormskirk Friends of the Earth strongly recommends that you take
such NWEL representation into consideration, as we are sure that
your deliberations will not have concluded by the time you receive
4. We are seriously concerned that the abolition
of the SDC will remove a valid independent voice from the vicinity
of Government and tempt future Ministers, Civil Service heads
and political advisers to distance themselves from the "inconvenience"
of advice that conflicts with their short-term political or operational
5. However, we note and appreciate the Government's
commitment to the inclusion of local, voluntary and community
sector involvement in decision-making and implementing. In this
spirit, we urge you to show the flexibility that would allow a
broad base of voluntary environmental carers' views to be taken
into consideration [see point 3].
6. In our local area of Ormskirk, West Lancashire,
we have anecdotal evidence that a great many businesses and organisations
are supportive of the principles of sustainable development as
we see them: a linking of our social, economic and environmental
needs and benefits - and a rejection of the all too common "trading
off" approach which further compromises our future. For example,
a local charity North West Ecological Trust is seeking permission
to erect a wind turbine which will reduce carbon emissions (powering
the Gorse Hill nature reserve site - itself a notable conservation
project) while promoting job opportunities, volunteering and skills
acquisition, and an increase in local food growing.
7. We would conclude that the imperative for
Government - however this is structurally organised - is to provide
the information and genuine incentives for public, private and
community organisations, large and small, to achieve economic
and social goals only in ways which reduce carbon emissions in
line with IPCC and Tyndall Centre findings, and halt the planet-threatening
loss of biodiversity and finite mineral resources. Equally, Government,
alongside international partners, must provide and enforce effective
deterrent penalties to prevent unsustainable conduct - public,
corporate and private.
13 October 2010