Thursday, 31 July 2014

Sunday Aug 3rd: A Vigil for Gaza, Hull

WHAT'S NEXT?

We are now working towards filling a coach for London for the huge demonstration planned for next Saturday 9th August.  Contacts to Martin Deane, martinjdeane@gmail.com, 07935 036211. 

Some people brought flowers for the babies killed, their names and ages on labels, and a small teddy bear attached.

Thank you to ALL who came today... We were about 100. All who held a flag. All who read some names. All who reflected on the fragility of human life when confronted with a war machine. 

We donated money for Palestinian relief.  £300 was donated that day to Medical Aid for Palestinians.Well done. This is a top charity in the field. http://www.map-uk.org/ 

We stood in a circle and shared out the names of the dead among people who came, Christians, Muslims, others, those of no faith. We read out hundreds of names of Palestinian dead - from babies to 80 years old. Including the 4 children killed playing football on the beach.

Towards the end we read out some Israeli names of the dead. Mostly soldiers, reflecting the reality.

We collected names and signatures on a petition to go to Hull’s 3 MPs. This calls for MPs to work towards sanctions on Israel, an arms embargo from Britain, and to bringing Israel to the International Criminal Court for its actions in Gaza.

Hull Palestine Solidarity

Friday, 11 July 2014

Jon and Val Mager - fracking protest charges dropped

Well what do you know!?

The trial of Jon and Val Mager, arrested over fracking in this area, was set for 31st July - but the CPS have just dropped all the charges! The first arrests in the E Yorks for anti fracking protests were of highly respected couple of Beverley residents, Jon and Val Mager - a former Director at East Riding Council, and a nationally exhibited artist.

That story from May here: Respected Beverley residents arrested for meditating

They state this is due to, 'lack of evidence', despite the whole event being on video online (Facebook).

Clearly, they simply just don’t want that sort of publicity! And, clearly, it was an arrest without grounds with the police abusing the law to protect the oil industry and to prevent lawful protest.

Martin Deane, Hull Greens


Statement by Val and Jon Mager

Crown Prosecution Service drop charges through lack of evidence.

Val and Jon Mager have been informed by their solicitors that the Crown Prosecution Service have discontinued the court case which was due to be heard on the 31st.

   They would have been charged with “Using violence or intimidating another person or his wife or children or injuring his property with a view to compelling that person to abstain from doing or to do any act which that person has a legal right to do or abstain from doing.”

 Val and Jon commented, “We were simply exercising our right to protest at the attempt to drill at Crawberry Hill in order to test for frackable gas prior to high volume unconventional fracking across most of the East Riding. If fracking goes ahead it will devastate one of the most beautiful and productive rural areas of the UK.”

 “Anyone who has watched the video of our arrest will agree that we did not behave in a violent or intimidating way. The charges against us were wrong, and it was a waste of public money to have allowed the matter to proceed this far.”

 “When we complained about being kept in police cells for 10 hours we were told this was necessary to gather evidence. The police had a video of the arrest. The only conclusion is that we were arrested to stop us supporting the campaign against fracking by the use of bail conditions.”

 “Since our first court appearance we have received hundreds of messages of support including personal contact from serving police officers who are “disgusted” by the way we have been treated. There have been packed public meetings in local villages and it is clear that there is growing support for the campaign to stop fracking before it starts. This is not surprising when local residents can go on-line and witness the havoc caused by fracking elsewhere: long-term water pollution, air pollution, earth tremors, with consequent damage to property and farmland, as well as risks to animal and human health.”

 “We have been flattered by the support offered to us but of course the real heroes are the Protectors who continue to endure rough conditions by the road side to focus attention on the test drill sites at West Newton and Crawberry Hill. We will continue to give them our full support and urge others to do so.”

 “Our solicitors, Robert Lizar Solicitors, are in the process of ensuring that our good character, as existed before our arrest, is re-instated. The CPS have just discontinued the case even though there is no reasonable prospect of success in prosecuting the case. Our good character is tarnished until the CPS formally offers no evidence in court. This is unacceptable.”

 “We are particularly grateful for the legal support provided by Simon Pook and Helen White of Lizars. We also value the support of Richard Howarth, Shan Oakes and Bill Rigby of the Green Party and the ongoing work of the Protectors.”

 ---------------

 Statement from H.E.Y. Frack Off "Lack of evidence"? Are the police too staggeringly incompetent to search the internet for the video of the incident? Or was this in fact another blatant, wrongful arrest in an attempt to crush peaceful protest? The video shows Val calmly and quietly talking with the police officer while Jon meditates - yet they were banged up for 10 hours for, ludicrously, "violence or intimidation".

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

The fracking threat to drinking water.

Martin Deane of Hull Greens speaking on the British Geological Survey report on areas for fracking.  Look North, 3rd July.


Raining on Drax's parade.

Drax – the huge energy complex in the middle of Yorkshire - has been busy announcing a new power station. It will run on coal (not-so-new) and also have the ability to burn biomass (ongoing, and flawed because it’s transported thousands of miles and sometimes is old-growth, ie you’re cutting 
down forests to make electricity!)

It’s main selling–point, though, is a serious carbon capture and storage ability, where the CO2 the plant produces is piped into a hole under the North Sea. This reduces the carbon footprint of the plant - and UK energy.

However, this is a ‘greenwash’ business. It’s dirty coal, the fossil fuel industry, with a varnish of biomass – to sound green. Its main selling point, the CCS – means it can capture and store CO2 under the sea – which then don’t get counted as emissions formally. We’re hiding our waste, like landfill, instead of reducing it.

It’s NOT energy saving. It’s NOT renewable energy. It’s not Green Party policy.

When it comes to renewable energy adoption, we’re one of the worst offenders in the EU. The EU often gets slammed for being undemocratic, but in 2010 it was because of EU standards that Drax was on a hitlist to close – its standards of energy production weren’t high enough; it was dirty! So, how did the UK Government and industry respond? Naturally, they had a word and got the standards dropped! (Something they also did this January by getting the EU to adopt non-binding energy targets for 2030).

So DRAX has seen the light! It’s undergoing a huge conversion process! The new plants will be burning coal (which travels thousands of miles from 20 different countries, by the way), could also burn biomass (something the EU also favours) and will sequester the CO2 by CCS. One plant was ready last year, two more being converted.

What would green energy policy look like? In Hull we have an Ecohome. Resident Richard Howarth has spent serious money making his house 100% energy neutral. In fact, overall, he’s not an energy consumer, he’s a producer. Solar panels and passive solar provide energy and hot water. He’s done amazing amounts of insulation so less energy is needed - or lost. From £1500 a year in bills, the house now makes money at £1400 a year INCOME from energy production and savings benefits. Let’s make all homes, especially new-build, like this.

In Huddersfield Green Party councillor, Andrew Cooper, has got an agreement, first of its kind, for 2000 homes to be fitted with solar panels, costing £10m (for 25 years of panel lifespan). This means FREE energy for tenants! And after ten years, the unused electricity, that gives credits back to the council, will pay it off.

The Drax plan is business as usual but with the extra benefit of CCS – and helped by £200 million of EU taxpayers money. However, where’s the benefit for ordinary people – for consumers at home? This will not affect bills – other than them going up every year! The Green Party plan lowers people’s consumption drastically, provides free renewable energy and has ZERO CO2 to be CCS’d either in production or consumption.

There are companies that specialise in providing renewable energy to consumers – like Ecotricity (quote them “Yorkshire and Humber Green Party” and they’ll donate to Greens too!), Good Energy, and others.

For Drax-based systems prices are STILL controlled by industry.

For Britain, wind is still a plentiful resource and solar works too! If more projects were government ones, or council ones, more people could have energy for free.

Martin Deane
Hull and East Riding Green Party