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How solar savvy are you?

I was planning to write this post before the devastation of Japan’s nuclear power plant which has now focused people’s minds on the value of renewable energy. My question is, how solar savvy are you? I’ve learnt quite a bit about solar power recently following a meeting with a potential client.  He is an eco builder who has invested considerably in solar panels in the hope of...
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Why are we reducing reuse of recyclables?

In my garden I have a little table I bought for 50p from my local recycling centre in Grunty Fen (yes, really!). My son bought a few discarded golf clubs there for 50p which he sold on in true entrepreneurial spirit. I’ve often seen people searching out bargains at the site for a few pence. The last time I went to the Grunty Fen centre, it had a shed full of discarded items which it was...
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Our leaders’ debate and volcanic ash

I missed the ITV leaders’ debate last night due to a social engagement in Cambridge, but caught up with the tail-end of it and saw Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg all standing poised in their party-colour co-ordinated ties. I enjoyed watching how the audience response was tracked – what a clever political intelligence indicator. I was stunned to read this morning about the...
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Would you support a community allotment?

Last year I suggested that community allotments might be a good idea and encourage us to be more self-sufficient by producing our own food. I like to think this could help unite communities too by encouraging school children to participate, as well as getting pensioners involved who are used to digging up spuds – especially in The Fens where I am based. There are plenty of unused allotments...
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Gordon Brown and Margaret Thatcher on climate change

Margaret Thatcher, 6 December 1990 at the 2nd World Climate Change: “The threat to our world comes not only from tyrants and their tanks. It can be more insidious though less visible. The danger of global warming is as yet unseen, but real enough for us to make changes and sacrifices, so that we do not live at the expense of future generations. Our ability to come together to stop or limit...
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Copenhagen talks must not stall like Doha

I’ve been closely following the Doha trade talks as my MEP Robert Sturdy, who as vice-chairman of the Inter-Parliamentary World Trade Organisation Committee, has played a key role in these negotiations. I know his frustrations only too well as year after year, world leaders fail to reach an agreement. Today we issued another press release voicing concerns that the latest talks this week will...
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Defra’s double waste whammy

  I am a keen recycler, but was astonished to read in the latest PR Week that Defra is paying a PR company £94,000 to launch a recycling campaign for Christmas with the key messages reduce, reuse and recycle. The government already funds a quango called WRAP – the Waste, Resource and Action Programme – to get these messages across, so why is Defra hiring an outside company as well? No...
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Scientific study crucial for GMO decision

Each Member State in the European Union will decide whether it approves growing GM crops in its own country. My MEP Robert Sturdy, who is a farmer and sits on the Agriculture Committee, believes it is crucial that full scientific impact tests are carried out to enable rational decision making. It is impossible to argue against that, and we should not let scaremongers dominate the serious debate...
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UK toxic waste returned from Brazil makes us a laughing stock

News that the Environment Agency is paying for 1,4000 tonnes of toxic waste illegally dumped in Brazil to be returned to Britain has made us a laughing stock. I hope the companies concerned are fined and struck off any list of recommended companies dealing with waste and recycling. After all, this is taxpayers’ money and the companies concerned should be forced to pay all the costs incurred. The...
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A nature walk around Sizewell

I’m just back from a walking weekend in Aldeburgh with my old friend Heather (pictured – and old as in going back to before I was married, and not in years!) We decided to follow the advice given in one of the local walking guides which  recommended a stroll around the Sizewell nuclear power station; the writer said it was one of his favourites. When I announced my plans on Twitter,...
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A fact finding coastal erosion visit to North Norfolk

I joined Conservative Eastern Region Euro election candidates Vicky Ford and John Flack on a coastal erosion fact finding visit to Overstrand, Cromer yesterday. On this video, you will hear local campaigners from the Overstrand Shoreline Management Committee expressing their grave concerns and how they are considering a legal challenge under the Human Rights Act, as well the views of Vicky and...
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Voting for the FT Climate Change Challenge

It’s the kind of zany stuff you might have seen featured on BBC’s Tomorrow’s World. I am totally blown away by the innovativeness of these five far-reaching ideas which have been shortlisted in the Financial Times Climate Change Challenge which I wrote about last November. You are invited to vote for your winning choice at the FT link here, and the $75,000 prize money will be...
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UK govt urged to fight pesticide ban

Disappointingly, Conservative MEPs, even with the support of the UK government and NFU, were today unable to prevent a ban on the use of a large number of pesticides in the European Union. The ban was approved by the European Parliament today, despite warnings from my MEP Robert Sturdy that an overzealous approach would reduce yields of a number of foods including carrots, cereals, potatoes,...
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My one weakness, and other news

I’ve been unashamedly stocking up on 100 watt light bulbs because I can’t live without them in my office. I only use one, or two at the most,  in my house. I need them because my eyesight is not brilliant and I can’t function in a dimly lit room. I first wrote about the withdrawal of our traditional light bulbs back in February 2007. And now, two years later, there are still...
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