Lobbying

We can only do so much in our own lives and local communities to reduce carbon emissions and avoid catastrophic effects on the climate. We also need to speak up for urgent changes that can only be made by government at all levels.

Here’s how you can help. Below you will find current issues for lobbying. You can use the text provided, or express it in your own words. Send individual emails to the addresses provided.

August Lobbying focus — Give us cheaper bills for renewable electricity

Renewable energy sources deliver electricity at a lower cost than fossil fuels, but consumers are charged at the international market price for gas. Changing this could help bring investment in renewables, and give us energy security. This month the lobbying group is asking you to email the message below (or your own version of  it) to:

Ofgem — consumeraffairs@ofgem.gov.uk 

The Sec of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (open with Dear Kwasi Kwarteng) enquiries@beis.gov.uk;  

The Minister of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (Dear Greg Hands) enquiries@beis.gov.uk    

The Shadow Sec of State for Climate Change and Net Zero (Dear Ed Miliband) ed.miliband.mp@parliament.uk

Please remember to add your name and address at the foot. 

Dear……

My fellow members of Market Drayton Climate Action and I are calling for a new electricity market – which will cut electricity bills and at the same time lower carbon emissions and help us avoid the worst effects of climate change.

The cost of electricity from renewable sources has fallen dramatically over recent years. Together with current increases in the price of gas, households are now paying several times more for their electricity than what it costs to generate and transmit from wind and solar energy sources. We are paying gas prices, not renewable energy prices.

Ofgem claims to “monitor the energy market to ensure fair treatment of consumers.” In support of fairness, we ask you to restructure the market so that renewable energy generators can pool their electricity separately from other generators. They could then sell to consumers at a price mainly set by the actual investment costs of generators, not by the gas-driven wholesale markets as is currently the case.

There would be strong financial incentives to find innovative solutions for cloudy, calm winter days when not enough renewable power is being generated so that the ‘green power pool’ has to buy electricity from the wholesale market.

Electricity – not oil or gas – is going to dominate our energy system in future, as we use it to power our home heat pumps and vehicles. We can make it both cleaner and cheaper right now by restructuring the market.   

July Lobbying focus — Choose a Prime Minister with Net Zero focus

A tiny proportion of the UK electorate — Conservative Party members — will be choosing our next prime minister, yet their view on the urgency of climate change will have profound effects on us all. This month the lobbying group asks you to send the paragraphs below to the North Shropshire Conservative Association and the national Conservative Party. You can most easily do this by using their online contact forms at https://www.northshropshireconservatives.org/contact   and ttps://www.conservatives.com/contact

You can simply copy and paste into their message box — or re-phrase in your own words.

Market Drayton Climate Action is a non-party-political organisation. Some of my fellow members may belong to political parties as individuals, while others do not. What we have in common is a strong sense of urgency about dealing with climate change. And we are aware that whatever changes we make in our own behaviours, we need committed political leadership if we are to be effective in limiting the damage from climate change.

Both Market Drayton Town Council and Shropshire Council have declared a climate
emergency and have committed to achieving net carbon zero on their activities by 2030. Our national government has also declared a climate emergency and its net zero strategy published last October included commitments to end the sale of new fossil fuel cars by 2030 and gas boilers by 2035. But our government has not indicated how this strategy will be delivered, and its own Climate Change Committee says it’s not enough to achieve what’s needed.

In voting for who will lead your party, and our country, I urge Conservative Party members to weigh up which candidate will best deliver on the green manifesto on which they were elected in 2019, and urgently prioritise renewable energy and decarbonising all sectors of the economy.

June Lobbying focus — Windfall tax to reduce fossil fuels, not produce more

Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak will soon be introducing his windfall tax on oil and gas producers — linking it with huge tax benefits to encourage NEW drilling. Please email him the following request AS SOON AS YOU CAN — adding your own words of emphasis if you wish. 

Please send the message in bold below to public.enquiries@hmtreasury.gov.uk with URGENT MESSAGE FOR RISHI SUNAK in the subject box. 

Dear Rishi Sunak

I am doing my best in my own life to help avoid the worst effects of climate change. But my ability to influence the global disasters widely and frequently predicted is nothing compared to yours.

Your ‘Targeted energy profits levy’ could be used to fund home energy efficiency, which is the best and fastest way to bring down household energy bills. But by linking this with an enormous tax incentive for oil and gas producers to invest in developing new fields you are undermining at a stroke the only hope we have – according to the International Energy Agency and many others – of keeping the global temperature rise within 1.5 degrees.

I entreat you to remove all tax breaks for new oil and gas production and to issue no new licenses which are not compliant with the 1.5 degree target.

Yours sincerely

(Your name and full postal address)

May Lobbying focus — Public transport

Please join us in sending the following message to the Rt Hon Grant Shapps, Secretary of State for Transport. You can do this online here. Click on ‘Next Page’ then fill in your name, address, and email for his response. In ‘Subject Box’ you can write ‘Question for Grant Shapps’ (with no prefix or suffix) then in ‘Enquiry Details’ copy and paste the following (though as always you are very welcome to substitute words of your own):

In your 2021 plan Decarbonising Transport you said “We must make public transport, cycling and walking the natural first choice for all who can take it.” 

The Transport group of Market Drayton Climate Action has made four recommendations (https://mdclimateaction.files.wordpress.com/2022/05/transport-recommendations-mdca-1.pdf) to Shropshire Council to help achieve this in and around our town. But we are aware that you rejected in full Shropshire Council’s recent bid to you for £96 million to transform bus services in our county.

We are now facing further cuts to our already minimal bus services.

As a member of Market Drayton Climate Action, I ask you please to tell me how you intend to improve public transport in north-east Shropshire.

April Lobbying Focus — Climate Education and Schools

Market Drayton Climate Action has sent the following letter to the Headteacher and Chair of Governors at the schools in Market Drayton, and to the Chief Executive Officer and Chair of Board of Trustees of the two Multi Academy Trusts which operate in the town.

Dear _______

Market Drayton Climate Action supports Teach the Future – the youth-led campaign to bring both urgency and conviction to Nadhim Zahawi’s pledge at Cop 26 “to put climate change at the heart of education.”

We endorse the three key demands of Teach the Future: that students and pupils are taught about the climate emergency and ecological crisis; that vocational courses help develop the workforce needed to achieve our carbon-zero ambitions; and that our education buildings are retrofitted to achieve zero carbon for energy.

The Department for Education’s Sustainability and Climate Change strategy, due to be published this month, is a step in the right direction. We ask that you move urgently to:

  1. Give a senior team member and lead teacher responsibility for climate education and sustainability in your school.
  2. Ensure that human-caused climate change is covered in sufficient depth through all subject areas.
  3. Provide opportunities for all pupils to be actively involved in carbon reduction projects at your school.
  4. Provide CPD on climate and nature education for your staff.
  5. Make significant reductions in carbon emissions at your school, working to zero carbon for energy use by 2030.

 We recognise that funding will be necessary to implement some of these changes, but given the urgency of the climate emergency we urge you to press ahead with all speed.

We will be very pleased to hear of progress you are making, and to assist in any way we can.

Yours sincerely
Nancy Stewart, Chair (and seventeen other members and supporters of Market Drayton Climate Action) 

March lobbying focusRenewables, not more oil

Send to:

Kwasi Kwarteng MP, Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy enquiries@beis.gov.uk

Greg Hands MP, Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth enquiries@beis.gov.uk

Lord Callanan, Under Secretary of State (Minister for Business, Energy and Corporate Responsibility) contactholmember@parliament.uk

Helen Morgan, MP. Member of Parliament representing North Shropshire  helen.morgan.mp@parliament.uk

As well as causing great suffering in Ukraine, the war there highlights the grip fossil fuels continue to have over all our lives. In seeking to address the effects of dramatically rising prices now, however, we must not forget the even more devastating consequences of relying on fossil fuels in the future.  

Our government currently supports the fossil fuel industry through tax breaks for exploration and production to the tune of £10 billion per year (OECD).  But granting new licences and support for oil and gas exploration in the North Sea will do nothing to alleviate high prices, as those new fields would take decades to come into production (Committee on Climate Change) and even then the bulk will be sold overseas to the highest bidder.

The International Energy Agency has warned that no new fossil fuel projects can be started if the world is to avoid disastrous climate change. I urge you to do everything in your power to

  • stop the granting of new drilling licenses
  • stop the £10 billion of tax breaks to the industry, using that money instead to:
  • subsidise heating costs for the vulnerable in the short term
  • hugely increase the £265 million government subsidy for renewables.

____________________

One of our members subsequently received this response from the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy:

Thank you for your email dated 23 March, regarding Shale Gas/Fracking.
The Government has always been clear that the exploration of shale gas reserves could only proceed if the science shows that it is safe, sustainable and of minimal disturbance to those living and working near to sites. The recent request to the British Geological Survey does not indicate a change to this position.
However, in response to Putin’s barbaric acts in Ukraine and against the Ukrainian people, the UK needs to keep all of its energy options open. Shale gas and new approaches could be part of the UK’s future energy mix, but the Government will be led by the science.
Therefore, the Government has commissioned the British Geological Survey to advise on the latest scientific evidence around shale gas extraction. This request has been made to assess if any progress in the scientific understanding which underpins Government policy on hydraulic fracturing has been made, and to allow the Government to consider next steps.
The Government is clear that this should be a desk-based exercise by the British
Geological Survey, and so no drilling of any further test wells or seismic monitoring will take place.

At Market Drayton Climate Action we are wary of this review as it indicates that the government is moving away from the precautionary principle and softening its opposition to fracking. You can read about this here.