You can listen below to Gina’s interview on BBC Radio 4’s PM programme, from 14 October 2019, talking about the frequent flyer levy, alongside former director of the Danish government’s Environmental Assessment Institute in Copenhagen, Bjørn Lomborg, who is a Danish author and President of his think tank, Copenhagen Consensus Center.
In the current state of politics, so much seems to happen on all fronts, every single week.
It was only last week on the 31st of October that I was able to celebrate with my staff team, UK Green MEPs and of course many more communities who have fought hard for a better solution to Brexit – that we are still in the European Union and I am delighted I can continue the good work as part of the green group in the European Parliament.
The announcement of the fracking moratorium on Saturday was a brilliant start to this week, and I have just announced that I’m running as the Green parliamentary candidate for Fylde constituency in the upcoming general election. The Green Party will prioritise environmental and social justice as always and I look forward to campaigning on issues close to my heart. Last week in the UK, we launched The Green New Deal for the North West: a report I’ve been working on since being elected as the MEP for the North West. I am pleased we are able to give some concrete, practical, real-world examples of what needs to be rolled out. There is much focus now on the concept of the Green New Deal from other parties, as well as in Europe.
Moratorium on Fracking
Some of the most welcome news for quite a while came last weekend. The government has finally accepted the position that the Green Party and anti-fracking protestors have had from the outset: there is no such thing as safe fracking.
Principally, there is no level of regulation that is capable of assuring the safety of this industry. More critically, there is no place for a new fossil fuel in a climate emergency, when all the evidence points to the need to move swiftly to a zero-carbon energy supply.
Local people will be hugely relieved following years of havoc this industry has wreaked upon their communities, and more than a few people will rest easier at night knowing that the risk of seismic tremors has gone.
This decision will give cheer to young people, climate strikers and those who understand the need to move to clean, green and cheap renewables, and I think this will be an occasion of real celebration for the hundreds of thousands of people have been involved in the anti-fracking campaign, who have helped to highlight the costs and risks associated with hydraulic fracturing.
It was clear from the start that there is no place for fracking in a 21st-century energy plan. All that remains now is for the moratorium to become a complete ban.
Green New Deal for the North West
The Green Party’s vision for industry was conceived long before it became as urgent as it is today and remains the best route out of the mess our environment, society and climate are in. The Green New Deal is a global solution that takes local, national and regional action to achieve its aims
In what was originally due to be my last week in office, last week I was proud to launch a report from my office on The Green New Deal (GND) in the North West. The report aims to demonstrate how the GND can do more than just stabilise the climate emergency: it can bring huge benefits to the region, providing meaningful and skilled jobs as well as tackling social exclusion.
Our report looks at future green energy supply, industry, sustainable transport, energy-efficient buildings, and food and land use. In every sector, we found examples of good practice which can be scaled up and rolled out. It’s all do-able and can be up and running quickly (and it needs to be).
Although the industrial sector will have to transition from current fossil fuels use to circular, zero-waste business models, it will be nothing like the damaging de-industrialisation of the past; a Green New Deal offers new opportunities to revitalise our manufacturing communities by shifting to new, greener products and services, produced with green energy.
At the launch event last week, it was great to have such excellent speakers – one for each of the different sections providing real-world examples of good practice in action. And we had such excellent feedback from those attending that we may just have to launch it all over again with a new audience!
You can download the report here.
Lancaster Peace Pole
I was delighted to be at the launch of Lancaster’s Peace Pole at the end last week, where the Lancaster Quakers together with schools and the local community held a 30-minute Dedication Ceremony. Since the Second World War, over 200,000 Peace Poles have been erected by many nations bearing the words “May Peace Prevail on Earth” in different languages. In Lancaster, the languages are English, Arabic, Japanese and Gujurati.
Meanwhile this week…
This week marks 30 years since the Berlin Wall came down and the world rejoiced. It was a pivotal moment for freedom and democracy in Europe.
Having lived in Germany only five years previous to this, I was as amazed at that achievement as anyone – for many years no one has thought that such a change could ever happen.
Surely it’s not a good sign that in the year that the climate emergency became one of the most pressing issues in the political debate, the Conservatives have employed a lobbyist who works for pro-fracking agencies to write their election manifesto?
Where hope lies
There is an election on 12th December 2019 and there is every chance that on 13th December, we will wake up to a different future. Please vote for it to be a green one.
We’re hiring! Due to the extension of the UK remaining in the EU up to the 31 January 2020, we have a vacancy for an Accredited Parliamentary Assistant (APA) to work alongside Gina Dowding MEP, based in Brussels.
You can download the full job description and application details here – Brussels-based Communication and Parliamentary Assistant 28.10.19
The closing date for applications is Monday 4 November 08.00hrs, but applications will be treated on a rolling basis.
Interviews are being held on the week commencing Monday 4 November 2019.
Gina Dowding MEP commented on the recent report from the National Audit Office on Fracking for shale gas in England report, saying:
“I think the first thing that the public would be interested in this report from the National Audit Office is what is actually going to happen to energy prices. What is clear is that the NAO has finally called out the cheap gas prices myth and that energy prices are not expected to fall: that’s because the shale gas industry cannot be easily compared to the North American model both because of difficult geology here and how our communities are much more densely populated.
“Aside from the myriad issues surrounding fracking, to even think of progressing with a new fossil fuel industry during a climate emergency, is nothing short of stupidity.”
For immediate release
PUTTING THE ‘ART AND SOUL BACK INTO BURNLEY
Thursday 17 October 0930-13.00hrs, will see the North West Green MEP, Gina Dowding, visit Burnley’s new flagship digital hub – The Landmark – to lead ‘art and Soul – an engaging seminar, highlighting the relevance of art in the town. This event is in conjunction with a project from Girona in Spain which has been selected as a twinning scheme to enhance community cohesion through arts in schools.
The event will be a showcase from local professional creatives, Jai Redman and Ian Brownbill, talking about the strong cultural heritage of Burnley and how art is a potential for revitalisation of the town.
A section of the event will be delivered by the Spanish group, ConArte, to explore the “Planters”  project in Girona and the positive results the programme had in terms of achievement, wellbeing and community cohesion from facilitating art in schools.
Gina Dowding MEP said:
“The idea behind the seminar is to create a space for stakeholders to explore the important role art has to play in community cohesion, cultural regeneration and economic development, and that those things are inextricably linked. Our suggestion is that art and culture should become intrinsic to a community cohesion strategy: high-quality arts education within schools can help facilitate community cohesion and growth.”
The event has been created by Gina Dowding MEP and funded by the Greens/EFA in the European Parliament.
Notes to the Editor: