Calderdale’s Energy Future – not looking too great

Calderdale’s Energy Future (CEF) strategy outlines how Calderdale Council aims to achieve ambitious reductions in the area’s energy use and carbon emissions by 2020.

We clearly need to find effective and fair ways of doing this, but the Strategy seems full of spin and short on substance.

However, Calderdale Council’s Environmental Officer, Emma Appleton, has clarified in an email that Calderdale’s Energy Future strategy is only a “statement of intent”, not a “set of actions.”  

She says, “Required feasibility work has not been delivered,” which I guess means that no one’s yet worked out whether or not it’s possible to carry out the various measures for reducing carbon emissions that Calderdale’s Energy Future envisages.

Calderdale Council’s unanimous vote to adopt the CEF strategy

Calderdale Councillors voted unanimously on 15th February to adopt the strategy, which came into effect on April 1st 2012.

At the Full Council meeting, some of the Councillors were a bit inaudible, but I think a councillor said that last year about one hundred people had attended public consultation meetings about Calderdale’s Energy Future.

This compares to 16,000 signatures on petitions opposing Calderdale Council’s proposal to move Halifax Central Library – a figure quoted in a discussion of that topic and dismissed by a Councillor as an insignificant proportion of the adults in the Borough.

So maybe sauce for Calderdale’s Energy Future’s goose isn’t sauce for the Central Library gander.

But maybe I misheard the figure of one hundred people. Maybe it was nine hundred. Either way, I think it would be A Good Thing if Councillors showed some consistency and clarity about what constitutes a democratic mandate for their decisions.

Ask questions at Calderdale Council Cabinet meetings

If you have questions about Calderdale’s Energy Future, you can ask them at meetings of Calderdale Council Cabinet.  You need to turn up 10 minutes early and fill in a form with your question/s, before asking them orally at the start of the Cabinet meeting. You can also ask your Councillor.

Here’s what I think the Calderdale’s Energy Future boils down to.

Relying on the market to reduce carbon emissions and climate change

Over the next ten years, Calderdale’s Energy Future  aspires to stimulate around £320 million worth of investment in Calderdale, in measures like insulation, solar pv and improved transport efficiency, plus an apparently unspecified amount in community projects and the development of large scale commercial wind farms and biomass energy.

The Council itself has no money to spend on any of these measures.

It seems that Coalition Government cuts to public services and local government spending have determined Calderdale’s Energy Future strategy.

In April 2011, the Coalition Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review cut Leeds City Region local authorities’ budgets for publicly-funded home insulation programmes by 80%. Down from £20 million over three years, to £4 million.

The Coalition Government justifies cutting local government funding for public services on the grounds that this will open up opportunities for private sector businesses, voluntary groups and social enterprises to provide these services instead. Calderdale’s Energy Future strategy seems to accept this theory and work within its terms. But it’s a very questionable policy.

Since Calderdale Council has no money to pay for any of the carbon reduction measures, it will work with banks and businesses.

Key Council “partners” 

The Council will convene a working group of businesses and third sector organisations. Once the working group knows which measures are feasible, it will create an action plan and monitor its implementation. It should give priority to measures which reduce carbon emissions the most.

It’s not clear how the Council will select members of the Working Group, although members will  represent organisations that are “key partners” with the Council in carrying out Calderdale’s Energy Future. How the Council will make sure the Working Group is democratically accountable and open to public scrutiny is also unclear.

Since Calderdale Council adopted Calderdale’s Energy Future as a vision of possible ways of reducing  Calderdale’s carbon emissions – not a set of actions – it will be interesting to see if Calderdale Council will consult the public in the event that it ends up committing to any potentially contentious carbon reduction measures, such as large scale commercial wind farms and biomass energy.

A statement of intent not a set of actions

Calderdale Council  commissioned a company called Carbon Descent to identify theoretically possible ways of meeting the targets for reducing Calderdale’s carbon emissions. Carbon Descent number-crunched various theoretically possible measures and concluded that it is possible to achieve 94% of the 2020 carbon emissions reduction target, if the various theoretically possible carbon measures are all successfully carried out on schedule.

Cost/benefit analyses of these measures show that it’s theoretically possible for their benefits to exceed their costs within a few years.

In addition to the targets for reducing the area’s carbon emissions, the Council aims to reduce its own carbon emissions by 40% by 2020, from the 2005 level.

Since “ the required feasibility work has not been delivered”, it’s not clear if it will in fact be possible to reduce carbon emissions by the targetted amount. (Update 2022: Calderdale Council met this target by 2020.)

Particularly since some measures promise very big carbon emissions reductions, but no one knows at this stage if it’ll be possible to carry them out. Like switching to large-scale biomass energy.

Carbon Descent estimates this would give nearly one fifth of the targetted reductions, but Emma has clarified that there is no ”agreed pathway for Biomass” in the Strategy.

These are the main CEF proposals for reducing the area’s carbon emissions and energy use:

  • encouraging householders and businesses to pay for energy efficiency improvements in their homes and business premises – mainly through the new Green Deal scheme. This is despite the fact that even the government’s own advisers on the Climate Change Committee have calculated that the Green Deal won’t work, and recommend  instead that the Big Six energy companies should pay for insulating homes across the country, on a street by street basis.
  • opening up the Borough to developers of large scale commercial wind farms and biomass energy generation (ie energy from burning wood, energy crops and a variety of waste products)

Calderdale’s Energy Future strategy for promoting the Green Deal won’t work and it’s socially unfair

Even the government’s own impact assessment and its advisers on the Climate Change Committee say that the Green Deal won’t work – but Calderdale’s Energy Future draft strategy relies on it to reduce household carbon emissions by 25% by 2020, from the 2005 level.

The Green Deal is the coalition government’s way of transferring the costs of reducing carbon emissions away from the energy companies and society as a whole, to individual householders.

The Green Deal replaces publicly funded home energy efficiency improvement schemes. It also reduces the requirement for energy companies to provide their customers with subsidies for for insulation and other home energy efficiency improvements.

If the coalition government tried to do this kind of thing with education or health – as they are – there would be a public outcry – as there is. But because energy policy is so confusing and poorly explained, most of us probably find it hard to figure out what’s going on. Calderdale’s Energy Future doesn’t explain any of these issues.

The energy companies can easily afford to continue current levels of subsidies – or even increase them. The big six energy companies have just announced profits of £15 million for the last year, after racking up energy prices so they really hurt householders.

The government’s adviser, the Committee on Climate Change, has recommended that the coalition government should require energy companies to pay for ALL the cavity wall, loft and solid wall insulation needed to meet 2022 targets for reducing household carbon emissions.

To do this, energy companies would  have to stump up much bigger subsidies for their customers than the government requires from them under the Green Deal. The Committee on Climate Change advises that the energy companies should carry out this massive home insulation programme on a “whole house, street by street” basis. The Committee also notes that in the end, households would end up paying for this because energy companies will pas on the costs of the  subsidies to customers’ energy bills. This doesn’t seem right.

As well as being unworkable, the Green Deal is also socially unfair. It cuts support for low income households to retrofit their houses and redistributes (reduced) energy company subsidies for customers’ energy efficiency improvements in favour of the better off.

Calderdale’s Energy Future draft strategy admits on p20 that the Green Deal isn’t going to be much help to the estimated 24% of Calderdale households who live in fuel poverty, because they can’t afford to pay for energy efficiency improvements. But on p 29 it apparently contradicts itself, by saying that Calderdale’s Energy Future draft strategy will “eliminate fuel poverty” by focussing “schemes such as the Green Deal and ECO, outreach and other”, on fuel poor and low income communities. (ECO – Energy Company Obligation- is the new, lower subsidy that the energy companies will have to provide to customers.)

Large scale commercial wind farms

Calderdale Energy Future  Summary of engagement events-public and business says that a 2011 study (Low Carbon and Renewable Energy Capacity in Yorkshire and Humber) identifies that Calderdale could generate 110 mw from wind, using current technology if all suitable landscape was utilised. This could be achieved by the approval of 20 more commercial scale turbines.

Calderdale has already approved three commercial wind farms, at:

  • Crook Hill
  • Todmorden Moor
  • Ovenden Moor

Together, they can generate 39.2MW.

Calderdale is also considering an application to re-power Ovenden Moor by reducing the number of turbines from 23 to 10 and increasing the power output from 9.2MW to 25MW. This would give Calderdale 55MW of wind energy by 2021.

Community-owned wind farms – this looks like a better idea

The CEF  Summary of Engagement events points out that four community owned wind farms, each with five x 1.3mw  turbines would together generate enough energy for  10,000 homes, producing 26 mw electricity.

The four community owned windfarms and the existing commercial wind farms, with Ovenden repowered to 25MW, would generate 81MW of electricity. Enough for around 31,154 houses.

Community groups

There are promises of support for community groups to carry out various social and environmental activities, including community renewable energy schemes – although the CEF documents show that these are marginal, in terms of achieving the targets for reducing carbon emissions, energy use and costs.

Commercial large scale biomass energy

Where’s the fuel coming from? Can biomass energy can really be carbon-neutral by 2020? And how it will avoid pollution nuisance and poor air quality?

The proposals for “opening up the Borough to developers” of large scale commercial and biomass energy generation are so sketchy that it’s impossible to see if they are anything more than spin. Plus, there are real potential problems with the proposals for biomass energy – and biofuels for transport- that the CEF draft strategy overlooks.

The Scenario Report shows potentially available biomass resources (Table 7), but it’s not clear where these resources are available from. Calderdale’s Energy Future draft strategy says  that providing wood fuel for biomass plants requires improving local woodlands and the route to market (p16). This in turn needs a woodland management plan (p 18).

But before 2020 – the date for achieving the carbon emissions reduction target – can a woodland management plan provide enough wood fuel for large scale biomass energy, and also regrow trees or coppices to maturity in order to fully absorb the carbon emissions from burning the wood?

Where are the likely locations of biomass combined heat and power and biomass energy generation plants? Presumably they need to be near towns. But burning biomass creates carbon emissions, nitrogen dioxide, particulates (PM10 and PM 2.5), polyaromatic hydrocarbons and carbon monoxide. Biomass and Air Quality Guidance for Local Authorities states,

“Nuisance issues can…arise from the use of biomass, with the most common issues arising from smoke and odour.”

So siting these plants is going to be an issue. I can’t imagine many people will want to live near one.

Calderdale’s Energy Future proposes to reduce carbon emissions by using some biofuels for transport. But a new report finds that biofuels would increase carbon emissions, not reduce them. The EU Climate Commissioner says that the EU policy that European transport fuel must include 10% sourced from biofuels is out of date, based on now-discredited information. Also, transport biofuel crops compete  for land with food production, driving up food prices and depriving people of access to land for farming.

Need to clarify proposals for the Working Group/s that will plan and oversee the implementation of the Strategy

There is a lack of clarity in Calderdale’s Energy Future draft strategy  proposals for a working group or groups that will prepare the Strategy’s action plan and monitor its implementation – particularly over accountability, transparency and group members’ potential conflicts of interest. This needs reviewing, in order to prevent any suspicions about  pork barrel politics .

A review of Calderdale’s Energy Future draft strategy needs to clarify these points:

  • is the Energy Future Working Group (CEF draft strategy p29) the same as the Cross Sector Working Group (p9 and p19)? Both have responsibility for developing an action plan.
  • how will the Council select working group members?
  • how will the group/s be accountable, and who to?
  • how will  their operations be transparent to members of the public?
  • will group members include what the CEF draft strategy refers to as  Calderdale Council’s “strategic partners”?
  • will group members be at risk of experiencing conflicts of interest – particularly if they are not just involved in creating the action plan and monitoring its implements, but also involved in carrying out some aspect of it?
  • will group members be eligible to receive funding from the proposed revolving loan fund or any other “investment opportunities” that they “access” as part of their work on the group?

Not just reducing carbon emissions, but solving lots of other problems too

Calderdale’s Energy Future intends that measures to reduce Calderdale’s carbon emissions will also:

  • help to create and support local low carbon businesses, jobs and income
  • help improve people’s health and wellbeing
  • look after the landscape
  • involve everyone

Updated 18 August 2013 –

Tidying up the website, I’ve merged into this post a previously separate post – Calderdale’s Energy Future in Plain English. Comments on that post are retained, below 


  1. Finn Jensen on April 9, 2012 at 6:15 am said: EditI think it is worth recognising that it is a step in the right direction for Calderdale Council to accept the need to reduce Calderdale’s CO2 emissions. How serious the Council is going to take this “statement of intent” is still to be seen. But rather than waiting to see if the Council will fail we should offer our help to the Council making this “statement of intent” a reality and demand action. Then we will know if the Council is serious about it. However, we will also need to have support from the public for such action. Creating such support should take place at the same time as offering to work with the Council and will make it more difficult for the Council to forget its “statement of intent.”
    Regarding the banks offering loans for investments: both the Cooperative Bank and the Tridos Bank are willing to give loans (including to community groups) for CO2 reduction measures.Reply ↓
  2. AnneH on February 23, 2012 at 9:46 am said: EditJenny, I think the part of Emma’s reply which is most relevant to your comments about Energy Future is ‘it’s a statement of intent and not a set of actions’. I did attend the public consultation and I think this was made clear. And I recognise a lot of the comments made at that consultation in the final strategy – pity you didn’t go along too, Jenny.

 I understand the strategy to be a framework within which a whole host of actions will be carried out – not all by the council. But the actions will be guided by and referenced to the work already carried out by the mini-stern report and the council’s own modelling work (such as the findings that the most cost effective resources in Calderdale are likely to be biomass and wind). I think it’s too early to surmise what will happen if this or that doesn’t go ahead.

 As for financing the various actions – one of the great things about both energy efficiency and renewable energy is that in the longer term they are cost effective because they save on fossil fuels and therefore save money. So the emphasis is probably going to be on investment rather than subsidy.
Of course the council won’t be funding all the activity itself! I’m sure you’d be the first to complain about rises in council tax and the consequent cuts in other services to pay for it!Reply ↓

3. jenny on February 23, 2012 at 2:42 pm said: EditCheers Anne for making these points. The only ones I’d like to pick up on are:

a) as far as I can see, the Calderdale’s Energy Future document says it has no money to fund any of the measures and its emphasis on investment is pretty clear, which is presumably why the Council wants to work with the banks to encourage them to lend money to businesses (which by and large they’re not doing at the moment)
b) I wouldn’t have a problem with paying higher council tax if the money was going to be used for the greater good of the greatest number of people. I am after all, that old-fashioned thing, a socialist. I think a progressive taxation system is a very good way of making sure that we all have fair access to essential public goods and services, and that in the process we maintain a sense that we all look out for each other.Reply ↓

18 thoughts on “Calderdale’s Energy Future – not looking too great

  1. For some reason your Forum seems to be inconsistent in allowing people to reply to comments that you yourself have made, so this is in fact a response to your reply of 27th February 6.48pm to an earlier one of mine.

    Setting aside your implausible explanation about why it was that you decided to take down comments about me and the organisations which which I’m associated which I judged to be libellous, as must the NUJ lawyers, I’ll cut instead to your last paragraph in yet another attempt to end this waste of my time. You say there (and I’ve emphasised your words in capitals because I can’t do it by other means):

    “I support effective action to reduce greenhouse gases and climate change. WHAT THAT MIGHT BE REMAINS TO BE SEEN. … Although I agree with the implicit suggestion in that warning, that SCEPTICISM is a useful quality.”

    So the position of ‘Energy Royd’, and yours, is that it’s insufficiently clear at the moment how we should reduce climate change emissions – so presumably that would be a reason why we would not be able to take action to do that now – and that you believe in ‘scepticism’. And we already know that for whatever motivation you don’t support Calderdale’s long awaited climate change strategy, and have campaigned against it.

    Yet another dead give-away.

    • Anthony glad you found a way to reply to my reply to you. I don’t know what quirk of the software makes you have to start a new comment thread when you want to reply to a comment by me.

      I don’t know why you disbelieve me when I say that I missed your earlier comment. I haven’t yet figured out how to make the comments/reply section of Energy Royd spam-proof. I think I need to install the captcha thingy that means only people, not spambots, can send comments. In the meantime EnergyRoyd is receiving a lot of spambot-generated comments and in flicking through them and consigning them to wherever it is spam goes I guess I accidentally sent your comment there too. Sorry.

      There are published guidelines on making comments on this website and they clearly state that comments need to be about issues, not people. So if you intend to write on EnergyRoyd website please observe the site guidelines. Your comments are always welcome as long as they sit within these guidelines.

      • “There are published guidelines on making comments on this website and they clearly state that comments need to be about issues, not people. So if you intend to write on EnergyRoyd website please observe the site guidelines.”

        So observe your own guidelines and don’t write about me. Good grief!

      • A lobbyist’s actions in relation to a government whose policies they are attempting to influence are legitimate matters of public interest and discussion.

  2. Anthony Rae has posted in the HebWeb Discussion Forum that Calderdale Sustainability Forum Ltd paid for producing Calderdale’s Energy Future – apart from the cost/benefit analysis carried out by Leeds University, which the Department of Energy and Climate Change paid for. Anthony Rae is a Director of Calderdale Sustainability Forum.

    • And please also see the additional posting I made on Hebweb:
      “From Anthony Rae – Sunday, 26 February 2012
      “Just so we’re absolutely clear – since facts and my words are being twisted in another place – the clause at the end of paragraph 4 of my posting of 23rd February should read: “and the consultation process that produced CEF by Calderdale Sustainability Forum”.

      In that last clause I asked for the word ‘consultation’ to be italicised, because what CSF paid for was the engagement process that allowed other parties including environmental and community organisations, but also companies and public sector bodies, to contribute their views as to what should included in the strategy. This happened because the Council didn’t have the money, which was mostly spent on the independent facilitation process that the Council thought best to have underpinning the public consultation. Neither I nor CSF had much or any say in the outcome of those events: at the main public meeting I said a few words as the CSF ‘sponsor’ welcoming the fact that at last we were developing a climate change strategy for Calderdale, but took little part in the table discussions; at the employers’ meeting I commented that they should just get on and organise a ‘Business Carbon Club’ – as one had already suggested doing – and not wait for the strategy to give ‘permission’ for that to happen. Conclusions as to what was the outcome of the public consultations must have been reached between the facilitator and the Council.

      The reader of this posting might also like to know that on Sunday 26th February I had cause to write to the operator of this website at 1am asking her to take down comments in a posting put up I believe the previous day that I judged to be not just inaccurate but also libellous to me. By 11am on Monday 27th February those comments had been removed, and I have advised that they should not be reinstated or repeated, or similar ones made in the future. The publisher of the Hebden Bridge community website, where similar comments had inadvertently appeared, immediately took them down when I pointed out their nature.

      No-one can object to robust debate around climate change and the response to it, supportive or sharply critical, although it would be always be better if it could be informed and balanced, rather than as inaccurate and misleading as has appeared on Energy Royd. (It’s unfortunate that people can’t read documents with sufficient care and understanding, and construe them fairly but, let’s face it, that happens all the time, and it’s a tactic that is commonly used by people who are opposed to taking effective action for carbon reduction. Caveat lector.)

      But that ‘freedom of speech’ cannot extend to personal attacks that I judged to be libellous of my integrity and reputation.

      Posting submitted: Monday 27th Feb 1.30pm

      • Thanks for clarifying that Calderdale Sustainability Forum only paid for the Calderdale’s Energy Future consultation and not the whole process of preparing Calderdale’s Energy Future.
        I missed your comment asking me to take down the information about Calderdale Sustainability Forum funding the CEF consultation – the reason I took it down was because Chris Ratcliffe, who owns and runs Heb Web, emailed me to say he’d had to take down my HebWeb post on the same subject because you’d told him you considered it libellous.

        I’ve consulted my union, the National Union of Journalists, who have advised me on proper ethical standards when writing about potentially contentious issues that it is in the public interest to make known. It’s obviously unethical journalism to write libellous stories and I’ll make sure to keep to the letter and spirit of NUJ guidelines.These are: make sure to check all facts with reliable sources; ask everyone mentioned in the story if they’d like to comment, so that they have a fair chance to put their side of the story; and avoid suggesting wrongdoing, since only law courts have the right to decide on this.There can then be no anxieties about libel.

        People might be interested in the Libel Reform Campaign which I’ve posted information about in the News and Views section of Energy Royd. The Campaign’s point is that libel laws in this country are a threat to free speech.There’s a petition to sign if you agree that libel laws need changing in order to protect freedom of speech.

        I support effective action to reduce greenhouse gases and climate change. What that might be remains to be seen. I’m confident that Energy Royd readers can make up their own minds about what they read here and anywhere else. I doubt that they need a reminder in a dead language to beware of what they read. Although I agree with the implicit suggestion in that warning, that scepticism is a useful quality.

  3. I’ve been thinking a bit about Anthony’s emphatic refusal to address any of my comments and questions about Calderdale’s Energy Future. None of the four Calderdale councillors I asked have answered them either. A couple of councillors didn’t reply at all. Janet Battye and Dave(may he stay forever)Young sent perfectly friendly emails but didn’t answer my questions. I’m puzzled.

    My comments and questions have offered Calderdale Council and its supporters a good pr opportunity to explain the CEF strategy and start to get the public on board. There’s been hardly any public response to the Council’s adoption of the CEF, and most of it has been dismissive. (Public comments on the online version of the Halifax Courier article, a couple of comments on HebWe last time I looked). I’d have thought the Council would be wanting opportunities to explain the wonders of CEF to the general public – the CEF keeps saying they need everyone to “engage” in the CEF strategy.

    So here’s a chance for those in favour of the CEF to say something like,” We welcome public interest in our new CEF strategy, and would like to take this opportunity to answer the questions that members of the public have so far raised about it.

    Reducing the area’s carbon emissions is going to involve all of us in the area, and we’re happy to explain how the strategy proposes setting about this task. ….”

    There. A pr opportunity on a plate. And no-one’s taken advantage of it. Why? Doesn’t the Council need more support for the CEF than the hundred or so people who apparently attended the consultation meetings?

    Baffled of Hebden Bridge.

  4. Jenny, your main argument seems to be with the government not the council. It is the coalition government who are scrapping the CERT subsdies in favour of an inferior ECO subsidy and introducing the Green Deal, which is basically a way of getting people to pay for their own insulation, albeit on favourable terms. I have very strong, well informed views about the Green Deal, but I don’t wish to debate them here. It is going ahead and CMBC have to take it into consideration. They can only work within the law, and within their budget. Considering this I think the strategy is a remarkable piece of work and has been well supported by public and business consultations.

    • Hi Anne, yes my main argument is with the coalition government’s attack on local government funding and its localism agenda – which seeks to cut local public services and replace them with a mix of privatised, for- profit services and services provided either by volunteers or underfunded third sector organisations. I think this is seriously undermining local government and this whole level of democracy. But I think Councillors have a choice here. They can accept this or resist it. And either way, I think Calderdale Council owes the electorate an explanation of what’s going on – for example, if Calderdale Councillors feel that the best they can do is comply with the Coalition Governments’s cuts and agenda, I think they should say so, plainly and clearly.

      It’s possible for local councillors to resist destructive central government cuts. I know this from the Thatcher years when I was involved in a campaign to keep open a maternity hospital, which was threatened with closure as as result of central government cuts and “reforms” to the NHS. The local Tory councillor took it upon himself to go to Health minister in the House of Commons and make the case that central government policy was wrong, because it was damaging people he represented at local government level. This is a key role for local government – to stand between a remote central government and people on the ground.

      It would be good to know if Calderdale Councillors have taken any such action to protect local services – including the 80% of local authority funding for home energy efficiency improvements that Leeds City Region local authorities lost in the 2011 Comprehensive Spending Review cuts.

      I’m glad you’ve recognised that this Strategy is framed by a set of political decisions. In the end, dealing with climate change and energy use is a political issue that requires democratically- reached political decisions. One of my main concerns about the Strategy is that this dimension has so far been overlooked and instead the Strategy seems to me to have been presented as a set of technocratic decisions which are not open to question – and don’t even need questioning.

      Thanks for your comments.

  5. “ assert that you know best ..” Actually, Jenny, if you were to think for a second about what you’ve written and also what I’ve written, just the opposite is the case. On the one hand we can know by deduction that three entire expert teams think that this strategy is excellent: the Friends of the Earth team, the Council team, and the Centre for Low Carbon Futures team. In fact, there’s almost certainly more because since the strategy was published I’ve not encountered a single word of criticism. At the Cabinet meeting which endorsed it, Councillor Geraldine Carter pointed out that a group of potential participants hadn’t been included within it, but that was it.

    On the other, there’s just you – a single individual – asserting with an analysis that no one else has reviewed or supported that ‘you know best’ about the strategy, to the extent not just that this or that part of it might need to be amended a bit but rather that you feel that you can publicly call for it to be stopped and scrapped. That must indicate either that you are extraordinarily farsighted in your understanding about climate change reduction policies, or else that you have comprehensively misunderstood what’s being proposed.

    I think you can probably guess which is the case.

    And that’s the end of this exchange. I’ll be attending the Council meeting this evening where I trust I will see Calderdale’ Energy Future finally enshrined as policy, and then some of us can continue to dedicate ourselves to getting it implemented.

    • Hi Anthony, I haven’t said that the strategy should be stopped and scrapped. I’ve pointed out three specific areas where I think it needs radical review and improvement before the Council adopts the strategy. These areas are:

      *its reliance on the heavily-flawed Green Deal
      *its reliance on large scale biomass energy to reduce carbon emissions over an eight year period, without consideration of where the fuel will come from, or whether air pollution and other nuisance will be acceptable to the public
      *the lack of clarity about the proposed working group/s, specifically their membership and potential conflicts of interest if Council “partners” in the strategy are also members

      History is full of examples of a dominant view being found wanting when a minority comes up with a different understanding of how things work. Think of Galileo and the Catholic Church, for an obvious example. Not that I’m claiming to be like Galileo. Nor am I claiming to know best,or that I’m right and you’re wrong. I’m just saying that I see things differently from the draft Strategy. It’s vital that minorities are free to voice their ideas and that they are also heard. Otherwise what kind of oppressive society would we end up with?

      You might be interested to know that far from being offended by my dissenting ideas, most Calderdale Councillors whom I’ve contacted about my reservations have welcomed my comments.

  6. Fair enough Anthony, but it’s easy to dismiss comments without addressing or answering them. Your response to specific points in my post would be interesting. I made them seriously and your blanket dismissal is rather puzzling.

    • Jenny: it would be very easy for me address ‘specific points’ because I’ve gone through every sentence of your article, cross-checked them to the strategy, and noted all the many, many mistakes and misinterpretations.

      But: you know, it’s not my job to act as a fact and analysis checker for someone who’s decided that they want to overturn a critical environmental strategy for Caldedale that other people have spent a huge amount of time – I mean years – and effort getting to the point of implementation. We’ve already done our bit. Behind me I’ve got the resources of the environmental campaign group most expert in shaping the national and local frameworks for climate change reduction, and that allows me to make a judgment on the validity of what you’ve written.

      And: in Friends of the Earth we’ve learnt not to become needlessly embroiled in public controversy or debate around climate change ‘cause and response’. It simply distracts attention away from the enormously urgent task of devising and implementing action plans for carbon reduction, including here in Calderdale. So – looking across the rest of your site – we’re not going to get diverted into ideological discussions about ‘neoliberalism’ or ‘post-normal science’ or whatever, which are articulated from a perspective that seems to be suspicious and unsupportive of an organised, collective response to climate change.

      Then: I’m not going to naively contribute to a ‘public debate’ that you can show to your financial sponsors UnLtd as evidence that, by publishing a ‘controversial’ commentary on the new strategy, you’ve thereby provoked and created the sort of discussion which is the ostensible purpose of your site and their grant.

      Last: but not least – putting that Frank Furedi quote in was careless, wasn’t it? And the link to the Bishop Hill blog. Bit of a dead giveaway.

      • Hi Anthony
        I wasn’t asking you to fact check my article, or to take part in a discussion so that I could show UnLtd that Energy Royd serves a purpose. I was simply asking you to explain why you think the points I’ve made are wrong, in the interests of clarification and public discussion. But you assert that you know best and I guess we have to leave it at that.

        With regard to Frank Furedi, I think his comments about the risk society are sensible and perceptive. And with regard to the Bishops Hill website, I don’t understand what you mean by saying that my referring to it is a bit of a giveaway. I was interested in what the website had to say. I think there’s room for all kinds of ideas about human-caused climate change and the different ideas people have for how to deal with it.

        I also think it’s a pity that you insist on foreclosing discussion and instead require me – and presumably anyone else who questions ideas which you hold – to accept your superior authority. But there you go.

  7. The comments in this article are variously inaccurate, ill informed and ill advised. They completely misrepresent the contents, process and intent of Calderdale’s new climate change reduction strategy. I completely endorse its expertise and integrity and urge everyone concerned about the threat of climate change to support it. And therefore to ignore all the mistaken things that ‘Energy Royd’ has to say about it.

    As for the ER site as a whole, personally I think it’s a self-indulgence but more importantly it’s neither ‘local’ or ‘accessible’ as one might expect it to be considering it has apparently been grant aided to generate a presumably informed public debate about climate change and how we should tackle it. Just the opposite is the case.

    If you want to read the Centre for Low Carbon Futures’ expert modelling of the positive and achievable opportunities for Calderdale to reach a 40% CO2 reduction target by 2020, which underpins the Council strategy, you can download it here:

    And of course read the Council strategy itself, when you’ll be able to judge for yourself just how good it is.

    Anthony Rae – coordinator, Calderdale Friends of the Earth

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