23rd Jan Halifax Affordable Warmth drop in – advice on heating and insulation schemes and cheaper energy suppliers

On Wednesday 23 January at Better Lives, 42 Market Street in Halifax town centre (opposite Tesco Metro), between 10am and 12.30pm, Calderdale Council and the Citizen’s Advice Bureau are holding an “affordable warmth” drop-in event.

This is so people can see what they could save on their heating bills and find out more about Better Homes Yorkshire “affordable warmth” heating and insulation schemes for residents on low incomes who own or privately rent their own homes.

Calderdale Council and Better Homes Yorkshire are offering 500 households fully funded insulation for attic bedrooms and lofts.  Typically, the homes that will be treated are stone-built, terraced properties. Continue reading

NHS privatisation in Calderdale is almost twice the national average

Four years ago, Craig Whittaker assured me there would be no privatisation of the NHS.

In 2015-16 Calderdale Clinical Commissioning Group spent 13% of its £267,919,000 budget on non-NHS (ie private sector) providers.

This is not counting what it spends on social care, which is mostly privatised, and on voluntary sector organisations, which is “soft” privatisation.

When you count those in, 21% (£56,510,000) of the Clinical Commissioning Group’s budget goes on non-NHS providers. Continue reading

Hebden Bridge and other Calderdale GP practices’ patient data systems are unlawful

Hebden Bridge Group Practice and other GP practices in Calderdale use an electronic patient data system called TPP SystmOne that has an “enhanced data sharing” system that shares confidential patient data outside the GP practice eg with hospitals, care homes and community services.

Flaws in the system mean data protection is being breached as the sharing system gives access to our shared data to thousands of “authorised users” within the NHS, which is not what is supposed to happen. It should just go to whatever other NHS departments are treating you, in addition to your GP.

Update 13.10.208 TPP SystmOne made changes to its data sharing functionality in early 2018 and NHS England and NHS Digital sent these recommendations to GPs and asked them all to carry them out asap. In March 2019 the Information Commissioner’s Office stated the issue had been resolved to its satisfaction.

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Call for landowners to stop upland heather burning as new research shows link to increased flood risk

New research from Leeds University into the impacts of permitted heather burning on upland peat bog shows that for the 20% biggest storms, the flow of water over land is higher than in areas where the moorland has not been burnt.

This will contribute to “flashy” river flows in the valleys below the moors, with the water level rising quickly and causing flooding. Continue reading

Forget the Green Deal – demand an Energy Bill Revolution

The Energy Bill Revolution campaign is urging the government to use the money it gets from carbon taxes to make our homes super-energy efficient – driving down our energy bills forever. And also reducing household carbon emissions and the need for energy.

If you haven’t already signed the Energy Bill Revolution petition, you can do it here.
Continue reading

What do you think of Leeds City Region’s Local Economic Partnership? A Parliamentary Group wants to know

The Leeds City Region group of local authorities has set up a Local Economic Partnership (LEP) which in turn has set up a Green Economy Panel, which as far as I can understand Is responsible for “growing” the green economy in the region, which includes Calderdale.

So if you have anything to say about the effectiveness or otherwise of the LEP or the Green Economy Panel, the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Local Growth, LEPs and Enterprise Zones “warmly invites” your comments.

Updated 1 Oct 2012

The All Party Parliamentary Group has now published its Report on Local Growth, LEPs and Enterprise Zones.

I’ve also just found out from the people who answer the phone for media enquiries about  Leeds City Region Local Enterprise Partnership that no Green Economy Panel (GEP) minutes or agendas are on the LCR website because a) it’s a new Panel and no-one’s got round to putting the GEP papers on the website b) it’s a private group and its meetings are private and “not something LCR would publicise“.

So much for democracy.

Support the Energy Bill Revolution

The Energy Bill Revolution is a campaign to make energy bills affordable to all, through the UK government using revenue from carbon taxes to pay for insulating people’s homes. This will make homes warmer, so people have to use less energy to heat them, and pay less on their energy bills. It would bring nine out of ten fuel-poor households out of fuel poverty, cut carbon emissions and create jobs.

Money spent on home insulation saves a lot more money for the NHS

Research in 2008 by the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and Buildings Research Establishment showed that:

every £1 spent on improving energy efficiency in homes where cold is likely to damage people’s health, saves the NHS £34.19 over 10 years, per 100,000 homes.

I don’t exactly understand that statistic (can someone please explain it?), but it sounds as if using carbon tax revenue to pay for people’s home energy efficiency improvements would save a lot of money that would otherwise be spent on the NHS. So arguing that we can’t afford it because of the need to cut public spending probably isn’t going to wash.

24% of Calderdale homes are fuel poor and there are higher excess winter deaths here than in UK as a whole

The Energy Bill Revolution would be very helpful in Calderdale. Around 24% of Calderdale homes are fuel poor, according to the 2008 Calderdale Private Sector Stock Condition Survey. Fuel poverty damages the health of people living in these fuel-poor homes – through increasing respiratory illnesses, arthritis and risks of elderly people’s falls. It is associated with higher than average excess winter deaths – that is, the greater number of deaths that occur in winter, compared to the normal rate of deaths in the population.

There are two main carbon taxes: the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EUETS) and the carbon floor price, that’s due to start in April 2013. The carbon price floor will establish the rate of fuel duty or climate change levy payable on fossil fuels used to generate electricity. The amount payable will depend on the average carbon content of each type of fossil fuel.

Using the taxes to pay for home insulation and other energy efficiency measures would reduce the energy people use and help cut carbon emissions that way.

The Energy Bill Revolution is supported by by alliance of children’s and older people’s charities, health and disability groups, environment groups, consumer groups, trade unions, businesses, politicians and public figures

Energy Bill Revolution Petition

If you think the UK government should use our carbon tax revenues to pay for home energy efficiency improvements, you can sign a petition here.

Early Day Motion 47

In the last session of Parliament, one of the MPs in the Energy Bill Revolution alliance put forward Early Day Motion (EDM) 2769, which called for Parliament to pass the proposal. 121 MPs signed up to support the EDM.  Craig Whitaker didn’t, although there are over 9,000 households in fuel poverty in this constituency and presumably he wants to do something about it.

In the new session of Parliament, an MP has put forward EDM 47 (to replace EDM 2769). This is another chance for Craig Whittaker to do something that will help reduce his constituents’ fuel poverty.

You can email  craig.whittaker.mp@parliament.uk and ask him to sign Early Day Motion 49, calling for Parliament to pass Energy Bill Revolution proposal for the UK government to recycle carbon taxes into insulating people’s homes.