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Low Carbon Communities Network News - May 21st 2013

Low Carbon Communities Network News - May 21st 2013

Hello and welcome to latest news from LCCN. With this system you can easily share our information (and unsubscribe should you wish to). If you have news of projects or activities that you’d like to share across the UK please email LCCN chair, Chris Church at chrischurch@cooptel.net

In this month: Green Deal, Energy Bill going critical, LCCN updates (lots of news!), and plenty of other news

400 parts per million...
We knew it was coming but that doesn’t make it any less worrying and makes that 350 target look event further away. There’s a flood of comment so we won’t add to that except to say that the need for action at every level is greater than ever. And with low levels of media interest, positive news about climate and energy coming from within anyone’s local community and networks becomes ever more important.

UKIP, Tea Party and nonscience...
The new right appear to be htting new lows in prejudice-based policy making, with simple disbelief - in the style of the US Tea Party - as the basis for energy and climate policy. While they may not have any power, they do provide new support for those in power who are denying climate change for their own reasons. Ed Davey is, to give him credit, seeking to challenge this: http://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/2269427/davey-slams-vested-interest...

The Green Deal
The Deal appears to be limping slowly into life. The ENDS Bulletin (a reliable source of information) suggests that only around 100 people are paying back Green Deal loans and only three are paying through their electricity bills. This is tiny compared to the almost 19,000 homes that have had assessments. It does suggest that our concerns in previous newsletters about people’s likely inaction after a survey were on the mark. More and better and independent advice is needed at this stage (a role for a community organisation?). Last week British Gas started offering loan packages so figures may rise. But the 7% interest rates on GD loans may put people off – many of those interested to improve their homes may front the money to get a much lower rate (e.g. from a mortgage)

Meanwhile some community organisations are registering with the Green Deal Cashback Scheme. They receive Cashback donations from your customers in line with the Green Deal Cashback Terms and Conditions. Customers selecting their favoured Charity from a dropdown list: for more info see http://www.gov.uk/greendealcashback

Action on the Energy Bill
The Bill now goes to the critical Report Stage on June 3/4th. This is when amendments will be discussed and voted on. Almost 300 MPs from all parties are ready to vote for the key ‘decarbonisation’ amendment (see last news bulletin) – we only need around 25 more to win.

There are just 2 weeks to pile the pressure on. With support from across the UK we can win this. MPs will go on their Whitsun Recess Wednesday 22 May – Friday 31 May. During Recess MPs will be in their constituencies more than they would usually. They can’t sign the decarbonisation amendment during recess, but they can still be lobbied. And they'll be susceptible to any locally visible campaigning. This gives you an opportunity to use some tried and tested tactics:
· Write a letter to the Editor of your local paper saying why we need a clean power target. (MPs are sensitive to what appears in their local papers)
· Organise a media stunt. FoE has a stock of ‘Green is Working’ green hard hats to do a stunt promoting green jibs outside the MP’s office for the local paper – see http://www.foe.co.uk/what_we_do/green_is_working_photos_37540.html
· Do a leaflet drop around the constituency. FoE can make copies of a relevant leaflet available to you, tailored to your MP to distribute locally. Email simon.tiller@foe.co.uk

On the morning of Monday 3 June (the day of the vote), as one final push, could you give your MP’s office a ring? Check that the MP is planning to go to the vote and of course check that they will be voting in favour of the decarbonisation amendment? This helps remind them that their constituents are watching and waiting with expectation.

There are free teleconferences on Tuesday 21st and 28th May 7-8pm: contact simon.tiller@foe.co.uk to register. To find out if your MP has already backed the green jobs amendment check out FoE’s list: http://www.foe.co.uk/what_we_do/energy_target_supporters_39174.html . You can find more on the Bill at http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2013-14/energy.html For full details got to http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/bills/cbill/2013-2014/0004/amen... and look for ‘Consideration of Bill: 20 May 2013 1000008’

There are numerous other amendments, notably those seeking to strengthen the position of community energy (see previous mailings) that also need your support.

LCCN news
· The conference!
LCCN has committed to running our 2013 conference on Saturday October 12th. It will be in London, venue tbc. This will cover a range of issues from community energy to policy action and be an opportunity for a stock-take on the state of local action (with the results of our survey, see below). Please keep the date free if you’re thinking of coming and we’d be happy to hear from people who would like to help organise this event.

· The survey
In recent years we have done an on-line survey of our membership. We are about to do it again, to find out what you are doing, how you are doing and what you think about national level activity. The link to this on-line survey will be sent out shortly.

· The website
Our website is still undergoing redesign – it’s now at lowcarboncommunities.org but is somewhat out of date. We expect a relaunch shortly.

· A ‘CIO’
LCCN’s management group has approved plans to redevelop us as a ‘Charitable Incorporated Organisation’. We shall seek to present and hopefully agree this change at the annual conference.

· European work
LCCN members have now attended two meetings of the CINERGY (Citizens and Energy ) project on which we work with NGOs from five nations. We held a seminar on the value and impact of EU action in Oxford in April and will be holding a second one – on Community Energy and local engagement in early July. Full details in next mailing, and contact us (see address at the end) for a copy of the report on the EU seminar. The third of these will focus on participation and partnerships and will be in October (just before the Conference), where we will be joined by people from the other nations.

And while we're on Europe - DECC and DEFRA joint consultation on EU environment and climate policy: what’s the EU ever done for us....
A new consultation is open on how far the UK’s national interest would be served by the EU having more or less power to set environment and climate policy. This includes questions about the advantages and disadvantages of limiting the EU’s role in global environmental negotiations. The consultation runs until 12 August and is part of the government’s ‘balance of competences’ review. Various NGOs are already pointing out the value of having strong Europe-wide policies. It’s a questionnaire format, and anyone can respond.

More Europe: Sustainable Energy Week
Between 24 and 28 June 2013 hundreds of events will take place during the EU Sustainable Energy Week (EUSEW). The secretariat asks “Will you be a part of it? You do not need a big budget to show commitment. The aim is to create interaction with your public and media. Be creative and original in order to stand out from the crowd”. An Energy Day is defined as a not-for-profit event, activity, project, exhibition or display that promotes energy efficiency or renewable energy. Around 200 Energy Days are already planned in Brussels and across Europe, showcasing local initiatives in sustainable energy. For more info or to register contact the EUSEW Secretariat at energydays@eusew.eu
The EUSEW Secretariat - On behalf of the European Commission's EACI - www.eusew.eu As they say: One small step from you, one giant leap for Europe!

Achieving energy efficiency through behaviour change
The newly published European Energy Agency report "Achieving Energy Efficiency Through Behaviour Change: What Does it Take?" , takes a look at recent studies of behaviour change and energy use. It claims that up to 20% of the energy currently being used across the EU could be saved by getting people to act differently. (haven’t we been saying this for a long time???? – the word ‘could’ is the issue)

Seminar: Fresh approaches to tackling climate change Saturday 29 – Sunday 30 June
St Lawrence’s Parish Room, Colebrook Street, Winchester SO23 9LH
A two-day seminar run in conjunction with FEASTA (The Foundation for the Economics of Sustainability) to consider fresh approaches to tackling climate change and how they might be put into action. The Saturday workshop focuses on how the courts might be used to tackle climate change and the Sunday workshop other societal or economic approaches that could be fruitful. This event is FREE. Please email David Knight before 25 May to reserve your place at this meeting stating which day(s) you would like to attend.

Free household energy consumption data
As part of their Open Data project, the Centre for Sustainable Energy has assembled a comprehensive dataset of UK household energy consumption. The dataset is derived from the socio-demographically representative sample of UK households surveyed in the Office of National Statistics Living Costs and Food Survey. Data from six of these surveys (2004/5 to 2009) was combined, generating a sample size of over 36,000 cases. The dataset, which has been used to develop the analytical model ‘Dimpsa’ (Distributional Impacts Model for Policy Scenario Analysis), aims to provide a better understanding of the distribution of energy consumption patterns across households in Great Britain. More…

Send us your news! While our website is updated, first point of contact is Chris Church: chrischurch@cooptel.net

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