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109th LCCN newsletter

Welcome to the 109th LCCN newsletter. These come to you regularly with updates on what the Network is doing, other developments and, if you tell us, what you're doing.

It’s another busy issue. Details in this issue on:

A Manifesto for Community Energy
The Energy Bill
‘Energy We Can All Afford’ - a major series of public meetings on ‘Warmer Homes, Lower Bills, Cooler Planet’
Wind turbines make you ill???
And plenty more....
We're always keen to get news of what’s happening in your area that may be of interest elsewhere. And please forward this to anyone who may be interested, reminding them that they can get their own copy at:

The Energy Bill

The Energy Bill is expected to be published early next month and put before parliament before the end of the year. The timetable for it will look something like this:

· Bill printed (called the First Reading) – mid/late November (poss w/c 19th Nov.)

· First debate in House of Commons (called Second Reading) – before Xmas (prob early-mid December)

· Committee Starts – Early January, and takes ~3 weeks

· Report Stage – unlikely before March

· Off to Lords, and passage through Lords - from April – October next year.

However there are two big caveats. First there is a chance the Bill will not start in the Commons but in the Lords. This would mean MPs not seeing it before March/April. The second is that while the first stages are reasonably predictable (there may be further delays, but probably a matter of weeks not months) the later stages are more vague. (Thanks to Energy Bill Revolution fort this summary)

The Bill has been described as a ‘once in a generation’ opportunity to come up with a more coherent system, but any reading of the press makes it clear just how contentious this is. Different stories of caps on on-shore wind, increases in on-shore wind (to roughly 3 times where we are), targets for decarbonisation of our electricity supply and of course everyone getting the lowest possible bills.... See Business Green for one view:

And if you think the Energy Bill is confusing check this out: Arup (the interesting global consultancy) has identified key legislative and policy drivers to produce this user friendly timeline on Uk energy legislation: Download it here (it’s big...) or email them at and ask for a poster sized version.

UK Energy Legislation Timeline (PDF / 1993kb)

So where does community fit in?

The struggle between DECC and the Treasury (and the Daily / Sunday Mail) is being well chronicled elsewhere. The tweets of Damian Carrington (Guardian journalist) are consistently useful.

It may seem that community energy is something of a bystander in this arena, but there are some critical issues. Last week Damian pointed to recent research that shows that 49% of people would support a wind turbine being erected within two miles of their home, with 22% against and plenty of uncertaint. But if the project were community-owned, support rose to 68% and opposition plummeted to 7%. Opposition to wind in Germany is much rarer than in UK: compare their situation where 65% of renewable energy capacity is community-owned to here where community ownership is less than 10%. Better links between developers and communities are essential.

In that context it’s worth noting that last week the Renewable Energy Association held an initial meetings about a community energy component in their work (LCCN was involved), the Community Energy Manifesto was launched (see below), and Ed Davey said that he wants “nothing more than a community energy revolution”. At the same time the consultation on community benefits of wind is receiving large amounts of hostile material: ( )

Regen ran an event this week on the above DECC review with Olivia Knibbs, head of independent generation at DECC. There was discussion that ‘this could lead to mandatory standards for community benefit for onshore wind. This may be a good thing but doesn’t give much thought to community ownership models and could even hinder them’.

Bottom line in all this is that there is a lot to play for and to lobby for. Have your say for starters in the DECC consultation and encourage pro-wind activity (even while Tory MPs lobby against them and the government’s green speak gets weaker and weaker).

And don't forget the wider context. As we go to press activists are blockading gas-fired power stations (a first?) and last Saturday London pensioners occupied part of the Westfield shopping centre protesting against high fuel prices. It’s a busy time (and as some Chinese sage once said – “when the winds of change blow some build walls and some build windmills”....)

Energy we can all afford? Warmer Homes, Lower Bills, Cooler Planet

Given the action above, it is important that MPs hear from all of us about energy concerns. This winter a coalition of national organisations is organising a programme of over 40 major public meetings across the UK with local MPs and other national speakers. The meetings are being organised by a coalition that includes Friends of the Earth, the Energy Bill Revolution (EBR) coalition, Stop Climate Chaos, LCCN (us) and Greenpeace UK.

The theme links our major concerns. Energy prices have risen rapidly, chiefly because of our increasing dependence on gas, and millions are trapped in fuel poverty: we need a new and positive approach to this based on energy efficiency and clean sustainable energy. We need to help ensure that the MP hears strong arguments that:

· We must boost the amount of energy we generate from low-carbon, domestic sources to wean ourselves off rising fossil fuel prices;

· We must reduce the amount of energy we need in our homes: recycling the carbon taxes we are paying could do this fairly;

· Highlight how serious the impacts of the current situation are – by telling stories of those affected by high bills / cold homes, especially by the most vulnerable (elderly people, children, disabled)

· Highlight the benefits of taking actions both to help affected people, but also in terms of job creation and new industries.

This will be a powerful way to link work on energy and cutting carbon with issues around fuel poverty. We want to hear the views of MPs on the UK’s energy future and for them to answer people’s questions. Organisers are keen to help any local organisation organise a meeting. Support is available that includes help in contacting MPs and speakers, guidance on planning meetings, leaflets and posters, and on-line and phone advice. Small grants are available in some cases to help cover the costs of hall hire. Thanks to those LCCN people who have responded. For more information email

A Manifesto for Community Energy

This was launched last week by the Community Energy Coalition (we’re in there along with partners that include the National Trust and the National Farmers Union). We are calling on the Government to introduce policy measures as part of the new strategy that would lead to a formal guarantee of the treatment and support that community and co-operative energy (CCE) schemes can expect from government and its agencies. You can download the Manifesto and find out more at pages around:

Community Energy on the BBC

There’s a good story just up on the BBC website on ‘crowd-funding’ (that’s community energy in media speak...) for wind energy at St Briavels, courtesy of good work by Abundance:

And more on energy tariffs (we’ll all get the best!!?)

Ofgem has new proposals to reform the energy market, with the aim of making is simpler, clearer and fairer. It aims to put an end to the confusion of complex (impenetrably so in most cases) tariffs, thus making the market more competitive. A useful blog on YouGen has the updates:

Transition Streets roll-out

Transition Streets has been working to change behaviour in Totnes with very positive results, and learning from that a new Streets-wise programme is now available for community groups to adapt the project to their own area.

Read more on the positive impacts of the Totnes project and the Streets-wise programme at To talk through your options or book the Streets-wise programme for your community organisation call Mary Popham on 01803 867358 or email

SERA Launches ‘Power Book’ Labour Conference

SERA, along with the Co-operative Party, the Local Government Information Unit and the Shadow DECC team, have launched ‘The Power Book’, a new pamphlet that looks at the potential of community and cooperatively owned energy.

Wind turbines make you ill???

The latest claim by climate sceptics... Check out here where the evidence is coming from:

Why am I not surprised that this academic (dropped by a University) has also been funded by the Tobacco industry? (you couldn’t make this up!)

Health Effects of Climate Change in the UK 2012

More seriously....this publication by the Health Protection Agency is worth a place on anyone’s reference pile – full of “Current evidence, recommendations and research gaps”

Community Generation Loan Fund

The FSE Community Generation Fund is re-opening. They had a first call for projects in the spring from which “we received a fantastic response. Having processed these we are able to now able to welcome new applications”. Two types of loans can be applied for:

· Development Loans: Contingently-repayable loans for pre-planning project development costs.

· Construction Loans: Long-term loans for equipment, construction & commissioning costs (post planning consent) either stand-alone or alongside bank finance.

Unlike before we are now ‘permanently’ open so there is no deadline to work to, although it should be remembered we do have limited funds. The first stage of an application is to complete the pre-application form which can be downloaded from our website here where more information on the fund can also be found.

CDP Cities data is now open!

Topics now available for download from the Carbon Disclosure project on 73 cities:

Incentives for climate change action

Adaptation actions taken by cities (searchable by risk, status, type and financing)

Emissions reduction actions (including status, type, and source of financing)

Gimme the good news: EU emissions fall

And guess where they’ve fallen most in real terms? Yes right here...

Gimme the good news: EU again – a new positive campaign

This new EU site on low carbon action has lots of good stories and ideas:

And finally...

David Attenborough on Nigel Lawson and other deniers (who would you rather have dinner with?)

“We need to be able to see just how wrong-headed they are and how selective they are in picking data to support their ideas. They pinpoint examples to say global warming cannot be happening because it got colder in some area of the planet. That is the sort of thing they say. But, of course, that completely misunderstands the global nature of the crisis we are facing. We have to keep pointing that out. Certainly I think that most people would recognise that Lawson is up a gum tree.

The truth is: the natural world is changing. And we are totally dependent on that world. It provides our food, water and air. It is the most precious thing we have and we need to defend it."