#AxeDrax & support for Biofuelwatch

THE NORTHERN Friends of the Earth groups continue to build a strategy around opposing Drax. We are working alongside UK campaign group Biofuelwatch and the United States anti-deforestation group Dogwood Alliance to expose the hypocrisy and greenwashing behind this so-called”green” industry. Drax is the single biggest emitter of C02 in the UK, and burns more wood than any other plant in the world, importing pellets from the US, Canada and Estonia. Much of the wood is clearcut from biodiverse forests. The UK government provides more than £2.2 million in subsidies to Drax every day. Commitments were made at COP26 to stop the destruction of forests, yet our Government continues to support the incredibly damaging biofuel industry.

To find out more about Drax please see biofuelwatch.org.uk and subscribe to Biofuelwatch’s newsletters. You can also sign a petition calling on biomass power subsidies to be redirected to wind, solar, wave and tidal power via cutcarbonnotforests.org/. There is also a short film this link about the effects of Drax on Estonian forests.

West Newton & Fossil Free East Yorkshire

We are working with Fossil Free East Yorkshire to campaign against plans for major fossil fuel extraction over 25 years, which would not only damage and pollute the beautiful East Yorkshire countryside, but also contribute to the escalating and urgent climate crisis. Following years of campaigning, the awareness of and opposition to fossil fuel extraction in the region has steadily increased. Unfortunately, in March 2022 the E Riding Planning committee approved the application for 4 additional wells at West Newton, by 10-1 in favour, despite over 400 objections. This is extremely disappointing news and the group are reflecting on the next steps and will update ASAP.

Sustainable local travel

The Climate Change Committee (CCC), the government’s official climate advisers,  identifies a 9% reduction in car mileage by 2035 and 17% by 2050. This is a conservative estimate and Friends of the Earth argues that we need much deeper and more rapid reductions in car mileage if the UK is to make our fair share of global carbon emissions cuts to prevent more than 1.5 degrees of global warming[2] Sadly, Hull has been going in the opposite direction. Despite being a flat and compact city, over 1.04 billion miles were driven in Hull in 2019 – an increase of 53% since 1993. East Riding of Yorkshire saw 2.4 billion miles – an increase of 50% over the same period[3].

Whilst recognising the role electric vehicles (EVs) can play in reducing emissions, especially in the rural parts of East Yorkshire, we challenge the myth of EVs as the magic bullet solution as they come with embedded carbon dioxide emissions from manufacture and create brake and tyre dust. New road schemes are expensive, create pollution and lead to loss of green space.

We’re calling on both local authorities to invest in active travel schemes, public transport and car clubs; and take other measures to reduce car dependency through transport and local planning policies. We have actively engaged with Hull City Council to improve the quality of active travel provision by providing feedback on new schemes and carrying out voluntary litter picks along off-road travel corridors.  We campaign to ensure local plans support sustainable travel and reduce car dependency. 

We encourage both local authorities to focus on sustainable transport that is accessible and affordable to all. As well as reducing vehicle mileages, we seek to reduce overall car ownership due to embedded emissions; and parking that takes up valuable real estate, restricts active travel schemes and leads to the hard surfacing of urban gardens.

#LeftforNature

Wildlife benefits from the “natural look”:  un-mown lawns, dandelions, tangled hedges.  Some may call it messy, but once you see the colours of the flowers as well as the happy activity of the insects and birds, you will be a convert (if not already)

The group created multiple #leftfornature signs to draw attention to this campaign, and to mark out the areas we were leaving wild.    It was a brilliant way to highlight our message!   If you have a wild space in your local area or as part of your green group/ allotment that would benefit from promotion, it would be great to see some pictures and post to social media to encourage others with the handle #leftfornature.  If you could tag Hull FoE that would be even better so we can see what you have been up to.

UKWIN (UK WITHOUT INCINERATION)

UKWIN was formed with active support by FOE in 2007. HFOE have been involved with for a long time because of the common aim of protecting the environment.

UKWIN stands for United Kingdom without Incineration Network. It is a not for profit company. They are a group of dedicated people who have done a lot research into the harmful effects of incineration. They have worked with more than 150 local grassroots campaign groups since 2007.

Recently they have been lobbying the government to tax incineration like landfill is. Despite strong representation at the committee dealing with the problem the government has not imposed taxes on incineration in the new Environment Bill which is hugely disappointing. The reality is that throughout UK recycling is decreasing and incineration is increasing which does not make sense considering our government‘s commitments to climate change and more incinerators are being built. This despite incineration being:
1. Harmful to  recycling
2. Exacerbates climate change
3. It is a barrier to the circular economy which the government claims to be one of its objectives in the new Environment Bill
4. Harms  air quality

Please link to their website for more information