Tag Archives: biomass

Lies, Hobnobs, and Huhne

Chris Huhne MPChris Huhne in the Guardian yesterday:

First, none of this would have been possible without my own mistakes. I am no saint (but nor did I claim to be).

Chris Huhne was one of the Tory/LibDem Cabinet’s millionaires. He was Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change: he is now European manager of Zilkha Biomass Energy, a transition from government minister to employee in the same field that is now so familiar its corruption wouldn’t make the headlines – except that Huhne spent some time in between in court and in jail.

Besides his wealth from his pre-Parliament career as a City of London economist, Huhne owned seven houses: the one he officially lived in, in London: his official second home, in Eastleigh: and five more rental properties.

As revealed in the MP expenses scandal in 2009:

He owns his second home in his Eastleigh constituency in Hampshire outright but regularly claims for its renovation. In August 2006 he was reimbursed for a £5,066 builder’s invoice that included having two coats of “red rustic timber care” applied to garden items, and two coats of green preservative for fences. On another occasion Mr Huhne submitted a handyman’s bill for £77.31, covering odd jobs such as “replacing rope on swinging chair”. Continue reading

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Filed under Corruption, Politics

Trams? Trams? Look over there – a spaceship!

On Saturday 3rd March 2012 Edinburgh bus fares are going to go up. Again.

The bus fares change in 2012 will be the fourth rise since 2006, when a single bus fare went up to £1: In April 2008 to £1.10, then in January 2009 to £1.20, which was blamed on rising labour costs. In 2011, to £1.30, it was blamed on fuel costs: in 2012, a single fare will be £1.40 – and now it’s the withdrawal of the grant and the fall in passenger numbers due to the trams. Whatever the reason, that’s a rise of 175%40% (pre-coffee calculations) in 6 years.

Princes Street will still be covered in roadworks as they try, once more, to get the lines straight. The obstacle course that we scrambled through on Leith Walk was entirely pointless – they don’t now plan to build tramlines any further than St Andrews Square. The route will run in parallel with the trainline from Haymarket all the way to Edinburgh Airport, where it would have been entirely possible to build a halt, a connecting bridge, lifts, and a feeder road to the airport buildings with a fleet of accessible buses, in half the time and for a fraction of the cost.

On 3rd March 2007 the Scottish Government released £60M for Edinburgh Council’s big trams project. Tavish Scott, the MSP for Shetland, then the Transport Minister, said:

“Trams will give passengers a safe, environmental travel choice, a choice which will see reduced congestion and reduced emissions.

“The utilities agreement that has been put in place is the right approach. Allowing a single contractor to do all the work will minimise disruption in the Capital, save money and ensure the delivery of the project. That is welcome news for Edinburgh.”

Yes, it would have been, wouldn’t it? Continue reading

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Filed under Public Transport, Scottish Politics

Sustainable Edinburgh 2020

I was reminded by the Friends of the Earth Scotland (FOES) that the Sustainable Edinburgh 2020 consultation was still open (deadline 16th September). Here were my replies:

What do you think are the three most important priority actions needed for the sustainable development of Edinburgh?

My replies were:

  • Transport – e.g. pedestrian and cycle paths; low carbon public transport
  • Food/consumer products – e.g. local products; reduce food miles
  • Renewable energy – e.g. invest in renewable technologies: wind and solar power; biomass

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Filed under Poverty, Scottish Politics, Sustainable Politics