East Midlands Green Party Blog


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Green Party says NO to Foston Factory Farm, Green Party says NO to all Factory Farms

The Green Party is opposing the planning application for the development of a mega Pig Factory Farm by Midlands Pig Producers. We also oppose any factory farm for several good reasons outlined below. This specific development would be placed in the pleasant rural village of Foston on Uttoxeter Road, South Derbyshire. The planning application involves a pig rearing unit together with anaerobic digestion facility and associated infrastructures. Midlands Pig Producer already have a factory farm in the area which holds around 5000 pigs. The Foston unit would hold 25000 pigs with 1000 pigs being slaughtered every week.

South Derbyshire DC has refused permission, the matter now lies with Derbyshire County Council who have called for more evidence on environmental impacts. If they refuse the matter will almost certainly go to appeal and be decided by the Ministry of Environment.

Foston residents have been campaigning against this massive development for some time now. The site is bordered by housing and a women’s prison, the natal unit of which is within 130 meters to the pig farm. I have spoken to some residents who have serious concerns about possible health implications, which I understand have not been fully assessed. It is unclear what Midlands Pig Producers would do in the event of an outbreak of disease for example Food and Mouth. Residents fear that the pig unit and possible neighbouring houses and the prison might have to be quarantined and movement in the village strictly limited.

Furthermore local residents understandably do not wish to live next to a big industrial unit, with its associated noise, smell and traffic movements. Although the developers claim that they will filter off 90% of the noise and smells; residents fear that the remaining noise and smells from 25,000 pigs will have a serious impact on their lives.

Another really important point is the risk of flooding. This area is prone to flooding. The actual flood-line is very close to the development; and flooding increases the risk of water contamination. The Environment Agency has objected to the plan on the basis that the risks to groundwater contamination can not be properly managed.

The development will cause a significant increase in traffic movements and noise in an area that lacks the infrastructure to properly absorb these impacts. The proposal is therefore contrary to established planning guidelines for developments in rural areas. Furthermore, the access road to and from the site is not appropriate for heavy industrial and agricultural traffic.

The Green Party promotes a sustainable approach to food production and these mega units, reliant on cheap oil and animal feed are not sustainable, which is why we oppose not only the Foston piggery but also all factory farms. We believe that the land used to grow the animal feed should be used to grow food for human consumption. Producing meat means that these animals have to be fed. Land used to grow the animal food is taken from the area used to grow human food. More intensive units means less land for human food. The calorie needs of a growing pig is about double that of a human child under 10 and 50% higher than an active adult. So the food going to this pig unit could feed 50,000 children.

I feel strongly about animal welfare, since animals are able to experience many of the same feeling as humans do. Any human with some sense of empathy can sense that animals can feel fear, pain and discomfort, they also feel stress when separated from their young. Keeping pigs or any other animals in cages for all of their lives, without natural light, without the chance to be part of their social structures – is cruel. I understand that Midlands Pig Producers claim that they will keep to the RSPCA code of welfare for farmed animals. In my opinion these standards are inadequate for these intelligent and social animals.

Another major concern is the use of antibiotics. In large factory farms animals are kept in unnatural and confined environments, the outbreak and spread of diseases is, therefore a serious risk. In order to prevent this, animals are usually kept on low doses of antibiotics. 27% of all antibiotics are used in pig farming here in the UK. Experts are increasingly warning that bacteria are getting resistant to these antibiotics, which are the same as the ones used in human medicine. We rely on antibiotics heavily; without effective antibiotics normal operations and common illness can become lethal. Risking losing the service of valuable antibiotics through overuse as in factory farms is irresponsible.

As mentioned above, the Green Party says that we have to address sustainability in food production. These factory farms use a lot of energy and have a high carbon footprint. Since we are facing a major environmental crisis, we need to reduce energy usage and carbon omission. The UN has published information that states that the meat and diary industry produces 18% of green house gases globally; however other studies imply an even higher contribution.

These factory units will further harm small and medium sized farmers. Farmers cannot compete with the low prices that these mega units can achieve at the present time. This unit would have around 18 employees working in the factory; if the pigs were traditionally farmed, far more people would be employed and earning a living from this. Do we really want our British farming to become an industrial production line? Do we really want our landscape to be filled with industrial units? Or do we want to see traditional farms with grazing animals in the fields?

Having looked at this Foston development I could not find a single reason that I thought was persuasive in its favour. Local residents, traditional farmers, the pigs, the consumers’ health, our environment all would have to pay a price so that a handful of people could get rich. That is simply not a good reason to allow mega factory farms.


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Shame on you – you Government of millionaires

As a cost cutting measure, the Conservative – Liberal Democrat Coalition Government is ending the practice of giving free visas to children from Belarus and Ukraine who’s health has been affected by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster of 1986. Children from these countries have been offered rest and recuperation holidays in various countries across Europe, including Britain and Ireland. The purpose of these holidays is to give the children some small opportunity to be free of the radio- active fall out that still blights their home countries. Many of these young people live in poverty and these breaks are the only real holidays they will ever have. For a short period of their young lives that can have uncontaminated food, clean water and a chance to find enjoyment in an unpolluted environment.

The situation in the areas contaminated by the Chernobyl explosion remains serious and the cost a major burden on the economies of Belarus and Ukraine. The world may have largely forgotten about Chernobyl, but the people of Belarus will never be able to forget. Each year that country must spend 20% of its GDP on the continuing clean-up operation, there is little money left to help children suffering from radiation induced sickness. 99% of the land in Belarus is classified as contaminated, 70 square kilometres of land around the stricken plant are permanently uninhabitable. People are still waiting to be evacuated from areas that are too contaminated to live in. Since 1986 there has been a 200% increase in birth defects, many of these are congenital and will be passed on to future generations. Cancer rates have increased by orders of magnitude. 800,000 men were drafted in to help to contain the disaster, to limit the spread of radiation to other countries. 100,000 of these men are dead or disabled. This is the cost of nuclear power that it’s proponents want us to ignore, it’s a cost that the people of Belarus and Ukraine would like to ignore, but they never will be able to.

In 1991, Doctors in Balarus and Ukraine sent a fax message to their international colleagues; in desperation they made this appeal, “SOS appeal. For god’s sake, help us to get the children out.” The message was picked up by Adi Roche, an Irish peace campaigner. She began to take a few children into her own home to give them the break that their doctors hoped would help to give them some extra vitality to fight the effects of low level radiation. This initiative lead to the establishment of the Chernobyl Children’s Project and numerous charities became involved in taking children for a recuperative break in a number of European countries and in America. The visa requirements for the children and their parents or carers – many are orphans, have been waived by the receiving countries. In 2009, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office reaffirmed that the UK would continue to waive the £86 visa fee.

But no longer. Now the Government has ended this waiver, it says that the country can not afford it. The UK is so hard up that it has to collect around £186,000 from the Chernobyl children’s families, many of whom subsist on less than £2 per day. Let us just remind ourselves of the poor state of the UK economy, the countries richest people and corporations managed to avoid paying £95 billion in tax last year. Margaret Thatcher’s funeral cost the tax payer £3 million, the prize money at Royal Ascot was £5million. Yet our Government can not afford to let these poor children come to our country for free. Shame on you, you Government of millionaires.

STOP THE FOREIGN & COMMONWEALTH OFFICE WITHDRAWING GRATIS VISAS FOR CHERNOBYL CHILDREN COMING TO UK FOR RECUPERATIVE HOLIDAYS FROM BELARUS & UKRAINE

Sign the petition here: http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/37945


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Vital Women in Politics – Green World Women

Natalie Bennett, Green Party leader and former chair of Green Party Women, recently said: “The Green Party has consistently led the way compared to the other large parties in the percentage of women standing for elected office.  In the 2010 general election we had 33% female candidates, compared to Labour’s 30%, the Conservative’s 24% and the Liberal Democrat’s 21%.” Always pushing forward, The Green Party of England and Wales has now committed to a fair 50% or more of our candidates being women, in order to redress the imbalance in Parliament and the broader political and social arenas. I want to reflect upon the fact that other parties – the same parties this week heralding an aggressive, agentic and uncompromising leader as the way for a woman to be in power, are the least supportive of further woman candidates. In the news this week we are hearing a great deal about one woman who climbed the political ladder. News reporters, asked to respectfully refrain from criticism, have allowed instead a very one-sided, glorifying and blinkered idea of her policies and put Vaseline on the eyes who seek to see how those policies affect us today. They are also failing to ask a vital question as to where other women of politics are. We will leave controversial critique of her policies for another time, it would take too many posts!

This post is about many political women, not one. These women of the Green political movement of today and of its seeding and growing this past 40 years, include party founders and leaders, activists and our first voice in Westminster. These are the women of the ‘there is an alternative’ movement. These are the women at the front of the movements of social justice, environmental protection, sustainable economics, peace-building and hope.  I would like to introduce just some of these women who have changed the face of the political world for the better.

Click on each photo to find out more and to add your own thoughts and stories. – caroline lucas gpgp natalie bennettGREEN PARTY WOMENGP Leslie WhittakerJean lambertGP no blood for oilMarina-Silva-of-the-Green-006sunflowergpgreenballot3.jpgEuropean Green Group Organise a Get Women on Board Conference circle of friends around earthGP Solange Fernex - France 1934 - 2006GP councillor PheonixGP Jenny_Jones London AssemblyElizabeth May, Green Party CA  GP miriam_kennetIngrid Betancourt Pulecio, Collumbian Green Party

We offer some UK and international images and stories of women involved in the last 40 years of Green Politics. Some of these women have given lives and liberty, all have given integrity, intelligence, strength and vision. Sarah Cope, present Chair of Green Party Women: “Women in the UK are now facing a ‘triple jeopardy’ in terms of austerity. Firstly, increasing unemployment, as women’s employment is heavily focused on the public sector. Secondly, loss of income: over 70% of government cuts to date have come from women’s pockets. Add to this cuts to legal, domestic abuse services, caring and childcare support.” It becomes clear that we need more women representatives of the right kind, for fairness and perspective. The women pictured above and below are among the true women leaders in politics:

 GP MSP Alison Johnstone Lothian with MSP Patrick Harvie GlasgowGreen Party Japaninternational-day-of-peacegp scottish centralgp freda saundersgp woman in male environmentGP reclaimthenightClimate Change DemoGP Jill Stein & Greens against Keystone XLget women on boardnataliebennett2013confGP Cheri Honkala Philadelphiagreen party womenbyname2012summerGP Caroline_Lucas  

Click on these photographs to find the stories behind them and add your own experiences.

These women are not limited to but include (in no particular order):

  • Leslie Whittaker and Freda Saunders, 50 % of the founders of our party which inspired a vital global green political movement. Without them, where would we be?
  • Petra Kelly, bright, guiding star, whose life and influence could fill books & who was tragically killed
  • Caroline Lucas MP, our history maker in Westminster
  • Natalie Bennett, our empowered leader
  • Marina Silva, founder and Leader of the Green Party in Brazil after coming third in elections
  • Ingrid Betancourt Pulecio, held captive for 6 years for standing as a Green for Colombian Presidency
  • Ms. Nao Suguro, co-founder of Green Party of Japan
  • Agnieszka Grzybek, Co-leader of Green Party of Poland
  • Doctor Jill Stein, Leader of Green Party USA
  • Cheri Honkala, USA Green Party Deputy Leader
  • Elizabeth May, Leader of Canadian Green Party
  • Jenny Jones of the London Assembly
  • Alison Johnstone, Green MSP
  • Romayne Phoenix, Green Party MP candidate for Lewisham West and Penge and chair of Coalition of Resistance
  • Jean Lambert, one of our wonderful champions of change in Europe, MEP for London
  • Franziska Brantner, Green MEP
  • Solange Fernex, life-long peace campaigner and European Green Party member
  • Miriam Kennet a Green Councillor in Reading, founder and Director of the Green Economics Institute

Last month was Women’s History month. In a World in which women are often one of the under-represented groups, let’s take a moment to refocus on the inspirational, history making women in the Green Movement. They form part of a rich, vital and growing movement involved in social justice,  environmental protection, peace work and human rights.  As men and women of the Green movement move forward together towards equality, with our vision of a resilient, sustainable future, let’s herald these women.

In the East Midlands Katharina Bottege stands as MEP. Her mother has also been a vital part of the Green political movement. For more information on Green Party policy for a fair 50% of candidates to be women, please see:

http://greenparty.org.uk/news/2013/02/26/greens-take-further-step-to-promote-women-general-election-candidates/


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No to the Bedroom Tax

tax bankers not bedrooms

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6fKaoTKr9aw

The above video displays only one of the outcomes of the bedroom tax. People with two or more homes are stating that children with disabilities must share bedrooms with other siblings or their families will have benefit cuts. This effects the safety and health of any disabled child, their siblings and their family. It is also economically unworkable, the cost of moving families with disabled children and re-equipping homes with the most basic tools to allow even the minimum safety and mobility would be far greater than any saving made. Single parents, recently bereaved families and those with children away at university are also targeted in these cuts.

Human rights are being violated with this and other unnecessary and unequal cuts.  80% of cuts are to come. Calls for tax justice and fair pay are being increasingly replaced with those in poverty turning on one another in response to government spin-doctoring, which Natalie Bennett at Spring Conference called ‘deeply derisive workers verses shirkers rhetoric’. Blame is placed on those driven into unemployment by public service cuts and economic failures of a system where organisations making cuts often make people redundant before looking at turning off the lights at closing time. Responsibility is placed at the door of those whom accident or illness made too ill to work. International workers often used as cheap labour, hardly surviving on their pay, are hated by those who lose their jobs or take pay cuts to compete. Losses are taken by small and medium sized businesses collapsing under unjust tax laws and other financial inequity. Young people and vulnerable groups pay increasing ecological and economic bills while many become blinded to the real issues.

Be seen to be Green with me on the 16th March at 1pm at Brian Clough Statue off Market Square, Nottingham. Our policies, including for a living wage and for the top of an organisation to be on no more than 10 times the salary of the lowest paid employee, of bank and tax reform and cutting carbon not welfare are important in these times. They are the only concise alternative to austerity.

Please join us for this and other peaceful demonstrations. Please share this with others and use this blog and our facebook group to let us know your thoughts and any relevant local campaigns.

With Thanks,

Antonia


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What our MEP candidate stands for

Kat GP 3

gpstrapsmall.jpg

www.greenparty.org.uk

nottingham.greenparty.org.uk

Meet Green Party MEP candidate for the East Midlands: Katharina Boettge

Kat will be standing in the 2014 European elections to fight

  • For bringing in a Green New Deal;
  • Against mass animal production;
  • For a more fair and equal society;
  • Against cuts and austerity;
  • For bank regulation and a ‘Robin Hood Tax’
  • To address climate change.

Join the Green Party now and help to elect Kat to the European Parliament

We look forward to hearing your voice!

Antonia Sara Zenkevitch

Social Media Coordination, EM Green Party