IN THE unseemly scramble between my party and the Tories in York over who hates wind turbines and renewable energy the most, I want to highlight a good news story from a community that has chosen to be part of the solution to this nation’s energy security and carbon reduction challenges.
Last year Balcombe in Sussex was in the news as the new wave of oil and gas drilling, or fracking, got under way just outside the village. Riot police, protesters and television crews set up camp as the battle raged.
This year the villagers, young and old alike, have set up a clean energy co-operative called REPOWER Balcombe which will install enough solar panels to provide all the community’s energy needs.
New national legislation means that city councils now retain 100 per cent of business rates they collect from renewable energy projects. I urge the council to declare that communities hosting such projects can keep 50 per cent of these rates to invest in a low energy future and other social projects in the community.
Let’s all engage positively with the opportunity to create a new energy future for ourselves and reduce our dependency on Russian gas, American coal, and Saudi oil.
Christian Vassie, Blake Court, Wheldrake, York.