Tag Archives: environment

  • Courtesy Al Currie

    Brexit Not Looking Good for Farmers

    Visiting Fortshot House Farm near Wike last week I discussed a number of issues facing farmers in Yorkshire, with none more pressing than what Brexit could mean for their future.

  • Brexit and the Environment

    One of the most important issues in the Brexit debate is the environment, but it is hardly a surprise that this Tory government does not appear to be concerned about how leaving the EU will threaten the UK’s environmental protections, given that one of Theresa May’s first acts as Prime Minister was to scrap the Department for the Energy and Climate Change.

  • Courtesy infinityloop.

    A way up in the woods, among the evergreens

    In large parts of Yorkshire, chances are that the electricity you use was generated using wood from Virginia, Georgia and other southern states of the USA. This is because Drax power station, the largest in the country, has switched from coal to wood for two (soon three) of its six furnaces. This is both for […]

  • No-one should have to choose between heating and eating

    I was pleased last week to visit the British Gas Academy, an impressive facility only a few minutes away from my constituency office here in Leeds, where British Gas engineers from across the north of England are trained in the skills they need to install and maintain energy supply equipment for the company’s millions of […]

  • courtesy Dirk Ingo Franke via Wikimedia Commons

    The EU benefits the environment

    It’s a shame that environmental issues have featured so little in the referendum campaign to date. Not only is environmental policy a vitally important part of the decisions we take jointly at European level, but it’s also one of the EU’s biggest success stories. So I was delighted to read the results of a major […]

  • On fish, facts & Farage

    Fisheries policy has always had a great impact not just on those who fish commercially, but also those who fish for fun. And the contribution the latter make to our economy is vast: in Europe’s north-western coastal communities, including Britain, more than €100 million a year is spent on recreational sea bass fishing alone. Indeed, […]

  • Rebuilding Britain’s flooded communities

    This winter, Britain witnessed all-too-familiar sights. The horrendous impact of flooding across Yorkshire & Humber and many other areas in the UK is clear: tens of thousands of households being left without power or adequate living conditions, public services being suspended and businesses closing for prolonged periods. Piecing together the devastated communities is not something […]

  • courtesy Pete Beaumont via Flickr

    Revision of daylight saving time

    Question Has the Commission given consideration to revising daylight saving time, and would it be willing to propose having an equal number of days before and after the winter solstice of 21 December? Does it agree that there are strong arguments for revising daylight saving time? Health and safety: citizens would have extra daylight in […]

  • Whaling in the Faroes: an update

    I recently wrote about whaling by Faroese people, after a constituent from Millie Hall in East Yorkshire brought the subject to my attention. The Faroe islands (being outside the EU) not only have an exemption from the rules agreed by all EU countries banning whaling, but they also have secured exemptions from the Convention on […]

  • courtesy Gordon Hatton via geograph.org.uk

    EU legislation making a splash

    I met recently with the public affairs manager at Yorkshire Water, who wanted to talk to me about the impact of European legislation on the water industry. His account was entirely positive. According to Yorkshire Water, Europe-wide agreements on environmental standards for rivers, drinking water and bathing water all continue to steer investment for the […]

  • Ending overfishing: a welcome call from British businesses

    During the much needed recent reform of the EU’s Common Fisheries Policy (reform which even Greenpeace hailed as a great success), several British businesses made the case that more sustainable fishing practices ensure the viability of their industries. Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s now-famous ‘Fish Fight‘ campaign against the wasteful practice of discarding fish at sea was a […]

  • courtesy Arne List via Flickr

    Whaling in the Faroe Islands

    Question Does Denmark (or do Danish citizens) have any legal obligation under EC law or under the Berne Convention to refrain from participating in, or helping in any way, the killing of cetaceans, and is there any legal obligation on the 86% of the people of the Faroe Island who have chosen to hold a […]

  • image courtesy Wikimedia Commons

    Bringing bass back to the agenda

    Back in January, I welcomed emergency measures taken to protect sea bass during the crucial spawning season. But the fact that we had to resort to reactive emergency measures also served as a reminder that we need real, long-term, preemptive, evidence-based policy-making for sea bass fishing. That’s why, this week, the European Parliament voted in […]

  • courtesy of Pixabay

    Real junk food

    There’s a local ‘business’ in my constituency, the first of its kind, which was created just 18 months ago but has spawned more than 80 offshoots across the UK since it first opened its doors. This ‘business’ makes no profit, sets no prices for its services, and has no paid staff — yet its turnover […]

  • Crops

    Vote first, ask questions later

    A strange thing happened last week in the European Parliament. UKIP MEPs refused to support a move to return EU decision-making powers to individual countries. The issue in question was the cultivation of genetically-modified organisms. Years ago, EU countries agreed to take decisions jointly on whether to allow genetically-modified crops to be grown in Europe. […]

  • Photo by Chris LL via geograph.org.uk

    Scrapping good proposals for bad reasons

    There are reports today that some proposed environmental measures put forward by the last Commission might be dropped — particularly those intended to combat air pollution and waste. At this stage, we should take these reports with a pinch of salt. This is an unofficial leak regarding an official announcement which isn’t due till next […]

  • Courtesy of the European Parliament

    Pope speaks of grace, UK media misses the point

    The trajectory of eurosceptic commentary during and after yesterday’s address to Parliament by Pope Francis was truly a wonder to behold. Flicking through UKIP MEPs’ Twitter feeds from yesterday is illuminating in itself. When the Pope arrived at Parliament, he was introduced to the leaders of all the political groups. Cue lots of excitable tweets […]

  • courtesy Denis Anderson via CSIRO

    Small hive beetle outbreak in Italy

    Question In September 2014 the presence of the small hive beetle (Aethina tumida) in the European Union was confirmed for the first time, in two separate locations in the Reggio Calabria region of south-west Italy. Meanwhile, the European Food Safety Authority had already conducted a risk assessment on the entry of bee pests into the […]

  • Photo by Sarahluv on Flickr (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sarahluv/with/15172373939/) licensed under Creative Commons

    Suck it up, Henry

    A lot of dust has been kicked up in the last couple of days about new Europe-wide rules on hoovers. As usual, things are not quite what the media is making them out to be. The European Commission does a nice job of laying out the facts about the new measures, which are (surprise!) somewhat […]

  • More than just trade

    As so much of the debate about Europe has simply been focusing on the single market, it’s worth recalling that the EU is about much more than trade. When we joined the EU (then the EEC), we actually left the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) because we wanted more than free trade: we wanted to […]

  • At FSB hustings on 30 April

    Federation of Small Businesses hustings

    The hustings debate with candidates from each party, organised by the Federation of Small Businesses in Sheffield on Wednesday, was exactly what a debate should be: about different options for policies and where the parties stand on them, rather than on the existence of the EU and our membership of it — this is a […]

  • The EU for Christians

    When we can’t trust the mainstream media or even our own government to talk straight on European issues, whom can we trust? A strikingly well-informed and constructive policy briefing on the importance of European issues was jointly published yesterday by the UK’s free churches (Methodists, Baptists and United Reformed). The briefing provides a Christian perspective […]