Subject: OPEN LETTER TO MARK HARPER – Speaking up for the Forest?


MP Speaking up for Forest of Dean.?
MP Speaking up for Forest of Dean.?

Dear Mr Harper

You may remember that in August, 3 of your constituents from Transition Forest visited your surgery to talk to you about the economics of energy in the Forest of Dean, despite your office’s insistence that surgeries were not the place to discuss government policy. We explained that the government’s push for fracking was badly timed because of the current low world price for gas, because new gas supplies from the US would provide a safe reliable source of gas, and because new research in the US is suggesting that gas leaks from fracked wells make this source of gas a serious contributor to climate change, making it highly undesirable.

We also pointed out that the government’s cuts to subsidies for renewables were having a serious effect on the domestic economy of the Forest, and asked you to find out for us just how much is being paid in subsidies to fossil fuel producers.

We have not had a response to this question. We hope that having looked at the figures yourself you may be reflecting on the embarrassment the Government faces in the light of the COP 21 agreement to reduce the carbon reduction target below 2o C.

Now we hear that fossil fuel companies and nuclear power producers, some of which have been involved in shaping government energy policy, will receive over £834 million in state subsidies for the winter of 2019-2020 following the recent capacity market auction. Many of these companies are based off-shore in tax havens so will minimise their UK tax liability. Their input to UK energy policy has been targetted at excluding clean energy projects from the capacity market entirely.

The outcome of the Paris Climate Change Conference means that the government will be under significant pressure to decarbonise our economy and therefore it will need to rethink most of this “investment”.

Our competitors have realised that in the medium term, renewable energy will be much cheaper than generation using fossil fuels, and are moving enthusiastically in this direction. In any case there are probably only 50 years’ supply of easily available oil and gas left underground, so in the long term, renewables are the only answer.

Courtesy of economic and technical incompetence from the Treasury, the UK is going to be left way behind, using expensive energy and therefore unable to support any sort of manufacturing industry. We are all going to be paying more than we should for our energy and the excess profits will be going to multinational companies paying little or no tax.

In what sense does this present a picture of a government intent on “protecting the UK”?

Yours sincerely

Jacky Smith

for Transition: Forest of Dean

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