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Webchat with Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change - this Thurs Dec 3rd, 1.15 - 2.15

(328 Posts)
JustineMumsnet (MNHQ) Tue 01-Dec-09 15:56:37

We're delighted to announce that Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, is coming on for a webchat this Thursday, 3rd Dec at 1.15-2.15. Ed Miliband will be leading the UK government's negotiations at the Cophenhagan summit which commences on Dec 7th, is one of the chief architects of Labour's election manifesto and is viewed by many as a potential future leader of the party.

Ed represents Doncaster North, lives with partner Justine and six month old Daniel and has also had government jobs tackling social exclusion and supporting the voluntary sector.

Please post advance questions here if you can't make the chat. (And do please refer to our webchat rules summarised at the top of this thread, and try to stick to them or they'll be trouble!)

Drayford Tue 01-Dec-09 22:36:33

I would like to fit Solar Panels to my Grade 2 listed house and the barns of my holiday cottages (also Grade 2 listed). However, my local council are refusing to grant listed building consent.

Does a future labour government have any plans to relax such restrictive planning conditions given the labour party's views on climate control?

Hello, As a new father, of course you are aware how many nappies a baby uses, most of which go to landfill, which accounts for something like 10% of household waste and takes at least 50 years to biodegrade.

Why is funding for reusable nappies only at the discretion of local Councils as landfill is a national issue, while also wishing to nail a myth that the report by the Environment Agency about energy use assumes that one tumble dries and irons hmm ones nappies.

Have you kept in touch with your Aunt in Moscow?

WilfSell Tue 01-Dec-09 23:03:01

Your dad rocked, by the way. And can't you tell bleedin' Mandy to get his nasty, slimy mitts off the humanities and social sciences. Puhleese.

A bit 'off message' I know but someone has to do the research to find out why people don't 'do' green. I can give you the names of some very good social scientists working on these very issues if you like.

Thanks

StewieGriffinsMom Tue 01-Dec-09 23:09:33

[SGM would like to point that only morons iron cloth nappies and no one really stuffs them in the dryer either - seriously, who comes up with this crap? And, why are we taking advice on the environmental consequences of clothe nappies from Huggies?]

Swedington Tue 01-Dec-09 23:23:02

SGM - How do you dry cloth nappies then?

fridascruffs Wed 02-Dec-09 08:31:33

Answer for mumbot ('what can a bust mum on normal income do to help the environment):
Vote. Green if you can. If no candidate, vote for the party with the best environmental credentials.
costs you nothing.

fridascruffs Wed 02-Dec-09 08:32:17

oops- 'busy' blush

Some companies, e.g. M&S, are very overt about the way in which they are aiming to become more environmentally friendly. This can only be a Good Thing. But I worry that much of this could be 'greenwashing' rather than real change.

And I agree with another poster about the perceived pressure on consumers to cut domestic energy use as opposed to pressure on companies/businesses/manufacturers.

One thing that infuriates me is the seemingly profligate use of electricity by retail businesses and offices. Drive down any high street at night and see how many fascias are still illuminated and how many office buildings still have lights blazing.

I remember during the miners' strike of the 70s that businesses had to turn their lights off. Can we not make this policy too? Surely this would save much energy - as well as money?

StewieGriffinsMom Wed 02-Dec-09 08:52:51

I dry them overnight in the flat. I have the organic mother-ease ones so they do take a full twelve hours to dry but doesn't require the dryer which we don't have room for in our crappy, poorly insulated council flat.

aliceemma Wed 02-Dec-09 09:27:26

What is he doing to address the fact that we are 3rd worst in Europe (above only Malta & Luxembourg) in generating renewable energy? And does he recognise enormous security implications of this as our own gas & oil supplies are depleted and we are forced into dependency on middle eastern oil and Russian & Kazakh gas supplies?

GrendelsMum Wed 02-Dec-09 09:38:19

Hello Ed,

Just wanted to say thanks for coming on to chat to us (despite the reputation that Mumsnet seems to be getting for savaging politicians) - it does feel like one of the few chances that ordinary people get to ask government ministers questions. We have been known to pause work in our office to follow an important webchat. Please do your best to be honest and straightforward without waffling, but don't be afraid to say that you don't know - it makes a big difference to how politicians like you are perceived.

I happen to have some slight insider knowledge of big business and environmental concerns. My impression is that businesses will only react to the threat or promise of legislation, citing their responsibility to shareholders, but that governments will only legislate if they feel there is sufficient will from the public. So our role as the public is to pressurise you as the Government. Would you agree?

And of course, what I really want to know is - have you and your brother kept in touch with your aunt in Moscow?

mrsruffallo Wed 02-Dec-09 09:48:10

Thanks for coming on.

We are constantly being told to not waste water, but a high percentage of waste is caused by leaks from lack of repair. For example, 33% of water of Thames Water supply is lost each day due to leaks.
What do you intend to do about this?

WreckOfTheHesperus Wed 02-Dec-09 09:59:20

Dear Ed,

I would like to do my bit for climate change by installing solar panels, but these are still prohibitively expensive.

Are there any plans afoot to subsidise these for individuals, or to provide manufacturing incentives to get the prices down by increasing volume? (I believe that the latter has been tried with some success in certain other European countries.)

Thanks smile

nettie Wed 02-Dec-09 11:50:29

Please can you explain why my elederly parents can get help with a new boiler (if the old one breaks) can have cavity wall and loft insulation (have done) but can receive no help in replacing the rotting wooden windows they have with modern double glazed ones, which would make their home far more energy efficient.

gizmo Wed 02-Dec-09 12:35:50

Ooooh, Ed Miliband. Nice one, Mumsnet HQ.

So firstly, Mr Miliband - it can't have escaped your notice that climate change denialism is terribly trendy at the moment.

Do you agree the government has a key role to play in explaining to people why this is dangerous claptrap? And if so, why is so much of the government's communication efforts based on 'fear, uncertainty and doubt' advertising (yes, I'm looking at you irritating little girl and your nightmaresque poxy bedtime 'story') rather than inspiring people with what can be done?

All that terrifying people achieves is disempowering them. There are many things that can (and are) being done: smart meters/grid, renewable energy, energy efficiency, nuclear energy. They build economies. They free us from concerns over energy security - why on earth do we never see simple and effective advertisements selling them?

ronshar Wed 02-Dec-09 13:05:51

Mr Miliband.
Thank you very much for joining us. We are nice really despite things you may have heardsmile

I would like to ask you about Evironmental Taxes.

Why does your government continue to hide tax increases behind the Green Badge.
In particular why are we paying such a very high price for fuel for our cars?

The Environmental tax has had ZERO effect on car use.
It will have Zero effect on car use all the time that trains are more expensive and the bus service is so rubbish.
I dont live in London, nor do most people in this country. Londoners are spoilt by having a marvelous choice of well run and reliable public transport.

I drive a big car because I have three children and can't fit child seats in a small car. I am tired of paying an absolute fortune in tax for the pleasure of driving my car.

Give us an alternative and I will gladly use it.
Please.

Thank you veery much in advance.
If it helps I much prefer you to your brotherwink

BecauseI'mWorthIt makes a good point about 'greenwashing' and on similar note, would like to ask why it's down to the consumer to take responsibility for the sheer amount of waste produced by the manufacturer.

Example: Despite removing excessive packaging from items at the till and chucking back, last week I couldn't find any tomatoes that weren't wrapped in plastic hmm, so if I wanted any, would have had to schlep it to a recycling place.

Why is the burden on consumers rather than manufacturers?

pixiestix Wed 02-Dec-09 16:01:38

Mr Miliband - why is no-one but the BNP [shudder] mentioning peak oil?

mulberrybush Wed 02-Dec-09 17:01:53

The approach to insulation so far has been to make it available more cheaply to people who choose to use it.

Take up levels are still lower than they should be, and many of those who have not yet got round to it are vulnerable people who need help in some way.

It is obviously in the best economic interest of any local authority, as well as in the interests of lowering CO2 emissions, to ensure that as little as possible is being spent on heating costs.

Are there any plans to give incentives to neighbourhood self help schemes or to make Local authorities responsible for ensuring all properties in their area are as energy efficient as possible.

JackTheHallsWithBauersOfHolly Wed 02-Dec-09 17:04:26

Thanks for coming Mr Miliband, nice to have you here,

I would like to know if you are going to try and change the inconsistency between local councils with regards to recycling/renewable energy sources. Our council doesn't collect plastic, but I cannot get to the tip to recycle it. However, if i lived 5 miles up the road my plastic would be collected and recycled.

Dull question but I get very frustrated by this.

2ChildrenPlusLA Wed 02-Dec-09 17:28:20

Hello Ed.

Please could you predict for me, what year the cost of rail travel is likely to cease to increase by more than the rate of inflation?

Many thanks.

Hassled Wed 02-Dec-09 17:44:32

Mr Miliband - can you tell me your thoughts/what's happening re wave power? I read/heard something along the lines of the Britain being perfectly placed to benefit from wave power, being an island surrounded by choppy seas etc, but know little more. Is the government backing research into this? Does it look like it might be a goer?

onebatmother Wed 02-Dec-09 18:09:07

Ooh look smart metres for all - paid for by us but recouped via eventual savings. Big concerns, though, over whether energy-providers will pass on the savings.

paisleyleaf Wed 02-Dec-09 18:20:55

Can't we have everything (well probably not everything - but much, much more of it) all made out of the same plastic with easy peel labels?
toiletries, food, drinks, cleaning products etc
for easier recycling.

gizmo Wed 02-Dec-09 20:32:22

Hi OneBat

Don't want to spike Ed M's guns, but the chances are that consumers will not get their hands on all of the savings. Obviously you will benefit from savings made by understanding and reducing your energy consumption (most international studies suggest that will be between 10-15% of your bill - so £80-£120 p.a. on a typical electricity bill) but the utilities are likely to hold onto the very large operational savings they will make from smart meter installation (from no meter reading labour, no estimated bill queries, reduced bill disputes, better load forecasting etc).

So, in theory all parties should win, but some will win more than others. I seem to have gone all Animal Farm there...

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