Louth Eye
 A guide to Louth in Lincolnshire since 2004

UKIP Lays Bare Its Energy Policy

May 9th 2014

Roger Helmer

MEP Roger Helmer

Margot Parker

Margot Parker

UKIP panel

The panel

In advance of the European elections on May 22nd, UKIP organised a public meeting at the Town Hall on Thursday, 8th of May. It was attended by their sitting and prospective MEPs for the East Midlands area, and attendees had the opportunity to ask them about various aspects of UKIP policy.

Outgoing MEP Derek Clark, who will be retiring after 15 years in the European Parliament, chaired the meeting. The five candidates began by introducing themselves briefly.

Roger Helmer MEP is UKIP's energy spokesman. "I believe the EU is making this country poorer, less democratic, and less free," he said. "I am worried about the jobs we are losing now ... because of EU regulations." Mr Helmer tops UKIP's list of candidates, which means he is the most likely to be elected amongst this party's candidates in the EU's proportional representation system.

Lincolnshire-born Margot Parker is second on the UKIP list. She chose to emphasise that UKIP "do listen to you."

Jonathan Bullock was a Conservative councillor before defecting to UKIP. He spoke of "EU legislation getting in the way of things I wanted to do." With regard to this, he cited recycling targets and EU waste directives. On the topic of local planning, he said: "I like the UKIP idea of local referenda."

The fourth candidate, Nigel Wickens, said: "Too many of our laws are made in Brussels." He then spoke about British servicemen who "put their lives on the line for us,"

Barry Mahoney is UKIP's fifth candidate. "Free movement of people actually means uncontrolled borders," he said, before going on to discuss the way Britain joined the Common Market. "Forty years ago we were told this was just a trading agreement. Right from the word go this was never a trading agreement."

Playground technologies

A question and answer session followed, beginning with one that someone wrote in. "Are there any plans to use thorium instead of uranium?" asked a G. Lower (I've probably spelt that wrong).

"We are not in favour of playground technologies like wind turbines," Roger Helmer responded. "We are in favour of nuclear technologies. I don't think it's the job of government to dictate to industry ... you will use this technology, you will not use that. It's a decision for industry to make."

Another person asked, again not in person, about the threat posed by "militant Muslims", and asked what UKIP would do.

Nigel Wickens responded, saying: "It disappoints me that this question is centred on Muslims." He suggested leaving the EU and re-issuing British passports. He said that would be "an opportunity to make further checks."

I was then able to ask the panel to clarify UKIP's position on global warming. Barry Mahoney responded, saying "there's been climate changes from the beginning of time." He mentioned some of these, including pre-industrial climate fluctuations. Speaking of the global warming trend, he said that "in the last seventeen to eighteen years that stopped. ... We have stopped getting warmer. It is unproven science. There is no immediate proven threat."

After the meeting Roger Helmer gave me a copy of UKIP's policy on energy, which reveals that Mr Mahoney's words were consistent with the party line. The document says, "there are increasing doubts about the theory of man-made climate change." It goes on to say "wind turbines may not, in fact reduce CO2 emissions by very much or at all." UKIP are also in favour of repealing the 2008 Climate Change Act.

In contrast with their stance on renewables, UKIP see fracking differently. Their energy policy document states "the US experience demonstrates that fracking can be done safely if overseen by technical expertise, and by authorities who are able to ensure that companies are held to account for any damage they cause.

... The low levels of risk that may be associated with fracking are outweighed by the benefits that cheaper energy can create, and the risks that are associated by rising energy prices and a growing energy gap."

The document goes on to state: "We do not however regard CO2 as a pollutant."

UKIP aims to base its energy strategy on gas, nuclear, and coal, and "cancel all renewable subsidies and feed-in tariffs." It also plans to "stop wind power development."

The facts

Data published by NASA indicates that "ninety-seven percent of climate scientists agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities". That page shows a graph of temperature data from four international science institutions. "All show rapid warming in the past few decades and that the last decade has been the warmest on record." According to the US National Climatic Data Centre:

"The year 2013 ties with 2003 as the fourth warmest year globally since records began in 1880. The annual global combined land and ocean surface temperature was 0.62C (1.12F) above the 20th century average of 13.9C (57.0F). "

Given that, UKIP policy seems to be based on scientific illiteracy. Only people who don't follow climate science very closely could be unaware of the overwhelming consensus. Coal, nuclear power and fracking seem to be on the cards, whilst anything sustainable isn't.

Who needs birds?

One member of the public asked about the European directive on bird habitat that would mean, he said, losing "over two thousand acres of good agricultural land. We are the only country interpreting this directive in this way."

Jonathan Bullock responded that "our government and civil service often implements these [directives]" whilst those of other countries "turn a blind eye."

"It's a problem we have," Mr Bullock said. "The real solution is to get out."

Is it, though? Surely protections for bird habitats were put in for a reason, other than simply inconveniencing the British? We're currently going through the sixth great mass extinction, this one caused by human activity, and habitat loss is high up on the list of ways we are causing it.

It's just as well birds aren't an essential part of the food chain, or anything.

This report is part one of two. The next part will discuss UKIP's approach to human rights, banking, immigration and more.

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