Friday, 22 July 2011

ANIMAL AID IS RIGHT ON MEDICAL EXPERIMENTS

ANIMAL AID IS RIGHT

To: The Editor, letters page, Kent on Saturday - From: Hazel Dawe, campaigns officer, Tonbridge and Malling Green Party 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge Kent Tn9 1XF Tel: 01732 355185, Mobile 079444 71083

Dear Sir or Madam, Dr David Scott of Cancer Research overstates the case for animal testing in medical research. There is no need to torture and kill animals in laboratories to carry out relevant and effective research into cancer treatment. Unfortunately the “rigorous government guidelines.” are not always applied rigorously. For example, opponents protest that “the Home Office is too quick to approve an experiment and … grants project licenses without adequate scrutiny “ Critics of animal testing have complained that “researchers who are presenting their case may perform the cost-benefit assessments [themselves] rather than the Home Office “ Hardly a rigorous procedure. 1)

The relevance of animal testing for human biology is questionable. The Safer Medicine Campaign states that “the effectiveness of animal tests has never been measured against a panel of state-of-the-art techniques based on human biology.” Why not? The Campaign has established that “92% of new drugs successful in animal studies go on to fail in clinical trials” 2)

FRAME, the Fund for the Replacement of Animals in Medical Experiments aims to completely eliminate the use of animals in medical experiments. There are alternatives: human tissue and cells which have been donated can be used to model reactions and, as soon as it is safe, trials are needed on human volunteers anyway.

Tonbridge and Malling Green Party would urge people to support the Animal Aid campaign and halt donations to Cancer Research UK, the British Heart Foundation, Parkinson’s UK and the Alzheimer Society until these charities agree to minimise and, eventually phase out, the use of animal testing in their research.

Hazel Dawe, Campaigns officer, Tonbridge and Malling Green Party

1) http://www.aboutanimaltesting.co.uk/local-laws-animal-testing.html

2) http://www.safermedicines.org/

MORE ON THE CLIMATE OF IGNORANCE

MORE ON THE CLIMATE OF IGNORANCE

TO: editor, letters pages, Courier - FROM: Steve Dawe, Tonbridge and Malling Green Party 16th July 2011 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF - 01732 355185 - 07747 036192

Dear Editor, Colin Bullen needs to be corrected (letters, 15.7.2011).

First, there is no energy crisis, only failures by successive Governments. The UK has no national energy efficiency strategy. Our generally energy-inefficient buildings are poorly insulated and lack solar water heating or solar panels. We could cut 20% of our energy use quite easily, according to the Association for the Conservation of Energy, and figures as high as 50% have been suggested.

Recent research shows UK wind turbines are more efficient than in Denmark and Germany. We should bear in mind that the first industrial revolution started here in the UK powered by about 12,000 wind mills. And the wind did not blow all the time then either. Nuclear power, when uranium mining and storage of waste for thousands of years are taken into account, is the most expensive energy technology available. It should not be contemplated, and the two Zero Carbon Britain reports (available online) show how we can meet future needs.

Climate change as a result of human action is a matter of scientific consensus, supported by the scientific academies of the 13 major countries in the world, including our own Royal Society.

I certainly agree that the privatization of energy companies, like that of our railways, has proved an expensive disaster, raising prices but not dealing with fuel poverty, energy efficiency or the need for safe, renewable energy technologies.

Yours sincerely, Steve Dawe, TONBRIDGE AND MALLING GREEN PARTY

LORRY PARK PROBLEMS

REVIVING THE LORRY PARK IDEA – KCC IN ACTION TO WASTE PUBLIC FUNDS

TO: editor, letters pages, Kentish Express - FROM: Steve Dawe, Press Officer, KENT GREEN PARTY

12th July 2011

Dear Editor, News that Kent County Council is to promote another attempt to create a lorry park is surprising, given public opposition. However, there are good reasons why KCC should be ultra-cautious about such an initiative. First, the Government has committed itself to a charging scheme for foreign lorries which will result in comparatively low charges, well below what is permissible in EU law. Charging the maximum amount allowed would help to reduce foreign lorries moving through Kent.

Secondly, the recent increase in UK greenhouse gas emissions by 2.8% in 2010 when compared to 2009 means the Government will have to consider new measures to reduce transport sector emissions. In particular, it will have to re-examine the idea of national congestion charge scheme to maximise the movement of freight by rail and sea. It does not do so, it will not be able to meet its own targets.

Thirdly, the Government is also considering permitting articulated trucks 2 metres longer than the current maximum of 15.65 metres. This would make for problems in what would at present quickly become an over-used lorry park. It remains to be seen how well such mammoth vehicles would get through junctions in many parts of Kent too.

Reducing long-distance freight movements by lorry would prevent spending on a lorry park. It is time KCC told the Government this.

Yours sincerely Steve Dawe PRESS OFFICER - Kent Green Party

Note: Material for this letter was obtained from from the newsletter of the European Federation for Transport and Environment, Private Eye and my thesis 'Business and Environmental Groups and the Trans-European Transport Networks.'

Friday, 4 March 2011

BIG SOCIETY? BIG ALIBI FOR CUTS?

TO: editor, letters pages, Courier

FROM: Steve Dawe, Tonbridge and Malling Green Party

4th March 2011

Dear Editor,

The 'Big Society' idea is open to question (article/editorial 4th March).

First, voluntary organisations estimate a loss of £4.6 billion over 4 years as a likely impact of Government cuts. This is because cash-starved local councils are being forced to cut grants to charities, and national Government resources to charities will also be cut. This £4.6 billion loss compares with about £600-700 million devoted to the 'BIg Society' by the Government including recent additions to compensate charities for imminent losses of income. Since volunteers need to be coordinated by trained, paid workers, the whole voluntary sector faces a rapid loss of resources which will undermine its capacity to support volunteers.

This problem, as the Green Party has noted, is coupled with severe cuts to already under-funded local government here in Kent. This means services we take for granted will diminish as will jobs in local councils over the next four years. Road and pavement repair, services for young and elderly people and above all access to social housing will all be declining. There is no realistic prospect of the voluntary sector taking on the work involved. Why? Because although donations to charities have kept up quite well in the recession so far, research shows that the average number of donors each year is declining and the average age of donors is rising.

Joined-up Government would mean increasing the share of public spending which goes to local councils like Tonbridge and Malling, to allow them to fulfill their statutory duties and support key activities of the voluntary sector for the benefit of our area. Perhaps the Chancellor will improve his Coalition Government's appalling record on tax collection, and step up action against all forms of tax avoidance and tax evasion to help support front-line services?

Yours sincerely
Steve Dawe
TONBRIDGE AND MALLING GREEN PARTY

Monday, 3 January 2011

The problems with Kent's academy schools

Letter to the Kent on Sunday in response to their front page story yesterday:

Dear Sir,

So more evidence on the problems of taking education away from local government and privatising it in the form of academies in last week's KoS. Just like Labour before it, the Tory - Lib Dem coalition seem to think that the private sector have all the answers. At a very basic level we all know the real reason that some schools were struggling - a lack of investment in them by sucessive governments.

Labour's plan to turn failing schools into academies was the thin end of the wedge for privatising our education system and it is hardly a surprise that the Conservatives and Lib Dems, who are ideologically in love with the free market, want to complete the job.

Taking schools out of the state system is not just more expensive in the long run and not just damaging to those left under government contol, it fails the democratic test. Accountability for education must remain with elected representatives - it is too important to hand to private companies.

Yours faithfully

Stuart Jeffery

Saturday, 1 January 2011

A CAR FREE LIFE

To: Courier, Letters page - From: Steve Dawe, TONBRIDGE AND MALLING GREEN PARTY, 27 Audley Avenue, Tonbridge, Kent TN9 1XF Tel: 01732 355185 – 1st January 2011

Dear Editor,
Re: My week of adventures minus a car (Courier, 31/12): All credit to your reporter for taking the decision to live without a car for a week. I have been living without a car all my life. I note that for some short journeys i.e. the journey to work from her home walking, even on icy pavements, was faster than car travel. But people are discouraged from using other forms of transport by price: whilst the cost of motoring went down 14% 1997-2009, rail fares rose 13% and bus and coach tickets by 24%. This does not take into account the recent massively increased rail fares.

I agree with your reporter that rural bus services are inadequate. Yet, I have spoken to older people who used to live in one village, Ightham Mote, without a car. They can recall when the frequent buses. Consequently, living there without a car was feasible. Research I have done for the Green Party shows our rural bus fares are about 50% more expensive than the average on the Continent.

Your reporter is too kind to our rail services: although they are frequent and, usually, quite dependable, they are far too expensive. We have the highest rail fares in the world: approximately 40% higher than the rest of Europe. Green Party policy is to reduce fares by 20% in the short term and bring them down to the European average in the longer term. This would make rail use more affordable and attractive.

Yours faithfully, Steve Dawe, Tonbridge and Malling Green Party

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Letter on Kent's Railways to KoS

Letter to: Kent on Sunday
Dear Sir,

You could almost be forgiven for thinking that the Conservatives were the champions of Kent's rail users following their Fares Fair campaign in the run up to this year's general election and with last week's threats to Southeastern by Roger Gale MP (Kent on Sunday, 28th November).

However, those of us with a slightly longer memory will recall that the Tory campaign to curb the rail fare rises placed the blame squarely on the government rather than the franchise holder. Perhaps someone ought to remind Mr Gale who is in government now.

And of course we must not forget that the real reasons that rail fares are the highest in Europe are due to the Tory privatisation of rail, the massive closures in the 1960's and of course the lack of investment by successive governments.

Public transport should be a public service run by the government. Investing in clean public transport while taxing more polluting forms is how government should support our rail service. Perhaps someone remind Mr Gale of this?

Stuart Jeffery
Kent Green Party