Local campaigners met with Sparkbrook and Small Heath MP Roger Godsiff at Balsall Heath Church Centre today to make the case for more support for community renewable energy schemes and tackling the Big Six energy companies.
Amidst the current fuel crisis, the major gas leak in the North Sea and energy giants RWE and E.ON pulling out of plans to build nuclear power reactors, Birmingham Friends of the Earth are calling for a move away from fossil fuels into renewable energy.
The campaign group is lobbying local MPs as part of Friends of the Earth’s Final Demand campaign to demand a public inquiry into the power and influence of the big six energy companies – which control 99% of the household energy we use and provide a supply consisting of 75% fossil fuels – and more support for renewable energy.
The group met with Godsiff at Balsall Heath Church Centre which provides the church and local neighbourhood with free electricity generated from solar PV panels installed on their roof, which was installed with support from the Balsall Heath Is Our Planet project.
Mr Godsiff said: “I’m a strong supporter of renewable energy and I think what’s been done here at Balsall Heath church is absolutely excellent. The solar panels on the roof of the church are totally unobtrusive and they’re supplying not only the needs of the church, but also helping the local community.
“That’s what everybody should be doing and certainly I, on a personal basis, will now be looking to switch my energy supplier because the way the Big Six have ripped off the general public is an absolute disgrace. I’m looking for a good ecologically friendly energy supplier who will provide my energy needs at a much cheaper cost than I’m getting at the moment.”
Kara Moses from Birmingham Friends of the Earth said: “We are delighted that Roger Godsiff is leading the way in supporting renewables and community energy generation projects in Birmingham, as well as taking personal responsibility for sourcing green energy.
“We hope that with the current situation where there is panick-buying of petrol, a potentially catastrophic gas leak in the North Sea and energy companies pulling out of investment in nuclear energy, all politicians will now pull together to ensure we invest in a clean energy future.”
Notes to Editor:
Friends of the Earth’s Final Demand campaign is calling for a public inquiry into the power and influence of the big six, and more support for for clean British energy produced by communities, councils, business and householders. Over 30,000 people have signed the petition to David Cameron which was handed into 10 Downing Street last week. More information can be found at http://www.foe.co.uk/what_we_do/final_demand2_32882.html
More information on Balsall Heath Church Centre’s solar roof can be found here: http://balsallheathisourplanet.wordpress.com/solar-roof/
Birmingham Friends of the Earth are meeting MPs regularly as part of their Final Demand campaign – so far they have met Richard Burden: http://www.birminghamfoe.org.uk/bfoe-on-climate-change/mp-backs-calls-to-reform-energy-market, Shabana Mahmood: http://www.birminghamfoe.org.uk/bfoe-on-climate-change/ladywood-mp-shows-support-for-community-energy and Gisela Stewart http://www.birminghamfoe.org.uk/bfoe-on-climate-change/mp-to-question-government-over-lack-of-support-for-community-energy
The Citizens Advice Bureau in Birmingham supports the Final Demand Campaign and can provide local examples of people in Fuel Poverty suffering at the hands of the Big Six.
Photos are on flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/birminghamfoe/6925848551/in/photostream or can be emailed on request.