Birmingham Friends of the Earth have put together 17 tough questions to ask MPs at hustings on some of the most pressing environmental issues facing the UK.
They are a mixture of questions that Friends of the Earth EWNI are asking parties and candidates, questions we’ve come up with ourselves, and a couple of asks from other organisations.
Please let us know if you do ask any of them and what candidates’ responses are by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
Energy & Climate Change
1) Considering our climate change commitments, the need to move to more renewable forms of energy, and the local environmental impacts of fracking, do you support a ban on fracking?
2) At a time of planetary emergency, where the impacts of climate change are beginning to be felt globally, do you agree we should cut subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear power?
3) One of the best ways to increase the use of renewable energy is by encouraging a greater amount community energy projects. Do you support removing barriers to schools being able to run on solar?
- Allow schools to borrow to invest in solar.
- Remove the need for full planning permission for rooftop school systems up to 250kW (extend permitted development).
- Provide guaranteed grid connections for solar school projects.
Set up an impartial one stop shop for solar schools information, with a dedicated schoolsassistance contact.
- Ensure all new schools have renewables and high levels of energy efficiency as standard (EPC band A).
- Solar schools should be just the start of a wider push on renewables. Make sure the Feed-inTariff works for all rooftop solar systems, and aim for six million solar roofs across the UK by 2020.
4) Changes to financial regulations have made it harder for community energy projects. What would you do to support greater community energy schemes?
5) In order to help us reach our climate change commitments, do you agree with setting a target to make electricity carbon-free by 2030, including shutting down old coal plants by 2023?
6) There are over £5 million households living in fuel poverty in the UK, and the Energy Bill Revolution have called the UK the cold man of Europe. Do you support the call to insulate at least a million homes every year during next parliament, targetting those struggling to pay their bills first?
7) The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership will likely be voted on in the next parliament. Do you oppose or support the deal? And can you elaborate on your reasons as to why?
8) We know that the EU is currently using the TTIP to push the US to remove its restrictions on exporting crude oil and shale gas to the EU. Will you oppose a deal that will increase our fossil fuel dependency, increase greenhouse gas emissions, and lock us into a high carbon future?
9) A London School of Economics report, commissioned by the UK government, found that the inclusion of Investor State Dispute Settlement (ISDS), or enhanced investor provisions, in the TTIP would likely “have few or no benefits to the UK, while having meaningful economic and political costs.” Will you commit to opposing any TTIP deal that contains such provisions?
10) The new European Commission has ditched environmental measures such as the air quality and circular economy packages as well as watering down the fuel quality directive so as to allow fuels containing tar sand oils to enter the UK. Do you trust them when they say that they will not allow trade facilitation pressures in TTIP to water down existing EU and UK environmental standards?
11) The government launched it’s National Pollinator Strategy to save bees and other pollinators last autumn. In your opinion does it go far enough? How would you improve it?
12) MPs elected in May will have 5 years to get the UK on track to meet its 2010 pledge to restore nature by 2020. How do you think a new government should make sure it’s on track to meet its nature commitments by 2020? What will you do to ensure that the government meets these commitments?
13) There is strong evidence that Neonictinoid pesticides are harmful to bees and contribute to their decline. What’s your view on the EU ban on neonicationoids? Do you believe it should be extended?
14) As a city, Birmingham has a lot of green space by area. However it may not always be well used or be particularly biodiverse. What do you think we need to do to improve it? How do you think we can encourage more people to make more use of our green spaces in Birmingham?
Transport & Air Quality
15) The UK government is currently being taken to court for falling to do enough to protect citizens from dangerous levels of air quality in 16 cities including Birmingham. Do you agree that we need more investment in walking & public transport in combination with low emissions zones to tackle the problem? What else would you do, or what would you do instead?
16) The Government is currently planning to spend £30 billion on new road infrastructure across the UK. Do you believe this is a good use of spending on transport?. How else would you spend £30 billion on transport?
17) The House of Lords Economics Affairs Committee recently questioned the case for HS2, saying there were cheaper ways of increasing capacity. What is your position on the High Speed Rail project? Do you believe there is a better way of spending of spending the money we will spend on HS2.