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Publication of the first Community Energy Strategy is a welcome recognition that the UK’s energy consumers don’t have to be abandoned to the mercy of faceless multi-national conglomerates. The community energy model is well proven in many parts of Europe – and the USA come to that – but hitherto hopelessly under-exploited in the UK.
It’s been a truism of community energy activism for many years that what communities have managed to achieve across the UK has been ‘in spite of’ the policies and regulations which shape our energy system rather than ‘because of’.
If you haven’t been to Goldthorpe before, you may be unaware of its rich history. A former mining town within South Yorkshire with a proud heritage, it has fallen on hard times in recent years, and is now amongst the most deprived areas in the UK.
This strategy could not come soon enough. At a time of rapidly rising energy bills and growing concerns over the impact of energy infrastructure on our precious landscapes, community energy offers people a chance not only to take more control of their energy – where it comes from and what it costs – but also feel confident that the places they love have not been sacrificed to generate it.
Much has been written over the last fifteen years, since University tuition fees were first introduced, about the rights and the wrongs of asking graduates to pay back society for their degrees.
Community Energy will remain the domain of wealthy areas where volunteers (often professionals and retired) muster up the enthusiasm, knowledge and community spirit to deploy and finance a low carbon technology, for the benefit of the community.
Who is lonely and when? Loneliness (that unwelcome feeling that occurs when there is a mismatch between the number and quality of relationships we want and those we have) can be a serious issue for many older people.
Immigration has been a major political topic in the UK during 2013. Yet despite all the evidence which shows that immigration has a positive impact on the British economy and the lip service that politicians from all parties pay to the benefits of diversity in our society, most of the debate has been about how we can prevent people from coming here or how we can force people to return home.
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