Churches raise environmental concerns with local MP

Shipley MP with church leadersA group of concerned Christians in the Shipley area of Bradford have held talks with their local Conservative MP to raise environmental concerns.

Philip Davies, MP for Shipley (pictured centre), met with Environmental Officer for the Diocese, Jemima Parker (left), the Vicar of Baildon, the Revd Sandra Benham (right), and Marilyn and Roger Banister of Menston Parish Church after Marilyn wrote to the MP requesting to discuss his views on climate change, recent local flooding, renewable energy, local traffic issues and related air quality.

“Philip is a very engaged local MP who has been supportive of a local hydro scheme, Burley Hydro,” said Marilyn who is a member of the ‘Reach Out’ group in her local church.

While the group found areas of common ground on local issues there was a difference of opinion on global environmental issues.  “Philip expressed his view that the climate was always changing and he was not interested in the cause but interested in the impact on his constituents. He does not believe in unilateral action as the UK is such a small player on the world stage as regards emissions.” 

On local issues, the meeting discussed renewable energy and the MP expressed his concerns that the development of this had been increasing the cost of people’s fuel bills. “We shared the potential for development of locally produced clean energy and the opportunity that this has for local job creation and local security of supply as outlined in the Zero Carbon Britain short report,” said Marilyn.

Vicar of Baildon, Sandra Benham, shared the financial benefits of the ground source heat pumps installed at St James’ Church, Baildon, and how it now functions as a building that benefits a wide section of the community.

The group say they also had a constructive discussion about the building standards for new homes and the need for retrofitting to provide insulation to existing homes. “We agreed that the Green Deal had not worked effectively, and that standards for such work needed to be put in place.”

As a result of the meet, Philip Davies agreed to contact the Housing Minister about standards for new homes and retrofitting. He will also raise the issue of charging business rates on community energy projects (including the fitting of solar panels on school roofs) with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

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