Falling at first green hurdle

REACTING to this week’s Queen’s Speech – setting out the coalition Government’s legislative programme – both Friends of the Earth and the UK’s first Green Party MP criticised “lame” proposals to include green initiatives.

The environment group’s executive director, Andy Atkins, said: “New green laws are the key to unlocking the enormous potential of a low-carbon economy.

“It is essential that the new legislation delivers on the coalition’s election promises, such as a Green Investment Bank and pollution standards for power stations. Saying they may be included in the Energy Bill is just not good enough.

“Harnessing the UK’s massive green energy resource and getting tough on energy waste will create new jobs and business opportunities, increase energy security and help make this country a world leader in tackling climate change.

“The Government must also ensure that every council plays its part in meeting UK climate targets by introducing local carbon budgets in the Decentralisation and Localism Bill.

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“Councils should be able to decide the best strategy for cutting emissions in their area – but they mustn’t be allowed to opt out of playing their fair part in developing a greener future.”

Meanwhile, Caroline Lucas, the first Green MP at Westminster, said: “It’s a pack of half-hearted measures. There are warm words on climate change and energy efficiency, but no real detail. We need to see genuine commitment to serious targets and to the investment needed to meet those targets.

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“Even worse, the fact that this comes the day after we’ve heard of budget cuts to public transport suggests the joined-up thinking isn’t there.”

A CYCLE-to-Work scheme at West Suffolk College enables staff to “rent” a bike and eventually buy it at a reduced price.

Employees can choose a cycle and any safety or security equipment they require from a nominated supplier. The college in Bury St Edmunds will pay the bill and deduct the cost as a hire charge over an agreed period. At the end of that period, the employee can purchase the cycle at a reduced cost.

VISITORS to the RSPB’s Havergate Island nature reserve next month are set to see a blaze of colour and hear a cacophony of sound.

The island will host a Signs of New Life event during the weekend of June 19/20. The event starts with a boat trip from Orford Quay, followed by a guided tour of the island, and lasts for four hours.

Places are limited, so advance booking is essential.

Tickets cost �15 per person, or �12 for RSPB members, and should be reserved by calling the Minsmere visitor centre on 01728 648281.

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