A green energy policy

I welcome moves to improve energy efficiency and to ensure our energy generation and use avoids pollution.

The UK along with other advanced nations has done a good job in using law and guidance to cut the output of particulates and dangerous gases substantially. Power station and factory chimneys have ways of cutting out dangerous material. Petrol and diesel exhausts have been transformed by technology to remove harmful particles. Vehicles today cause much more of a problem from tyre wear and brake dust than from exhausts. Those smoke filled scenes of the Industrial revolution have gone, steam trains have been consigned to the museums, and London smog is only in the history books.

More needs to be done. It is best to tighten the requirements progressively at a pace technology and the market can absorb, as we have been doing. We need to look at how we can improve standards on domestic heating systems, start to cut tyre and brake wear residues, and be tough and vigilant on industrial plant.We need to encourage a much better approach to litter, where we see the results of worldwide bad behaviour in the state of our seas and what washes up on our beaches. We also see it in our countryside and by the edge of many of our roads and pathways, where a minority UK citizens have decided to burden the rest of us with their fast food containers and other detritus.

The win win is the promotion of fuel efficiency. I am keen on government initiatives to help people insulate their homes and improve the efficiency of their domestic installations. Business and government can work with people, offering them popular products because they are better. Why not use a scheme if it means you can be warmer at home and save money on the fuel bills?

The U.K. needs to pay more attention to reliable capacity and price. We have become too dependent on imports through the inter connectors, and need sufficient back up power given the amount of intermittent renewables now on the system. Rebuilding our industry and expanding our horticulture will require more cheaper power.

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  1. Mark B
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 5:25 am | Permalink

    Good morning

    Whilst it is good that we strive for an ever better environment we must balance any such measures against any return. Cutting our CO2 levels at great economic cost whilst others continue to pollute makes absolutely no sense. This is why I believe President Trump never signed up to the Paris Accord, he knew it spelt economic ruin for the USA and greatly benefited its rivals. Pity our lot cannot see that.

    One area that needs addressing I feel is that of fly-tipping. As councils seek to charge more and look for other revenue streams, unscrupulous building contractors are only too happy to dump their waste on the side road. Someone here suggested that councils provide residents with a skip. I am sure this might go someway to help.

    All in all I think when it comes to the environment everybody pretty much agrees on the same thing. But when you tell them that to protect and preserves said environment it is going to cost you, then they are not do keen. Hence why I believe that local environmentalism is best kept local. Do what you can and not what some zealot tells you to do.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 7:57 am | Permalink

      All rubbish emanates from rich capitalists.

    • Hope
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 10:14 am | Permalink

      Mark, spot on.

      Germany is building coal fired power stations and importing 52% of energy from Russia!

      idiot Johnson currently heralds wind machines when in 2013 he derided Labour over them and wanted shale gas!

      How does he think the steel is made for the machines? Coal is required, the blades not recycled and will be put in landfill, precious metals causing toxic swamps in Africa. All good points in an article by Con. Woman.

      Johnson has swallowed the left wing civil servant pill.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted October 12, 2020 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

        @Hope Absolutely right. I have replied to Polly on todays post entitled Lock Downs. We are going into the future blinded by the NGO’s and their limited knowledge about energy and how to power our country..

      • NickC
        Posted October 12, 2020 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

        Hope, Battery electric new cars by 2030 by government decree, Boris indicates, but no “fuel”. The government is simply not building the electricity generation plant required – oil, coal, and gas is out (by decree) leaving only Wind, Solar and Nuclear. But since there is virtually no back-up for the intermittents it’s just not going to work. Oh well, it will be Sir Kier’s problem by then.

    • Mike Wilson
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 10:58 am | Permalink

      I am helping by the decision to run my car for as long as possible and not be swayed by the siren voice of the host of this site who seems obsessed with our car industry turning out millions of new cars every year. It seems we can make high quality, technically complex cars. We should encourage car manufacturers to diversify Into the product of washing machines, tumble dryers, dishwashers, ovens, jobs etc.

      • Mike Wilson
        Posted October 12, 2020 at 11:26 am | Permalink

        jobs, not jobs. Mind you if we produced all those goods, instead of importing most of them from the EU, we’d create a load of jobs and reduce our balance of payments deficit.

        • NickC
          Posted October 12, 2020 at 8:22 pm | Permalink

          Mike W, Many of the “European” white goods are in fact made in Turkey. And the really cheap ones are made in China.

      • Fred H
        Posted October 12, 2020 at 4:03 pm | Permalink


    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      CO2 is not “pollution” we and other lifeforms breath it out and it is plant and tree food. On balance it is almost certainly beneficial. Most plants and trees evolved with higher than current levels of C02.

      The real climate catastrophee is the absurd over reation of the climate alarmsts priests and the expensive energy agenda that does nothing for CO2, exports jobs and damagages the economy hugely.

      Electic cars 45% more to insure I read today yet another reason not to buy one given current technology and costs. They make very little sense for most people.

      • NickC
        Posted October 12, 2020 at 8:28 pm | Permalink

        Lifelogic, You are completely right. We have gone from a dangerously low level of CO2 (280ppm pre-industrialisation) to a low level, 410ppm, now. In the meantime we have had a very low level of warming (about 1 deg K in 150 years). There is no causal link between the two despite the rantings of the CAGW fanatics. Every fashionable green technology (from windmills to diesels to bio-fuels) has proved to be expensive, wasteful and polluting. And they usually impoverish poor people both here and abroad.

    • Lester Cynic Beedell
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

      Mark B
      I wish Donald Trump was our leader, he’s not a politician but a successful business man, he didn’t enter politics to enrich himself, he donates his $400K salary to charity, can you imagine any of our current politicians doing that?
      No, neither can I 🤔🤔

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted October 12, 2020 at 6:02 pm | Permalink

        +1 We don’t hear anything positive about Trump on our so called news channels. Only what they want to report.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 12, 2020 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

        Plus he is one of the very few “politicians” who is right on energy and CO2. He does not follow the BBC/Boris climate alarmist, group think, job destroying lunacy.

      • Peter Parsons
        Posted October 12, 2020 at 8:07 pm | Permalink


        He inherited wealth from his father and it’s been calculated that had he simply taken that inheritence, put it in the stock market and left it alone, he would actually be richer than he is now.

        A businessman whose business decisions have left him worse off than the “do nothing” approach is not one I would consider successful.

        • NickC
          Posted October 13, 2020 at 11:45 am | Permalink

          Peter P, I would like to be financially as “unsuccessful” as Donald Trump, then. Or perhaps you’re just biased.

  2. Narrow Shoulders
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    Whatever we do, however misguided, appeasing of the environmental swivel-eyed loons and and ostentatious it must not be allowed to make our manufacturers further uncompetitive.

    We MUST impose tariffs on countries that do not impose the same restrictions on themselves with which we insist on burdening ourselves.

    If we insist on doing this we must level up the costs for foreign suppliers.

  3. DOM
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    Cheaper and more reliable power sources doesn’t come from wind, solar and wave, FACT. This explains why the Aussies are now using their gas resources to inject growth following the destruction caused by small brained politicians

    I’d like to know who’s pulling Eton boy’s strings? He’s shown his true colours so at least we can now see this PM for what he really is. No one likes a turncoat and we’ve had three since 2010 and a few other since 1990.

    What’s Johnson’s real aims? Social restructuring? A purging of the UK history and its rebuilding according to authoritarian Socialist principles?

    I actually feel physically nauseous when I see images of Blair, Brown, Cameron, May and Johnson though not as sick at the silence from Tory MPs as they simply betray their entire belief system to preserve their remuneration and lifestyle

    • NickC
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      Dom, I think Boris’s time is limited. He could well move on after he has completed the partial sell-out to the EU carefully stage-managed to look just enough like Leave for him to get away with a few retirement accolades. It will take decades to unravel – and of course it is mostly Theresa May’s fault rather than Boris’s anyway.

  4. Old Albion
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 7:24 am | Permalink

    We are rightly encouraged to recycle everything we wish to discard. Yet councils in England charge us council tax payers, to dump certain types of waste at refuse transfer stations. Result, an increase in littering/fly tipping.
    Builders working hard to help householders improve their properties are banned from refuse transfer stations. They then have to pay large sums to take their waste to landfill. Result, no recycling and increased cost to the householder having the work done. And in the most unscrupulous cases, huge piles of waste fly-tipped.
    Surely it would make more sense to encourage all waste from all sources to be taken to refuse transfer stations for sorting and recycling, free of charge.

    As for general littering. When I was at school in the fifties and sixties, we were taught not to throw litter around. No doubt teachers today have other teaching priorities and can’t be bothered to teach social responsibility.

    • Fred H
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

      A certain long retired Headteacher of a school not so far out of Wokingham used to make boys in detention serve the time collecting litter outside his school. Brilliant – but those who followed allow numerous visits all times of day to the local Supermarket. We have had litter blowing about the streets and railway lines ever since. He is still going strong and often seen in Waitrose!

    • M Davis
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

      I have to say that, I have seen hardly any litter dropped by schoolchildren since they went back during this Covid scare. I’m on their ‘rat run’ and the litter used to be appalling. Fingers crossed. My Son picks up litter from the beach that has been left behind by the holiday-makers every summer. He can fill about five or more bags every time and he isn’t the only one doing it. How on earth were these people brought up?

      • M Davis
        Posted October 12, 2020 at 5:54 pm | Permalink

        The Greens are the ones who should be pushing the schools to do more.

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 6:06 pm | Permalink

      OMG Old Albion. Your post is full of common sense. Something that seems to be lacking in parliament these days. I have always said it would be cheaper for local authorities to let builders/home improvers dump their waste for free rather than fly tipping. My husband used to be self employed as a plumber and still drives his van as we have moved into an old property and are renovating it making it as energy efficient as we can. It has involved alot of rubble, old radiators, boilers, doors etc. Even though it was not commercial waste, because my husband put the refuse in his van the tip wanted to charge him for commercial waste simply because he turned up in a van. This has got to stop. I read so many good posts on here with great ideas but we see non implemented. Mps really must stop thinking they know best.

    • NickC
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 8:43 pm | Permalink

      Old Albion said: “No doubt teachers today have other teaching priorities . . .”. they do indeed – teaching 3 year olds about transgenderism, and how to riot – sorry, protest “mainly peacefully” – in support of BLM.

      • Fred H
        Posted October 13, 2020 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        and the history teachers trying to find past glorious heroes we can be proud of, without worrying about exploitation…

  5. kenneth
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    We need to go back to conservation where the needs of the economy are aligned with the needs of the environment.

    The grand schemes promoted by the so-called “greens” are too often expensive, of dubious benefit and often require coercion.

    Repair, re-use, reducing travel, heating people and not buildings…these are the kinds of things that will be good for the environment and the economy and will not require coercion since they will save money.

  6. turboterrier
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Good post Sir John.

    But all the time government is controlled and driven by Climate Change Committees and other quango departments with similar mandates being used by nearly all MPs as what they say is in tablets of stone and therefore must be religiously obeyed. How many of the parliament actually understand and have a working knowledge of how power generation and distribution actually works and operates?

    All across the net more and more reports about tie ups and contracts and treaties between companies and foreign countries regarding hydrogen production for industry and heavy goods vehicles.. What does are PM talk about ? Wind turbines.. For all the thousands across the country and still no real noticable reduction in emissions. The good old tax payer has paid out millions and got no real reduction in their bills. Where are the politicians and scientists who have the where with all to get this country into the vanguard of the drive to a hydrogen driven economy?

    • Sakara Gold
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 8:06 am | Permalink

      The proposal to use hydrogen as a vehicle fuel orignates from the big oil companies. They propose to use methane from natural gas and crude oil cracking to produce the hydrogen. There will be no net benefit in CO2 reduction.

      Personally, I ould not want to be driving around in a hydrogen fueled vehicle that would turn into a hugely powerful bomb in an accident.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted October 12, 2020 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        Sakara. there is no net benefit with wind either. They need back up which comes in the form of gas, coal, nuclear or burning wood. without it the lights would go out.

      • Stred
        Posted October 13, 2020 at 7:01 am | Permalink

        The big oil companies are aiming to make even more money by shoving the CO2, after liquefying it and piping it under the North Sea.

        • dixie
          Posted October 13, 2020 at 7:05 am | Permalink

          Which is dumb when the CO2 could be turned into fuel instead.

      • dixie
        Posted October 13, 2020 at 7:04 am | Permalink

        No-one wants to drive or be around bombs on wheels. Which is why the R&D into liquid hydrogen carriers such as formic acid is so important. You still have electric motors, far more efficient than ICE, but the fuel tank holds formic acid which is catalysed (eg Ruthenium) to Hydrogen as part augmented fuel cell generating the electricity.

        Engineering practicalities allowing, static installations could recover the CO2 to make more formic acid via catalysis (eg Iridium).

        If fuel cells can be made cheaply and efficient and the fuel problem solved enough then I think the batteries in BEVs will be replaced by fuel cells and hydrogen based fuel. This will make the energy companies happy as BEVs currently give too much freedom for the consumer to bypass them.

      • Martin in Cardiff
        Posted October 13, 2020 at 3:17 pm | Permalink

        There was not just one proposal made.

        There are various ways of producing hydrogen, and that is just one of many.

        The most promising looks to be direct photolysis, i.e. sunlight to split water.

    • glen cullen
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 9:25 am | Permalink

      Agree – MPs are scared of being named by the media or qango as being anti climate change…..backbone

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      Turbo. Got no real reduction in their bills????? That’s an understatement. All I’ve seen even though I’ve changed providers is rise after rise of my electricity charges. I am penalised for not being dual fuel through no fault of my own (I would dearly love to have gas) and my bills have risen many times in a couple of years. I keep trying to use less and less energy but get nowhere. This green crap is costly and it will just keep rising.. Let’s frack for goodness sake.

  7. Fred H
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 7:50 am | Permalink

    Green requires the people to agree and act to improve the environment. That goes from zero telerance of litter, dog mess right up to tramac’ing and concreting the pastures.
    Generation of energy can be done much more cleanly -but will require assistance for a few decades. Technology is helping but in the interim nuclear energy is required. Begin building 2 or 3 plants soon. Governments have sat on hands for too long.

    • Ian @Barkham
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 8:37 am | Permalink

      @Fred H

      It goes further, Rolls-Royce has come up with a project to build small modular reactors (SMRs). With 10-15 distributed around the country. It is not such a big jump for them when you realise they install similar on the UK’s Navy submarine fleet. So far it is just Turkey that has shown an interest.

      All the while the UK carries on piling billions of taxpayer money into the French and Chinese’s Governments coffers in the hope they may at some stage they get to produce nuclear power for us.

      Double, irony. Gordon Brown (remember him) stated there is no need for Nuclear Power in the UK. So sold of what at the time was one of the worlds largest manufactures owned by the UK – Westinghouse. Where did the Chinese Government get their Nuclear Power technology – Westinghouse. So the UK taxpayer looses and looses again while funding foreign governments to acquire what we already had then sell it back to us. So the UK taxpayer is paying twice. In Government speak that is called ‘taxpayer value’

      • glen cullen
        Posted October 12, 2020 at 3:42 pm | Permalink

        SMRs sound like a good idea – therefore it will never happen in UK

      • Fred H
        Posted October 12, 2020 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

        a bit like PFI – – still paying through the nose.

      • fedupsoutherner
        Posted October 12, 2020 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

        Great post Ian. Once again it goes to show that the public have great ideas but somehow it all goes over the heads of our so called leaders. They have destroyed the inovation this country has created. When are they going to start listening to real experts and not those with their noses in the troughs?

      • dixie
        Posted October 13, 2020 at 7:09 am | Permalink

        I do wonder why there is no drive to build a distributed SMR-based supply, it would be much cheaper, exploit local engineering capabilities and appears to offer lower risk from an implementation perspective.

        Perhaps a topic for our host to raise in the house.

  8. a-tracy
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    Amazon could help if when delivering new boxes the driver took your old boxes back to reuse.

    • M Davis
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

      I reuse mine or give them to the charity shops who are always in need of wrapping materials. When I get flowers delivered from the local florist I take their boxes back for their own reuse and they are always grateful for them.

  9. Bryan Harris
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Why is it that those in government are so easily swayed to what JR described yesterday:
    “It is a systematic agenda and way of thinking that infuses most global institutions and many governments or main Oppositions in leading countries.”

    Like so many countries, the UK has fallen for the climate change garbage simply because it was Thatcher that was behind the formation of the UNIPCC which was supposed to tell us the truth about gaps in the ozone layer, etc — but like any organisation that relies on bad news to exist, it became corrupted and then fell in with the UN NWO agenda.

    WE have all be taken for mugs — especially our elected, who should know better… But it is true that the rot of ‘global thinking’ goes deep, and our establishment – the power behind the throne – that also supports the NWO, is totally in awe to climate change for the power it gives them to inflict their control over us.

  10. Sakara Gold
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    This is a well thought out and presented blog, many people enamoured of the green principle would agree with you that these ideas are the way forward.

    However, I think that we should accelerate the introduction of electric vehicles. Stand anywhere on the downs above the M25 (or in Oxford Street) and you will see a rank blue haze. On a bad day in the summer, it makes your eyes sting. Whether this is due to diesel exhaust fumes, ozone or NO2 it has a bad effect on the health of our seniors and chldren who have to go to school near these major roads. There are far more vehicles on our roads now than in the 1950’s.

    We need charging infrastructure, base-line new nuclear and a solution to the renewable energy storage problem. A bit of R&D support from the government would not go amiss – the benefits, potentially, are enormous.

    • NickC
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 9:04 pm | Permalink

      Sakara Gold, We all agree that pollution is bad. The disagreements come with how to tackle it. For a start CO2 is not (at 410ppm, or even 610ppm) a pollutant.

      Then battery electric cars are themselves polluters – excessive CO2 in manufacture (taking c7 years to work off); more tyre dust (they’re heavier); more polluting materials (toxic chemicals); plus the well known transfer of CO2 to the generators, and limited range and long charging times.

      And to cap it all – the government is just not building the necessary power stations, never mind the charging infrastructure. BEVs are not the answer. I believe we will get a better result, quicker and cheaper, by making IC engines (or hybrids) less polluting – which is perfectly feasible.

    • Stred
      Posted October 13, 2020 at 6:54 am | Permalink

      I live in London and on the south coast. On a sunny day both have a blue haze. It’s the ozone.

  11. a-tracy
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 8:04 am | Permalink

    The problem is the people lecturing us are the most polluting with their travel and meetings around the world that could be done remotely as has been proven this year. All these private jets and people that can afford fancy electric cars telling the rest of us what saints they are. Is racing cars around in circles really necessary?

    How many windmills and solar powers are China and India using for their energy? How many electric cars are they using? If they’re such a good idea and the future why aren’t they following the advances the RoW are making and using new technologies instead of using old power sources?

  12. turboterrier
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Stop litter?

    Do as they do in other countries raise to $1000 and enforce it. Anyone reporting littering that leads to a fine receives $250 upon conviction.. most people carry mobiles with camera’s. The whole operation becomes self policing.

    Education from year one onwards has a big part to play in this. Living in a rural area each hamlet or village have regular litter days but as usual always the same faces..There is a lack of pride in our communities and country and it shows. Not a good advert oon the population. The cost of addressing fly tipping must beg the question that it would be safer and more cost effective to have free a access to council tips. Create a department within councils that every owner is responsible for the reporting any works that involves rubbish and the name of the operative carrying out the works. Yes it will cost money but it would have an impact on fly tipping for the reason people do it knowing the chance of being caught is zilch.

    • Fred H
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

      Over the many years of travel I have always known I’m back in England due to the obvious litter. Roadsides, motorways, railway lines, parks, recreation facilities, car parks adjacent to shops, close to schools…..possibly the most shabby country for lack of enforcement and non-collection.
      It has been said before many times – those serving community penalty hours, the unemployed, the volunteers – organise dropping them off on roadsides and motorway embankments at say 1 or 2 mile intervals etc to collect it in black sacks – left at kerbs or pavements for later collection. On the return trip say an hour later – pick up the ‘workers’ and move on to the next locations.

      • Fred H
        Posted October 13, 2020 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

        any chance of it being published?

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

      Agree Turbo but not just litter. what about dog fouling? It’s disgusting what goes on in our village and the local council do nothing. It’s all very well putting up well disguised signs about fines etc but nothing gets done or monitored and no amount of shaming on social media sites make any difference. It’s a disgrace and there are so many ways the council could be making more money than just fining the motorist.

  13. Adam
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 8:05 am | Permalink

    Buying things causes movement. People travel to where they can access those things, or attract heavy delivery vehicles around their homes.

    Buying only what is needed, and buying sensibly stop wasteful travel in its tracks.

    Buying carelessly causes much more tyre wear and brake dust. Buying carefully promotes fuel efficiency, efficiently.

  14. Stred
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 8:09 am | Permalink

    During the lockdown I noticed that my 998cc mini petrol had suddenly stopped doing 52-55mpg using E5 on a regular 60 mile journey and was doing 10% fewer miles to the gallon. It would not go more than 47 mpg and putting the higher octane E5 only improved to 48mpg. I took a can of the E5 and after reading that autocar magazine had found that 998cc engined economical cars reduced mileage by 10% decided to test a sample of the fuel by doing what they do in the US and adding 10% water to their E10. The 10% ethanol then binds to the water and they drain it off. I put 500ml of E5 as bought with 50ml of water into a flat bottomed bottle and found that the mixture of ethanol and water was 20% of the total volume, showing the ethanol content was as E10. E10 is standard now in the EU and we import most petrol. Perhaps during the lockdown there was a shortage of E5 petrol and some fuel was sold with the new EU standard. Thankfully, the last time I took the car on the same journey it went back to the 55-60mpg with the same tyres, weather and no mechanical changes.

    This begs the question of why we are due to adopt the EU standard E10 soon when economical cars will become less economical and have to use 10% more fuel. In fact, as ethanol in the EU is mainly from corn and Prof MacKay found corn to be astonishingly inefficient in the land to fuel ratio and CO2 is created in growing, manufacture and transport, putting E10 in cars probably creates more CO2 than straight petrol.

    • NickC
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 9:15 pm | Permalink

      Stred, Very enlightening. I thought “they” (ie government, including the EU government) had dropped bio-fuel as both grossly inefficient and also because it takes food away from poor people. But, hey ho, I guess one covid19 death is a cataclysm but deaths from malnutrition to feed the Green God are okay.

      • Stred
        Posted October 13, 2020 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

        Coming to your tank next year unless we ignore EU regulations and tell them to stick their level playing field.

    • Stred
      Posted October 13, 2020 at 6:46 am | Permalink

      I still have the sample of petrol bought as E5 with the 20% mixture of ethanol and water at the bottom. I can text a photo of it if anyone is interested.

    • dixie
      Posted October 13, 2020 at 7:12 am | Permalink

      Doesn’t passing off E10 as E5 break trading laws?

      Perhaps raise it with Trading Standards, copying the web and local press.

  15. Ian @Barkham
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    The biggest polluter and the consumer of energy is never mentioned in any talk of ‘being green’. Which causes suspicion around all this talk of being ‘green’. The missing link is the manufacture and distribution of the finished item. For the UK that means that imported new car purchases will have used more energy and created more pollution than they will in their entire life on UK roads before the new owner gets to sit in it.

    Surely no Government can strive to reduce emissions as a World wide project when all they mean is ‘as long as its not in our backyard’

    That is not saving the planet that’s shuffling the deck. It goes to reinforce why with our Governments we get to say ‘we don’t believe you’

    Double if not to say hypocritical standards

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

      Ian, it’s all a load of bull.

    • dixie
      Posted October 13, 2020 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      We’d need to move to a more circular economy where products are refurbished, re-used or recycled as feedstock for the new products. In other words waste acquires a value and becomes an input to the production process rather than simply being thrown away.

      However, this may also require a change in business models and likely significant changes in consumer attitudes.

      Caterpillar’s CatReman programme is an interesting example of this.

  16. agricola
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 8:33 am | Permalink

    If power stations burning Coal, Gas, Oil, and imported Wood can, to quote, “Cut output of particulate and dangerous gas substantially”, why do we have this Don Quixote obsession with windmills.

    If as you suggest, the application of science and engineering can negate the polluting tendencies of the internal combustion engine, why are we on this crazy road to hell in a handcart obsession with all electric vehicles. The AEV has so many downsides as to be no solution at all. If like the Japanese and one UK rail company, you explored the use of hydrogen to achieve pollution free propulsion, you might just be heading in a viable direction. You might use Quixote’s windmills to produce the electricity to produce the hydrogen.

    Reference your last paragraph, who in their right mind would leave us dependant on EU power sources given the punishment mindset of the EU. Where are we with Shale Gas and Rolls Royce mini Atomic Generators. I see GB after the joy of Brexit in a power starved situation caused by ill informed politicians following unproductive power butterflies. We need a serious power action plan devised by technically informed people.

    Private enterprise in no time solved the governments failings with PPE. The same private enterprise can do the same with personal transport and power generation if like in 1940 the Cabinet is filled with an “Action Today” mentality .

  17. glen cullen
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    This time Sir John I believe you’re mixing up green energy policies with energy waste by-products

    99% of the population don’t care how our energy is made or where it comes from – they just want cheap energy bills

    They do care if companies dump chemicals in rivers or produce smoke in the air etc etc – but only locally

    Current green energy policies do not make bills cheaper

    Current energy waste policies are satisfactory and don’t require any change

    • Everhopeful
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 4:58 pm | Permalink


    • dixie
      Posted October 13, 2020 at 7:21 am | Permalink

      + 0.5
      I agree mostly but I don’t think current policies are anywhere near good enough, there is plenty of room to reduce energy demand and general wastage.

      I agree that a large chunk of the population simply don’t care.

  18. Polly
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Johnson wants to replace every gas boiler and cooker in the UK with an electric equivalent and transportation is to be all electric too.

    The offshore wind plan looks very unlikely to supply the necessary capacity particularly in view of it’s intermittent nature. Also, the forecasts of turbine efficiency and longevity look artificially enhanced to make wind appear more viable. I suspect disappointment and huge extra costs await.

    As to ”litter”, are the wind turbines all to be removed after life expiry? Many of the parts cannot be recycled so presumably all those ”green” turbines will eventually be litter on the seabed or go into landfill.

    Johnson says nuclear fusion is upcoming soon. In any case, nuclear looks far more viable than wind which, imho, should be abolished altogether.

    In the meantime, stick with what you have already including gas until new nuclear comes on stream.

    ”Build Back Better”?

    ”Better Think Again” looks right, including on Hinkley Point where you have chosen the wrong nuclear technology dependent on Chinese goodwill and Chinese expertise!


    • anon
      Posted October 13, 2020 at 8:32 pm | Permalink

      Renewables costs are falling worldwide.

      Even companies who were leaders in coal,oil,gas and nuclear are pivoting.

      We need to address the energy change coming. This means addressing potential mismatch of supply with demand in the shortrun.

      Wind waste will probably if left at sea will form a natural habitat for fish etc. Drop them near the limits of UK fishing grounds. Thats what happens with ship wrecks and there are many of those.

  19. graham1946
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    Home insulation is obviously worthwhile, if only for the comfort of the inhabitants, regardless of its effect on the planet (in the case of the U.K., not even measurable on a world wide scale). I would think that most home owners have insulated their houses with or without the green schemes.
    That leaves the tenants, like my sister who lives in a 120 year old house with not one inch of insulation in the loft and she has to renew the copper cylinder lagging herself. She is a tenant of a large corporation (not Mr. Joe Bloggs with his one property as his pension which we hear about endlessly) based in another part of the country and they don’t spend a penny on maintenance, just the annual gas checks etc. even though gas is not connected, yet rents rise inexorably every year beyond inflation. This is the famous ‘market level’ – i.e. rip off.
    You need to make law that landlords insulate their properties to the proper level, thereby saving their tenants, often poor, money on wasted heat and have some comfort which they obviously care not one jot about as long as they are getting their ‘market rent’. The cost must be absorbed as part of the property, not passed on to the tenant.

    • graham1946
      Posted October 13, 2020 at 10:42 am | Permalink

      In moderation 25 hours so far and now 3 subjects behind so it doesn’t matter anyway. Is there any point in trying to make thoughtful points? Maybe I should rant about old people living too long.

      • Fred H
        Posted October 13, 2020 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

        I think that viewpoint has been taken already. Covid is helping address the issue (if there is one).

  20. Mike Wilson
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    It seems to me that, with all this cheap money sloshing around, we should be building 10 nuclear power stations using British firms and technology. Surely we can still build such things.

    • Everhopeful
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      Oh no. Heaven forfend.
      We must be GREEN…and outsource many of the jobs no doubt.

    • NickC
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 9:27 pm | Permalink

      Mike W, Up to a point, Lord Copper. And Rolls-Royce could. And that would save British jobs. The joke is “Hydrogen is the fuel of the future; and always will be”. Another one is “Fusion is always 20 years away”. But, really, Nuclear? Bear in mind that U238 has a half life of 4.5bn years, which is why I much prefer natural Gas as a 50 year stop gap whilst we research Thorium nuclear plant.

      • dixie
        Posted October 13, 2020 at 7:22 am | Permalink

        But are we reaearching Thorium, or other aspects for a sustainable energy supply?

      • anon
        Posted October 13, 2020 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

        Use gas research thorium etc.
        Meanwhile allow renewables and they will continue to drive the costs down.
        We just need the monopoly regulators to enable competition to really drive the cost down to close to the cost of the plant, long term forget gas or coal unless synthetic.

    • Mark B
      Posted October 13, 2020 at 5:02 am | Permalink

      Can’t. Gordon Brown sold of the only British company in that field to a foreigner and that is why we have to buy French and Chinese technology.

  21. Barbara
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 11:25 am | Permalink

    I think people are making an error in thinking this is anything to do with cleaning up the environment.

    These policies are set, top-down, by supra-national organisations who wish to impose globalism, do away with nation states, de-industrialise the West and dismantle free market capitalism. The policies are then driven down into local parliaments.

    As UN IPCC offical Ottmar Edenhoffer said in 2010, in an interview with Germany’s NZZ Online Sunday, reprinted in English by the Global Warming Policy Foundation: “It’s a big mistake to discuss climate policy separately from the major themes of globalization … If global emission rights are distributed… If this happens, on a per capita basis, then Africa will be the big winner, and huge amounts of money will flow there’.

    He went on to say:

    “First of all, developed countries have basically expropriated the atmosphere of the world community. But one must say clearly that we redistribute de facto the world’s wealth by climate policy. Obviously, the owners of coal and oil will not be enthusiastic about this. One has to free oneself from the illusion that international climate policy is environmental policy. This has almost nothing to do with environmental policy anymore …”

  22. acorn
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    There are 28 gigawatts of Interconnectors scheduled to be installed in the next ten years to add to the 6 GW currently operating. Max demand is circa 52 GW with currently 70 GW of generation connected to the system of which about 88% is usable at peak.

    • NickC
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 9:36 pm | Permalink

      Relying on “our friends” in the EU again, Acorn? What happens when they need the electricity we are wanting to import? And how much of that “70GW” is nameplate Wind? We already know that offshore Wind has an average capacity factor of only c35% (onshore even less) indicating the problems when there’s too much Wind just as much as when there is too little. We also know the government is just not building the electricity generation capacity to power 30m+ BEVs, whatever the technology.

      • anon
        Posted October 13, 2020 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

        Average offshore capacity is 41% (and climbing).

        Plenty of wind. Use it or curtail it. We have the capacity/resource and engineering in the UK to build them, or should have and we have the £ to fund them. Problem and solution all in one.

        I dont mind helping Rolls Royce out either they can be helped to move to electric propulsion and maybe turbines for compressed gas/air storage systems.

        I think small modular nuclear should be fitted to all future large surface craft & carriers, enabling future operational capability and reserve grid capacity when in dock. This tech should not be sold or licensed except to proven allies who likely have their own.

  23. M Brandreth- Jones
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    We need not to take any notice of those in denial initially and face the serious climate problems ahead for many when we will not be here.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

      We do not deny that the climate changes nor even that humans and CO2 have some effect on climate.

      The question is how much and is it very dangerous. To which the answers are not very much and not really. Plus the ‘solutions’ proposed renewables and job exporting clearly will not work anyway!

    • NickC
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 9:39 pm | Permalink

      MB-J, Those in denial are those who have been predicting climate doom for the last 50 years.

  24. Ian Wilson
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

    Industry has made huge improvements in engine and boiler efficiencies but regrettably the government has a knack of putting a spanner in the works.

    It promotes wind power despite it being one of the dirtiest power sources – 13.9 million trees have been felled in Scotland alone to clear land for wind farms, they need thousands of tons of concrete to build, destroy peatlands and kill huge numbers of birds and bats (I have just read the only Osprey to fledge at a site in Denbighshire has been killed by a wind turbine.)
    Then there’s electric cars with all their environmental problems, well covered in earlier posts. If manufacturers had been left alone engines would have become ever cleaner.
    While the US has cut its emissions (whether it matters or not is questionable) by moving from coal to fracked gas our government has banned the practice and denied us both economic and environmental benefits.
    Keep out of it, government!

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

      @Ian. It’s truley pathetic isn’t it?

    • NickC
      Posted October 12, 2020 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

      Ian W, Just so. Domestic natural Gas boilers (condensing type) are around 90% efficient, yet the most thermally efficient electricity generation (Gas fired CCGT) is only around 65%. But Boris wants all new build home heating to be electric powered from 2025. Heat pumps require electricity to run, the best (and costliest) being ground source at about 1KW of electricity for about 4KW of heat. But in winter, below 0 deg C, air source heat pumps produce almost no heat beyond the input electrical energy. Where is this electricity to come from? Then there is his BEV dream. Just where are the new power stations?

  25. Mark
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 5:15 pm | Permalink

    From an article written by a general manager at a boiler manufacturer:

    While some Class 6 NOx condensing boilers as they currently stand might struggle to meet the new NOx thresholds, modifications are readily available to enable them to do so. The problem is that applying them could adversely affect boiler performance. It’s the classic scenario of giving with one hand and taking away with the other.

    Hence the balancing act. Applying fan dilution to the flue system (see IGEM/UP 10 Edition 4), for example, would help a condensing boiler achieve the proposed NOx benchmark as well as reducing carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide emissions. But it would also increase pluming at lower, street levels, bringing new nuisance issues surrounding air quality. Additionally there would be financial and energy repercussions due to the need for modification.

    In other words, striving for lower NOx emission levels beyond where the technology currently stands could have a detrimental effect on the ability of the product to deliver high performance heating and lifetime efficiency.

    Perhaps it would help to listen to those who know what they are talking about, rather than greens who don’t.

  26. Rod
    Posted October 12, 2020 at 11:46 pm | Permalink

    Please tell Boris and Rishi, scrap HS2, that will save £110billion, towards reducing the national covid debt and we don’t need extra rail travel now the normal is far more people working from home….

    • Christine Marland
      Posted October 13, 2020 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      Sound good Rod.

  27. dixie
    Posted October 13, 2020 at 6:48 am | Permalink

    How is this an energy policy?

    How will you generate energy, where, what fuel, how transported, how funded, what R&D supported?

    If we are truly an enterprise economy why are we not establishing an energy market to facilitate distributed supply and consumption?

    Why are we not deploying SMRs now instead of dithering in commitees then spending ridiculous amounts of money to import the fruits of our R&D and engineering development?

    Should we investigate introduction of passivhaus approaches in new properties to reduce energy loads for heating?

    Should we continue the take-make-waste approach or introduce elements of circular economy to minimise wastage and resource famine?

  • About John Redwood

    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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