I have just heard of the three main political parties’ renewed commitment to reducing our dependence on carbon fuels as soon as possible –-this strategy is seen as both beneficial to the UK’s future economy and of course to helping to reduce the effects of climate change.
A good few weeks ago, I requested our local MP, Norman Baker, under the Freedom of Information Act, to ask the Environment Agency two things, a) the carbon footprint of its 28-year-old Seaford Beach Maintenance shingle shifting regime (which involves twice yearly heavy lorries, bulldozers, diggers etc for many weeks at a time) and b) their plans to follow political policy to reduce this footprint.
The response so far to these FOI requests has been totally inadequate. The EA had the gall to inform Mr Baker that boxes of documents would be provided to me in order for me to work out for myself the answers to the questions posed. This would be akin to a student asking his tutor to work through to an answer to a problem by handing out text books and saying eventually you will work out the answer yourself – this of course would be seen as a cop out and an indicator of the tutor’s apathy towards seeking the answer. So with the EA I hope all would agree.
The sad thing is that this carbon footprint figure is very easily established, ie number of plant miles/km multiplied by manufacturer’s carbon data for its plant - this is obviously not rocket science but says everything about the continued apathetic mentality the EA displays whenever the question of the continued applicability of its maintenance system for the beach is raised.
The other sad thing about this ongoing issue is the fact that although three thousand people have now signed the petition calling for a change in beach maintenance, the undoubted perilous state of the beach, its equally undoubted hazardous nature, there is still no sign whatsoever that change is even being SERIOUSLY considered.
What a sad indictment on the EA.