GREEN NEWS LOW CARBON DIRECTIONS AT 9.6 metres Swansea Bay has one of the largest tidal ranges in the world, so it’s not surprising that it’s been at the centre of the debate on tidal energy for as long as I can remember. Early in January this opportunity took a significant step to becoming reality, with a government review supporting a £1.3 billion ‘tidal lagoon’ project. Critics have complained about the cost; others that 30p per household for the next 30 years is still cheaper than nuclear power. But this pilot project would generate green electricity for 120 24 years – isn’t this the sort of timescale we should be investing in? Today we all benefit from the investments of past generations, whether it’s railways and roads, reservoirs and power stations or the National Grid. Take our very own Victoria Station: built by the Victorians; extended by the Edwardians; renovated by us and used by millions every year. Yet for some reason our current generation seems unwilling to invest in critical infrastructure that does not pay for itself within a few decades. Our economic modelling assumes that a benefit in the future is worth less than the very same benefit today. One way to view this – and it might seem harsh – is that collectively we seem happy to freeload on past investments while refusing to invest in our own children’s future. On an individual level, however, for the vast majority of us this simply isn’t true; we make such hard calls day in and day out. Our economic model needs to reflect this reality – viewing costs and benefits over the asset’s lifetime, from the perspective of those paying for and benefiting from it at that time. Generational inequality is greater now than it has ever been. It’s in all our interests to address it. Welcome to our regular Green Business feature. By Todd Holden, Director for Low Carbon, Business Growth Hub TALKIN’ ‘BOUT MY GENERATION GREATER MANCHESTER SETS OUT AIR QUALITY AND EMISSIONS PLANS A SUITE of plans have been published outlining the actions Greater Manchester will take to improve air quality, tackle emissions and reduce the region’s carbon footprint. The Greater Manchester Low Emission Strategy, Air Quality Action Plan and Climate Change and Low Emission Implementation Plan are all now available to view on the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) website. The plans aim to help meet EU air quality limits and encourage “low emission behaviour” in all organisations across the region. Tony Lloyd, interim mayor, said: “Air quality and carbon emissions are two of the most important issues facing Greater Manchester as there is strong evidence to suggest that they pose a significant risk to the environment and to public health. “We’ve already made significant progress in reducing regional nitrogen dioxide and carbon emission levels, but more action is needed along with a collective commitment from a wide range of organisations, both public and private, if we are to meet tough targets and limits in the future.” Among others, targets include: supporting between £300-500 million of green energy projects; establishing a municipal energy company; registering 40,000 ultra-low emission vehicles across the region by 2020; exploring the feasibility of a Clean Air Zone for vehicles; and facilitating an education programme for building owners to improve environmental performance.
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