While Manchester gears up for hosting the UK vote of the EU referendum on Friday, the Nuclear Free Local Authorities (NFLA) English Forum and Steering Committee will be holding an informative seminar elsewhere in the city considering how the policies of promoting decentralised energy and defence diversification can be a locus for a new productive UK industrial policy. (1)
The NFLA seminar on the 24th June in Manchester’s Mechanics Institute will bring speakers, councillors and groups together to consider the real social, economic and political benefits in decentralised energy and defence diversification. Can such policies encourage local authorities and community groups to get more involved in energy policy, whilst could defence diversification help defence-dependent communities move into other productive industries? Such policies could potentially deliver new jobs, regenerate local economies and provide considerable community benefits and reduce carbon emissions.
The two keynote speakers are Alan Simpson, Sustainable Economics Advisor to Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell (2) and Dr Steve Schofield, key researcher for the Local Economic Sufficiency and Security (LESS) Network (3). Both are influential figures in the fields of decentralised energy and defence diversification and they will consider the ways to deliver such projects, using international examples as a blueprint for success. They may also challenge the need for new nuclear power and Trident replacement, arguing more effective and viable alternatives exist with the required political will.
Other speakers include:
- Peter Burt, Research Manager of the Nuclear Information Service. Peter will profile the NIS’s recently published report on how the Aldermaston and Burghfield nuclear weapon facilities could be transformed to deal with decommissioning work for decades, become national centres for disarmament verification and nuclear threat reduction and move into civil sector markets. (4)
- Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, who will outline the NFLA’s ‘Get it from the Sun initiative. (5)
- Ali Abbas, Greater Manchester Communities Renewables (GMCR), will outline its moves towards developing local community energy projects. GMCR is currently developing a crowd-funding scheme to develop renewable energy projects across the county. (6)
NFLA Chair Councillor Ernie Galsworthy said:
I am very much looking forward to this seminar which will assist NFLA greatly in its work to promote viable and effective nuclear free alternatives. The time to develop decentralised energy and defence diversification policies is surely now. We need to move away from the flawed model that overly expensive centralised new nuclear power and Trident replacement are the answer to our energy and defence needs. They are not, and the flexibility that decentralised energy and defence diversification projects brings will help to regenerate our towns and cities, as well as creating new high quality jobs and 21st century answers to the UK’s economic place in the world. I hope the seminar can provide us with such levers for success.”
For more information contact Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary, on 0161 234 3244.
Notes for editors:
(1) NFLA Special Seminar – can decentralised energy and defence diversification be the motor for a new UK industrial policy? Mary Quaile Room, Mechanics Institute, 103 Princess Street, Manchester M1 3DD, 24th June, 1.25pm – 3.30pm.
- Alan Simpson, Sustainable Economics Advisor to Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell “Smarter, lighter and less: tomorrow’s ‘virtual’ and local energy systems.”
- Dr Steve Schofield, The Less Network on “Defence Diversification or Arms Conversion? The benefits of a Defence Diversification Agency.”
- Peter Burt, Nuclear Information Service on “How defence diversification could transform the Aldermaston and Burghfield nuclear weapon sites.”
- Sean Morris, NFLA Secretary on “The NFLA’s ‘Get if from the Sun’ (GIFTS) initiative”.
- Ali Abbas, Friends of the Earth Manchester on “Development and launch of the Greater Manchester Community Renewables initiative.”
(2) See for example Alan Simpson’s written evidence to DECC’s community energy consultation: http://www.communityenvironment.org.uk/cms/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/Community-owned-energy-generation-Alan-Simpson.odf
(3) See for example Steve Schofield’s report for the Less Network – ‘Defence Diversification or Arms Conversion?’ 2015: http://www.lessnet.co.uk/arms-conversion.pdf
(4) Nuclear Information Service, ‘Top scientist sets out new vision for nuclear factory after Trident work ends’: http://www.nuclearinfo.org/article/uk-trident-awe-aldermaston-awe-burghfield/awe-report-webpage
(5) Information on the NFLA’s ‘Get if from the Sun’ (GIFTS) initiative is available from: https://www.nuclearpolicy.info/wp/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/GIFTS_initative.pdf
(6) Greater Manchester Community Renewables: http://www.gmcr.org.uk