JOHN PRESCOTT spoke in Hedon on Saturday at the Alexandra Hall and tackled some controversial local issues head on.
Mr Prescott was speaking on the issue of climate change and green energy and warned of a global crisis.
“If you accept the science,” he warned, “then higher levels of carbon in the atmosphere, will increase global temperatures by 2° – 3°, which will have massive disastrous consequences for countries and economies across the world!”
The world needs to respond to this urgent crisis and reduce carbon emissions, urged Mr Prescott, and this means more renewable industries; solar, wind, tidal and biomass generated power.
“Wind is a new industry that is an important part of the solution, both offshore and onshore. This might spoil our ‘picture-card’ views but wind turbines are part of the answer. Biomass is an important source too. I’ve noticed local protests that carried banners saying ‘Protect our grandchildren’ – but this is it, this is what protects our grandchildren! ”
“We have to have a national policy in the country’s best interests with local objectives set in line with that policy. The Government is kidding people that ‘localism’ means you’ll get a say in all this. You won’t – because the national policy has to prevail.”
In the public question time, Councillor John Dennis asked: “How should a small community like Hedon protect itself from an expansionist and ambitious neighbour?” referring generally to plans to build on the old Hedon aerodrome land owned by Hull City Council.
Mr Prescott replied: “The landscape generally will change as technology changes – it used to be filled with windmills. But it changed, and it is changing again. It’s up to the Planning Authority to make the final decisions for the wider good. Local Councillors can object within that system.”
“It does seem that the land is prime for agriculture and horticulture which is why the license has been issued to build such facilities there powered by biomass. So what should Hedon do? You can’t opt out and declare yourself a ‘climate-change free zone’.”
Preston Parish Councillor Geoff Bell asked about how you could influence where things are built? He referred to plans to create a green industrial zone in the south between Saltend and Paull. Mr Prescott again said “The planning process gives rights to local councillors to have a say, if you object to a decision then you can appeal against it, you can take it to Government, and finally the Secretary of State.”
Mr Prescott heard from Councillor Mike Bryan about earlier local opposition to building houses on the Aerodrome site because of the flooding risk. Whilst emphasising that you can’t build on flood planes, and that in the first instance he believed that you should always look at brownfield sites, Mr Prescott questioned the motives for some of the local opposition:
“We desperately need more social housing. Lots of people have moved out from Hull to here, and you’ve now got your ‘picture-box’ views – but you want to deny the rights of other ordinary people to get houses in Hedon – you don’t want others moving in from Hull! Come on now, that can’t be right!”
The meeting covered many other issues too – far too many to be covered here – and served to be an interesting forum for debate. The event was hosted by the Beverley and Holderness Labour Party as an open meeting.
If you would like to continue to debate some of these issues, please leave a comment below.