Welcome to the latest news for the South West’s Green MEP!
This weekend has seen the Green Party meet for its Autumn conference in a very sunny Bournemouth, which is in Molly’s South West constituency. Molly took part in a whirlwind of media appearances, talking live on BBC Radio Solent, BBC Radio Devon and BBC Radio Cornwall as well as an interview with Andrew Neil on the BBC Daily Politics show. Comments on Twitter about her performance included: ‘Refreshingly honest and handled Neil’s questions with aplomb’; ‘Quality interview, deals with tricky Andrew Neil perfectly’; ‘Molly counteracts tough questions with calm & intellect and talks sense on the Green/Labour question’. See for yourself! Click image above to watch this interview.
Getting Europe sustainably mobile
Molly helped launch European Mobility Week in Brussels, an annual awareness raising campaign that aims to encourage the use of public transport, cycling and walking. Molly used the opportunity to call for incentives to be redirected away from car travel and towards sustainable modes of transport. In particular she promoted the Bike2Work scheme which encourages commuting by bicycle. She says:
“Studies repeatedly show that employees who cycle to work are happier and healthier, experience less absence from work due to sickness and are less susceptible to delays caused by congestion. Cycling to work therefore clearly provides economic benefits to employers as well as to the wider community. It means less pollution in urban areas and so improved public health.”
VW emissions scandal
Continuing on a transport theme, Molly and the Greens in Europe have responded to the VW emissions scandal, in which the giant German car company cheated car pollution tests in the US. The Greens in the Environment Committee of the European Parliament proposed, and gained support for, new rules which would see testing based on actual driving conditions. Molly also hit out at government hypocrisy. She says:
“How hypocritical of this government calling for EU action to restore public confidence in vehicle emissions when they have consistently failed to act in preventing the deaths of at least 23,000 people a year from air pollution. The Tories have continually sought to undermine European air pollution standards and the UK has repeatedly breached the EU Air Quality Directive. Air pollution is a silent but prolific killer in Europe and Greens have long argued for stricter rules on emissions and testing. It is high time the UK government and other EU governments stopped siding with car manufacturers in trying to weaken the rules.”
Hinkley – the farce continues
On a visit to China, George Osborne announced last week that the UK government would guarantee a £2bn deal under which China will invest in the Hinkley Point nuclear power station. Commenting on the announcement, Molly said:
“While this government sees fit to subsidise foreign companies to support an old industry, it is deliberately destroying UK companies and undermining investment opportunities for small-scale investors building the energy of the future. The Tories are snubbing British citizens who have shown their willingness to invest in community renewables and support the clean, green energy of the future with which our country, and particularly the South West, is so richly endowed.”
Molly calls for ban on corporate lobbyists
Molly joined other MEPs on the European Parliament’s Special Tax Committee last week to meet with Commission President Jean Claude Juncker. Molly used the opportunity to demand that some corporate lobbyists be barred access to the European Parliament. The call follows the refusal of some corporations to cooperate with the committee in its investigations into tax avoidance. Molly said:
“Corporations expect access to lobby MEPs but they will not explain their tax practices to us. I’m calling for those who refused to answer our questions to be barred from the Parliament.”
Visit to Somerset Levels
Molly recently spoke to farmers and conservationists to hear about the problems the Somerset Levels faces with flooding, and learn about some of the flood management features that have been installed. She also visited a farmer who farms 500 acres in Somerset and Dorset and is building an anaerobic digester plant. This will use maize, cereals, fodder beet and chicken litter waste together with waste potatoes to produce gas which will be pumped into the main gas supply.