Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Climate Change starts at the Guildhall

I visited the Guildhall just before Christmas to check out a local planning application. My abiding memory of the visit however was that the whole building appeared to be stifflingly hot.

I wrote to the building manager, who explained it was down to problems with the heating controls adjusting after a power surge. I don't think this is good enough - it must be possible to avoid wasting energy in this way.

The Liberal democrats like to talk the talk on climate change, with all the fervour of a true believer. The Council employs at great expense a 'climate change officer', and has huge budgets it spends on telling us we are all doomed, and making people feel guilty about their own behaviour.

Meanwhile, on one of the coldest days of the year, the heating in the Guildhall was swelteringly hot, and staff were busy trying to open windows to cool down. As ever with Lib Dems, its more important to be seen to be doing something, than actually fixing problems.

I think we do need to take some serious steps to tackle the risk of global warming and energy security (which is somewhat different to signing up to every conceivable suggestions from the latest doomsday cult on the subject). Most likely solutions are going to involve major changes in the production, storage and transmission of energy, many requiring technological breakthroughs - very little of which Cambridge City Council can do anything about (short of fixing its planning policies so Cambridge can continue to be a world leader in technology development).

When it comes to what individuals (and local authorities) can do - I suggest the best approach is to highlight the costs of being profligate with energy - the only thing that will make sufficient people change behaviour is if reducing Co2 production is a significant money saver. Which brings me to the real sense of outrage about the Guildhall being swelteringly hot - it is Council tax payers paying for all that waste.

Conservative run Windsor and Maidenhead Council has not only installed smart metering in Council properties, but the usage is available online - allowing residents to check all the time if their Council is wasting energy, and encouraging them to keep bills low.

Why can't Cambridge City Council be more enlightened about climate change, and focus on saving money not on climate change ideology.

No comments: