Hounslow Green Party

Greens echo Greta Thunberg: Now is the time to rebel

29 July 2019

Hounslow Green Party Co-ordinator Tony Firkins mounted a one-man protest at the entrance of the Ballymore-built car park in Brentford on 26th July. He delivered a stinging rebuke to the local Council who have allowed the huge car park to be built in Brentford High Street, despite Ballymore, the builders, not having obtained prior full Planning Permission.

 Tony Firkins at the Ballymore car park

“We are in a Climate Emergency!” he said, “and this is not a zero carbon building!” In his speech, Mr Firkins pointed out that although the Council has declared a Climate Emergency, “for every tonne of steel, there is likely to have been about 3 tonnes of carbon dioxide produced. The emissions through the full lifecycle of the building must be considered as part of the emissions of a building.”

In addition he pointed out that the car park will be regarded as encouraging the use of motor vehicles at a time when we need to be reducing emissions.

Firkins was joined by a small group of local Green Party members as well as local residents. At this point he read out Greta Thunberg’s inspirational speech on the 1975’s Album, recently released. “We are facing a disaster of unspoken sufferings for enormous amounts of people. And now is not the time for speaking politely or focusing on what we can or cannot say. Now is the time to speak clearly….. So, we can no longer save the world by playing by the rules. Because the rules have to be changed…Everything needs to change. And it has to start today…So, everyone out there, it is now time for civil disobedience. It is time to rebel.”

Greens at the Ballymore car park

He pointed out that Greta Thunberg began her protests as a one-person demonstration.  If other local people are angry about this building, please contact Hounslow Green party through our website and join us on Friday mornings at 10am.  It is important to hold Hounslow Council to account, to ensure that their declaration of a Climate Emergency is not just empty words.



This is not a Zero Carbon building

The Mayor of London has a 1.5C Compatible Plan which was published in December 2018.  This contains a roadmap for “Zero emissions for all transport and buildings by 2050” (page 7).

As part of this roadmap, it has “All new buildings zero carbon” in 2019.

Even if Hounslow Council does not have a Climate Emergency Action Plan yet, there is the London 1.5 C Compatible Plan and Hounslow should be following it.

Even if the London 1.5C Compatible Plan is aiming for zero emissions far too late, Hounslow Council must at least manage to implement the 2019 objective on new buildings to be serious on action on the climate emergency.

And it is very clear that Plot G of the Ballymore site in Brentford is a new building and is not a zero carbon building.

And it is being built in 2019.  So it has failed the London 1.5C Compatible Plan target for this year.

Let us take the construction that has taken place so far on Plot G.

We in Brentford have seen lorry loads of cement and steel arriving at the site. For every one tonne of cement, there is over a tonne of carbon dioxide produced. And for every tonne of steel, there is likely to have been about 3 tonnes of carbon dioxide produced. The emissions through the full lifecycle of the building must be considered as part of the emissions of a building.

This is not a zero carbon building.

It is being used as a car park. This facility is encouraging the use of the car. Car use in the UK produces 70 megatonnes of carbon dioxide per year. Car use has got to be discouraged in every way if we are to meet any of the targets and avoid a climate catastrophe

This is not a zero carbon building.

The proposed planning request for Plot G coming before the planning committee on 1st August 2019 is to add 30 residential units. The Energy Strategy for this building is to use natural gas for heating of these units. However much the Hounslow Carbon Offset Fund document tries to argue that offsets allow burning of gas to be offset by money or production of electricity, this is not the case. Every flat will be producing over 1 tonne of carbon dioxide per year (see page ii). Only negative emissions can offset positive emissions to make zero. Any other form of maths is known as creative carbon accounting – or more straight forwardly - it is lying.

This is not a zero carbon building.

There are alternatives to locking in a building to use carbon positive natural gas for heating and these must be adopted without delay if we are to address the climate emergency. The L&Q building, proposed for across the road, on the Morrison’s site, plans to use Air Source Heat Pumps and no natural gas. Yet the Plot G Energy Strategy recommends against the use of heat pumps and continued use of natural gas. Why is this on-site remedy possible on one side of the road and not on the other?

Let us be clear that this planning permission including the Plot G Energy Strategy was lodged in March 2019. This is not part of any previous planning permission. Also let us be clear that the priority in the Hounslow Carbon Offset Plan is to reduce emissions on site (see page 2), with financial offsets as a last resort. In the life time of the building, emissions on site will be reduced by using no natural gas. I ask this council not to give permission for any use of natural gas in this building. Please do not compound the problem by making it even more carbon positive than it already is.

This is not a zero carbon building. This is a climate emergency. Please act like it is.

V0.2 26 July 2019

Note that embedded links may need to be pasted into your browser

London 1.5C Compatible Plan - https://www.london.gov.uk/what-we-do/environment/climate-change/climate-action-plan

Energy Strategy - http://planning2.hounslow.gov.uk/NPSPublicDocs/00637334.pdf

Hounslow Carbon Offset Fund - https://democraticservices.hounslow.gov.uk/documents/s138673/HCOF%20-%2014.11.17%20V2.pdf

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