Euro-MP wins another fish fight

Chris Davies MEP

Chris Davies MEP

Our local Euro-MP Chris Davies won support from MEPs for beleaguered fish stocks in a marathon voting session today in Strasbourg.  MEPs from France and Spain attempted to put aside large amounts of taxpayer money for fleet renewal – effectively giving fishermen cash for better boats that could catch more fish.

Chris, who founded the cross party Fish for the Future group of MEPs, led the fight to prevent more subsidy cash being wasted on measures that would encourage overfishing and the further decline of fish stocks.

The European Maritime & Fisheries Fund (EMFF) will provide €6 billion towards the fishing industry between 2014 and 2020.  MEPs approved payment of subsidies to help fishermen adjust to change but not to catch more fish.

Chris welcomed the decision as proof that the EU was serious about improving its fisheries policy, saying “We still have too many boats chasing too few fish, so to use public money to pay for building new boats would only make the problem worse. Grants of this kind were scrapped a decade ago, when 90% of the money was going to France, Spain and Portugal.  To have reinstated them would have been a massive step backwards.”

“Fishermen only have a future if we can help fish stocks to recover.  That is why Lib Dem MEPs supported investment based on sound science rather than subsidies for the few.”

The Parliament supported the use of funds to help fishermen buy more selective gear, to improve port facilities, and to obtain more scientific data about the state of fish stocks.

Davies presses for more EU rules to save money

Chris Davies MEP

Chris Davies MEP

Tameside Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies is calling for an EU law to be toughened up to help cut energy use and save money. 

He  told the European Parliament’s environment committee today that the EU’s 2009 Eco-Design Directive was forcing manufacturers to introduce more efficient electrical devices.

The law sets new standards for a growing range of products, and bans the sale of equipment that does not comply.

Chris said: “EU rules come in for plenty of criticism but this one is driving forward industrial innovation, promoting more efficient design and saving people money.”

The improvements being promoted by the law are expected to reduce EU electricity use by as much as is generated by more than 60 coal power stations.

Environment victory

Chris Davies MEPNew cars are set to be greener after a Tameside Euro-MP persuaded the EU to maintain a crack down on harmful air-conditioning.

And Liberal Democrat Chris Davies is praising EU rules that have led to the creation of a welcome new chemical product.

A European law agreed four years ago says that all new types of car must from next January use a coolant in air conditioning systems that will not contribute to the problem of global warming.

At present the systems in all cars use a chemical that is 1,500 times more likely to cause climate change than carbon dioxide.

Car makers tried to push back the deadline, arguing that suitable alternative products would not be available in time.

But a lobbying campaign led by Davies persuaded the European Commission to hold firm.

Now chemical companies have developed a new product, HFC1234, that can be used without any changes being made in the design of air conditioning systems.

The MEP described the result as good for car drivers and good for the environment.

Davies said: “EU regulations get criticised a lot, but they can also create new market opportunities and drive forward innovation.”

“It is only through technological progress like this that we can overcome the threats that mankind faces on the planet.”

Nick Clegg launches Liberal Democrat environment manifesto

The Liberal Democrats have set out radical plans to protect the environment and set the economy on a path to a zero carbon Britain. The proposals include a £3.1bn green economic stimulus package, plans to slash energy use and improve energy efficiency, and a UK Infrastructure Bank to embed green investment for the long term.

Commenting, Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg said:

“This election is not like any other.

“Climate scientists tell us that the next government will be the last that can stop dangerous climate change.

“That is a huge responsibility for the party that wins this election. But it’s an even bigger responsibility for the voters that will choose them on May 6.

“So my message is this: don’t settle for a Labour party that has had thirteen years to deliver on the environment and has failed. Don’t settle for a Conservative party that talks the talk on green issues, only to align themselves with climate change deniers in the European Parliament. And don’t give your vote to a Green Party that cannot make a difference in Westminster.

“Instead, choose the only party that was taking a stand on saving the planet well before it became fashionable. The only party that has led the way on tackling climate change, from championing the 10:10 campaign in our councils, to setting out radical plans in Parliament to cut Britain’s carbon emissions. Choose the only party that in the wake of the economic crisis is setting out a credible vision for a new and sustainable economy.

“Something really exciting is happening in British politics. This is a huge opportunity to set Britain on the road to a prosperous and green future.

“We should seize it.”

Download our environment manifesto (Adobe pdf document)

Fairness – The Liberal Democrat Manifesto Launch

Nick Clegg MP

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg MP

Nick Clegg has launched the Liberal Democrat General Election manifesto. The manifesto sets out four clear priorities of fair taxes, a fair chance for every child, a fair economy, and a fair deal by cleaning up politics.

At the launch, Nick Clegg said:

“Every manifesto needs to have an idea at its heart. The basic idea that animates this manifesto is something I have always believed. I believe every single person is extraordinary.

“The tragedy is that we have a society where too many people never get to fulfil that extraordinary potential.

“My view – the liberal view – is that government’s job is to help them to do it. Not to tell people how to live their lives. But to make their choices possible, to release their potential, no matter who they are.

“The way to do that is to take power away from those who hoard it. To challenge vested interests. To break down privilege. To clear out the bottlenecks in our society that block opportunity and block progress. And so give everyone a chance to live the life they want.

“There’s a simple word for those ideas, and it’s a word this manifesto is built on: fairness.”

The Liberal Democrat manifesto outlines 4 steps to a fairer Britain:

Fair taxes that put money back in your pocket

  • The first £10,000 you earn tax-free: a tax cut of £700 for most people
  • 3.6 million low earners and pensioners freed from income tax completely
  • Paid for in full by closing loopholes that unfairly benefit the wealthy and polluters

A fair future creating jobs by making Britain greener

  • Break up the banks and get them lending again to protect real businesses
  • Honesty about the tough choices needed to cut the deficit
  • Green growth and jobs that last by investing in infrastructure

A fair chance for every child

  • Ensure children get the individual attention they need by cutting class sizes
  • Made possible by investing £2.5 billion in schools targeted to help struggling pupils
  • Give schools the freedom to make the right choices for their pupils

A fair deal by cleaning up politics

  • Put trust back into politics by giving you the right to sack corrupt MPs
  • Restore and protect hard-won British civil liberties with a Freedom Bill
  • Overhaul Westminster completely: fair votes, an elected House of Lords, all politicians to pay full British taxes

You can download the Liberal Democrat manifesto at along with summary documents and videos for each of the key areas, order a paper copy and find audio and easy read text versions.

EU failing on CCS goals

A pledge by EU leaders to have up to 12 plants to demonstrate carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology operating by 2015 is set to fail, local MEP Chris Davies has warned. CCS development is regarded as crucial to curbing the emission of CO2 from the world’s growing number of fossil fuel power stations. Instead of being released into the atmosphere the gas is buried permanently deep underground.

Earlier this month a subsidy package likely to be worth more than £4 billion was approved by EU governments.

But Chris Davies, the MEP who leads on CCS issues in the European Parliament, has warned that the funding approval process for demonstration projects is too slow.

He told a CCS conference in London today: “As things stand there is no prospect of the EU meeting its target. We will be lucky to have 2 or 3 commercial-scale projects in operation by 2015.

The MEP called on the European Commission to sweep aside “bureaucratic obstacles” to accelerate the selection and construction of CCS-equipped power plants.

Davies said: “Every week of delay increases the risks of global warming and denies European industry the opportunity to become the world leader in CCS technology.”

Greenpeace boss praises Lib Dem green jobs plan

John Sauven Greenpeace Executive Director has said of the new Lib Dem plans to create jobs in wind power: “This is the kind of practical vision that will bring Britain huge benefits.

“Using shipyards to launch a fleet of offshore turbines could make Britain an international powerhouse in wind power, and create thousands of jobs.

“But if we don’t realise the huge potential of renewable energy in the UK, then we risk being left behind by other European countries.”

Nick Clegg talks about the green jobs plan (Youtube video)

Our Green Jobs Plan

Liberal Democrat Leader Nick Clegg today set out a manifesto pledge to create 57,000 jobs by investing £400million upgrading disused shipyards to enable the production of off-shore wind turbines. The proposals would enable firms to manufacture off-shore wind turbines in the UK, instead of seeing them built abroad due to out-of-date facilities. Current plans to expand wind farms in the North and Irish seas could see every one of the 6,400 turbines needed brought in from abroad, as there are currently no turbine manufacturers in the UK.

Wind turbines in wind farmLib Dem renewable energy plans would create 57,000 jobs

British ports are ideally located to host turbine manufacturers due to their proximity to the off-shore wind farms; however, they are currently unable to invest due to the lack of appropriate docks with suitable space.

The proposals to invest in physical infrastructure to support a greener economy also include a pledge to invest £100million in training and testing facilities, including at universities with specialist engineering research facilities such as Loughborough, Durham and Newcastle.

Commenting, Nick Clegg said:

“We need to make sure we come out of this recession with a rebalanced and green economy.

“Our plans would act as a huge boost for Britain’s budding wind industry and create nearly 60,000 jobs in many shipyard cities where unemployment is a huge problem.

“New off-shore turbines, with blades the size of the London Eye, need to be built and launched from modern docks, so we need to upgrade our shipyards to take advantage of this massive opportunity.

“Just imagine the docks and shipyards along the coastline of Britain coming to life and leading the world in this new technology.

“Expanding off-shore wind will create jobs but unless we act now, these jobs won’t be British jobs. It’s a scandal that 90% of the £1.75bn contract for a wind farm off the coast of Kent is going to foreign contractors, with the turbines being manufactured in Germany.

“Investing in infrastructure for a new green economy not only helps create jobs now but will allow Britain to take its place at the cutting edge of this growing industrial sector for the future.

“Britain clearly has the manufacturing and engineering expertise to lead the world in this green technology but government must play its part in supporting this.”

The Policy in brief


The Liberal Democrats will renovate and adapt facilities in seven North and Irish Sea ports so they can be used to build the giant turbines needed for off-shore wind energy. This will be a huge boost for Britain’s budding wind industry and create 57,000 jobs in many shipyard cities where unemployment is a huge problem.

This plan forms part of the Liberal Democrats’ economic stimulus and job creation package. In the first year of a Liberal Democrat government, over £3.6bn of spending will be redirected to create jobs and build up Britain’s infrastructure. In the following years this money will be redirected to other Liberal Democrat spending priorities and reducing the structural deficit.

Why is it necessary

Energy from wind must meet a much larger proportion of Britain’s energy needs if we are to cut carbon emissions and our reliance on fuel imported from abroad. But there’s a problem: there is hardly anywhere in Britain suitable to build the giant turbines needed. That holds back our industry and also the much-needed expansion of wind energy.

Liberal Democrats are committed to increasing the proportion of our electricity that comes from renewables to 40% by 2020. The majority of that electricity will have to come from off-shore wind – so we need to build at least 6,400 offshore wind turbines, 2.5 a day.

The technology we need is ready and the consortiums who have won the right to build offshore wind farms in the North and Irish Seas are now looking for manufacturers to build the turbines. If action is not taken now all the manufacturing jobs that these orders could create will go abroad where there are already the facilities to build huge wind turbines. Only if existing port facilities close to the off-shore wind farms of the North and Irish Seas are converted will the turbines be built here and the jobs created here too.

Renovating ports: The Liberal Democrats will invest £400million in refurbishing ports in the North of England and Scotland so they can manufacture offshore wind turbines. They will be upgraded so they are suitable for construction and testing facilities and are of a reasonable depth for the large boats used to transport the blades and towers. All port authorities with direct access to the North and Irish seas, the crucial areas for offshore wind development, will be invited to bid to be part of the scheme.

For example, ports in the North of England around Liverpool, Newcastle, Hull, Middlesbrough and ports in Scotland around Edinburgh, Dundee, Aberdeen and Glasgow will all be eligible for funding. Based on the cost of the recent renovation of Great Yarmouth, it is estimated that £400million will be enough for the renovation of seven ports.

The Liberal Democrats will also invest £100million through the Renewables and Energy Efficiency Delivery Authority (an agency we will establish, modelled on the Olympics Delivery Authority) who will invest in training and testing facilities, including at universities which specialise in this kind of engineering research such as Loughborough, Durham and Newcastle. In Government, the Liberal Democrat would work with the education sector and industry to ensure we have the skilled workforce to support new world class facilities.

Jobs: This investment will create 12,000 jobs in port development and facilitate a further 45,000 new jobs in the manufacturing, construction and supply chain of offshore wind energy within the UK.