Minutes - 13th January 2014

Topic: Energy

Other local groups working on issues around energy:

  • Leeds Climate Change Alliance
  • Leeds No Dash for Gas
  • Leeds Fuel Poverty Action (linked to Leeds Tidal)
  • Alliance for Green Socialism
  • Frack Free Leeds
  • Leeds Green Party
  • People and Planet
  • A few environmental groups came together before Christmas and are meeting again on the 1st of February to discuss fracking in Yorkshire

General discussion around energy:

  • Involve students - particularly those studying environmental issues
  • Look into what Leeds Council are doing and organise lobbying
  • In the light of Cameron announcing councils will keep rates from fracking, can we ask councillors and candidates questions and hold them to account?
  • Contact candidates for the upcoming local elections
  • The Green Party have candidates on every ward in the upcoming local elections and a candidate for the EU - they can use this as a platform to talk about fracking
  • It is important to try and involve more people although small meetings can result in big actions
  • It is important to bring economic and environmental issues together, e.g. 1 million green jobs - this can bring in the trade unions
  • Fracking isn't the only issue - fuel poverty is also important - Hands Off Our Homes are doing some work in this area
  • Demo at the Lib Dem spring conference in York (TUC)
  • At a recent demo at Barton Moss, everyone was talking about how to link issues
  • Pacts during elections could prevent left leaning candidates competing
  • The People's Assembly shouldn't replace / compete with other groups but work together
  • Joe from the Green Party is working on a weekly internet radio show - it is important that debates aren't framed by mainstream media
  • If we do carry out lobbying it should be made public as should responses - we could use the website for this
  • The 20/50 campaign was a success in persauding councils to agree to a 50% cut in CO2 by 2020
  • Leeds Labour have said they will vote against fracking in Leeds
  • We must counter the fracking = cheap energy argument by highlighting the changes and pushing for green energy which is safer and will create jobs
  • We need to be sensible about what we take on, prioritise and balance any actions with the agenda set up by the national office
  • Educational, informative materials would be useful
  • Although Leeds might not be affected by fracking, lots of parts of Yorkshire might be
  • There are other environmental issues in Leeds: trolleybus, transport, transport poverty
  • We need to start sharing information about issues
  • The Labour council are implementing an austerity budget and this should be exposed
  • We need to be more media savvy
  • We need to be hooked into the political calendar
  • The new Leeds Hub will hopefully help link up groups and provide one central point online
  • As discussed previously, reps from the People's Assembly could attend other groups' meetings
  • Andy - who had travelled from Selby - expressed an interest in setting up a group in that area. It is a target area for fracking. However, there has been resistance to wind farms
  • We could draft an open letter to councillors and candidates asking for their position on fracking, the trolleybus, Leeds market etc
  • The letter might have more weight if several groups put their names to it
  • We need to make sure everything links back to austerity
  • We can write letters of support for planning applications for wind turbines
  • Andy S said some local councillors had expressed their sympathy and support for the People's Assembly - we should invite them to meetings
  • There is a lack of knowledge about what the council is up to. The Freedom of Information Act can be used to get info
  • Council meetings are public and legally the council must publish their agenda 7 days before the meeting
  • If you want to speak at a meeting, you have to book a slot
  • There is a detailed lobbying process. We need to link with groups that are more embedded, e.g. Hands Off Our Homes and Fuel Poverty Action
  • The council will expect facts, figures and a detailed case
  • We need to try and find out if there is a big meeting where the council budget is passed

Other business:

  • In Jan / Feb, there is a national speaking 'Hands off our Unions - defend the right to resist' - Andy S will ask if they are free to come to Leeds on the 24th Feb
  • Nicola has been asked to be a commissioner on the Poverty Truth Commission and will report back

Upcoming events:

  • Next People's Assembly meeting Monday 27th January 2014, The Victoria Hotel, 28 Great George Street, Leeds, LS1 3DL Facebook event - please share
  • Wednesday 22nd January: Unite the Resistance meeting on Zero Hours and Fast Food
  • Thursday 23rd January: Unite - Stop privatisation of the East Coast mainline, 5pm, Call Lane
  • Saturday 1st February: Leeds Climate Alliance - details to follow
  • Saturday 8th March: TUC demo in York at the Lib Dem spring conference