Call for Comprehensive Public Participation in National Energy Plans  -Press release March 11 2014

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Call for Comprehensive Public Participation in National Energy Plans

Following the news that there has been a delay to the intergovernmental agreement on energy trading between Ireland and Britain, the People’s Energy Charter calls for comprehensive public participation in the development of a national energy transition plan.

“There is a lack of vision in our national energy planning”, said Theresa Carter, convenor of The People’s Charter for Energy.  “What we have in this country are different bits of energy policies that are all put together haphazardly to make up a disjointed national policy.  There is no central, shared vision, generated by all of our citizens, towards which our government must work.”

Development-led energy proposals with little or no public participation have been common in Ireland over the past number of years as the international oil industry scrapes the barrel of crude oil. We have seen moves towards shale gas exploration, otherwise known as fracking, along the west and northwest of the country, oil drilling proposed in Dublin bay and more recently industrial wind farms in the midlands. Along with the proposed sale of our woodlands it would appear as though all of our energy resources are being given to the highest bidder. These resources belong to the people of Ireland living now and those yet to be born. We have a responsibility to future generations to ensure that they too can meet their needs and have a stable climate.

All of these moves have succeeded in one thing – more people are now aware that we need new energy solutions both to assure security of our future energy supply and to cut carbon emissions.

The People’s Energy Charter believes that all energy policies in our country need to be rewritten taking into account the principles adopted by the People’s Energy Charter:

(i) Communities must be involved at all stages of development of policy

(ii) Renewable energy needs to be developed to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels

(iii) Fuel poverty needs to be addressed, guided by the principles of equality

(iv) Climate change must be addressed, as a matter of urgency

People’s Energy Charter believe that the people of Ireland have the right to comprehensively participate in our national energy future so that it is not left wide open to developers to capitalise on it. Last November the people’s charter began its process of comprehensive collaboration on energy transition by bringing people from all sides of the energy debates together to discuss the best route we can take to a fossil free society.

The Government are currently undertaking a review of National Energy Policy, we now call on Minister Rabbitte to meet with the People’s Energy Charter to see how best we can collaborate on comprehensive public participation for a national energy transition plan.

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The People’s Charter is currently supported by the following groups and NGO’s:

CEF – Cork Environmental Forum is a not-for-profit local agenda 21 organisation that promotes sustainable development in County Cork.

COF – Claiming our Future is a national non-party-political civil society network that comprises individuals and organisations from a broad range of civil society sectors. Established in 2010, we aim to make real the values of equality, environmental sustainability, participation, accountability and solidarity.

FOE – Friends of the Earth Ireland campaigns for environmental justice and sustainability. We believe in sustainable development – meeting the needs of the current generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

GEAI – Good Energies Alliance Ireland works through research, advocacy, education and campaigning to influence public opinion and decision-makers in Ireland against on-shore unconventional hydrocarbon development and towards practical policies on energy sources and uses that respect the environment, the planet and people.

Kilcommon and Upperchurch Wind Awareness Group

LEAF – Laois Environmental Action Forum. Regional Transition Hub addressing the challenges of climate change, resource depletion and economic contraction. Raising awareness, networking and supporting environmental stewardship and true sustainability in Laois.

LEN – Laois Environmental Network consists of current and past environmental representatives in Co Laois working together on policy and issues relevant to their respective boards – Laois Partnership Company, County Development Board, Environment and Planning Strategic Policy Committee.

POW – People Over Wind are a community group who are concerned with the size and scale of proposed wind farm developments in the Midlands area and the serious negative impacts on both residents of and visitors to these areas.

Presentation Justice Network Ireland is part of an international network through the International Presentation Association (IPA) which has contacts in 26 countries where sisters, associates and co-workers collaborate on issues of justice and human rights. The Network has consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations and a full time representative at the UN.

Ratheniska, Timahoe,Spink Substation Action groupFormed in 2009 in response to Eirgrid’s proposed Coolnabacca Substation and new 400 kva and 110 kva power lines. Concerned citizens seeking to participate.

TINI – Transition Ireland and Northern Ireland is affiliated to a worldwide initiative building community resilience to face the effects of climate change, peak oil and economic contraction. Transition originated in Kinsale, Co Cork and there are initiatives located throughout Ireland, networked through TINI.

Transition Kerry – Southwest Transition Hub is part of a local, national & international initiative. It is making an effort to get local communities to think about making themselves more resilient, in response to three major challenges in our world: Climate Change, Peak Oil and Economic Change. Transition is about creating awareness and networks to ensure that local sustainability is at the core of all actions and decisions made at local, national & international levels.

Wind Aware Ireland are working to change our Governments flawed policy on wind energy. We believe all wind energy projects and associated grid development must prove they are environmentally, economically and socially sustainable before we proceed with any further development of this sector.


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