Author Archive for Linda Teague

Salisbury’s Three Pro-EU MEPs release joint statement on Russian poison attack

The following statement has been issued by the three pro-EU MEPs in the South West: Molly Scott Cato MEP, Clare Moody MEP and Julie Girling MEP:

“In a difficult week for pro-EU MEPs, when we debated the next stage of the leaving process, it was heartening to feel the warmth and generosity of our European colleagues in solidarity with the UK in the face of Russian aggression.

“We welcome the expression of solidarity from Frans Timmermans who said: “I believe it is of the utmost importance that those who are responsible for what has happened see very clearly that there is European solidarity, unequivocal, unwavering, and very strong – so that those responsible are really punished for what they did.”

“As MEPs who represent the people of Salisbury, and in particular Clare Moody who lives in the city, we want to offer our support to our constituents and reassure them that we will continue to work with our European friends to ensure their future security.”

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Press Statement from Julie Girling MEP (SW England & Gibraltar) and Richard Ashworth MEP (SE England)

We wish to inform you that we will be leaving the European Conservatives and Reformists Group (ECR) and joining the European Peoples Party Group (EPP) in the European Parliament with immediate effect.

It is our intention to remain members of the Conservative Party in the UK as we believe that the activities and approach of the EPP will more effectively further the prospects of achieving the best possible future for our constituents. We will continue to work for our constituents from inside the largest and most influential Group in the European Parliament.

We very much look forward to working with our new colleagues from all 28 member states.

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MEPs set up enquiry to review pesticide policy implementation

The licensing of pesticides will be reviewed by MEPs following the establishment today of a special European Parliament committee.

Sitting for nine months, committee members will examine the scientific evaluation of pesticides, including glyphosate, the world’s most commonly used weed killer which was relicensed for five years by the EU in December.

Julie Girling MEP, lead member for the Conservative and Reformist Group in the European Parliament, gave the decision a cautious welcome.

She said: “We know that there are many members of parliament who would like to see a complete ban on the use of all pesticides. They continually try to undermine the system by questioning the scientific consensus. They are attempting to undermine our agricultural productivity in a war of attrition. ”

I believe that this special committee will give Parliament the opportunity to examine this issue in detail, with the power to call witnesses and review the scientific evidence. I am confident that common sense will prevail resulting in a clearer picture for farmers”.

The special committee, comprising 30 MEPs, will produce a report and deliver its recommendations to Parliament.

Parliament approves EU carbon trading reforms

Reforms to the EU’s Emission Trading Scheme (ETS) have been approved today by MEPs in Strasbourg.

The ETS is the world’s first, and to date largest, installation-level cap-and trade system for cutting man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

It puts a monetary value on carbon emissions, in order to better reflect the costs of climate change and the opportunities for low-carbon options in our production and consumption choices. The ETS covers emissions from electricity, industry, and aviation – covering about 40% of total emissions.

However, since the financial crisis, the ETS has been weakened through an excess of allowances which has lowered carbon prices and, in turn, disincentivised investment in lower emitting technologies.

The new agreement is critical to reinvigorating the carbon market, pushing up the carbon price, and driving the EU’s transition to a low-carbon economy.

South West MEP Julie Girling led negotiations for the Parliament on an agreement setting out these reforms. She believes the changes strike the right balance between the EU’s long-term climate commitments, while ensuring that European industries are protected from being undercut by external competitors operating to lower emissions standards.

Speaking after the vote, Mrs Girling said:

“The EU must have an emission’s trading system that can deliver the goals of the Paris Agreement if it is serious about its climate leadership. We have been careful to balance environmental concerns and protecting energy intensive industries throughout Europe.

“There are now 31 countries within the EU ETS and the rest of the world are now moving forwards to create their own. We have to keep building on this momentum.”

Contact John Furbisher
john@furbisher.media
07801 195800

Girling: Let’s link farm grants to cutting CO2

Campaiging MEP Julie Girling has joined a cross-party group of parliamentarians in calling for farming subsidies tied to activities that help combat climate change.

Mrs Girling and three other South West politicians have written to the Environment Secretary, Michael Gove, urging him introduce the green grants. They call for subsidies based on:
# Cutting greenhouse gas emissions,

# Better capture of carbon in soils, and/or

# Trialling new farming methods that could reduce emissions.
The letter was co-ordinated by Gloucestershire Climate Action Network (GlosCAN) and the other signatories are David Drew, MP for Stroud and Labour’s Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Labou MEP Clare Moody and Green MEP Molly Scott Cato. All are registered Supporters of GlosCAN’s aims.
Mrs Girling said: “This is a perfect time to start linking subsidies to genuinely green farming – and climate change is the biggest problem we need to be targeting.
“I congratulate GlosCAN on this initiative and I am happy to lend my support.”

Hugh Richards, Chair of GlosCAN’s Steering Group, said ‘I am delighted that GlosCAN has been able to bring our most high-profile supporters to act together on this important issue, which seems to be getting very little attention at present. The signatories will no doubt have their own distinctive individual perspectives, which I hope will be sought out by the media and lead to greater public discussion.’

Contact John Furbisher
john@furbisher.media
07801 195800

Notes for editors.

Full text of letter:

Dear Mr Gove,

5 February 2018

‘Green Brexit’: A role for climate change mitigation activities to ‘earn’ farm support

We are writing as parliamentarians, from across the political spectrum, who are all signed-up Supporters of Gloucestershire Climate Action Network’s Starting Points and Aims.

Our concern is quite simple. It is that in the discussions and negotiations over what should replace the current farm support arrangements under the Common Agricultural Policy, climate change mitigation activities should not be forgotten or marginalised as valid ways in which farmers can ‘earn’ support payments. Such activities could include:

Quantifiable reductions in greenhouse gas emissions,

Quantifiable enhanced sequestration of carbon in soils, and/or

Participation in trials of innovative farming and land management practices that could reduce net emissions.

We note that these were all alluded to (directly or indirectly) in your 4 January speech at the 2018 Oxford Farming Conference. However, it is not clear to us that you see mitigation of climate change as a key ‘public good’ in its own right, global in scale and therefore distinct from ‘environmental enhancement’ within the UK. Also, a stable climate system with safe levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere should be thought of as ‘natural capital’. Another distinctive attribute of climate change is that delay in starting mitigation actions reduces their long-term effectiveness.

We hope in future to see more linkage of agricultural policy to the aims of the Climate Change Act, whether via the Government’s ‘Clean Growth Grand Challenge’ in the 2017 Industrial Strategy White Paper or otherwise. In view of the overlap of interests with energy and climate change policy, we are copying this letter to other relevant Ministers.

Yours sincerely,

David Drew, MP for Stroud (Labour, Shadow Farming, Food and Rural Minister)
Julie Girling, MEP for South-West England (Independent Conservative, Member of European Parliament Committee on Environment, Public Health & Food Safety)
Clare Moody, MEP for South-West England (Labour)
Molly Scott Cato, MEP for South-West England (Green, Member of European Parliament Committee on Agriculture & Rural Development)

European Parliament votes to ban electrocution of fish

Campaigning MEP Julie Girling has been successful today in moves in the European Parliament to ban so-called pulse fishing.

Mrs Girling, MEP for the South West and Gibraltar, linked with colleagues in the Parliament’s Green, Liberal, Left and Socialist groups in a vote to end the destructive practice, which is blamed for creating deserts on the sea bed wherever it is used.

The technique kills fish and other marine life indiscriminately with a powerful electric shock.

Mrs Girling said: “I am delighted that a majority of MEPs has sided with us to call time on this horrible practice. It is a disgrace that it has gone on for so long.”

The proposed ban will now be discussed in “trilogue” negotiations between the Parliament and the EU Commission and Council” with the intention of bringing it into EU Law as soon as possible”

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Girling leads call for ban on electrocution of seabed fish

Campaigning MEP Julie Girling is leading a move in the European Parliament tomorrow (Tuesday) to ban so-called pulse fishing.

The technique kills fish and other marine life indiscriminately with a powerful electric shock.

Mrs Girling, MEP for the South West and Gibraltar, has linked with colleagues in the European Parliament’s Green, Liberal, Left and Socialist groups to press for an end to the destructive practice, which is blamed for creating deserts on the sea bed wherever it is used.

The issue will be voted upon in Strasbourg tomorrow as part of a package of measures governing technical measures for European fisheries.

Mrs Girling and her colleagues want to end a legal loophole which for a decade has allowed pulse fishing in limited areas for “scientific purposes”. In practice, the technique is used mainly by the Dutch fishing fleet to land large and lucrative hauls of flat fish such as sole, plaice and turbot while laying waste to stretches of the continental shelf.

She said: “There is no good scientific justification for this to be going on. It is purely a commercial exercise which is hugely destructive for marine life and sea-bed ecosystems.”

The EU first banned electric fishing in 1998 along with other destructive techniques such as use of explosives and poison.

However in 2006 The Netherlands sought and was granted a derogation to allow pulse fishing for scientific research and that still continues.

The Dutch have been widely condemned for using the derogation as a legal cover for commercial pulse fishing in the same way that Japan has claimed scientific justification for whaling.

Fishing crews drive electric terminals into the seabed before firing a powerful electric charge between the two. The pulse kills not only the adult flatfish on the sea bed but also most fry, worms, shellfish and crustaceans, sometimes for hundreds of yards around.

The technique is banned outright by China, the United States, Japan, Russia and other major players in global fishing.

Mrs Girling said: “As a fishing technique it is very efficient and cheap – but it leaves nothing behind.

“The effect is devastating. British fishing crews in the South East say that in some places they cross out of the British 12-mile protected zone and then find nothing there.

“Marine life has all but disappeared because of pulse fishing, not just the marketable fish but all the smaller ones and all the bait species such as lugworms.”

“To much much damage has been done already to the environment, to fish stocks and to our fishing grounds. It has to stop.”

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A victory for science over scaremongering

Farmers can today breathe a sigh of relief after EU Member States voted to re-licence the weed killer Glyphosate for five years.

While the compromise fell short of the 15 year renewal preferred by the British Government, this is a victory for farmers after increasing fears that an agreement would not be reached.

ECR lead MEP Julie Girling, MEP for the South West and Gibraltar, said: “I’m very pleased that glyphosate has been reauthorised for five years. This represents the triumph of common sense in the face of a relentless campaign from some green groups determined to ignore scientific evidence and worry the public unnecessarily.”

Countries had come under pressure from campaigners to ban Glyphosate, which is marketed for garden use under the brand name Round Up, based on the findings of one largely discredited study which concluded that it may be carcinogenic.

As well as the European Chemicals Agency and the European Food Safety Authority, the Joint UN/World Health Organisation Meeting on Pesticide Residues backs its continued use. This analysis is supported by national authorities in non-EU countries including Canada, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

The current licence was due to expire on 15 December.

The use of Glyphosate increases yields of crops such as winter wheat and oil seed rape.

It also lessens the need for mechanical ploughing, reducing pollution and soil erosion. No biological alternatives are expected to be commercially available in the near future.

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Girling hails big leap forward on horse welfare

Horse welfare campaigner Julie Girling has warmly welcomed moves to set up a multi-national steering group to improve equine protection and care.

The British MEP, whose own comprehensive report on equine welfare was adopted by the European Parliament earlier this year, described the proposals for co-ordinated action across the EU by leading member states as signalling a “big leap forward”.

Denmark is leading the call to create an informal international group to progress good equine welfare practices – and has secured the support of Germany and other EU member states.

Mrs Girling, MEP for the South West and Gibraltar, sees this as the next step following her report in achieving comprehensive protection for horses and donkeys throughout the EU.

The Eurogroup for Animals has praised Mrs Girling for her role in raising the profile of equine welfare and creating the impetus for a steering group specifically on horses and donkeys.

Mrs Girling said: “I am delighted my report had such a formative and effective impact in the move for better equine protection.

“Horses and humans have been best friends for thousands of years. Responsible ownership and care of horses should always be expected as a minimum, but given the number of health and welfare problems faced by Europe’s horses and donkeys today it is clear these are too often neglected.

“Action is therefore not only necessary, but also overdue – and this development could mean a big leap forward.”

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New EU Carbon-Trading Deal Struck Ahead of Bonn Climate Conference

EU lawmakers last night reached a provisional deal on the next phase of the EU Emission Trading System.

After four “trilogue” negotiating sessions involving the EU Council under its Estonian Presidency, the EU Commission and European Parliament, agreement was reached on the fourth phase of the ETS, for the period after 2020.

The system, which creates a market in permits for carbon emissions, is the cornerstone of the EU’s policy to combat climate change and its key tool for reducing greenhouse gas emissions cost-effectively.

It is the world’s first major carbon market and remains the biggest one.

The draft deal comes just ahead of the 23rd annual Conference of the Parties on climate change (COP23) which meets in Bonn next week.

As rapporteur, Julie Girling is the MEP steering the new ETS legislation through the Parliament.

Speaking in Brussels this morning, she said “I am pleased we were able to reach provisional agreement with the Estonian Presidency.

“Ahead of the European Parliament’s delegation to COP23, this sends an important signal to the market. The Parliament is committed to the integrity of the EU ETS and we are pleased to have achieved a strong outcome for Phase IV, giving certainty to operators and allowing stakeholders to push on to implement the goals of the Paris Agreement.

“The agreement will contribute to the EU’s long-term climate commitments and finds a good balance between strengthening via the Market Stability Reserve and appropriate carbon-leakage provisions for industry.

“This deal shows that the EU is serious about its climate leadership. It is never easy to agree between 28 Member States but the value of working together is worth much more than the sum of its parts. It is now essential that we continue to push forward to implement the Paris Agreement goals by building on this agreement.”

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