Stand up and be counted

PEOPLE should not be so quick to condemn Hitchin MP Peter Lilley for sticking his neck out in being one of only three MPs to vote against the Government s Climate Change Bill in the House of Commons. On the face of it, voting against the Bill to introduce

PEOPLE should not be so quick to condemn Hitchin MP Peter Lilley for sticking his neck out in being one of only three MPs to vote against the Government's Climate Change Bill in the House of Commons.

On the face of it, voting against the Bill to introduce a target for an 80 per cent reduction in carbon emissions by 2050 may seem shameful but I think it ultimately shows courage and considered thought.

It's easy to follow the herd and vote in favour of something which you know will receive widespread approval from your constituents and slaps on the back all round.

It is far more difficult to independently make a decision which you know will largely be condemned and which will do you no favours in the popularity stakes.


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Mr Lilley said: "I voted against this Bill - not because I oppose in principle its objective, but to try to jolt the House into giving such a hugely costly measure more serious scrutiny than it received.

"The Government's own analysis shows its potential cost could be twice the maximum benefits."

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At any time, but particularly during the current economic crisis we are experiencing, it is surely prudent to keep a tight rein on spending and ensure money, especially taxpayers' money, is spent wisely and effectively.

Taxpayers will be the first to bemoan the Government for not giving the Bill enough scrutiny and due consideration if it does indeed prove to be "hugely costly" and fails to reap adequate benefits to reflect the cost.

Fools rush in, as they say, and I don't think there is any harm in further scrutiny of the Bill, especially as it is our money the Government will be spending.

An angry Hitchin resident wrote to The Comet and said Mr Lilley's decision to vote against the Bill perhaps "shows a lack of understanding through ignorance of the facts", but I think the opposite is true. Mr Lilley opposed the Bill precisely because he wanted to eradicate ignorance surrounding it by engaging in further scrutiny of it.

I also noticed that Oliver Heald, MP for North East Herts, voted in favour of the Bill, saying he's "a great supporter" of it. But the same Mr Heald is actively opposing the erection of three 125m high wind turbines in Weston, when renewable energy will clearly help to avoid climate change.

He said: "The visual impact of these wind turbines on this precious landscape would be extremely detrimental in environmental terms."

But in order to reduce carbon emissions by 80 per cent in just 42 years, sacrifices will have to be made. You can't have your cake and eat it.

If everyone suffers from NIMBYism then little progress will be made.

As the Climate Change Bill was so emphatically embraced by the vast majority in the House of Commons, a blot on the landscape should be a small price to pay to achieve the goals it sets out.

* May I make it clear that I have no allegiance to any political party.

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