In July 2019 TDC’s Labour and Green Party councillors persuaded their colleagues to adopt a climate emergency resolution. The resolution committed the council to:-
“do what is within our powers and resources to make Thanet District Council carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption of emissions”
Such well-intentioned committments are easy for politicians to make, but seldom do they pass the test of real world events.
Take the case of Sam Mendes and his company Neal Street Productions, who are currently shooting the film, Empire, in Margate. According to local media Mendes and his company are in talks with TDC about gifting miles of festooned lighting used on the Marine Drive film set to the Council.
The gift might appear to be generous, but don’t be fooled. Neale Street Productions’ offer is, in my opinion, a barely concealed effort to fly-tip its film set surplus upon the unsuspecting folks of Thanet, so avoiding the not inconsiderable cost of disposing of this luminous liability itself.
Make no mistake if the Council accepts this gift it is storing up a whole heap of trouble of the environmental type.
According to researchers the energy used for lighting our planet generates 5% of annual global carbon dioxide emissions. By any standards this is a seriously large contribution towards global warming and climate change.
Most national and local governments across the world are now trying to reduce lighting related contributions to global warming by replacing traditional incandescent and fluorescent lighting with LED alternatives, which are said to cut energy consumption and emissions by up to 60%.
I understand that the festoon lighting used by Mendes and his compay during their filming in Margate is not LED. But should I be wrong, the fact remains that by accepting and using the gifted lights, whatever their type, the council will become responsible for massively increasing electricity consumption on Margate’s seafront, and the consequential climate damaging carbon dioxide emissions this will generate.
Dazzled by the Hollywood glitz brought to Margate by Mendes and his company, I believe that the Council has overlooked the need carry out a full assessment of the impact of the lighting, particularly the running and maintainence costs and the additonal carbon dioxide they will generate each year.
All things considered I believe that this gift wrapped fly-tipping, is one which should be politely, but firmly, rejected by the Council. Mr Mendes, like all other visitors to the seaside, should be told to take his polluting rubbish home and get rid of it himself.
But what pisses me off most of all, is that many of those who support accepting the gifted lights were also vocal cheerleaders of the council’s 2019 climate emergency committment.
Margate Central Labour councillor, Rob Yates, for example, has been widely featured in newspapers and social media throughout Thanet vociferously praising the gift. Yet he was author and mover of the motion which bound the Council
to do what is within our powers and resources to make Thanet District Council carbon neutral by 2030, taking into account both production and consumption of emissions
Interestingly, Thanet Green councillors, who seconded Rob Yates’ climate emergency motion appear to have run for cover on this issue. Rather than sticking by their principles, they have chosen instead to make no public comment about the gift of the lights, despite compelling evidence that their continued use will contribute to climate change.
It's saddeneing to note that when events arise which test their beliefs, those who purport to be environmental champions, such as TDCs Labour and Green councillors, often reveal themselves to be spineless environmental hypocrites.