Thursday, 23 September 2010

Council's Controversial Carbon Policy

I have to admit an interest here as this is my council who demand my council tax payment each month.

Last week a staff travel plan 'to encourage local authority staff to reduce their carbon footprint' was given the go-ahead, although not without a heated debate.  The yearly cost of this project will be £10,000.

The plan is an attempt to encourage council employees, based in the city of Perth, to cycle, walk, take public transport and to car-share when getting to and from work.  As well as the 'potential environmental implications it aims to boost PKC workers' health and well-being'.  Prominent local employers such as Scottish and Southern Energy and Aviva are also creating plans for their employees.

Many of you will not be surprised to know I strongly object to this money being spent on such a project.  Already council and NHS staff receive large discounts at a local private health club - one which offered pensioners no discount - and I consider the method by which council staff travel to work is their personal choice.

Council leader Ian Miller, a normally sensible and courteous man, described the move to reject the document as an "attempt to grab a cheap headline," adding, "I can assure them that sitting back and doing nothing on this issue is not an option."

If doing nothing is not an option Cllr Miller, why don't you spend the money on improving the health and well-being of those older people who live in rural communities which have poor public transport links to Perth?  Or another option would be to tear up the document because you must realise the carbon footprint issue is a scam.



Richard said...

These Travel Plan schemes have been going for a while here in Wales. I was the TP co-ordinator for my company between 2004 and 2007. They are basically an opportunity for the local authorities and govt-funded bodies (with grand names like 'consortia') to bully employers into doing things like provide cycle facilities in the workplace (good), restrict the ability of employees to travel by car (bad), promote car-sharing (perhaps, but not for me thanks) and co-ordinate bus timetables with the hours and workforce needs of businesses (not achievable here). The phrase that came up again and again from the local authority representative was "We've got to force people out of their cars". I resisted this, naturally (motorbikes were regarded as equally evil).

I wasn't popular, but I nevertheless got a Gold Award for my company for a piece of research I did which boiled down to 'this whole thing is pointless and a distraction in a rural county like this'. I took about 20,000 words to say that, which meant no-one realised what I had said. It's still going on. Some aspects are good (being able to cycle to work is a great thing, for those with the fitness and within a reasonable distance) but as the whole idea was predicated on punishing those who chose not to comply, I found it hard to work with. My presentation to 200 people at the annual conference was entitled "Carrot, not Stick", and I was regarded as a dangerous, off-message maverick. Heh.

wonkotsane said...

This green bollocks annoys me because my employer has to be "green" (as prescribed by the British government) and for me to get on in the company I have to show an "awareness" of "green" issues which means that I have to pretend to believe in the global warming scam and pretend to give a shit about carbon footprints. The company has to do it to get government contracts, I avoid all the "green" stuff wherever possible. I don't believe in it and I shouldn't be forced to pretend I do.

subrosa said...

Richard, cyclists have freedom here. There's nobody stopping anyone cycling to work or stopping them taking a bus or car-sharing. They don't need to spend £10,000 of council tax to tell us this.

Like you this is a rural area and I should think there is a large minority who use cars because there is no suitable public transport or the distance is too far to cycle.

Next we'll be hearing council employees have special buses laid on. Wouldn't surprise me in the least.

subrosa said...

It's called brainwashing winko and you're not complying you know. ;) Keep being of an independent mind.

Anonymous said...

Regardless of whether global warming is a scam or not, and I always hold that poeple like me can't possibly know one way or the other as we have absolutely no scietific knowlege at all, why the hell is the council spending scarce money on this scheme.

It's none of their business whether people walk, run, crawl, or fly in on private jets. What they need to worry about it that they turn up, that they work hard, and that they get paid.

Butt out of people lives employers. That's what you are. Not nursemaids.

subrosa said...

Well said Tris. I'll have a few words with Ian Miller when I meet him in town.

Idle Pen Pusher said...

"another option would be to tear up the document because you must realise the carbon footprint issue is a scam."

I hope they'd be recycled...

subrosa said...

Oh believe me they'd be recycled IPP. I'll be recycled by them one day too - they just can't stop themselves recycling everything they see.

Richard said...

Cyclists have freedom here, too. However, as a potential ride-to-work cyclist (in my dreams these days, perhaps), the facility to change and shower when I get to work would be a big factor in my decision. If employers can be persuaded to provide this (I got this through with mine) then all well and good. No compulsion, though.

The local authority lady has a wonderful computer program that would calculate a public transport journey to work for anyone who asked. I put my details in and she had to admit that I would only be able to work for 2 hours a day, two days a week if I used public transport. That took the shine off her smile.

"Next we'll be hearing council employees have special buses laid on."

While all this was going on (such as 'forcing' employers to halve car parking spaces for the good of the environment), the Council bought up a piece of prime town centre land and turned it in to a car park. For council employees only, of course. You see, it's essential that they can get to work, because they are so vital.

subrosa said...

In Perth Richard, there's a multi storey car park right next to the council HQ. The first three floors are occupied by council staff cars, the ground and first floors having many 'reserved' spaces.

Us poor souls have to go up to the 4th floor and if we're lucky we just may find a space.

bob said...

Seeing as i choose to cycle to work to save money, i fail to see why i should then be forced by threat of goal to pay council tax, so that money can be used to encourage council employees (or anyone else) to cycle.

subrosa said...

Well said Bob and I fail to see it too. Good for you cycling. It's something I would never have done, but then again, much of my working life I needed transport to do my job.

Strathturret said...

You might think climate change is a scam but politicians follow the best advice they can; they must otherwise we would castigate them for ignoring 'expert sdvice'.

As a mere PhD Chemist I accept the views of those who have reseached Climate Change just like I respect the medical professionals who advise that smoking would harm my health.

If I was to share my views on Heterocyclic Diazonium Salts doubtless Christopher Booker and your readers would tell me I'm talking rubbish!

Sometimes we need humility to admit that we do not have enough knowledge about a complicated issue, and cannot do anything but accept the views of those who have studied a subject in great depth.

Any amateur engineers offering to build the next Forth Bridge?

subrosa said...

Strathurret, my brain boggles with the amount of information I've read regarding climate change. My argument isn't to do with climate change because, even as an ignoramus, I know the climate changes and see the evidence, on a very small scale, with my own eyes.

It is a very complicated issue I agree and I don't have the knowledge but have been willing to learn. What I have read from the pro-camp is disturbing at times because it has been proved to been inaccurate and fear-inducing material.

I don't doubt for one minute that there are some excellent amateur engineers tucked away in sheds and workshops in their spare time. The 'experts' wouldn't let them loose on the Forth Bridge. They could well threaten their livelihoods. :)

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