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Thursday, April 18, 2024
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HomeClimate WatchMore Net Zero evasion from the mayor who signed up to UK100

More Net Zero evasion from the mayor who signed up to UK100

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LAST month Gillian Dymond wrote an open letter to Dame Norma Redfearn, Mayor of North Tyneside, about North Tyneside Council’s signing up to UK100, ‘a network of local leaders who have pledged to lead a rapid transition to Net Zero with Clean Air in their communities ahead of the government’s legal target’. She reported here on Dame Norma’s reply, and returned to the fray with a new letter to the mayor, which you can see here. Gillian now reports on the latest instalment of her efforts to get a straight answer out of Dame Norma.

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I received this reply from Dame Norma:

Thank you for your further email.

 During my time as the Elected Mayor of North Tyneside I have always been committed to protecting and enhancing the environment and in the lead up to the May 2021 Mayoral Election I was very clear that I wanted the Council to work towards a Carbon Net-Zero North Tyneside. This is one of the key policy pledges upon which I stood for election and asked the residents of North Tyneside to place their trust in me. I am proud that I was elected for a third consecutive time as Mayor. Following my election as Mayor, the Council approved the refreshed Council Plan in September 2021 that included my Carbon Net-Zero policy commitment. 

 As I have said in previous correspondence, I am proud of the work we are doing.  A cost benefit analysis is carried out on individual projects before investment is made and these projects have helped to reduce our carbon footprint significantly, and of course mitigate against the impact of rising energy costs. 

I took the decision for the Council to join UK:100 in 2022 in my role as Elected Mayor and I am happy that we continue to be a member. 

Thank you once again for taking the time to contact me.

 Kind Regards

Dame Norma Redfearn DBE

Elected Mayor of North Tyneside

And my response: 

Dear Dame Norma,

Thank you for your reply to my e-mail.

In response to my query as to whether there was any prior consultation with North Tyneside residents regarding your Net-Zero agenda, you write as follows: ‘During my time as the Elected Mayor of North Tyneside I have always been committed to protecting and enhancing the environment and in the lead up to the May 2021 Mayoral Election I was very clear that I wanted the Council to work towards a Carbon Net-Zero North Tyneside.  This is one of the key policy pledges upon which I stood for election and asked the residents of North Tyneside to place their trust in me.’ 

As it turned out, only around 21 per cent of those eligible to vote (33,199 out of a total electorate of some 156,705) were prepared to place their trust in you: nor is there any way of knowing whether those who did so were fully informed of the implications of your proposed Net-Zero agenda, or that they were particularly in favour of it. It was, after all, only one of your ‘key policy pledges’, and those for whom it was of pre-eminent importance had the superior option of voting Green.

With such underwhelming support for a project which aims to transform our way of life, well-advertised public consultations were called for. Why were councillors not instructed to set these in motion at ward level, so that residents could examine and assess the facts for themselves and put forward any objections they might have well before going to the polls? 

You continue: ‘Following my election as Mayor, the Council approved the refreshed Council Plan in September 2021 that included my Carbon Net-Zero policy commitment.’

What steps did you take to ensure that councillors’ approval was based on their informed consent? Were they made aware, for instance, of the wide and conflicting range of scientific opinion regarding the anthropogenic climate-change hypothesis? Did they understand the crucial part played by carbon dioxide in boosting the growth of foliage ? 

You go on to say that ‘a cost benefit analysis is carried out on individual projects before investment is made’. However, the cost/benefit analysis that needs to be carried out does not relate to ‘individual projects’, but to the entire impact which your Net-Zero objectives will have on the lives and livelihoods of the human beings you have asked to ‘place their trust’ in you. Here we come to the crux of the matter: such an analysis does not appear to have taken place, nor could it be of any value if based exclusively upon the claims of an unproven hypothesis which is credibly contested by many reputable scientists.  

Dame Norma, I find it difficult to understand why you have committed yourself to an agenda which is guaranteed to distress and impoverish your average cash-strapped constituent when there is no guarantee that a reduction in the whole of the UK’s ‘carbon footprint’, let alone that of North Tyneside, will have any appreciable effect upon the workings of a vast cosmos, particularly when excess emissions continue to be generated unrestrainedly in the Far East and India. So I am asking you once again the first question I put to you in my e-mail of 4th February, and which you ignored: why do you feel justified in acting as if there were a ‘consensus’ regarding cataclysmic, human-induced climate change when this is, in fact, a hotly-disputed hypothesis which is convincingly challenged by a wealth of evidence and by numerous scientists and professionals, including two Nobel Laureates and many researchers from prestigious universities. Surely you must have a reason for discounting so much consequential testimony! I want to know exactly how you have arrived at your present position, which is certainly unscientific* and, in my own experience, largely unrepresentative.

Repeatedly declaring your pride in your achievements is no answer. Though, like all of us, you have every right to your personal emotions, they are a private matter. What we are discussing here are public policies which will drastically affect the fortunes of this country and the lives of its people.  

I repeat my request that North Tyneside withdraw from the partisan network UK100, and look forward to receiving a succinct answer to my question above.

Yours sincerely, 

Gillian Dymond

*  ‘The game of science is, in principle, without end. He who decides one day that scientific statements do not call for any further test, and that they can be regarded as finally verified, retires from the game.’  (Karl Popper, The Logic of Scientific Discovery, 1934)

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Gillian Dymond
Gillian Dymond
Gillian Dymond is 78, a mother and grandmother living in the north-east of England.

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