Cardiff Friends of the Earth Newsletter - Winter 2006

Cardiff Friends of the Earth AGM 2007

Cardiff Friends of the Earth is a very active group and has had a campaign filled year. The group have been busy, so apologies that we haven't been communicating as regularly as we would have liked.

Our AGM is on 27 January 2007 at 11am. If you would like to come along it will be at 33 Castle Arcade Balcony. There are many roles within the group including Co-ordinator, Treasurer, Communications Officer, Food Campaigner, Energy Campaigner, Planning Campaigner, Transport Campaigner, Trade Campaigner and Waste Campaigner. If you would like to stand for any of these roles, then the AGM is your chance to get involved.

Cardiff reservoirs continue to be threatened

This year we have continued to support Llanishen Reservior Action Group in their opposition to developers building on the site of Llanishen and Lisvane Reservoirs. These have now been designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) by the Countryside Council for Wales.

The plans will not only destroy an important green corridor for wildlife into the centre of the city, but it is also an ill-founded concept as they intend to build on a flood plain, which is unacceptable due to the flood risk.

We will continue in 2007 to expose the underhanded manner in which the developer is acting in the pursuit of profit. We will continue to support Llanishen RAG to fight the on-going court cases with the developer to ensure this crime against Cardiff doesn't happen.

A big year for a big question on climate change

2006 was a major year for campaigning on the issue of climate change. The Government's decision to include a Climate Change Bill in the Queen's Speech is a campaigning success for Friends of the Earth. Leading up to this we have held climate change events in Cardiff, and many of our group members attended the climate change rally in London.

To recognise Earth Day, a march was organised by the Campaign against Climate Change. Around 150 people took their concerns about climate change onto the streets of Cardiff, marching past shoppers on Cardiff's busy Queen Street.

A variety of speakers gave their thoughts on renewable energy systems, what we as individuals can do, and raised the question 'is the Government doing enough to stop climate change?'

Cardiff Friends of the Earth also organised a Big Ask Live gig at The Point in Cardiff Bay to raise awareness of the issue of climate change among the young. Rising Welsh acts Crosbi, Camera, and Halflight performed in support of Friends of the Earth's national campaign.

It was an early start on a cold morning for the Cardiff Friends of the Earth group members who went to the I Count rally against climate change in London in November 2006. The Campaign Against Climate Change rally started outside the US Embassy in Grosvanor Square and marched to join the Stop Climate Chaos rally in Trafalgar Square.

The rally at the embassy demanded a strong and effective international treaty which builds on the Kyoto Treaty to limit carbon emissions. In total 22,500 people from more than 40 organisations said "I Count". They called on the Government to introduce a Climate Change Bill in the UK. December 2005 saw the first global demonstrations on climate change. Ten thousand people marched in London, and about 60,000 protested in 20 other countries.

Bridge over the River Ely

Cardiff Friends of the Earth joined cycle groups and concerned individuals from Penarth and Cardiff to ask both the councils why they have failed to provide any safe cycle routes between Penarth and Cardiff. 22 September 2006 was international In Town Without my Car Day. Yet people from Penarth who want to cycle to work in Cardiff city centre or in the Bay have looked in vain for a safe cycle route.

The protestors wore swimming gear to make the point that at the moment, to cross safely to Cardiff, people would have to swim or use a boat to cross the river.

The Cogan Spur duel carriageway is extremely dangerous for cyclists. Cyclists are banned at the moment while construction of the Sports Village takes place. There is no provision for pedestrians along the road. Penarth Road is a long and unattractive route. Cyclists have to struggle amidst the stream of lorries and other heavy traffic. The bridge over the River Ely would link Penarth with the Taff Trail, and provide a convenient route into the centre of Cardiff or to Cardiff Bay.

Several politicians, among them Vale of Glamorgan Council leader Jeff James and Lorraine Barratt AM, have expressed their support for the bridge in the past, but no one is prepared to take the lead in getting the job done. We hope that this event reminds them of their promises and we look forward to seeing councillors take the lead on the issue.

Issues and potential campaigns of 2007

Cardiff Airport expansion. This would add to carbon emissions, destroy habitats, and add to localised pollution.

The M4 Relief Road. This would destroy 3 Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and an internationally important wildlife habitat, add to the problem of climate change, and divert money away from much-needed public transport improvements.

The Eastern Bay Link Road. This would destroy a SSSI, add to the traffic problems of Cardiff, and use the proposed congestion charge to fund it instead of spending it on much needed improvements for public transport, cycling and pedestrians.

The GM consultation. In England this has proved to be completely flawed in that it proposes to minimise rather than avoid GM contamination.

Tescopoly - Every little hurts. The threat of major supermarkets continues to be prevalent in Cardiff. They help destroy local economies, and push us further towards unsustainable energy-inefficient and centralised systems. They also put huge pressure on their suppliers.

The Llanishen Reservoir development. This is an ongoing threat to an important green corridor that benefits both wildlife and humans.

The General Agreement on Trade in Services (GATS). This has enormous implications for the purchasing power of all our services. This includes issues such as where our schools and hospitals can source their food.

Recycling in Cardiff. This continues to be a poor service and one of the worst in the UK.

The Big Ask. We have got a Climate Change Bill. Now let's make sure it is actually effective and not greenwash.

An effective transport policy for Cardiff. We need an effective policy for cycling and pedestrian routes. This includes the promised cycle bridge and routes linking all the major destinations.