While net zero seems to be top of everyone’s agenda, I’ve noticed few ever mention the cost – not least to the environment.

I’ve become used to speakers at events routinely talking about ‘our journey to net zero’ with little regard for the fact that their wealth and their lifestyles – and those of their children – are going to be among the casualties.

But a more obvious casualty in this mindless adherence to rules is the very thing they think they are saving.

I’d planned to write about the green movement’s dishonesty and hypocrisy but I found so many examples I’ll save those for another day. But ironies, inconsistencies and complete stupidity are in plentiful supply, locally, nationally and internationally.

Councils everywhere have announced their climate emergencies and Reading, one of the councils on this list of those who want to reach net zero earlier than the Government, is as enthusiastic as any. It declared a climate emergency five years ago and wants to reach net zero by 2030.

So when big improvements to the Hexagon Theatre including a multi-purpose studio space were announced, the council said that, as part of the Government-funded development, the 1970s building is going to be ‘decarbonised’.

What is not going anywhere is the asbestos the building is riddled with. About 20 years ago, during my days working for the Reading Chronicle, we were sent a story by an agency which had covered the death of a Hexagon employee. This was in the days before these stories went online so I can’t provide a link.

However, I do recall the woman employee’s death was due to her exposure to asbestos over decades working there. The council has assured me the building work will follow best practice and I’ve no reason to disbelieve them. But it’s a classic sign of our insane times that we remove carbon for all the miniscule difference that will make and leave asbestos, a long-proven killer – but them’s the rules in 2024.

Climate has to be considered in almost every council decision. Meeting agendas are rarely without references to it and many councils have ‘climate’ in the names of some committees, although it is now often tagged onto the title of a broader committee.

However, Wokingham Borough Council still has a climate emergency overview and scrutiny committee. Its January 9 meeting was cancelled. The council didn’t hold another until February 29. Presumably this is an emergency that can wait.

Saving the environment by ruining it seems to be a recurring theme among the green movement.

In Oxfordshire, the proposed Botley West Solar Farm, Europe’s biggest of its kind, involves 3,200 acres of the county’s countryside, three quarters of it in the Green Belt and nearly half of it the best agricultural land. Those fields are to be smothered by 2.2 million solar panels. Vociferous campaign group Stop Botley West mentions the damage to biodiversity among its concerns.

Then there’s the UK’s biggest, the 940-acre Longfield Solar Farm, near Chelmsford. It was approved last year. Campaigners opposing it complained of the damage to biodiversity and the loss of high-quality farming land.

The BBC’s Countryfile recently featured  West Fen Farm in Cambridgeshire where a decision is imminent on a 300-acre solar farm. It too, takes up excellent arable farming land.

People used to argue that it’s one thing ruining the environment for solar farms but how do you store the energy? Well, it seems the solution is, you ruin even more of it.

People living near Rookery Farm in Granborough, Bucks are fighting plans by Statera Energy to site 888 hideous shipping containers in the green and pleasant rural setting they had chosen to live in.

While ‘biodiversity’ is a word which has risen up the scale of green talking points, ‘habitats’ is another. You’ll rarely see a planning application of any scale without a report detailing how the applicant plans to look after homes of the bats, mice, bees, snakes, or all manner of midges and insects. And in the world of 10 per cent biodiversity net gain, it’s only going to increase.

But koala bears living in Clarke Creek, Queensland, Australia are finding 1,450 hectares of their habitats being chopped down for development….of massive wind turbines.

As you can discover from this two-minute audio clip from Ben Fordham’s interview with Aussie MP Keith Pitt last November, guidance has been issued that, should a koala bear be injured in the process of destroying its habitat, it should be smashed over the head with a blunt instrument and killed.

As so often happens, the fact checkers got to work on this story in a bid to deny it. However, the best this ABC ‘fact-check’ could do was say it lacked context. But the fact-check itself inadvertently reveals more of the horror of the whole process.

Chopping trees down seems to be rife in the environmental movement. In Scotland where the Greens and SNP formed a marriage of political convenience in 2021 to keep a grip on power, the Government chopped down 16 million of them for wind turbines. Well, we’ve got to save the environment.

Lagging behind in the tree-felling environmentalist league table is Sheffield where 17,500 trees were felled by the city council last year before the authority issued an apology and accepted many of them were perfectly healthy.

In Plymouth last year the council sent in men with chainsaws in the middle of the night to chop more than 100 trees down in Armada Way in the city centre, allegedly to stop people having sex and taking drugs under them. They are going to plant 200 trees instead so it would seem the anti-social locals can return after all.

And of course, there’ll be no letting up. More houses, more cars, more energy, more renewables…the cycle may never stop in our lifetimes.

At the end of our journey to net zero, its supporters imagine we will live a carbon-free utopia where butterflies are everywhere and we’re all holding hands and singing Kumbaya.

I suggest we are being forced by billionaires to live like slaves for negligible benefit which will lead only to a dangerous centralisation of power and the loss of our way of life. It’s impossible not to hear what the numerous campaigners and people whose jobs depend on the climate industry have to say, so maybe we should look more closely at what they do.

I’d like to save the environment. If only we could protect it from the environmentalists.

Comment articles represent views of individual writers. If you have an opinion to share email alan@ukpropertyforums.com

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