Saturday, 18 April 2009

Sometimes a pony gets depressed

Interesting day yesterday: started off with a visit to the Wholesale Fruit Market in St Philips to talk to the management about various issues, including their ambition to move from recycling 70% of the market's waste (food, wooden pallets) to at least 90%. Then had a meeting at Garrard Hassan, also in St. Philips. They have the most amazing offices, in the old iron works, adjoining the Aardman warehouse destroyed in a fire a few years ago. It's all tiles and wrought iron and friezes inside; absolutely stunning. (On the Garrad Hassan website there is what's described as a 'virtual tour' of the office, but doesn't actually seem to feature any pics or video footage).

Garrad Hassan
is first and foremost a wind energy consultancy; in fact it's the world leader in this field. We had a really interesting discussion about the future of renewables, what more the Government could be doing to facilitate the industry, and Bristol's role as a hub for green sector jobs. Things like the need to simplify the system, from planning issues to grid connections, e.g. whether the Government should 'socialise' grid connections, and possibly create a national renewables grid? Also the 20% by 2020 target (can be met, needs a bit of help) and the Renewable Obligation Certificates regime, and of course, the current economic situation: the impact of devaluation, the availability of finance, possible green bonding as a solution? Lots more info picked up, (did you know, wind power is Denmark's second biggest industry, after bacon?), but need to decipher my notes.

Spent most of the rest of the day in the constituency office, which included a meeting with BUAV to receive my cruelty-free office award. It's such an easy thing to do, buying cleaning products from somewhere like the Co-op, and is part of BUAV's campaign for a ban on testing household products on animals. (Totally unnecessary, and very easy to stop it).

Then we had our monthly GC (General Committee meeting), which is held in St George Labour Club. We got turfed out of our room early because there was a darts match, but then piled into the club for Councillor Charlie Price's surprise 60th birthday party. (Quote from Charlie: 'Thank you all for coming because you know I bloody hate this sort of thing'). Spent most of the evening discussing council waste management policy with Cllr John Bees and Paul Smith. Next time I'm going to ask them to bring their Powerpoint slides. Also discussed how Bristol City Council could follow its cows at Stoke Park, goats in the Avon Gorge, strategy. Hippos in the Floating Harbour?

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