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An open letter to Ed Miliband

July 27, 2009

Below is the text of our open letter to Ed Miliband. To sign the petition click here.

We are facing a Climate Emergency and are engaged in a race against time to prevent a catastrophe of a scale unprecedented in human history. The speed with which the UK is able to decarbonise its economy is critical in this respect especially with regard to the message it sends out to the rest of the world – and that all the more so in the run up to the critical Copenhagen Talks at the end of the year.

In light of this we feel it is absolutely vital that the government acts to stop the threatened closure of the Vestas Wind Turbine Factory on the Isle of Wight and save all the jobs of the highly skilled workforce currently employed there. Flying against even just the government’s own commitment to a 34% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and its recently announced investment in 400,000 Green jobs and increased support for renewable energy, this closure sends a message to the public that the government is not serious about either its commitment to the fight against climate change or its commitment to create green jobs.

The action of the workers at the plant and the huge support they have demonstrates that there is overwhelming support for keeping the plant open and the continued production of wind turbines. The government acted to stop banks from collapsing and spent £2.3 billion in loan guarantees to support the UK car industry through the recession; we believe the fight to tackle climate change and prevent a global catastrophe are of even greater importance.

You state in the comment pages of the Guardian that it “it is up to all of us to win a political argument about wind power”. We would actively support that aim and believe the Vestas workers have already made a huge contribution to doing that. However we also believe that there is an overwhelming need for the government to play a much more active role in ensuring a greater scale of investment in wind power and a more rapid expansion of the industry. In the light of this the fate of the Vestas plant should not be left to the vagaries of the market but should be safeguarded by active government intervention.

Government support should be directed to ensuring that the plant is able to transfer to offshore blade production suitable for the current demand and work to expand both the offshore and onshore wind turbine industry. £120 million is not adequate and pales in comparison to government subsidies to other energy providers. The government should be providing support on a scale that would guarantee the level of demand required to keep the Vestas plant open.

We believe that government action to keep the plant open would not only save much needed, skilled employment during this economic recession, but demonstrate at home and abroad the government’s real commitment to tackling climate change and investing in renewable energy and Green Jobs. Your actions can make a huge difference here, let’s do the right thing.

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