My fact-finding tour of Suffolk:
Green Party lead candidate for Europe tours Suffolk projects.
Green Party campaigning in Suffolk stepped up a gear this week when the lead candidate for the European elections, Rupert Read, came to Suffolk on Monday for a series of fact-finding visits to projects which the Green Party is keen to encourage.
His first visit was to the Oak Tree Farm Community-Supported Agriculture (CSA) enterprise at Rushmere St Andrew just outside Ipswich. There he met Tom Wilmot, one of the directors of the community interest company. CSA ensures a supply of good quality locally grown produce and also enables many Ipswich people to directly grow some of their own food. Rupert was pleased to see the wide range of vegetables available, even in winter, helped feed the pigs (who are being kept in exemplary conditions), and heard about the plans for fruit production, cattle and bees.
Second call was to the Energy From Waste (EFW) plant at Blakenham where Rupert met manager Cliff Matthews and Councillor Michael Blakenham. Councillor Blakenham is playing a leading role in a proposed tomato-growing business which will use much of the waste heat from the EFW plant. Rupert commented:
"Using heat to produce electricity is inefficient, that is well known, but hearing the full extent of plans to use much of the formerly wasted heat, from real enthusiasts for a full-scale area heat network, was a revelation. I'm still against incineration, of course, but this visit today was about being pragmatic : once an incinerator is up and running, then the way to make it make a certain amount of environmental- and energy- sense is to do what is now being planned in mid-Suffolk, and use the huge amount of heat it generates".
Councillor Blakenham works closely with the four Green Party councillors of Mid Suffolk District Council, one of whom, John Matthissen, accompanied the Green Party candidate throughout his visit to the county.
To view biodiversity in action, Rupert Read then visited Bradfield Woods near Bury St Edmunds, a Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserve which has been actively managed through coppicing for almost nine hundred years. Woodland manager Peter Fordham, MBE, was on hand to explain the Trust's work, laying particular emphasis on the need for wildlife corridors and connections between habitats without which many species present in Bradfield Wood could not survive. It was also encouraging to see the range of woodland products which are sold from Bradfield into the local economy, while meeting some of the trust's costs.