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Morning, folks, and welcome to the Sunday Politics.
Hard line remainers strike back at Brexit.
Are they trying to overturn the result of June's referendum
by forcing a second vote before we leave?
Australia's man in London tells us that life outside the EU "can be
pretty good" and that Brexit will "not be as hard as people say".
Could leaving the EU free Britain to do more business
It's been called "disgusting, dangerous and deadly"
but how polluted is our air, how bad for our health,
Are we blowing too hot and cold on wind power?
And not just for Christmas - what should happen to churches
And with me in the Sunday Politics grotto, the Dasher, Dancer
and Prancer of political punditry Iain Martin,
They'll be delivering tweets throughout the programme.
First this morning, some say they will fight
for what they call a "soft Brexit", but now there's an attempt by those
who campaigned for Britain to remain in the EU to allow the British
people to change their minds - possibly with a second referendum -
The Labour MEP Richard Corbett is revealed this morning to have
tried to amend European Parliament resolutions.
The original resolution called on the European Parliament
to "respect the will of the majority of the citizens
of the United Kingdom to leave the EU".
He also proposed removing the wording "stress that this wish
must be respected" and adding "while taking account of the 48.1%
The amendments were proposed in October,
but were rejected by a vote in the Brussels
Constitutional Affairs Committee earlier this month.
The report will be voted on by all MEPs in February.
Well, joining me now from Leeds is the Labour MEP who proposed
Good morning. Thanks for joining us at short notice. Is your aim to try
and reverse what happened on June 23? My aim with those amendments was
simply factual. It is rather odd that these amendments of two months
ago are suddenly used paper headlines in three very different
newspapers on the same day. It smacks of a sort of concerted effort
to try and slapped down any notion that Britain might perhaps want to
rethink its position on Brexit as the cost of Brexit emerges. You
would like us to rethink the position even before the cost urges?
I get lots of letters from people saying how one, this was an advisory
referendum won by a narrow majority on the basis of a pack of lies and a
questionable mandate. But if there is a mandate from this referendum,
it is surely to secure a Brexit that works for Britain without sinking
the economy. And if it transpires as we move forward, that this will be a
very costly exercise, then there will be people who voted leave who
said Hang on, this is not what I was told. I was told this would save
money, we could put it in the NHS, but if it is going to cost us and
our Monday leg, I would the right to reconsider. But
your aim is not get a Brexit that would work for Britain, your aim is
to stop it? If we got a Brexit that would work for Britain, that would
respect the mandate. But if we cannot get that, if it is going to
be a disaster, if it is going to cost people jobs and cost Britain
money, it is something we might want to pause and rethink. The government
said it is going to come forward with a plan. That is good. We need
to know what options to go for as a country. Do we want to stay in the
single market, the customs union, the various agencies? And options
should be costed so we can all see how much they cost of Brexit will
be. If you were simply going to try and make the resolution is more
illegal, why did the constitutional committee vote them down? This is a
report about future treaty amendments down the road for years
to come. This was not the main focus of the report, it was a side
reference, in which was put the idea for Association partnerships. Will
you push for the idea before the full parliament? I must see what the
text is. You said there is a widespread view in labour that if
the Brexit view is bad we should not exclude everything, I take it you
mean another referendum. When you were named down these amendments,
was this just acting on your own initiative, or acting on behalf of
the Labour Party? I am just be humble lame-duck MEP in the European
Parliament. It makes sense from any point of view that if the course of
action you have embarked on turns out to be much more costly and
disastrous than you had anticipated, that you might want the chance to
think again. You might come to the same conclusion, of course, but you
might think, wait a minute, let's have a look at this. But let's be
clear, even though you are deputy leader of Labour in the European
Parliament, you're acting alone and not as Labour Party policy? I am
acting in the constitutional affairs committee. All I am doing is stating
things which are common sense. If as we move forward then this turns out
to be a disaster, we need to look very carefully at where we are
going. But if a deal is done under Article 50, and we get to see the
shape of that deal by the end of 2019 under the two-year timetable,
in your words, we won't know if it is a disaster or not until it is
implemented. We won't be able to tell until we see the results about
whether it is good or bad, surely? We might well be able to, because
that has to take account of the future framework of relationships
with the European Union, to quote the article of the treaty. That
means we should have some idea about what that will be like. Will we be
outside the customs union, for instance, which will be very
damaging for our economy? Or will we have to stay inside and follow the
rules without having a say on them. We won't know until we leave the
customs union. You think it will be damaging, others think it will give
us the opportunity to do massive trade deals. My case this morning is
not what is right or wrong, we will not know until we have seen the
results. We will know a heck of a lot more than we do now when we see
that Article 50 divorce agreement. We will know the terms of the
divorce, we will know how much we still have to pay into the EU budget
for legacy costs. We will know whether we will be in the single
market customs union or not. We will know about the agencies. We will
know a lot of things. If the deal on the table looks as if it will be
damaging to Britain, then Parliament will be in its rights to say, wait a
minute, not this deal. And then you either renegotiate or you reconsider
the whole issue of Brexit or you find another solution. We need to
leave it there but thank you for joining us.
Iain Martin, how serious is the attempt to in effect an wind what
happened on June 23? I think it is pretty serious and that interview
illustrates very well the most damaging impact of the approach
taken by a lot of Remainers, which is essentially to say with one
breath, we of course accept the result, but with every action
subsequent to that to try and undermine the result or try and are
sure that the deal is as bad as possible. I think what needed to
happen and hasn't happened after June 23 is you have the extremists
on both sides and you have in the middle probably 70% of public
opinion, moderate leaders, moderate Remainers should be working together
to try and get British bespoke deal. But moderate Leavers will not take
moderate Remainers seriously if this is the approach taken at every
single turn to try and rerun the referendum. He did not say whether
it was Labour policy? That was a question which was ducked. I do not
think it is Labour Party policy. I think most people are in a morass in
the middle. I think the screaming that happens when anybody dares to
question or suggest that you might ever want to think again about these
things, I disagree with him about having another referendum but if he
wants to campaign for that it is his democratic right to do so. If you
can convince enough people it is a good idea then he has succeeded. But
the idea that we would do a deal and then realise this is a really bad
deal, let's not proceed, we will not really know that until the deal is
implemented. What our access is to the single market, whether or not we
are in or out of the customs union which we will talk about in a
minute, what immigration policy we will have, whether these are going
to be good things bad things, surely you have got to wait for four, five,
six years to see if it has worked or not? Yes, and by which stage
Parliament will have voted on it and there will be no going back from it,
or maybe there will. We are talking now about the first three months of
2019. That is absolutely the moment when Parliament agrees with Theresa
May or not. One arch remain I spoke to, and arch Remainiac, he said that
Theresa May will bring this to Parliament in 2019 and could say I
recommend that we reject it. What is he on or she? Some strong chemical
drugs! The point is that all manner of things could happen. I don't
think any of us take it seriously for now but the future is a very
long way away. Earlier, the trade Secretary Liam Fox was asked if we
would stay in the customs union after Brexit.
There would be limitations on what we would do in terms of tariff
setting which could limit the deals we would do, but we want to look at
all the different deals. There is hard Brexit and soft Brexit as if it
is a boiled egg we are talking about. Turkey is in part of the
customs union but not other parts. What we need to do is look at the
cost. This is what I picked up. The government knows it cannot remain a
member of the single market in these negotiations, because that would
make us subject to free movement and the European Court. The customs
union and the Prime Minister 's office doesn't seem to be quite as
binary, that you can be a little bit in and a little bit out, but I would
suggest that overall Liam Fox knows to do all the trade deals we want to
do we basically have to be out. But what he also seems to know is that
is a minority view in Cabinet. He said he was not going to give his
opinion publicly. There is still an argument going on about it in
Cabinet. When David Liddington struggled against Emily Thornbury
PMQs, he did not know about the customs union. What is apparent is
Theresa May has not told him what to think about that. If we stay in the
customs union we cannot do our own free trade deals. We are behind the
customs union, the tariff barriers set by Europe? Not quite. Turkey is
proof of the pudding. There are limited exemptions but they can do
free trade with their neighbours. Not on goods. They are doing a trade
deal with Pakistan at the moment, it relies on foreign trade investment
but Europe negotiates on turkey's behalf on the major free-trade
deals. This is absolutely why the customs union will be the fault line
for the deal we are trying to achieve. Interestingly, I thought
Liam Fox suggested during that interview that he was prepared to
suck up whatever it was. I think he was saying there is still an
argument and he intends to win it. He wants to leave it because he
wants to do these free-trade deals. There is an argument in the cabinet
about precisely that. The other thing to consider is in this country
we have tended to focus too much on the British angle in negotiations,
but I think the negotiations are going to be very difficult. You look
at the state of the EU at the moment, you look at what is
happening in Italy, France, Germany, look at the 27. It is possible I
think that Britain could design a bespoke sensible deal but then it
becomes very difficult to agree which is why I ultimately think we
are heading for a harder Brexit. It will be about developing in this
country. So, we've had a warning this week
that it could take ten years to do a trade deal
with the EU after Brexit. But could opportunities to expand
trade lie elsewhere? Australia was one of the first
countries to indicate its willingness to do a deal
with the UK and now its High Commissioner in London has told
us that life outside the EU He made this exclusive film
for the Sunday Politics. My father was the Australian High
Commissioner in the early 70s when the UK joined
the European Union, Now I'm in the job,
the UK is leaving. Australia supported
Britain remaining a member of the European Union,
but we respect the decision that Now that the decision has been made,
we hope that Britain will get on with the process
of negotiating their exit from the European Union and make
the most of the opportunities that Following the referendum decision,
Australia approached the British Government
with a proposal. We offered, when the time was right,
to negotiate a free trade agreement. The British and Australian
governments have already established a working group to explore a future,
ambitious trade agreement once A free trade agreement will provide
great opportunities for consumers Australian consumers could purchase
British-made cars for less We would give British
households access to cheaper, Our summer is during your winter,
so Australia could provide British households with fresh produce
when the equivalent British or Australian households would have
access to British products Free-trade agreements
are also about investment. The UK is the second-largest source
of foreign investment in Australia. By the way, Australia also invests
over ?200 billion in the UK, so a free trade agreement
would stimulate investment, But, by the way, free-trade
agreements are not just about trade and investment,
they are also about geopolitics. Countries with good trade relations
often work more closely together in other fields including security,
the spread of democracy We may have preferred
the UKto remain in the EU, We may have preferred the UK
to remain in the EU, but life outside as we know can
be pretty good. We have negotiated eight free-trade
agreements over the last 12 years, including a free-trade agreement
with the United States This is one of the reasons why
the Australian economy has continued to grow over the last 25 years
and we, of course, are not Australia welcomes Theresa May's
vision for the UK to become a global We are willing to help
in any way we can. Welcome to the programme. The
Australian government says it wants to negotiate an important trade deal
with the UK as efficiently and promptly as possible when Brexit is
complete. How prompt is prompt? There are legal issues obviously.
The UK, for as long as it remains in the EU, cannot negotiate individual
trade deals. Once it leaves it can. We will negotiate a agreement with
the UK when the time is right, by which we mean we can do preliminary
examination. Are you talking now about the parameters? We are talking
already, we have set up a joint working group with the British
Government and we are scoping the issue to try to understand what
questions will arise in any negotiation. But we cannot have
formally a negotiation. Until the country is out. Why is there no
free-trade deal between Australia and the European Union? It is a long
and tortuous story. Give me the headline. Basically Australian
agriculture is either banned or hugely restricted in terms of its
access to the European Union. So we see the European Union, Australia's,
is a pretty protectionist sort of organisation. Now we are doing a
scoping study on a free-trade agreement with the European Union
and we hope that next year we can enter into negotiations with them.
But we have no illusions this would be a very difficult negotiation, but
one we are giving priority to. Is there not a danger that when Britain
leaves the EU the EU will become more protectionist? This country has
always been the most powerful voice for free trade. I hope that does not
happen, but the reason why we wanted Britain to remain in the European
Union is because it brought to the table the whole free-trade mentality
which has been an historic part of Britain's approach to international
relations. Without the UK in the European Union you will lose that.
It is a very loud voice in the European Union and you will lose
that voice and that will be a disadvantage. The figure that jumped
out of me in the film is it to you only 15 months to negotiate a
free-trade deal with the United States. Yes, the thing is it is
about political will. A free-trade agreement will be no problem unless
you want to protect particular sectors of your economy. In that
case there was one sector the Americans insisted on protecting and
that was their sugar industry. In the end after 15 months of
negotiation two relatively free trading countries have fixed up
nearly everything. But we had to ask would be go ahead with this
free-trade agreement without sugar west we decided to do that. Other
than that it was relatively easy to negotiate because we are both
free-trade countries. With the UK you cannot be sure, but I do not
think a free-trade agreement would take very long to negotiate with the
UK because the UK would not want to put a lot of obstacles in the way to
Australia. Not to give away our hand, we would not want to put a lot
of obstacles in the way of British exports. The trend in recent years
is to do big, regional trade deals, but President-elect Donald Trump has
made clear the Pacific trade deal is dead. The transatlantic trade deal
is almost dead as well. The American election put a nail in the coffin
and the French elections could put another nail in the coffin. Are we
returning to a world of lateral trade deals, country with country
rather than regional blocs? Not necessarily. In the Asia Pacific we
will look at multilateral trade arrangements and even if the
transpacific partnership is not ratified by the Americans, we have
other options are there. However, our approach has been the ultimate
would be free-trade throughout the world which is proving hard to
achieve. Secondly, if we can get a lot of countries engaged in a
free-trade negotiation, that is pretty good if possible. But it is
more difficult. But we do bilateral trade agreements. We have one with
China, Japan, the United States, Singapore, and the list goes on, and
they have been hugely beneficial to Australia. You have been dealing
with the EU free deal, what lessons are there? How quickly do you think
Britain could do a free-trade deal with the EU if we leave? Well, there
is a completely different concept involved in the case of Britain and
the EU and that is at the moment there are no restrictions on trade.
So you and the EU would be talking about whether you will direct
barriers to trade. We are outsiders and we do not get too much involved
in this debate except to say we do not want to see the global trade
system disrupted by the direction of tariff barriers between the United
Kingdom, the fifth biggest economy in the world, and the European
Union. Our expectation is not just the British but the Europeans will
try to make the transition to Brexit as smooth as possible particularly
commercially. Say yes or no if you can. If Britain and Australia make a
free-trade agreement, would that include free movement of the
Australian and the British people? We will probably stick with our
present non-discriminatory system. Australia does not discriminate
against any country. The European Union's free movement means you
discriminate against non-Europeans. Probably not.
It could lead to a ban on diesel cars, prevent the building
of a third runway at Heathrow, and will certainly make it
more expensive to drive in our towns and cities.
Air pollution has been called the "public health crisis
of a generation" - but just how serious is the problem?
40,000 early deaths result from air pollution every year in the UK.
Almost 10,000 Londoners each year die prematurely.
It seems at times we can get caught up in alarming assertions
about air pollution, that this is a public health
emergency, that it is a silent killer, coming from politicians,
But how bad is air quality in Britain really?
Tony Frew is a professor in respiratory medicine and works
at Brighton's Royal Sussex County Hospital.
He has been looking into the recent claims
It's a problem and it affects people's health.
But when people start talking about the numbers
of deaths here, I think they are misusing the statistics.
There have been tremendous improvements in air quality
There is a lot less pollution than there used to be
and none of that is coming through in the public
So what does Professor Frew make of the claim that alarming levels
of toxicity in the air in the UK causes 40,000 deaths each year?
It is not 40,000 people who should have air pollution
on their death certificate, or 40,000 people who
It's a lot of people who had a little bit of life shortening
To examine these figures further we travelled to Cambridge to visit
I asked him about the data on which these claims
They come from a study on how mortality rates in US cities
First of all, it is important to realise that that 40,000 figure
29,000, which are due to fine particles, and another 11,000
I will just talk about this group for a start.
These are what are known as attributable deaths.
Known as virtual deaths, they come from a complex statistical model.
Quite remarkably it all comes from just one number and this
was based on a study of US cities and they found out that
by monitoring these cities over decades that the cities which had
a higher level of pollution had a higher mortality rate.
They estimated that there was a 6% increased risk of dying
each year for each small increase in pollution.
So this is quite a big figure, but it is important to realise
it is only a best estimate and the committee that advises
the government says that this figure could be between 1% and 12%.
So this 6% figure is used to work out the 29,000
Yes, through a rather complex statistical model.
And a similar analysis gives rise to the 11,000 attributable deaths
How much should we invest in cycling?
Should we build a third runway at Heathrow?
We need reliable statistics to answer those questions,
but can we trust the way data is being used by campaigners?
I think there are people who have such a passion for the environment
and for air pollution that they don't really
see it as a problem if they are deceiving the public.
Greenpeace have been running a campaign claiming that breathing
London's air is the equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
If you smoke 15 cigarettes a day through your adult life,
that will definitely take ten years off your life expectancy.
If you are poor and you are in social class five,
compared to social class one, that would take seven
If you are poor and you smoke, that will take 17 years off your life.
Now, we are talking about possibly, if we could get rid of all
of the cars in London and all of the road transport,
we could make a difference of two micrograms per metre squared in air
pollution which might save you 30 days of your life.
There is no doubt that air pollution is bad for you,
but if we exaggerate the scale of the problem and the impact
on our health, are we at risk of undermining the case for making
And we are joined now by the Executive Director
You have called pollution and national crisis and a health
emergency. Around the UK are levels increasing or falling? They are
remaining fairly static in London. Nationally? If you look at the
studies on where air pollution is measured, in 42 cities around the
UK, 38 cities were found to be breaking the legal limit on air
pollution so basically all of the cities were breaking the limit so if
you think eight out of ten people live in cities, obviously, this is
impacting a lot of people around the UK. We have looked at in missions of
solvent dioxide, they have fallen and since 1970, nitrogen dioxide is
down 69%. Let me show you a chart. There are the nitrogen oxides which
we have all been worried about. That chart shows a substantial fall from
the 1970s, and then a really steep fall from the 1980s. That is
something which is getting better. You have to look at it in the round.
If you look at particulates, and if you look at today's understanding of
the health impact. Let's look at particulates. We have been really
worried about what they have been doing to our abilities to breathe
good air, again, you see substantial improvement. Indeed, we are not far
from the Gothenberg level which is a very high standard. What you see is
it is pretty flat. I see it coming down quite substantially. Over the
last decade it is pretty flat. If you look at the World Health
Organisation guidelines, actually, these are at serious levels and they
need to come down. We know the impact, particularly on children, if
you look at what is happening to children and children's lungs, if
you look at the impact of asthma and other impacts on children in cities
and in schools next to main roads where pollution levels are very
high, the impact of very serious. You have many doctors, professors
and many studies by London University showing this to be true.
The thing is, we do not want pollution. If we can get rid of
pollution, let's do it. And also we also have to get rid of CO2 which is
causing climate change. We are talking air pollution at the moment.
The point is there is not still more to do, it is clear there is and
there is no question about that, my question is you seem to deny that we
have made any kind of progress and that you also say that air pollution
causes 40,000 deaths a year in the UK, that is not true. The figure is
40,000 premature deaths is what has been talked about by medical staff.
Your website said courses. It causes premature deaths. What we are
talking about here is can we solve the problem of air pollution? If air
pollution is mainly being caused by diesel vehicles then we need to
phase out diesel vehicles. If there are alternatives and clean Turner
tips which will give better quality of air, better quality of life and
clean up our cities, then why don't we take the chance to do it? You had
the Australian High Commissioner on this programme earlier. He said to
me earlier, why is your government supporting diesel? That is the most
polluting form of transport. That may well be right but I am looking
at Greenpeace's claims. You claim it causes 40,000 deaths, it is a figure
which regularly appears. Let me quote the committee on the medical
effects of air pollutants, it says this calculation, 40,000 which is
everywhere in Greenpeace literature, is not an estimate of the number of
people whose untimely death is caused entirely by air pollution,
but a way of representing the effect across the whole population of air
pollution when considered as a contributory factor to many more
individual deaths. It is 40,000 premature deaths. It could be
premature by a couple of days. It could me by a year. -- it could be
by a year. It could also be giving children asthma and breathing
difficulties. We are talking about deaths. It could also cause stroke
and heart diseases. Medical experts say we need to deal with this. Do
you believe air pollution causes 40,000 deaths a year. I have defined
that. You accept it does not? It leads to 40,000 premature deaths.
But 40,000 people are not killed. You say air pollution causes 40,000
deaths each year on your website. I have just explained what I mean by
that in terms of premature deaths. The question is, are we going to do
something about that? Air pollution is a serious problem. It is mainly
caused by diesel. If we phased diesel out it will solve the problem
of air pollution and deal with the wider problem of climate change. I
am not talking about climate change this morning. Let's link to another
claim... Do you want to live in a clean city? Do you want to breathe
clean air? Yes, don't generalise. Let's stick to your claims. You have
also said living in London on your life is equivalent to smoking 50
cigarettes a day. That is not true either. What I would say is if you
look at passive smoking, it is the equivalent of I don't know what the
actual figure is, I can't remember offhand, but it is the equivalent
effect of about ten cigarettes being smoked passively. The question is in
terms of, you are just throwing me out all of these things... I am
throwing things that Greenpeace have claimed. Greenpeace have claimed
that living in London is equivalent of smoking 15 cigarettes a day and
that takes ten years off your life. Professor Froome made it clear to us
that living in London your whole life with levels of pollution does
take time off your life but it takes nine months of your life. Nine
months is still too much, I understand that, but it is not ten
years and that is what you claim. I would suggest you realise that is a
piece of propaganda because you claim on the website, you have taken
it down. I agree it has been corrected and I agree with what the
professor said that maybe it takes up to a year off your life, but the
thing is, there are much more wider issues as well, in terms of the
impact on air pollution, and in terms of the impact on young
children. We can argue about the facts... But these are your claims,
this is why I am hitting it to you. It does not get away from the
underlying issue that air pollution is a serious problem. We are not
arguing for a moment that it is not. Do you think the way you exaggerate
things, put false claims, in the end, for of course we all agree
with, getting the best air we can, you undermine your credibility? I
absolutely do not support false claims and if mistakes have been
made then mistakes have been made and they will be corrected. I think
the key issue is how we are going to deal with air pollution. Clearly,
diesel is the biggest problem and we need to work out a way how we can
get away from diesel as quickly and fast as possible. Comeback and see
us in the New Year and we will discuss diesel. Thank you.
It's just gone 11.35, you're watching the Sunday Politics.
We say goodbye to viewers in Scotland who leave us now
Coming up on the Sunday Politics here in the South West...
As 2016 draws its final breath - how fair blows the wind for renewables?
And when O Come All Ye Faithful turns into Silent Night,
what should happen to churches which are no longer
And for the next 20 minutes, I'm joined by Exeter's Labour MP
Ben Bradshaw and the Conservative East Devon MP Hugo Swire.
At a time of year when many of us are contemplating driving
home for Christmas, Devon County Councillors have
approved a controversial new route for one of the region's key roads,
Nearly 1,000 people locally signed a petition against the scheme
which will go through an area of outstanding natural beauty.
The local MP Neil Parish has also withdrawn his support and speaking
to the BBC earlier this week, didn't take kindly to his fellow
MP, and our guest today, Hugo Swire giving his view.
I think in fairness, I don't think I would comment
on what is happening in Hugo Swire's constituency.
I therefore feel that it is my constituency and I have
to deal with everybody, not only those that want the road,
but those who will be affected by the routes and the orange route
still affects a lots of people and I have to have a balance
between getting the environment right and getting the road right.
So, Hugo, you vocally backed this scheme.
What do you think about Mr Parish saying you shouldn't
Well, we have this discussion regularly.
The fact is that my constituents have to go on the A30 to get
But Neil has the constraint of having to deal with
the Blackdown Hills, the lobby group and so forth.
But he is right, there has to be a balance between the environment
But I think with modern technology and landscaping, we can do that.
And I'm fed up with this discussion going round and round in
Ever since I have been an MP, over 16 years now, we have had
I think the time has come to get on and do it.
Ben, it is notoriously difficult to get funding for infrastructure,
should Neil Parish be opposed to it at all?
Shouldn't we make sure this road is coming
Well, if he thinks there is a less environmentally damaging route,
then he should speak up for his constituents.
We are not talking about a dualling, after all.
Passages of three lanes. Yes, I think necessarily dangerous.
There is a question as to whether this will ever happen
because once once you dual the A358, from Ilminster to Taunton,
you will take away a lot of the pressure
for that Blackdown Hills route which is very
So you would agree with Neil Parish not to do this?
I'm not an expert on one route against another,
I have always been a sceptic as to whether driving a new road
through the Blackdown Hills would ever happen because of
the environmental challenges and because of the fact
that the A358 is going to be dualled.
So disagreement already. We must move on.
Wind farms were pioneered here in the South West 25 years ago.
Yet tighter planning regulations and cuts in subsidies have seen
Now new research published this week suggests that wind could play a much
bigger role in cutting greenhouse emissions than previously thought.
Scott Bingham has been assessing whether it's time to stop
blowing hot and cold on this natural resource.
Love them or loathe them, they are part of the landscapes
across much of the South West and especially so here in Cornwall.
And it is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month.
And these four large turbines generate twice the power
of the ten original turbines they replaced in 2011.
The wind industry has come a long way in those 25 years.
We are in a situation now where last year wind alone generated about 12%
Renewables as a whole, around one quarter of our electricity demand.
Figures show large wind deployment in England reached a peak of 451
But that fell to 183 megawatts last year with the dropping down
to a worsening planning environment and falling subsidies.
Onshore wind is the lowest cost form of new electricity
It is low carbon, it generates jobs, it generates investment.
So it really is a win for the environment,
And, it seems, wind could be even greener than first thought.
Researchers at Edinburgh University have published a study
which they say shows carbon savings from wind turbines were vastly
underestimated, by more than three million tonnes
In real terms, it's the equivalent of taking 220,000 cars off
It is really significant in that it shows that wind power has been
It therefore means that when farms are viable,
an even more viable option and was grievously accepted.
On top of that, renewables bring jobs.
At a recent meeting in Plymouth, the Greens say the sector
could support much more than the 13,000 already
This Conservative government has decided to undermine the renewables
industry by removing subsidies, particularly the feed in tariff.
And we are arguing very strongly that that should be
replaced and we should be supporting our renewables
infrastructure and our renewable industry because we have got
fantastic opportunities for that here in the South.
But the government maintains it has increased certainty for businesses
That's why we have got actually such a big deployment already
of renewable energy technology and we want to see that continue.
In fact it's because the deployment has been so extensive and so rapid
that it has been possible to bring the subsidies down over time.
Now, Good Energy is looking to go one step further.
It wants to build the first community owned wind farm to operate
without government subsidy on this site near Bude.
Could that turn the wind in a favourable direction once more?
Ben, many of the target set for the UK for renewable
Post Brexit, it's not clear what will happen to these targets.
Well, they didn't come from Europe, we negotiated...
A lot of them have been negotiated negotiated with Europe.
Well, Europe has a position, but there are international positions.
Paris, recently is an international agreement and it takes in America,
China, the whole world. So it's nothing to do with Europe.
Europe has been at the forefront arguing for stronger
renewable energy, and I think that is a good thing.
It's nice to see a positive report about wind power,
So you don't think that anything post Brexit
Unlike Molly Scott Cato, who seems to be thinking
I think this government is going in the wrong direction,
but is nothing to do with the fact that we might be
I think the withdrawal of support for not just wind,
This stop-go approach towards renewables.
But the good news is that renewables, as your report said,
They are a fantastic resource and they soon won't need
And that's why, in my view, whatever happened in the United States
I was going to say, you talk about internationally,
Trump coming in makes a difference as well.
Well, we'll see. Let's see.
He has appointed a lot of climate change deniers, which is a worry.
But America has ratified the Paris Agreement.
And any sensible person looking at the evidence,
looking in the future, is going to realise
If you don't get on the bus to that new technology,
you will lose out in terms of jobs and investment in the future.
Hugo, are we getting on the bus enough?
Because the Green MEP Molly Scott Cato said
That the Tory government has cut subsidies and is taking us
She is behind the curve on this. She's talking about subsidies.
Ben has set himself, we are at the point now that a loss
subsidy at all because the take-up has been so good and the price
of a lot of solar has dropped. They can stand alone.
Hence you are talking about having a community initiative near Bude.
That couldn't have happened ten or 15 years ago.
What about Theresa May having change the name for the Department
of Energy and Climate Change to a new Department of Business,
Energy and Industrial Strategy? Is that the Tories going backwards?
No, I don't think so. Ben is absolutely right.
I would make a distinction between Trump on Twitter
and Trump as a president with an administration.
He wants to create jobs in the United States and he would be
completely crazy to ignore the renewable energy sector market.
Battery research, you have seen what is happening with Telstra
As far as the impact on the South West of all of that,
would you like to see more wind farms?
No, I wouldn't like to see any more onshore wind farms...
Because there have been a lot of Tory MPs down here who been very
outspoken about not wanting to see any more wind farms
Well, I like offshore wind farms and I like how energy,
wave energy and other forms of renewable.
There is a balance between trying to create something great
for the environment, which is reducing carbon,
but destroying the landscape by putting wind farms
I don't think they destroy the landscape.
And when I realise that they are delivering carbon-free energy,
So I wish the Tories would stop this opposition to wind farms
because they are the future and it is where we are going to get
But they don't have to be onshore. They don't have to be onshore?
No, but they are much cheaper onshore so they are much better
value for the taxpayer and better returns for these communities.
Carols, candlelight, Christingles and Christmas trees -
for many people the season wouldn't be complete without a trip
Some parishes have thriving congregations, while others
are dwindling, with a number of church buildings in the South
Janine Jansen has been looking at what the future holds for some
# Rocking around the Christmas tree...#
in South Molton looks sparkling at this time of year.
It's popular Christmas Tree Festival attracts people like a magnet.
Many people used to go to church every Sunday.
The Methodist Church here in Ashburton closed last year.
A dwindling congregation and ongoing repair costs didn't help.
But it has just been designated a community asset and this man
wants it to be an art centre for the town.
It's a lovely space, it's really fabulous
People come into buildings and you get an instant feel
for whether it's a friendly and pleasant place to be.
It has obviously been loved for many, many decades and it
would be a tragedy if it were lost to the community.
There is a sadness. We are working through that.
It is a bereavement process that you work through.
But people are also very positive about worshipping where we do now,
Clearly, there is a sadness about leaving a part of your history.
The building will be sold to the highest bidder next year.
Fundraising is already underway to try to keep the grade two listed
Across the border into Cornwall, and St Pinnock's church
is another house of God with an uncertain future.
Discussions about closing it started around 25 years ago
but the congregation fought to keep the Church alive.
The parishioners can now worship in nearby Liskeard and a decision
about the future of the building has yet to be made.
One thing is clear, its grade one listed which means
it can't be demolished or converted into housing.
Well, St Paul's church here in Truro has been closed
Not due to a dwindling congregation, but due to health and safety
A report says it will cost ?3.7 million to restore it.
It's sad for historical and conservation reasons
but it is even sadder is an image of the church.
The Church of England in Cornwallis vibrant and lively,
we want to be preoccupied with sharing the love of God,
especially at Christmas time and this is the picture
And that is why we are working as hard as we can with as many
partners as we can to find the right long-term solution to how this
The Cornish buildings group has launched a petition to save St Paul.
They say the tower doesn't need demolishing.
But in eight years, no one has come forward yet
One thing is for sure, it won't be enjoying much
Joining us now from Exeter Cathedral we have the right
Reverend Robert Atwell. Welcome to the programme.
Churches, many of them empty at the moment,
should there be government funding that props these churches up?
Well, here in Devon, we have got 609 churches scattered
across the county and occasionally we have to close one of two
but that is because populations change and shift around and that has
The thing is to adapt to a changing situation
But also, we find ourselves opening new churches.
Here in Exeter, as Ben Bradshaw knows well, we have opened
a new church in Cranbrook and another one in Newport and down
of Plymouth where that whole new village complex is going up,
we are planting a new church in the next couple of years.
For us, one of the biggest challenges is the rural church
because we've got lots of them, some wonderful medieval churches
But the situation for us in Devon is that the rural population
has shrunk considerably from what it was 150 years ago
and that has really threatened the whole infrastructure
So in the last ten to 20 years, it has seen the village school has
gone, pubs have gone I mean, four pubs are closing
Is that a reason to try and save these church buildings?
Always what you are saying that the new ones opening elsewhere,
Well, what I would say is that often many parts of the county and I'm
sure our situation in Devon is replicated elsewhere
in the country, the Parish Church is the only community building
we have got there in the village and we need to invest in that.
Because it is about the health of our communities.
A lot of our medieval churches, the nave was for the people.
And I just want people to reclaim their naves and do
Some of the things we are doing in Devon like St Peter's Ugborough,
where the local post office closed some time ago and that has come
into the church so it is being used for worship on Sundays but also
on Tuesday, when the post office is open, the local church is running
a coffee place there for lonely and isolated people to come to.
And innovative ideas like that are going across Devon.
With ideas like that coming in, you use the church was something
else, for a community purpose, does that mean that more government
funding, because there is already some available to churches,
Are these important enough to prop them up?
It depends on the church and the location and
But I would say the government does need to intervene.
This is part of our heritage, our built heritage and
I am all for using, if there is no alternative,
and adapting the usage of a church if there is not a big enough
congregation to worship there, I would rather it was used
as a place of worship, but then I would rather it
still existed and was supported by the community.
I do regret sometimes when the pews are stripped out,
never to be used as a church again, but we have to live in modern
times when congregations are smaller as the bishop said,
a lot of rural communities are a lot smaller as well and they have used
But at the end of the day, I fundamentally believe that we owe
it to future generations to preserve these magnificent buildings.
Also public funding be more for things like the NHS,
the growing problems with social care?
These buildings, and people are not using them as churches,
I'm the son of the rural vicar and I love our historical churches,
and I'm also a practising Christian so there is a real dilemma
for us in the church as to whether we spend our money
and resources and time and energy on preserving old buildings
or preaching the Christian gospel and because the message
And I think the Bishop got it right, where you have got a church
that you can integrate into a community hub or something
like that and that does attract more support,
is not government money, it's Lottery money for the main,
so it's not taxpayers money that would otherwise go into the health
service, that is absolutely the right thing to do.
But in some cases, we are going to have to just
abandon the very isolated, very rural churches for which no
If we come back to you, Right Reverend Robert Atwell,
on that point, is it better sometimes to leave these churches?
The Victorians had an idea that you could have a beautiful
Could we not see sometimes these old churches in villages
or on the edge of villages, become a beautiful rolling?
Well, occasionally that has happened.
It is always sad when it does happen.
But these things are not incompatible.
There are also the ways that we can do things
which are imaginative and innovative which secure their use
I think that is one of the thing that is really important.
For example, here in the diocese of Exeter, starting next year,
we are launching a whole project called growing the rural church
and we are putting money and people to actually help some of our belief
that rural communities to think in imaginative ways how these
ancient landmarks can be preserved for future generations...
I'm going to have to stop you there, but thank you very
Now our regular round-up of the political week
Now council tax could go up by 6% to pay for care.
I really don't feel that we are going far enough in this
House to address the scale of the increase in demand
if we are going to allow people to be careful with dignity
What will Brexit mean for Brixham's fishermen?
We still want to fish sustainably, some things will change and it
The funding formula for schools is changing.
Some here are winners, others worse off.
Campaigning side-by-side, the Health Secretary and the Cornish
She reaches people that politicians can never reach.
And Ben Bradshaw hence Russia could be behind
I don't think we have even begun to wake up to what Russia is doing
You have caused a bit of a storm on social media this week by saying
that Russia may have had some kind of influence in the
I was talking about propaganda and this sort of Twitter
storms and fake news sites that the Kremlin funds.
But if you look at what is happening now in America when there is clear
evidence of actual attacks in America and our own header
cyber security at GCHQ since my comments in the Commons,
also warning about the possibility here and what's happening
in Germany, evidence already, we need to wake up to
It's not just cyber, it's also the propaganda war
And I'm afraid if we don't do something about it very soon,
the indications for democracy could be quite serious.
In terms of the referendum, what kind of influence
If you look at what they have been doing, and this has been well
documented in the states about having these twitter storms
and very close tie up they have a far right parties
across the world, not just with America and France,
but also here as well, the fake news sites...
And the e-mail hacking. Yes, well...
Not sure that's... The CIA is talking about that.
The CIA is not only talking about it, they are investigating it
and Barack Obama has said there is clear evidence that Putin
I think cyber warfare is an increasing threat from not
It's the first time I have heard any suggestion that the Russians may
have been involved in the E referendum in the UK.
But I think what the head of GCHQ was warning about was that we should
be alert to the possibilities of being interfered
I don't think he was saying we have been.
And I think there is no distinction there.
But clearly, in the United States, something serious has happened.
So you don't think Ben Pozner comments have been out there?
Ben can speak for himself. He speaks up very...
I don't think anybody should be surprised that
That's the Sunday Politics in the South West.
Now back to Andrew with the Week Ahead.
Have a happy Christmas and we'll see you in the new year.
Will Article 50 be triggered by the end of March,
will President Trump start work on his wall and will
Front National's Marine Le Pen provide the next electoral shock?
2016, the Brexit for Britain and Trump for the rest of the world.
Let's look back and see what one of you said about Brexit.
If Mr Cameron loses the referendum and it is this year,
will he be Prime Minister at the end of the year?
I don't think he will lose the referendum, so I'm feeling
It was clear if he did lose the referendum he would be out. I would
like to say in retrospect I saw that coming on a long and I was just
saying it to make good television! It is Christmas so I will be benign
towards my panel! It is possible, Iain, that not much happens to
Brexit in 2017, because we have a host of elections coming up in
Europe, the French won in the spring and the German one in the autumn
will be the most important. And until we know who the next French
president is and what condition Mrs Merkel will be in, not much will
happen? I think that is the likeliest outcome. Short of some
constitutional crisis involving the Lords relating to Brexit, it is
pretty clear it is difficult to properly begin the negotiations
until it becomes clear who Britain is negotiating with. It will come
down to the result of the German election. Germany is the biggest
contributor and if they keep power in what is left of the European
Union, will drive the negotiation and we will have to see if it will
be Merkel. So this vacuum that has been seen and has been filled by
people less than friendly to the government, even when we know
Article 50 has been triggered and even if there is some sort of white
paper to give us a better idea of the broad strategic outlines of what
they mean by Brexit, the phoney war could continue? Iain is right. 2017
is going to be a remarkably dull year for Brexit as opposed to 2016.
We will have the article and a plan. The plan will say I would like the
moon on a stick please. The EU will say you can have a tiny bit of moon
and a tiny bit of stick and there will be an impasse. That will go on
until one minute to midnight 2018 which is when the EU will act. There
is one thing in the Foreign Office which is more important, as David
Davis Department told me, they know there is nothing they can do until
the French and Germans have their elections and they know the lie of
the land, but the people who will be more helpful to us are in Eastern
Europe and in Scandinavia, the Nordic countries. We can do quite a
lot of schmoozing to try and get them broadly on side this year? It
is very difficult because one of the things they care most about in
Eastern Europe is the ability for Eastern European stew come and work
in the UK. That is key to the economic prospects. But what they
care most about is that those already here should not be under any
pressure to leave. There is no guarantee of that. That is what Mrs
May wants. There are a lot of things Mrs May wants and the story of 2017
will be about what she gets. How much have we got to give people? It
is not what we want, but what we are willing to give. The interesting
thing is you can divide this out into two. There is a question of the
European Union and our relationship with it but there is also the trick
the polls did to London -- there is also the polls. There is question
beyond the Western European security, that is about Nato and
intelligence and security, and the rising Russian threat. That does not
mean the Polish people will persuade everyone else to give us a lovely
deal on the EU, but the dynamic is bigger than just a chat about
Brexit. You cannot threaten a punishment beating for us if we are
putting our soldiers on the line on the eastern borders of Europe. I
think that's where Donald Trump changes the calculation because his
attitude towards Russia is very different to Barack Obama's. It is
indeed. Mentioning Russia, Brexit was a global story but nothing can
match and American election and even one which gives Donald Trump as
well. Let's have a look at what this panel was saying about Donald Trump.
Will Donald Trump win the Republican nomination next year.
So, not only did you think he would not be president, you did not think
he would win the Republican nomination. We were not alone in
that. And they're right put forward a motion to abolish punditry here
now because clearly we are pointless! There is enough
unemployment in the world already! We are moving into huge and charted
territory with Donald Trump as president. It is incredibly
unpredictable. But what has not been noticed enough is the Keynesian won.
Trump is a Keynesian. He wants massive infrastructure spending and
massive tax cuts. The big story next year will be the massive reflation
of the American economy and indeed the US Federal reserve has already
reacted to that by putting up interest rates. That is why he has a
big fight with the rest of the Republican Party. He is nominally a
Republican but they are not Keynesian. They are when it comes to
tax cuts. They are when it hits the rich to benefit the poor. The big
thing is whether the infrastructure projects land him in crony trouble.
The transparency around who gets those will be extremely difficult.
Most of the infrastructure spending he thinks can be done by the private
sector and not the federal government. His tax cuts overlap the
Republican house tax cuts speaker Ryan to give not all, but a fair
chunk of what he wants. If the American economy is going to reflate
next year, interest rates will rise in America, that will strengthen the
dollar and it will mean that Europe will be, it will find it more
difficult to finance its sovereign debt because you will get more money
by investing in American sovereign debt. That is a good point because
the dynamics will shift. If that happens, Trump will be pretty
popular in the US. To begin with. To begin with. It is energy
self-sufficient and if you can pull off the biggest trick in American
politics which is somehow to via corporation tax cuts to allow the
reassuring of wealth, because it is too expensive for American business
to take back into the US and reinvest, if you combine all of
those things together, you will end up with a boom on a scale you have
not seen. It will be Reagan on steroids? What could possibly go
wrong? In the short term for Britain, it is probably not bad
news. Our biggest market for exports as a country is the United States.
Our biggest market for foreign direct investment is the United
States and the same is true vice versa for America in Britain. Given
the pound is now competitive and likely the dollar will get stronger,
it could well give a boost to the British economy? Could do bit you
have to be slightly cautious about the warm language we are getting
which is great news out of President Trump's future cabinet on doing a
trade deal early, we are net exporters to the US. We benefit far
more from trading with US than they do with us. I think we have to come
up with something to offer the US for them to jump into bed with us. I
think it is called two new aircraft carriers and modernising the fleet.
Bring it on. I will raise caution, people in declining industries in
some places in America, the rust belt who have faced big profound
structural challenges and those are much harder to reverse. They face
real problems now because the dollar is so strong. Their ability to
export has taken a huge hit out of Ohio, Michigan and Illinois. And the
Mexican imports into America is now dirt cheap so that is a major
problem. Next year we have elections in Austria, France, the Netherlands,
Germany, probably Italy. Which outcome will be the most dramatic
for Brexit? If Merkel lost it would be a huge surprise. That is
unlikely. And if it was not Filon in France that would be unlikely. The
consensus it it will be Francois Filon against Marine Le Pen and it
will be uniting around the far right candidate. In 2002, that is what
happened. Filon is a Thatcherite. Marine Le Pen's politics --
economics are hard left. Francois Filon is as much a cert to win as
Hillary Clinton was this time last year. If he is competing against
concerns about rising globalisation and his pitch is Thatcherite, it is
a bold, brave strategy in the context so we will see. It will keep
us busy next year, Tom? Almost as busy as this year but not quite.
This year was a record year. I am up in my hours!
That's all for today, thanks to all my guests.
The Daily Politics will be back on BBC Two at noon tomorrow.
I'll be back here on the 15th January.
Remember, if it's Sunday, it's the Sunday Politics.
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Andrew Neil and Lucie Fisher are joined by Alexander Downer, Australian high commissioner to the United Kingdom, Stephen Dorrell, chair of the NHS Confederation, and John Sauven, executive director at Greenpeace.
Helen Lewis of the New Statesman, Iain Martin of Reaction and Tom Newton Dunn of the Sun review the papers.