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Event aims to draw up a 'People's Charter on Renewable Energy'

One of the organisers said the government has “little or no long term, coordinated plans in place and is open to whoever wishes to come in and exploit our resources”.

A LAOIS-BASED organisation focused on promoting awareness of and co-operation in sustainable development is holding an event this morning to start to draw up a ‘People’s Charter for Renewable Energy’.

Theresa Carter, coordinator at LEAF, told that people are now beginning to become more aware of how their lives are affected the changes in energy policy in this country.

“I’ve been running events locally for about six years but not in this scale,” she said.

“On the ground, people have become an awful lot more considerable of the environment, they realise how things are being destroyed.”

That’s just on the ground though, when you talk to the policy makers they’re just chasing jobs, more jobs. They’re not looking at it in a balance, it’s one company looking at jobs in one thing, they’re not considering how it will affect anything else.

Government plans

Just last month, Minister Pat Rabbitte launched a public consultation process for a Renewable Energy Export Policy and Development Framework but Carter said the government is still behind.

“Our government obviously has little or no long-term, coordinated plans in place and is open to whoever wishes to come in and exploit our resources,” Carter commented. “This has led to big industries taking advantage of the situation while communities are cast aside to facilitate this take over of our resources including oil, gas and wind.”

She said that people are often surprised to hear that she would be opposed to certain developments in renewable energy but she said it is the “exploitative” nature of these advancements that worry her and the lack of consultation with communities.

The people’s charter

The event today, which will be held at 10.30 at the Killeshin Hotel in Portlaoise is open to the public free of charge and will have a number of experts in attendance. As well as the experts in numerous energy systems, representatives from the Cork Environmental Forum, The Environmental Pillar, An Taisce, The Aarhus Taskforce, The Midlands Energy Agency and Good Energies Alliance Ireland will also take part in the think tank.

The aim of the event is to “generate some enthusiasm and commitment to getting this process started”.

Carter said today is just the beginning of the process to draw up a people’s charter which will be handed over to policymakers for their consideration.

Related: Recession pushes Laois communities into action on sustainability>

More: Engineer challenges legality of renewable energy plan in High Court>

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