BOOM BOOM OUT GO THE LIGHTS

The headlines almost 12 months ago were “Britain goes without coal for the first time ‘since Industrial Revolution'”.
12 months on and when the cold started to bite, can anyone tell us the last day that if coal was not burned to generate electricity the lights would not have gone out?
Total coal imports in the third quarter of 2017 were 1.9 million tonnes, 9.9 per cent higher than in the same period in 2016.
Imports of steam coal fell 5.4 per cent in the third quarter of 2017 compared to a year earlier. Russia was the highest supplier of steam coal imports with 50 per cent. The second highest supplier was the USA with 27 per cent, followed by Colombia with 8 per cent.
Coking coal imports rose by 42 per cent to 0.8 million tonnes in the third quarter of 2017 compared to the third quarter of 2016. The USA (33 per cent), Australia (32 per cent) and Russia (30 per cent) represented 95 per cent of coking coal imports.

 

And All That Gas

The government says less than 1 percent of UK supplies come from Russia, but critics point out this still exposes consumers when supplies are tight, and Britain must bid with the rest of Europe (who rely on a third of its gas from Russia) for piped gas and with the rest of the world for LNG. It is probably fair to say that without gas from Russia the UK would have experienced power cuts this month and certainly without Russian coal the lights would have gone out.
The case for an indigenous coal industry with Carbon Capture Usage and Storage as a strategic requirement for the UK is plain to see.
How many more risks do the UK take before ‘Boom Out Go The Lights’.

Mineworkers Pension Scheme ERRORS

Mineworkers Pension Scheme

We have been informed that an error has occurred that has resulted in a number of MPS members mistakenly being issued with new tax codes.

We are told that this is being rectified as a matter of the highest priority by Capita and HMRC. Affected members will be contacted shortly to advise them that neither their original tax codes nor their pension payments should be affected, and that their tax liabilities are completely unchanged. In the meantime Capita are dealing with any member enquiries.

0333 222 0077

mps@capita.co.uk

DUPUYTRENS CONTRACTURE – GOVERNMENT REJECTS MEDICAL EXPERTS ADVICE

By MikkTooming (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

The Industrial Injuries Advisory Council recommended that the condition known as Dupuytren’s Contracture should be Prescribed as an Industrial Disease. The government have rejected this advice saying, “Only after full consideration of the impact is the Secretary of State in a position to decide whether to accept or reject a recommendation from IIAC and to agree to amend the prescribed diseases legislation.”

“The recommendation has been carefully considered but it has been decided not to add Dupuytren’s contracture to the list of prescribed diseases.”

The ‘impact’ for those suffering from the condition, brought about because of their employment, is disability. The government go on to give the reason “The Government currently spends £900 million a year supporting people with disabilities and health conditions through Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit. It wants to continue to help as many people as possible, and ensure that it is targeting support to those with the greatest needs.”

NUM Secretary Chris Kitchen

So, the ‘target’ does not include accepting evidence that Dupuytren’s Contracture should be Prescribed as an Industrial Disease.

The Report by the Industrial Injuries Advisory Council in accordance with Section 171 of the Social Security Administration Act 1992 considering prescription for Dupuytren’s contracture in workers exposed to hand-transmitted vibration was presented to Parliament in May 2014.

NUM Secretary Chris Kitchen said ‘The NUM have always demanded that the IIAC report be accepted but now after almost FOUR years since the report was published and despite the many requests, the government have finally decided to let people know that those suffering from a condition clearly caused by their employment cannot claim for it as an industrial disease, despite evidence to say it is. This once again shows contempt for the working person. Governments bailed out the banks to the tune of £850 BILLION tell us that £900 MILLION is targeting those with the greatest needs is as grotesque as it is insulting. The NUM will continue to campaign for this condition to be prescribed as an industrial disease.’

National Union of Mineworkers -v- Organisation International de L’Energie et des Mines (IEMO)

The NUM has issued proceedings in the High Court against IEMO. In this action the union is seeking the recovery of capital and legal costs incurred by the NUM in previous litigation against the former CEO of the union, Roger Windsor. It is alleged that this money is held by IEMO who conducted the litigation against Windsor in France. The union funded that litigation and maintains that it is entitled to be repaid the costs incurred from the sums recovered by IEMO.

At a hearing in Manchester on 30th January 2018 IEMO made an application to strike out the union’s claim on the grounds that it is out of time and also subject to an agreement made in 1990 when, it was alleged, the NUM agreed not to take any legal action against IEMO.

IEMO was represented at the hearing by the former President of the NUM, Mr. Arthur Scargill.

The arguments raised by IEMO were rejected by the court and the application to strike out was denied. The court awarded substantial legal costs to the NUM and the case will now continue to a trial on a date to be fixed.

Further reports on this case will follow on this site.

Dirty Old Tricks

The NUM continue to explore every avenue in relation to the historic injustice that miners’ endure in relation to pneumoconiosis. First it was the x-ray and ‘no significant change’ then it was put down to ‘emphysema and smoking’ and now without prescription the DWP have introduced breathing tests that have nothing to do with pneumoconiosis in order to reduce benefits. It is a scandal that medical evidence is replaced by ‘spreadsheet’ cost cutters. The NUM have enlisted the help of Pit Mouse to help demonstrate what is happening. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQ_WbZWK2W8

Rub Some More Salt In

With news that the political party that destroyed the coal industry wants to hold an event at the National Coal Mining Museum for England should they be surprised that people are upset?

Read the Durham Miners response here

Read NUM response here

Coal Keeps You Safe & Warm

Remember the recent headlines about how wind power has now replaced coal and the king is dead. Not that there is anything wrong with wind, solar, tidal or any other form of power that helps us survive. Whilst coal still has a role it can and should be used cleanly and extracted from under our feet instead of being imported thousands of miles using up resources in a way that is avoidable. When it is cold with no wind and no sun who do we rely on to keep the lights on check here to find out http://www.ukenergywatch.org/

Energy News Items

As the lobbying gets louder, coal power stations may not go quietly

Energy companies in Italy and Spain have faced unexpected local opposition to their own plans to shut polluting plants

https://www.theguardian.com/business/2017/nov/25/coal-power-stations-may-not-go-quietly-lobbying-louder

EU regulators to investigate Spanish scheme for coal power plants

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-spain-coal-subsidies/eu-regulators-to-investigate-spanish-scheme-for-coal-power-plants-idUSKBN1DR153

First Poland, Then Germany, Now Spain: Europe Rejects Coal Phase Out

https://www.thegwpf.com/first-poland-then-germany-now-spain-europe-rejects-coal-phase-out/

UK Coal Industry Gets Hundreds of Millions in Subsidies Each Year, Report Finds

https://www.desmog.uk/2017/05/08/uk-coal-industry-gets-hundreds-millions-subsidies-each-year-report-finds

Closure of biggest UK gas storage site draws criticism

Energy trade body calls for inquiry into Centrica’s move to close Rough facility

https://www.ft.com/content/564a1ec0-8288-11e7-a4ce-15b2513cb3ff

Rough gas storage facility: review of undertakings

https://www.gov.uk/cma-cases/rough-gas-storage-facility-review-of-undertakings

Spain resists coal phase-out

By Aline Robert | EURACTIV.fr | translated by Paola Tamma

The Spanish government is challenging a decision by its main electricity provider to shut down two coal-fired power plants. An attitude that contravenes the Paris Agreement on climate change.

The Spanish government has engaged in a strange stand-off over Iberdrola’s plan to phase out coal, announced at climate talks in Bonn last week. The company’s CEO, Ignacio Sánchez Galán, pledged to close Iberdola’s coal power plants, including the two Spanish power stations, in Lada in Asturias and Velilla, in the autonomous community of Castilla y Leon.

The Spanish company’s plan is to become carbon neutral by 2050, with a 50% reduction of its emissions in 2030 compared to 2007, and investments of €85 billion in renewables in total.

However, rather than encourage the country’s biggest electricity provider, the energy ministry drafted a decree on the procedure of closure of energy facilities, which poses new and very restrictive conditions to close an electricity production site: a site cannot be closed if it is profitable, or if its closure is a threat to the security of supply, or if the prices of electricity may climb.

“There is still an incredible inertia on the subject of climate,” responded Teresa Ribera, director of the think tank of the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations.

Spain is a signatory, like the rest of the EU, of the Paris Agreement, which commits the EU to cutting  40% of its emissions by 2030 and, above all, to revising the ambition of each country to be able to limit the rise of the temperatures between 1.5° and 2°.

The European Commission, whose climate commissioner is Spanish, does not seem overly concerned about this situation. “The Commission is analysing the draft decree and will react in due course,” a spokesperson told EURACTIV.

Spain’s Energy Minister Álvaro Nadal fears that closing power plants will create power cuts. But the reasons seem more complex.

Asked by EURACTIV, Iberdrola said the pledge to ditch coal remains intact after a meeting with the country’s energy minister on Thursday (23 November).

According to the unions, 200 jobs would be destroyed, but Iberdrola ensured that the jobs lost would be fully offset by reclassifications. This makes the government’s reaction all the less understandable.

And the argument of the risk of power cuts is unconvincing; Spain is today in a situation of electrical overcapacity after high investments in renewables.

As the temperature continues to rise, one of COP23’s most notable initiatives has been that of the Coalition Alliance, proposed by the United Kingdom and Canada and joined by twenty other countries. But not by Spain.