It's fun to trade words but these deadly serious concerns deserve better

Linden Rd, Hebden Bridge. DEAR, oh dear - my letter of August 13 does seem to have got up Bernard Ingham's nose, doesn't it?

Last month Sir Bernard told us he was a supporter of all things green, but this month he's back to asking "if man-made global warming exists". And in the Hebden Bridge Times, too! Since all of us, even the Tories, know the answer is "yes", I'll move swiftly along...

Sir Bernard clearly doesn't like my criticisms of the nuclear industry, but he doesn't address my points. It isn't sustainable, it creates few jobs, it's poisoned a big chunk of the Ukraine etc. This is a shame, because there's a genuine debate to be had about nuclear power.

I know this because I took part in one at the Green Spring Conference. Anyone wanting a more balanced defence of nuclear power might want to look at www.marklynas.org.

But then Sir Bernard launches a diatribe against me and the Green Party. It's astonishing that a former journalist didn't check any facts before he had a go at us in print. I've got enough sense to do that and I'm a Speech and Language Therapist!

A glance at our Policy Website would have told him that the Green Party's opposed to biofuels (biodiesel, ethanol etc - they're linked with deforestation and peat-burning. They also emit a lot of nitrous oxide which is an important greenhouse gas). Similarly, we oppose the use of unproven carbon capture technology.

We support the EU's exploration of solar power stations in deserts - in theory the whole world could be powered by less than two per cent of the Sahara, which is surely worth looking at? Silly though it sounds, methane from factory-farmed animals is another harmful greenhouse gas.

Our wish to discourage factory farming is trivialised as "reducing the flatulence of cows". A cheap tactic, and surely not one Sir Bernard learned at the HB Times!

And then we get to the really silly stuff! What is the evidence that we want to "seed oceans with iron filings" or "send mirrors up into space"? As for wanting to "impoverish peasants"... the Policy Website contains eight mentions of the rights of indigenous communities (as we prefer to call them) and the need to protect them from big business, overdevelopment and the like.

Finally, we come to windfarms. As with nuclear power, there are arguments to be made on both sides...but Sir Bernard fails to make them and goes for silly insults.

The Greens are in favour of renewable power from a number of sources, including wind - we have 40 per cent of Europe's wind in the UK. Windfarms create lots of jobs and are relatively quick and cheap to build (it takes 10 years to build one of those lovely nuclear plants).

However, the intermittent nature of wind is a valid concern - my own favourite renewable source is tidal power, because it's constant.

It's fun to trade words with Sir Bernard, but these are deadly serious concerns which deserve better than ill-informed tirades. I hope he'll continue to engage with us, but that he'll check his basic facts first!

KATE SWEENY

Green Party Parliamentary Candidate, Calder Valley