Climate change can seem like such a complex issue because it encompasses a range of other, related issues ranging from air pollution and renewable energy to biodiversity and flooding. But climate change can become more manageable, by talking to your MP about achievable goals and local scale initiatives and finding common ground. MPs often advise us to make issues and asks specific, local and achievable. Bringing an issue to your MP which is relevant and beneficial to the constituents that they represent, can give your MP an issue to work on that is a win for both you and them.
With Community Energy Fortnight approaching, why not choose community energy as one specific issue to approach your MP about? Community energy involves small-scale renewable energy projects, where citizens come together, take control and reap benefits from their energy. The positives of community energy are extensive. It provides a sustainable and secure energy source, it reduces energy prices, increases energy security and profits can also be reinvested into the community to be used for environmental or home improvements. The many benefits of community energy can make it easier to find common ground with your MP over an area of shared interest. For example, if your MP’s main concern is lowering energy prices for their constituents, you can highlight how community energy can help with this. See our online resource here for more information about the benefits of community energy.
Here’s some advice on having a successful MP meeting on community energy:
Make it local
Many MPs tell us that a way to grab their attention is to make your conversation relevant to the local area. Have some key facts to hand about the number of families in your area living in fuel poverty or even the generating potential and cost benefits if solar panels were placed on the local community centre. We can help you with this part! Or perhaps there is a community energy project in your area (find out here). Your MP may be interested to know how it is performing, and the benefits seen to the community so far. Perhaps they would be willing to take action on a more national level as a result.
Make it relatable
Your MP is likely to be more interested in community energy if you approach it from a way that aligns with their existing interests. Does your constituency have a high prevalence of fuel poverty? You could approach community energy from this angle as a way of reducing energy prices. Using an example of savings in nearby constituencies could really help this argument. Often community energy projects also have a community fund, which can also be used for home efficiency improvements. Or perhaps your MP has a passion for environmental protection. In this case, you could talk about the carbon savings that local scale renewables can bring; Community Energy England UK community energy projects have to date reduced emissions by over 110,000 tonnes.
Community energy is facing many set backs, largely due to government policy. For example, the financial mechanisms that support it have faced many cuts in the last few years. We suggest you prepare one or two key ‘asks’ when meeting with your MP. Perhaps this may be inviting your MP to visit a nearby community energy project, or asking them to question the cuts to Feed in Tariffs (FITs) in Parliament. Read more about the challenges facing community energy here, where you can also find suggestions of asks of your MP to overcome these challenges.
If you would like to meet your MP about community energy or any other climate change related issue, we would be delighted to help. Please contact us if you could like support of to find out more. You can also visit our blog to read about our work and recent MP meetings. To find out more about community energy, visit theCommunity Energy Hub for more advice and information about starting a project.
To get involved in the Community Energy Fortnight, as part of The Climate Coalition’s Speak Up Week, you can visit this link. This year’s theme is ‘Energised Communities’- perhaps you’d like to hold an event to showcase how your project is saving energy, fighting fuel poverty and improving the local environment! Find everything you need in the event pack here.