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Tomorrow's Kent: keeping the lights on

Speech to the Bay Trust, St Margaret's Bay, Kent, at the Pines Calyx Conference Centre, 20 April 2010.

I am most impressed by all that has been achieved at St Margaret's Bay since I was last here in 2006: an enormous effort and a model for others. Warmest thanks to all concerned at Protect Kent / CPRE, and especially to Richard Knox-Johnston and Alistair Gould.

Let me take a step back and look at the whole complex of interconnected issues which confront us: from climate change and changing population pressures to loss of biodiversity and resource depletion. In coping with them we have to think very differently, in particular about economics:

But the most immediate practical issue is energy and, in the words of this conference, keeping the lights on in Kent. We sometimes forget how far we have come:

What should we do about it?

Finally you are already aware of the vulnerability of South East England to climate change affecting the economy, population density, water supplies and agriculture. According to some predictions, southern England will be subject to substantially warmer and drier summers, and substantially warmer and wetter winters, with more storms and droughts across the region. Then there is the prospect of sea level rise, and pressure from migrants from less favoured areas. So keeping the lights on may be more difficult than appears. Good luck!

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