by Robyn Banks
As you’ve probably heard, the Queen visited the UEA last week. The visit quickly became the biggest marketing opportunity that UEA has seen in many years. Tourists, students and local residents turned up to feel the buzz of the monarch’s presence on campus, and UEA jumped at the chance to publicise all the ‘amazing’ work it’s doing.
by The Norwich Radical
2016 was a bleak year for many. Across the world, the forces of liberty, of social progress, and of environmental justice lost time and again in the face of rising fascism, increased alienation, and intensifying conflict. That notwithstanding, there have been moments of light. In the Austrian Presidential election, the electorate confirmed the independently Green candidate Alexander van der Bellen; the #noDAPL water protectors gained a soft victory in early December; in fact, there is a full list of positives from the past year, if you want cheering up.
2016 saw our team expand to more than 25 writers, editors, and artists as well as host our first ever progressive media conference, War of Words. Our readership has grown from 5,000 per month to more than 6,500 per month. In total, nearly 80,000 people have read content on The Norwich Radical website this year.
In 2017, The Norwich Radical will turn three years old, with plans to grow our team and publication more than ever before. We’ll also be returning to Norwich to bring debate and discussion on the future of the media, with War of Words back for a second year. Continue Reading
by Suzanne Jones
Further to my previous comments on the complete failure of UEA’s biomass gasifier at a cost of £10M+ (incl. £1M DEFRA grant, totally wasted), readers might be interested to read the independent report from Adapt Commercial Ltd, commissioned by UEA in 2014, after they finally accepted that the project was never going to deliver.
I requested the disclosure of this report under Freedom of Information (FOI) regulations. Predictably, UEA fought tooth and nail not to release it, but were overruled when I appealed to the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Continue Reading
by Suzanne Jones
In March this year the Evening News reported that Generation Park Norwich (GPN) had run out of money, leaving its backers (Norwich (NPH) LLP) with debts of £3M. The ‘green’ credentials of UEA, the leading advocate of the scheme, had been further undermined by the complete failure of their own biomass project, at a cost of £10M, and were first reported in the Norwich Radical in August 2015.
Norwich City Council (NCC) seemed to be back to square one after spending 12 years and £700k of public funds trying to come up with a viable use for the Utilities Site, to the east of the city centre. To quote Clive Lewis, the Norwich South MP, the whole scheme seemed to be ‘dead in the water’ before it had even got off the drawing board.
Yet now, like a phoenix from the incinerator’s ashes, it has miraculously risen again; ‘mysterious’ new backers have emerged, and things are back on track for the planning application to finally be heard in July or August. How is it that proposals which have been dogged by controversy, bankruptcy and delay refuse to die? Are there reasons why Generation Park Norwich (GPN) is just too big to fail?Continue Reading
by John Heathcliff
As each day passes, it becomes clearer and clearer that UEA’s relationship with sustainability is one of convenience rather than conviction. Revelations about over £10 million of losses from the failed biomass project on the campus and the recently mothballed ‘Generation Park’ in Norwich have demonstrated the fundamental ineptitude at the heart of decision making at the University. Grand, white elephant projects intended to bring significant reputational benefit to the institution as well as new revenues have become undeniable disasters. National media have run the story, highlighting the amount of public and student money spent on failed projects that could have instead been spent on education and effective research.
Looking at these errors in isolation is bad enough. If you join together the dots, it only becomes worse.Continue Reading
by Suzanne Jones
You may have seen my previous article ‘Generation Park and UEA biomess’ for The Norwich Radical (29.08.15), which told the tale of UEA’s five year struggle to get their biomass energy centre to work. Given their advocacy of the current Generation Park Norwich proposals, I now wish to examine how the university has dealt with this failure and the double standards it reveals in their approach to environmental questions.
By Suzanne Jones
The Paris talks on climate change produced an agreement to keep global temperature rise to less than two degrees Celsius. Current predictions are for a rise of about five degrees Celsius.
Early in the New Year a decision will be made on whether to give planning permission for the biggest straw-burning incinerator in the world to be built in Norwich. It will be called Generation Park.
by Suzanne Jones
‘Generation Park’ is a proposal to build a biomass incinerator in the heart of Norwich which is being fronted by Professor Trevor Davies, of UEA. This isn’t the first biomass development Prof. Davies has been involved in. In 2009 he was the leading light in a project to construct a wood-burning incinerator that would provide power and heat for the UEA itself.
In assessing the suitability of the Generation Park proposals for Norwich, it might be instructive to know how successful or otherwise Prof. Davies’ biomass plant at UEA has been.Continue Reading
by Suzanne Jones
A private company have submitted plans to build a biomass incineration plant in Norwich. This document looks at some of the myths surrounding this development.
Myth 1 – Generation Park is being built ‘for the benefit of the people of Norwich’.
Looking at the so-called ‘Community Energy Centre’ on Generation Park’s website, you might think that this is a ‘not for profit’ development. In fact, its primary purpose is to make money for its investors, mainly ‘anonymous backers’ who will benefit from £M’s of government subsidies, paid for by the taxpayer. Generation Park would receive approximately £34M in annual subsidies alone.Continue Reading
by Elliot Folan
Last month, it was revealed that UEA plans to raise accommodation fees for university students by up to 9%. Students have already come forward to say that they would not have been able to afford the new prices, and the students’ union has raised questions about accessibility and affordability. Yet the second big story of the fee rise is an issue of democracy. It was reported – and the university declined to deny – that student union officers were told they would not be consulted on the fee rise, and that the university had no intention of consulting them at all. In other words, on an issue that is of material concern to thousands of new and continuing students on our campus, management felt it necessary to completely ignore and override the wishes of our elected representatives.
Such contempt for democratic procedure is standard practice at UEA, and they speak to a wider problem of opaque decision making and lack of accountability on our campus and in the university system generally. There are three more examples of such undemocratic decisions.