On 9th December 2013 Barry was honoured to win the Environmental Parliamentarian of the Year Award at an event that took place in the Houses of Parliament.
The Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management's prestigious annual awards recognise the contributions of people from across the board to improving the management of our environment. CIWEM recognised Barry's efforts since his becomming Member of Parliament in 1997 presenting the award for his:
"unceasing efforts to promote a range of environmental issues over a parliamentary career spanning more than 15 years."
On 21st October 2013 Barry made a speech in the House of Commons higlighting the need to recognise the economic value of Natural Capital assets in order to protect the natural environment and enhance the benefits offered for our future economic growth.
"Every society is defined by two things: what it creates and what it refuses to destroy. The only thing that sets us apart from our natural environment is our ability to reflect on our own place within it, but for all our cleverness we remain dependent on the extraordinary bounty that nature provides. The food and water that sustain us, the air that we breathe, the raw materials that we use as fuel and clothing or to construct our homes are only the most obvious of nature's benefits. Equally important are the processes and services that purify our water, break down our waste, pollinate our crops and provide us with recreation and aesthetic or spiritual fulfilment. We have the right to use and enjoy the benefits of that natural capital, but that right gives us no licence to prevent our children from exercising a similar and equal use and enjoyment in the future.
On 17th July 2013 Barry launched a campaign against the government's proposals to end requirements that local authorities monitor and report on the air quality in their area which may lead to a rise in air pollution levels.
As Shadow Minister for the Natural Environment & Fisheries, Barry brought together a number of Labour MPs to raise awareness of the health implications of air pollution and to push the government to continue reporting on air pollution levels.
On 4th July 2013 Ed Miliband appointed Barry to the front bench as Shadow Minister for the Natural Environment and Fisheries.
The appointment puts Barry Gardiner at the centre of developing Labour's plans for the natural environment for the next election, and holding the current government to account. He was previously Minister for Biodiversity in the Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs in 2006 and 07 and served as Ed Miliband's Special Envoy for Environment and Climate Change from 2011 to 2013.
On 15th November 2012, Barry published an article for the online environmental blog, iPoak.org, in which he wrote about his concerns regarding the spread of Ash dieback and other harmful diseases and pests that were destroying the British countryside and ecosystem.
Barry set out what he believes should be done in order to make sure that the United Kingdom is prepared for these harmful invasive organisms and how to reduce the impact of such organisms that are already here.
On 2nd October 2012 Barry took part in a discussion on the Green Deal and how it is unlikely to be worthwhile for people to take up Green Deal finance to make their homes more energy efficient.
On 1st October 2012 Barry chaired a Fabian Society debate on securing cheaper energy prices by changing the energy supply market in the UK.
Alongside Barry, the panel was made up of Caroline Flint MP, Shadow Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, Natan Doron, Senior Researcher for the Fabian Society and a number of experts and executives from the energy sector.
On 1st Octoer 2012 Barry lead a debate at the Labour Party Conference on flooding and drought issues in the UK and what can be done to reduce the risk of such events. Barr was joined on the panel by Gavin Shuker MP, Shadow Minister for Water and a number of executives from the UK's water companies.
On 30th September 2012 Barry chaired a discussion at the Labour Party Conference on the need for development of the wind energy industry and the benefits that renewable energy can have to the wider economy as well as to reducing domestic fuel bills.
Barry was joined on the panel by a number of experts from the wind energy sector alongside Tom Greatrex, MP, Shadow Minister for Energy.
On 30th September 2012 Barry chaired a discussion forum for the Fabian Society on food waste and what can be done to ensure that we don't throw away unwanted food.
Barry was joined at the debate by Mary Creagh MP, Shadow Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Natan Doron, Senior Researcher for the Fabian Society, Alison Cairns, Director of External Affairs at Unilever and Anthony Kleanthous, Senior Sustainability Adviser at WWF as well as a host of politicians and food industry experts.
On 11th September 2012 Barry joined Professor Brian Cox, ITV News Special Correspondent Daisy McAndrew and a number of energy experts to speak at The Energy Event at the National Exhibition Centre in Birmingham.
Barry invited by HRH The Prince of Wales to a roundtable discussion on Accounting for Sustainability at the Royal Society
On 30th May 2012 Barry took part in an event organised by HRH The Prince of Wales discussing the development of global accounting standards for a sustainable green economy ahead of the United Nations Rio+20 conference – the most important global environmental and sustainable development conference in twenty years.
Barry highlighted the need for serious discussion and intelligent policy making with respect to establishing the United Kingdom as a leading global example of how to account for green economic initiatives.
For more information about HRH The Prince of Wales' Accounting for Sustainability Project please click here.
On 22nd May 2012 Barry opened the National Energy Management Exhibition at the Sustainability Live event at the NEC Birmingham in his capacity as Leader of the Opposition's Special Envoy for Climate Change and the Environment.
Barry addressed the conference discussing how renewable energy sources factor into Electricity Market Reform.
The Sustainability Live event is one of Europe's leading conferences bringing together experts and organisations with an interest in developing a sustainable, environmentally friendly economy.
On 10th May 2012 Barry joined a panel of experts in Parliament for the launch of the Ecosystem Marketplace Special Report: 'Bringing it Home: Taking Stock of Government Engagement with the Voluntary Carbon Market' and to discuss voluntary carbon markets in which companies and private organisations may trade credits to offset their greenhouse gas emissions (meaning that they pay for what they emit).
On 25th April 2012 Barry launched a pamphlet for The Fabian Society examining the role of public opinion and ways in which people can become more engaged in the sort of changes required to stop dangerous levels of global warming.
You can find more information on the pamphlet, entitled "The Fairness Instinct", or about The Fabian Society here.
On 24th April 2012 Barry brought together MPs from across London to highlight concerns that Boris Johnson is putting public health at risk by spending large sums of taxpayers' money deliberately hiding London's air pollution.
In a joint letter to the Secretary of State for Environment, Caroline Spelman, London's Labour MPs condemned Boris Johnson for spending £1.5 million of public money gluing harmful pollutants to the road in an attempt to artificially reduce the readings around air quality monitoring stations.
The letter warns that spraying pollution suppressants in front of official air quality monitors does nothing to affect actual emissions; it simply misleads the people of London about the quality of the air they are breathing, while putting the UK at risk of millions of pounds of fines for failing to comply with European law for reducing air pollution in the UK.
Barry launches new Parliamentary group to encourage households and businesses to become more fuel efficient
On 17th April 2012 Barry set up a parliamentary group with other legislators from all parties to discuss the Green Deal, a new government policy which aims to encourage households and businesses to become more energy efficient by carrying out improvements to their properties.
Barry is deeply concerned that the current government proposals for the Green Deal will not be effective and the UK will not meet its own energy efficiency targets. Instead of simply carping from the sidelines, he will use the group to co-ordinate constructive criticism from businesses and energy consumer groups to improve the legislation.
On 11th April 2012 Barry spoke in a debate hosted by The Earth Debates at the Natural History Museum and chaired by BBC Environmental Correspondent, Richard Black.
The debate focused on the issue of managing the supply of food for an ever increasing global population and was part of a series of debates addressing the key issues of encouraging environmental awareness, food management and the green economy, in preparation of the United Nations Rio + 20 Earth Summit.
You can watch the full debate here.
Barry takes part in conference on how fair it is to ask the people of the UK to help change the environment
On 26th March 2012 Barry took part in a question and answer session at a Fabian/Amnesty International conference on "Climate Justice: Meeting the Fairness Test".
The conference addressed environmental changes and their impact on society. As part of the conference, much research was presented showing who would be most vulnerable to the effects of environmental change and how best to ensure fairness when bringing in policies to encourage such change. Various differing arguments were put forward as to how best to raise awareness of these effects and to ensure discussion on the subject.
On 28th February 2012 Barry attended a meeting at the European Parliament in Brussels on the EU reform of Common Fisheries Policy. Barrry joined members of national Parliaments, the EU Commissioner Maria Damanaki and the European Parliament in discussing ways to ensure the preservation of biodiversity and healthy fish stocks.
On Tuesday 21 February 2012, Barry addressed Parliament about ways to make sure the environment is not harmed during the events of the London Olympics, continuing the campaign against the involvement of Dow Chemicals in London 2012.
Barry is committed to raising awareness in Parliament regarding Dow Chemical's involvement to India's Bhopas gas disaster in 1984, which killed more than 15,000 people. The US firm was awarded the £7m contract to provide the decorative wrap for London's Olympic Stadium, despite continuing criticism of its involvement to India's Bjopas gas disaster in 1984.
A full text of Barry's speech can be found here:
On January 16th, Barry hosted and led an important meeting with over 70 leading biodeversity experts as well as legislators at Westminster to discuss the economic value of biodeversity and ecosystems.
Barry himself plays a leading role in highlighting the importance of protecting and conserving biodiversity to Government and Parliament.
For more information and for a report of the meeting, please firstname.lastname@example.org
On 11 January 2012, Barry spearheaded the debate against doorstep selling as part of the Opposition Day Debate on Energy Prices in the House of Commons. Barry has continually advocated for decreased energy prices and continues to campaign against the Big Six Energy Companies.
Since 2004, gas and electricity bills have increased more than six times faster than household incomes, meaning that a quarter of all households in England and Wales are now in fuel poverty. Increasing energy bills and stagnating incomes also mean that an additional 25% of people now face energy debts and more than 850,000 electricity consumers and more than 700,000 gas customers are now in debt to their energy supplier.
I would dearly love to give the hon. Member for Ipswich (Ben Gummer) a lesson in the history he so eloquently went into earlier, but I shall defer that to another occasion. I would point out, however, that although he accused the previous Government of not having tackled structural reform in the energy market, they did so on two occasions with the new electricity trading arrangements, or NETA, and the British electricity trading and transmission arrangements, or BETTA. We will save the rest of that debate for another day.
On December 13th, Barry spoke at 'How Green Should We Go?', an event jointly hosted by the Institute of Public Policy Research and Centrica in the House of Commons. This is part of a series of proposals launced by Barry to ensure that members of Parliament understand that protecting the environment and moving to a greener economy should be a priority.
The event examined the demands of climate change and what needed to be done to reduce carbon emissions in a cost effective way.
Other speakers included: David Kennedy, Chief Executive, Committee on Climate Change; Gearoid Lane, Managing Director of British Gas New Energy; Nick Pearce, Director of the IPPR; and Matthew Sinclair, Director of the Tax Payers Alliance.
Barry Gardiner MP, as Chair of Labour Friends of India, along with survivors of the Bhopal disaster and Indian Olympians, launched a new campaign at the Olympic Stadium in Stratford on Tuesday to protest the decision to award Dow Chemical Company the contract to build the decorative wrapping on the Olympic Stadium.
Barry and Labour Friends of India are appalled by Dow's human rights record in regards to the victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster puts the Olympic legacy at risk.
Dow owns Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), which was responsible for the 1984 gas leak in Bhopal. Half a million people were exposed to the gas and 25,000 have died to date as a result of their exposure. More than 120,000 people still suffer from illness caused by the accident and the pollution that followed at the plant site.
At today's question time in the House of Commons, Barry embarrassed Chris Huhne, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, about his support for unwelcome doorstep sales of gas and electricity contracts at a time when Britain's six biggest energy providers are abandoning this practice. Barry has been actively campaigning against this selling practice as it does not offer better deals and often targets vulnerable customers.
Companies began reconsidering their doorstep sales after Barry asked the CEOs of the 'Big Six' whether they would ever encourage their own children to buy a financial product on the doorstep.
After this debate, four of the six big energy companies announced that they will stop cold selling on the doorstep.
Barry said: "Chris Huhne and the CEOs of E.ON and Scottish Power remain the only three top energy bosses in Britain who still think that targeting vulnerable customers on their doorstep is a fair and useful practice".
Slowly but surely the Big Six Energy Companies are crumbling. This comes after Barry wrote to all the Big Six Chief Executives to demand they stop their doorstep selling practices.
Barry challenged the Big Six to "Get off our Doorsteps" when he asked each of the companies' representatives whether any of them had ever bought a major financial purchase like energy from a cold-call doorstep sales rep. Not one could claim they had and they admitted that they would never recommend that their children should either!
In August Barry wrote to all the other chief executives. On the 30th of August E.ON's CEO Dr. Paul Golby responded refusing to end doorstep sales, with a letter attempting to justify the practise. He stepped down the following day.
On the 1st of September, RWE nPower's CEO Volker Beckers wrote back accepting that change was necessary, but did not state when his company would stop. Finally EDF Energy replied on the 7th September agreeing to end unsolicited door-step selling.
Scottish Power stated that they propose to continue cold calling on people.
E.ON and Scottish Power thus remain the last two companies amongst Britain's largest six energy firms which do not intend to stop selling energy contracts on the doorstep, a practice which has attracted widespread public criticism.