On Wednesday night, I attended the 2010/11 AGM of the Warwickshire and West Midlands Association of Local Councils (WALC) in Warwick.
Representatives from 40 of the town and parish councils in Warwickshire met at Shire Hall to elect the officers and the county committee of WALC for the forthcoming year, and to hear a keynote speech from Jonathan Horsfield, Renewable Energy Advisor for Warwickshire County Council.
The topic of Jonathan's speech was 'UK Energy Security and Peak Oil', which may not be at the top of every parish council's agenda, but was an interesting subject nonetheless. The concept of 'Peak Oil' is that it is the point at which the maximum amount of oil is being extracted from the earth. After this point has been reached and then passed, oil production will rapidly decrease, prices will dramatically increase, and the knock-on implications for travel, heating and food production etc will need to be tackled by governments, energy companies and individuals.
It was perhaps all a bit 'Doomsday scenario' for a gathering of mostly geriatric parish councillors, but the general theme was that all of us will be required to re-evaluate our dependency on oil and be prepared for changes in lifestyle and disposable income as a finite natural resource becomes ever more scarce. Jonathan outlined in practical terms what the impact of increasing oil prices could have on the services the county council provided, including highways maintenance, transportation, catering and children's services.
If you want to learn more about this issue, have a look at the Oil Depletion Analysis Centre website, or watch video from Warwickshire County Council's seminar held in June on energy security and the implications of oil supply for local authorities here.
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