Julia Hailes MBE

Sustainability Pioneer


Sunny day in London (May07)

Unusually I didn’t have meetings in the morning, so I headed for the Lido on the Serpentine. Delicious ‘pain au chocolat’ and not such a delicious organic orange juice for breakfast, whilst reading Rosie Boycott’s Our Farm, published earlier this month.

A man approached me saying something about the child he was carrying not being his. I was a little baffled until I recognised Piers Russell-Cobb, who is a friend I haven’t seen for a long time. He was also enjoying the beautiful sunny morning. He told me his office was close by, so I suspect this is not the first time he’s absconded to the park! The baby he had been holding belonged to Eric Bettleheim, whose wife was with Piers. I never knew Eric very well and haven’t seen him for a long time but bizarrely his name came up again later in the day. He’s involved in sustainable forestry and carbon sequestration projects – as Executive Chairman of Sustainable Forestry Management.

I headed off for a lunch meeting at Marks & Spencer. Went to talk to Mike Barry, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility, about Plan A and how they are meeting their targets.

Across the park again to the House of Commons. Drinks on the terrace overlooking the Thames with Peter Ainsworth MP, Conservative Shadow Environment Minister and Steve Hilton (David Cameron’s right hand man). Covered a wide range of topics but I always have a feeling with meetings of this sort that there’s something really important I’ve forgotten to mention. A couple of days ago I met Chris Huhne the Lib Dem Shadow Environment Minister at a talk he did in Ilminster. What I find encouraging is that politicians don’t need persuading that environment should be high on their agenda, the issue is how best to respond…


Comment Section

0 Responses

  1. Dear Julia

    I am delighted to see you still flying the flag.

    I have not yet acquired the new book, but I am prompted to get back in touch having read your two page spread in the current Big Issue.

    Of course I really do welcome and applaud what you are doing, in terms of outreach. But one aspect still genuinely worries me, and it is one I remember raising with you 15 years ago : it is that by concentrating on the little initiatives people can take, you can fail to provide adequate guidance balance what is really important, what can really make a difference.

    Two-thirds of most homes’ energy use is on heating and hot water. Minimising that is where infinitely the biggest hit can come. No matter how splendid your kettle or your iron may be, if your boiler is 15 years+ old and is never even serviced, there is going to be far more fuel being wasted.

    And “insulate your home as much as possible” is really advice that should be written in bold letters, not tucked away amongst household tips about switching lights off or wearing more clothes.

    Please don’t get me wrong. you know I value enormously what you are doing, as I always have. But truthfully the most valuable role you can play has to be to promote a better understanding of what does really make a big difference, and what only a minor one.


    Andrew Warren
    Director, Association for the Conservation of Energy

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