JONATHAN Essex, who has campaigned tirelessly for the government to encourage greater reuse of reclaimed, is to stand as MP for Reigate for the Green Party.
His daytime job is reclaimed building materials manager for BioRegional Reclaimed in Surrey, but he has also been a staunch member of the Greens for a while, helping them with policy especially on reuse. In 2008 he called for Surrey district councils to act on climate change and commit to the 10:10 initiative. In 2009 he supported a campaigns to revitalise town centres and reduce new out of town superstores, to tax plastic carrier bags at 10p, to reduce speed limits to 20mph outside schools and in residential areas, and to stop a third runway at Gatwick airport. On the airport he is quoted as saying, "A government report argues that aviation is important to the UK economy but that Gatwick will always be a low-cost carrier-dominated leisure airport. How can exporting our tourism overseas be good for the economy? Research by Gatwick Area Conservation Campaign shows that airport expansion actually destroys at least four times as many UK jobs through exporting tourism than are created."
Jonathan has campaigned for increased recognition of the value of the salvage sector in terms of the economy, jobs and embodied carbon. It is tragic that in the last ten years around a quarter of a million less tonnes of timber have been reclaimed and reused in the UK, losing irreplaceable products like rosewood mahogany and elm floorboards. The amount of energy generated when these are burnt in 'energy from waste' plants is far less than the embodied carbon wasted by failing to reuse.
The Green Party is calling for zero waste without incineration. This requires a shift from investment in downcycling to value-added reuse, creating around 60,000 jobs in reuse, recycling and remanufacturing in the UK.
Jonathan was beaten by 20 votes when he stove as Green candidate in local elections in 2008 in Redhill East, and was beaten by 170 votes in 2009 in the county elections. He has also stood as a candidate in European elections in 2009.