Kids give MPs a lesson in how to win the green vote

Kids give MPs a lesson in how to win the green vote

A group of UK schoolchildren will make winning the green vote look like child's play when they arrive at Westminster today to present their manifesto for a greener Britain to Cabinet ministers and MPs on behalf of 4 million schoolchildren.

The 22 children are part of the Generation Green think tank, set up by British Gas as part of its Generation Green schools programme. The think tank aims to give children a voice on issues such as tackling climate change and a chance to put their bright ideas to the people in power.

The children will set out their six point plan at meetings with Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change and with other leading MPs from the main political parties including Greg Barker, Shadow Minister for Climate Change They are calling for:

  • All UK schools to set clear goals to cut their carbon and to be able to see how much energy they are using, so they can work with their teachers to find ways to cut down;
  • Green issues to become a part of everylesson on the schooltimetable and for teachers to be given more training and support to help them do this;
  • All schools to be given Government funding for green energy, in the same way as schools are given funding for books and other essentials;
  • A ban on the standby button - stopping manufacturers from making electrical items with standby buttons;
  • Government to make it easier for people to recycle by putting more recycling bins in public places like parks, city centres and restaurants; and
  • Government to make it easier for local businesses to recycle their waste.

The Generation Green manifesto is the result of a year-long quest that has taken the children to the Met Office, a zero-carbon community and cutting-edge recycling facilities for inspiration. Along the way, they have thrashed out their ideas with influential experts, including leading environmentalist and think tank chair, Julia Hailes MBE.

Greg Barker MP, Shadow Climate Change minister said: ""I am really impressed by the Generation Green Think Tank's grasp of the importance of climate change and I am inspired by their enthusiasm for action. Their manifesto is a reminder that our kids' future will be shaped by us, and that we must all do our bit to protect that future. I've long argued that a root to branch approach focusing on green education is vital to safeguard the environment for future generations, and am pleased to see that they agree! It's great to see that companies like British Gas are playing a role in helping innovative and engaging green education to take root across the country."

Julia commented: "I'm delighted that the children were able to speak out on green issues. They were clearly passionate about making a difference and I think they've come up with some great ideas that could be an election hit too - we certainly hope so."

Gearóid Lane, Director of Communities and New Energy, British Gas New Energy said: "I've been bowled over by the energy and enthusiasm that the think tank have shown over the last year. We wanted to give the tomorrow's leaders a chance to put their ideas to today's leaders, and British Gas is excited to be working with the Government to make one of those ideas a reality already.

"Every primary and secondary school in England will get the opportunity to have real-time energy information at their fingertips through the Government's £12m energy display initiative. British Gas will provide and install energy display meters in thousands of schools under the initiative. Our Generation Green classroom resources will help schools to use the meters to cut their carbon footprint and energy bills, and to bring lessons to life across the curriculum."

The Generation Green think tank was selected by a panel of expert judges, following a nationwide search for the UK's greenest young minds. Generation Green launched the

search in response to a survey which showed that children want their voices to be heard on climate change, and are frustrated at being sidelined. The poll showed three quarters (74%) of UK children think adults are not doing enough to protect the environment, while a quarter (26%) feel frustrated that their green concerns fall on deaf ears. The data also showed how motivated the younger generation are, with half (49%) believing they can make a difference to the cause.

Generation Green is British Gas's nationwide schools programme designed to help teachers, pupils and their local communities to reduce their carbon footprint and become more energy efficient through green education resources and incentives. Over a third of UK schools are already benefiting from the programme.



  • The survey of 1,488 schoolchildren aged 7-14 was conducted online by Dubit Research from 5th January to 21st January 2009

  • About Generation Green: Generation Green is British Gas's nationwide schools programme designed to empower teachers, schools and their local communities to tackle climate change through greener behaviour. It has already attracted nearly 10,000 schools to sign up and get involved since its launch in April 2008. The programme rewards schools for green actions with ‘Green Leaves' which are collected by schools and redeemed against useful prizes ranging from solar water heating kits and energy efficient light bulbs to green energy trackers. Consumers can participate in Generation Green by donating the leaves they collect to a school of their choice, and they can receive Leaves simply by switching to paperless British Gas billing or completing an energy saver's report online. More information about Generation Green can be found online at

  • The Generation Green Think Tank is the first environmental think tank for 7-14 year olds, devised as part of British Gas' Generation Green schools programme. Following a nationwide search the 22 children were chosen by an expert judging panel, including Gearóid Lane,Director for British Gas New Energy; Julia Hailes,author of New Green Consumer Guide; Lawrence McGinty,ITV News' Science Editor; and Ann Finlayson,Commissioner for Education at the Sustainable Development Commission. The members will develop their own three-point plan to tackle major environmental challenges facing the UK. They have support from a range of experts, including Julia Hailes, and next year the team will present its manifesto to the Government and other influential groups on behalf of the nation's school pupils.

  • About British Gas: British Gas, the biggest energy supplier in the country and part of the Centrica group of companies, has the lowest carbon intensity of any of the major UK energy suppliers in terms of tonnes of CO² emitted per megawatt hour of electricity supplied to customers. It was cited as Britain's greenest energy supplier in a survey by WWF (UK Power Giants: Generating Climate Change 2007, 28th Sept 2007). Centrica is one of the biggest investors in renewable power generation, principally offshore wind. Its Lynn and Inner Dowsing development, currently being constructed off the Lincolnshire coast, will be the UK's largest offshore wind development when completed

  • The Generation Green judging panel included: Julia Hailes, author The Green Consumer Guide (; Lawrence McGinty, Emmy Award winning Science Reporter, ITV News; Ann Finlayson, Education Commissioner, Sustainable Development Commission; Virginia Graham, Chair of Board of Trustees, Global Action Plan; Gearoid Lane, Director, British Gas New Energy.