About us – UK2zero

We are the Green Industry working group, part of Labour International’s Campaign for a Green New Deal


Dr Frankie Ashton

Active in Labour and Environmental movements for nigh on 60 years, Frankie started young! She has held various offices in SERA: full-time campaign co-ordinator, pamphlet production, working group administrator, newsletter production/distribution, as well as being involved in CHP Conference at the Polytechnic of the South Bank. She has a PhD in labour market inequalities and local authority economic intervention at SAUS Bristol University, is an Hon Res Fellow at Economics Dept Bradford University and a Chartist EB member and contributor. She now convenes uk2zero within Labour International.

Richard Marks

A member of the Labour Party for 52 years, with a move to Germany in 2014, Richard is a retired civil engineer specialising in maritime planning, design and construction. He has worked at a number of ports worldwide and on gas production platform refurbishment and oil production platform construction in the North Sea. Before retiring he was responsible for his company’s Green Ports Initiative. This involved offering ports integrated solutions to decarbonise, mainly by converting equipment to renewable electric power and reducing power usage by better electrical phasing and substitution of LED for conventional lighting; also by making use of wave and tidal energy to generate electricity at the port. Richard has presented papers at Green Ports Conferences including a paper on alternative non-fossil fuels for port equipment and ships. He was involved in research for Vattenfall into possible offshore wind facilities at ports bordering the North Sea and for reviewing the improved provision of testing facilities at the European Marine Energy Centre, Orkney. He was a member of the PIANC Working Group on Sustainable Ports whose Report was published in 2012.

Wendy Fowler

With a BA in Fine Arts at Cheltenham & Exeter art schools (sculpture & ceramics) and MA at Oxford University, Wendy worked in Adult Basic Education in Gloucestershire as a Tutor, then Organiser. She has presented at conferences on the role of ABE in teaching people with a mental disability and gained the RSA post-graduate certificate in Learning and Teaching in ABE. Since moving to France in 1990, Wendy designed and built a new house using underfloor heating with a heat pump, and solar panels for hot water. As a committed member of LI she has been an invaluable and active participant in uk2zero who has built-up our expertise and research material bank on network distribution of waste and geothermal heat for District Heating.


This project developed within a group from Labour International campaigning for a Green New Deal. We have a shared interest in shifting UK industrial policy away from fossil fuel dependency in an urgent but equitable manner. While most of us are members of the UK Labour Party we are not tribal about it and are happy to work with anyone who shares our belief in the utmost importance of a comprehensive, inclusive, democratically accountable, industrial green transition. We are particularly interested in the win-win potential at local level of combining Community Wealth Building initiatives with Green Infrastructure renewal. Please get in touch if you have ideas, experience, expertise or raw enthusiasm which you think could contribute to the campaign.

A ‘Green and Pleasant Land’?

You’ll no doubt recognise the above reference to William Blake’s iconic poem, ‘Jerusalem’. Blake’s life (1757-1827) coincided almost exactly with the period of the Industrial revolution:

“The Industrial Revolution was the transition to new manufacturing processes in Britain, continental Europe and the United States, in the period from about 1760 to sometime between 1820 and 1840. This transition included going from hand production methods to machines, new chemical manufacturing and iron production processes, the increasing use of steam power and water power, the development of machine tools and the rise of the mechanized factory system.” Wikipedia

While the mainstream narrative is that this “revolution” had an inevitability about it – the inexorable march of progress etc – recent research ( eg ‘Fossil Capital’ Andreas Malm, 2016) suggests that in reality the transition from wind and water power to coal-fuelled steam was far from inevitable and driven by choices that reflected the power structures and profit motives that were dominant at the time.

We are now living through the endgame of the consequences of those choices, with not just England’s, but the entire planet’s “green and pleasant land” facing catastrophe.

How to prevent the worst of that catastrophe and embark on a transition as profound and comprehensive as the one Blake lived through – but at a far greater speed – is the task humanity now faces. Those of us who have contributed to this website hope to make a small contribution to that endeavour by focussing on the “nuts and bolts” of industrial and community transformation. We’re interested in the actual physical, chemical and mechanical processes that can be deployed to eliminate our current dependence on fossil fuels, and in the particularities of the locations where they can be deployed. Our research draws on best practice from around the globe, but being UK citizens our purpose is primarily to inform and influence policymakers there.