Have your say on the sea, August 30 2005 Edit
The public, conservation groups and industry are being invited to give their views on a major piece of legislation that will improve the management of Britain's seas. The Government is committed to introducing a Marine Bill that will establish an integrated system for the streamlined planning, management and protection of coastal and marine natural resources.
Partner organisations are being invited to a series of three events to discuss the proposals which work towards creating clean, healthy, safe, productive and biologically diverse seas.
The first forum will be held on Sept 26 in London. Defra is committed to publishing a Draft Marine Bill by October 2006. Further information via DEFRA's website
"Save your planet. Start with Manchester." August 30 2005 Edit
Thousands of people pledged to save the planet over the bank holiday weekend as the 'Manchester is my Planet' campaign launched across the city. The campaign team were out in force at both Pride and the Manchester City game and managed to gather 4,000 pledges - nearly half of the total 10,000 target. The campaign is set to run until the end of October and a host of Mancunian celebrities have already come on board including actor Christopher Eccleston, athlete Diane Modahl, footballer David James, and city council leader Richard Leese.
Campaigners are urging those who live or work in the city region to take the 'Manchester is my Planet' pledge before a G8 climate change event to be staged in early November. Each individual will be pledging to help the city region reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 20% before 2010, to help the UK meet its international commitment on climate change. www.manchesterismyplanet.com
Why women matter to the environment, August 5 2005 Edit
Women matter, are active at the grassroots and hold many solutions to environmental problems, says Why women and the environment? a new briefing from Women’s Environmental Network. Yet they have less influence over the major environmental decisions because men still, by and large, hold the reins of power in politics, civil society and business. Social roles, poverty and biology give women different concerns and perspectives which often go unheard. "Connections between women and the environment are most obvious in less industrialised countries where women still grow much of the food, and are typically depicted as ‘hewers of wood, haulers of water’," says the briefing. "But gender differences exist in all societies and affect everyone’s experience of the environment and their impact on it."
Women are sometimes cast as ‘custodians of the environment’, adding to their triple roles of childcare, work in the home and paid employment. But parallels can be drawn between the undervaluing of women’s work and the treatment of the ecosystem. Ironically women are expected to act as keepers of the environment while having the least control over or say in, decisions that affect it.
WEN urges women to use their citizen and consumer power, make their voices heard, get involved in community or local politics and support or get active in WEN or linked groups. WEN press release (includes link from which the briefing can be downloaded)
What future for rural communities? - State of the Countryside report - July 20 2005 Edit
The 2005 State of the Countryside Report, published today by the Commission for Rural Communities, provides a comprehensive picture of the quality of life in rural England. It shows that, in the most disadvantaged rural areas, almost one in three households lives on a low income and, across rural England as a whole, the price of housing is out of reach of many local people and some services, such as banking, continue to decline. Countryside Agency press release
Government "to hand planning system over to the private sector" July 18 2005 Edit
Commenting on the Government's consultation paper, The Planning for Housing Provision, launched today, Friends of the Earth's Planning Advisor, Hugh Ellis, said: "These plans mark the end of any attempt by the Government to deliver socially and environmentally responsible housing and totally ignore the need for sustainable economic development across the whole of the UK.
"The Government is intent on dismantling the democratic planning system and handing it over to the private sector in the mistaken belief that it has all the answers and that over-developing the south and east is the only way to grow the UK's economy . If people are ignored in vital decisions about the future of their own communities, then I'm sure we'll see widespread protest."
The environmental campaign group believes that the recommendations are specifically designed to marginalise community participation in decisions about how much housing is provided and its location.
Regional Assemblies in England will decide the housing figures based on market information and this will be imposed on local authorities, who will have to `early release' their land if the private sector demands it. There will be no formal right for the community to object to this early release process and there will be no right for the public to be heard in the regional plan. FoE press release
New Light on 'Food Miles' July 15 2005 Edit
Food transport has a significant and growing impact on road congestion, road accidents, climate change, noise and air pollution according to a new report published today by Defra ( Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).
The environmental and social costs of the impacts are estimated at £9 billion per year with more than half due to road congestion. Consumers travel an average of 136 miles a year by car to shop for food and the quantity of food transported by heavy goods vehicles has doubled since 1974. Food transport now accounts for 25% of all HGV vehicle kilometres in the UK. DEFRA press release
Call to make Olympics the greenest ever as Games decision promises public transport facelift, July 6 2005 Edit
As the International Olympic Committee announced that the 2012 Olympic Games will be held in London, Transport 2000 welcomed the decision on the grounds that it could lead to big improvements in public transport in East London. But it warned that the Government must pledge to make these Olympics the greenest ever so as not to contradict the massive public concern over climate change apparent this week.
Stephen Joseph, Director of Transport 2000, said: "This decision will make a lot of people proud and will bring and is already bringing big improvements to public transport in East London, traditionally something of a Cinderella for transport expenditure. Now East London public transport could get a facelift.
But as the Government pushes this week on climate change, it must pledge to make these Games the greenest ever. The challenge is to make these Olympics truly Games of the 21st century, accessible by public transport, walking or cycling for everyone who wants to go.
In particular, the Government now has the opportunity to tie in the transport improvements being won on the back of the Olympics with the need for a new vision for transport in the Thames Gateway new communities now being planned. The chance to really make the Thames Gateway development a ‘sustainable community’ has now been handed on a plate to transport planners."
Transport 2000 welcomed the fact that the Olympics are set to transform public transport in East London and surrounding areas. Projects already underway or likely include:
- An extension of the East London Tube line from Whitechapel to Dalston Junction and possibly on to Caledonian Road in North London. The Olympics are thought to have been the spur for the Government to grant borrowing rights to Transport for London for investment in the scheme.
- Improvements to the Docklands Light Railway, already happening on the back of the Olympic bid, including an extension across the Thames to Woolwich South and to City Airport.
- Longer trains on the Jubilee Tube line, again already locked on course.
- An upgrade of the North London overground line between Stratford and Richmond, involving platform lengthening and more frequent services. The Olympic decision now makes this likely.
- The introduction of showcase ‘bullet trains’ - called the Olympic Javelin Shuttle - on the new Channel Tunnel Rail Link. This is now also likely.
London has Olympic chance to make 'Eco Games', July 6 2005 Edit
Welcoming today's announcement that London will host the 2012 Olympics Friends of the Earth's London Campaigns Co-ordinator, Jenny Bates, said:
"Friends of the Earth congratulates the London 2012 bid team on their success.
The hard work begins now to make the London Olympic Games the 'Eco Games' and to ensure they leave a sustainable legacy for East London.
Friends of the Earth will be tracking developments to check that progressive standards are set and adhered to for all aspects of the games. They must become a beacon for 21st century thinking and practice - stimulating innovation and bringing new best practice to benefit the whole country.
Friends of the Earth will also be working to help ensure that local concerns are met and that a legacy is left that will improve the quality of life for the people of East London." FoE Pres Release, Towards a sustainable Olympics 2012