SMEs set to save thousands with advanced metering, November 28 2005 Edit
The Carbon Trust today issued a progress report on its ongoing £1.5million trial of new low-cost advanced metering equipment, showing that small to medium sized organisations (SMEs) could save between 10 and 15 per cent of their total utility bills - with some saving even more. A secondary school in Devon, Tiverton High School, has already saved £24,000 per year on its water and gas bills after using advanced metering technology. Advanced metering aims to help businesses better identify opportunities to cut wastage and benefit from savings on their utility bills. Electricity, gas and water consumption is monitored every 30 minutes, enabling detailed analysis of usage patterns. This was previously impossible since companies could only use utility bills to make this assessment, which were often based on infrequent meter readings or estimates. Reducing energy use has become increasingly important for growing businesses as energy prices have risen by a third in the last year. Through lowering energy usage, businesses can both save money and cut carbon emissions. www.thecarbontrust.co.uk / Towards Sustainable Economies
Regional institutions need structural changes in order to take action on climate change and put environmental and social impacts at the heart of decision-making, according to a review published today by the Sustainable Development Commission. The review finds that a lack of joined-up thinking, conflicting government strategies and poor leadership mean that the regions are not delivering on sustainable development. Recommendations include that
- all Regional Development Agencies and Government Offices should take immediate action on climate change
- Government Offices should ensure that delivery of the national sustainable development strategy is their primary aim.
- Regional Development Agencies and Regional Assemblies should develop a proper accountability structure for sustainable development
For a free copy of ‘The Next Steps - an Independent Review of Sustainable Development in the English Regions’, visit www.sd-commission.org.uk.
A case for a sustainable food logistics centre - a food hub, November 23 2005 Edit
Under the auspices of the London Hospital Project, but with additional funding from the London Development Agency, Sustain commissioned Professor John Whitelegg to prepare a case for a sustainable food logistics centre - a food hub. Professor Whitelegg's report gives details of Sustain's vision: a 5,000 square metre building, potentially offering storage, packing, processing, closed organic facilities, marketing and training support, partly publicly financed and self-supporting within three years. Sustain will be negotiating next steps in the new year with a range of partners, following the publication in December 2005 of the Mayor of London's Food Strategy - www.lda.gov.uk/londonfood. Professor Whitelegg's report is available as a download, PDF (581Kb), via the Sustain website: Sustainable Food Chain's Home Page / Food
Eco-Schools master bad behaviour, November 23 2005 Edit
It has improved conduct at HALF of the schools who’ve tried it and slashed bills at over 3,000 of our cash-strapped schools.
So what is this miracle cure? Eco-Schools - a scheme, organised by ENCAMS in England which will be celebrated today at the National Eco-Schools conference in Birmingham, as proof positive that young kids are more concerned about the environment than adults are.
"The simple fact is that while some grown-ups believe care of the environment is some else’s problem; many children have twigged that it has a huge impact on everyone - here and now" said Simon Chapman, Executive Director of Eco-Schools. "What’s more, they’ve shown that by making small changes, you can create cleaner, safer, greener places to live in." ENCAMS press release / Education
Sustainability in former Soviet states, November 18 2005 Edit
A partnership sharing UK expertise and financial help with the countries of Eastern Europe, the Caucasus and Central Asia is inviting international partners to join its efforts. The EECCA region includes some of the world's poorest countries, and has a post-Soviet industrial legacy and environmental problems which fundamentally affect quality of life there.
At a ceremony in Armenia's capital Yerevan, UK Environment Minister Elliot Morley today launched internationally Partners for Environmental Cooperation in Europe (PECE), a UK initiative bringing together public sector, private sector and interest groups to establish project partnerships which will provide practical, on-the-ground help and promote sustainable development in the region. The number of PECE members is still growing in the UK. It is hoped that the forty eight UK-based partners, which include Westden International will now forge links with a wide range of organisations from across the EECCA countries themselves. Defra news release, PECE / Sustainability networks
Montreal will test Blair on climate change, say FoE, November 17 2005 Edit
The Montreal Climate Talks will be the crucial test of Tony Blair's commitment to tackling climate change, Friends of the Earth said today, as speculation grows around the UK Government's line. Representatives from 190 countries will attend the UN Climate Conference in Montreal from 28 November 2005 for crucial talks on the future development of the Kyoto Protocol.
The UK Government, which currently holds both the presidency of the EU and of the G8, will play a key role at the talks, leading the EU delegation. Tony Blair has said action on climate change is a priority, but with little achieved at the G8 Summit in Gleneagles in July, the pressure is now on for real progress to be made in Montreal.
The Kyoto Protocol, which came into force in February this year, is the only international treaty to tackle climate change, setting binding targets for industrialised countries to cut carbon emissions by 2012. The Montreal talks will determine the future development of the treaty, potentially setting the agenda for the development of targets post 2012. FoE press release / Climate change
People want flexible working, but most can't get it, November 17 2005 Edit
Almost one in ten of employees in the UK (2.3 million people) would like to work fewer hours, even if this meant taking home less money each month, according to a report published today by the TUC. However, more than half a million workers who have asked for a shorter working week have had their requests turned down by their employers.
The report, 'Challenging times', reveals that over three-quarters of UK employees (77.4 per cent) have no element of flexibility in their employment contracts, prompting the TUC to call for employers to do more to introduce changed ways of working that suit companies and individuals alike. TUC press release / Rewarding work
Traffic light food labelling will help busy shoppers make healthier choices, says NCC, November 16 2005 Edit
The National Consumer Council (NCC) warmly welcomes today’s Food Standards Agency’s plans for a front of pack Multiple Traffic Light food labelling scheme to identify foods that are high - or low - in salt, sugar and fat.
Jillian Pitt at the NCC: ‘The FSA’s decision to back a traffic light labelling system is a major step forward. It is based on thorough research into what works best for consumers and will make choosing healthy food easier for everyone. Once the details of the scheme are finalised it is vital the industry adopts a consistent approach across all food products to avoid confusion for the consumers.’
UK urges Japan to scrap its scientific whaling programme, November 11 2005 Edit
Fisheries minister Ben Bradshaw has condemned Japan's decision to go ahead with its whaling programme in the Southern Ocean. The lethal programme, known as JARPA II, will start within days as the Japanese ships have already left for the ocean off Antarctica.
Under the programme, Japan plans to increase its minke whale kill from 440 to 935 annually. It will also kill 10 fin whales this year and 10 next. From 2007-08, Japan plans to increase the kill of fin whales to 50 and then include 50 humpback whales annually. Mr Bradshaw said: "Japan is flying in the face of world opinion. This slaughter has little or no basis in science and I would urge Japan not to proceed." Defra news release / Biodiversity
Adapting to Climate change: Defra survey, November 9 2005 Edit
Due to past emissions of greenhouse gases, as well as natural variation and the slow response of the climate system, some climate change is now inevitable, regardless of current and future action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, so adaptation is needed. Climate Change and Environment Minister Elliot Morley: "Climate change is happening and it will impact on all organisations across the country. The government is aiming to put together an adaptation strategy to assist in this planning. But first we need to know what is already in hand." Defra say benefits of the strategy will include: "Communication of action on climate change - making activities more visible and increasing awareness." Defra news release / Consultations
Living Streets welcomes plans for a London Beach next summer, November 2 2005 Edit
Tom Franklin, of Living Streets: "Streets and public spaces should be vibrant, fun places to be... I hope that other towns and cities will catch this mood of fun, and come up with their own plans to bring their public spaces alive." Read the story via Living Streets website / Urban & village design, Department of FUN!
BWEA's cautious welcome for new Low Carbon Buildings Programme, November 2 2005 Edit
Chris Tomlinson of The British Wind Energy Association: "There is an enormous public appetite for the uptake of small wind and other renewable systems and this announcement is a step in the right direction towards harnessing the power of our homes, schools and offices. The best way for the public and industry to respond to this is to demonstrate that appetite by ensuring this scheme is a sell-out and to build a powerful case for even more Government action on small scale renewables. The total amount of money available for these technologies is still very small in comparison to their potential. Grants are useful but on their own won’t harness the full potential of microrenewables. The Government must also bring forward other measures such as permitted development rights and reversible metering to help small wind systems become part of the mainstream." BWEA Press Release / Sustainable energy
People Power - 10,000 people across Greater Manchester take individual climate change pledge, November 1 2005 Edit
As G8 ministers grapple over the future of our warming planet and former US Vice President, Al Gore delivers a keynote speech to the Labour Party on climate change, ten thousand Mancunians take a pledge to combat climate change as the city region launches its 'green energy revolution'.
More than ten thousand people who live or work in Greater Manchester have pledged to help reduce the city's greenhouse gas emissions by 20% before 2010, as part of a massive, city-wide campaign on climate change, entitled 'Manchester is my Planet (MIMP)'. Campaign organisers have estimated the amount of carbon dioxide savings pledged by Mancunians so far equals around 22,400 tonnes per year - that's enough CO2 to fill more than 20,000 hot air balloons, or a mind-boggling 15 billion empty wine bottles.
With support from a host of universities, large companies, radio stations and major sports clubs, eco-friendly citizens have taken the MIMP pledge via the campaign's website, www.manchesterismyplanet.com or by text message, through postcards and at street-level events that have taken place during September and October. To help them on their low-energy way, each pledger has received a campaign pack including low-energy advice, promo stickers and even a 'let's lick climate change' lollipop.
Celebrity pledgers supporting the campaign include Dr Who star Christopher Ecclestone, Manchester City football star David James, Athlete Diane Modahl, ITV and Granada presenter Fred Talbot and Coronation Street's William Roache MBE (Ken Barlow). The Manchester is my Planet campaign is being run by Manchester: Knowledge Capital and supported by organisations that include Manchester City Council and the city region's other nine local authorities, United Utilities, the Northwest Regional Development Agency and Defra. Creative Concern press release / Climate change, Climate change information by local councils in England
Local environmental services 'fail to clean up' deprived neighbourhoods, November 1 2005 Edit
Residents in deprived neighbourhoods are getting lower standards of street cleaning and refuse collection services than residents in more affluent areas, according to research for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation. This is in spite of the greater range and severity of problems they face, particularly regarding graffiti, litter, fly-tipping, and poorly maintained public spaces.
Deprived neighbourhoods, with hard to look after features such as high-rise buildings and large open spaces, and higher than average population densities, are especially prone to environmental problems. However, local authorities do not routinely deploy services and resources which are sufficient to meet the needs of such neighbourhoods. This is due to difficulty in negotiating between these needs and the competing and well articulated demands from residents of better off neighbourhoods. Findings summary and downloadable report (PDF, 377KB) available via JRF website - Joseph Rowntree Foundation press release / Environment quality, Environmental justice