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Films of Local Food Week in Southville, Ashton and Bedminster, Bristol, UK, October 28 2005 Edit

A 3 minute film of the highlights of the opening weekend of this years Local Food Week in Southville, Ashton and Bedminster, Bristol, UK has been released on Indymedia. The video is viewable in quicktime, realmedia or as an mpeg.

Charlie Bolton, one of the coordinators of Local Food Week: 'Local Food Week is aimed at promoting local, organic, fairtrade or GM-free food food as well as promoting local traders. You could say it is about promoting food sustainability. But, mainly it is an opportunity for local people to join in promoting local food, and also about having a bit of fun'.

Filming at the events will include comments from local residents, particularly older people. Their memories will be valuable in discovering how food availability and local shopping has changed over the years. The film will provide an enjoyable record of the week, and also show how our area still benefits from having a vibrant and diverse range of accessible shops and local food sources, meeting modern demands for wholesome food.

A 15 min film of the food week will be released in the Spring. Announcements will appear on Bristol Indymedia and at the Southville Centre. / Food, Local needs met locally, Sustainability networks, New technology focus

Local and regional authorities must set CO2 emmissions targets - FoE, October 21 2005 Edit

Local authorities and regional assemblies must set targets for cutting their area's contribution to global warming and ensure that their policies help them achieve this, Friends of the Earth said today. The call comes as the Department for Food, Environment and Rural Affairs, published new figures estimating carbon dioxide emissions from each region in England and local authority area in the UK [see next story below].

Friends of the Earth's climate campaigner, Martyn Williams: "The UK Government's climate strategy is failing, and carbon dioxide emissions are rising instead of falling. The Government must get its strategy back on track and introduce a legal framework to ensure that UK carbon dioxide emissions are cut by three per cent every year."

"But the Chancellor can start cutting emissions immediately if he introduces incentives in his pre-budget statement which make it easier and cheaper for people to take action, including measures to encourage energy saving in the home and promote more fuel-efficient motoring."

"Regional Assemblies and local authorities must wake up to threat of global warming. They should set targets for cutting emissions and ensure that their strategies help them achieve it. This must include ensuring that all new housing developments are carbon neutral."

Friends of the Earth wants the Chancellor to:

  • Encourage householders to go green. This should include financial incentives for installing renewable energy - such as solar panels - in the home; stamp duty reductions for energy-efficient homes and VAT reductions on energy efficient products;
  • Do more to encourage people to buy greener cars by increasing road tax (Vehicle Excise Duty) on gas-guzzlers and cutting it for greener cars. Increase fuel duty in line with inflation - at the very least - each year, with the money raised used to promote real alternatives: better public transport and streets safe for walking and cycling, particularly for children.
  • Increase air passenger duty, to start tackling the spiraling environmental damage from aviation.

FoE press release, www.thebigask.com / Sustainable energy, Climate change information by local councils in England, Blue nose day, Sustainability indicators, Climate change

CO2 emissions by area - Defra release new figures, October 21 2005 Edit

New government figures estimating local emissions of carbon dioxide - one of the biggest causes of climate change - around the UK have been published today. The trial statistics for 2003 show by local authority area how much carbon dioxide (CO2) is being produced across the UK. Emissions are mostly due to energy use.

Defra has for the first time estimated the level of local household, traffic and industrial carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions, reallocating emissions from power stations to where the electricity is actually used in people's homes and businesses. On the domestic front, in nearly half of local authority areas the domestic sector generates more emissions than industry, commerce and the public sector. The rate of emissions caused by the domestic sector can vary substantially between areas, due to a range of factors such as availability of different fuels, climate, relative wealth and housing type, as well as energy efficiency.

Since these are experimental statistics subject to some limitations and uncertainties, and because circumstances can vary greatly between local authorities, it is too early to use them as 'performance indicators' for local areas. Nevertheless they will help local authorities to assess levels of emissions in their area and develop emissions reduction strategies. They will also help to raise awareness generally of greenhouse gas emissions as an issue. The results are available online via the Defra website. Defra press release / Sustainable energy, Climate change information by local councils in England, Blue nose day, Sustainability indicators, Climate change

MPs to look again at Sustainable Housing, October 20 2005 Edit

Parliament's Environmental Audit Committee (EAC) today decided to return to the subject of sustainable housing in light of the Government Response to its predecessor Committee’s report, 'Housing: Building a Sustainable Future' and the publication of the Five Year Action Plan, Sustainable Communities: Homes for All, by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) in January 2005. The EAC Report, which came out the same month, was critical of the lack of a proper assessment of the environmental implications of the Sustainable Communities Plan and the proposals of the Barker review. It also expressed alarm that in ODPM’s anxiety to increase house-building rates, particularly in the South East, serious concerns regarding infrastructure provision, building standards and carbon emissions were being sidelined. EAC press notice / Urban & village design

Transport 2000 leads broad coalition demanding a growing railway, October 17 2005 Edit

Transport 2000 today launched ‘Growing the Railways’, a new campaign Manifesto, endorsed by 21 other organisations including the TUC, RMT, Scope, The Ramblers and Help the Aged, which calls on Government to plan for a growing railway as it prepares its new strategy on the future of rail. The Manifesto says that growing railway is critical to meeting Government economic and environmental objectives as well as tackling road congestion, serving new developments and supporting regeneration and social inclusion. It points out that, for example:

  • Rail is less polluting than cars, lorries or planes and investment in rail can therefore help improve air quality and tackle climate change.
  • The Government is planning to regenerate run-down urban areas through the 'Northern Way' strategy, but current plans envisage cuts rather than investment in Northern Rail services and plans for trams in northern cities have been frozen or rejected.

Passenger journeys on Britain’s railways last year exceeded one billion, the highest since 1959, and train operators estimate that demand for rail travel will grow by 66 per cent over the next 20 years. But parts of the network are already bursting at the seams and desperately need expanding. Growing the Railways Manifesto is available at: www.transport2000.org.uk. Transport 2000 press release / Reduced dependence on cars, Community rail in the UK

Support for consensus on climate change gathers speed, October 13 2005 Edit

A coalition of leading UK organisations has today welcomed an initiative by the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives to establish a cross-party consensus for action on climate change. The groups are calling on the Government to join the initiative. The Prime Minister has described climate change as "so far-reaching in its impact and irreversible in its destructive power, that it alters radically human existence". But UK emissions of carbon dioxide have risen under Labour.

The two opposition parties are calling for year on year reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, an annual report to Parliament on progress and a monitoring mechanism to ensure that the UK is on course to meet its targets. A bill, which would make the Government legally responsible for annual three per cent reductions in carbon dioxide emissions is already before Parliament and is backed by over 250 MPs. The coalition of groups backing today's Liberal Democrat/ Conservative initiative includes organisations from industry to development groups. The breadth of the coalition shows both the disproportionate impact climate change would have on the most vulnerable and poorest groups, and the need for business to have certainty on the Government's future approach to guide investment and long term planning.

The coalition members include: ACT- Active Citizens Transform; Association for the Conservation of Energy; Christian Aid; Combined Heat and Power Association; Friends of the Earth; Greenpeace; Help the Aged; New Economics Foundation; People and Planet; Sustainable Energy Partnership; Transport 2000 and World Development Movement. FoE press release / Climate change, Blue nose day

SMEs vital in the UK’s fight against climate change, October 13 2005 Edit

"Small businesses are vital to our efforts to tackle climate change", said Dr Garry Felgate, Director of Delivery and External relations at the Carbon Trust, today. Speaking alongside Elliot Morley MP, Minister of State for Climate Change and Environment, at the launch of a campaign to encourage small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to be more energy efficient, Dr Felgate said, "[Small businesses] use around 50 per cent of total UK business energy. This costs more than £6bn a year and is responsible for half of all business carbon emissions. Companies need to be convinced that the benefits [of energy saving] are real."

The new campaign from the Carbon Trust aims to raise awareness of the services it offers to help SMEs improve their energy efficiency and tackle climate change. Fact sheets and action plans are available on the website (www.thecarbontrust.co.uk) and businesses can also call the free helpline (0800 085 2005) for further assistance from energy efficiency experts. Many businesses have already made savings of up to 20 per cent through implementing low and no cost measures recommended by the Carbon Trust, making a significant impact on the bottom line. Carbon Trust press releases / Sustainable energy, Climate change

Devastating floods happen here too, October 12 2005 Edit

Environment Agency launches campaign to tackle flood apathy

The Environment Agency is warning that too many people are ignoring the risk of flooding in this country. New research has revealed alarming levels of complacency among households at risk of flooding from rivers or the sea, despite the increasing frequency of flooding at home and abroad. Barbara Young, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, said: "Although we’re unlikely to see flooding in the UK like that caused by the Boxing Day tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, there is still a significant flood threat here from extreme rainfall and coastal surges.

"Devastating floods do happen here too, like those in Autumn 2000, and more recently in Boscastle and Carlisle. There’s a tendency for people to think ‘it’ll never happen to me’. The fact is, it could, we just don’t know when. People in this country cannot afford to be complacent about flood risk." Five million people in two million properties in England and Wales live in flood risk areas, yet despite this, Environment Agency research indicates that as many as two fifths (41%) of these people are still unaware of the threat.

On the fifth anniversary of the Autumn 2000 floods, some of the worst to hit England and Wales, the Environment Agency is launching an eye-catching advertising campaign in the national and local press to remind people that devastating floods happen here too. The campaign will urge people to find out if they live or work in a flood risk area and how to prepare in case the worst happens this winter. Environment Agency website, Environment Agency news release / Environment quality

Government dolphin protection measures exposed as hollow gesture in High Court, October 10 2005 Edit

Government measures to conserve dolphin populations in the English Channel were exposed as merely a hollow political gesture in the High Court today.

Mr Justice Stanley Burnton concluded that decision-making by Fisheries Minister Ben Bradshaw was based on 'no substantial scientific basis'. However, the Judge refused to back Greenpeace and quash Bradshaw's decision to ban pair trawling up to 12 miles from Britain's coasts, despite citing Bradshaw's own admission that the ban is 'more of a gesture really than anything that would actually help the dolphin and porpoise population'.

The Judge granted Greenpeace leave to appeal and noted that it was in the public interest to bring the case, and that there should be no order for costs against Greenpeace.

The ban was announced in September last year despite advice from government-funded scientists and conservation groups that it would be ineffective and, by forcing fishing vessels into areas with more dolphins, could even lead to an increase in dolphin deaths. Greenpeace is calling on Ben Bradshaw to ban pair trawling up to the mid-point of the English Channel (the limit of British sovereignty) and work with the European Commission to achieve a total ban on this fishery. Greenpeace press release / Biodiversity

Top chefs tell PM to ban junk food marketing to kids, October 10 2005 Edit

An open letter from more than twenty prominent food writers and chefs today calls on the Prime Minister to support the Children’s Food Bill to protect children from being targeted by junk food advertisers. The letter’s signatories include Raymond Blanc, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Sophie Grigson, Marguerite Patten OBE, Gary Rhodes, Nigel Slater, Rick Stein and Antony Worrall Thompson.

Whilst welcoming recent announcements to introduce minimum nutritional standards for school food, the letter calls upon the Government to end advertising and promotions which present junk food and drinks to children as positive and desirable choices. It also calls for practical food education to become part of the school curriculum for every child, "to stop the scandal of children leaving school knowing only how to open a packet or a tin".

Protecting children from junk food marketing and ensuring practical food education for all children are central provisions of the Children’s Food Bill, which is already supported by more than 200 cross-party MPs, 150 national organisations and many thousands of parents. More information about the Children’s Food Bill is available from: www.childrensfoodbill.org.uk and www.sustainweb.org/child_index.asp Sustain news release / Food

Recyclebank1

Residents tempted to recycle more, October 6 2005 Edit

Millions of households across England are being tempted to recycle more of their rubbish and cut down their waste with many local authorities offering prize draws, cash rewards and community gifts during this month (October). Around 50 schemes across the country will pilot, test and assess various approaches to incentivise people to recycle and reduce waste.

Personal rewards for regular recycling - including cash awards, prizes and discount vouchers for shopping and local leisure facilities - will be offered by some local authorities. Recycling lotteries, league tables, text messages, scratchcards will be trailed by others. In some cases schools and charities will be cashing in on increased recycling. In others, communities will be rewarded with cash for local schemes and improvements.

Local Environmental Quality Minister, Ben Bradshaw said he hoped that the schemes would not only encourage regular recyclers to recycle more, but would help to engage with people who have yet to start recycling regularly. Defra press release / Reduce, reuse, repair & recycle

Housing the nation without wrecking the countryside, October 5 2005 Edit

Government plans to introduce a market based approach to the way we plan for housing would devastate the countryside and fail to meet the need for affordable housing, say countryside campaigners, CPRE.

There are far better and less damaging ways of ensuring we have the homes we need, without wrecking the countryside, the group claim in a manifesto published today. CPRE believes decisions about how many homes should be built and where they should go should be based on local need and take into account the capacity of the environment to accommodate development without suffering irreparable damage.

CPRE's Policy Director Neil Sinden: 'We are not alone in voicing concerns about the Government's plans for housing. It makes absolutely no sense to plan for a massive increase in market housing when people's overwhelming need is for subsidised, affordable housing." According to CPRE, several organisations, including the Chartered Institute of Housing, Shelter, National Housing Federation, Local Government Association and the Royal Town Planning Institute, have expressed concerns about the sustainability implications of adopting a market-based approach, as proposed.

Following a statement by the Blueprint Group - Shelter, Chartered Institute for Housing, National Housing Federation, Royal Town Planning Institute, CPRE have also issued a press release rejecting a misrepresentation claim. CPRE press releases / Rural issues

See how polluting is your power, October 3 2005 Edit

From this week, new European-wide rules mean that electricity supply companies have to say how much pollution is generated by coal, gas, nuclear and renewables, and how much carbon dioxide and nuclear waste results from their activities. Friends of the Earth is urging consumers to "start pulling the plug on the country's polluting nuclear and fossil-fuel power companies".

The figures reveal that Powergen and ScottishPower generate the most carbon dioxide emissions for each unit of electricity supplied while British Gas and EDF Energy generate the most nuclear waste per unit. The data also highlights a number of companies who rely instead on non-polluting renewables such as wind power. Friends of the Earth's Climate Campaigner Martyn Williams: "Consumers wanting clean energy should stop propping up polluting power companies, vote with their purses and switch suppliers. But the Government must do more to ensure more of our electricity comes from cleaner sources."
Click on the following links to see data and tables: www.electricityinfo.org, Friends of the Earth press release
Sustainable energy


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