5th annual Comedy International Conference

CIC_Logo_new_web_600Thursday 2nd October 2014, Pleasance Theatre, London

That’s a wrap for another Edinburgh Festival Fringe full of Comedy. We hope you all had a great month. Time to catch up, reflect and plan ahead. With the Conference just over a month away, if you have not registered yet, please make sure to book your delegates place as soon as possible.

Panels
As per previous years the Comedy International Conference will present 4 panels. A sneak preview of what you can expect this year:

The first panel of the day “Compare the Market“, looks forward into new geographical locations and back on the developments in markets we have focussed on during the Conference in previous years. In the last 5 years many new opportunities have been presented, we aim to continue this and help consolidate and encourage further expansion.

Means to achieve growth often include working together, one way to consolidate relationships is by “Working together in Association“. The second panel of the day will see the introduction of several Industry Associations – a chance to discuss further possibilities to operate together.

After lunch we will dig even “Deeper into Data” than last year, with the presentation of the results of some interesting Comedy audience research. In addition we will direct our marketing angle onto PR & brand / reputation management, discussing publicity from talent to brand such as venues, festivals and the perception of the management companies behind them, asking how the audience chooses their tickets.

Finally, to celebrate 5 years of industry discussion at this Comedy International Conference anniversary edition – we will look at the “History of the industry” with a focus on the “People behind the Talent” who are driving their businesses year in year out. Apart from looking at the passion and successes of these experienced masterminds, we are aiming to meet some new faces and names of the next generation of the international comedy industry.

More details about the panels plus the specific panellists will be announced in the next Newsletter and on thewebsite.

Registration, Dinner & Showcase

Registration is open! Full registration details can be found on the website. The first delegates list for 2014 is now published online and will be updated regularly. An overview of attendees of previous years can be found in thearchives. Places for Dinner and Showcase are limited and we operate on a first come, first serve base for this. The Showcase line-up is complete with acts from all different corners of the world. Conference delegates will be able to sign up for a complimentary ticket to the Showcase, non-delegates will be able to purchase a ticket via the Pleasance Box Office soon, with profits going to charity.

GreenEvents Europe V: Nov 3 and 4 – save the date and register now!

green eventsGreen Events Europe are pleased to announce the 5th GreenEvents Europe Conference to be held on nov 3rd and 4th,  2014,   at Wissenschaftszentrum Bonn, Germany. The 5th edition of GreenEvents Europe and shows that the event has  now established the tradition of tackling major issues in the live events sector. It also highlights the growing importance of and the continuous interest in sustainability and events. The organisers expect the conference to be even more successful than the previous ones with more than 150 national and international participants, top-quality speakers and experts. (You can download the full conference report 2013 here.) Green EventsEeurope will offer high-level input by speakers of international reputation without losing touch of the practical implementation. 

Register here now! Green Events have special offers for Yourope members, SfN-festivals and companies sending more than one delegate (see below). The first speakers will be announced by the beginning of September.  

GreenEvents Europe 2014 will highlight “more sustainable food & beverage at events” – without of course neglecting other important topics like transport and mobility, energy, resource management and new technical developments. These topics will be discussed with all parties involved (promoters, venues, suppliers etc.).

Topics to be discussed are (subject to change)

  • ‘Food, drinks and Rock’n’Roll’
  • ‘Social Impact of events’
  • ‘Post consumerist economy’
  • ‘Attitude & behaviour gap’
  • ‘Greener Touring’
  • ‘Food & footprint’
  • ‘Food & health’
  • ‘Energy efficient music culture’
  • ‘Sustainable Event Design’
  • ‘Technical solutions to special problems’
  • ‘Transport and Mobility’.

An ‘Upcycling workshop’ will be part of the conference as well as the ‘Culinary UPcycling’ lunch on day two which will show how the main issue of the conference can be dealt with. 

Prior to the regular conference on Sunday Nov 2nd (afternoon), Green Events offer a GreenEvents Europe pre-conference workshop: “Food & beverage at events”.  Participants will identify challenges and work on answering questions like ‘Why are food and beverage important topics in the event industry?’, ‘Is food part of an event and how does it influence its character, message and impact?’. 

The variety of important topics requires some sessions and workshops to be organized in parallel. Therefore, form a team or bring a colleague. See our discount on the registration fee for more than one delegate per company.

Registration & travel:
350 €
 for regular GreenEvents participation 
250 €
 for GreenEvents delegates from 2010 and 2011
175 € for second GreenEvents participant from one company/festival

You can register here. There’s a discount for Yourope-members and/or Sounds For Nature-Festivals: 50 Euro (for one delegate per company/festival) 
Student, group and other special rates: please contact us.

Pls find special accomodation offers here (special rates only bookable through Travel Deluxe – for contact pls. follow link)

Green Events Europe is an event of:
Sounds For Nature Foundation e.V. - www.soundsfornature.eu
BN*PD | Bonn Promotion Dept. | Funk & Schmidt GbR - www.bnpd.de

GreenEvents Europe is funded by:
Foundation for Environment and Development North Rhine Westphalia - www.sue-nrw.de

ANOTHER PLANET?

elephantThe elephant population in Africa is facing extinction as the soaring price of ivory on the black market, driven by buyers in countries such as China, drives a surge in poaching and slaughter and fractured elephant societies. Almost 35,000 elephants have been killed since 2010 according to scientists from Colorado State University – out  of as total population of 400,000 – less than a third of what it was at the start of the 1980s when 100,000 plus elephants were killed each year.  The sale of ivory was banned in 1989.

The UK Government has launched a code of conduct for  Chinese and other paper lanterns  saying these should not be released by people under the influence of alcohol and air-traffic control should be notified if lanterns are to be set free within 10 miles of an airfield. The change follows growing concern about the risk from lanterns to people, wildlife and the environment, farm animals, aviation, property, including campsites and waste sites, and coastal rescue services. Event organisers are also advised to ask local authorities for risk assessments and not to release lanterns in wind speeds of 5mph or higher. The new code also says lanterns should be biodegradable, not harmful to animals, and not coloured red or orange to ensure they are not mistaken for distress flares. More from the Guardian here.

Plans to duplicate the world’s largest solar thermal energy plant at sites across the US are being opposed because thousands of bird are bursting into flame when they fly over head. The $1.3 billion Ivanpah plant on the Mojave desert uses more than 300,000 mirrors each the size of a garage door, to reflect rays to three towers heating up water and driving steam turbines to generate power. But insects are drawn to the glare – and birds follow the insects – and pelicans and hummingbirds end up being fried alive.

Worthy Farm To Install UK's Largest Private Solar Panel System

Campaigners have warned that allowing solar farms into England’s ‘greenbelt’ countryside – zones of land protected from development – is wasting valuable arable land and might be a ‘back door’ to housing development. The Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) wants to encourage the government to ensure solar parks use south facing roofs of existing factories, offices, shopping centres and warehouses. Plans for nearly 200 solar farms are currently being considered for planning permission. Both the CPRE and the National Trust support green energy in principle but want to ensure plans do not have a negative effect on the environment and wildlife and the CPRE has also highlighted the importance of food security.

Derek Clark, a lecturer in civil engineering at the University of Southampton has said that it is population growth, not climate change, that is driving the increase in flooding in the UK. Since 1884 the population has almost doubled to 591 million and the number of homes risen from 7.7 million to 24.8 million.

The UK Government is considering offering council tax rebates up to £1500 to green volunteers  – people who help keep parks and other green spaces clean or look after cemeteries or allotments. Another suggestion is to levy a tax on those who live near to parks – as the value of their properties is enhanced by state funded green spaces.

Rescuers dug with their bare hands to try and save children and adults buried under a sea of mud after Hiroshima was inundated by four inches of rain which fell in an hour causing massive landslides killing at least 32 people in the Japanese city.

Britain’s first roundabout incorporating separate cycle lanes, separate traffoc lights and raised kerbs to sepaarte vehicles from bikes is to open at Queen’s circus battersea in London next year. Some safety campaigners say the £2.4 milllion project  is too complicated and confusing.

windturbines_300In the UK it seems that Conservative MPs are more vocal in opposing and undermining projects and investment in renewables, so says the wind energy companies. Conservative MPs are much more likely to oppose onshore windfarms than the national average of the public, a new poll has found.  About four out of five Tory MPs are likely to oppose onshore windfarms in their constituency, according to the poll conducted by ComRes on behalf of REG Windpower. But about six in 10 people across the country, and just over half of those eligible to vote in rural areas, favour onshore windfarms, even if built near them.

The Financial Conduct Authority has been accused of undermining official policy by refusing new applications for green energy community projects. The future of community-owned green energy projects that ministers say are crucial to break the dominance of the ‘big six’ is being put at risk by the Financial Conduct Authority, according to co-operatives and the Labour party.  Thousands of towns and villages have clubbed together around the UK in recent years to set up energy co-ops to generate clean electricity from wind turbines and solar panels. In the past six weeks the FCA, which registers new co-ops, has blocked several new energy co-op applications on the grounds that they would not have enough member participation, despite having authorised previous ones set up along the same lines.

Political figureheads will join leaders from business and civil society to announce new commitments and practical actions to address climate change at a climate summit hosted by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon next month. The one-day summit, which takes place in New York on 23 September, will mark the first time in five years that world leaders will get together to chart a new course of action on climate change.  There will be eight action area announcements including announcements on agriculture, energy, forests, cities, financing, pollutants, resilience and transportation.

Edie.net reports that the top five sharing economy sectors could generate £9bn of UK revenues by 2025 as advances in technology, resource scarcity and social change start to interact with each other, according to new analysis by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC). The five most prominent sharing economy sectors, currently worth just £0.5 billion, have been identified by PwC as peer-to-peer (P2P) finance, online staffing, P2P accommodation, car sharing and music/video streaming. PwC further predicts that global revenues from these five sectors could hit $335bn by 2025, up from just $15bn today.  According to PwC, this rapid growth potential will happen as several mega-trends – technological breakthroughs, resource scarcity, rapid urbanisation, social change and shifts in global economic power – start to collide and reshape the economic and commercial landscape.

A new report from the BSR’s Clean Cargo Working Group, which provides data from more than 2,900 ships, has found that average carbon dioxide emissions for global container transport have declined by more than 22% since 2009. The figures were revealed in the BSR’s Clean Cargo Working Group’s (CCWG) 2014 ‘Global Maritime Trade Lane Emissions Factors’ report. The report found that average carbon dioxide emissions per container per kilometre for global ocean transportation routes have declined year on year, and by nearly 8% from 2012 to 2013.

ZERO WASTE WEEK

zerowasteZero Waste Week takes place from the 1st – 7th September 2014 in the UK and here are founder Rachelle Strauss’ top 20 tips to help businesses reduce their waste

 

20 tips to reduce waste in your business

  • Appoint a waste prevention team to brainstorm ideas, raise awareness and motivate staff
  • Take a waste audit – supply clear bin bags for waste for a week and see what people are throwing away. Keep it light-hearted – no blaming!
  • Start small – after you’ve done your waste audit, choose one more waste stream you could recycle
  • Choose recycled products – such as paper – to close the loop and increase demand for recycled items
  • Ask suppliers to take back bulk packaging for re-use
  • Provide reusable cups and glasses for staff rather than disposable ones
  • Reuse incoming packaging such as boxes for outgoing orders and envelopes for sending internal mail
  • Use concentrated cleaning products
  • Challenge staff to pack a zero waste lunch rather than going to a supermarket and buying packaged foods
  • Or, organise a pot luck lunch
  • Set all printers to print double sided and switch to draft quality where possible
  • Get your business off mailing lists to avoid junk mail
  • Use refillable printer cartridges and rechargeable batteries
  • Set up a Terracycle brigade for disposable biros and other ‘non-recyclable’ products
  • Start a community garden and compost heap for your tea bags, coffee grounds and fruit cores
  • Donate old furniture to organisations such as Green Furniture http://www.greenfurniture.org.uk/
  • Hold a stationery amnesty – a ‘no questions asked’ drop off point for staff to return excess stationery
  • Recycle mobile phones, toner and printer cartridges and light bulbs for a charity
  • Put recycling bins next to printers and photocopiers to serve as a friendly reminder
  • Set up a carrier bag sharing point – it saves staff each coming back to the office with a new disposable bag!

http://www.zerowasteweek.co.uk/

ANOTHER PLANET?

maria eagleIn the UK the Shadow Environment Secretary Maria Eagle has said the current Government will put 330,000 more homes at risk of flooding by failing to tackle climate change – making a mockery of Prime Minister David Cameron’s promise to be the ‘greenest government ever’.  Eagle has vowed to make climate change a top priority for the Government if Labour gets voted into power at next year’s general election. speaking at the WWF’s UK headquarters in Woking, the Labour MP said human-induced climate change was “the biggest challenge facing the world today” adding “No sensible government can govern in these challenging times without putting tackling climate change at the core of what they do. It must be done consistently over time, beyond just the confines of one parliament, across all government departments led by the Prime Minister”.

At least 180 people have died after monsoon floods in Nepal and North East India. The authorities in both countries are struggling to evacuate the worst affected villages and air lift in food, water and medical aid.

Fracking news: Hot on the heels of news that environmental campaigners fear that the Barclays Bank backed Third Energy’s plan to drill for gas in Ebbertson Moor in the York Yorkshire Moors will be a ‘stalking horse’ for future bids to carry out fracking in the national park, comes news that some eight pages have been removed from the Department of the Environment’s draft report Shale Gas: Rural Economy Impacts- seemingly on the basis that the pages detailed the negative impact of fracking on house prices with Caroline Lucas the Green Party MP asking “what are the the economic, social and environmental imopacts and effects upon housing and local services, agriculture and tourism that the Government is so keen to withhold from us?”

The UK’s changing weather and climate have allowed farmers and gardeners to start to experiment with new crops – olives are being farmed in Kent – and bananas are being grown in Somerset – and Scotland will have urs first grapes harvested for wine this year – and sloe berries will have a bumper year.

Whilst a Government survey shows that only 24% of the UK population support fracking (down from 29%) – a energy industry survey says that 57% think tat the UK should produce natral gas from shale. ow so? Well is depends what question you ask – and whilst the DECC survey explained that fracking was a system of pumping water at high pressure into shale and ask if people supported that (and three quarters didn’t) whilst UK Onshore Oil and Gas’s Populus survey  set a framework of energy needs and energy security and now gas could heat the UK’s homes for a hundred years. The DECC survey did show that 79% of the UK population support renewable energy from wind and solar. Support for fracking is dropping: In May last year a University of Nottingham survey found that just under half of the UK supported fracking – and a third opposed it.

Sheringham_Shoal_Wind_Farm_2012What is the real cost of promoting renewable energy? Figures from the Renewable Energy Foundation and the DECC say that

£30,000 – annual rental a farmer can expect from a large wind turbine

£900 – annual income from an acre of a solar farm

£115 – annual cost to each UK household to support renewables

£1,7 billion – anmual subsidies for wind farms

£800 million – annual subsidy for biomass

£500 million – annual subsidy for solar

Seagreen , which is planning a £3 billion wind far off the west coast of Scotland is opposing plans for a large solar farm on nearby farmland. Why? Both Seageeen and Tealing Park Solar want to use a disused airfield – and the solar company and farmer Charlie Simmers says that Seagreen is worried that a succesful solar farm may increase land prices across the region – causing problems for Seagreen.

One person has died and more than a million were evacuated from their homes as typhoon storm Halong hot the coast of Japan causing landslides and flooding and major disruption to land and air traffic.

The Panama Canal may be forced to limit the size of ships passing through because of the worst drought in Central America for decades.  The drought has drained the amount of water in lakes feeding the canal as well as the deaths of thousands of cattle and a drop in levels of pwoer available from gydro-electricity – meaning many cities have rationed power as air conditioning use goes up. Costa Rica, Honduras and Guatemala have also declared a state of emergency in some regions. Last year’s rains in Panama were the lowest in the Canal’s history.  In Santa Cruz in Southern California ‘water cops’ have been employed to catch anyone breaking a hosepipe ban – imposed after three years of severe drought.

Work on the largest local authority rooftop photovoltaic (PV) system in the UK has been completed at the Northacre Resource Recovery Centre in Westbury and will save £1.5m over the next 20 years. The 1,248 panels cover an area the size of more than seven tennis courts and will generate more than 280,000KWh of electricity each year. This is expected to save Wiltshire Council more than £55,000 and reduce carbon emissions by 148 tonnes.  All of the energy will be used on site to power the mechanical biological treatment process used to turn household waste form the region into solid recovered fuel, thus diverting it from landfill.

Perceptions that sustainable buildings are more expensive to construct have been challenged by new research, which has found that achieving lower BREEAM ratings can incur little or no additional cost. The study undertaken by Sweett Group and BRE applied cost data from real construction projects to three case study buildings – an office, secondary school and community healthcare centre – to produce detailed capital and operational cost information.  It examined the actual costs of a range of individual sustainability strategies, plus additional costs (if any) of achieving various levels of overall building sustainability. The research also looked at the associated payback to be gained from reduced utility costs.

Transport Minister Baroness Kramer has announced an additional £900,000 of funding for seven local sustainable transport schemes in the UK. The news follows the announcement last month of a £440m fund for sustainable transport, £64m of which is being provided by the Department for Transport the rest coming from Local Enterprise Partnerships and match funding.

Six leading UK universities have launched new energy efficiency research projects today, thanks to a £3m cash boost from the government. Researchers will investigate a range of issues relating to energy management in non-domestic buildings. Funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), on behalf of the Research Councils UK Energy Programme, it aims to enable UK businesses to cut costs and reduce carbon emissions through more efficient energy use.  Imperial College London, the University of Cambridge, the University of Edinburgh, the University of Oxford, the University of Strathclyde and the University of Southampton will run the projects investigating a range of energy efficiency strategies, from how facility managers can future-proof energy saving improvements to the use of digital cameras to monitor window blinds and lighting to cut occupants energy usE.

Sony Corporation has announced that it plans to sell its flame-retardant recycled plastic to a wide variety of manufacturing business operators such as consumer electronics retailers, both within Japan and abroad The electronics giant revealed that it plans to sell its Sustainable Orientated Recycled Plastic (SORPLAS) to external parties from October.  Its SORPLAS product is a flame-retardant recycled plastic comprising polycarbonate plastic recycled from materials such as optical discs from discarded DVDs and optical sheets used in LCD televisions.

mantaray3The amount of mercury near the surface of many of the world’s oceans has tripled as the result of our polluting activities, a new study has found, with potentially damaging implications for marine life as the result of the accumulation of the toxic metal. Mercury is accumulating in the surface layers of the seas faster than in the deep ocean, as we pour the element into the atmosphere and seas from a variety of sources, including mines, coal-fired power plants and sewage. Mercury is toxic to humans and marine life, and accumulates in our bodies over time as we are exposed to sources of it.

Three top tips for feeding birds this summer:

1.  Put your hanging seed feeders over a paved or decked area where you can keep the flooring clean much less likely to attract other unwanted guests

2.  Don’t forget to fill up your birdbath with good fresh and clean water.

3.  Avoid whole peanuts and large chunks when putting out birdfood – young birds run the risk  of choking.  More at Wriggly Wrigglers

Finally: The European Commission is to build single market for green products. Could this harmonize industry regulations in the EU? The Product Environmental Footprint (PEF) pilot, led by the European Commission, is a considerable commitment from prominent industry members in various sectors to lead the way in bringing more sustainable solutions to the market by building the single market for green products, to cultivate universal UPS technology solutions designed to maximise availability, efficiency and capacity within the data center environment. More here.

FESTIVAL NEWS

boonstock2Canada has suffered a spate of tragic deaths and festivals and events with deaths of a woman at the Boonstock Music Festival in Penticton and a man at the Pemberton Music Festival — with police warnings about alcohol and drugs after dozens of Boonstock attendees were sent to hospital. The deaths followed on from two deaths and 13 non-fatal overdoses at a concert in Toronto that caused police to issue a warning about party drugs and in Columbia, Maryland, at the Mad Decent Block Party concert, two died and 20 more were taken to hospital with leo Knight at 24 Hours Vancouver saying “And there’s the rub. It’s not the organizers’ fault. It’s not the fault of police or security doing their best to try and keep out contraband. It is the fault of each person who makes a conscious decision to ingest chemicals — not knowing or caring what’s in them.” Previously the organiser of Melbourne’s biggest New Year’s Eve party said he could not be blamed if party-goers overdosed at the Telstra Dome event.Sensation dance party organiser Duncan Stutterheim said it would be his “biggest nightmare” if any of the 40,000 ticket-holders overdosed, as did 12 ravers at a dance party at Festival Hall last week.  More here http://vancouver.24hrs.ca/2014/08/05/dont-blame-music-festival-organizers and http://www.theage.com.au/national/dont-blame-me-if-ravers-overdose-says-dance-party-organiser-20081230-776l.html

boomtownA woman has died after she was found unconscious in a toilet at the Boomtown Fair festival by security staff and medics. The 31-year-old was attending the event with her husband. She was taken to hospital from the site at Matterley Estate in Winchester, Hampshire, where doctors tried to revive her, but was pronounced dead shortly afterwards. Hampshire Police cordoned off the scene where she was discovered at around 1.50pm on the Saturday.

reading-fest-lineup2014The Reading Festival which takes place over the August Bank Holiday has decided not to supply toilet paper for any of the 70,000 music fans set to descend on the site this year. The festival website says: ‘We are always improving on our sustainability policies, and this year we’re going to crack down on the sheer amount of paper/tissue we have to purchase, considering the amount that gets wasted rather than used for its intended purpose.’ Organisers say there will be traders on site selling toilet rolls and people will also be able to bring their own.

BOARDmastersThe final day of the Boardmasters festival in Cornwall was cancelled “in light of the extreme weather conditions caused by hurricane Bertha”, organisers said in a statement. The remains of the hurricane hit most of the UK producing hgh winds and heavy rain in many areas – nearly a month’s rain fell in Wales overnight. Initially it was announced that the opening of the third day of the annual surfing themed event would be delayed. However, as conditions failed to improve, the event day was called off at 12.30pm. The day was due to be headlined by Bastille, with Peace, George Ezra and 2manydjs also on the bill. Refunds will be available.

jabAnd another cancellation came (but not weather related) came when All Tomorrow’s Parties released a statement informing Jabberwocky attendees that they will be cancelling this year’s event. ATP had organised the festival with Pitchfork and Primavera Sound. Barry Hogan of All Tomorrow’s Parties said: “It is with deep sadness we regret to inform everyone that as of today Tuesday 12th August 2014, ATP is being forced into cancelling this weekend’s Jabberwocky festival. Refunds will be available to all customers at the point of purchase. We have put everything into promoting Jabberwocky, and despite healthy ticket sales; all our efforts could not take those sales to the point that we needed to finally stage the event. Over the past month and all the way up until this moment we have tried every possible course of action to follow through in delivering Jabberwocky to you, but the position we unfortunately find ourselves in as a result of a succession of events that have lost money in an increasingly aggressive festival market, means we are no longer able to do so.” Bands such as Deafheaven, James Blake and Neutral Milk Hotel were set to play the festival which was to be held at the ExCeL Centre in London. Commentators ay ticket sales were below expectations.

After a spate of venues have been closed or threatened by closure by often just one complainant or by those who have moved into residence beside existing venues – often in new developments,  a new e-petition has been sent up to challenge noise laws in the UK – “Urgent Review of Noise Abatement legislation” calling upon the Secretary of State to: “conduct an urgent review of all applicable Noise Legislation so that the collective right of local communities to be able to enjoy well-run and managed music venues is properly balanced within the law against the individual rights of owners and occupiers of adjoining properties to limit environmental noise.” http://epetitions.direct.gov.uk/petitions/65582

The schedule for the 2014 FESTIVAL CONGRESS is now online – more here.

74d5391b-cbbb-41e6-8b40-765344df149d

ANOTHER PLANET?

Amazon burningTen top PR firms including WPP, Waggener Edstrom (WE) Worldwide, Weber Shandwick, Text100, and Finn Partners have said that they will not represent clients that deny man-made climate change or seek to block emission-reducing regulations in a new survey.  Some of the world’s top PR companies have for the first time publicly ruled out working with climate change deniers, marking a fundamental shift in the multi-billion dollar industry that has grown up around the issue of global warming. Firms that refused to comment include both those that have worked for groups calling for action on climate change – as well as those seeking to block those efforts. 

PepsiCo is to expand the number of recycling bins at petrol stations and convenience stores across the US, as part of a five-year plan to drive up packaging recovery rates. The drinks brand has teamed up with the Nature Conservancy to form an initiative called ‘Recycle for Nature’ to roll out the bins, as part of its goal to help raise US beverage container recycling rates from 42% to 50% by 2018.

Sheringham_Shoal_Wind_Farm_2012Edie.net reports that the UK’s renewable electricity generation increased by 30% in 2013 according to DECC’s annual UK energy statistics. Electricity generated from renewable sources accounted for 14.9% of the UK’s total electricity generation last year, up from 11.3% in 2012.  In a statement released by DECC, energy secretary Ed Davey said: “The Government’s investment in renewable energy is paying off: renewable electricity has more than doubled in just four years – with around 15% of Britain’s electricity already coming from clean renewable sources like wind, solar and hydro.  But Energy Secretary Ed Davey has been accused of ‘slamming the breaks on Britain’s fledging solar energy business as the industry takes legal action against the Government. Four of Britain’s biggest solar firms – TGC Renewables, Solarcentury, Orta Solar Farms and Lark Energy – are launching a Judicial Review against the Government, claiming that Davey’s sudden withdrawal of support for solar through the Renewables Obligation (RO) scheme was ‘unlawful’.  The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) recently announced plans to end the RO scheme – which is the main support mechanism for renewable electricity projects in the UK – in nine months’ time, two years ahead of schedule. And The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) should be doing more to support companies developing sustainable, low-carbon technologies, according to the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee. In a new report – Innovate to accumulate: the Government’s approach to low-carbon innovation – the cross-party committee concludes that the Government is not allocating enough resources to helping companies to meet its own policy ambitions.

Events and exhibitions venue Olympia London has launched a new online vehicle share initiative to streamline deliveries and collections and significantly reduce carbon emissions. The new system developed by Carbon Voyage is integrated into Olympia’s existing vehicle booking site, allowing exhibitors to pair up with others from the same area. Currently, a third of journeys made to and from Olympia have the same point of origin.

A team of scientists at the University of Sheffield have developed a spray-painting method for applying new, cost-effective solar cells. The scientists utilized new perovskite solar cells – which have a lower material cost than traditional silicon based solar cells – and applied the cells using a spray-painting method which could have low-cost applications for high-volume manufacturing industries.

Commercial property owners across the country are being urged to ‘get ahead of the game‘ and prepare for upcoming energy efficiency standards which could have a negative effect on more than a third of buildings.  Professional services firm WSP says owners should be more proactive when it comes to the energy performance rating (EPC) of their buildings, as the recent consultation launched by DECC proposes to make it mandatory for commercial properties with a poor energy rating – lower than EPC ‘E’ – to be brought up to standard before they can be let, from 2018.

The largest food waste anaerobic digestion (AD) plant in Wales is now live with the potential to power all of the homes in one of the UK’s smallest cities. Biogen’s Waen AD plant situated on the site of a former abattoir in Denbighshire. The plant is able to recycle up to 22,500 tonnes of food waste every year, generating 1MW of renewable electricity for the national grid – the equivalent power needed for the nearby city of St Asaph.

Well-meaning lobbyists against unsustainable businesses and Government policy are likely to be inadvertently causing more harm to the environment than good, according to new research.  Economist Dr Petros Sekeris, of the University of Portsmouth, discovered that by making ‘sometimes exaggerated claims’ about a natural resource such as clean water or land, some lobbyists could actually be deemed ‘alarmists’ by speeding up the rate at which others rush to use up what’s left.

farmlandThe UK farming industry is set to become more environmentally friendly and sustainable with the publication of an updated specification for renewable fertiliser and the re-launch of the Compost Certification Scheme.  The PAS 110 specification has been updated to allow operators of anaerobic digestion (AD) plants to use or trade their digestate as ‘biofertiliser’, certified under the Biofertiliser Certification Scheme (BSC) from Renewable Energy Assurance Ltd (REAL).

Fox News has been subject to a stinging attack  – this time from an anchor at the rival news broadcaster CNN – after Fox ran a wilfully ignorant headline on an Washington Times article mocking climate change entitled, “Climate Doesn’t Cooperate With Al Gore’s Group’s Visit to Denver EPA Hearings” Brian Weir responded by tweeting “Weather is not climate, you wilfully ignorant f*cksticks.”

olivia fishliveScientists are warning that the UK needs to change  its fish eating habitats as global warming means that traditional favourites such as cod and haddock head for cooler waters further North. Sea temperatures have risen 1.6C inthe seas around the UK since the 1980s and in the last 30 years almost half of the 36 surveyed species in tyhe North Sea have ventured North out of British waters – John Dory – once found only of the South West coast of England are now colonised the north sea as far as the top of Scotland – and gurnard, sea bass, ling, hake and sardines are spreading into Northern waters. More at http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/aug/02/gurnard-and-chips-cod-warmer-seas-uk-fish-stock.

The Daily Telegraph reports “GM crops reasdy to enter food chain” saying that the first genetically modified crops, enriched with nutrients to improve health, will be harvested within weeks following a landmark field trial in Britain. In a major step towards GM food, a crop of camelina (false flax) has been spliced with genes which make Omega-3 so that its seeds will produce an oil rich in fatty acid normally only found in fish. More here. But the Telegraph also says there are ‘Big questions’ to answer over GM – not least the effect what disrupting a plant;s natural DNA could have – and potential harmful effects on health, on the environment and ecosystems.

Japanese red cedar , giant redwoods and trees from the continent may be used to replace oaks and pines in Britain’s woodlands which have been decimated by rising temperatures, drought and diseases.