ANOTHER PLANET

Public concern for issues such as climate change and energy security are dwindling, according to a new report from DECC. Only one in 10 people now see climate change as one of the top three threats facing the UK today – unemployment, inflation and the NHS were of far greater concern.

A ban on food waste to landfill must be put into effect if anaerobic digestion (AD) is to reach its potential of powering 2.5 million homes by 2020.  CentreForum says that a key growth barrier for the sector is feedstock supply, particularly securing long-term food waste contracts.

After weeks of rain and the wettest June on record, South East Water, Sutton and East Surrey Water, Veolia Water Central and Veolia Water Southeast have now lifted the remaining UK hosepipe bans with immediate effect.

Edie.net reports that the UK needs to make better use of its urban space for renewables projects, according to the pioneers of a new wind turbine.  McCamley has just installed its “revolutionary” flat-pack wind turbine at Keele University Science and Business Park in North Staffordshire.  The “easily assembled” turbine can be retrofitted onto a roof without a supporting mast, which, claimed McCamley, makes it a viable source of renewable energy in cities and towns – areas previously seen as unsuitable for wind energy.

Scotland is placing commercial gain over sustainability in its bid to become the world’s first ‘hydro nation’. Environmental groups have warned that proposals outlined in the Water Resources (Scotland) Bill are “short-sighted” and focus on “making money” with no mention of water’s contribution to biodiversity or future supply risks.  The warning comes as the Scottish Parliament’s Infrastructure & Capital Investment Committee begins its scrutiny of the new legislation.

The cost of disposing of materials is falling at material recovery facilities (MRFs), suggesting that local authorities are now beginning to profit from the recycled materials they collect.  Edie.net says  that WRAP’s annual report into charges for waste treatment, recovery and disposal options across the UK found a “substantial” drop in MRF gate fees with the average price now at £9 per tonne, down from £15 per tonne in last year’s report.  According to WRAP’s director of market economics Steve Creed, the supply of good quality recyclate is fast becoming a revenue stream for local authorities.

A centre that will pioneer scientific research to create renewable materials from bio-wastes, plants and microbes has officially opened in York. The Biorenewables Development Centre (BDC) at the University of York will integrate genetics with green chemistry and processing techniques to support industry in developing new manufacturing technologies for these materials, which will be turned into high value products.

A new organisation to bridge the “huge gap” between environmental pioneers and everyone else has been launched for the UK manufacturing sector. The ‘Next Manufacturing Revolution’ (NMR) will aim to share best practice across the sector in a bid to stimulate the UK market and bring jobs back on-shore.

New figures suggest that charging for single-use carrier bags is a highly effective way of reducing their use, with Wales recording a 22% fall in bags last year However England and Northern Ireland showed a 7.5% and 8.1% rise in usage rates respectively during 2011, where mandatory charges aren’t applied. In Scotland there was no significant change over the same period.

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