ANOTHER PLANET?

DECCAnother key advisor has defected from what was one meant to be the UK’s ‘greenest’ government. David Cameron’s advisor on energy, Ben Moxham, has quit the Government, seemingly frustrated  at the slow pace of progress in fighting global warming and climate change. Moxham joins to key resignations of Ravi Gurumurthy and Jonathan Brearley from the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) – for more see our previous Another Planet?.

Bill oddieThe comedian and presenter Bill Oddie has made a video for Global Witness which sheds light on HSBC’s loans to companies that are illegally destroying rainforest habitats and committing human rights abuses in Borneo. Click play on the video  to enjoy this special edition of ‘Bankwatch’. And to help the campaign to stop HSBC’s destruction of the rainforests, sign the Global Witness petition here.  Oddie has been filmed being evicted from HSBC’s London headquarters while protesting against the bank’s business ties to companies that are illegally destroying rainforests.

The introduction of smart meters, which would save energy and reduce household energy bills, has been delayed in the UK until 2015. The DECC said the £11.7 billion project would begin in the Autumn of 2015 and be completed by 2020.

The UK Government has announced that they will commit to updating energy infrastructure and to improving the water industry. The Queen’s speech to the British Parliament set out the Government’s legislative programme for the year ahead, which includes a Bill to reform the energy and water industries.  Less than 10 minutes long, the Queen’s speech highlighted the ageing industries as particular issues to tackle and referred to the Government’s progress on the new Energy Bill, which is currently being developed, as well as its plan to introduce the new Water Bill.  Both Bill’s have received heavy criticism from industry, particularly the Energy Bill, which has been slammed for the delay in its development and for its lack of incentives for investors.

More than three quarters (76%) of professionals believe that a greater focus on sustainability within the built environment could help to boost overall industry growth, according to new research. With professionals aware of the growth potential, 84% feel qualifications in sustainability could be vital to improving their current employability. Almost two thirds (60%) have sought out and gained sustainability qualifications, and a further 86% want to acquire credentials within their field of expertise.  http://www.edie.net/news/6/Sustainability-knowledge-essential-to-boosting-industry-growth/

The DECC has launched a four-week consultation with proposals on how to controversially limit new biomass projects under the Renewables Obligation mechanism. Although the Government recognises that biomass will make a “significant contribution” to delivering the UK’s 15% renewable energy target in 2020, it believes that compared with offshore wind, dedicated biomass electricity is a costly way of saving carbon.  The Government therefore announced last year it would introduce a dedicated biomass capacity cap of 400MW of new build dedicated biomass generating capacity.

Essex & Suffolk Water’s recently completed reed bed system, thought to be the first of its kind, is saving the company 70 tonnes of CO2 emissions a year compared with a conventional system. The £4.5m reed bed system, which is located at the Hanningfield Reservoir, near Chelmsford, was visited by Natural Environment Minister, Richard Benyon. Benyon said: “This is a really exciting initiative and just the sort of innovative approach to water management we need. Ideas like this help us to create a more resilient water industry and boost economic growth.

HRH The Prince of WalesPrince Charles has attacked climate change sceptics and the “international association of corporate lobbyists” for preventing progress on tackling environment issues. In a speech on tropical forest science yesterday at St James’ Palace in London, Prince Charles called for businesses to take more action on environmental issues and stressed that “the Earth’s physical, chemical and biological systems are crying out to be treated – now”. At the two-day conference for scientists, Prince Charles told delegates that “any scientist is likely to find him or her self up the proverbial double blind gum-tree” if opposition from sceptics and corporate lobbyists continue.

Investigation work will start at the site of a proposed wind farm off the coast of Aberdeenshire, which is staunchly opposed by American tycoon Donald Trump. The work on the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC), which is to be built near Trump’s luxury golf course, could lead to turbine foundation designs being developed at the test facility costing more than £230m.  Green campaigners have hailed the development, with World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Scotland director Lang Banks claiming that Trump would probably “spill his coffee” on hearing that the work had commenced.

RRAThe winners of the Resource Revolution Awards have been unveiled at a gala lunchtime reception at the Hotel Russell in London. Hosted by edie.net and LAWR magazine and sponsored by the Carbon Trust the winners are as follows:

Landfill Diversion Strategy  Carpet Recycling UK  (Special mentions also went to High Down Prison and Élan Hair Design)

Waste Collection Logistics Leader  Reconomy

Technology Trailblazer: Materials Recovery  Axion Polymers

Technology Trailblazer: Energy-from-Waste  SEaB Energy  (Also commended was Northumbrian Water)

Closed Loop Exemplar  Marks & Spencer and Somerset Waste Partnership (also commended was Coca Cola Enterprises)

Beyond Zero Waste Achievement  DS Smith Recycling

Resource Revolutionary of the Year  Richard Lochhead MSP, Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and Environment

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