ANOTHER PLANET?

turtle doveFarmers in the UK are being urged to save the Turtle Dove – the already vastly educed population faces a new threat from a parasite, Trichronas, and farmers are being urged to let more wild plants grow to provide seeds for feeding. Turtle doves are the symbol of love and fidelity and were once widespread in England. Changing in farming methods and hunting on their migration routes from Africa across Europe  have reduced the population to just 14,000 pairs –  less than 10% of the numbers in 1970.

VW’s new £95,000 sipercar, the XL1, does 313 miles to the gallon – and the technology – a diesel hybrid engine and lightweight carbon-fibre engineering that so vastly reduces fuel consumption – will soon be applied to other VW cars. The XL1 doesn’t have wing mirrors  – to reduce eight – instead it has rear facing cameras – and the ‘tear drop’ shaped body is made of a single mould carbon fibre polymer with a two cylinder 800cc diesel engine with a small electric motor. Its said the car emits just 21g of carbon per km – the same as a cyclist.

peral bordredBetter news for butterflies – the warm summer has substantially helped replenish numbers that had been devastated by the washout summer of 2012. A UK Butterfly survey – The Big Butterfly Count – has shown a encouraging increase in numbers.  And the short-haired bumblebee has made a comeback. The species disappeared in the 1980s and was declared extinct but now new worker bees have been spotted at Dungeness where queen bees from Sweden had been released.

Tour of Britain leaves Keswick

Tour of Britain leaves Keswick

As The Mayor of London fights to make London a safer place for cyclists – and Nicole Kidman gets knocked down by a pavement cyclist in New York – all eyes are on the bike. In London (apart from the really dangerous small group of cyclists who ignore most rules both on and off the road), all of us want safer streets for bikes – and the Times and Evening Standard have both been campaigning for more to be done to make our roads safe.  It seems the biker who knocked down Nicole was paparazzi Carl Wu – he has received a ticket from NY Police for riding on the sidewalk and riding dangerously. More sensible – and faster – and a great advertisement for cycling – has been the Tour of Britain which is being led by Olympic gold medallist Sir Bradley Wiggins at the time of writing. Wiggins (33) survived a crash on a rain-soaked day in the Lake District as Gerald Ciolek won stage two of the Tour of Britain to take the lead but then Wiggins blazed round the 16km (10-mile) stage three course in 19 minutes 54 seconds to beat fellow Briton and Team Sky team-mate Ian Stannard by 32 seconds and overtake Ciolek as overall leader. Stannard moved up to second overall, 33 seconds behind Wiggins.  Stage four of the race passed through Wrexham, Flintshire, Denbighshire and Conwy before finishing in Llanberis, Gwynedd and was won by Mark Cavendish with Wiggins keeping his overall lead,

Photo: The Tour of Britain peloton at Chestnut Hill, Keswick, on Stage Two. (C) 2013 Micky Laws. And well done to Conrad and his team for raising the funds for the new Keswick BMX track! Now to build!

Spaniards brought more bikes than cars in 2012 as the economic crisis which has left 25% of the workforce unemployed tightened its grip on the country. 780,000 Spaniards brought a bike as sales of cars fell 31.4% to 700,000.  Youth unemployment in the 18-24 year age bracket is now 56%. Across Europe the sale of electric bikes showed the biggest rise – 22% up – and car sales fell 2% across the EU.

A controversial plan to mine for potash beneath the North Yorkshire Moors has been set back at least a year as planning authorities at the national Park Authority consider the plans submitted by Sirius Minerals.

Scientists at Imperial College have likened climate change deniers such as Australians new premier Tony Abbot to the African politicians who denied there was a link between HIV and AIDs contributing to many thousands of unnecessary deaths. Professor Nitay Shah sais that 1% of global GDP needs to be spent on fighting climate change by 2050 to keep temperature rises below 2C and said he expected some of the current crop of climate change denying politicians to reflect that they didn’t do enough in twenty years time, focussing instead on the short term political issues. Benny Peiser, the director of the Global Warming Policy Foundation which argues that the threat from climate change is over stated, dismissed the report saying that a 2C rise in temperatures could be beneficial and that it was premature to gamble trillions of dollars of funds on a ‘speculative alarm’.

A new study says that fracking does not lead to as much leakage of methane gas as had previously been thought. Methane gas is a far more potent greenhouse gas than CO2. The study by the University of Texas suggests that exploiting natural gas can be an effective way f meeting climate change targets. The study did not look at other potential downsides of fracking such as environmental damage, water and air pollution and earthquakes.  The study was by a team of independent scientists but was funded by oil and gas companies.

Scientists are calling for fishing restrictions on sea bass across Europe as stocks hit a twenty year low. An assessment by the International centre for the Exploration of the Sea found that spawning stocks had fallen by 32% since 2009 around The UK and along the Dutch, Belgian and French coats. The Blue Marine foundation has suggested international quotas and larger net sizes.

Europe’s largest tidal energy project has been granted permission this week and will be built in the Pentland Firth. Consent was awarded to Meygen, a joint venture between investment bank Morgan Stanley, independent power generator GDF SUEZ and tidal technology provider Atlantis Resources Corporation, by the Scottish Government for the 86 Megawatt tidal energy project.  The first phase of the project will see six tidal turbines commissioned in the inner sound of the Pentland Firth, before the subsequent phases take the project up to the consented limit of 86MW and beyond to the leased capacity of 398 Megawatt.

The World Energy Council (WEC) has called for more progress on unlocking the potential of energy efficiency to deliver energy and carbon savings. This message comes from the findings of a report to be published next month by the WEC and the Agency for Environment and Energy Management (ADEME), the French environment agency.

Food waste costs the world’s economy some $750bn (£470bn) a year, and is “wreaking significant harm” on natural resources, according to a new report. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has estimated some of the natural and fiscal impacts of food waste globally. Among the key findings are the carbon footprint of food produced but not eaten: 3.3 giga tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, which makes food waste the third ‘top emitter’ of greenhouse gases behind the US and China.

Ashford Borough Council in Kent has been named as England’s worst performing council when it comes to recycling, while Surrey Heath Borough is the best. The gap in performance is considerable, with Ashford achieving a recycling rate of just 13.68%, while Surrey Heath delivered 39.22%.

Cracked windscreens collected in the past six months by automotive glazing company, Auto Windscreens, have been turned into 11.6 million bottles.

ring2#

The team at Worcestershire’s Ringmaster Festival have belatedly cancelled their inaugural event, blaming “financial implications”. In a statement issued just ten days before the 27-28 September scheduled show, which would have featured Maximo Park, Swim Deep, Hadouken! and the Mystery Jets, organisers say “as the festival entered the final stages it found itself in a financial position and as a result was no longer able to guarantee the appropriate monies owed to the bands and other parties at this stage. It is after careful consideration that Ringmaster has decided to unfortunately cancel this year’s event” adding “Ringmaster would like to thank everyone that has supported, been involved with and help spread the name over the past few months and would like to offer everyone their sincere apologies, in what has become a horrendous and saddening situation”. http://www.ringmasterfestival.co.uk/

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