ANOTHER PLANET?

pcickesEric Pickles’ ‘zeal for deregulation’ is hindering the zero carbon housing shift: More than 50 organisations have signed an open letter to Communities Secretary Eric Pickles urging him to “build the energy bill anxiety out of UK homes”. The letter specifically asks Pickles to refrain from scrapping the Merton Rule, a borough wide prescriptive planning policy that requires new developments to generate at least 10% of their energy needs from on-site renewable energy equipment.  Organisations addressing Pickles say the Merton Rule is the only policy driver for renewables in new buildings until full Zero Carbon standards are introduced to Building Regulations in 2016.  And The UK Green Building Council (UK-GBC) is today warning that the UK must retrofit one million homes a year over the next 25 years if it is to end spiralling energy bills and curb carbon emissions. As the Chancellor George Osborne prepares to deliver his Budget on Wednesday 19 March, UK-GBC is urging him to make energy efficiency a top infrastructure priority and in doing so “rescue the ailing Green Deal”.

Edie.net report that The UK and China have agreed a new £20m three-year programme that will support research to develop new low carbon manufacturing processes and technologies, low carbon cities and offshore renewables. Signing a memorandum of understanding (MoU) at a meeting in London, witnessed by the UK’s Minister of State for Climate Change, Greg Barker, the UK and China will each commit £10m of matched resources over the course of the programme.

parisDrivers in Paris can now only drive into the city every other day as air pollution levels hit dangerous highs.

Marks & Spencer (M&S) has announced that it will partner up with the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and the Canal & River Trust to help tackle litter on UK beaches.Thousands of volunteers, including M&S customers, employees and Marine Conservation Society volunteers, will help to clear litter from beaches and canals across the UK, including locations that were hit by recent storms.

Major tyre manufacturer Michelin says British motorists could be emitting more than two billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere because they are not inflating their tyres correctly. Research by Michelin suggests that up to three quarters of the 32 million cars in Britain could be running on under-inflated tyres, leading to unnecessary fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.  The research suggests that motorists could also be wasting more than £1bn a year on fuel due to poor tyre maintenance.

Mysterious compounds undermining recovery of giant ozone hole over Antarctica, scientists have warned. Dozens of mysterious ozone-destroying chemicals may be undermining the recovery of the giant ozone hole over Antarctica, researchers have revealed.  Edie.Net say the chemicals, which are also extremely potent greenhouse gases, may be leaking from industrial plants or being used illegally, contravening the Montreal protocol which began banning the ozone destroyers in 1987.

A Minister in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills should take a leading role in overseeing waste policies and be a “waste champion”, according to a new report by the House Of Lords Science and Technology Committee. In the report entitled ‘Waste or resource? Stimulating a bioeconomy’, peers suggested that the Government should create a waste champion to take on the job of developing a “brass from muck” bioeconomy – one that could create a multi-billion pound economy as well as create a number of green jobs.  It also calls on the Government to treat waste as a resource and “grasp the nettle and change the way we view waste”.

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