Tag Archives: SRA


A rather worrying reform to the UK’s planning law would mean that fracking companies could drill under your house – and you wouldn’t know anything about it – as the frackers wouldn’t have to tell you – let alone be able to take action. A Government spokesperson said the planned reforms would ‘add clarity’. Greenpeace says ministers are helping fracking firms ‘side step’ homeowner’s property rights.

gm crop 2Environment Secretary Owen Paterson has been having a go at the anti-GM food lobby – saying that the sabotage of a crop of ‘golden rice’ – enhanced to fight blindness – means that “little children” will be allowed to “go blind and die because of a hang up of a small number of people about this technology”. Paterson points to the wide spread use of GM crops now – opponents point to the use of GM crops in intensive farming and that GM only benefits large agricultural business that sell the technology and GM seeds.

London restaurant Grain Store has been named Sustainable Restaurant of the Year 2013, by our friends at the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA). The restaurant in Kings Cross, which opened in July, achieved the highest score and beat 100 restaurants after the SRA rated its sourcing, water, waste and energy saving initiatives, as well as its commitment to treat and engage responsibly with its staff, customers and community. Grain Store gives vegetables equal billing with meat and fish and the SRA found all the food to be “impeccably sourced”. Where possible, the meat served is organic or free range and it adheres to a strict sustainability policy when it comes to fish.

Edie.net reports that Global progress on energy efficiency has slowed down despite more countries implementing policies to drive improvements, according to a new report by the World Energy Council. The report, World Energy Perspective: Energy Efficiency Policies, shows that more and more countries are now involved in energy efficiency policies, but highlights factors that have affected energy efficiency progress across 85 countries, representing more than 90% of global consumption. Produced in collaboration with France’s energy and environment agency, ADEME, the report finds that Europe’s progression is being offset by the high energy intensity of countries such as China, Africa and the Middle East.

Credible and consistent carbon pricing must be the cornerstone of government actions to tackle climate change, according to a new OECD report. Releasing the report, Climate and carbon: Aligning prices and policies, OECD Secretary-General, Angel Gurria, said that a transformation of the global energy system is needed if countries hope to limit climate change to a 2ºC temperature increase, as agreed by the global community.

EU1The European Union reduced emissions by approximately 18% between 1990 and 2012 and is on track to meeting its 20% emissions reduction target by 2020, according to a new European Environment Agency (EEA) report. Considering EU progress in meeting greenhouse gas emission reduction, renewable energy and energy efficiency targets, the report, Trends and projections in Europe 2013, shows that the EU is also on track towards its common target for renewable energy consumption. Renewables contributed 13% of final energy consumption in 2011, which should increase to 20% by 2020.

Local authorities will have to collect some recyclables “by way of separate collection” under new EU waste laws, the government has confirmed. In a letter to local authorities, parliamentary under secretary Lord DeMauley attempts to clarify the amended waste regulations that will come into force in 2015 and what it means for recycling collections. The letter reminds local authorities of the amended Waste Frame Workwork Directive, which will mean that comingled collections of dry recyclables will not be permissible in all circumstances.

The smart cities industry has been valued at more than $400bn (£250bn) globally by 2020, with the UK expected to gain a 10% share, according to a new report. The report, The Smart City Market: Opportunities for the UK, looks at how ‘smart technologies’ could help address some of the challenges of urbanisation by helping to optimise resource consumption and improve services through better management of demand and supply.

Emperor_Penguin_Manchot_empereurThe Southern Ocean is home to more than 10,000 species including most of the world’s penguins. A new attempt to protect it hangs in the balance – fishing and drilling for oil could be banned across more than two million square miles off Antarctica in a historic attempt to preserve the pristine seas. Now a coalition of more than 30 environmental groups including Greenpeace and WWF are backing negotiations for a 1.25 millon km ‘no take’ zone that covers much of the Ross Sea, plans put forward by Germany and backed by Britain to bar fishing in the Weddell Sea and plans for a new  collection of small zones of the Eastern Antarctic totalling 1.9 sq km. 24 countries have political or financial interests in Antarctica and the seas around the icy continent  .

The UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) is investing £58.6m in the world’s largest offshore wind farm, the London Array.

With domestic energy prices ever rising in the UK, Prime Minister David Cameron has said that green levies necessary to fund wind and nuclear power. With British Gas saying prices will rise 10.6%, green levies have come under fire – SSE partly blames 8.2% price hike on state-imposed subsidies but David Cameron has defended ‘necessary’ green subsidies on energy prices.

The Environment Agency (EA) has claimed that its two-year crusade to identify and shut down legal waste sites is paying off, saying that that 1,279 sites were closed in 2012-13. In 2011-12 the agency closed 670 such operations. Construction and demolition waste was found at 25% of the sites, with a similar number carrying old vehicles. The courts also confiscated over £1.3m last year from waste criminals under the Proceeds of Crime Act, while the Agency has spent £17m in the past year tackling waste crime.

Farmers have been given access to a £3m pot of funding to help them build anaerobic digestion (AD) plants. The government-funded loan scheme, which opens today, will allow farmers to apply for up to £400,000 from the ‘AD Loan Fund’ to help them finance on-site AD technology.



DRAX POWERAccording to measurements from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, a very remote atmospheric research facility in the middle of the Pacific that has been monitoring atmospheric change since the 1950s, the Earth’s atmosphere is right about to reach 400 parts-per-million (ppm) of CO2, a level that was last seen 3 million years ago. The first measurements at the observatory in 1958 had CO2 levels at 317ppm. The last time CO2 reached the symbolic milestone of 400 parts per million in the atmosphere – in the Pliocene era – temperatures rose by between 3 and 4 degrees and sea levels were between five and 40 metres higher than today. We’re toast ……..  http://www.treehugger.com/climate-change/co2-levels-atmosphere-reaching-400ppm-first-time-3-million-years.html

Biomass news: In our last update we were worried about the fact that burning wood might not be the ‘renewables’ solution its made out to be.  But the owner of the UK’s largest power station, Drax, has announced it has agreed a £75m private loan, underpinned by a Government guarantee to fund its biomass conversion project.

The UK needs to be bolder in pushing through new business models if it is to create a circular economy, WRAP CEO Liz Goodwin has warned, telling delegates at a Sustainable Business conference on resource scarcity in London that the UK economy was failing to make the most use of its resources.  She said that new business models were required so that the UK could extract maximum value from its materials and recover and regenerate the component parts and materials at the end of life

The level of public disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions among the world’s 800 largest companies is “unacceptably poor”, according to research by the Environmental Investment Organisation (EIO). The climate change and finance think tank found that only 37% of companies are reporting complete data and correctly adopting the basic principles of greenhouse gas emissions reporting.

Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy company Masdar and the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to explore project investment opportunities in the UK’s clean energy sector.

Nike has joined forces with NASA to explore new ways of pushing forward sustainable materials innovation in an initiative backed by US foreign ministries. The project, known as LAUNCH, is seeking to challenge thinking in this area through fostering greater collaboration between materials specialists, designers, academics, manufacturers, entrepreneurs and NGOs. http://www.edie.net/news/5/Nike-and-NASA-sustainable-material-innovation-launch-2020/

The first international restaurant rating system which enables diners to choose a restaurant by its sustainability standards, was launched today by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA). The SRA’s Global Sustainability Rating means diners across the globe can check how restaurants manage their energy, waste and water, how they treat their staff and where they source their food.  President of the SRA and chef Raymond Blanc, said: “This is wonderful news for anyone, like me, who cares about where their food comes from and how it is produced. It is encouraging to know that when I am eating out, anywhere in the world, I can check if the restaurant is doing the important things that will help lead to a more sustainable future for us all”.  http://www.edie.net/news/6/Raymond-Blanc-launches-global-rankings-system-for-sustainable-restaurants/

Energy wasting amongst Brits remains high, despite 80% saying they consider energy saving measures, according to the latest Government figures.  Department of Energy and Climate Change’s (DECC) latest public attitudes tracker, which surveys more than 2,000 people, found that 67% of people admit to at least occasionally boiling the kettle with more water than they intend to use.  It also found that 52% leave lights on when they are not in the room and just over 50% said they leave the heating on when they go out for a few hours

UK Energy Minister Greg Barker has officially opened The BRE National Solar Centre (NSC) in St Austell, Cornwall today, which aims to drive innovation, reduce costs and increase confidence in the marketplace through knowledge generation

The Royal Borough of Kingston Upon Thames has seen a 43% increase in the amount of plastic recycled after the council widened the range of materials that could be collected at the kerbside last October. The new service now includes all plastic bottles, including drink, shampoo and detergent bottles as well as meat trays and ready meal food trays, margarine tubs, yoghurt pots and ice cream containers and fruit and vegetable punnets.

Hot on the heels of Coca Cola Enterprises’ Joe Franses calling for businesses in the beverage industry  to recognise the need to improve water efficiency within their operations and that progress must continue to secure the sector’s future, comes news that Sainsbury’s has reduced its water consumption across its estate by 50% since 2005, largely due to recycling and utilising rainwater throughout its operations.

sneezeBad news for hay fever sufferers. 2013’s extremely cold start means that many trees have not released their pollen when they should have – but they all are ready to release pollen now as it warms up, so expect a blizzard of pollen – and a blizzard of sneezing – another unwanted side effect of climate change! And even worse news – malaria could become a real risk in the UK as leading health experts warn the UK government it needs to take action against mosquito borne disease – as climate change with warmer weather and wetter summers brings  what were once thought of as tropical diseases such as dengue fever, malaria and haemorrhagic fever ever closer to the UK. http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2013/may/05/uk-tropical-disease-malaria-threat


WORLD thermo

Mankind is a “plague on the Earth” according to the broadcaster and naturalist Sir David Attenborough. Sir David gave a bleak warning that humanity needed to cut its numbers of face the prospect of famines as the world population approached 9 billion by 2050 adding “until humanity manages to sort itself out and get a co-ordinated view about the planet, it’s going to get worse and worse”.

Mackerel has been taken off the ‘fish to eat’ list in the United Kingdom after concerns about stocks. The Marine Conservation Society said that  its decision has been prompted by  over fishing.

Pamela Warhurst, the Chairwoman at the Forestry Commission, has left her job after Environment Secretary Owen Paterson demanded a more robust approach to the ash dieback crisis. Mrs Warhurst was a former Labour council leader and a board member of Natural England, and was appointed at the end of the last Labour government.

Seventy percent of companies believe that climate change has the potential to affect their revenue significantly, according to research published today by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) and Accenture.

Prominent environmental campaigner Tony Juniper has been appointed as the first President of the Society for the Environment.

Home insulation has been a moderate success story in the UK, with 10.09 million homes with loft insulation in 2009 rising to 14.72 million in 2012. Cavit wall insulated homes have risen from 9.98 million to 12.7 million. But now  Briitsh Gas is scrapping its programmes to insulate an estimated 40,000 homes in the UK. The insulation, was was going to be funded by one of those bonkers schemes called CERT – BG thought it would miss its targets under CERT so decided to take on the extra insulation, but then realised it was cheaper to buy ‘credits’ from other energy companies who had exceeded their targets. All together some 84,000 planned insulations have been lost from BG and other energy company schemes. Note to Government – all of these schemes – carbon credits, carbon trading – whatever – are USELESS. The move comes as the UK Government tries to encourage home owners to borrow to insulate under the Green Deal energy efficiency programme.

Businesses generating their own energy can create new revenue streams, reduce exposure to price uncertainty, benefit from government incentives and help ensure long-term revenue structures, says EDF Energy. The energy company predicts that the renewable generation market in the UK is set to double over the next five years to reach the 75TWh mark – a contribution of roughly 20% of the UK’s total generation capacity – as the cost of technology comes down and a larger volume of accredited projects come online.

Adoption of fortnightly waste collections has a positive impact on recycling rates and household behaviour, new UK research has shown. Findings from a study carried out at Southampton University challenges the thinking behind Communities Secretary Eric Pickles’ efforts to encourage councils to revert back to weekly waste collections.  The results also contradict claims made just last week from a leading reprocessor that the economics for commingling stack up far better than kerbside sorting due to the high volumes that can be achieved.

airplaneAirlines will generate up to €1.3bn (£1.1bn) in profits in 2012 by taking part in the EU Emissions Trading System (ETS), according to a new study. Commissioned by the NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) and carried out by the consultancy CE Delft, the study also shows that EU airlines would take the lion’s share (€758m) of these extra gains, which is almost twice their estimated €400m profit for 2011.

Edie.net reports that the effect of soot on global warming could be about twice as much as previous estimates have suggested, a study has found. According to the first comprehensive analysis of the issue, soot, technically known as black carbon, is the second largest man-made contributor to global warming.  The study, co-led by the University of Leeds and published in the Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres, has revealed that black carbon has a warming effect of about 1.1 Watts per square meter (W/m2). More at http://www.edie.net/news/6/Influence-of-soot-on-climate-change-greatly-underestimated/23859/nl

fraking wasteIT’S A FRACKING WASTE –  What Wastes Enough Energy to Power 2.5 Million Cars and Can be Seen From Space? Well, its the gas that is wasted from Fracking – up to one third of all the gas extracted is just burnt off –  Treehugger explains more here  (photo: NASA).


A leading reprocessor has backed commingled waste collections, arguing that the economics stack up far better due to the high volumes that can be achieved compared to kerbside sorting Edie.net report that Chris Dow, CEO of Closed Loop Recycling – a plastic bottles reprocessor – said that commingled methods deliver up to three times as much materials, and that these higher quantities effectively deal a “killer blow” for kerbside sort collections.

Supermarket chain Sainsbury’s has strengthened its consumer-facing campaign activities on food waste in the wake of a hard-hitting report released last week from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers study that revealed up to 2 billion tonnes of the world’s food production is going to waste each year – which has prompted the retailer to focus its efforts on encouraging customers to think more wisely about how they buy and use food.  Its latest campaign ‘Make your Roast go Further’ will support shopper efforts to create a further two family weekday meals from every Sunday roasting joint.  A new online portal, the ‘Think.Eat.Save. Reduce Your Foodprint’ campaign will offer advice and tools for businesses to reduce losses and waste along the entire value chain of food production and consumption.  It is being led by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the Food & Agriculture Organization (FAO), and harnesses the expertise of UK organisations such as WRAP.

food wasteMore on food waste: Restaurants waste almost five times more food than the average UK household – an amount deemed “unacceptable” according to our friends at the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA).   While hundreds of restaurants have taken steps to reduce food waste, the industry average remains high at half a kilo per diner. The SRA has called on the industry to take action and clamp down on these wasteful habits. SRA chief Mark Linehan said the sector as a whole must do more and added a bug thumbs up for the ‘doggy bag’ saying “restaurants should also make diners feel more comfortable about asking, and diners should feel free to ask to take home leftovers from a meal for which they have paid”.

BMW and Toyota have joined forces to bypass the stalled market for lithium  battery charged electric cars, with the aim to get hydrogen fuel cell powered car on the road by the end of the decade. They are also close to agreeing a deal to develop so called lithium air batteries.

New qualification for sustainable caterers

The Nationwide Caterers Association have introduced the first ever online ‘sustainability in catering’ training course. The training has been created by the Sustainable Restaurant Association in partnership with the Nationwide Caterers Association (NCASS), and accredited by City & Guilds.  As major sports venues and music festivals are increasingly taking the sustainability of their food seriously and expecting caterers to respond to this, it makes business sense for all UK venues and festivals to make it a pre-requisite for their caterers to undertake sustainability training. This training scheme “provides the necessary reassurances for venues and festivals to match their values with those of customers”.  Event organisers are being increasingly asked to consider the environmental impact of their events, from waste going to landfill to energy and water usage. The industry is being asked to take responsibility for the overall impact their businesses have, including that caused by traders at events.

In September 2012 the SRA and NCASS jointly launched the first ever online training course for sustainability in catering. They believe this is the most convenient and effective way of providing help and advice to the entire industry, at the lowest cost possible to the end user.  The training course is designed to raise awareness of the three core areas of sustainability:

(1) Environmental practices

(2) Sourcing food

(3) Social responsibility

And here’s the good bit – all UK festivals who decide to ask caterers to provide evidence of the sustainability training will be awarded the SRA Festivals Partner status and receive free national PR.  Sunrise Celebration are the first UK festival to agree to support the SRA/NCASS sustainability training and recommend the training to potential caterers at their event. While it is not compulsory for caterers to complete the course, it will be recommended and should help them to succeed in the tender process.  Sunrise Festival are therefore well on their way to receiving SRA festival partner status, awarded by the SRA to festivals that make completion of sustainability training compulsory for all food vendors.

It only costs £50 for SRA or NCASS mobile caterer members to be accredited. For non-members the  accreditation costs £95 and takes two hours to complete. There are reductions for bulk bought courses.

Once completed, participants must successfully complete a test before receiving a sustainability certificate that can be displayed in their unit.       If you would like to trial the training or find out more  please contact  the number or email address below to  sign up for sustainability training today.  

For more information please call +44(0) 0121 603 2524 or email Mark Laurie at mark.laurie@ncass.org.uk .


Edie.net has published the results of an exclusive piece of research, commissioned with partners Temple Group and sister title Sustainable Business, examining the state of play in the sustainability arena, asking the question: why are business leaders prioritising sustainability?  “The results of this survey are powerful,” says CBI head of energy and climate change Dr Matthew Brown, because the results clearly show that it is being prioritised by businesses across multiple sectors and of all sizes. Seven in 10 businesses consider sustainability as a business driver and almost a third putting it at the core of their business strategy. Energy has been voted the number one priority by business leaders in their efforts to improve resource efficiency throughout their organisations, according to exclusive research. Business leaders consider waste reduction to be the second biggest priority in driving better resource efficiency across their organisations. You can downloads the report here http://www.edie.net/news/news_story.asp?src=nl&id=23331

More than 50 businesses including Sky, ASDA and PepsiCo have called on the UK’s chancellor George Osbourne to put in place carbon emission targets for 2030 to incentivise growth in the green economy and revitalise the UK’s ageing energy infrastructure. Osbourne seems to think green policies are a burden on business and is seemingly against carbon targets. Lots of sensible business people see a need for low carbon renewable energy. The plea came in a letter sent to Osbourne, coordinated by the Aldersgate Group, a coalition of businesses who support the move to a sustainable green economy. Many businesses and investors have avoided the UK because of the lack of political commitment to renewables and a green framework. The Conservative party will not decarbonise the UK and meet climate targets by over burdening the British economy and sending jobs overseas, climate change minister, Greg Barker, said at today’s Conservative Party Conference. Barker said: “We have a distinct Conservative approach that puts jobs, growth and value for money at the centre of our green agenda”. adding “Green Growth isn’t just a catch phrase for us it is at the heart of our vision of a prosperous, sustainable economy”.  Labour’s Ed  Millband told the Labour Party conference in Manchester that the environment was “absolutely central” to his vision for the future and he criticised the government for their dwindling green credentials. His move follows news of the green sector’s angry reception to the opposition leader’s central speech on Tuesday, which failed to address the environment.

Celebrity chef Raymond Blanc has applauded The Pig restaurant for being named sustainable restaurant of the year at the National Restaurant Awards (NRA).  The Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA) recognised The Pig’s efforts to operate sustainably, which included a menu with 80% of the produce sourced from within 25 miles. It also installed a full range of energy efficient equipment in the kitchen, implemented an across the board recycling policy and maintains a very close working relationship with local schools and colleges.

Coca-Cola Enterprises is to embark on a ground-breaking international pilot to understand what makes consumers tick when it comes to recycling. The drinks bottler is leading a research project with the University of Exeter to explore the social science behind household recycling by studying behavioural patterns and dynamics between family members when it comes to waste disposal.

Enviromentalist Jonathon Porritt has called for a more open debate on the potential of using waste-to-energy to recover the calorific value in plastics waste. Porritt said that modern energy recovery technologies such as small-scale incineration or advanced gasification should be considered as a viable recovery solution for the material despite many green groups being fiercely opposed to the idea of burning plastics. And more from Jonathon on waste here http://www.jonathonporritt.com/blog/what-waste.

Just a year after its debut, the popular Nest Learning Thermostat has gotten a full upgrade. The new second generation Nest has a slimmer design and a host of new hardware and software features including more programmable energy-saving features, expanded mobile support and compatibility with even more home heating and cooling systems and, now, humidification systems too. More here http://www.treehugger.com/gadgets/new-nest-thermostat-slimmer-has-even-more-energy-saving-features.html

Portland, Oregon and New York City, two very different cities, are finding something similar about cyclists and pedestrians – they tend to spend a bit more money in local economies. In New York’s East Village, putting in new bikes lanes has lead to an increase in cycling, with nearly a quarter of residents reporting biking for their transportation needs. Altogether, 95% of retail dollars in the area that Transportation Alternatives studied were spent by cyclists, pedestrians, and public transport users.  In Portland, Oregon, a less dense city, researcher Kelly Clifton found a slightly different yet also persuasive case that over time, pedestrians and cyclists spend more than their car-driving brethren.  As Clifton puts it in the report on the research: “Cyclists are greater spenders on average…Patrons who arrive by automobile do not necessarily convey greater monetary benefits to businesses than bicyclists, transit users, or pedestrians. This finding is contrary to what business owners often believe.” – Business Cycles, Catering to the Bicycling Market (From Treehugger).

British businesses have applauded the government’s decision to continue providing support to medium scale renewables schemes under the Renewable Obligation (RO).

Family businesses are increasingly focusing on sustainability, giving them a competitive advantage, according to research released today. The report ‘Sustainable Value Creation’ published by the Institute for Family Business (IFB), reveals that 72% of family businesses have a sustainable strategy in place and that 79% have implemented sustainable business practices.

Britain could run out of energy generating capacity in the winter of 2015-16 as a result of EU environmental laws and coal plant closures, according to Ofgem. Currently, the UK has 14% spare capacity but Ofgem estimates that this could fall to 4% by 2015/2016.  The Government is being called upon to utilise biogas generated from anaerobic digestion to tackle possible blackouts in the future.

The International Golf Federation (IGF) has announced that it will promote best practice to minimise the sport’s consumption of non-renewable natural resources.

Investors in biomass facilities have been told that they will not face mandatory price control reporting in order to qualify for subsidies. Energy Minister John Hayes said a voluntary system will instead be put in place whereby the operators of co-firing stations and biomass conversions will be asked to pre-notify DECC of their generating intentions in advance of each Renewables Obligation (RO) period.

The public will be able to tour Brighton and Hove’s 20 eco-homes at the council’s annual household efficiency event.

Sainsbury’s will stage the UK’s biggest ever single-charity food collection appeal as part of its drive to tackle food waste in the supply chain. The retailer is teaming up with food redistribution charity FareShare to run the ‘Million Meal Appeal’ across of its stores, encouraging customers to donate food items whilst they shop.


From Treehugger, a brilliant article titled “12 Green Questions I’d Ask If I Were Moderating a 2012 Presidential Debate” – to the point and very smart – http://www.treehugger.com/environmental-policy/12-green-questions-i-would-ask-2012-presidential-debate.html

Campaigners including Dame Vivienne Westwood and Bianca Jagger have signed a letter calling the UK government “reckless and short sighted” in its failure to tackle climate change with just 50 months remaining before the global temperature rise hits 2C. The letter points out that this year “has seen the record loss of sea ice, the greenhouse gas concentrations above the Arctic at their highest point for possibly 800,00 years. Crop wrecking droughts and record temperatures have scorched the american Midwest” and points out that  investing in energy efficiency and expanding renewable energy would give the UK economy a major boost but says some of the UK government’s policies “seem to take us backwards”.

What to do? Barbara Stocking, chief executive of Oxfam says its time for lifestyle changes in the wealthy world; climate scientist Professor Kevin Anderson says its too late for rich countries to grow their way out of the problem and they must find new ways to run their economies.  Ed Mayo says that a simple change would be a move away from ‘individual ownership’ – our own cars, single food portions, homes with single occupants, which are the No 1 source of inefficiency saying that we need to build sharing into the economy; Catherine Howarth calls on everyone saving into pension plans to make sure their fund managers are thinking responsibly and about the long term. Let’s be honest, it was the bankers who got us into this economic mess – so  as they don’t know what they are ding – maybe a bit of advice might help!  Catherine says our pension funds should be demanding a halt to corporate lobbying against climate change regulation and they should be allowing investment into low carbon infrastructure as well as urging companies to invest in energy saving techniques and technologies and prepare for the impacts of climate change; Finally Anna Coote says that we need to slow down – can we walk or cycle rather than drive? Repair things rather then throw away and replace?  Give gadgets and  ready made meals the heave-ho! Many of us have time poverty in the UK – but there are 2.5 million who need work. It’s a mad mad World!

Professor William Cheung at the University of  British Columbia is predicting that the rise in ocean temperatures will result in a reduction in individual fish size as well as a shrinkage in fish stocks – so less fish, and smaller fish with climate change wiping out a food source for billi0ns.

Whilst biofuels do result in lower greenhouse gas emissions than either gasoline or diesel fuel, and they all result in significantly lower ozone depletion, on every other eco-factor, biofuels are at best no better than petroleum and in many cases far worse, having a negative environmental impact on multiple criteria such as creation of ocean dead zones, water pollution, land use change, and resource depletion.  http://www.treehugger.com/renewable-energy/most-biofuels-better-than-oil-greenhouse-gases-worse-or-similar-eco-impact-otherwise.html.

The growing longevity of the  global population will mean that by 2050 there will be more pensioners than children, accordng to a UN report, and that there will be over 400 million people aged 80 or over.

Those lovely people at Glencore have been accused of using complex insurance bills to slash their UK tax bill. More on the Guardian website here

The Clink at HMP High Down, Britain’s first restaurant to serve meals to the public inside prison walls has been awarded the maximum three stars by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA).  The 92-seat restaurant which provides a real working environment for prisoners, has been given the three star rating after impressing in areas of sourcing, environment and society.

The European Union has passed 100 gigawatt (GW) of installed wind power capacity, according to the European Wind Energy Association (EWEA).

The central solar panel installation on the main roof at King’s Cross station in London has been officially turned on. The installation is expected to generate 175,000 kWh a year and save over 100 tonnes of CO2 emissions. It is made up of 1,392 glass laminate units and covers 2300 square metres.

Edie.net report that Michelin has embarked on a nationwide reverse logistics drive for its used tyres in the UK, resulting in massive cost savings for its waste disposal operations. In 2009 the tyre manufacturer set up a project team of senior managers from its manufacturing, logistics and commerce arms together with its official retail partner ATS Euromaster to take back all of its end-of-life tyres and manage the recovery process in-house, rather than rely on sub-contractors.

Arnold Schwarzenegger, actress Barbara Windsor and London  Mayor, Boris Johnson were among the celebrities to ride in London’s new fleet of hydrogen fuel cell powered taxis during the Olympic and Paralympic games.  The five taxis, fuelled by the capital’s second hydrogen fuelling station at Heathrow airport, transported 40 visiting dignitaries and VIP guests of the Greater London Authority during the games.

Coca-Cola has delivered on a key target to recycle 10.5 million PET plastic bottles from the London 2012 Olympic games, returning most of them back to shelf within 6 week.

Scottish Water has launched three new water efficiency videos on its website which aim to raise awareness of household water efficiency.  Advice includes taking less time in the shower and using a bucket and sponge to wash a car rather than a hose.

Edie.net report that leading Enviromentalist Jonathon Porritt has called for a more open debate on the potential of using waste-to-energy to recover the calorific value in plastics waste. Porritt said that modern energy recovery technologies such as small-scale incineration or advanced gasification should be considered as a viable recovery solution for the material despite many green groups being fiercely opposed to the idea of burning plastics. http://www.edie.net/news/news_story.asp?src=nl&id=23274

A green charity has been awarded £341,000 to create innovative systems to reduce river pollution in Enfield, North London. Thames21 will use the Defra funding to reduce pollution in the Salmons Brook, a tributary of the River Lea, which is one of the most polluted rivers in the UK.

Union leaders are are seeking urgent talks to protect jobs at waste management group Biffa – the group seems likely to fall into the hands of banks, owed a total of £1.1 billion by current owners Montagu Private Equity and Global Infrastructure Partners.

How green and sustainable is Sainsburys? well, the supermarket group say they have reduced carbon emissions by 9% over four years despite a 25% rise in retail space – but don’t ask us, have a look at this Guardian article which explains how the retailer wants to work with more local producers, install solar panels and improve recycling. It’s all here online.


You can be sure of Shell? Probably not. The multinational oil company has come under intense criticism for only the most limited testing of a key piece of equipment aimed at preventing a Gulf of Mexico style blow out in its expected exploration in the Chukotka Sea off Alaska. Shell has said that it would use a  ready-made containment dome that could cap off a well if anything went wrong, but Ben Aycliffe, a senior Greenpeace Campaigner for the Arctic said “The only option now is for the US Government to call a halt to Shell’s plans because the company is so clearly unable to operate safely in the planet’s most extreme environment”.  It seems Shell spent just two hours (yes, ypu read that right, 2 hours) testing the system. Shell said that the containment dome was just one of a number of  pieces of equipment that could be used in an emergency. Other scientists have warned that they are even more worried about  drilling methods in the Russian Arctic, where environmental concerns were lower down the agenda.

Keep an eye out for the new docu-feature TRASHED, produced and directed by British filmmaker Candida Brady and fronted by Jeremy Irons which has been selected to receive a Special Screening at the Cannes Film Festival this month. The film  sets out to discover the extent and effects of the global waste problem – especially on places of natural beauty. You can find out more at http://www.trashedfilm.com/

Stack-Cup™ is washable, durable, and reusable cup for live events  – a green solution for contributing to today’s growing revolution against a throw-away society – and it boasts a unique patented handle design that enables spiral-pattern stacking for easy portability. More at  stack-cup.com/.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Canteen in Plymouth has been rated the UK’s most sustainable restaurant by the Sustainable Restaurant Association (SRA). The Canteen narrowly beat Dixcart Bay Hotel, Sark, which scored 88% in its rating in July.

Energy-from-waste companies are sitting on a lucrative “gold mine” of valuable metals in incinerator bottom ash which they could profit from if these materials were recovered.

The UK Government must begin planning against the increased health risks that climate change could bring to the UK, according to a report published today by the Health Protection Agency (HPA). The study, Health Effects of Climate Change in the UK 2012, looks at the effect of temperature rises on death rates in hot and cold spells and the impact a changing climate will have on pollen production, outdoor and indoor air pollution, floods, ultraviolet radiation, food, water and insect-borne diseases.

The European Commission has launched an anti-dumping investigation into imports of solar panels  from China. More on Edie.net

Edie.net reports that seabed pollution at almost two thirds of Scottish salmon farms is either unsatisfactory or borderline. A Salmon and Trout Association (S&TA) study reviewed 311 reports of seabed self-monitoring by farms between 2009 and March 2012. Of these, 44% were deemed by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) as “unsatisfactory,” 21% were considered “borderline” and only 34% were considered satisfactory.

Particle physicist, ex-D:REAM keyboard player and now TV star Professor Brian Cox has calculated the cost of sending waste into space based on current space technology capabilities

According to Cox, the cheapest rate a rocket could launch mass into the lower earth orbit would be $2,000 per kilogram – and to blast it further out of the earth’s orbit would cost even more!

Tesco expects to make 30% energy savings at its first store run solely on LED lighting, as it continues to move towards its target of being carbon neutral by 2050.

Fujitsu has developed what it claims is the industry’s first system for recycling used CDs and DVDs into new notebook PCs.  The Japanese manufacturer will embark on a pioneering closed loop venture to collect the CDs and DVDs at its own recycling centres across the country and reuse them by incorporating the plastic into the bodies of its notebook products.

The UK’s Environment Agency has launched an initiative to encourage debate and discussion on what it takes to achieve greener businesses in economically challenging times.  The initiative aims to highlight hundreds of organisations driving greener business approaches and to recognise the SMEs, entrepreneurs and other businesses helping to improve the environment and reduce carbon emissions.  A wide range of organisations including Waterwise, Keep Britain Tidy, the Carbon Trust, the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) will be joining the Environment Agency to carry out the initiative and the publication of the new Greener Business Report this autumn.