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September 25, 2009

Search for Green Champion begins

by David Masters
Environment

The search is on to find one person to be the voice of ordinary Brits on the environment. TV star Melanie Sykes launched the campaign to find the Green Voice of Great Britain in London on 24 September. The chosen green champion will become an advocate for the people of Great Britain on environmental issues. "We are looking for people who can represent the views of the man on the street and communicate ...





September 23, 2009

Airlines announce “sneaky” greenwash carbon pledge

by David Masters
Transport Environment

The aviation industry has pledged to slash carbon dioxide emissions in half over the next 40 years. The agreement between airlines, airports, and aircraft manufacturers will see emissions cut 50% compared to 2005 levels by 2050. Announcing the plans, Willa Walsh, British Airways chief executive, said the agreement was the chance for airlines to "rectify" their decision to opt out of the Kyoto protocol. Environmental campaigners welcomed the scheme, but pointed to its ...





Europe ditches proposals for humane livestock transport

by David Masters
Environment

Plans to make livestock transport more humane have been scrapped by the European Commission. The proposed regulations had included reduced journey times, lower stock densities, and greater restrictions on the transport of animals bought at market. Farming groups and animal rights campaigners welcomed the commission's decision to drop the proposals. Both groups argued the legislation failed to deal with the key issue of making sure animal welfare laws are adequately enforced. “We have said, ...





September 21, 2009

Activists dump horse dung on Jeremy Clarkson’s doorstep

by David Masters
Transport Environment

Climate change activists this week dumped a cartload of manure outside Jeremy Clarkson's home in protest of his attitude to the environment. The seven protesters from direct action group Climate Rush were dressed as suffragettes and stood by the manure pile with a banner reading "This is what you're landing us in". The activists said they were being as ""blasé" about dumping manure as Top Gear presenter Clarkson is about carbon emissions. "I'm ...





French study shows organic food is healthier

by David Masters
Sustainability Environment

Organic food is better for you, according to a new report from the French food agency. The AFSSA report claimed organic plants product more dry matter, minerals and anti-oxidents. Between 94% and 100% of organic food did not contain any pesticide residues, while organic vegetables were found to contain 50% fewer nitrates. The report contradicts claims earlier this year by Britain's Food Standards Agency (FSA) that organic food has no health benefits. Denis Lairon, ...





September 18, 2009

Northern Ireland reveals climate concern

by David Masters
Environment

Floods, damage to wildlife, severe weather, and a more polluted atmosphere are the main worries of people in Northern Ireland when asked about climate change. Unlike the country's former environment minister Sammy Wilson who argued that climate change was not caused by human activity, the majority of people in Northern Ireland believe climate change is caused by a mixture of human activity and natural processes. Edwin Poots, Northern Ireland's new environment minister, ...





Biofuel Britain powered by willow trees and exotic grass

by David Masters
Energy Environment

Fields of coppice willow and exotic grass could help to meet the UK's energy needs and reduce carbon emissions. New research published this week found the traditional practise of coppicing could provide biofuel to cut Britain's carbon emissions and provide a haven for wildlife. The government wants to plant up to a million hectares of coppice willow and miscanthus grass to produce biomass for generating electricity. A team of researchers from the universities ...





September 17, 2009

Public fed up with “self-righteous” environmentalists

by David Masters
Environment

Britain is bored with hearing about climate change, fed up with "smug" environmentalists, and cynical about green government initiatives, according to a new report. Research by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) found climate change-related communications cause most people to switch off. Interviews and workshops by IPPR discovered people are tired of hearing about climate change despite its implications. The public either views the government's stance on climate change as an excuse ...





September 15, 2009

Pesticides blamed for bee crisis

by David Masters
Sustainability Environment

Dramatic declines in Britain's bee population are due to the use of pesticides in intensive farming, a new report claimed this week. Neonicotinoids, used on a variety of crops in UK but banned across much of Europe, are a "significant factor" in the drop in Britain's bee numbers, the Soil Association and insect research body Buglife claimed in their joint report. The two groups "brought together a number of peer-reviewed pieces of ...





Queen told to give up land for allotments

by David Masters
Sustainability Environment

The 100,000 people waiting for an allotment could all be given a vegetable patch if local councils converted brownfield sites and the Queen gave up some of her land. A report published this week by the New Local Government Network thinktank said the Government should offer tax incentives to landowners who rent out unused plots as allotments. In some areas of the UK, waiting lists for allotments are up to 40 ...





September 11, 2009

ASA bans “sustainable” palm oil advert

by David Masters
Sustainability Environment

An advertising campaign claiming that palm oil is sustainable and the "green answer" has been banned by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). ASA upheld four complaints against the magazine advert by the Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC). Palm oil plantations producing the vegetable fat for food, biofuels, and household products are responsible for the destruction of thousands of acres of rainforest in Indonesia and Malaysia. Indigenous tribes have been evicted from land now ...





Is Geo-Engineering climate’s messiah?

by David Masters
Environment

The Institute of Mechanical Engineers (IMECHE) has published a report claiming that geo-engineering could help "clean up the mess" of climate change. Geo-engineering, the artificial manipulation of the earth's environment, could have an important role to play in the fight against global warming, the report claims. IMECHE's 100 year roadmap for fighting climate change includes reflective structure technologies to reflect heat from cities, as well as artificial trees and algae coated buildings ...





September 8, 2009

Tits turn vampire on bats

by Alan Harten
Environment

The tit is often considered a friendly guest in gardens throughout Britain, but it has been discovered that in Hungary the birds have a darker side as they are predators that actively hunt hibernating bats and eat them. They turn to predators that seek flesh is thought to be caused due to a lack of the normal dietary needs that tits seek. Tits were first found to be seeking out bats in ...





Bumblebee to return to UK

by David Masters
Environment

Plans are afoot to repopulate the British countryside with a native species of bee that died out nearly a decade ago. The short-haired bumblebee officially went extinct in the UK in 2000. However, a small population of the bumblebee survives in New Zealand. Conservation groups plan to bring short-haired bumblebees across to the UK from New Zealand in an effort to repopulate the British Isles with the species. If their plans prove successful, it ...





September 4, 2009

Wales ahead of schedule on landfill targets

by David Masters
Environment Money

Welsh councils have smashed recycling targets a year ahead of schedule. Figures published this week show Wales sent 599,703 tonnes of biodegradable waste to landfill in 2008/09, 24% less than its target for the year, and 16% less than its target for next year. Reaching the landmark ensures Wales won't face financial sanctions when the EU's landfill directive comes into force next year. “These new figures are great news and show how councils ...





September 3, 2009

Escaped salmon dampen enthusiasm for fish farms

by David Masters
Environment

Wildlife conservation groups in Scotland have condemned a Scotland-based fish farm after 37,000 juvenile salmon escaped following a suspected predator attack. The Rivers and Fisheries Trusts of Scotland (RAFTS) and the Association of Salmon Fishery Boards (ASFB) said the salmon, which escaped from a unit on Lock Frisa owned by Scottish Sea Farms (SSF), present a "major risk to the genetic integrity and survival of wild salmon populations". The fish escaped through ...





Artic should be cooling not warming

by Alan Harten
Environment

Research that was published in Science magazine points to the 1990’s as the warmest period of time for the Arctic temperatures over the last 2,000 years. The study results allege that if CO2 gases were not controlling the natural climate patterns than the Arctic would now naturally be cooling down. The report also said that this cooling which should happen gradually would still continue to happen on into the future if CO2 ...





Brits demand the right to peaceful protest

by David Masters
Environment

Half of British adults think the police are too heavy handed during peaceful protests, according to the results of a new YouGov poll. The Christian Aid commissioned study found 50% of people think the police are too violent towards peaceful protesters. A third (33%) of the 2,000 people polled believe that police filming protesters is an invasion of privacy and is another example of Britain becoming a "Big Brother" society. One in five ...





Supermarkets are Ireland’s litter bugs

by David Masters
Environment

Supermarkets in Ireland are failing in their legal responsibility to keep their premises free of litter, recent research discovered. A survey by Irish Business Against Litter (IBAL) found the entrances, car parks, and surrounding pavements of supermarkets are scattered with litter in many Irish towns. These areas were more than twice as likely to be heavily littered compared to other locations. Tesco was found to be the worst offender, followed by Aldi and ...





September 2, 2009

Christian Aid stages virtual climate protest

by David Masters
Energy Environment

With 100 days until world leaders meet in Copenhagen to forge an agreement on tackling climate change, Christian Aid staged a mass virtual trespass at E.ON Ironbridge power station. Instead of taking direct action to close down the power station, the charity beamed images of Christian Aid supporters onto the plant's cooling tower. In the images supporters held up messages to Prime Minister Gordon Brown encouraging him to take the lead in ...





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