The pilot badger cull in Somerset in the UK has been deemed a ‘success’ after 850 badgers were killed – ministers had been hoping to meet a target of 2,100 slaughtered badgers, but decided that targets had still been met by lowering estimates of the badger population in the area – so a 70% death rate could be achieved – and Environment Secretary Owen Paterson extended the cull window to allow the shootings to continue. Amazingly, as the cull was meant to be part of the fight against the spread of bovine TB, the dead badgers are NOT being tested for TB as this is not one of the things being assessed in the trial. Bonkers and cruel.
Rail fares in the UK will be capped at 2% above inflation from 2014, down from 5% plus inflation. and in other train news, lawyers do have their uses! City lawyer Andrew Myers has won a County Court battle against First Capital Connect after a staff member challenged Mr Myer’ practice of buying a cheaper – but valid – ticket from Watford North station but using it to and from his St Albans home. First Capital Connect tried to settle the mater and get a “gagging order” but Mr Myers prevailed in the County Court who ruled the train operator’s behaviour unreasonable.
More than 2,000 solar farms could be built in the UK by 2020 under new plans to subsidise an eight-fold increase in solar power. Whilst ministers prefer solar panels on factory roofs and brownfield sites, it is feared many will be built in the countryside. The Department of Energy and Climate Change wants to extend solar power from the current capacity of 2.4GW to 20GW – enough to power 6 million homes.
Rare butterflies and moths from the Continent are establishing colonies in UK after the warm summer and mild autumn according to the charity Butterfly Conservation. The European long tailed Blue has bred over a largest ever area of the South of England and rare moths such as the Clifden Nonpareil and Rosy Underwing have also appeared.
A photographer and two Greenpeace activists facing piracy charges in Russia have been refused bail in Murmansk. All three are Russian nationals, and will be held until November 24th at the earliest. A further 27 bail requests are pending from the 30 activists held in custody after the Arctic drilling protest.
In the UK most families spend much more on transport than on gas and electricity for their homes. Why you might ask? Well partially because bus prices have been rising faster than anything. 5.2 billion bus journeys were taken in the UK in 2012 – often made by the young and the old – compared to 1.5 billion rail journeys, and bus tickets have gone up 28% above inflation since 1997 – rail prices 21% above inflation – whilst the cost of motoring has fallen. It’s in London that buses really work – where the market has actually been regulated – making it more efficient and better used – and bus use has doubled since 1997. Outside of London local authorities who have not been able to regulate markets now have to subsidise key services.
Nest, the inventors of the smarter thermostat, turn their attention to the smoke detector – and they seem to be getting it right. The Nest Protect smoke detector understands that there are different kinds of alarms and different kinds of warnings. It doesn’t just scream at you. Before turning on a loud, howling alarm, Nest Protect gives you an early warning – Nest Protect lights up yellow and speaks with a human voice. It tells you where smoke is or when carbon monoxide levels are rising. This gives you an earlier warning if there’s an emergency, or allows you to silence Nest Protect if it’s just a nuisance alarm, like an overly enthusiastic toaster. It will connect over WiFi to the other thermostats in the house so that everyone will hear the warnings. If it is a false alarm, just wave at it; it has ultrasonic detectors (which also turn on a night light as you pass under it.) If you have a NEST thermostat and it detects CO2 that might be coming from the furnace, it will turn it off. If your toast sets it off, there is a big button in the middle to override it.
The Volkswagen XL1, is making its official debut in the United States today at the 23rd Annual Society of Environmental Journalists (SEJ) Conference at the Chattanooga Convention Center. But its not for the mass market – only 250 will be made. VW’s new £95,000 supercar 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.
Katy Perry has felt PETA’s wrath – the animal campaign group noticed that there was a large elephant t in the video for her recent single ‘Roar’. PETA’s beef is that the animal, Suzy, was likely “violently” captured and then mistreated, and that Perry and her team’s decision to cast an endangered wild creature in a pop video was therefore irresponsible and exploitative.
Interserve in London are looking for a Sustainability Co-ordinator. This is “a key role as part of a new and growing Sustainable Development team within the Civil Government business unit. The Sustainability Co-ordinator will work within the team undertaking the development and delivery of sustainability activities and projects as well as supporting environmental management system delivery. The role will have a mixture of client facing tasks as well as essential back of house development.” More here and here.
Rufus Hound will host this year’s UK Festival Awards on December 2 at The Roundhouse in London. The comedian and actor will be bringing his inimitable hosting skills to the event, which will see the festival industry gather together under one roof for a night of celebration Tickets have been selling quickly and it looks set to be another sold-out event. Make sure you get your tickets here:
Rob da Bank and Ben Turner are launching a new London based electronic Music festival called LEAF from the 7th – 10th November. Venues that will be used include the O2 Academy in Brixton (Major Lazer), The Forum in Kentish Town (Trentemoller), Oval space Bethnal Green (Diplo) and the Village Underground in Shoreditch (The Bloody Beetroots). The central hub will be the Electric Light Station in East London and features include talks, workshops, and master classes with New Order and Georgio Moroder tipped to speak.
And finally – Treehugger lists six uses for urine – that’s right – human waste! It wasn’t always flushed away …..
) Tanning leather.
2) Cleaning and whitening clothes.
4) Tooth Whitener.
5) As a health supplement (Gandhi would drink his own every morning and Madonna has claimed that she used it to cure her athlete’s foot)
6) The recovery of phosphorus.
Really, given how valuable the stuff is, perhaps it is time to stop throwing it away.