rspbThe RSPB faces a whopping £9 million fine for allegedly chopping down 1000,000 trees without a licence.  RSPB is the UK charity working “to secure a healthy environment for birds” and the RSPB has aims to save wildlife, protect wild places and defend nature is thought to have broken the law when it cleared 100 acres of Highland forest, despite failing to renew its logging licence. The clearance was part of a scheme to clear bog and peatland to boost birdlife at the Forsinard Flows reserve in Scotland. Forestry Commission Scotland have launched an inquiry and if found to have felled trees illegally the fine levied could be up to twice the value of the trees cut down. The RSPB were recently involved in the controversial decision to grant T-in-the-Park a licence to hold the festival at the Strahallan Estate:  In its response to Perth and Kinross Council, the wildlife charity made it clear that while it didsn’t oppose the new venue in principle, it would object to the music festival unless a number of strict measures are implemented. These were to ensure that nesting ospreys next to the proposed site are not disturbed. These measures include restrictions on the use of fireworks and lighting, and permanent ‘no go’ buffer zones around the active osprey nest. These zones would measure 500 m until after mid-June; this covers the period when the birds are likely to lay eggs, incubate them, and raise small chicks. After this time the zones would reduce to 250 m. At no point would festival goers or T in the Park staff enter these buffer zones. The RSPB also said an ‘ornithological clerk of works’, a specialist qualified and experienced bird expert, must also be appointed who wouldbe able to overrule others on site to stop any activities that may cause disturbance. Some T in the Park infrastructure, like the Slam Tent, big wheel and funfair would also be moved 500 m away from the osprey nest.

france_europa_stampsA group of French MPs has tabled a draft law to make it compulsory for supermarkets to hand over all unsold food still fit for consumption to charity. Many supermarket chains in France already donate unsold produce to charities, but 63 MPs from across the political spectrum would like to see the practice enshrined in law. Late in July, they tabled a draft bill making it compulsory for supermarkets with 1,000 square metres (10,800 sq ft) of floor space to give their “unsold but still consumable food products to at least one food charity”. Belgium became the first European country to introduce a similar a law in May.

And a new law recently passed in France mandates that all new buildings that are built in commercial zones in France must be partially covered in either plants or solar panels. Green roofs, as they are called, have an isolating effect which helps to reduce the amount of energy needed to heat a building during the winter or cool it in the summer. They are capable of retaining rainwater and reducing problems with runoff, and also offer birds a place to call home in the urban jungle.

London could be set for a wave of ‘social supermarkets’ that reduce food waste by selling surplus stock at much lower prices than the high street, thanks to £300,000 of new funding from Mayor Boris Johnson. Boroughs across the capital can apply for a share of the fund, which will go towards the development of pilot supermarkets aimed at local families on lower incomes, in a bid to tackle the rising problem of food poverty. “I want to see more innovative schemes on our high streets that tackle food waste, help communities and offer access to a variety of good standard cheaper food,” Johnson said.

lobster-164479_640The Guardian tells us that the the East Yorkshire Coastline to the  North Sea is by far the UK’s most prolific lobster ground. Before the boats were barred from entering it, in mid-2013, to allow for the construction of a 35-turbine windfarm, it provided more than 15% of the 3,500 tonnes of lobster taken from UK waters every year. Landed at Bridlington, and the smaller neighbouring ports of Flamborough, Hornsea, Withernsea and Easington, the lobsters – and a large quantity of crabs and whelks – are mostly exported and are highly prized in France, Spain and Portugal. Now, as they prepare to return, fishing crews hope that there will still be shellfish under the waves to catch. “The questions we are asking are: can we safely fish among the turbines and is there anything left to catch?” said Mike Cohen, chief executive of the Holderness Fishing Industry Group, the UK’s largest association representing lobster fishers. Since construction started, the windfarm’s owner, Dong Energy, has been working with Cohen’s group to gauge the effects of the turbines on crustaceans and white fish in the North Sea. The intention is to publish the research annually, allowing both sides to study the long-term impact on marine stocks as the world pushes ahead with offshore wind – a technology that is becoming a major industry in the north-east of England.

Sea creatures are set to shrink as the world’s oceans become more acidic. That is the startling warning given by an international group of biologists who have charted the likely impact of rising carbon dioxide levels on marine life. The group reveals that not only are hundreds of marine species likely to be wiped out as more and more carbon dioxide is dissolved in the Earth’s oceans but also that creatures that do survive – in particular those with shells, such as clams, oysters and snails – will be left puny and shrunken as a result. “We have already seen this effect in commercial oyster beds in the US, where marine farmers have had to stop growing young oysters in sea water because their shells could no longer form properly in our increasingly acidic seas. Instead they have to grow them in tanks where water acidity can be controlled,” said marine biologist Professor Jason Hall-Spencer, of Plymouth University. “And as the oceans get even more acidic, the problem of species shrinkage – known as the Lilliput effect – will become more and more common. It is a clear warning of the extreme dangers we are facing as carbon emissions continue to rise around the planet.”

beesOkay this is super important so PLEASE read this and share it around: now that spring is in full swing and summer is approaching, if you see something like this do NOT call the exterminator. Call a beekeeper and they will relocate the bees for you. Bees are the most efficient and effective pollinators and they are unfortunately dying off because people keep trying to kill them. Bees are largely responsible for the pollination of most of the world’s fruits, vegetables and nuts so without bees we don’t have any of those foods. When bees swarm like this it’s because they’re about to relocate somewhere else and they are highly UNLIKELY to sting you in this state because they don’t have a hive or babies to protect. So TLDR; bees are your friend, don’t kill them, and call a beekeeper to RELOCATE them. Thank you.

hedgehogUK wildlife TV presenter Michaela Strachan has said that hedgehogs are declining so fast in the UK they could disappear in 10 years – despite the fact it would be relatively easy to protect the,m. Hedgehog numbers have declined from 30 million in the 1950s to 1.5 million in 1995 to less than a million now. Pesticides, busy roads and a loss of habitats are all blamed. making urban parks and gardens for hedgehog friendly will really help – simple holes under garden fences to allow foraging is are a big help.

An Antarctic ice shelf called Larsen B Ice shelf which is the size of London is in the process of collapsing according Nasa scientists.

short haired bumblebeeAccording to beekeeper Dave Schuit, who produces honey in Elmwood, Canada, he and his farm lost about 37 million bees (about 600 hives) once GMO corn started to get planted in the nearby area. “Once the corn started to get planted our bees died by the millions,” Schuit said. He and other beekeepers are blaming neonicotinoids, or “neonics” for the death of many of their bees. Although Europe has eliminated the use of neonicotinoid class of pesticides from its market, the USDA still hasn’t banned the chemical presently produced by Bayer CropScience Inc. The reason pesticides containing neonicotinoids are banned in other countries is because they contaminate pollen and nectar, which in effect damages and kills insects like the bees. Two of Bayer CropScience’s most popular pesticides containing neonics include Imidacloprid and Clothianidin. These drugs continue to be marketed, even though they have been linked with many large-scale bee ‘die-offs’ in both European and U.S. countries.

airpollutionFossil fuel companies are benefitting from global subsidies of $5.3tn (£3.4tn) a year, equivalent to $10m a minute every day, according to a startling new estimate by the International Monetary Fund. The IMF calls the revelation “shocking” and says the figure is an “extremely robust” estimate of the true cost of fossil fuels. The $5.3tn subsidy estimated for 2015 is greater than the total health spending of all the world’s governments. The vast sum is largely due to polluters not paying the costs imposed on governments by the burning of coal, oil and gas. These include the harm caused to local populations by air pollution as well as to people across the globe affected by the floods, droughts and storms being driven by climate change. The IMF estimate of $5.3tn in fossil fuel subsidies represents 6.5% of global GDP. Just over half the figure is the money governments are forced to spend treating the victims of air pollution and the income lost because of ill health and premature deaths.

windturbines_300New UK Energy Secretary Amber Rudd has confirmed the Conservative Party’s controversial plans to stop subsidies for onshore wind farms, claiming it is top of her agenda at the Department for Energy & Climate Change (DECC). In an interview with the Sunday Times this week, Rudd reiterated the Tories’ manifesto pledge to effectively bring an end to the development of new wind farms on UK land, outlining her hopes for the new measures to come into force by May 2016. The Hastings and Rye MP said: “It will mean no more onshore wind farm subsidies and no more onshore wind farms without local community support. This is really important. I’ve already got my team working on it. That’s going to be one of the first things we’re going to do.  “It’s not going to be an easy ride” for the new ministerial team at the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), with the Levy Control Framework (LFC), domestic energy efficiency policies and Paris climate talks all posing significant challenges within the next year. That’s the warning of former Climate Minister Greg Barker, who believes Amber Rudd was a “fantastic choice” as the new Secretary of State at DECC, but a number of pressing matters will make for a challenging time in office, with the LCF budget sitting top of the pile.

The UK Green Investment Bank has today (18 May) taken a £236m stake in in the first offshore wind farm off the south coast of England, in a joint venture with energy giant E.ON. The 400MW Rampion Offshore Wind Farm on the Brighton coast will now commence construction and is scheduled to be operational by September 2018. The scheme will comprise 116 turbines, generating a total of 1,333GWh of renewable energy each year – enough to power 300,000 homes. It is also forecast to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 4,215 kt CO2e across its 25-year lifetime, equivalent to taking 75,000 cars off the road. Prime Minister David Cameron has underlined his support for the UK Green Investment Bank during a visit to the organisation’s headquarters in Edinburgh. The visit, made by Cameron a week after his Conservative Party won the General Election, comes five years after the Green Investment Bank was launched to accelerate the UK’s transition to a greener economy.

Greenpeace and Amazon have become embroiled in a public spat after the charity claimed the online retailer’s renewable energy commitments “lacked basic transparency”. In its new ‘Clicking Clean’ report released this week, Greenpeace analysed the transparency, efficiency and renewable energy commitments of 17 tech giants, including Google, Facebook Amazon, IBM and Yahoo. Amazon was awarded an ‘F’ grade for its energy transparency, after failing to respond to a Greenpeace request for energy reports that Scotland has moved a step closer to implementing a nationwide bottle-deposit scheme with the publication of new feasibility report by Zero Waste Scotland. The report, published today (14 May), assesses the benefits of introducing a system where customers pay 10p or 20p deposit when they buy a drink in a can or bottle, and get the money back when they return the item to a collection point. The findings are broadly positive, with Eunomia – the consultancy that carried out the study – claiming that such a system would save local authorities £13m in collection and disposal costs.
The new Conservative Government is being urged to work closely with the waste-management sector to counteract an anticipated downturn in recycling rates across England. Government figures released this week showed that English recycling rates increased from 43.9% to 45% in the 12 months to September 2014, but quarterly recycling rates rose just 0.1% year-on-year. And Jakob Rindegren from the Environmental Services Association (ESA) believes recycling rates may have actually dropped since the figures were collected, jeopardising progress towards an EU target of recycling half of household waste. Rindegren said: “Given recycling market turbulence in the last 6 – 9 months, it may be the case that we haven’t been able to sustain this improved performance since September.

deepgreenSwedish company Minesto has been awarded a £9.5m EU grant to set up a marine power plant in North Wales. Minesto will use the money to establish a UK headquarters and install its ‘Deep Green’ turbine system off the coast of Holyhead. The so-called Deep Green, operates like an underwater kite, and claims to be the only proven marine power plant to generate electricity from low velocity tidal currents. Cleverly, the kites can reach speeds up to 10 times higher than the water current.

One of France’s most venerated winemakers, Thibault Liger-Belair, whose vineyards supply leading restaurants, including those owned by Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsay, will this week risk a six-month prison sentence or a large fine for the sake of both his grapes and future generations by refusing to spray his vines with pesticide. He was ordered to spray his crop after an outbreak of flavesence doree 40km away. The disease kills young vines and reduces productivity in older plants. Liger-Belair thinks that the pesticide damages the soil. He has been summoned to appear in court.

California’s drought continues, now with increasing worries that the water shortages will began to effect the state’s agriculture which uses 80% of the state’s increasingly scarce supply water – with almonds being singled out as a the 150,000 new acres of almond trees guzzle up water – the almonds in California use more water than all indoor residential uses: to produce 16 almonds, 58 litres of water are needed. Three  mandarins need 161 litres and a bunch of grapes 91 litres of water.

Barclays Bank owned Third Energy has submitted an application to North Yorkshire County Council to frack at Kirby Misperon, 20 miles west of Scarborough.  Local Bowland shale rock formations need to be hydraulically stimulated to release gas.

Esc2015logoAnd finally, the 2015 Eurovision Song Contest in Vienna will be a Smart Green Event. The World’s biggest TV Entertainment Event with more than 200 Million viewers and participants from 39 countries will set the standard for future shows with attention paid to Energy Efficiency, Waste Reduction, Mobility, Inclusion, Regional and Organic Catering (still some meat…) and Resource Management . “The Green Music Initiative and it’s partners Elevate Festival, EE Music, ORF, Vienna, Austria and others are working hard to make  this happen”. Well done to SWEDEN for winning on the night!

By |2016-11-01T15:03:53+00:00May 24th, 2015|AGF Blog|