A ‘SuperHome’ is one which has been refurbished to reduce its carbon footprint by at least 60%, so reducing both the carbon footprint and utilities bills. A local SuperHome is offering tours for anyone interested in carrying out similar work. The visits are on Saturday 31st October at 2pm and 3pm, and Sunday 8th November at 11am and noon. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org saying which slot you’d like and for how many. Find out more about SuperHomes events on their website.
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George Monbiot is not one to scale back on any sense of outrage, but on the subject of air quality it’s difficult to see what other reaction would be appropriate http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2015/sep/22/volkswagen-air-pollution-uk-poisoning-government-legislation
Video from Rocky Mountain Inst – new techs will end fossil fuel usage: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nd9XCQhIlYg
This is a 40 minute talk by Amory Lovins of the Rocky Mountain Institute in the US about how new technology is on track to eliminate the fossil fuel business by offering cheaper and better (and carbon-free) energy supply alternatives. Very encouraging. He starts off by pointing out how the US whale oil industry was destroyed by the surprise discovery of US oilfields, not by lack of whales. Get a cup of tea and sit back and enjoy it.
Announced on the same day as the Corbyn result, a consultation on Defra’s proposals for addressing air pollution. The plans do not appear impressive, with a pretty damning summary at Clean Air London http://cleanair.london/sources/defra-buries-consultation-on-diesel-ban-in-cities-minutes-before-corbyn-announcement/.
Clean Air London notes that:
- The document offers first national estimate of 23,500 deaths attributable to NO2 in the UK
- It promises further consultation in ‘early 2016’ on a ‘four tier’ national framework to ban or charge pre-Euro 6 diesel vehicles entering ‘Clean Air Zones’ in at least eight UK cities by 2020
- But it passes all responsibility, without money or new powers, to local authorities (section 4.3.6 from page 32);
- 80% of NO2 legal breaches are due to road transport.
- There has been no ‘clear’ change in NO2 concentrations at eight long-running urban traffic sites since 2002.
- Defra is flouting the Supreme Court ruling to submit proper plans to the European Commission by 31 December 2015. Instead it offers to submit a ‘plan for plans by others’. This is what it did when it applied unsuccessfully to the European Commission for a time extension to comply with NO2 limit values in September 2011;
- It is making little or no effort to comply with NO2 limit values in at least 28 UK zones before 2020, seven more before 2025 and London before 2030 unless others choose to adopt its ‘plan for a plan’ of ‘Clean Air Zones’.
- It does not appear to understand that limit values must be achieved everywhere, including with any development at Heathrow and Gatwick airports and for HS2. Apparently the confusion is because Defra wrongly suggests that developments can proceed unless: “the air quality impacts of a scheme [after taking account of mitigation] will result in a currently compliant zone or agglomeration becoming non-compliant; or affect the ability of a non-compliant area to achieve compliance within the most recent timescales reported to the European Commission at the time of the decision”.
The consultation is at https://consult.defra.gov.uk/airquality/draft-aq-plans/consultation/subpage.2015-09-04.3216899984/view. Please do comment and get all your contacts to do the same. It’s not clear whether it’s the politicians or civil servants who are behind this ridiculous approach, but they need to be told to scrap this and come up with proposals to improve air quality, not leave it as it is.
On Thursday 10th September, at 7pm, Richard Watts, Leader of Islington Council will be hosting the latest ‘Leader’s Question Time’ event at Caxton House, 129 St. John’s Way, N19 3RQ (Right in the centre of our Pooterland area.).
Richard says that he wants to make it as easy as possible for local people to have their say on the issues that affect the borough, That’s why he has set up a series of events where residents can come and ask any questions. An opportunity to raise green issues ….. I am going to go.
The event will be chaired by local St Andrew’s vicar, the Rev Steven Clarke.
Qquestions can be emailed in advance to leaders email@example.com
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Problems with Boris Buses – TfL has done no pollution checks on new routemasters when using diesel engines
This unsatisfactory news has come my way:
“Transport for London has admitted that they have no understanding of the real levels of pollution created by the new Routemasters despite repeated claims that they are the ‘most environmentally friendly bus of its kind.’
In response to an Assembly freedom of information request TfL have today conceded that no pollution checks have been undertaken of the new Routemasters when they operate in their non hybrid mode and are entirely dependent on their diesel engines. The failure to undertake such testing is significant following the recent discovery that 80 of the new Routemasters are running entirely on diesel generators.
Stephen Knight AM, Liberal Democrat London Assembly environment spokesperson, commenting on this latest revelation about the new Routemasters said:
“Time and time again the Mayor has claimed that the new Routemaster is the most environmentally friendly bus of its kind.
“Such a claim is simply nonsense if the buses are not operating as intended and relying entirely on their dirty diesel engines.
“Londoners have paid a fortune for the new Routemasters. At the very least they deserve to know how polluting they really are.
“The Mayor should stop making fanciful claims about the new Routemasters and instead ensure a full evaluation is undertaken of the actual levels of pollution that the buses are creating.””
What a shame. The 390 which terminates at Archway is a new Routemaster. I find the Boris Bus a delight to travel in, as when working properly it is very quiet and smooth. TfL need to get these buses fixed so that they do not need to use their diesel engines pdq.
Apparently, unlike normal F1, Formula E cars sound something like “polite but volatile washing machines”. The cars only get to 135mph, not the 200mph of Formula 1 and the batteries aren’t powerful enough to last the race so part of the deal is drivers hopping out of one car and into the next, fully charged one. It’s not quite the testosterone-fest of motoring race that we’ve known to date. However, to make up for it Formula E has some new gimmicks – fans can vote for their favourite drivers and the top three get a five-second power boost.
Somewhat contrary to expectations, it seems to have been successful with more than 50,000 turning out for the London ePrix in Battersea Park at the end of the sport’s first season. One reason might be that results are genuinely unpredictable with the season’s 11 races won by seven different drivers – comparing with three winners across 19 races in F1. Another might be that it is an alternative to fossil fuels for those who love racing machines. The Battersea site included ticket scanners charged on a solar farm, solar powered zones for charging phones, and a safety car run on solar power.
The racing vehicles are still powered by the same energy as the rest of the city, with all the carbon footprint that involves. But this might be a step in the right direction.
Or so reported the Sunday Times, saying that the tiny particles and toxic gases emitted mainly by diesel vehicles attack the skin.
The report adds that such pollutants are already known to damage the lungs and heart, causing inflammation that raises the risk of asthma, heart attack and stroke. The data is based on five studies, two in Germany and three in China, comparing the skin of people living in polluted cities with those in suburban and rural areas. What happens is that the tiny piece of soot is covered by an oily coat of unburnt fuel which lets particles break through the skin’s protective outer layer
The Indie reports that the move to drop subsidies for solar and wind generation is now to include ditching the tracking public attitudes to renewables http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/government-survey-on-attitudes-towards-green-energy-cut-back-following-general-election-10444337.html.
The move comes despite (or maybe because) the March survey showed solar energy with 81% support and wind of 65%, but nuclear only 29% and fracking 24%.
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