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  • Kate Calvert 2:51 pm on June 26, 2019 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Heathrow; Third Runway; flying; global warming   

    Heathrow Consultation Exercise – Again 

    Heathrow is pulling out all the stops in another attempt to push through their third runway scheme. Leaflets have been dropped far and wide exhorting – ‘Get involved and have your say’.

    The page for online feedback is https://aec.heathrowconsultation.com/topics/responses/ but there are no questions about whether you want expansion or not, just mention of findings that failure to expand would damage the economy.

    Other research however shows that the growth in flying is for leisure, not business, and even that use is restricted to a relatively small proportion of the population. Whether that will continue to expand however is moot given an increasingly weakened pound because of Brexit, plus increasing pressure over global warming.

    Boris, who like Hunt, is reported to have received large campaign donations from climate change deniers, may wave this through regardless. But given that it will take time to come to fruition, if you don’t think it’s a good idea it may be worth responding and inserting additional comments, just in case there is a judicial review.

  • Kate Calvert 5:30 pm on June 11, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    Petition Against Proposed VAT on Renewable Energy 

    38 degrees has noticed the government is proposing to add to the cost of installing renewable energy. Their ideas is to add VAT to low carbon energy generation and storage to a rate four times higher than that on polluting coal.

    To object sign at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/halt-the-solar-and-storage-vat-hike. 


    • susan640 9:14 pm on June 24, 2019 Permalink | Reply

      I have signed and RTweeted. This is a disgraceful proposal from our disgraceful government.

  • Kate Calvert 10:52 am on April 29, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    The Benefits of Trees 

    Yorkshire Tea (owners also of Taylor’s and Betty’s of Harrogate) are to be applauded for  making a major investment in trees both in the UK, and in Kenya where their tea comes from https://www.yorkshiretea.co.uk/yorkshire-tree.

    Their publicity notes that:

    There are around 3 billion trees in Britain.

    The ‘natural capital’ value of services provided by trees in the UK, such as maintaining air and water quality, is £22.5 billion.

    The carbon stored by UK forest trees as wood is 150 million tonnes, with a further 640 million tonnes in forest soils.

    The ratio of conifers to broadleaf trees in the UK in 2018 was 51:49.

    A veteran oak tree takes 300 years to grow, 300 to live and for the final 300 years undergoes gradual retraction, shedding branches until eventually it dies.

    Tree cover makes up:

    • 10% of England
    • 15% of Wales
    • 19% of Scotland
    • 8 % of Northern Ireland

    So plenty of scope for planting more then.

  • Kate Calvert 8:44 am on April 25, 2019 Permalink | Reply  

    Link Between Air Pollution and Crime 


    New research by LSE indicates a connection between pollution and crime – report at https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/04/air-pollution-increases-crime-in-london?utm_source=Facebook%20Videos&utm_medium=Facebook%20Videos&utm_campaign=Facebook%20Video%20Blogs&fbclid=IwAR2Fj4uGy9qs0UPnalxyKS1jFtbfUZkDosJm5vaCe2kwk1E3hNDWbdluNAw. The finding was that when air pollution levels were higher, crime increased.

    The effect is principally on lesser crimes like pickpocketing and shoplifting, and affects more prosperous neighbourhoods at least as much as well as the more deprived. The researchers suggest that the mechanism may be that pollution increases the stress hormone cortisol.

  • Kate Calvert 6:03 pm on July 9, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    The Benefits of Trees 

    An article from 2015 prompted by the loss of street trees in Sheffield but summarising the multiple benefits of trees https://www.theguardian.com/cities/2015/aug/15/treeconomics-street-trees-cities-sheffield-itree.

    Sadly in the heat of the 2017 summer newly planted trees have been struggling so well worth getting out there to water them if you can –

  • Kate Calvert 5:24 pm on February 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply  

    Retrograde Solar Tax Proposed 

    The government plans a major tax on schools, hospitals and small businesses who run on solar power. If implemented this change would mean bills up to eight times higher than currently. The change would do very serious damage to the UK’s solar industry.

    This is just the next step in a sequence of attacks on solar energy which Greenpeace reports have resulted in 12,000 job losses across the country. Now this new tax hike would leave hundreds of solar-loving organisations with a negative return on their investment, successfully putting others off investing.

    Green MP Caroline Lucas recently commented:

    “People who are doing their best, doing their bit to try to reduce our climate emissions […] are now being penalised by this government.” 

    Labour Shadow Energy Secretary, Barry Gardiner,  said:

    “Businesses made their investments in clean technology as a sound financial decision. They did not expect the government retrospectively to classify their investment so as to subject it to eight times the level of tax. This will cost some businesses more than the value of the energy they are saving and they will be forced to rip these solar panels off their rooftops.”

    Greenpeace says the mainstream media aren’t reporting on the issue so have made a  60 second Greenpeace video on the subject which has already been watched more than 45,000 times.

    They are asking everyone to share it so the story moves up the media agenda. The link is at https://secure.greenpeace.org.uk/solar-tax-video.

    The Greenpeace petition on the issue is at Solar Tax Petition.

  • Kate Calvert 7:17 pm on January 20, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: carbon footprint, low carbon technology, renewable technology, Renewables   

    15 Step to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint 

    The Guardian this week published a useful set of pointers https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/19/how-to-reduce-carbon-footprint in a supplement which also celebrated the good news https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/jan/19/reasons-to-be-cheerful-full-switch-low-carbon-energy-in-sight. Among other stats this reports that worldwide more new renewable electricity capacity was added than all fossil fuels combined in 2015.As the author of both says ‘for the first time, we can hope that the momentum of low carbon growth is now unstoppable. In many cases around the globe, clean technology no longer needs any subsidy, a finding that seemed unachievable five years ago.’

  • Kate Calvert 4:11 pm on January 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , UK Energy   

    Half Our Electricity is Low Carbon 

    This news is from the unlikely source of the Times Deputy Business Editor, who over the holidays reported that for the first time, over this last summer half of Britain’s electricity was generated from low carbon sources.

    The trick is that half of those low carbon sources are nuclear – 25% – with a further 25% from renewable such as solar, wind and biomass – that last of doubtful renewability given that it relies on cutting down trees, many said to come from clearance of the Amazon rainforest.

    The percentage of power provided by coal-fired power stations has plummeted from 16.7 to just 3.6% of the total after the government announced their plan to shut them all within 10 years to meet climate change targets.

    While a spokesman for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy reported that close to £52 billion had been invested in renewables since 2010, the National Grid reported that UK onshore and offshore wind trbines had set a new record by generating 10.1 gigawatts on December 7, or more than 20% of the total UK demand.

    Alongside a rise in electricity from gas there has been a big rise in output from solar panels with generation increasing by 30% between 2015 and 2016.

    The report knows that although making progress, the UK still lags some way behind Germany which leads the way of greener energy in Europe.

  • Kate Calvert 9:54 am on November 17, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: air, GLA, mayor, , school   

    More Than 60 Camden and Islington Primary Schools Suffer Polluted Air 

    A GLA report https://www.london.gov.uk/press-releases/mayoral/hundreds-of-schools-exceed-air-quality-limits has found 33 Islington schools and 36 Camden schools with air which breaches permitted pollution levels. Examples around Pooterland are St Aloysius, Grafton School, St Joseph’s, Acland Burghley, Camden School for Girls, La Sainte Union, and Parliament Hill.

    Let us hope the new mayor takes action swiftly as pollution damages children even more than it does adults.

  • Kate Calvert 6:54 pm on October 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , play streets   

    Play Streets 

    Once upon a time children used to play in the street. Then came the invention of the car, and with that the powerful motoring lobby (cars were expensive, so by definition their drivers had influence) and playing in the street was made a criminal offence. Children would find themselves in the dock if they caused cars inconvenience. The book London Born http://www.londonborn.co.uk/, a memoir of life growing up in Highgate Newtown, paints a picture of what has been lost.

    But more recently there has been a pushback against this approach with the establishment of Play Streets. This involves closing a residential street to through traffic for two or three hours, generally once a month, and stewards making sure that the space is safe for children to meet and play. And of course the adults get to meet as well, so the whole thing increases local community.

    If you would like a Play Street where you live, the people to help you are London Play.  Funded by the Big Lottery’s Reaching Communities programme, London Play is working with residents and councils in 12 London boroughs (including Islington and Camden) with a particular focus on disadvantaged areas, to reactivate a culture of children playing out in the streets near where they live, and to embed this in local policy. Its work on play streets in other boroughs is funded by the Department of Health which is interested in Play Streets as way to achieve a positive impact on activity levels in children and on childhood obesity. London Play can be contacted on info@londonplay.org.uk.

    Local examples of Play Streets include Fairbridge Road N19 fairbridgeplay@gmail.com 11am-1pm first Sunday of the month plus

    • Highwood Road N19 1-4pm first Sunday of the month
    • St George’s Avenue N7 1-4pm first Sunday of the month
    • Dresden Road N19 1-4pm first Sunday of the month
    • Ryland Road NW5 2-5pm last Sunday of the month
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