From The Independent: More than eight million children live in areas of the UK with illegal levels of air pollution, figures suggest.
From OpenDemocracy: The UK government is leading us to climate tragedy, by failing to align its climate change targets with science and international law. So 11 UK citizens, plus the charity Plan B, have started legal action against it.
The Tory Government knows its domestic target for carbon emissions reductions by 2050, unchanged since 2008, is inconsistent with the Paris Agreement. It does not deny this, but makes lame excuses about the difficulty of setting a more ambitious target.
From Yahoo! News: Babies born within 1.9 miles of fracking sites are at greater risk of being born with low birth weight, researchers say – increasing the likelihood of infant mortality, ADHD and asthma.
Researchers led by Michael Greenstone of the University of Chicago analysed records of more than 1.1 million births in Pennsylvania from 2004 to 2013.
The researchers found no health effects in babies born further away than 1.9 miles from fracking sites – but the closer babies were, the more likely they were to be underweight.
Ibrahim Dogus writes on LabourList: By the eighth day of this year, London had already breached annual air pollution limits set by the EU. By September, the situation had deteriorated to the extent that mayor Sadiq Khan was forced to trigger a emergency high alert on the capital’s air quality, with warnings displayed in public and those with lung and other problems warned not to engage in strenuous exercise to avoid any health problems.
High levels of NO2 can lead towards asthma, heart problems and even cancer. But bad air isn’t just bad for our health. It is a drain on the economy, with six million workdays lost to sickness related to, or exacerbated by, the problem. It has been estimated that illness associated with air quality costs Britain more than £24bn per year – and that is before the additional pressure on our already strained health service is taken into account.
Evidence shows that spikes in air pollution may also see a dip in workplace productivity, exacerbating one of the economy’s chronic problems. A better environment, with improved quality of air, would be a boost to the entire economy in addition to our health.
Green Party MEP Molly Scott Cato writes in the Guardian: The problem for the Tories is that being green is about so much more than fluffy bunnies. While individual policies on animal protection are welcome, in a nation full of animal lovers they are easy wins. They also ignore the central lesson of ecology, a lesson that Gove and his fellow Tories have never been able to grasp: that life on Earth is one system. Nature abhors not only a vacuum but also compartmentalisation. Those lovely beavers and polar bears need somewhere to live; more than compassion and concern they need a habitat. And if you let a fracking company pollute the waterways or throw subsidies at fossil fuels then the beavers will die and the polar bears will starve.
First, will he persuade his government to ban fracking and go all out for renewables? Fracking poses huge threats to some of our most fragile and treasured landscapes and will expose communities and wildlife to noise, air, light and water pollution. The government remains committed to this destructive industry and in the recent budget, Philip Hammond left Britain’s renewable energy industry out in the cold with no new subsidies for low-carbon electricity generation until 2025.
From City AM: Environment groups were disappointed by a lack of ambition for renewable energy in today’s Autumn Budget.
The Budget confirmed there would be no fresh funds for new renewable energy projects levied through electricity bills until 2025 to help keep energy costs down.
It said: “In order to protect consumers, the government will not introduce new low carbon electricity levies until the burden of [energy] costs are falling. On the basis of the current forecast, this means there will be no new low carbon electricity levies until 2025. All existing commitments will be respected.”
The Renewable Energy Association (REA) said it welcomes the move to a subsidy-free future, but the industry needs urgent clarity on how the government is planning to bring new projects forward, especially for less developed technologies like tidal and advanced waste-to-energy.
From The Guardian: The Tory government successfully lobbied Brazil on behalf of BP and Shell to address the oil giants’ concerns over Brazilian taxation, environmental regulation and rules on using local firms, government documents reveal.
Greenpeace accused the department of acting as a “lobbying arm of the fossil fuel industry”.
Rebecca Newsom, senior political adviser at Greenpeace, said: “This is a double embarrassment for the UK government. Liam Fox’s trade minister has been lobbying the Brazilian government over a huge oil project that would undermine the climate efforts Britain made at the UN summit in Bonn. Read more
From Business Insider UK: Philip Hammond wants to tear up Britain’s green belt land for house building in his budget next month, as he looks for cost-free measures to address Britain’s housing crisis.
The chancellor has been pushing for green belt reforms for months inside the Cabinet, the Times reports, which would be made in an effort to tackle low productivity levels and meet national demand for housing.
From BusinessGreen: ECIU analysis finds 1GW of new onshore wind would cost £30m a year less than 1GW of offshore wind and £100m less than new nuclear or biomass.
From The Guardian: Pollutants released during fracking processes could pose a health risk to infants and children, according to researchers studying chemicals involved in shale gas operations.
In the UK, fracking is backed by the Tory Government and the first drilling in six years is expected to begin this week in the North Yorkshire village of Kirby Misperton, despite staunch opposition from protesters.
However, other countries have banned the practice, including France, Ireland, and Germany, citing environmental concerns, with the Scottish parliament today backing the Scottish government’s ban.
Now scientists analysing studies looking into the presence of chemicals at fracking sites in the US say the presence of pollutants ranging from airborne particulates to heavy metals could affect the neurodevelopment of babies and children in the area.
From The Independent: The Government spent £365,000 trying unsuccessfully to fight legal claims that its plans for tackling dangerous levels of air pollution were insufficient. Environmental action group ClientEarth successfully argued the UK was breaking the law by not reducing diesel emissions quickly enough.
From The Independent: The Tory government has omitted any mention of climate change in its latest post-Brexit foreign policy paper, sparking concerns among experts that it may be following America’s lead.
From Daily Mirror: The government has revealed that badger culling will take place in 11 new areas, taking the total kill zones to 21 in Devon, Cornwall, Wiltshire, Somerset, Cheshire, Dorset, Herefordshire and Gloucestershire. The maximum number of animals lined up in the marksmen’s cross hairs this season is 33,437 compared with 14,213 last year.
From The Guardian: Plans to make the railway network faster, greener and cleaner by electrifying lines have been scrapped by the government after massive budget overruns, prompting fury at “years of broken promises”.
The plans to modernise the line from Cardiff to Swansea, the Midland mainline and tracks in the Lake District were dropped on Thursday after Network Rail spent huge sums on engineering works, with costs in the Great Western region alone going as much as £1.9bn over budget.
Network Rail’s electrification works around the country, most notably on the Great Western mainline from London to Swansea, which started in 2014, were described as a vital upgrade that would bring cleaner, faster and more reliable services for passengers.
From The Guardian: The Conservatives have been accused of failing to protect the countryside after research revealed that the number of new homes being planned on green belt in England had increased by over 50% since last year and the majority were not classed as affordable.
Theresa May told parliament in February that the government was “very clear that the green belt must be protected”, but 425,000 new homes are currently planned for sites designated to protect against urban sprawl, up from 273,000 in March 2016, according to research by the Campaign to Protect Rural England.
More than 70% of those are not classed as affordable, a category that includes social housing and homes rented by housing associations for up to 80% of market rent.
“Green belt is being lost at an ever faster rate, yet the type of housing being built now or in the future will do very little to address the affordable housing crisis,” said the CPRE’s policy director, Tom Fyans.
Fracking poses ‘significant’ risk to humans and should be temporarily banned across EU, says new report
From The Independent: A major new scientific study has concluded that the controversial gas extraction technique known as fracking poses a “significant” risk to human health and British wildlife, and highlights serious shortcomings in the UK’s regulatory regime, which the report says will only get worse as the Government makes further budget cuts.
If you vote Conservative on Thursday, you are voting for foxes to be chased to exhaustion and killed by hounds, as sport for rich men
#CruelTories: 84% of the public believe foxhunting should not be made legal again.Scientific evidence shows that the…
84% of the public believe foxhunting should not be made legal again.
Scientific evidence shows that the animals targeted in hunting suffer physical and mental stress when chased by a hunt – whether or not they are eventually killed.
The Burns Report produced in the year 2000 stated that “There is a lack of firm scientific evidence about the effect on the welfare of a fox of being closely pursued, caught and killed above ground by hounds. We are satisfied, nevertheless, that this experience seriously compromises the welfare of the fox.” That is one of the reasons hunting with dogs for sport was banned in Britain over a decade ago.
From The Argus: Oil and gas drilling would be “railroaded” through against the wishes of residents if Conservative manifesto pledges come into law, environmentalists have warned.
Friends of the Earth have warned eight Sussex constituencies could be affected by Tory proposals to remove the need for a planning application to allow non-fracking drilling.
The environmental campaigners are also critical of plans which could take decisions on fracking applications away from accountable locally elected councils and hand it to the Planning Inspectorate.
The warning comes as controversial drilling has begun this week in the Sussex countryside.
Tories’ plans will see more than 50,000 lives cut short by air pollution by 2030 in London alone, Greens claim
From The Independent: The lives of more than 50,000 people in London alone will be cut short by air pollution by 2030 because the Government’s latest plan to address the problem is so ineffective, the Green Party has claimed. Ministers have a track record of failure on the issue, having twice been ordered by a judge to come up with stronger proposals to bring air quality to within legally binding EU safety limits.