Above the Clouds

Interesting Stuff - National Reports

This page provides WCA members with a selection of interesting documents that are relevant at the national and international level and are not specific to a particular part of Wiltshire. We continue to develop this part of the website welcome suggestions from members of the WCA - please send us any by clicking on the button below. 

Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill in a Year Until COP26: PANEL DISCUSSION

The Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill in a Year until COP26
With just a year until COP26, the CEE Bill Alliance have released a video here of an excellent 90 minute virtual event with very special guests (Tim Jackson, Kate Raworth, Kumi Naidoo and Caroline Lucas) about how the CEE Bill is the emergency strategy needed to avert climate and ecological catastrophe. In the video, Kate Raworth of Doughnut Economics fame, references 'Take The Jump' - a brilliant initiative to get us all going!

WCA Respond to the

White Paper

Planning for the Future

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This White Paper  found HERE has the potential to significantly impact this country's ability to reduce carbon emissions.

A detailed commentary on how planning works now  and how this is proposal by the Government will decimate planning as we know it can be found HERE

Thanks go to Dr Nick Murry for researching the white paper and leading the preparation of  the well crafted response on behalf of WCA. 

 

The letter which has been sent on behalf of WCA to the Secretaries of State is HERE

and the detailed response to the White Paper questions HERE

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Responding to the Planning White Paper

Next Thursday (29th October) at 23:45 a consultation on the future of planning closes. If the Government's proposals are enacted they would represent a fundamental assault on people's right to influence how development takes place in their community. Not only that but they would focus most housing in rural areas, served by big new access roads with little or no sustainable transport. They would drive up car use and carbon emissions and create large, socially isolated, dormitory developments which undermine people's health and well-being. 

Click HERE for more information

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Govt's New Home Deal a Flop? - Interesting article by Money Saving Expert

The new Green Homes Grant scheme is one of the Government's flagship Covid-recovery job-creation schemes, promising homeowners in England up to £5,000 free towards energy efficiency improvements. Yet it is being branded a massive flop by MoneySavingExpert.com founder Martin Lewis on the back of feedback and his snapshot Twitter poll, which lays bare problems with the scheme. 

The Green Homes Grant, which opened at the end of September, gives vouchers to homeowners in England to help cover the cost of energy efficient improvements such as low-carbon heating systems and insulation. 

Read more HERE

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Don’t leave our woods and trees defenceless - Defend our woods and trees against cuts to planning protection

The proposed changes to the planning system could put most of England’s ancient woods and trees at risk. As if that’s not enough, they could also reduce the say that communities can have on decisions that affect their local trees and woods. 

 

Under the new proposals, local authorities would split all land into three zones: growth, renew and protect. 

 

Most ancient woods and trees are currently only protected by national planning rules - but they are missing from the Government’s list of land types that would be protected in the new planning system. With irreplaceable ancient woodland covering just 2.8% of England, we can’t afford to lose any more.

Read more and send feedback to the consultation  HERE

EV database of fully electric vehicles available now

Been looking for information on the full EV range around, now and shortly?

Here it is!!

 

The Electric Vehicle Database

Types, Prices, range, efficiency

 

See the database HERE

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'This is the Everest of zero carbon' – inside York's green home revolution

The city plans to build Britain’s biggest zero-carbon housing project, boasting 600 homes in car-free cycling paradises full of fruit trees and allotments. When will the rest of the UK catch up?

Joseph Rowntree, Yorkshire’s chocolatier-philanthropist, had a dream. He wanted to build “improved houses” for working people and, in 1902, revealed his plans for the experimental village of New Earswick, on the edge of York. The village would make the most of the existing natural landscape, setting little terraces of arts and crafts houses along streets edged with grass verges. Not only would their interiors would be flooded with fresh air, natural light and “a cheerful outlook”, they would also have the modern luxury of indoor loos. Designed by garden city doyens Raymond Unwin and Barry Parker, the development went on to inspire the national Homes Fit for Heroes programme after the first world war, paving the way for the birth of council housing.

View the full article on this LINK

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Climate Assembly UK Report - The Path to Net Zero

In June 2019, the UK Government and Parliament agreed that the UK should do more to tackle climate change. They passed a law committing the UK to reaching net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Decisions about how the target is reached will affect many aspects of people’s lives.

Climate Assembly UK was commissioned by six select committees of the House of Commons to examine the question: “How should the UK meet its target
of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050?”

The committees aim to use the assembly’s results to inform their work in scrutinising government.

The assembly’s 108 members come from all walks of life. Together they are representative of the UK population in terms of: age, gender, ethnicity, educational level, where in the UK they live, whether they live in an urban or a rural area, and their level of concern about climate change.

The Assembly's  report has now been published and makes fascinating reading. Don't be put off by the size of the report (about 600 pages) as the executive summary provides an excellent overview.

Here is the LINK to the report

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Friends of the Earth - Live Talk on Air Pollution - 30th Sept

The air we breathe has a profound impact on our lives and health. Often called the ‘silent killer’, air pollution is responsible for 36,000 premature deaths in the UK every year, and scientists are looking at a possible link between poor air quality and a higher number of COVID cases.

For a brief period in 2020, we could see what our planet would look like without air pollution. But without systemic change and government commitment, this uplift in air quality will remain temporary.

Join the Friends of the Earth expert Jenny Bates, on 30 September at 7 pm, to learn more about the issue and how we can work towards a planet with clean air.

Click HERE to register to join the live talk on 30th September.

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Natural Capital Commitee - Interim response to the 25 Year Environment Plan Progress Report & advice on a green economic recovery

The Government-appointed Natural Capital Committee’s 2020 Progress Report is unable to provide an assessment of progress, of which there has been very little....not only little evidence of progress, but worrying evidence of declines

Click HERE to read the full report

Boris Johnson cries 'nimbyism', but his planning changes will be disastrous

Proposed planning reform due to be announced soon, are set to take control from local planning authorities and the people they represent and hand it to Govt. led zoning commissions, overturning the Town and Country Planning Act, which has successfully guarded against uncontrolled development for decades. The reforms would remove people’s democratic right to have at least some control over the character and appearance of their neighbourhoods. 

According to many commentators, the new system could unleash a development sprawl never before seen in this country, with landowners able to build at will. It will essentially result in the exact opposite of ‘building back greener’ and ‘building back better’, stifling a green and equitable recovery before it’s even begun.

According to the CPRE ‘This surge of appreciation for quality local green spaces is just one indicator of the increased appetite for action to tackle the climate and nature crises head on.” 

People need to write to their MPs as soon as possible.

Further information below:

Guardian article explaining the risks

Another very interesting Guardian Article

CPRE article

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Vouchers for energy efficiency improvements!!

The Green Homes Grant will provide homeowners with vouchers for energy efficiency improvements such as insulation and heat pumps.

September will see the launch of the Green Homes Grant initiative, in which the government will pay two-thirds of energy-efficient home improvements up to the value of £5,000. 

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Investigation: The Problem with Big Oil’s ‘Forest Fever’

Over the past year, BP, Total, Eni, Equinor and ConocoPhillips have invested millions of dollars in forest projects to offset their greenhouse gas emissions. Shell, in particular, has taken a lead, promising to spend $300 million on “natural ecosystems” as part of its market-leading net-zero emissions plan.

 

The recent surge in corporate pledges gives the impression that nature-based solutions (NBS) provide the key to a decarbonised future. But given oil companies’ status as some of the world’s largest emitters, and the industry’s long history of lobbying against climate action, Big Oil’s push for more trees has been met with skepticism. Read the full investigation here.

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Prime Minister Boris Johnson launches ambitious plans to boost cycling and walking

The Fix your Bike Voucher Scheme allows members of the public to receive a voucher worth up to £50 towards the cost of repairing a bicycle.

Registrations for members of the public who want to apply for a voucher open at 11:45pm on 28 July 2020 on the Energy Saving Trust website.

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UK gives go-ahead to giant windfarm project off Norfolk coast

A good news story(!) amidst government dithering on a green recovery, as a 1.8GW offshore windfarm gets the go ahead off the Norfolk coast.  

“Investments in major clean energy projects like these are great examples of how we can get the economy moving again,” said Hugh McNeal, the chief executive of the industry body.

Let’s hope Wiltshire Council takes note, and puts supportive policies in place to stimulate investment in renewables in Wiltshire.

Read the article HERE

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Three pathways to decarbonise UK heat network

20 JUL, 2020 BY ROB HORGAN

The move to reduce carbon from heating our homes and businesses needs a complete rethink. New Civil Engineer article on the 3 pathways to a zero carbon heating economy - Click Here to read this excellent article 

Reducing UK emissions: 2020 Progress Report to Parliament

This is the Committee’s 2020 report to Parliament, assessing progress in reducing UK emissions over the past year. This year, the report includes new advice to the UK Government on securing a green and resilient recovery following the COVID-19 pandemic. It recommends that Ministers seize the opportunity to turn the COVID-19 crisis into a defining moment in the fight against climate change.

Will COVID-19 fiscal recovery packages accelerate or retard progress on climate change?

This is an excellent paper produced by University of Oxford's Oxford Smith School of Enterprise and the Environment. which explores how Covid 19 recovery packages will impact climate change.  The study was carried out by Cameron Hepburn, Brian O’Callaghan, Nicholas Stern, Joseph Stiglitz, Dimitri Zenghelis

The COVID-19 crisis is likely to have dramatic consequences for progress on climate change. Imminent fiscal recovery packages could entrench or partly displace the current fossil-fuel-intensive economic system. Here, we survey 231 central bank officials, finance ministry officials, and other economic experts from G20 countries on the relative performance of 25 major fiscal recovery archetypes across four dimensions: speed of implementation, economic multiplier, climate impact potential, and overall desirability. We identify five policies with high potential on both economic multiplier and climate impact metrics: clean physical infrastructure, building efficiency retrofits, investment in education and training, natural capital investment, and clean R&D. In lower- and middle-income countries (LMICs) rural support spending is of particular value while clean R&D is less important. These recommendations are contextualised through analysis of the short-run impacts of COVID-19 on greenhouse gas curtailment and plausible medium-run shifts in the habits and behaviours of humans and institutions.

Temporary reduction in daily global CO2 emissions during the COVID-19 forced confinement

This study published in the journal Nature Climate Change is well worth a read.  Prof Corinne Le Quéré of the University of East Anglia led the analysis and discusses the main findings in the video below.

An Interesting and useful open letter to the PM from The Committee on Climate Change.

As the Government considers its approach to rebuilding after the COVID-19 crisis The Committee on Climate Change write an open letter to Boris Johnson to advise on how climate policy can play a core part. It explains how actions towards net-zero emissions and to limit the damages from climate change will help rebuild the UK with a stronger economy and increased resilience. An Interesting read with useful recommendations.

Zero Carbon Britain  - Rising to the climate emergency - By The Centre for Alternative Technology.

This is an excellent report that clearly demonstrates that we already have the tools and technology needed to efficiently power the UK with 100% renewable energy, to feed ourselves sustainably and so to play our part in leaving a safe and habitable climate for our children and future generations.

The executive summary report can be seen on the PDF link to the left or you can visit the Centre for Alternative Technology HERE

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UK public 'supports green recovery from coronavirus crisis' - Guardian Article

People would be prepared to continue many of the lifestyle changes enforced by the coronavirus lockdown to help tackle the climate emergency, and the government would have broad support for a green economic recovery from the crisis, according to a report.

Working from home is a popular option, along with changes to how people travel, and the government should take the opportunity to rethink investment in infrastructure and support low-carbon industries, the report found.

Here is the link to this insightful article in The Guardian

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'National Nature Service' needed for green recovery in England, groups say

Exclusive: government must ‘seize the day’ to create jobs and tackle wildlife and climate crises.

The chancellor, Rishi Sunak, must “seize the day” and create a national nature service to restore wildlife and habitats in England, say a coalition of the country’s biggest green groups. It said the move would create thousands of jobs, a more resilient country and tackle the wildlife and climate crises.

The coalition has drawn up a list of 330 projects that are ready to go, including flower meadows, “tiny forests” in cities and hillside schemes to cut flooding. It said a service to fund the projects and train workers would create 10,000 jobs and be part of a green recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.

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