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Browsing: Environment

After over three decades of protection from over-production EU milk quotas were scrapped on the first of April in order to allow EU dairy businesses to compete with international rivals in supplying the ever expanding markets of Asia and Africa. While the EU are confident that the new system will not bring a return to the butter mountains and lakes of milk of the 1980s, farmers in the UK are worried about the already low price of milk falling even further. EU Commissioner for Agriculture and Rural Development Phil Hogan said the ending of quotas was both a challenge and…

The International Energy Agency reported last month that the growth in global carbon emissions had stalled for the first time in their 40 year records, in the absence of major economic crisis. The figures remained at 32 gigatonnes in 2014, the same as 2013. While this is encouraging the IEA has warned that despite the news, this was “no time for complacency”. “This is both a very welcome surprise and a significant one,” said IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol, “It provides much-needed momentum to negotiators preparing to forge a global climate deal in Paris in December: for the first time,…

As Lord of the rings famously said “boil ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew”. The humble potato has many uses and is now on the verge of launching a food revolution. On a small island called Texel (pronounced Tessel), part of the Netherlands, a group of scientists have pioneered a species of potato that is grown using diluted sea water. While most farmers go to great lengths to keep salt water away from their crops Marc Van Rijsselberghe, an entrepreneurial organic farmer has embraced the salty water and developed a potato that is not only tolerant of salt…

An ambitious project in Snowdonia National Park has passed the halfway stage in its effort to raise funds to develop a 270 kW run-of-river hydroelectricity scheme. The community of Abergwyngregyn, Gwynedd, and the founding directors of Ynni Anafon Energy Cyf, the community organisation set up to manage the scheme, are hoping to raise £300,000 by the end of November to ensure construction can begin in the new year. The scheme has already raised over £165,500 through a share offer in the scheme, offering people the chance to be part of the project for as little as £250. The target date…

A professor from Bangor University’s School of Ocean Sciences is set to travel to Massachusetts this week as one of only 12 scientists invited to speak at the International Arctic Science Committee. Professor Tim Rippeth, who gained his PhD is in Physical Oceanography at Bangor in 1994, is to talk to the conference about how the disappearance of Arctic sea ice will affect the rest of the world. Professor Rippeth will warn that the loss of ice cover could be the cause of extreme weather in the UK, such as the wet summers and severe winters experienced in recent years.…

A backpacker from Edinburgh got an unwelcome surprise a whole month after returning from a trip to Cambodia and Vietnam. Daniela Liverani, 24, found a three inch leech living in her nose a full four weeks after returning from her trip after presuming it was a blood clot following a motorcycle crash. The leech, nicknamed Mr Curly, came to light when it crawled out of Ms Liverani’s nose in the shower; the animal was swiftly removed from her nose at accident and emergency and Ms Liverani disposed of the creature in “an Edinburgh City Council bin”, but not without boiling…

Britain is being threatened with court action by the European Commission within the next 2 months for what it sees as a failure to protect Harbour Porpoises. The threat comes after the numbers of the cetaceans has plummeted in recent years due to injuries from boats, underwater noise and fisheries bycatch. To avoid court action the UK needs to introduce more designated protection sites under the Habitats Directive so as to protect the cetaceans from “seriously compromise to their ecological character”, something that could happen should numbers continue to fall.

The Ice Bucket Challenge has been the charity phenomenon of the summer and has encouraged everyone, from former US President George W Bush to Stephen Hawking, to pick up a bucket and get involved. The craze has created a much larger impact than just a few celebrities getting their heads wet however; the challenge has created a backlash from animal rights groups and also environmentalists. For anyone who has somehow missed the deluge of videos which have flooded social media the past few months, the basic idea of the Ice Bucket Challenge is as follows. The participant makes a short…

In the last week of August, a demolition crew detonated a battery of explosives to destroy the final 30 feet of a 210-foot high Glines Canyon dam on a small river in Washington State in the largest dam removal project in the world. The 45 mile long, Elwha River was damned twice in the early 20th century, in 1914 by the Elwha Dam, located 5 miles from the mouth of the River and secondly in 1927 by the Glines Canyon Dam in 1927, 8 miles further upstream. The dams were put in place at the time, along with many others…

With yet another London Fashion week over and companies already planning their 2015 spring summer collection, it seems that clothes from summer just gone are already well and truly out of style and those clothes that are ‘so last season’ will soon be disposed of. Over 60% of the UK clothing waste ends up in landfill which is a sad fact for any vintage lover, but the reality is that we just don’t make clothes like we used to any more. During the war material was in short supply and everything had to be made to last, now garments are…

HUNDREDS of householders have been left without water in California in the past 2 months, as taps have simple run dry when ground water levels have dropped below the reach of wells. The population of California has nearly double in past thirty years and the central valley of California is one of the most productive agricultural areas on the planet, producing 80% of the world’s almonds. David Phippen, an Almond farmer in the California said, “They [the government] have done a great job at increasing the population of California, but they have paid no heed to the infrastructure required for…

FOOD waste from across North Wales is now being used to produce electricity. A new anaerobic digestion plant which will be run solely on food waste collected from the local area has opened in Waem near St Asaph. A predicted total of 22,500 tonnes of food waste, from across Conwy, Denbighshire and Flintshire will be processed each year, and converted into enough electricity to power 2,000 homes. The scheme is the largest of its kind in the country and is leading the way in recycling food waste and helping Wales to make a significant contribution to the UK meeting its…

Residents of St David’s, in Pembrokeshire, will soon be having their homes powered by a 400kW tidal power generator that was unveiled in Ramsey Sound last week. The trial project will run for 12 months generating energy from tidal currents on the sea bed, and is being hailed as Wales’ first grid connected free standing tidal turbine. It is hoped that this trial scheme will lead to a larger project for Tidal Energy Ltd, which will incorporate nine, 150 tonne, seven story high turbines which are due to be built in Pembroke Dock by Mustang Marine. Mustang Marine were recently…

Five hundred years ago, cranes were a common sight across the British Isles, however these majestic birds were made extinct by over-hunting and loss of wetlands. Over the past 5 years, a programme, termed ‘The Great Crane Project’, has aimed to reintroduce cranes back into the UK. The project has raised and released almost 100 cranes on to the Somerset Levels and moors. The Great Crane Project is a joint venture between the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), the RSPB, Pensthorpe Conservation Trust and Viridor Credits. The project aims to restore the Eurasian Crane to areas where they used to…

The National Trust’s most polluting property is going green. Once heated by an oil boiler, Plas Newydd, located on Anglesey, is now to be heated by the Menai Straits. During the winter months, the house used to use 1,500 litres of oil a day, which is the same amount an average house would use in 10 months. Now after a £600,000 revamp, water is pumped from the straits through a 53 meter pipe into a heat exchanger which works in a similar way to a refrigerator only in reverse. Heat is extracted from the seemingly freezing water using the same…

On Thursday the 10th of July, four Peregrine Falcons were found dead at a local Gwynedd quarry. The birds were last seen alive on Thursday 3rd July, and this has been confirmed by photo evidence obtained by the police. The police have stated that three chicks and one adult have died at Dyffryn Nantlle Quarry, tragically, the chicks were only about a week from fledging. The RSPB have said that it is highly unusual for four birds to die in such a way, and therefore foul play is suspected. The most likely cause of death is poisoning by bait brought…