From Blair to May: A complete timeline of Hinkley Point's approval
As Prime Minister Theresa May finally gives the green light for Hinkley Point, edie takes a look back at the various twists and turns of the controversial nuclear energy project which has taken more than a decade to gain Government approval.
Landmark North Yorkshire fracking approval leaves green groups up in arms
Shale development company Third Energy has been given the go-ahead by North Yorkshire County Council to hydraulically fracture an existing well near the village of Kirby Misperton - a decision labelled as "bitterly disappointing" and "an absolute travesty" by campaign groups and environmentalists.
Green jobs boost for Wales with clean energy hub
Plans to build a Centre of Renewable Energy Excellence in Pembrokeshire have been unveiled in Wales, in a bid to make the area an international standard-bearing for green energy.
UK poll reveals 'overwhelming' public support for community renewables
More than three quarters of UK households would support renewable energy projects such as wind turbines and solar farms if the profits generated benefitted the local community, a poll has found.
Shell and Gazprom among companies backing 2C limit
More than a third of the world's largest listed companies, including major fossil fuel producers, say they would support an international deal limiting global warming to 2 degrees, according to research by CDP.
Rudd warns councils to speed up fracking decisions
Energy and Climate Change Secretary Amber Rudd has announced the Government will be writing to local councils to urge them to speed up planning decisions on fracking.
One fifth of Brits back fracking, Government survey reveals
Public support for fracking has dropped to an all-time low, as new Government figures show a clear link between education about fracking and opposition to the technology.
Solar Independence Day: Six ways solar is revolutionising sustainability
As Britain enjoys a bout of summer sun, solar farms are preparing to open up to the public for Solar Independence Day.
Poll: 85% of sustainability professionals support nuclear subsidies
More than 85% of sustainability professionals and green experts currently support the continued subsidisation of nuclear power in the UK, a new edie poll has found.
Fracking fracas: Campaigners and MPs urge Cameron to reconsider
A mass anti-fracking petition has been delivered to Downing Street and a new survey revealing the widespread condemnation of the Government's 'all-out' support for shale has been released, ahead of the first Commons vote on fracking legislation.
CIWM and ESA announce new strategic alliance
The Environmental Services Association (ESA) and the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) have announced that they will be working together more closely and creating a new independent entity called Resources & Waste UK.
Politicians opposing wind energy 'huge turn-off' for voters
Political parties that oppose onshore wind development are likely to lose twice as many votes as they gain, according to a nationwide opinion poll.
BSI investigates potential for a circular economy standard
The British Standards Institution (BSI) is exploring the feasibility of developing a circular economy standard following a stakeholder consultation exercise.
Leading cultural change through senior leadership
Senior leadership is acknowledging that societal and environmental challenges are bigger than us all, says John F Brock
Kingfisher's Ian Cheshire on shaping the built environment
Energy efficiency to biodiversity offsetting, shaping the built environment requires us to consider all potential impacts, writes Ian Cheshire
Man-made climate change is one of the UK's biggest threats, says David Cameron
Prime Minister David Cameron has said that man-made climate change is one of the greatest threats to the UK and the rest of the world.
Dieter Helm: EMR will need full review to address issues
The Government's Energy Market Reform (EMR) is supposed to "solve our energy problems" but is it a solution for the next 25 years and is it going to make sure that we achieve our low-carbon transition, keep the lights on and ensure prices are affordable? Leigh Stringer talks to professor of energy policy at Oxford University Dieter Helm
In conversation with UPS' Peter Harris
In this week's 'In conversation' edie talks to UPS' director of sustainability for Europe, Middle East and Africa, Peter Harris, on why there isn't enough long-term thinking when it comes to sustainability and how electric vehicles could be the technology to revolutionise the economy.
Climate change disruption driving Starbuck's sustainability agenda
The potential for the effects of climate change to directly impact on Starbuck's supply chain is the company's main driver towards sustainability, according to its director of environmental impact Jim Hanna.
Pickles to face judicial review over 'appalling governance' on energy efficiency
Communities Secretary Eric Pickles is facing a judicial review for ditching energy efficiency rules for household extensions, which could have saved the economy £11bn.
Businesses urge ITRE Committee to recognise energy efficiency
Businesses have called on members of the European Parliament's Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE) Committee to ensure they recognise energy efficiency as the single most cost-effective means of achieving the goals set out in the EU Energy Roadmap 2050.
Coire Glas pumped storage one step nearer
Scotland's largest ever hydro project has been given the go-ahead by the Highlands council. Natasha Wiseman reports on the proposed £800m scheme.
Apprentice hosts Trump and Lord Sugar in dispute over wind farms
Lord Sugar has been engaged in a bitter spat with Donald Trump after the American billionaire derided the UK Government for its expansion of wind farms in Scotland.
Government must tackle rogue traders cashing in on Green Deal
A group of 20 consumer advice bodies, charities, trade associations and building industry organisations is urging the Government to tackle the risk of rogue traders cashing in on the Green Deal scheme, as it officially becomes law today.
Divide over Welsh sustainability body widens
A majority of organisations agree that a new Welsh independent body should be set up to carry out the Government's Sustainable Development Bill, according to the results of a 10-week consultation published yesterday.
Wind power reliable and green but gas still essential - think tank
Wind power could 'unequivocally' reduce carbon emissions and is a reliable source of energy for the UK, a report published by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) has shown.
New natural resource body to launch in Wales
A new single body will be set up to manage Wales' natural resources following an eight week consultation.
Business welcomes Green Deal 'progress'
Business leaders have welcomed clarification from government on the Green Deal and the Energy Company Obligation (ECO), but warned that there is "still plenty of work to do".
Lord Smith ignites fracking debate
Anti-fracking campaigners have reacted angrily after Environment Agency (EA) chairman Lord Smith gave his qualified support for the controversial method of shale gas extraction, known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking in the UK.
ECCC not in favour of Scottish independence
Scottish independence will have a "detrimental" effect on the UK's energy budgets, climate change objectives and energy security, was the overarching opinion from the Energy and Climate Change Committee (ECCC).
Energy cost reduction boost for offshore wind
Energy generation from offshore wind should hit a £100 per megawatt hour (MWh) cost target within a decade, industry leaders were told during a major renewables conference in Scotland this week.
Brutish behaviour blamed for bad wind power image
Some wind power companies in England have been accused of being 'brutish' and 'riding roughshod' over local communities in pursuit of new developments.
Opinion divided over proposals for Euro-wide plastic bag ban
Legislative proposals for a European-wide ban on plastic carrier bags must be based on sound evidence, experts have warned, amid fears that Euro MPs will bow to political pressure.
Solving the supply-demand conundrum
As the UK's energy market changes to answer a complex set of challenges, how should energy buyers respond? Should they stick with traditional procurement strategies focused on lowest price outcomes, or consider alternative approaches to deliver long-term value-for-money? Sid Cox explains the issues and suggests some answers
Industry divided over solar subsidies announcement
'Shambolic', says Green MP Caroline Lucas 'Blown it', says Solarcentury chairman Jeremy Leggett 'Greater certainty', says Good Energy ceo Juliet Davenport
Business reaction to Chris Huhne's departure
Former energy secretary Chris Huhne leaves office as a man who has taken environmental issues to the forefront of politics, but will be forever tainted by solar subsidies changes and a failure to tackle rising energy bills.
Give us greater security on the resource issue
Decisions in a field as complex and slippery as resource efficiency/security need to be well thought out if they are to be effective, argues Matthew Farrow
The high cost of living with incineration
The level of subsidy given to incinerators is not only uneconomic, but unfair when you take into account greener options, argues Chris Edwards
Opportunity knocks north of the border
We may well see a new relationship emerge between waste producer and waste collector as Scotland prepares to gets to grips with new regulations, says Iain Gulland
Engagement key to future of renewables
Centre for Sustainable Energy chief executive Simon Roberts told Energy Solutions visitors this morning that engagement of the UK's 'citizenry' is key to delivering renewable energy.
Wanna work in waste? You're hired!
You know that once the waste industry features on the BBC's The Apprentice that it's made the big time. But where is the future talent going to come from? Katie Coyne reports
Chris Huhne unveils pylon design contest shortlist
Energy minister, Chris Huhne, unveiled six finalists in a competition to redesign one of the most iconic structures in energy management - the pylon.
Why we should buy less by buying better
If good products were designed well in the first place, this would work out cheaper and better for everyone in the long-term, argues Mark Shayler
Stirling forges ahead with food scrap recycling
Food waste from 26,000 homes in the Stirling area of Scotland will be processed at Horizons Environment's anaerobic digestion (AD) plant at Deerdykes, near Cumbernauld, following an agreement with Stirling Council.
Report compares cost of Welsh kerbside collections
A new WRAP-commissioned report funded by the Welsh Assembly Government will enable local authorities in Wales to compare the financial and environmental costs of different methods of kerbside recycling collections.
"Business is ready"
As co-director of the Prince of Wales's Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change, Craig Bennett is a man who is confident that businesses are capable of stepping up to challenges of sustainability. Now he just needs government to understand that, he tells Tom Idle
Waste - Europe
The European Court of Justice has drawn its initial conclusions on an oil spillage incident dating back to 1999.
Nasty case of nanophobia?
We're entering a new era. Nano particles look set to play a part in every aspect of our lives. But some say that the revolutionary tiny technology may pose a 'serious threat to human health'. Rob Bell reports
Flushing away the old image
Sir Ming Campbell posing with an organic loo was not the best look for the Lib Dems - but that was then and this is now. New leader Nick Clegg does some straight-talking on green issues, but John Alker would like to see the party take a clearer line on the role of the environment
France looks to Brussels for waste definition
The legal status of spilled oil - and whether it might be considered waste - is to be considered by the European courts.
Cracking the zero carbon code
The building industry has an integral role to play in enabling the country to move to a sustainable future. Ensuring the code guiding this transition evolves in a consistent and responsive manner will be key to meeting government's target of zero carbon homes by 2016, writes Paul King
Carbon accounting: The new bottom line
Legislation combined with pressure from investors and consumers means companies not yet addressing their carbon emissions are risking their long-term futures
Scottish case tests intellectual property rights
With the rush to new 'green' technologies (particularly renewable technologies) these days, a recent case delivered a salutory reminder to make sure you have the right to fully exploit a given technology.
Being green: A question of class
Research tells us the public understands the environmental dilemma we find ourselves in, and is keen to act. But, asks Barrie Clarke of Water UK, just how accurate is it?
Airport expansions may need fresh impact assessments
Large-scale airport expansions will need full environmental impact assessments on the same scale as the original development, while smaller refurbs may escape a second assessment.
An inconvenient case - judge rules on climate 'indoctrination'
An attempt to block Government plans to send schools copies of Al Gore's climate change film An Inconvenient Truth has failed.
Business fails to turn off the tap
Water is a vital resource, and it is not unlimited. But its consumption is still being overlooked by businesses as a key factor in sustainability, says Kevin Stanley
It's never too late to innovate
Pneumatic actuators have many advantages over their electrical counterparts for the water and wastewater process industries. These components are used extensively by the industry worldwide, except in the UK. Festo's Martin Hunt tries to pinpoint why, and sees an encouraging shift in attitudes.
The future of outsourcing
Terry Povall discovers the decision to out- or in-source a capital project management is far from set in stone.
How to get the most from waste-to-energy
Generating energy from waste is attracting increasing attention. But incineration causes concerns. Andrew Hamilton says his company has a technology that bypasses the issue
Waste case clarifies export laws
A ruling by the ECJ has gone against previous EU advice on how much information must be given to the authorities in countries receiving waste shipments from Europe.
EA loses landfill challenge
New waste disposal sites facilities can, in some cases, be built on the sites of former landfills, contrary to the existing Environment Agency guidelines.
Discharges - whose risk is it anyway?
The EIC's Water Pollution Control Working Group is lobbying the Environment Agency to consider not only the method of regulating discharges but also the nature of what is being regulated. The group's Duncan Russell and Richard Barnard outline the reasons why.
Spanish irrigation could harm birds
Plans to irrigate steppe land and increase agriculture in parts of Spain have attracted the ire of the European courts.
Italy fails to protect wildlife
A designated area designed to give extra protection to rare birds and wildlife has not been properly protected itself, according to the European courts.
Italian ski resort will harm bird life
Planned development at a ski resort in Italy would have an unacceptable impact on the habitat of wild birds in the region, according to the European courts.
Rocks are not waste
Italian confusion over whether excavated rocks and soil should be considered waste have been cleared up.
France slow to tackle illegal landfills
France has been hauled over the coals by the European Commission for failing to close down illegal landfills or ensure they meet the standards necessary to allow them to be granted the permits which would make them legal.
Leftovers fed to livestock are not waste
Foodstuffs left over from the agri-food industry which are used as animal fodder do not count as waste, as court has ruled.
Meat and bonemeal shipment at heart of waste debate
A cross border shipment of meat and bonemeal destined for use as fuel in a Bulgarian energy-from-waste plant has forced the ECJ to clarify its position on the transport of carcases.
Is cable scrap WEEE?
A Dutch court has asked the ECJ for clarification on exactly what does, and does not, qualify as electronic and electrical equipment.
New regulation about chemicals, called Reach, is about to come into force - and it's going to affect almost every business in Europe, writes Tim Jessel
UK not doing enough to clean urban waste water
Britain is failing to adequately collect and treat waste water from 13 of its towns, courts found this month.
Alleged Thames sewage leak considered by court
A case of alleged sewage leaks onto land in Kent in 2003 is likely to cause a headache for water companies after it was referred to the ECJ.
Wildlife protection not optional, Austria told
Austria has been told that it cannot leave conservation measures to the discretion of its regional authorities and must ensure that national laws make such a regime obligatory.
Unpopular birds species must be protected too, Europe rules
Species seen as pests cannot be left out of legislation designed to protect birds, the European Court of Justice has ruled in a test case where Austrian regions has failed to provide protection for birds such as the starling, crow and house sparrow.
Laying down the law on ecological impact
After six long years, guidelines for best practice in ecological impact assessment have been drawn up. Mick Hall reports
Edie Environmental Legislation Summary (January 2007)
Changes to legislation which will impact on the environmental sector in the UK, Europe and internationally come under the spotlight in this Semple Fraser and Edie News monthly round-up of new laws and policies. The publication of the REACH chemicals regulation in the EU's official journal tops this month's legislative highlights, with the commission setting out the next steps for the regulation. REACH is to apply directly to European states from 1st June 2008 and will replace over 40 chemical laws, making it the biggest piece of legislation ever produced by the Union.
Greece in breach of ozone laws
Laws requiring adequate training for workers charged with disposing of ozone depleting substances have not been enforced in Greece.
UK appears deaf to EU noise plea
The UK has failed to implement European rules on noise pollution within the allotted time frame.
Court hears of state's failure on noise laws
Luxembourg has run afoul of the ECJ for failing to fully adopt laws on noise pollution.
Luxembourg sewage plants fail to meet standards
Some of Luxenbourg's sewage plants in environmentally sensitive areas are not removing enough nitrogen, a court has found.
Court annoyed about noise
Austria needs to hurry up in implementing legislation relating to environmental noise, says the ECJ.
ECJ rules on political grey area in Finnish islands
Confusion over Finland's environmental responsibilities towards self-governing islands off its coast have been cleared up by a court ruling.
Comment is free - but not in Ireland
Dublin has successfully seen off a complaint from Brussels which maintained that charging the public to comment on planning applications was in breach of EU law.
Luxembourg slow to make Strategic Environmental Assessment law
Luxembourg has found itself in the dock after failing to introduce an EU environmental directive within the agreed timescale.
Irish protection of birds and habitats inadequate, says EC
The failure to provide enough legal protection for wild birds and natural habitats must be addressed in Ireland, according to the European Commission.
Blazing the trail
Buildings are responsible for nearly half of UK carbon dioxide emissions. Rob Bell asks whether the planned 120,000 homes at Thames Gateway can act as an example of energy efficiency for the housing sector
MCerts: The fuller picture
The introduction of MCerts for self-monitoring of discharge flows focused attention on areas of flow measurement that had been long overlooked. But the story is far from complete. WRc's Andy Godley reports
Court considers whether carcasses are waste when sold as fuel
KVZ retec GmbH v Republic of Austria (Case C-176/05)
Water - a conveyor of disease or health benefits?
Desalination is considered by some as the answer to Britain's water shortage. However, what implications could low mineral content water have on the public's health. Dr Ian Pallett reports.
Ireland in the dock for profiting from EIAs
The European Commission has taken Ireland to court over charges made by the Irish planning system for environmental impact assessments.
Meeting the shortfall
Following Alan Alexander's resignation as chairman of Scottish Water, after 'fundamental disagreements', rumours abound concerning its privatisation
ECJ rules on habitat protection
The European Court of Justice has told the German state of Bavaria that it must take into account the ecological impact of developments in areas likely to be designated as environmentally sensitive.
Italy slow to implement ETS
Italy has been reprimanded by the European Court of Justice for failing to transpose the EC's Emissions Trading Directive into its national laws within a previously agreed time limit.
Italy ignores EIA obligations
Italy has come under fire from the EC for failing to carry out an in-depth environmental impact assessment for a major incinerator.
Luxembourg lax on legislation for water
Luxembourg has been hauled over the legal coals for failing to properly implement the EC's Water Framework Directive.
Hidden cost of renewables
The Government wants 10% of electricity to come from renewable sources by 2010. But any business that installs a renewable-energy system on its property faces increased rates. The British Retail Consoritum asks why
As industry ponders the future of Britain's energy supply, political pressure is mounting on the Government from a range of disparate voices. The environmental lobby wants clean and green energy. The private sector is concerned by both rising costs and fears about security of supply, while voters (hit by soaring gas and electricity bills) simply want an energy bill they can afford.
It is against this tense background that the DTI is conducting the major energy review currently under way. Clearly, the nuclear option looms large (an option explored on page 16), but the scale of a nuclear build needed to meet Britain's energy demand may remain an unpalatable political decision for this current Government. But we shall have to wait and see.
In the build-up to Kyoto, and following its implementation last year, the Government has worked hard to secure creditability globally with its commitment to climate change. Only a few months post-Kyoto, Tony Blair lectured his G8 colleagues on the threat of climate change at Gleneagles, calling it "probably, long-term, the single most important issue we face as a global community".
Thus, in recent years, we have seen a range of policy drivers designed to cut carbon dioxide emissions in the property market. These have included regulatory spurs, such as the Energy Performance of Buildings Directive, and changes to the Building Regulations, and incentives via a range of grants and reliefs (for example the Clear Skies programme and business rates relief for good-quality combined heat and power plant).
For the moment, at least, the Government continues to maintain its support for renewable energy and is publicly committing to generating 10% of the UK's electricity supply from renewable energy sources by 2010. Clearly we are still some way off meeting this goal - at present, less than 3% of the UK's electricity supply comes from renewable sources. In order to meet the 10% target, the UK will need to install approximately 10,000MWe of renewable capacity by 2010, an annual build rate of more than 1,250MWe.
Until recently, the Government has focused on the potential for large-scale renewable systems - but this is set to change. Small-scale renewable systems have now been developed which can be installed on just about any structure and most locations
- including the high street.
Voices within government have recognised the potential for business to drive up the UK's generating capacity from renewable sources and have identified the planning system as one of the best mechanisms. With this end in mind, the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister (ODPM) published a new planning guidance document on renewable energy at the end of 2004 called Planning Policy Statement 22 (PPS22): Renewable Energy.
Although this document is barely 18 months old, there is already talk in some Government circles about whether to begin work revising and presumably extending PPS22. And the ODPM and the DTI have been engaged in an interesting series of exchanges about whether or not there would be a redraft.
A growing number of local authorities are beginning to flex their new planning powers to implement the Government's 10% target. And we are increasingly beginning to see individual wind turbines and solar photovoltaics (PV) appearing in the most unlikely of places - standing alongside a supermarket, a DIY retailer or attached to a petrol station forecourt.
The Mayor of London has taken this further with the introduction of legislation that means all major developments in the Greater London Authority area should generate at least 10% of the site's energy needs from on-site renewable energy. No doubt, as new development schemes designed under this new regime begin to come online, we will witness an explosion of micro-renewables across the Capital.
Despite all these laudable attempts to promote the growth of the fledgling renewables market, the Government is in danger of undermining all its good intentions by penalising private-sector investment in renewable energy. It is a little-known fact that an anomaly in the system of business rates means that any business that installs a small-scale renewable energy system on its property - be it a 30kW wind turbine or a small panel of PV - faces a supplementary increase in their business rates levy. The Valuation Office Agency (VOA), which administers the business rates regime on behalf of the ODPM, fails to make a distinction between fossil fuel burning plant and machinery and renewable plant.
Accordingly, an incongruous situation has emerged
where retailers who look to reduce their carbon emissions by investing in renewables
are penalised with increased
Clearly this small branch of Government has not kept up with the rest of Whitehall thinking on renewable energy and climate change. And, given the already high start-up costs associated with renewable technologies, many leaders in the retail community have voiced the opinion that this practice is a deterrent from taking up these important technologies.
This point is also picked up in Ernst & Young's global renewable energy market report. Although the most recent edition ranks the UK as one of the two most attractive countries in the world for investment in renewable technologies, the UK's position is downgraded for the first time because of the Government's business rates regime.
The retail sector and others in the business community feel they have the potential to go some way in helping the Government meet its ambitious target of generating 10% of the UK's electricity from renewable energy by 2010. However, at the present time it is still more cost effective for retailers to source their energy needs from the national grid.
The rating of micro-renewables further reinforces this situation. The British Retail Consortium is currently campaigning to ensure the Government puts a stop to this iniquitous practice.
Edie Environmental Legislation Summary (May 06)
Recent changes to legislation which will impact on the environmental sector in the UK, Europe and internationally come under the spotlight in this Semple Fraser and Edie News monthly round-up of new law and policy. Among the developments this month we see updates to EU's position on waste from mining, oil drilling and other extractive industries, improved public access to environmental information and new rules on the disposal of batteries.
Edie Environmental Legislation Summary (April 06)
Recent changes to legislation which will impact on the environmental sector in the UK, Europe and internationally come under the spotlight in this Semple Fraser and Edie News monthly round-up of new law and policy. Among the developments this month we see revisions to EU clean water rules with a new version of the Bathing Water Directive, while in the UK new ETS allocation rules provide for pre-2004 installations.