Day: 21 January 2005
UK business briefs: Curbing vehicle use, Beckett chemical statement, Met Office research, £1 million rural boost, Green conference
Inappropriate use of public rights of way by mechanically propelled vehicles will be curtailed via legislation, Rural Affairs Minister Alun Michael confirmed today. The Minister's confirmation follows a Defra consultation on proposals to address widespread concern about the use of ancient, and often fragile, tracks by motor bikes, quad bikes and 4x4s. In particular, views were sought on the existing principle that permits use by modern motor vehicles on the basis that the routes were once used by horse-drawn carriages. The Government's response to the consultation is published today, alongside the results of a Defra research report on the use of byways open to all traffic by motor vehicles.
International business briefs: Californian pesticide concerns, South Korea investing in biofuels, EPA Spanish website, US needs energy efficiency, China halts power developments
Environmental health and community groups have filed a law suit this week in Sacramento Superior Court to require California's Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) to uphold the Toxic Air Contaminant (TAC) law. The law, enacted in 1984, requires DPR to assess all pesticides as potential air contaminants and regulate them in order to protect public health. Of the more than 900 pesticides registered in California, DPR has completed the review process for only four in the past 20 years. Of the 172 million pounds of pesticides reported used in 2002 in the state, more than 90% are prone to drifting away from where they are applied and becoming airborne toxins. According to the California Air Resources Board, pesticides are one of the top three contributors to ozone pollution in the San Joaquin Valley, accounting for about 8-10% of the ozone-forming gases produced in the region. High levels of ozone trigger asthma attacks and exacerbate other respiratory illnesses. In addition, nearly one-third of pesticides used in California are associated with serious chronic and acute health problems, such as cancer or nervous system damage.
European business briefs: Chemical comment, Abestos rehearing denied, Irish yearbook, Barents oil drilling resumed, Professor praises Irish regeneration
Judith Hackitt, Director General of the Chemical Industries Association (CIA), spoke at a European Parliament Public Hearing on REACH this week, welcoming the start of this important phase in the process by restating the industry's support for the aims and objectives of this regulatory programme. She described it as a real opportunity for the industry to demonstrate its genuine commitment to Responsible Care and Sustainable Development. She went on to say that REACH can simplify regulation for chemical manufacturers and deliver significant benefits to downstream industries, consumers and the environment. Chemical manufacturers want REACH to be workable and effective. "We have come a long way already but the true workability of the regulation must be addressed. It will mean additional work and cost for chemical manufacturers, but that's okay as long as we remain competitive. Workability and timely implementation are now key. Continued delay and uncertainty are bad for industry and postpone the achievement of REACH's laudable objectives," she concluded.
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