UK Business Briefs: London waste guide, Powergen expansion, EA prosecution, Biffa fire, Scottish bridge, Welsh recycling, Winning picture, Reuse seminar, Business award

Mayor of London Ken Livingstone has published a guide to help London waste authorities introduce new waste recovery technologies to treat waste that cannot be recycled. Waste authorities now have greater financial flexibility to fund their own waste recovery facilities, and this document details the different ways that new technologies can be funded. Mr Livingstone said: "Recycling and waste reduction are my main priorities but we also need to look at and invest in technologies to recover value from the waste that we cannot recycle. This guide offers important advice for London waste authorities on putting these new technologies into practice."

Powergen has announced a major expansion in the use of micro-CHP boilers. The company has ordered 80,000 to be fitted in homes over the next five years. The micro-CHP units, called WhisperGen, is an alternative to traditional boilers and generates its own electricity as well as providing heat and hot water. The surplus electricity it generates can be sold back to Powergen.

The Environment Agency (EA) has started a prosecution against Greater Manchester waste fridge company Britannia Import Export Ltd and its former director for lapses in security and fire precautions. Although the company is now in liquidation, the EA was granted permission by the High Court to proceed with its prosecution. At a preliminary hearing, magistrates agreed to the EA's request that the case be concluded in the Crown Court, due to the seriousness of the charges. A date for the Crown Court hearing has yet to be set.

Leicester's Ball Mill, the central component of Biffa's Leicester recycling facility, is expected to be up and running again by mid October this year following the fire in June that caused £2 million of damage to the site. Despite being seriously damaged by a fire, caused when contractors carrying out welding work accidentally ignited an internal rubber membrane, local residents have not experienced any disruptions to their household waste or kerbside recycling collections.

Scottish campaign groups that successfully fought a second Forth road bridge proposal ten years ago have reformed to fight new plans for another crossing. The campaigners propose that, instead of building an additional road crossing, the Forth Estuary Transport Authority should be pursuing sustainable transport alternatives.

The Welsh government has stated that "waste is Wales' biggest environmental problem" and is trying to encourage citizens and businesses to start making and buying recycled products to create new markets, reduce costs and re-enforce a positive public image. The Wales Environment Trust has created a range of services specifically aimed at helping businesses take advantage of this opportunity, while creating a suitable climate for a competitive and attractive recycling sector in Wales.

The first international CIWEM Environmental Photographer of the Year competition has been won by Rod Armstrong, a retired civil engineer, for his picture of a hillside with dry-stone walls and barns taken last October in Swaledale, Yorkshire. Baroness Barbara Young, chief executive of the Environment Agency, this week presented Mr Armstrong with his prize: £300 of vouchers for photographic equipment. The image will be available as a limited edition framed print, as well as featuring in Water and Environment Magazine, a publication with international circulation.

Findings of a landmark study into the recycling and reuse of waste from building and demolition sites will be the focus of a national seminar tour aimed at all those involved in housing development, waste and construction. Organised and led by the UK Centre for Economic and Environmental Development's Encluster team, the free seminars will feature industry-leading speakers from the building and waste sectors. Announcing the seminar tour, Simon Chiva of Encluster said: "The seminars will provide an opportunity for all those involved in the building and demolition trades to hear from sector specialists, learn from their experience, and see how transferable locally-focused reduction and reuse methods really are."

And finally, Efford Household Waste Recycling Centre (HWRC) has just scooped the prestigious Business Environment Forum Award for a second year. Organised by the Hampshire and Isle of Wight Business Environment Forum, the Efford HWRC near Lymington was recognised under the individual achievement category for its partnership approach to business and conservation. Jo Garland, communications manager for Onyx Hampshire said: "We are very proud of winning the BEF award for the second year running and for the continuous effort to implement new and improved systems."



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