UK business briefs: Carbon research grant, Recycled car website, Onyx report, Church goes carbon neutral, Wales tackles bad smells

A consortium of scientists and industry specialists led by the University of Surrey has won a £1 million research grant from the Carbon Vision Programme, funded by the Carbon Trust and EPSRC, to develop a lifecycle methodology and software tools for estimating the emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from different industrial sectors in the UK. The project will enable identification of low-carbon technologies, products and services to help reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases in the UK. It will also help companies to respond to the activities such as carbon management and emissions trading. The industrial sectors and supply chains to be considered in the project include Food, Chemicals, Plastics, Building Materials and Biomass for Energy. Project co-ordinator, Professor Adisa Azapagic, said: "A successful transition to a low carbon economy will depend on a number of technological, economic, environmental and social factors. However, before we start this process, we must be able to understand the full implications of the technological and other changes that will be required for 'decarbonisation' of the economy. This project is particularly timely as it will help us to evaluate full environmental and economic consequences of these changes.", Lancashire’s leading specialist in the recycling of vehicles, ICT equipment and scrap metals, has announced the launch of Salvage Autos – a new business that enables members of the public to buy “stolen-recovered” and partially damaged vehicles at well under the usual market prices. The new business deals with cars, vans and motorbikes that have been stolen and legally recovered, or which are damaged but repairable. They range from those that are virtually brand new, through a wide choice of standard makes and models, to older classics and collectors’ vehicles. The company purchases the bulk of its stock through insurance companies, fleet operators, accident management companies and independent engineers. The company’s launch is supported by a new, dedicated website,, which customers can use to browse through categories such as Damaged, Undamaged, Bikes, Commercial, 4×4 and so on. They can also use the on-line search facility to look for vehicles produced by particular manufacturers. The website shows photographs of each model and provides details about its year, colour, price and condition.

Waste management specialist, Onyx, has brought out its latest joint Environmental Performance and Onyx Environmental Advisory Board Report. The report highlights the priority which Onyx places on striving to meet the highest environmental standards in integrated waste services. The full colour publication details how Onyx is committed to the continual improvement and operation of all its waste recycling, energy production, chemical treatment and disposal activities that impact on the environment, and sets a number of targets to ensure continuing environmental improvements are achieved. Highlights of the report include a 16.2% reduction in Onyx UK’s CO2 emissions, as well as an average 21% increase in recycling rates for local authorities with Onyx kerbside municipal collection contracts from 2001/02 to 2002/03. Included within the Environmental Advisory Board Report section of the publication is the company’s Corporate Environmental Policy Statement as well as details of the programme of activities undertaken by the Board in 2002 and 2003.

Church of England members in the Newcastle Diocese are making their administrative headquarters “CarbonNeutral”, backing a citywide campaign to reduce and offset carbon emissions from offices and homes in the area. The aim is to help avert global warming while investing in the region, and as a symbolic start to the Church’s partnership with the campaign, the Bishop of Newcastle, the Rt Rev Martin Wharton, planted a tree in the grounds of Church House in St John’s Terrace, North Shields. Office staff have already carried out an energy efficiency check on the building, and are now investigating green energy options. The CarbonNeutral Campaign, a charity which has the backing of Newcastle City Council, Scottish Power, the Environment Agency, Nexus and Newcastle Airport, helps companies and individuals reduce their CO2 emissions and offers the opportunity to invest in projects which re-absorb non-reducible emissions, like tree-planting, and initiatives such as renewable energy and insulation, which cut down emissions.

And finally, the Welsh Assembly Government has issued plans to streamline the way complaints about smells from sewage treatment works are handled. Public views are being sought on a draft Code of Practice for how local authorities deal with complaints about odours, and Carwyn Jones, Minister for Environment, Planning and Countryside, is asking people to comment. He said: “Smells from sewage works can badly affect quality of life and can be a major nuisance for people living near them. A Code of Practice will help local authorities deal with any problems efficiently and consistently, will make clear to sewage companies what their responsibilities are, setting out the procedure for anyone with cause to complain.” The draft Code has been developed jointly with Defra and in co-operation with local authorities, water companies, regulatory bodies, customers and the Environment Agency.

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