UK business briefs: Scottish wind farm, BBQ-ed rainforest destruction, Solar-powered toilets, Southern green award, construction regulation, recycling research, Morley gives award, Site health handbook

This week, Scotland's most powerful wind farm was opened, and its twenty turbines began to provide clean energy for around 33,000 homes. Deputy Enterprise Minister Lewis Macdonald officially opened the Crystal Rig wind farm in the Lammermuir Hills, East Lothian. Friends of the Earth (Foe) welcomed the opening and urged politicians to keep backing the continued development of onshore wind. Chief executive for FoE Scotland, Duncan McLaren, said: "The urgent need for more sensitively sited onshore wind power schemes must not be allowed to be blown off course."

Summer barbeques are contributing to the destruction of the Indonesian and Amazonian rainforests, according to a report from Friends of the Earth (FoE) this week highlighting damage caused by illegal logging and intensive production of palm oil and soy. Chicken, beef burgers, veggie burgers, bread, crisps and prawns were all singled out as contributing to rainforest destruction. FoE called on the Government to impose tougher social and environmental regulations on retailers, forcing them to take responsibility for the damage caused by products they sell.

Ely is going green by introducing solar-powered toilets. Funded by the East Cambridgeshire District Council, the project will see the environmentally friendly cisterns installed in three of the city’s public conveniences. A spokesman from the local authority told edie: “The council is now prepared to put its money where its mouth is.”

An award scheme to recognise and reward excellence in the South West’s renewable energy sector was launched this week, and organisers, Regen SW, are appealing for nominations. The South West Green Energy Awards will celebrate the success of the renewables sector and pay tribute to the outstanding achievements of individuals and organisations operating in the industry. Open to all of the region’s individuals, local authorities, private businesses and communities with an involvement in the sector, the awards aim to build on the South West’s position in the renewables field, highlighting best practice throughout the region.

Governments, not markets, must be in the driving seat if there is to be any progress in controlling the massive environmental impact of the world’s construction industries, according to a RICS report published this week. Chief executive Louis Armstrong said: “Only if governments step in, as they have done in Denmark and are attempting to do in the UK, will there be a prospect of reducing the massive waste centre on the property life cycle.”

Liverpool-based regeneration organisation, Include, has published the results of a three stage research project examining people’s attitudes towards recycling and waste management issues in a bid to find out which community education schemes and activities work, and what factors affect their success or failure. Alan Smith, Liverpool City Council’s waste strategy manager said: “One of the key aims of the project was to find out which factors prevent people from taking part in recycling schemes and activities. These findings can now be used by local authorities to facilitate successful schemes throughout the UK.”

Twenty projects throughout the UK are fighting it out for prizes at this year’s Biffaward Awards, where the Rt Hon Elliot Morley MP, Minister of State for Environment and Agri Environment will be welcomed as Guest of Honour to present the Overall Winner’s prize. Hosted for the sixth year by the Royal Society of Wildlife Trusts, the Awards will take place on 19 October 2004 at The Wetland Centre, Barnes, London. The nominated projects vary from research projects looking at the glass industry and agricultural waste to a furniture reuse initiative and a community training centre in the regenerated Bull Ring in Birmingham.

And finally, CIRIA, a Member-owned organisation that works closely with the construction industry, Government and academia, has launched its Site health handbook. The manual shows readers how to recognise risk and minimise the impact of construction sites and operations on the health of those working on them.

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