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New research: “Rail tax” on commuters must be reinvested in the railways



New research has revealed that continued rail revenue growth could result in passengers effectively being charged a ‘rail tax’, equivalent to an income tax of up to 5 per cent for commuters or £7.50 per intercity journey, with an ever growing percentage of income from fares transferring directly to the Government.

The new report into the future of rail financing, “Future Rail Funding: Passenger Opportunities, prepared by consultants Credo for Campaign for Better Transport, has found that government income from rail franchise premiums could increase to up to £3.7bn by 2020, driven by passenger growth and improved cost management.

Campaign for Better Transport is calling for this windfall to be reinvested back into the railways by providing better ticketing for passengers, including flexible season tickets for part time workers, which the Government committed to trail in its rail fares and ticketing review.

Stephen Joseph, Chief Executive, Campaign for Better Transport, said:“This new research shows that even under conservative estimates there should be plenty of money coming in from the rail franchises for the Government to fund the commitments it made 2 years ago to develop fairer fares.

“With many commuters already having to fork out thousands of pounds a year on rail season tickets to get to work, it is no wonder that they are fed up with the value that they are getting. It is time that the Government committed to using their rail income to make good their promises for fairer fares, including a nationwide scheme of flexible ticketing for part time workers, or avoiding further cuts in transport spending, rather than sending it into the Treasury.”

The report modelled three financial scenarios which take into account increasing levels of growth in passenger revenue and a reduction in running costs through more efficient management.

The report also found that:

– In 2014/15 the train operating companies made an aggregate £1.1bn contribution to the government through franchise premium payments, more than double that paid four years ago

– This increase in franchise premium payments has coincided with a marked decrease in passenger satisfaction and low perceptions of value for money

– The forecasted franchise premiums will be sufficient to cover a 25 per cent reduction in public funding for the railways – even in a likely base case – which might be required through the Government’s forthcoming Spending Review

– Even including this spending reduction, there will be enough money left over to fund initiatives to make the rail network more affordable and accessible for passengers, thus addressing concerns about value for money

The report recommends these initiatives could include:

1) Three day a week season tickets (cost: £200m)

2) Switching the measure of inflation used to calculate regulated fare increases from the Retail Prices Index to the Consumer Prices Index (cost: £140m)

3) Fair single leg pricing for off-peak travel (cost: £270m)

4) Free travel for children aged 11 and under in England and Wales (cost: £210m)


A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon




energy efficient homes

Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.

There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.

1. The Rise Of Smart Windows

When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.

If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.

2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs

If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.

Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.

3. Low-E Windows Taking Over

It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.

They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.

4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges

Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.

The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.

5. Improving Our Current LEDs

Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.

That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.

Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too

Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.

ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244

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IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”



IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.

Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.

Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.

Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:

“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.

We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.

There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.

We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”

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