The UK Government isn’t acting quickly enough on new evidence of the threats faced by bees and other pollinators in England, the Bee Coalition warned today, the first anniversary of the UK’s National Pollinator Strategy [NPS].
The report Policies for Pollinators, criticises the Government for failing to respond to a plethora of new studies linking the use of neonicotinoid insecticides with harm to bees. The Coalition says it’s neither credible nor possible to protect bees and pollinators whilst failing to act sufficiently on pesticides.
Earlier this year the Government controversially gave special permission for farmers in some parts of England to use ‘banned’ bee-harming pesticides this autumn. The High Court is expected to decide tomorrow whether or not Friends of the Earth can challenge this decision through the courts.
Habitat loss is also a major threat, and this is expected to become increasingly severe as climate change takes hold. But the Bee Coalition says the Government is failing to ensure that adequate pollinator-friendly habitat is being provided.
Although communities, individuals, businesses and local councils are taking voluntary steps to protect bees, stronger Government leadership is needed if action is to match the threats our pollinators face.
Furthermore, the significant amounts of public money spent on ‘greening’ our farmland may fail to help bees and other wildlife because the Government chose to allow farmers maximum flexibility in how they use the money.
The Bee Coalition is urging the Government to strengthen the NPS by introducing a number of measures including:
– a permanent ban on neonicotinoid insecticides and an action plan aimed at reducing overall use of all pesticides;
– stronger incentives for farmers to use bee-friendly farming techniques;
– tougher protection for remaining bee habitats, such as wildflower meadows, to ensure they are not lost to development;
– the creation of extensive and connected flower-rich bee-friendly habitat across our countryside, farmland and urban landscapes.
The Bee Coalition is also calling on the Government to bring forward its promised ‘refresh’ of the NPS – currently planned for 2019 – to take account of new evidence on pesticides and climate change. The Bee Coalition includes Buglife, ClientEarth, Environmental Justice Foundation, Friends of the Earth, Natural Beekeeping Trust, Pesticide Action Network, Soil Association and The Wildlife Trusts.
Friends of the Earth bee campaigner Sandra Bell said: “The Government may recognise the importance of protecting our bees and other pollinators, but far more must be done to safeguard their future.
“The National Pollinator Strategy needs to be strengthened with a permanent ban on bee-harming pesticides, a target for reducing all pesticide use, and tougher action to prevent the destruction of habitats that our pollinators depend on.”
Louise Payton, Policy Officer of the Soil Association said: “The government is not willing to talk about the big elephant in the room: pesticides. And we aren’t just talking about neonicotinoids.
“It is time the government commits to reducing overall pesticide usage by supporting alternative methods like organic, as the report recommends. This will be good for farmers – and bees.
“Many farmers feel they are reliant on spraying up to twenty or so different costly chemicals on each of their fields every year. That’s clearly not sustainable, and is bad for the future for wildlife and food production.”
Matt Shardlow, CEO of Buglife said: “It is also vitally important that measures are taken to enable and encourage the creation of suitable new connected habitats for our bees. Investment in this infrastructure is essential for our ongoing health and well-being.”
Tess Crean, toxics expert at ClientEarth, said: “Toxic chemicals cause devastation to bees and other pollinators – the government must act now, before the damage can no longer be repaired.”
A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon
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
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.”