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Winter Flooding: Nearly 250 Million of Damage Caused to Roads and Bridges

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Nearly £250 million in damage was caused to key infrastructure like roads, bridges, public rights of way, and drainage systems by this winter’s flooding, new research reveals.

A snapshot analysis by the Local Government Association (LGA), published three months on from the flooding, estimates local authorities have so far been landed with this huge bill after the devastation wreaked by storms Desmond and Eva. 

The LGA, which represents more than 370 councils in England and Wales, warns the final bill to councils could be much higher as local authorities are still assessing the full cost.

Worst hit have been Cumbria, which sustained about £175 million in damage, Calderdale with £33 million, Northumberland with £24 million and Lancashire £5 million. 

Government funding has been important in enabling local authorities and their communities to recover from the winter’s flooding havoc. However, the LGA warns councils will need more financial help from the Government as the full cost of the damage emerges.

New flood defence funding should also be devolved by government to local areas, with councils working with communities and businesses to ensure money is directed towards projects that best reflect local needs. 

Staff have worked tirelessly with volunteers and local community groups to help areas recover from the devastating and unprecedented flooding, keeping residents up to date with regular postings on their websites and through social media and special flood-watch apps. Councils have also visited flood-hit areas to collect household items such as carpets and furniture to dispose of them. So far, an average 1.66 tonnes of household goods and freezer waste has had to be removed from each of the 16,500 homes and businesses that have been flooded, the LGA estimates.

Local authorities have so far been landed with a bill of more than £2.25 million in landfill tax as a result. Councils are calling for all landfill tax, which is calculated at just over £82 per tonne, to be returned to local taxpayers and invested back in to projects that will support local jobs and growth, rather than go to the Treasury.

Cllr Peter Box, Chair of the LGA’s Environment, Economy, Housing and Transport Board, said: 

“The devastation wreaked by this winter’s flooding has landed councils with a bill of nearly £250 million – just for damage to key infrastructure like roads and bridges. Councils are still literally counting the cost and the final bill is likely to be much higher. Government has gone a long way to helping hard-hit communities get back on their feet. But it is clear more financial support will be needed for councils.

“Other measures from government could also make a massive difference in helping councils. These include allowing them to keep landfill tax and devolving new flood defence funding to local areas.

“Councils continue to give their all for flood-hit areas. The sense of community spirit across the country and huge efforts of council staff who have worked long hours and with little rest has been inspirational.

“Even now, council staff are still preparing for the possibility of further severe storms to ensure the safety of residents, homes and businesses, shore up flood defences, and protect road networks and power supplies as much as possible.  

“People should continue to keep an eye on council websites and social media feeds for updates on the situation in their local areas.”

Economy

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

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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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Economy

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

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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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