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Economy

Government Should Get Off Fence Say Bee Campaigners On 2nd Anniversary Of Pesticide Ban

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Friends of the Earth have said that it is time for the Government to “get off the fence” over whether it supports the continuation of the current Europe-wide restrictions on three neonicotinoid pesticides which mark their 2nd anniversary today.

The environmental group says that the science on the threat they pose to bees and other wildlife is stronger than ever and that predictions by opponents of the restrictions that there would be devastating and widespread crop losses in their absence have proved unfounded. Views from a retailer, an academic and a farmer support the continuation of the ban.

Waitrose Head of Sustainability, Quentin Clark, said: “In 2013 Waitrose prohibited the use of the three restricted neonicotinoids in our own supply chain ahead of the EU ban. This was a two year project in which we have made significant progress. We are aware of the current reviews but have no plans to change our commitment to full removal on crops that are attractive to bees.

“Oil seed rape production at our own farm at Leckford has not suffered as a result of the restrictions and we’ve continued to press high quality rapeseed oil for sale to our customers. As a business dependent on a consistent supply of quality foods pollinated by bees and other insects we support the continuation of the ban to protect these vital pollinators.”

Bee neuroscientist, Dr Christopher Connolly of University of Dundee said: “For the past four years I have been involved in research that demonstrates clear negative effects of imidacloprid and thiamathoxam on bumblebees and honeybees.

“Based on our findings, different insect species are likely to respond in different ways, so it is not possible to predict which beneficial species are at greatest risk from neonicotinoids.

“To date, there is no existing evidence to warrant a lifting of the moratorium.”

Peter Lundgren, a Lincolnshire farmer said: “Since the ban on neonics I have continued to produce oilseed rape at no or very little additional cost.  The current restrictions were the right response to the evidence of harm.  Farmers rely on bees for yield and quality – we need to protect them, and other pollinators, to protect the financial viability of our farms and our ability to address the challenge of ensuring national food security.

“What I need from the Government is an investment in research and development of alternatives that are going to protect my crops without harming the bees and other beneficial insects that we depend upon”.

Concluding, Friends of the Earth Bees campaigner Sandra Bell said: “Since restrictions on neonicotinoid insecticides were introduced two years ago the evidence that they harm bees, and other wildlife such as butterflies, has continued to stack up. Frighteningly these chemicals are also turning up in wildflowers planted next to arable crops so bees are getting exposed more than previously thought.

“It’s time for the Government to get off the fence and back a permanent ban on all neonicotinoids, on all crops. It should help farmers get off the chemical treadmill by developing and promoting non-chemical pest control that’s better for bees”.

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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