Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Think Nuclear Power is going to solve our electricity problems - think again

Did you know that America has been using Russian Uranium Warheads since 1993 to generate 10% of its electricity, this agreement ends in 2013. Russia is predicted not to renew this contract. Uranium prices will then go through the roof. Watch this to find out more:
If the government decides to go nuclear, expect electricity costs to spiral. Watch the rest of the video to find out what is happening to our dwindling resources.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

UK is living beyond its environmental means -FACT

The UK’s natural environment and the benefits it provides are in trouble, says the UK National Ecosystem Assessment. The situation will continue to deteriorate unless policymaking includes the value of ecosystem services. A comprehensive stocktake of the nation’s natural environment and the services provided to society has been published by a partnership of over 500 experts led by Professor Bob Watson, chief scientific adviser to the environment department (DEFRA).

The UK National Ecosystem Assessment fills over 1,000 pages and is the first of its kind at country level. It sets out the case for including the value of ecosystem services in decision-making and is expected to be reflected in the natural environment white paper due on 7 June.
The assessment measures 16 types of service provided by the natural environment, including crop production, fisheries, recreational value, climate regulation, pollination and flood protection.
The total value of these benefits to society is measured in billions of pounds per year, the report says – for instance woodland carbon sequestration alone is worth £600m each year.
But the trends in ecosystem service provision from the UK’s eight broad habitat types are not good. Since 1990, 36 of the 106 habitat-ecosystem service combinations have deteriorated. Only 19 of the 106 services checked had improved.
The assessment highlights soil quality as cause for particular concern. Soil quality has not improved in any UK habitat over the past 20 years. And it has declined in semi-natural grasslands, enclosed farmlands, wetlands, floodplains, urban areas and coastal margins the report found.
The report also shows how the UK is living beyond its environmental means, degrading the environment at home and impacting other parts of the world. One third of the biomass in food and timber consumed here comes from overseas, while two thirds of UK water demand is met through water embedded in imports, the report says.
"It would not be sensible to attempt to put a total price on the nation’s nature and the services it provides. “Without the environment, we’re all dead – so the total value is infinite,” University of East Anglia economist Professor Ian Bateman told BBC News.
The assessment compares plausible future scenarios for the next 50 years where different policy approaches and societal choices are weighed against their impacts on economic prosperity, well-being and ecosystem
The six scenarios are: business as usual; ‘world markets’ dominated by liberalised trade and economic growth; ‘national security’ where food and energy needs are met largely at home; ‘local stewardship’ with devolved government and a focus on sustainability of the immediate surroundings; ‘nature at work’ where the ecosystem approach is widely accepted; and ‘green and pleasant land’ which focuses on protectionism and imports to satisfy increased consumption.
We are all in this together - do not rely on government to provide leadership.

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Taking waste removal for granted

I found the Kirklees Municipal Waste Management Strategy on Kirklees website, http://www.kirklees.gov.uk/community/environment/yourproperty/pdf/MunWasteManageStrategy.pdf

At the moment, I suspect most people take the removal of their waste from their drives for granted, it sort of disappears!! I have heard people saying "I can't be bothered to sort my waste into the recylcing bin".
The Aims of the strategy are:
Implement actions to reduce, re-use, recycle and recover value from waste within Council operations. Progress towards greater waste reduction and higher re-use, recycling, composting and recovery of value from waste within the Kirklees district, thus reducing dependence on landfilling.

Read through the strategy, there are many EU targets which have to be reached. We have to all take responsibility for the waste we create, because we can only take it out of the ground and put it in another for so long. Reduce, re-use, recycle, repair. Check out http://groups.freecycle.org/HuddersfieldFreeCycle/posts/all  this is where you can get rid of unwanted items to other people. Really easy to use.

Reducing vehicle speed drastically cuts fuel use by 25%

Slower speeds on roads would cut carbon emissions, save fuel and save money. The more fuel we use the quicker it will run out, then what? Read the blog on Peak Oil

Look at the website for more information http://www.slower-speeds.org.uk/

Click here for more information

Vertical Gardens

I am in the middle of an OU assignment on Cities and Sustainability, and came across the concept of Vertical Gardens. It is a bit like the Day of the Triffids, but imagine how much food could be grow up tower blocks, and act like natural air conditioners, rain water could be harvested to feed the plants, and sewage processed to act as nutrients. Patrick Blanc has created some of these arund the world - check out his website: http://www.verticalgardenpatrickblanc.com/

You can even buy kit to create your own vertical garden at home, Google vertical gardens to found out the suppliers.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Should we keep our red telephone boxes?

BT is offering red Telephone boxes to Parish Councils, Town Councils or Community organisations for £1. Find out more about the scheme through this link http://www.payphones.bt.com/adopt_a_kiosk/HTML/payphone/faq.htm#8

There are lots in our villages, are they of sufficient architectural and historical importance to pay to keep them, or at least some of them? There will be implications for ongoing maintenance.
Just one link to a successful use of a box by the New Forest National Park. http://www.newforestnpa.gov.uk/news/news_release10/iconic_red_telephone_box.htm
So should Kirkburton Parish Council keep them and use the precept to maintain them, could they be maintained and run in partnership with community organisations?

Kirklees Standards Committee

What is the Standards Board?
The Standards Board for England is a regluatory board designed to uphold standards in local councils. Their mission statement says: "We believe in principled local politics. Our mission is to champion and promote high standards of conduct amongst our local politicians." More information can be found on their website: http://www.standardsforengland.gov.uk/. Each council also has a standards committee, so if you have a complaint about a local councillor you can complain to that committee. Follow the Kirklees link to find out more http://www.kirklees.gov.uk/you-kmc/complaints/member_complaint.shtml.