March 2009 Archives

An electric vehicle which uses the same amount of power as a hairdryer is to take part in an endurance race later this year.

The car, codenamed 'Bethany', was designed by the Cambridge University Eco Racing (CUER) team and has six metres squared of solar cells.

As well as using solar power, the lightweight car has been designed for maximum aerodynamics, minimised rolling resistance and energy efficiency.

Leading UK climate scientists have warned that the greenhouse gas reduction target recommended by the Government's climate change advisory body is based on 'dangerously misleading' assumptions and is too weak to prevent dangerous climate change.

The Committee on Climate Change has urged the Government to reduce UK greenhouse gas emissions by 34 per cent by 2020 when it sets a legally-binding climate change target next month - but a research report by the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change, for Friends of the Earth, says that the reduction target should be 42 per cent at the very least.

The new research also calls on the Government to achieve its greenhouse gas targets through domestic reductions, and not by buying pollution offsets from abroad. It warns that using offsetting to meet targets now will lock the UK into carbon-intensive development, and make it far harder to develop a genuinely low carbon economy.

In December last year the committee recommended that the Government commits the UK to a 34 per cent reduction by 2020, and that this target be increased to 42 per cent if an international climate agreement is reached. The Tyndall Centre strongly challenges the recommendation to take on an interim target, instead of one rooted firmly in scientific evidence.

More than 90 Labour MPs - including four Ministerial aides - have signed a Parliamentary petition calling on the Government to adopt a 42 per cent target now and to make all the emissions cuts in the UK.

The Tyndall Centre report follows a high-level scientific conference earleir this month that confirmed the impacts of climate change are likely to be worse than feared.

Friends of the Earth's Executive Director Andy Atkins said: "This advice from one of the world's leading climate research centres cannot be ignored - if we are to play our part in avoiding dangerous climate change, the Government must commit the UK to cutting its greenhouse gas emissions by at least 42 per cent by 2020 without buying pollution 'offsets' from abroad.

"This will show strong international leadership by example ahead of crucial UN climate talks in Copenhagen later this year, and help ensure the UK reaps the huge financial and employment benefits of going green.

"The UK has one of the best renewable energy potentials in Europe - investing in green power and cutting energy waste can create tens of thousands of jobs and help lead this country out of recession."

Professor Kevin Anderson from the Tyndall Centre said: "The Government's Committee on Climate Change report is to be welcomed as a step in the right direction. However, based on naïvely optimistic assumptions, the Committee's recommendations fall far short of what is necessary to meet the Government's own climate change commitment.

"This reality gap is exacerbated if the UK were to buy a quarter of its emissions reductions from poorer parts of the world - as the Committee suggest. At a time when the message from Copenhagen is for urgent action and leadership, paying poorer communities elsewhere to make the reductions for the UK risks undermining seriously the Government's hard-earned reputation as leading the international climate change agenda.

"If the UK is to maintain its leadership reputation it must aggressively pursue emission pathways in line with its two degrees commitment. This means agreeing to cut UK emissions by at least 42 per cent by 2020, and refusing to resort to either buying emissions from overseas or relying on the EU's emission trading scheme as a means of exceeding its emission budget."

Low Carbon: Welcome Aboard Toxic Airlines

By James Shepherd on Mar 30, 09 12:18 PM in News

We all know that flying is bad for the environment, but just what kind of effect does it have on our health? We talk to lobbyists, former pilots and the director of new film Welcome Aboard Toxic Airlines about the fight for cleaner air on board.

Call it stuffy, stale, drying or horrid - but the air you breathe onboard an airplane could be a lot more than that. It could be toxic.

John Hoyte, a former BAe pilot, claims that air contaminated with toxic fumes ruined both his health and his career - and he's not alone.

Flight attendants, pilots and passengers from Australia to the US, Germany to the UK, are all claiming that contaminated air has led to their short and long-term ill health, ranging from constant tremors and headaches to loss of consciousness.

"The whole cabin would fill with the mist of oil fumes," recalls the former Flybe employee, who estimates that he was exposed to 640 hours' worth of toxic air over a 16-year flying career.

Low Carbon: New Networking Site for Cheshire Communities

By Tracey Todhunter on Mar 28, 09 12:19 AM in News

Members of the Low Carbon Communities Network in Cheshire now have their own website where they can share news and resources. Supported by Cheshire West and Chester and Cheshire East Councils, Cheshire and Warrington Low Carbon Communities hold regular networking events to get groups together and promote low carbon living.
Members include Bollington Carbon Revolution, who are finalists in the 2009 Future Friendly Awards. You can watch a short video about their activiites here and vote for your favourite shortlisted community - but we hope you'll "vote local" and support Bollington's plans to use the prize money to refurbish a local building to use as an eco advice centre for local residents. Local volunteers Nicola and Warren Percival have been working hard to promote their competition chances and have even set up a facebook page to keep local people informed about their progress.
"We want everyone in Bollington to benefit, there is loads going on in our town and if we all work together there is so much more we could achieve".
Bollington Logo

WORK has begun on a new hi-tech £12m Deeside recycling plant which is expected to create up to 50 new jobs.

Closed Loop Recycling is hoping the plant, based on on Deeside Industrial Park, will be open by the end of the year.

Managing director of Closed Loop Recycling, Chris Dow said: "This plant will allow us to make a real impact on plastic recycling in North Wales and the North West of England as well as on the local economy.

Low Carbon: Tyre firm drives home eco message

By James Shepherd on Mar 27, 09 02:01 PM in Tips and Advice

CENTRAL Tyres in Chester has joined forces with the Government to drive home the climate change message to motorists.

The tyre retailer on Sealand Industrial Estate, is an official partner of the national Act on CO2 campaign and is promoting ways in which drivers can cut carbon emissions.

As well as displaying Pump up Your Tyres posters to remind car owners how damaging under inflated tyres can be to the environment, the retailer is offering to check and adjust tyres for free.

Branch manager, Robert Jenkins, said: "Under inflated tyres create more resistance when your car is moving so your engine has to work harder, causing more fuel to be used and producing more CO2 emissions.

"Simply checking your tyres once a month and before long journeys, will ensure they are at the correct pressure and minimise your fuel usage, helping to save your money as well as the environment."

Central Tyres is one of a number of companies to partner with the Government to deliver targeted messages encouraging consumers to make more energy efficient choices.

Low Carbon: Appeal to help Chester canal clean-up

By James Shepherd on Mar 27, 09 02:01 PM in News

OUTDOOR lovers are invited to help clean up the Chester city section of the Shropshire Union Canal.

Enthusiasts are invited to join local members of the Inland Waterways Association (IWA) and British Waterways (BW) representatives at 10am on Sunday March 29 at Cow Lane Bridge, Chester.

A spokesman said: "If you have a couple of hours to spare to help in looking after our local waterway and an important part of our nation's heritage all you need is a boatload of enthusiasm to join in."

The objectives of the event are to: improve sections of waterway before the summer season begins, increase volunteer numbers, promote the activities of IWA and demonstrate the value of the waterways in this area.

Works may include: graffiti removal, vegetation control, painting of timber, metalwork and lock gates as well as towpath works.

For more information contact Margaret Pitney, IWA Chester & District Branch Secretary on 0151 608 6487 or e-mail

A SMALL group in Ellesmere has formed to encourage and support fellow residents who want to make positive changes to the local environment.

Ellesmere Goes Green (EGG) will particularly focus on the need to reduce the community's contribution to global warming.

The group aims to continue the groundwork done by the Marches Energy Agency of Shrewsbury which chose Ellesmere as one of three communities in Shropshire for a project aimed at reducing carbon dioxide emissions.

Low Carbon Blog: A FIGHT to block a controversial wind farm in Bickerton is stepping up a gear next month with a special meeting.

On April 7, Stop Bickerton Wind Turbines (SBWT) will address concerned residents on its successful fundraising efforts and the appointment of a team of professional advisors.

A scale model of an industrial wind turbine will also be on show.

A 60m wind monitoring mast is currently measuring wind strength and speed on the Bickerton hills.

If the beauty spot proves a viable site, applicant Banks Developments may proceed with a bid for a wind farm.

SBWT chairman Mike Voisey said: "Our action group remains committed to fighting this project, which continues to go ahead despite overwhelming objections from most local people, tourists and business people and the concerns of our democratically-elected councillors.

"One good point about the erection of the monitoring mast is that its height can now be fully appreciated and people can understand the threat to the area.

"Modern onshore wind turbines are twice the height of the mast, so this gives a very good indication of just how overpowering they would be."

The meeting is at Bickerton Village Hall on Tuesday, April 7, at 7pm.

Low Carbon Blog: HOUSEHOLDERS fear plans to introduce fortnightly bin collections across Sandbach and Middlewich will leave both towns looking like dumps.

Under Cheshire East Council's plans to harmonise services across the area, household and recyclable waste will be collected alternate weeks throughout the current Congleton borough area. It is believed the new council could save at least £350,000 each year by introducing the scheme.

Janette Rathbone, of Townfields, Sandbach, said: "We recycle as much as possible but our bin is still full every week. There are a lot of big families around here.

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Low Carbon blog brings all the latest news on green issues in Chester, Cheshire and North East Wales - as well as what's happening around the world to tackle climate change. Coverage includes ongoing environmental campaigns, sustainability, energy-saving tips and advice to help you reduce your carbon footprint, plus all other green issues.

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Tracey Tohunter

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