The Ecologist


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Cooperative and renewable: the Westmill wind and solar farm in south Oxfordshire. Photo: Richard Peat via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Clean, affordable, secure, democratic: our green energy future

Lisa Nandy

30th September 2015

Britain has a huge role in effecting the global energy transition to renewables, new shadow energy secretary Lisa Nandy told the Labour Party Conference. But that will mean a complete reversal of Tory policies to attack wind and solar, lock us into polluting fossil fuels and overpriced nuclear power, and maintain 'big six' profits at consumers' expense. more...
An unauthorised Travellers' site at Pryor's Wood Nature Reserve, Hertfordshire. Photo: Peter O'Connor aka anemoneprojectors via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Travellers' and Gypsies' ethnic Catch 22 must end

Dan Allen, University of Salford

3rd October 2015

Under new planning rules, Travellers and Gypsies must be able to prove they are actually traveling to qualify for limited planning benefits to create new sites. But for many, it's impossible to do that. Not only to remain in employment, or education - but precisely because there are so few sites, that they are unable to travel. more...
Wild Poppies flowering on edge of a wheat field in Essex. Beautiful - what about the bees? Photo: ukgardenphotos via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Bee-killer pesticides concentrate in wild flower pollen

Oliver Tickell

15th October 2015

Wild flower margins around arable fields can funnel deadly pesticides into the bees, wild pollinators and other insects they are intended to benefit, writes Oliver Tickell. Neonic pesticides are often far more concentrated in the wild flowers than in the crop itself. more...
Is this what you want your pension fund to finance? Open pit coal mine near Hailar, Inner Mongolia. Photo: Herry Lawford via Flickr (CC BY).

Exposed: UK Councils' £14 billion fossil fuel gamble

The Ecologist

24th September 2015

UK local authorities have £14 billion invested in fossil fuels, campaigners revealed today. Now they should re-invest it in solar energy, new housing and other areas that generate local and global benefits - as well as providing better security for pension holders. more...
Navitus Bay as it would be seen from a nearby beach. Unacceptable visual impact? Or a low carbon working landscape of the kind we will all grow to love? Image: LDA Design.

Navitus Bay offshore wind refusal - UK energy and climate policy unravels

Alan Neale

25th September 2015

The government's decision to turn down the 1GW Navitus Bay offshore wind farm near the Isle of Wight sends a chilling message to developers: 'don't waste your time and money here!' The refusal of planning permission based on visual impact to a geological world heritage area is capricious and threatens to kill off an industry in which the UK has been - until now - the world leader. more...
The House of Lords Economic Affairs Committee questions George Osborne, Chancellor of the Exchequer, on Hinkley C and other issues, 8th September 2015. Photo: ukhouseoflords via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Shame upon them! The government's nuclear lies exposed

Oliver Tickell

23rd September 2015

The UK government and its Chancellor George Osborne are grossly misleading the public over the relative costs of renewable energy and nuclear power, writes Oliver Tickell. Osborne's claim that nuclear is the 'cheapest low carbon technology' is the very reverse of the truth. He and his nuclear plans must be stopped. more...
A new Chinese built and financed nuclear reactor for Bradwell, Essex? Believe it when you see it. Photo: Dan Davison via Flickr (CC BY).

Astonishing and awful: Osborne's nuclear deal with China

David Toke

22nd September 2015

The UK's decision to 'green light' £2 billion in guarantees for the Hinkley C nuclear power station indicates the government's increasing desperation, writes David Toke. Bar the shouting, has anything actually happened? The guarantees have not been issued, and the announcement of Chinese participation in a new reactor at at Bradwell remains ... an announcement. more...
At the Runnymede Eco-village, now evicted and destroyed. Photo: Diggers2012 on Facebook.

The cause of the Runnymede eco-villagers is a righteous one

Nicholas Sebley

22nd September 2015

Coming so soon after the Magna Carta celebrations, the eviction and destruction of the Runnymede Eco-village is a parable of our times, writes Nicholas Sebley: a violent assertion of the power of capital over people and community, and part of a deliberate, systematic closure of alternative ways of living outside the mainstream economy. more...
To green the UK's electricity system, this is what we need a whole lot more of. Offshore wind turbine at Burbo Bank, Liverpool Bay, England. Photo: Danish Wind Industry Association / Vindmølleindustrien via Fliclr (CC BY-NC).

How the UK can get almost all its power from renewables - without new nuclear

Damian Kahya / Greenpeace Energydesk

21st September 2015

The government claims that we need nuclear 'baseload' power to keep the lights on, writes Damian Kahya. But a new study shows reliable, low carbon energy can be provided by combining diverse green technologies including efficiency, large scale renewables, 'smart grid', energy storage and rarely used fossil fuel backup. more...
He may not have such a pretty face as Amber Rudd, but George Osborne is the real energy secretary these days. However he's proving himself unable to put together a coherent energy policy. Photo: British High Commission, New Delhi (CC BY-NC-ND).

Nuclear madness: £2 billion for Hinkley C. Why the Treasury must get its hands off energy

Oliver Tickell

21st September 2015

Today's announcement of a £2 billion government guarantee for Hinkley C confirms that Chancellor George Osborne and his Treasury cannot be trusted to run the UK's energy policy - which is precisely what they are doing. On top of decimating the renewables industry, now they're risking billions on a failed nuclear design owned by failing companies. It's time to stop the madness. more...
Radioactive emissions from the Millstone nuclear power complex in Waterford, CT are associated with elevated breast cancer incidence in the Long Island Sound Counties. Photo: Dominion Energy vua NRC / Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Nuclear power kills! The real reason the NRC cancelled its nuclear site cancer study

Chris Busby

19th September 2015

The US's Nuclear Regulatory Commission just cancelled its study into cancer near nuclear plants citing the 'excessive cost' of $8 million, writes Chris Busby. Of course that's rubbish - similar studies in the UK have been carried out for as little as £600 per site, and in any case $8 million is small change for the NRC. The real reason is to suppress the unavoidable conclusion: nuclear power kills. more...
Salisbury Cathedral took 46 years to build. Would Hinkley C be any quicker? Photo: Photo Phiend via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Hinkley Point must be stopped - even if you believe in nuclear

Chris Goodall

19th September 2015

UK support for low-carbon energy technologies is running at £250 million a year, writes Chris Goodall. Yet the government wants to throw four times more, every year for 35 years, at the Hinkley C nuclear power station, that could take almost as long to build as Salisbury Cathedral. more...

UK: 50/75 of 837
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The 14th Onshore Round of Licencing map - detail showing David Cameron's Witney constituency's miraculous escape. Image: via Professor David Smythe.

Frack-Free Witney? How did David Cameron's constituency escape the 14th Round?

Professor David Smythe

21st September 2015

The 14th Onshore Round of oil and gas licencing entirely avoided the Prime Minister's Witney constituency for reasons that clearly have nothing to do with geology, writes David Smythe. Is the little-known Frack-Free Witney the UK's most successful - and covert - anti-fracking organisation? Or are darker forces at work? more...
The beneficiary - 'chicken oligarch' Yuriy Kosyuk, whose agribusiness company has received €500 million of loans from the EBRD, financed by the EU's taxpayers. Photo: UTR News via Wikimedia (CC BY).

EU taxpayers finance Ukraine's 'chicken oligarch'

Fidanka Bacheva McGrath / CEE Bankwatch

17th September 2015

Taxpayer-financed development banks have lent €500 million to Ukraine's biggest agribusiness company so it can undercut EU chicken producers, writes Fidanka Bacheva McGrath - while polluting the environment and grabbing land from local farmers. more...
John Mcdonnell MP with 'Grow Heathrow' gardeners, opposing the construction of a third runway at London's biggest airport. Photo: Transition Heathrow via Flickr (CC BY).

The 'Occupy Chancellor'? No wonder they hate him!

Donnachadh McCarthy

15th September 2015

Jeremy's Corbyn's appointment of John McDonnell as shadow Chancellor was bold, provocative and absolutely correct, writes Donnachadh McCarthy. As well as being Corbyn's firm political ally, McDonnell understands the nature and scale of the challenge that he faces as he confronts the corrupt nexus of political and economic power in modern Britain. more...
Campaigners from Friends of the Earth Scotland gather on Nicolson Street, Edinburgh on 25th August 2015 to demand clean air after the zone failed to meet Scottish Air Quality Safety Standards. Photo: Friends of the Earth Scotland via Flickr (CC BY).

Government faces new legal action over UK's deadly air pollution

Oliver Tickell

14th September 2015

The UK government's response to the Supreme Court's order to clean up air quality in key urban areas has been condemened as vague, weak and slow, lacking in clear targets and compulsory measures. New figures reveal that over 50,000 people a year are being killed by air pollution. more...

Victory! Corbyn's political earthquake will resound long and deep

Oliver Tickell

12th September 2015

The magnitude of Corbyn's victory today represents an irreversible seismic shift in British politics, writes Oliver Tickell. Finally the Tories face serious, principled opposition that will reveal them as the far-right ideologues they truly are. The reverberations will echo far, wide, long and deep, including to the US where the socialist Bernie Sanders is well on his way to winning the Democratic nomination. more...
The campaign against Heathrow expansion has really taken off - but climate change part of the argument. Is it all hunky-dory at Gatwick? Photo: Tony Hisgett via Flickr (CC BY).

Labour's climate change fudge: Heathrow, no; Gatwick, yes

Victor Anderson & Rupert Read

12th September 2015

Labour's new candidate for London Mayor has taken a firm stand against Heathrow expansion, write Victor Anderson & Rupert Read. But he's all for it at Gatwick - never mind the climate change. For those who oppose new runways on principle, there's only one choice: The Greens' Sian Berry. more...
Brussels - where the European Commission is desperate to sign Europe up to the TTIP trade and investment deal with the US, is itself a TTIP Free Zone. Photo: Global Justice Now via Flickr (CC BY).

Now's the time to make your council declare a TTIP Free Zone

Kevin Smith

14th September 2015

The fight against TTIP is being picked up by local authorities across the UK and other EU countries, writes Kevin Smith. Even Brussels - where the European Commission has been negotiating the deal with its US counterparts - has joined the movement. And now, with the election of the anti-TTIP MP Jeremy Corbyn's as Labour Leader, it's time to drive the message all the way home. more...
Intensively farmed pigs are routinely dosed with antibiotics to ward off disease and increase weight gain. Photo: Compassion in World Farming via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Antibiotic resistance - what about routine misuse in farming?

Emma Rose

11th September 2015

Doctors have been told to limit their use of antibiotics to limit the spread of microbial drug resistance, writes Emma Rose. But 40% of the UK's antibiotics are used on farms, of which 85% is fed to disease-free animals. We can no longer ignore the massive agricultural overuse of the drugs, now a major driver of antibiotic resistant infections. more...
Construction will soon begin at the Fylde solar farm in Lancashire. Toyota Solar Array under construction at Burnaston, UK. Photo: Toyota UK via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Solar farm approved at rejected fracking site

Ben Lucas /

11th September 2015

A stones throw from where Cuadrilla lost its bid to develop a fracking operation in Lancashire, a solar farm has just won planning permission with widespread local support, writes Ben Lucas. However a 194-turbine offshore wind farm near the Isle of Wight has been refused planning consent. more...
Maybe he has a better idea? Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency astronaut Aki Hoshide on a spacewalk, 5th September 2012. Photo: Fragile Oasis via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Osborne's nuclear fantasies - can you hear me Major Tom?

Doug Parr

10th September 2015

This week Chancellor George Osborne told Parliament that the power from the planned Hinkley C nuclear plant would be cheaper than onshore wind, writes Doug Parr. That could be true on Planet Zog - but here on Earth the reverse is the case. Exactly what are Osborne and his Treasury mandarins smoking? more...
Cattle in a their winter quarters in the Scottish Borders. More frequent testing has been key to Scotland's 'TB-free' status. Photo: Matt Cartney / MAFF via Flickr (CC BY-NC)

Study: more testing essential to defeat bovine TB

Oliver Tickell

9th September 2015

A new study on the spread of bovine TB shows that only with more frequent testing of cattle will the disease be defeated in England, writes Oliver Tickell. It has already worked in Scotland, and is on the way to doing in Wales - where some herds are tested every six months. more...
Only a lucky few pheasants escape this fate. Photo: Mark Seton via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Whitewashed - the short and miserable life of game birds

Toni Shephard

9th Sepetmber 2015

Defra's new £500,000 report on pheasant and partridge breeding is biased towards commercial shooting interests from start to finish, writes Toni Shephard. It purports to study the welfare of captive birds reared in restrictive cages, but fails to compare their lot to that of free-range birds - the only adequate baseline. more...
Jeremy Corbyn speaking at the 'End Austerity Now' march on the State Opening Of Parliament, 27th Ma7 2015. Photo: Sleeves Rolled Up via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Jeremy Corbyn's innovative energy policies are no 1980s throwback

Stephen Hall

8th September 2015

Consumers are routinely ripped off in an anti-competitive retail energy market dominated by a handful of big, polluting companies, writes Stephen Hall. Jeremy Corbyn's vision of a nimble, decentralised energy democracy with rapid development of renewables and real choice is both timely and innovative. more...


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