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Sizewell nuclear power station in Suffolk: Sizewell A on the left and Sizewell B on the right. Photo: Mark Seton via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

Conservative election manifesto signals the end of new nuclear power

Oliver Tickell & Ian Fairlie

18th May 2017

After years of pro-nuclear bombast from the Conservative Party, its 2017 manifesto hasn't got a single word to say about nuclear power, write Oliver Tickell & Ian Fairlie. Instead it announces a renewed focus on cutting energy costs, and a big boost for increasingly low-cost wind power; while both Labour and Libdems offer only weak, highly qualified support for new nuclear build. And so the great British 'nuclear renaissance' reaches its timely end. more...
The Essex Foxhounds in 1994. Photo: League Against Cruel Sports.

Tell Mrs May: Foxhunting must remain illegal!

Eduardo Gonçalves

18th May 2017

It's election time and the race is on for public support, writes Eduardo Goncalves. So why on Earth did Tory leader Theresa May come out in favour of foxhunting - an activity loathed or disliked by over 80% of voters - at this crucial time, offering MPs a free vote on repealing the Hunting Act? Now let's put pressure on our candidates to keep the law against this cruel, archaic pastime. more...
Everyday life at the Preston New Road fracking site. Photo: Mat Hope / DeSmog UK (CC BY).

Battered but steadfast: dispatch from Lancashire, England's fracking frontline

Mat Hope / DeSmog.uk

8th May 2017

The months-old protest at Preston New Road, Lancashire, is no longer just about fracking, writes Mat Hope. This dispute is now about London versus the North. It is about the government failing 'the people' from which it has become detached. It is about people sensing hopelessness and helplessness and trying to find a means to resist. And it is about holding on, steadfast, in spite of it all, knowing this is the forgotten frontline of a far greater struggle. more...
Back to the future? Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square, London, in the Great Fog of 1952. Photo: N T Stobbs via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA).

Conservatives' hard right Brexit plans: UK's great leap backwards to 'dirty man of Europe'

Brendan Montague

27th April 2017

It's barely mentioned in the election campaign or reported in the media. But a powerful faction of Tory ministers, ex-ministers and backbench MPs are bent on using Brexit to ignite a massive bonfire of 'spirit-crushing' laws on wildlife protection, air and water pollution, pesticides, renewable energy and public health, writes Brendan Montague. At risk are not just EU directives and regulations but even the UK's own Climate Change Act. May's Brexit may not just be hard, but very, very dirty. more...
Red for Danger! London traffic lights in winter smog, 4th January 2015. Photo: alec boreham via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

As government delays pollution plan, study shows how killer nanoparticles cause heart disease

Oliver Tickell

26th April 2017

A new study explains for the first time how nanoparticles like those in diesel exhaust fumes cause heart disease by lodging in inflamed blood vessels, writes Oliver Tickell. The study, published as the UK government is ordered before the High Court to justify its refusal to publish plans to tackle illegal air pollution which afflicts 38 million people, also raises wider fears about 'engineered nanoparticles' in the environment. more...
The UKEF export finance agency has committed £1 billion to support Colombia's fossil fuel sector. The Barrancabermeja oil refinery on the banks of Colombia's Río Magdalena. Photo: Javier Guillot via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Leaked: UK £7 billion export credit for fossil fuel industry violates 'clean energy' pledge

Lawrence Carter / Greenpeace Energydesk

16th May 2017

Between 2011 and 2016 the UK's export finance agency UKEF provided £109m to underwrite exports of equipment to coal mines in Russia, writes Lawrence Carter - despite the agency's commitment not to support 'investment in dirty fossil-fuel energy production'. And that's just a fraction of the £6.9 billion UKEF has lavished on the corrupt, polluting sector since 2000, while it was meant to be backing the clean energy technologies of the future. more...
Scale representation of the incinerator in situ, near Junction 12 of the M5, providing a highly dubious 'welcome to Gloucester', adjacent to the AONB. Image: GlosVAIN.

Up in smoke: the fight to block Gloucestershire's unwanted incinerator

Dan Hinge

24th April 2017

Activists in Gloucestershire are battling to block the construction of a massive incinerator that they see as a blight on the landscape, costly, polluting, wasteful and undermining recycling, writes Dan Hinge. Now the fight, backed by superstar actor Jeremy Irons, just entered a new phase after a tribunal forced the County Council to reveal essential details of the contract it had signed. more...
Another 100,000 English badgers could be shot because of fake science and faker statistics. Photo: Tom Langton. Note that no badgers died or suffered to produce this photograph!

Lies, damned lies and twisted statistics - fake science set to kill 100,000 English badgers

Tom Langton

13th April 2017

The government / NFU badger culling policy is based on a single study, the Randomised Badger Culling Trials (RBCT), which found that area-wide badger killing reduced TB 'breakdowns' in cattle herds. But a robust reanalysis of the RBCT data reveals that culling is entirely ineffective, writes Tom Langton. The only scientifically valid conclusion is that culling badgers has no effect on TB in cattle. Defra and Natural England must think again! more...
False promise ... Wylfa 2 nuclear power station glowing in the dark on Anglesey, Wales. Photo: Adrian Kingsley-Hughes via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

False promise: nuclear power: past, present and (no) future

David Elliott

12th April 2017

Nuclear power was originally sold on a lie, writes Dave Elliott. While we were being told it would make electricity 'too cheap to meter', insiders knew it cost at least 50% more than conventional generation. Since then nuclear costs have only risen, while renewable energy prices are on a steep decline. And now the nuclear behemoths are crumbling ... not a moment too soon. more...
'That Roundhouse' near Newport in Wales, built by Tony Wrench and Jane Faith and helpers as part of the secret Brithdir Mawr intentional community. In the UK this kind of eco-living is strongly linked to 'progressive' politics and values, but that's not a

Green nationalism? How the far right could learn to love the environment

Peter Paul Catterall, University of Westminster

12th April 2017

Myths of a pagan past in harmony with nature have been a feature of green nationalism, writes Peter Paul Catterall, from its beginnings through to the Anastasia ecovillages in contemporary Russia where - unlike their equivalent hippy communes found in the West - sustainable living is combined with a 'reactionary eco-nationalism'. Could it happen here too? more...
The four eastern cooling towers at the Drax biomass and coal-fired power station in North Yorkshire. Photo: Jonathan Brennan via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

No Drax! There's nothing 'sustainable' about big biomass

Frances Howe

10th April 2017

The Drax power station in Yorkshire is the UK's biggest CO2 emitter, burns more wood each year than the entire UK timber harvest, and is a major importer of coal from strife-stricken regions of Colombia, writes Frances Howe. This Thursday campaigners will target the company's AGM to highlight its impacts on forests, biodiversity, climate and communities, in the face of Drax's PR offensive to make biomass appear 'sustainable'. more...
Total tax received from the North Sea oil and gas sector 1968-2017, not adjusted for inflation. Includes petroleum revenue tax, ringfence corporation tax, supplementary charge, royalty and gas levy. Figure for 2016-17 covers 11 months to February 2017. So

North Sea oil industry cost UK taxpayers £400m last year, and counting

Simon Evans / Carbon Brief

5th April 2017

The whole idea of North Sea oil was to make Britain rich, writes Simon Evans. At least that's how it all began. But now ... it cost UK taxpayers a massive £396 million a year in tax breaks and subsidies to keep the industry alive last year. And there's no reason to think that's going to turn around any time soon. more...

UK: 1/25 of 1141
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The way of the future? Photo: smart meters array by Green Energy Futures - David Dodge via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

Smart meters the way to a new age of clean energy

Claire Maugham

3rd April 2017

Dynamic power pricing that responds to supply and demand could transform the way we manage our electricity systems, writes Claire Maugham, opening the door to the mass integration of renewables like wind and solar. But smart meters are essential to making that happen. more...
Dartford Warbler in the Thames Basin Heaths area at Chobham Common, Woking, Surrey, UK. Photo: Phil Fiddes via Flickr (CC BY).

EU wildlife laws must be celebrated and retained!

Jeremy Robson, Nottingham Trent University

30th March 2017

Government promises of 'leaving our environment better than we found it' are melting away in the heat of Brexit, writes Jeremy Robson. Ministers have said that a third of all EU environmental laws may never be transposed into UK statute, while many Tory MPs are anxious to rip away the 'red tape' that prevents building on precious nature sites. We must make British nature great again! more...
Where Toshiba's $10bn nuclear debt came from: the Vogtle AP1000 construction site in Georgia, under inspection by NRC Commissioner Svinicki. Photo: Nuclear Regulatory Commission via Flickr (CC BY).

Toshiba's nuclear flagship goes bust after $10 billion losses

Jim Green

30th March 2017

News that one of the world's biggest nuclear power constructors, Westinghouse, has filed for bankruptcy in with debts of over $10 billion has put the entire sector on notice and issued a dire warning to nuclear investors everywhere, writes Jim Green. Among the likely casualties: the UK's Moorside nuclear complex in Cumbria. more...
Eric Dooh from Goi, plaintiff in the Dutch court case against Shell for oil pollution in the Niger Delta, Nigeria, a biodiversity hotspot in which conflict has been raging for decades. Photo: Milieudefensie / Akintunde Akinleye via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

War, human rights and biodiversity: turning conflict into conservation

Alex Reid

23rd March 2017

Over 90% of major armed conflicts between 1950-2000 occurred in countries containing biodiversity hotspots,writes Alex Reid, and more than 80% of these took place in the hotspot areas themselves. This poses a major challenge to the conservation community: to work in combat zones to strengthen environmental protection before, during and after conflicts. Or better still, to defuse incipient conflicts and resolve those under way, to reduce their toll on people, and nature. more...
So-called 'smart meters' add up to little but cheaper meter reading for power companies, unless we make them, and the grid, able to deliver variable pricing that reflects the balance of electricity demand and supply. Photo: DeptfordJon via Flickr (CC BY).

Green groups must denounce the sham 'smart meter' scandal

David Toke

22nd March 2017

So-called 'smart meters' are being rolled out across the UK, writes David Toke, but they don't support the dynamic pricing that's essential to expand renewable energy and decarbonise our electricity. It's time for green NGOs to get campaigning - and not leave vital decisions to a hostile government, a failing regulator and industry insiders. more...
Scanning electron microscope (SEM) photograph of a plutonium-americium 'hot particle', the width of a human hair, found in the Esk estuary mud flats near Sellafield, producing about 150,000 Bq of alpha radiation and 500,000 Bq of beta radiation. Photo: Cu

Killer 'hot particle': Sellafield coast 'like Chernobyl and Fukushima exclusion zones'

Chris Busby

20th March 2017

The discovery of a tiny but deadly radioactive 'hot particle' in mud from the Esk estuary near Sellafield has highlighted the dangers the nuclear site poses to residents and visitors, writes Chris Busby. Independent measures of radiation show far higher levels that those of regulators, similar to readings in the Chernobyl and Fukushima exclusion zones. Local villages should be evacuated. more...

Fukushima farmers grow traditional brown cotton

20th March, 2017

In 2011 the Fukushima region of Japan was devastated by an earthquake and nuclear disaster. Six years on, the residents have begun to rebuild their lives and are producing Japanese cotton. more...
English badger at sunset near Canterbury, Kent. Let's all blame him for farmers' poor biosecurity! Photo: Ian Blacker via Flickr (CC BY-ND).

Is Natural England granting unlawful badger cull licences to farmers with poor biosecurity?

Anna Dale

29th March 2017

Below-par farm biosecurity should block farmers from participating in England's badger culls, writes Anna Dale. But a large body of evidence of poor and negligent biosecurity by farmers suggests that Natural England, the government's official regulator, is turning a blind eye to this strict requirement - and undermining the purpose of the cull. more...
Aviation or ice shelves? Thje choice is ours. Photo: NASA’s DC-8 flies over the crack forming across the Pine Island Glacier ice shelf, 26th October 2011; by Jefferson Beck / NASA via Wikimedia Commons (CC BY).

Heathrow 2.0: a 'sustainable airport'? Or alternative facts on planes and pollution?

David Howarth, University of Essex & Steven Griggs, De Montfort University

17th March 2017

The facts are simple: a new London runway means more planes, more noise, more pollution and more global warming, write David Howarth & Steven Griggs. The 'Heathrow 2.0' initiative's conflation of 'sustainability' and 'sustainable growth' and its avoidance of climate change reek of Trumpian 'alternative facts'. more...
Boxing Day Hunt and Hounds in Chiddingstone, Kent, England. Photo: Kentish Plumber via Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND).

Pity the poor hounds! Bovine TB, foxhounds and the biosecurity black hole

Lesley Docksey

15th March 2017

The 25 TB-infected hounds of the Kimblewick hunt, all put down, remind us that the lot of hunting dogs is not a happy one, writes Lesley Docksey. Unloved and at constant risk of slaughter, they are prone to a host of diseases, from bovine TB to brucellosis, neospora and botulism, which they can pass on to farm stock, humans and other dogs. They deserve better! more...
Plastic waste being sorted by hand in Babakan, West Java, Indonesia. Photo: Ikhlasul Amal via Flickr (CC BY-NC).

UK exporting 67% of plastic waste amid 'illegal practices' warnings

The Ecologist

13th March 2017

Britain's trade in waste plastic to the Far East is booming. But it's not good news. The exported plastic is meant to be recycled under UK conditions and standards, but often is not, undermining bona fide UK recycling firms who face falling prices, reduced turnover, collapsing profits, and all too often, closure. more...
Mmm ... but did you know the chips could be fried in oil from GMO corn or soya, and that the steak almost certainly came from an animal fattened up on GMO feed? Photo: Henry Burrows via Flickr (CC BY-SA).

Hidden GMOs in our daily food? Let's get UK chefs talking, and doing!

Pat Thomas

31st March 2017

Increasing quantities of 'hidden GMOs' are finding their way into our diet, writes Pat Thomas. They are coming mainly in US imports for supermarkets and caterers, and in animal feeds used for meat, dairy and egg production. It's time for chefs, pubs, takeaways and restaurants to take responsibility for the food chains that supply them - labelling the GMOs in their meals, and better still, cutting them out. more...
Druridge Bay, Northumberland - just the place for an opencast coal mine? Photo: SAGT via Flickr (CC BY-NC-SA).

The end is nigh for coal - the UK must stop digging!

Deniz Kemal

6th March 2017

The UK Government is planning a coal-free energy future by 2025, writes Deniz Kemal. But it has failed to take the first step to make it happen: give clear guidance to local planners to block new coal mines on climate change grounds - like one application going to public inquiry this summer for a huge opencast mine on the Northumberland coast. more...

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