Managing Drought – NERC funds new research

The Natural Environment Research Council, in collaboration with the other four leading research councils, is funding a five-year interdisciplinary research programme on UK Droughts and Water Scarcity. NERC says that “droughts and water scarcity jointly pose a substantial threat to the environment, agriculture, infrastructure, society and culture in the UK, yet our ability to characterise and predict their occurrence, duration and intensity, as well as minimise their impacts, is often inadequate”…

Read more »
DECC publishes Water Source Heat Map

To help promote low-carbon technology and renewable energy schemes, the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has published a “water source heat map.” The map identifies about forty rivers and estuaries that are a potential source of large-scale renewable heating for local communities through the development of water source heat pumps…

Read more »
Business to be given a lead role in reforming regulation

In a press release issued a fortnight ago, Defra together with the Department for Business, Innovation & Skills announced plans that will allow businesses to have a greater say on how regulation is enforced. The move is part of the Government’s plans to reduce the impact of regulation on business and to reform the planning system via the Red Tape Challenge…

Read more »
Urban Water Infrastructure – First Global Survey

Researchers from the Nature Conservancy have conducted the first global survey of the water sources and infrastructure of the world’s largest cities. The research, published in the Global Environmental Change Journal, looked at the water infrastructure of the world’s 500 largest cities…

Read more »
How to dispose of nuclear waste? UK Government publishes White Paper on GDF

The UK Government published a White Paper last month on its proposals for a Geological Disposal Facility (GDF) for the disposal of higher activity radioactive waste. The White Paper follows a public consultation that the Department of Energy and Climate Change carried out during 2013 on potential amendments to the existing process established in 2008 for siting a geological disposal facility…

Read more »
Consultation launched on London’s first long-term infrastructure plan

London’s population is growing by almost 100,000 a year and is predicted to reach more than 11 million people by 2050. In response, London Mayor Boris Johnson has said that London risks losing its position among the world’s elite cities unless a major programme of infrastructure investment is put in place to allow the capital to continue to operate efficiently and successfully…

Read more »
Forecasting Flood Risk from Surface Water Flooding

A new system for forecasting surface water flood risk became operational in Glasgow last month, and was up and running before the opening of the Commonwealth Games. The new surface water flood risk forecasting system has been developed by the Scottish Flood Forecasting Service, a strategic partnership between the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Met Office, in collaboration with…

Read more »
Do I live in a Flood Zone?

Many people living in England will be surprised to learn that their home is situated in an Environment Agency Flood Zone. In fact, everybody in England is living in a Flood Zone, as defined by the Environment Agency for planning purposes…

Read more »
Planning Inspectorate makes first decision under new planning measures

The Planning Inspectorate has made its first decision under the new powers granted to it by the Growth and Infrastructure Act 2013. This amended the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 to allow planning applications to be sent directly to the Secretary of State when they involve major development and the relevant Local Planning Authority has been designated as “under-performing” in its handling of major applications…

Read more »
Waste water treatment plants “unwittingly helping to spread antibiotic resistance,” say scientists

A team of scientists from Birmingham University, Warwick University, and the Health Protection Agency have been doing research into the presence of bacteria in water bodies near waste water treatment plants. The scientists analysed sediment samples from the upstream and the downstream of a sewage works and found the presence of bacteria that are resistant to a class of antibiotics widely used to treat a range of health problems…

Read more »
Managing water abstraction – UK Government publishes results of consultation

The UK Government has published the results of its consultation on proposals for reforming the current system of managing water abstraction in England and Wales. Out of the 318 responses received, 182 respondents were licence holders. The highest number of responses came from the farming sector, which accounted for 114 or 36% of the total. By region, most of the respondents came from the East of England (86 or 27% of the total) with the South-East the second highest at 48…

Read more »
CEH establishes first UK network for measuring soil moisture

The Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) is establishing the first large-area soil moisture network in the UK, with funding from the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). Titled COSMOS-UK (Cosmic-ray Soil Moisture Observing System), the new network will deliver data that shows how soil moisture varies across the country with soil type, climate and vegetation…

Read more »