New research confirms damage to river basins caused by peat burning

A five-year study has shown that burning upland peat to stimulate grouse production significantly harms the hydrology and hydro-ecology of the area and does significant damage to the chemistry and physical properties of peat. The study, called the EMBER project, was carried out by the University of Leeds and the results…

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Defra announces the ending of subsidies for solar farms

Defra has announced that subsidies to farmers for fields filled with solar panels will end in January 2015. In a press release issued this week, Defra said that the new rules will ensure more agricultural land is dedicated to growing crops and food. The move is expected to save the government £2 million and it will mean that farmers who choose to use fields for solar panels will not be eligible…

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Air pollution increases river flows – New research

New research published in the journal Nature Geoscience shows that air pollution has had a significant impact on the amount of water flowing through many rivers in the northern hemisphere. The research was a collaborative project involving the Met Office, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology, the Universities of Exeter and Reading, and the Laboratoire de…

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Flood Risk Management Plans – Government Consults

The UK Government is holding an open consultation on its draft flood risk management plans for England, with the deadline of 31st January 2015 for the submission of responses. The Environment Agency says that the responses will inform the first cycle of flood risk management plans, to be published in December 2015. These plans will direct considerable investment and action from 2016 to 2021 and beyond…

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New release of ESI Groundwater Flood Risk Map

ESI has announced the release of its new and enhanced authoritative flood risk map on the 13th October 2014 with existing subscribers able to request the new data immediately and new subscribers receiving version 1.2 from the 17th October. ESI’s latest Groundwater Flood Risk Map combines authoritative science, quality assured algorithms, and data from the British Geological Survey and other key organisations, as well as data from the flooding events in 2014…

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Geothermal district heating network for Stoke-on-Trent

Stoke-on-Trent City Council has developed plans for a geothermal district heating network, only the second of its kind in the UK. The project will involve pumping water to a layer of hot granite 2.5km beneath the city’s surface, using a borehole to bring the heated water back to the surface, and using the heat to spin a turbine that generates electricity…

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Work begins on UK’s first publicly-owned solar farm

Work has begun on the UK’s first publicly-owned solar farm. Rochdale Borough Council is building the farm on the site of a former waste disposal unit in Greater Manchester. Leader of the Council Richard Farnell said: “Options for this site are limited, due to its former use as a waste disposal site and contamination present…”

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UK’s biggest coastal flood management scheme completed

In a joint project with the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust, the Environment Agency has completed the UK’s biggest coastal flood management scheme at Steart Marshes on the Severn Estuary. The scheme, which was completed last month, involved digging and moving half a million cubic metres of soil to create new and improved flood banks…

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Flood Risk, Sediment Contamination and ‘The Archers’

The environmental impact of agricultural practice on the UK’s rivers was a feature in a recent episode of ‘The Archers’ on BBC Radio Four. On a BBC blog post, Graham Harvey, agricultural adviser to ‘The Archers’, writes: “After that freak storm, the Am river – from which Ambridge gets its name – has turned brown”…

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Three Red Cards for the Government in Environmental Audit Report

In a scorecard assessment of the Government’s green policies, the cross-party Environmental Audit Committee has looked at the Government’s performance in ten areas and awarded it a red card for three areas and an amber card for the remaining seven. Its efforts to reduce air pollution, protect biodiversity, and reduce the risk of flooding were all given red cards…

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