Posted on 02 April 2012 by Priyanka Shrestha
Temporary bans on water usage have been confirmed following a warm and dry month and will come into effect from Thursday.
South East Water had initially put forward concessions to allow watering newly laid turf for 28 days and also to let over 65s use a hosepipe for watering the garden. But following a very dry March and responses from a number of customers over 65 years of age wanting to play their part during the drought, the water company has now removed these concessions.
South East Water, among six other water companies, has announced temporary water bans will be needed to protect local supplies.
Lee Dance, Head of Water Resources and Environment at South East Water said: “The restrictions are a regrettable, but a necessary step to protect supplies for the coming months for essential use of water by our customers for drinking, washing and cooking and to minimise the impact on the water environment.”
The ban comes following the announcement by Caroline Spelman that the South East of England and parts of the East Midlands and Eastern England are all officially in drought.
Posted on 29 March 2012 by Tom Gibson
People would care more about trees if money grew on them. A new piece of research from the UK Energy Research Centre has found people care less about the environment during times of recession. However, the findings do suggest people are more likely to be concerned if there is a financial gain to be made.
These are the initial results of a study carried out by the Glasgow University Media Group and Chatham House, funded by the UK Energy Research Centre, which wants to find out how people form their opinions on issues such as climate change and how they process and respond to information, and the likely triggers for behaviour change.
Dr Catherine Happer, Research Associate at the Glasgow University Media Group said: “The findings from the first wave of research suggest that there is a general lack of commitment to real behavioural change in relation to these issues and that this is very much rooted in the current economic climate. Problems with the economy have not only displaced environmental issues in the media agenda but have led people to conceive of ethical decisions.”
According to the research, many of us are able to switch off when it comes to natural disasters in developing countries, reasoning that it doesn’t affect us because it’s far away.
Posted on 22 March 2012 by Tom Gibson
Unnecessary environmental regulation is to be scrapped and could save UK business £1 billion over five years. This is according to DEFRA, which launched a ‘Red Tape Challenge’ last year.
Announcing the results of DEFRA’s study, the Environment Secretary maintained cuts would not distract the department from its goals.
Caroline Spelman said: “I want to be very clear that this is not about rolling back environmental safeguards, nor is it just about cutting regulation to stimulate growth.
“The results of the Red Tape Challenge will be good for the environment and good for business because as well as upholding environmental protection we will remove unnecessary bureaucracy to allow businesses to free up resources to invest in growth.”
The reform will see 132 regulations improved, through simplification or mergers; 70 kept as they are; and the repeal of 53 others that are thought to now be obsolete.
In the review businesses said they were particularly frustrated by the amount of red tape and paperwork needed to deal with their waste and the amount of staff hours spent dealing with bureaucracy and inspections.
Posted on 13 March 2012 by Priyanka Shrestha
Edinburgh received its new water supply last week following a £130 million investment on a high quality water project.
Scottish Water claims the investment will supply clean and efficient “21st century drinking water” to up to 450,000 customers across the city.
David Birrell, Edinburgh’s Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive said: “The delivery of high quality drinking water to communities and businesses is a fundamental element of sustainable economic growth.”
Posted on 13 March 2012 by Tom Gibson
Water companies are putting their faith in the public that they won’t overuse their water supply over the coming weeks. A hosepipe ban was officially announced yesterday for the Easter weekend, but some want the utilities to reduce their waste.
Adam Kingdon, CEO of i20 Water told ELN: “The drought conditions are very worrying. Unless there is substantial rainfall between now and the summer, the water companies are going to find it very tough to manage. i2O Water is working very closely with water companies to implement new technology to reduce leakage further and to manage demand.”
Will a hosepipe ban have much effect? And can you trust the public to follow the ban? A spokesperson for the Consumer Council for Water told ELN he had confidence the public would not flout the hosepipe ban.
He said: “People don’t mind doing their bit as long as they see companies doing their bit also. It’s important that consumers see the water companies tackling things like leakage.”
Last month the Environment Secretary announced the UK faced a drought after the UK faced two dry winters. There was just 636mm of rainbetween February 2011 and January 2012.
Posted on 12 March 2012 by Tom Gibson
Seven English water companies have announced a hosepipe ban will come into force in the south east before the Easter holiday begins. The UK has faced extremely dry conditions over the last two years meaning a drought in the south is likely. The temporary usage ban will begin on April 5th.
Rob Varley, operations director at the Met Office said: “The last two years have been very dry across many parts of England with some areas seeing as little as 60% of their normal rainfall in that time. Even sustained rainfall over the next few months would have a limited impact.”
Southern Water, South East Water, Anglian Water, Sutton and East Surrey, Veolia Central, Veolia South East and Thames Water are all introducing restrictions. Thames Water has said anyone who breaches the terms of the water use bans can be prosecuted.
Since March 2010 the south east has had 35cm less rain than normal. Groundwater levels across parts of the Thames Water region are close to the lowest levels ever recorded.
Martin Baggs, chief executive of Thames Water said: “We have been doing as much as we can ourselves to save water, reducing leakage by a third since its peak in 2004 to its lowest-ever level and hitting our leakage-reduction targets five years running.
“We know these restrictions will be unpopular but they will save a lot of water. A garden sprinkler uses as much water in an hour as a family of four uses in a day and when water is in short supply the needs of families must come first.”Under the terms of the ban hosepipes will not be allowed, but watering cans are fine.
Posted on 12 March 2012 by Priyanka Shrestha
A Scottish water provider faces questions from the water watchdog about its relationship with a private insurance firm.
Thousands of customers received letters in Scottish Water branded envelopes, which contained sales pitches made by private insurer, HomeServe.
Consumer Focus Scotland said that public bodies, such as Scottish Water, should not be seen to favour one company over another and has asked the water provider to clear up their relationship with the insurance firm.
Douglas Sinclair, Chair of Consumer Focus said: “Scottish Water has a privileged position as a public sector utility and Scotland’s water supplier. It is deeply concerning that it has allowed this commercial relationship to cloud how transparent they are with customers. This also raises an important point about whether public servicesshould endorse any one private firm – an urgent debate is needed on that.”
In response, a spokesman for Scottish Water said: “We have already addressed most of the issues raised by Consumer Focus Scotland and they have acknowledged changes made to the HomeServe literature. This dual-branding approach is used by many other water companies in Britain. Further work to improve the clarity of literature has been carried out by HomeServe since then.”
Posted on 07 March 2012 by Tom Gibson
Leading provider of credit ratings, Moody’s Investor Services, say changes to the way price limits are set in the UK have the potential to increase credit risk in the UK water sector. Regulator Ofwat published a consultation document in November 2011 describing how it might set price limits from the start of the next regulatory review period in 2015.
Neil Griffiths-Lambeth, a Moody’s Credit Officer said that despite the potential benefits for customers, the changes could make investors less keen to invest in water companies: “The proposed reforms contain elements which could be credit negative for the sector.”
Ofwat is considering a number of possible changes to the regulatory framework which includes more direct incentives for water companies and disaggregated price limits.
However, Mr Griffiths-Lambeth said the changes could hurt smaller companies: “Proposals to set retail price limits by reference to the average cost to serve could prove very expensive for less efficient companies.
“In addition, the proposed focus on ‘outcomes’ rather than ‘outputs’ and having performance measured against regulatory targets will challenge UK water companies. As a result, ratings may, in future, diverge outside of the current narrow range based on operational performances.”
Moody’s report also notes that the UK government’s proposed reforms introduce uncertainty that is credit negative for a sector that has to date been regarded as one of the most stable and predictable.
Posted on 28 February 2012 by Priyanka Shrestha
An international project aimed to develop a complete picture of the global carbon cycle has opened its first UK office at the University of East Anglia.
The Global Carbon Project (GCP) provides up-to-date scientific data of carbon emissions and helps provide better estimates of global carbon budgets. The UK office located within the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research will support the annual publication of this budget, which shows global carbon emissions for the previous year and how they are divided between land, ocean and atmosphere.
Prof Corinne Le Quere, Tyndall Centre Director and Co-Chair of the GCP said: “This is a significant step in improving the quality of the data and reducing uncertainty in the science. Ultimately, our knowledge of global carbon cycles could be such that the weakening of a carbon sink would be precisely located and monitored and act as a kind of early-warning system.”
The GCP reported that global carbon emissions have reached a record 10 billion tonnes following a 50% rise over the last two decades.
Posted on 27 February 2012 by Priyanka Shrestha
The UK water industry will see an investment of up to £4 million in studies, research and development projects to encourage innovation in the industry.
The investment aims to support “step-change innovations” that will help tackle future UK and overseas water security challenges. This could be a product, process, service or business that has the potential to save or make 1,000 litres a day of water available to use within a defined global market.
A sum of up to £1 million is up for feasibility projects, up to £2.5 million for collaborative research and development projects (R&D) and a further £500,000 for feasibility and collaborative R&D projects incorporating a space-related solution.
The competition hopes to help UK supply chain companies improve their access to global water markets. Applications can be sent from 19 March and the funding will close in May 2012.