Posted by: In: Uncategorized 18 Jun 2016 Comments: 0
Official figures released today by the Forestry Commission show that the government is falling far short of its own tree-planting targets.
Trees being planted

The Woodland Trust says that the “drastic decline” in new woodland planting is “appalling” and could have serious environmental consequences.

It accused government of missing its target in England by 86%.

The environment department, Defra, said it was committed to growing woodland cover.

Data published today by the Forestry Commission, the government body responsible for expanding Britain’s woodlands, shows that 700 hectares (seven km2) of woodland was planted in England last year. The goal was to plant 5000 (50 km2).

Austin Brady from the Woodland Trust, said: “These figures are all the more shocking against the backdrop of the growing evidence of the importance of trees and woods in tackling air pollution, improving water quality and offering scope to deliver natural flood management.

“Something is drastically wrong with the way woodland planting is being supported across the various government departments that share responsibility for trees and woods.”

‘Not fit for purpose’

The government has committed to planting 11 million trees between 2015 and 2020.

Environment Minister Elizabeth Truss has spoken of their importance in helping to prevent flooding.

Speaking in the House of Commons in December 2015 she said she wanted to look at the environment “on a catchment level, making sure that we put in place tree-planting programmes that can both reduce flood risk and improve the environment”.

However, Mr Brady said: “There have been lots of really interesting and well-informed conversations – all the signals are positive, but the system of delivering the grants and getting things moving on the ground is not matching up with the fine words. It is not fit for purpose.”

The UK is one of the least wooded nations in Europe. Only 10% of England is covered in trees. Average woodland cover in the EU is 37%.

Government funding has been made available but grant schemes for planting trees changed last year.

There have been delays in processing contracts and payments. Under the Countryside Stewardship Scheme there are rigid rules determining the amount of land that needs to be planted and at what density to qualify for a grant.

There is also confusion around whether planting trees disqualifies farmers from part of their EU farm subsidy payments. This leads many farmers and landowners to avoid new planting altogether.

Hisley wood in Devon

A Defra spokesperson said: “Woodland cover in England is at its highest level since the 14th Century and we are committed to growing it even further.

“The Countryside Stewardship scheme is an important opportunity to help expand our nation’s woodlands, which is why the Forestry Commission is supporting landowners to make applications through a series of workshops and online support.”

The Woodland Trust says that more flexible schemes are needed to allow landowners with more limited space to be able to qualify for funding. There also needs to be more clarity. Currently the government departments involved in tree management include: Defra, the Forestry Commission, Natural England and the Environment Agency.

Along with the environmental benefits of trees, according to the government’s Natural Capital Committee report, which aims to put a financial price on the “ecosystem services” provided by natural resources, “woodland planting of up to 250,000 additional hectares … near towns and cities can generate net societal benefits in excess of £500 million per annum”.

Posted by: In: Uncategorized 14 Jun 2016 Comments: 0

If “saving” the planet is – as we are repeatedly told – all about reducing man-made emissions of an odourless, colourless, naturally occurring trace gas, essential for all life on earth – then European energy/environmental policy has manifestly failed. And what an expensive failure it is.

In the following piece, the delicious term ‘irony’ springs to mind: a situation in which something which was intended to have a particular result has the opposite or a very different result.

The wind cult’s defence for crushing entire industries and whole economies, driving thousands insane with incessant turbine generated low-frequency noise and infrasound, and for the slaughter of millions of birds and bats has run out of puff: CO2 emissions are rising fastest in those places, like Europe, that have literally thrown $billions to the wind.

Europe’s CO2 Emissions INCREASE While America’s Fall
Andrew Follett
Daily Caller
21 May 2016

The EU’s 2015 CO2 emissions increased by 0.7 percent relative to 2014, while U.S. emissions fell to its lowest level in two decades. The EU has spent an estimated $1.2 trillion financially supporting wind, solar and bio-energy and an incalculable amount on a cap-and-trade scheme to specifically lower CO2 emissions.

The DCNF analyzed the increased CO2 emissions data from the the European Commission through Eurostat and CO2 emissions from the Energy Information Administration (EIA) of the last full year of state-level data. The use of older U.S. data predates much of the fracking boom, meaning an updated result would likely be even more significant.

The DCNF’s findings are displayed on the maps below.


The biggest CO2 percent increases in Europe occurred in Slovakia and Portugal, where emissions rose by 9.5 and 8.6 percent respectively. Other big CO2 increases came from the EU’s capital country of Belgium, where emissions rose by 4.7 percent. Emissions from Germany, the EU’s largest economy, remained mostly flat.

The largest CO2 percent decrease in the EU came from the tiny country of Malta, where emissions fell by about 27 percent.


The DCNF’s analysis found that a majority of U.S. states, especially on the East Coast, saw CO2 emissions fall by more than 10 percent.

America’s overall CO2 emissions have fallen by 12 percent since their peak in 2000, according to the EIA. The U.S. has reduced greenhouse gas emissions more than any other country, a fact even The Sierra Club acknowledges.

EU emissions are increasing even though it implemented a cap-and-trade system called the European Union Emission Trading Scheme. The program directly cost the European countries $287 billion to implement in 2011 and likely caused trillions of dollars in lost economic output.

Even worse, the scheme is widely acknowledge to have not worked, as CO2 emissions actually increased, according to a study by the Swiss banking firm UBS.

A similar scheme planned for America would have destroyed 2.5 million jobs and lost $9.4 trillion of economic output by 2035 if implemented, according to analysis by The Heritage Foundation.

Rising European CO2 emissions are likely due to failed EU policies, which actually increased emissions.

A study last month by environmental group Transport & Environment (T&E) determined the EU’s plans to fight global warming with biofuel actually ended up increasing CO2 emissions.

The U.S. spends far less than the EU supporting green energy, discounting the cap-and-trade schemes, but American CO2 emissions are falling thanks to the development of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, which the EU has repeatedly slowed with regulations.

The EU has spent $1.2 trillion subsidizing green energy. EU regulations, financial support for green energy and taxes cause the average European to spend 26.9 cents per kilowatt-hour on electricity, according to calculations performed earlier this month by The DCNF. The average American only spends 10.4 cents.

The DCNF’s analysis concurs with a report published in early May by the EIA, which found the primary reason for the decline in CO2 emissions is increased natural gas production from fracking.

Fracked natural gas supplies much of the power in East Coast states, which saw CO2 emissions most rapidly fall. Previous analysis by TheDCNF found a statistically significant correlation between the dependence of a state’s economy on natural gas and large reductions in CO2 emissions.

Natural gas emits about half the CO2 of coal power and is already cheaper than coal in many locations due to fracking. The EIA estimates roughly 68 percent of the falling CO2 emissions are due to the switch from coal to natural gas.

Fracking has cut more American CO2 emissions than solar or wind power, according to a study published last November by the Manhattan Institute. The study shows solar power is responsible for a mere one percent of the decline in American CO2 emissions, while natural gas is responsible for nearly 20 percent. For every ton of CO2 cut by solar power, fracking has cut 13 tons.
Daily Caller


Posted by: In: Homelessness 06 Apr 2016 Comments: 0

UKIP are the only British political party committed to cutting unacceptable levels of ‘red tape’ in the rental sector.

Peter Whittle, UKIP’s London Mayoral candidate said “The over regulation of the London housing market by a Tory government, which has abandoned it’s free market principles. Inevitably, more red tape means more cost to landlords and higher rents. Next year thousands of London properties will have withdrawn from the rental market because they have a low EPC rating”.

UKIP are supportive of measures which facilitate better fuel efficiency and lower heating bills long-term. However, there is no justification in taking away from an already desperate rental market perfectly good properties simply because they do not have a high EPC rating.

Andrew Charalambous, UKIP Housing and Environment Spokesman added “The ultimate victims are the tenants who are passed on the costs of compliance by the landlords”.

Charalambous continued “UKIP our committed to simplifying the rental process. We would eliminate letting fees, standardise HMO licensing costs and procedures. Our aim is to make housing a matter of choice not chance”.

Posted by: In: Homelessness 03 Mar 2016 Comments: 0

Study suggests just 5,740 new homes approved across capital, down from 8,063 in previous quarter and 11,865 in first

andrew ukip housing

The number of new home approvals in London for 2015 will fall far short of the government’s 42,000 annual target. The London housing crisis is expected to worsen as a result of a sharp decline in the number of new home planning approvals..

London borough planning divisions approved just 5,740 new homes in the third quarter of last year, down from 8,063 in the second quarter and 11,865 in the first, according to data compiled by estate agents Stirling Ackroyd.

Approvals so far recorded for 2015 – of 25,668 – fall far short of the 42,000 annual figure needed to meet government housing targets for the capital.

Less than 70% of applications for new homes were granted approval between July and September across London’s 32 boroughs, compared with 76% of homes approved in the previous quarter. But even if all 8,280 applications in the third quarter had been granted, London would still be falling short of the necessary levels.

South London boroughs outpaced the rest, with Southwark leading the way with 912 home approvals, followed by Croydon and Lambeth. These three boroughs accounted for 41% of all planning consents in the city.

Barking & Dagenham was the worst borough for planning approvals, granting just seven in the third quarter. Kensington & Chelsea granted permission for only eight new homes and the east London borough of Havering – which includes Romford, Hornchurch and Rainham – was the third worst, with 20.

Andrew Bridges, managing director of Stirling Ackroyd, said: “Approvals simply aren’t stacking up. No, no, no is being heard far too often and it can’t continue. A sustainable and realistic approach is needed in order to make sure new homes are being built – and London’s housing crisis tackled by the horns.”

The government has unveiled a series of measures to tackle the UK’s housing crisis, including a pledge last week to create 13,000 homes in southern England – the largest housing project led by central government since the redevelopment of Docklands in east London in the 1980s.

While housebuilding has picked up across the UK since the slump hit during the financial crisis, the number of houses being built remains below its peak in 2007 and well short of the of 250,000 new homes a year experts say are needed.

There was a pickup in homes started and completed across London last summer, but both failed to make significant progress, Stirling Ackroyd said. The figures showed construction on 5,680 new homes started in the third quarter, up 14% on the previous three months. At the same time, 6,430 new homes were completed, the highest number in 2015 so far.

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