Your weekly roundup of environment and sustainability news in the UK.
This week – Tidal Lagoon Power blasts Government statement, the cost of air pollution is revealed, Greenpeace vows to name and shame supermarkets failing to combat plastic waste and the Government announces plans to boost the numbers of electric car charging points. Then we chat to Soraya Abdel-Hadi of eXXpedition about their all-women voyage to track the effects of plastic pollution in the North Pacific.
Tidal Lagoon Power, the company behind the rejected Swansea Bay tidal lagoon, has blasted the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s statement on tidal lagoons. Keith Clarke CBE, Tidal Lagoon Power’s chair: “…The Department has not released a full and thorough value-for-money assessment for Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon, has not responded to the Hendry Review of tidal lagoons, and has continued to ignore our requests to meet with ministers for a fuller explanation of the position and approach taken.
“This is irresponsible and obstructs our appraisal of the options available to bring further funding into the business and to work up alternate approaches for delivering a pathfinder tidal lagoon at Swansea Bay without the award of a Contract for Difference from the UK Government”.
Imperial College London has released a report revealing that the costs to the NHS from the effects of air pollution could reach £18.6 billion by 2035 unless action is taken. The report takes into account costs related to GP visits, prescriptions, hospital treatment and social care due to long-term health conditions. Air pollution is linked to coronary heart disease, stroke, lung cancer, asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and diabetes. It contributes to over 40,000 premature deaths in the UK every year and 5% of all global deaths. Between now and 2035, air pollution is expected to cause 2.4 million new cases of disease in the UK alone.
Greenpeace and The Environmental Investigation Agency are conducting a survey of the 11 biggest UK grocery retailers’ use of single use plastic – and how they’re planning to reduce it. It’s hoped that this renewed pressure on supermarkets will continue to drive the momentum towards reducing single use plastics. The results are due in autumn. Sarah Baulch, a senior ocean campaigner at the EIA, said “Retailers need to take a lead in reducing the amount that they’re putting into the market. Our survey will highlight those supermarkets who are demonstrating leadership by reducing their plastic footprint and conversely those who are lagging behind.”
The government is set to announce new plans to install hundreds of thousands of electric car charging points across the country as part of the government’s strategy to cut down on air pollution.
The charging points would be installed in on-street parking areas and on UK roads. The plan is to make it easier to recharge electric vehicles than refuel petrol or diesel models. There are also plans to start installing charging points in new homes and businesses as standard. The government is also expected to outline more details of its 2040 ban on new petrol and diesel cars. Launching the government’s plans to boost take-up of the technology, Mr Grayling will say: “The Road to Zero Strategy, combined with the measures we’ve already introduced, will mean Britain now has one of the most comprehensive support packages for zero-emission vehicles in the world.
“We want the UK to become the best country in the world in which to develop and manufacture zero-emission vehicles.
“The prize is not just a cleaner and healthier environment but a UK economy fit for the future and the chance to win a substantial slice of a market estimated to be worth up to £7.6 trillion by 2050.”
Watch the video for the full interview with Soraya Abdel-Hadi, which starts at 14:20.