Monthly Archives: May 2012

Energy and Climate Questions to the Mayor

May 2012: This month the Mayor has been asked questions in relation to:
Carbon savings achieved under RE:NEW; the number of homes treated to date under RE:NEW;  timetable for the formal evaluation of RE:NEW; access to the the Mayor’s climate change strategy data; the use of the London Energy Efficiency Fund to support energy efficiency in social housing; data on achievements under RE:NEW; information on Phase II of  RE:NEW and also delivery of the programme to older people; the Centre for Carbon Measurement; the Mayor’s commitments to his environment commitments; details on whether the Mayor will update other London environment strategies; the number of homes which will not reach the Decent Homes standard by April 2015; the funding of Decent Homes now it has moved under the Mayor’s control; Hybrid Buses target as set out in the Mayor’s Electric Delivery vehicle plan and the number of buildings treated under the RE:FIT programme.

Previous questions to the Mayor can be found here.

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‘Agreement struck to prepare communities for climate change’

May 2012: Defra report that “Homes, roads and parks could all be better protected from the effects of climate change after an agreement was struck between ministers and local government.
An agreement between Defra, the Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) and the Local Government Association (LGA) called for vital public services to be better protected and emergency planning and social care made more resilient after signing a joint statement showing their commitment to adapt the country to climate change.
The agreement was reached at a Climate Summit hosted by the LGA in response to the impacts identified in the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment 2012, published earlier this year.”

The agreement states that “Councils have a critical role to play in working with partners and communities to plan and ensure the UK is better prepared and resilient to climate change” and that potential activities include:

  • planning for the long term by reflecting climate risks and sustainable development in Local Plans
  • increasing organisational resilience to extreme weather by building climate change risks into corporate risk registers

Read the Defra press release and the full commitment by the LGA, CLG and Defra here.

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Changes in Mayor’s Environment Programmes

May 2012: The Mayor has appointed Matthew Pencharz as the new lead in City Hall to deliver on his environmental pledges. Pencharz already sits within the Mayor’s team of advisors and, as reported in a BusinessGreen article, he will be responsible for “delivering a high quality of life in the capital through the continued protection and creation of green space, boosting recycling and turning London’s waste into a resource, planting more trees and delivering further improvements to air quality”.

However, BusinessGreen also reports that the responsibility for the scaling up of the RE:NEW and RE:FIT building retrofit programmes will shift from the Mayor’s environmental lead to  Richard Blakeway, now promoted to the position of Deputy Mayor for Housing, Land and Property.

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Affordable energy: what the experts say

May 2012: Friends of the Earth provide a quick run through of some of the issues associated with new power generation choices and the associated impact on consumers bills in this useful two-page briefing note.

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Sky Studios wind turbine spins into action

29 May 2012:  Sky have announced that they have installed a wind turbine  at its West London campus. “The 55-metre Northwind 100 turbine is expected to provide over 133 MWh/year of clean energy to Sky Studios – enough to meet its annual office lighting requirements. The new wind turbine will operate in conjunction with Sky’s recently-commissioned [biomass] Combined Cooling, Heating and Power (CCHP) plant.” Read the full news release here.

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London to host new Institute for Sustainable Connected Cities

May 2012: reports that” Computer giant Intel has announced a five year collaboration with two UK universities to use smart technology to tackle urban issues like energy supply and environmental problems.  The  Intel Collaborative Research Institutes (ICRI) with Imperial College London and University College London will turn the capital city into a test bed for an urban cloud platform to manage realtime data to help deal with energy and water supplies, extreme weather events and transport, as well as other issues.

Imperial College say that the “new London-based institute will be Intel’s first research centre and global hub dedicated to exploring how technology can support and sustain the social and economic development of cities worldwide. The launch of the centre was unveiled at an event in 10 Downing Street.” Further information can be found on the following Intel news release and blog.

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Research into building low carbon cities

May 2012: Researchers at four universities – including University College London – have secured a £6m grant that will help “study visions of an alternative urban future with drastically reduced CO2 emissions then develop realistic and radical engineering solutions to achieve them in a socially acceptable way.” Further information on the following ESPRC news release.

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Update on London Power Tunnels project

May 2012: An update on the London tunnelling project reports that “significant milestones in the construction of three deep level tunnels as part of the London Power Tunnels contract for National Grid” have been reached as part of a project to build new high voltage electricity cable tunnels between Hackney and Willesden (via St John’s Wood) and Kensal Green and Wimbledon. Read the full  story here. Further information on the London Power tunnels project can be read here.

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Updated FIT Tariff Table

May 2012: Following today’s announcement by DECC over changes to the FIT programme for photovoltaics,  Ofgem have published a table which sets out the tariff rates for the Feed-in Tariff scheme from 1 August 2012, for non-PV installations only. Download here.

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How planning works: an introductory guide for councillors

May 2012: Local Government Association (LGA) guide for “new councillors or councillors who are new to planning following the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework. The guide will help councillors understand how planning impacts their ward and how they can use planning to help their communities address local issues.” Download here.

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New approach to developing scenarios for future of low carbon cities

May 2012: “A new study has explored how cities can create a low carbon future by presenting an approach to stakeholder engagement that develops scenarios of an ideal city. Rather than projecting towards a low carbon target for the future, the study suggests that ‘backcasting’ to the present day from these scenarios may provide a useful goal-orientated approach to environmental planning in cities.” Read a summary of the new study here.

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Europe’s future depends on cities resilient to climate change

14 May 2012: European Environment Agency (EEA) report launched considering the response required by EU cities to rising temperatures as a result of climate change.  “In Europe, temperature is increasing, precipitation is changing and sea level is rising. However, the effects will not be uniform across the continent, according to the EEA report, ‘Urban adaptation to climate change in Europe‘. The report is the first Europe-wide assessment of urban vulnerability to climate change.” Read the full press release here.

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