Gove orders public inquiry into Leeds Bradford expansion

Barry White

Local campaigners have welcomed  government action to hold a public inquiry into the decision to allow the building of a new £150m terminal building at Leeds Bradford Airport (LBA). The airport’s planning application was approved by Leeds City Council last March despite objections by campaigners and local MPs. Communities Secretary Robert Jenrick postponed making a decision on calls for a public inquiry, but his successor Michael Gove has now “called in” the plans.

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Government admits to inadequate action on climate change

Barry White

The government has admitted that its efforts to insulate the UK from climate change impacts have been inadequate following a report published yesterday by its official advisers, the Climate Change Committee, see: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1047003/climate-change-risk-assessment-2022.pdf .

The costs of climate change to Britain are “high and increasing”, the report says, and could reach many billions of pounds a year. It means climate change must be built into all long-term decisions, such as new housing or infrastructure. The aim should be to avoid costly remedial actions in the future.

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Consultation launched on ending the sale of peat

The government has launched a consultation with an aim to ban the sale of peat to amateur gardeners by 2024 – 14 years after it first announced its intention to ban the digging of peat and destruction of bogland for the business of horticulture. The consultation closes on 18 March 2022. Kate Jennings writes:

Peatlands are vital both for nature and for their ability to mitigate climate change by locking up and storing carbon. They are the UK’s largest stores of carbon and they also provide vital ecosystem services, such as supplying over a quarter of the UK’s drinking water and decreasing flood risk.  When peat is extracted, the carbon stored inside the bog is released as carbon dioxide, contributing to climate change. Peat extraction also degrades the state of the peat mass which threatens biodiversity and the efficacy of ecosystem services across a larger area.

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Suffocating rivers exposed

Barry White

A ‘chemical cocktail’ of sewage, agricultural waste, and plastic is polluting the waters of many of the country’s rivers according to a report published on 13 January by the House of Commons Environmental Audit Committee, see: https://committees.parliament.uk/publications/8460/documents/85659/default/ . It points out that water companies appear to be dumping untreated or partially treated sewage in rivers on a regular basis, often breaching the terms of permits that on paper only allow them to do this in exceptional circumstances.

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