Germany’s cut price rail ticket comes to an end and saves tonnes of CO2

Barry White

Germany summer train fares reduction experiment finished on 31 August. Introduced on 1 June, the three month project to reduce car journeys, pollution and reduce curb imports of Russian oil has been judged a success, with about 1.8m tonnes of CO2 emissions being saved, although not all experts agree on this figure. The emissions saved were the equivalent to the powering of 350,000 homes.

About 52m tickets priced at 9 euros (£7.50) per month were sold, a fifth of them to people who did not usually use public transport. They gave unlimited travel on regional rail networks, trams and buses.

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Waters most foul

Barry White

As George Eustice the environment secretary announced at the end of last week that water companies would have to invest £56bn over 25 years in a long term programme to tackle storm sewage discharges, the Yorkshire Post ( reported that sewage had been allowed into Yorkshire waterways for more than 1.5m hours over the last six years. Yorkshire Water recorded 1669,575 spillage incidents between 2016 and 2021 which equated to one incident every 18 minutes according to figures obtained by the Labour Party.

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Solar farm refusals on the increase

Barry White

Solar farms are being refused planning permission in Great Britain at the highest rate in five years, analysis has found, with projects which would have cut £100m off annual electricity bills turned down in the past 18 months.

The Guardian reports ( that planning permission for 23 solar farms was refused in Great Britain between January 2021 and July 2022, which could have produced enough renewable energy to power an estimated 147,000 homes annually, according to analysis of government figures by the planning and development consultancy Turley.

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Water, water everywhere (else)…

Barry White

The Guardian reports ( ) that the water and financial regulator Ofwat says water companies lost an average of 2,923.8m litres of water a day in 2021-22 due to leaky pipes equating to more than 1tn litres. Although Ofwat said the figures remained provisional until it has completed validation checks, they amount to the equivalent of 426,875 Olympic swimming pools or more than three and a half Lake Windermeres!

Thames Water leaked the largest volumes, according to the industry body Water UK, losing 217bn litres of water over the year – last week, the company announced it would introduce a hosepipe ban from 24 August, affecting 15 million customers. Severn Trent Water followed close behind with 161bn litres leaked over the year, United Utilities with 151bn litres leaked, Yorkshire Water with 103bn litres and Northumbrian Water with 69bn litres lost.

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