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Environment Update

Monday, July 9, 2012

Every few months my website will carry news items concerned with the environment and climate change compiled by my staff. I hope you find the items useful and interesting.


On the 20 to 22nd June the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) was held in Brazil. The conference marked 20 years since the 1992 Rio ‘Earth Summit’ and was the biggest global environment and development conference since Copenhagen in 2009. The original ‘Earth Summit’ led to the UN conventions on climate change, biodiversity and desertification and Agenda 21.


However, over recent years the UK has gone from being the world’s third biggest investor in green growth, to thirteenth behind countries like India and Brazil. In 2009, investment in alternative energy and clean technology reached 7 billion; this has now fallen by 70%.

The Rio+20 Summit set-out to focus on reviewing progress since 1992 alongside two key themes:

         A green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication,

         The institutional framework for sustainable development

The following areas were a focus of the summit: 1) decent jobs, 2) energy, 3) sustainable cities, 4) food security and sustainable agriculture, 5) water, 6) oceans, and 7) disaster readiness. The Summit also discussed the development of Sustainable Development Goals, which aim to deliver global commitment to the sustainability agenda. These goals will play an important role in the discussion and negotiation ahead of the new development goals which will replace the Millennium Development Goals in 2015.


Labour’s Environment campaign SERA launched a new pamphlet, Rio+20: Our second chance for a sustainable future?, as its contribution to the debate at the United Nations Conference in Brazil: http://serauk.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/sera-mag-19-06-12.pdf


Draft Energy Bill, 2012

On 22 May the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) published a draft Energy Bill for pre-legislative scrutiny. The Bill aims to establish a legislative framework for delivering secure, affordable and low carbon energy. The Energy and Climate Change (ECC) Select Committee will examine the bill with a view to reporting before the summer recess.



UK Biodiversity indicators published

Biodiversity is the variety of all life on Earth. It includes all species of animals and plants, and the natural systems that support them. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), have published new UK Biodiversity indicators and a strategy for England’s wildlife and ecosystems.

The UK indicators were reviewed during 2011 and 2012 to ensure they remained relevant to new international goals and targets. The indicators may be subject to further review, particularly as the reporting requirements of the EU Biodiversity Strategy and the EU Marine Strategy Framework Directive are clarified.


Find out more at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/statistics/2012/05/29/uk-and-england-biodiversity-indicators-published/  and  http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/page-4229


You can also view data on Wild Bird Populations in UK, 1970-2010 at: http://www.defra.gov.uk/statistics/environment/biodiversity/wild-bird-populations-in-uk-1970-2010/


Environment Agency nets rod licence offenders

The Environment Agency has revealed that bailiffs across Yorkshire discovered nearly 700 people who were fishing illegally over the last year. Bailiffs visited hundreds of waters, including in Sheffield, between 1 April 2011 and 30 March 2012. 28 prosecutions have taken place in Sheffield, resulting in fines of 3,350.


Anglers must be in possession of a licence before fishing and must be able to produce it when requested by an Environment Agency bailiff or other authorised person. Licences can be bought from post offices, via the Environment Agency website (www.environment-agency.gov.uk/fish) or by dialling 08701 662662. For more information visit: http://www.environment-agency.gov.uk/news/138961.aspx?page=3&month=4&year=2012


Saving Yorkshire’s water

Yorkshire Water has released a new publication called ‘Taking responsibility for the water environment for good - turning debate into action’. The document includes case studies, including work that is taking place in the River Don catchment area. To read or download the publication visit: http://www.yorkshirewater.com/policy


Yorkshire Water customers can also request a water saving pack free from their website: http://www.yorkshirewater.com/save-water-and-money.aspx


Discover Sheffield’s wildlife

There are many groups in Sheffield who run events and activities throughout the year. Please find below information about some events taking place in July 2012. Please contact the group directly for full details.


Sheffield’s Blue Loop

The Blue Loop is a continuous loop of waterways and riverside walkways in the heart of Sheffield, made up of The River Don and Tinsley Canal. It runs for 8 miles from the city centre and flows close by the communities of Burngreave, Attercliffe, Darnall and Tinsley. On 10th July 2012, there will be a Wildlife Walk - River Dipping and Invertebrate ID. If you don’t know your beetles from your bugs or your mayflies from your dragonflies then this walk may suit you. For details of the project and local events visit: http://www.theblueloop.org/


Sheffield Wildlife Trust

Meg recently visited Sheffield Wildlife Trust and met their new Chief Executive, Liz Ballard. They visited Carbrook Ravine with Reserves Manager Annabel Kennedy, which is based in the Sheffield Heeley constituency. The reserve covers just over 16 hectares and is home to a variety of different habitats, including grassland, woodland and wetland.


The Trust put on a series of events and volunteer work days. In July there will be a ‘Moths on the Moors’ event at Blacka Moor nature reserve and a volunteer work day at Wyming Brook/Fox Hagg nature reserve. For more information on local nature reserves or events visit: http://www.wildsheffield.com/ 


Beauchief Environment Group

Meg also visited Beauchief Environment Group, to take part in a ‘BioBlitz’ as part of Sheffield Environment Weeks 2012. Beauchief Environment Group is made up of people from Beauchief, Greenhill, Bradway and other areas of Sheffield who volunteer their time and energy to undertake practical work to help conserve the natural beauty of their local environment. For more information visit: http://www.megmunnmp.org.uk/press-view-entry.asp?type=OutAbout&id=703

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