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  • Opinion: Plastic distraction - where now for Government's 25 year Environment Plan? Politics
    Opinion: Plastic distraction - where now for Government's 25 year Environment Plan?

    Former Environment Agency boss Professor Paul Leinster and Professor Leon Terry wonder where all the attention on plastic pollution has left the 25 year Environment Plan.....

    The 25 year Environment Plan was long-awaited, and much needed in terms of setting out a vision and direction, a spur to firm planning and action ('A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment': https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/25-year-environment-plan). There's a bold statement of intent, for us to become: "the first generation to leave the natural environment in a better state than that in which we found it".

    Paul LeinstermainBut it's now come and gone, mostly submerged beneath the attention paid to the 'war on plastics'. The launch successfully tapped into the popular consciousness via the Blue Planet factor, but where does this approach leave all the major aims and objectives of the Plan?

    Most significantly, there's the central concept of 'natural capital' - the nation's stock of land, minerals, forests, rivers and oceans - which needs wide understanding and support. The Plan itself fully embraces the idea, recognising the importance of ensuring the natural environmental assets that we all depend on are properly accounted for, and the assessment is used to inform the country's economic activities, including industry, infrastructure, land management and spatial planning. In the context of setting out post-Brexit priorities, for example, this is the opportunity for the UK to develop a farming and land management payment system, with the protection and improvement of natural assets at its heart.

    This is going to take a shift in attitudes from across the range of stakeholders, including the general public. We need to stop thinking of the environment as the provider of free services. These services are dependent on underpinning natural assets that, at an aggregate level, are declining in value. They will not be able to sustain a given level of services without environmental, health and economic impacts. We also need to move past the typical attitude of the environment as the obstacle to development, as the problem requiring conciliation and concessions, but as one of the assets we're working with and benefiting from.

    Leon Terry cropped2 copyNatural capital requires systems and integrated thinking for opportunities to be identified. So, for example, why shouldn't farmers be paid for allowing their land to act as flood plains, diverting water away from homes and businesses? In this way they are providing 'public goods' of a particular value, that have the potential to make huge savings for public services and individuals. If landowners are incentivised to restore peatlands and uplands then there can be less soil erosion, reduced amounts of nutrients in water systems, and less need for water treatment.

    Of course, organisations and landowners can't be paid to comply with the law - this is something different, a recognition that protecting and improving natural assets can lead to tangible benefits with a clear and measurable economic return.

    Natural assets need to be included on balance sheets in the same way as any other assets an organisation has. There should also be an associated risk register and action plan to ensure that these assets are properly maintained. Natural assets often provide multiple benefits and these can be location dependent. For example trees provide timber, areas for recreation, contributing to health and wellbeing, carbon sequestration and flood risk reduction.

    An important aspect in taking forward the 25 year Environment Plan will be to identify what success looks like in 25 years' time and how this will be measured. It will also be important to identify associated intermediate milestones that will provide check points on the progress being made, and there's robust governance to oversee the implementation.

    A number of Pioneer projects testing the principles of a natural capital approach have been running since 2016: a river catchment (Cumbria), an urban area (Manchester), a landscape-based area (north Devon) and marine areas (Devon and Suffolk), all of which have delivered insights into how the theory works in practice and a template for moving forward. A workbook has been created for planners, landowners, councils and communities: www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/608852/ncc-natural-capital-workbook.pdf

    No-one would deny the seriousness of the amount of plastic wastes ending up in the world's oceans, but this is only one of the challenges that needs to be addressed if the Government's central pledge is to be realised.

    • Article by Professor Paul Leinster, Professor of Environmental Assessment, Cranfield University (member of the Natural Capital Committee and former Chief Executive of the Environment Agency) and Professor Leon Terry, Director of Environment and Agrifood, Cranfield University, www.cranfield.ac.uk

  • MPs yearn for climate change talks but constituents unconcerned Politics
    MPs yearn for climate change talks but constituents unconcerned

    A university and think tank study of MPs has found that the issue of climate change rarely features amongst their constituents, who nevertheless respond to issues such as plastic pollution in the oceans following the BBC's Blue Planet II series or Sky Ocean Rescue initiatives. The study outlines approaches that may change this situation.

  • NE English £9.8m demo project set to incentivise rapid impact of electric vehicles on grid Transport
    NE English £9.8m demo project set to incentivise rapid impact of electric vehicles on grid

    Successfully managing the electric grid impact of the rapid growth of electric vehicles, anticipated in the UK, has come a step closer with the announcement of a £9.8 million Government funded Vehicle-to-Grid demonstrator project, led by Nissan and including energy firms and academia - which offers incentives to fleet and private owners.

  • Food waste superstore opens fifth outlet in Merseyside Food
    Food waste superstore opens fifth outlet in Merseyside

    A need for North West England's food manufacturers to tackle their edible waste has led to Company Shop, the UK's largest redistributor of surplus food and household products, opening its 5th new superstore in St Helens, Merseyside.

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RWM 2017

New features and event zones for RWM 2017

Bigger, better and more collaborative, the UK's premier event dedicated to Energy, Water, Recycling, Renewables and Waste Management is relaunched

RWM2016The expanded RWM 2017 event, run in partnership with the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM), will boast a host of new and revamped features, including new dedicated Event Zones, the RWM Connects meetings service, new Visitor Discovery Trails, and the CIWM Clinic.

Bringing together decision-makers and innovators from the Energy, Water, Recycling, Renewables and Waste Management communities, RWM 2017 takes place from 12 to 14 September at the NEC Birmingham. This year combines the previously co-located Energy, Water, Renewables and RWM events – an expansion that reflects the merging and overlapping business opportunities in these sectors.

Dedicated zones
RWM 2017 will feature six dedicated zones, including two new zones: Supply & Demand; which is the home for networking, learning and business opportunities in the UK energy and water markets; and Data, Tech & Services, which covers smart, practical software solutions to modern and future logistical challenges, with a focus on quality data and supporting services.

New exhibitors already signed up for the Data, Tech & Services zone include BeNomad, while Increase Computers is returning to the 2017 event. New exhibitors for the Supply & Demand zone include Phoenix Contact, with returning exhibitors from the Energy Show including Source for Business.

The Energy from Waste zone will showcase one of the fastest-growing and most dynamic sectors in waste management. New exhibitors for this zone include China Tianying, while returning exhibitors include Babcock & Wilcox Vølund. In the Handling & Logistics zone, innovations in the transportation of commercial or construction waste will be highlighted, with new exhibitors including E Power Trucks, and returning exhibitors including Dennis Eagle. This zone will also host a new theatre seminar for Municipal and Material recovery.

The Machinery & Equipment zone, meanwhile, will display the latest technology in the shredding, sorting and compacting of material, boasting new exhibitor A & C Weber, and returning exhibitors including Eriez.
Finally, the Recyclers & Reprocessors zone will showcase all things connected with the environmental and financial benefits of converting waste into new materials, with new exhibitors including Tomra Sorting, and returning exhibitors including AMCS.

RWM logo bannerVisitor trails
The new-look RWM 2017 will also offer four visitor discovery trails identifying key exhibitors for audiences looking for a specific service, or a more organised experience. For instance, visitors can navigate the exhibition by exploring the Energy Solutions trail, designed for visitors looking for energy suppliers, energy efficiency, and energy technology; or the Water Marketplace trail, which guides visitors looking for water suppliers and management services.
The Local Authority Solutions trail has been designed to highlight all exhibitors and content relevant to those responsible for waste management and resource, legislative issues and fleet management; while the Exhibitor Discovery trail will allow visitors to discover the latest exhibitors and suppliers that have joined the RWM community.

Event features
As well as a return of the outside area at the 2017 show, key features at RWM include RWM Connects, a complimentary matchmaking service hosted in the Recyclers & Reprocessors zone allowing exhibitors and visitors to use our database to arrange meetings prior to the show. Meetings can be on exhibitor stands or at the RWM Connects Lounge, and the RWM Connects team can also help facilitate introductions with new business partners if desired.

Meanwhile, the CIWM Resource and Waste Clinic will see industry experts on-hand over the course of the show offering advice and insight. Visitors can book to have a one-to-one chat with one or more experts, who collectively offer wide and in-depth knowledge on a range of resource and waste management subjects, and are mainly CIWM Fellows. Booking isn't essential, and CIWM staff will be on-hand to direct ad-hoc meeting requests at the show to the most suitable experts.

An unmissable event
Nicola Meadows, RWM event director, Ascential, said, "We are dedicated to creating an unmissable expanded RWM 2017 – an exhibition designed to allow visitors and exhibitors to capitalise on crossover, integration and collaboration opportunities, and really make the most out of their time.

"The umbrella concept is our One Planet Living mission, which champions the better management and supply of the world's resources in an increasingly interconnected world. I encourage anyone who hasn't visited the show before to join our community and become part of our movement to build a resource-efficient future."

For more information about RWM 2017 please visit: www.rwmexhibition.com