Last week, the U.K. government announced new schemes that aim to restore natural ecosystems, stop species decline, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Local Nature Recovery and the Landscape Recovery schemes will pay landowners and farmers for undertaking environmentally beneficial actions on their properties, including actions such as restoring floodplains and wetlands, creating nature reserves, and planting trees.
All drink containers in England, whether plastic, glass or metal, will be covered by a deposit return scheme, the government has announced. The forthcoming scheme is intended to cut litter by returning a small cash sum to consumers who return their bottles and cans. Similar schemes operate in 38 countries, and campaigners have worked for a decade for its introduction in England. Fees vary depending on the size of the bottle or can, and many use “reverse vending machines” to automate the return. Once the containers are returned, retailers are responsible for properly recycling them.
Four Zambian villages have sued Vedanta Resources, a mining company based in London, for contaminating their water sources and land since 2004 through its mining operations. The villagers, who have fallen sick and have suffered huge crop losses, are asking Vedanta Resources and its Zambian subsidiary for compensation. Although the subsidiary is responsible for the alleged violations, the villagers have petitioned the high court in London to hear the case because they claim Vedanta Resources exercises control over its subsidiary’s activities.
The European Union approved a plan to give sub-standard homes a green makeover, but only after a large downgrade of the initial plan. The Energiesprong project planned to give 10-day green makeovers for more than 100,000 public housing units by installing wraparound insulating facades, solar panels, and Ikea kitchens. But the EU approved only 10% of the scope of the original project. The new plan will provide 5,000 remodels in the United Kingdom and 5,000 in France. Energiesprong is now asking the United Kingdom government to help with financing the project.
The United Kingdom's Environment Agency is predicting a decrease in the number of English beaches where water quality will obtain the highest rating of "excellent" following the tightening of European Union (EU) regulations. The agency estimates that 25, or 7%, of England's beaches will be classified as "poor." Only 1% failed the test last year. The number would set a record under EU regulations. The new standards, which went into effect this year, cut acceptable bacteria levels by half relative to the old regulations.