General News

TfL: The Mayor of London has launched London’s Low Emission Zone, designed to reduce harmful emissions from the most polluting diesel-engined lorries, coaches & buses (cars & motorcycles are not affected).
The introduction of the zone means that, from this week, all diesel-engined lorries weighing more than 12 tonnes will be required to meet strict emissions standards. Vehicles over 3.5 tonnes, buses and coaches will be required to meet these standards from 7 July 2008.
The Mayor claims that the oldest & most polluting lorries, which fit a full filter, will see an improvement of around 90% in their particulate matter emissions.  Compared to an average family car of the same age, the largest lorries emit 25-40 times the levels of harmful particulate matter, for each kilometre driven.
Press release ~ LEZ website ~ LEZ map ~ Approved abatement equipment & suppliers
DH: There is no evidence of a link between the MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) vaccine and autism according to a new independent virus study. The new report comes 10 years after the original Lancet article by Dr Wakefield called into question the safety of the MMR vaccine.
The joint report by GuysHospital, the Health Protection Agency and ManchesterUniversity, looked for the measles virus and antibody levels in children.  It linked very careful assessment & diagnosis of a child's condition, with expert analysis of blood samples carried out by laboratories recognised as world leading by the World Health Organization. The study found that there was no difference between the results from autistic and non-autistic children.
Press release ~ Immunisation ~ DH - Immunisation ~ HPA: Vaccination/immunisation ~ Archive of Diseases of Childhood
NE: The most important wetland site in the UK, home to waterbirds such as redshank, oystercatcher and avocet, is back in good condition for the first time in a decade marking a major environmental achievement for World Wetland Day 2008, according to Natural England, Eastern Sea Fisheries Joint Committee (ESFJC) and Wash fishermen.
Improving the condition of the Wash has taken 10 years of partnership working and the recent agreement of the policies is testimony to the efforts made by all parties.
Press release ~ Natural England – The Wash ~ Eastern Sea Fisheries Joint Committee (ESFJC) ~ World Wetland Day 2008 ~ Images of the Wash ~ The Wash – Natural Area Profile ~ The Wash and North Norfolk Coast - Special Area of Conservation - SAC
NSGYoung Foundation chief Geoff Mulgan and University of the Arts Rector Sir Michael Bichard KCB are amongst a group of thought leaders from the UK and abroad to join the National School of Government’s Sunningdale Institute as Fellows, the School announced recently. The new intake – the first since the inception of the Institute in 2005 – sees 14 new Fellows join the Institute. 
Attached to the National School and chaired by Professor Cary Cooper, the Sunningdale Institute is dedicated to helping ministers and public service leaders with organisational development & delivery issues and works with organisations in a variety of ways – research & evaluation, building capacity through knowledge exchange in areas such as public leadership & governance, consulting on organisation & system design, connecting strategy & operations and fostering innovation.
Press release ~ National School of Government - Sunningdale Institute
CRC: The Commission for Rural Communities has given written evidence to the BERR Committee as part of its inquiry into the early experiences of the current Post Office ‘Network Change Programme’ for restructuring the post office network.
The programme involves the closure of 2,500 offices throughout the U.K. - but with the installation of 500 ‘outreach’ points.  The consultation is being rolled out through a series of more than 40 area plans over the period October 2007 to August 2008.
Press release ~ BERR Committee ~ The inquiry ~ Post Office ‘Network Change Programme’ ~ Evidence ~ More about our work on Post Offices in Rural Areas
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