General News

WAG: Readers of Wired-Gov Plus may find the information about Readers and software useful when viewing items on the Internet.
 
ScotGov: The Road Equivalent Tariff pilot operating on all ferry routes to the Western Isles has attracted 23% more cars and 14% more passengers compared with the same period in 2007-08. Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE) is responsible for working with public partners in encouraging areas participating in the pilot to maximise benefits in the local economy.
 
RET involves setting ferry fares on the basis of the cost of travelling an equivalent distance by road.  High ferry fares have been seen by many as a barrier to economic growth on the islands.  Lowering the fares to a level analogous to mainland traffic costs will act as a boost to island economies by reducing freight costs to local businesses, lowering the cost of living for island residents and making the islands more attractive to tourists.  The pilot commenced on October 19, 2008 and will run until spring 2011.
Press release ~ Road Equivalent Tariff (RET) ~ Highlands and Islands Enterprise ~  RET - Business Survey ~  Scottish Cabinet Round the Country
 
Monitor: The Walton Centre NHS Foundation Trust has been authorised since 1 August 2009. The announcement means there are now 122 NHS foundation trusts in total, of which 36 are mental health NHS foundation trusts.
Press release ~ Monitor – Becoming an NHS Trust
 
HA: The Highways Agency has launched its summer ‘Bag it Bin it’ campaign, with the support of the AA, the RAC Foundation and the Institute of Advanced Motorists, reminding road users about the problems that litter can cause on motorways and major A roads.  
 
Clearing rubbish also puts workers at risk of injury and diverts resources away from road maintenance & repairs.  The HA estimates that approximately 700,000 bags of litter are removed from our road network in England every year.
 
As part of ‘Bag it and Bin it’, drivers are being encouraged to carry a litter bag in their vehicle to collect their rubbish until it can be safely disposed of.  To get the message across, the HA is distributing biodegradable and recyclable paper litter bags from its exhibition stand at events this summer.
Press release ~ HA: Frequently Asked Litter Questions
 
HO: An awards scheme to recognise people who have been at the forefront of tackling crime and anti-social behaviour in their communities has been launched by the Government, building on the success of the previous Home Office Taking A Stand Awards. The Community Crime Fighter awards are part of the Government’s Justice Seen, Justice Done programme which is all about engaging the public in the fight against crime, informing the public of their rights on crime & justice and giving them the best possible local services.
 
Community Crime Fighters are experienced local volunteers who are given the skills & training to work alongside police and local authorities to help make their areas safer.  The Government pledged to have 3,600 trained by the end of 2009 and is on target with more than 2,000 trained so far.
Press release ~ Community Crime Fighter awards ~ Taking A Stand Awards ~ Community Crime Fighters ~ Engaging Communities in the Fight against Crime
 
Defra: Scouts & Girl Guides at the Scout Jamboree in Windsor Great Park last week were taking part in a campaign which aims to encourage families & people of all ages to get out & about in the countryside by taking part in volunteering projects which help the environment.
 
Defra’s Muck In4Life stand at the Scout Jamboree, which is organised by scouting organisation WINGS09, had lots of activities for everyone to enjoy throughout the event, from building a bird feeder to making a pledge to help the environment promise in the ‘promise book’.  Activities volunteers can take part in include anything from clearing out pond weed, picking up litter, to counting bats or birds or even building a dry stone wall.
Press release ~ Muck In4Life ~ WINGS2009 ~ World Organisation of Scout Movements ~ World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts
 
NA: The National Archives' education service has been awarded a Sandford Award for its work with schools.  Its specialist staff reach 15,000 pupils a year, through workshops on site at NA in Kew and videoconferences with schools across the country.
 
The Sandford Awards are awarded by the Heritage Education Trust, which recognises & promotes good practice in learning services within the historic environment & related collections.
Press release ~ NA Education service ~ Heritage Education Trust – Sandford Awards
 
NE: A new, contemporary beehive for the urban beekeeper, launched by Omlet with support from Natural England, will make it easy for anyone - from amateurs to seasoned apiarists - to help bees find a home in urban gardens up & down the country.  Omlet launched the world famous Eglu chicken house in 2004, sparking a new wave of urban chicken keeping.
 
The strikingly designed hive - called the ‘Beehaus’ - is developed with the help of leading beekeepers to be a 21st century home for bees and has urban spaces very much in mind.  With proper care & access to local sources of nectar it's quite possible to collect over 20kg of honey from a Beehaus hive in a good year. 
 
The Beehaus comes with legs to keep the bees out of the coldest air in winter when they are hibernating; the legs raise the hive to a comfortable height for the beekeeper, which makes inspecting the hive much easier.  It has a mesh floor that provides year round ventilation helping the bees to maintain a hygienic home and assists the beekeeper in controlling the varroa mite by allowing fallen mite to drop away from the hive.
Press release ~ Omlet – Bee Haus ~ Natural England – Help Save the Bumblebee ~ Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) ~ Bee Farmers Association ~ Scottish Beekeepers Association ~ Defra – Bee Health ~ WAG - Strategy on Protecting and improving The Health of Honey Bees ~ Healthy Bees ~ NAO: The Health of Livestock and honeybees in England ~ BeeBase ~ National Bee Unit ~ Strategy on protecting and improving the health of honey bees in England and Wales ~ Foul brood disease of honey bees: recognition and control ~ Bees and Varroa
 
NAAncestry.co.uk has launched online the registers of 1.4m individuals across England & Wales who were indicted for trial from the late 18th to the late 19th centuries. The England and Wales Criminal Registers, 1791-1892 (1791 to 1804 are for Middlesex only) are taken from 279 original paper volumes held at The National Archives (series HO 26 and HO 27).
 
They document trials & sentences for crimes ranging from murder & highway robbery, through petty theft & fraud, to minor cases of bad language and scrumping (stealing fruit from orchards). The registers show details of the crime, the full name &date of birth of the accused, the location of the trial and the judgment passed. You can search the trial records for free, but there is a charge to download images of the original documents.
Press release ~ Search the trial records
 
Defra: The dairy industry looks set to smash targets for cutting the impact producing dairy products has on the environment.  One year after launching the Milk Roadmap, first indications are that the industry is well on the way towards the first set of milestones in 2010.
 
Dairy producers committed to have half of dairy managed farmland in Environmental Schemes by 2010 and have already hit 45%, one year ahead of schedule.  Milk processors are working with partners in the supply chain and are on track to incorporate 10% of recycled plastic into milk bottles by the end of 2010. In addition:
* Nearly half of dairy farmers have a Nutrient Management Plan (2010 target of 65%)
* Water conservation –70+% of farmers have made changes to the management of clean water on their farms
*Retailers - One major supermarket has slashed in store energy use by 50% since 2000.
Press release ~ Milk Roadmap ~ Defra: Milk & milk products: Dairy Supply Chain Forum (DSCF) ~ Nutrient Management Plan ~ Dairy Farming – Being Green
 
Newswire – TSA: Two organisations, one raising the standards for tenants' homes, the other responsible for resolving housing disputes, have demonstrated their commitment to improving services to tenants by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for exchanging information.
 
The Tenant Services Authority (TSA) and the Housing Ombudsman Service (HOS) have agreed an interim protocol, which will enable information sharing between the 2 organisations and improve the complaints procedures for tenants.  Joint working will include the sharing of quarterly reports and statistics between the TSA and HOS, which will indicate themes of enquiries and complaints so that trends can be analysed.
Press release ~ Memorandum of Understanding ~ Tenant Services Authority (TSA) ~ Housing Ombudsman Service (HOS)
 
STFCSTFC Innovations Ltd’s excellence in knowledge exchange & technology transfer has been recognised with the awarding of a prestigious contract by the European Space Agency (ESA).  It has been selected to lead ESA’s Technology Transfer Programme (TPP) in the UK as part of its Technology Transfer Network.
 
This will see them identify opportunities to exploit ESA’s technology, expertise and know-how to create social & economic impact in non-space sectors. ESA’s technologies have been used in a wide number of areas including; to improve air purification in hospital intensive care wards, produce enhanced materials for sports equipment such as running shoes, to monitor offshore oil & gas fields, and help manufacturers to develop or improve new and existing products.

STFC Innovations Ltd has a long track record of successful commercialisation & knowledge exchange.  Since its creation in 2002 it has successfully established 15 spin-out companies which have raised more than £25m of external investment between them.  STFC Innovations Ltd is the new name for CLIK Knowledge Transfer Ltd.
Press release ~ STFC Innovations Ltd ~ European Space Agency (ESA) ~ ESA's Technology Transfer Programme Office (TTPO)

ScotGov: Two wind farm developments that will supply green energy to around 43,000 more homes have been approved. The 29 turbine Berry Burn wind farm, on the Altyre Estate near Forres, will have a capacity of 78 Megawatts (MW). The six turbine extension to the 20 turbine Millennium wind farm near Fort Augustus will increase the capacity by 15 MW to 65 MW.
 
Combined, the schemes will employ around 100 people during construction and provide 5 full time jobs.  The ScotGov's Energy Consents &Deployment Unit is currently processing 34 renewable project applications - 25 wind farms & 9 hydro projects.
Press release ~ ScotGov - Energy ~ Energy Policy: An Overview ~ Energy Consents Unit ~ Scotland's Energy Future ~ European Marine Energy Centre in Orkney ~ Clyde windfarm ~Scottish Renewables ~ Energy Efficiency and Microgeneration: Achieving a Low Carbon Future: A Strategy for Scotland: The Scottish Government Response

VSO: Local VSO returned volunteers are calling on their primary school colleagues across Derby to follow in their footsteps and spend just 20 minutes of their summer holiday applying to be a volunteer.  The international development charity is looking for primary teachers who can share their skills across the developing world in 2010.
 
To ensure thousands of children across the developing world have access to quality education, VSO needs qualified primary school teachers (with at least 2 years’ experience) to volunteer their time & expertise in countries such as Malawi, Nepal and Ghana.  By sharing skills with local teachers, VSO volunteers help to ensure more children experience inspiring, happy and lively classrooms.
 
Primary school teachers who apply this summer will be able to be overseas as early as January 2010.  Working with a cluster of schools and local colleagues, volunteers observe lessons, run workshops, help teachers develop educational materials and focus on helping teachers use child centred teaching methods to help make the classroom a rewarding experience.
 
VSO provides volunteers with flights, accommodation and an allowance to cover basic costs. UK public sector professionals volunteering for between 6 months and 2 years are entitled to claim pension contributions providing they return to the public sector for a minimum of 6 months on their return to the UK.
Press release ~ VSO – Volunteering for Primary School Education ~ VSO – Education ~ Millennium Development Goal - Education ~ The Millennium Development Goals Report 2008 ~ Global Campaign for Education ~ What Makes Teachers Tick?
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