General News

DfT: Ruth Kelly, Secretary of State for Transport has announced a £140m fund to help half a million children cycle safely and a generation of adults rediscover their bikes. The money will be made available over the next three years and forms part of the Government's strategy to tackle obesity.
 
Of the £140million total funding, only £110m is new as Government funding for Cycling England is already £10m a year.  The package includes a contribution from the Department of Health in recognition of cycling's role in helping build the recommended levels of activity into people's daily lives
 
Cycling England will be seeking bids for the new CycleDemonstrationTowns and City in spring 2008/9.  Following a period of planning, the major investment will begin the following year.
Press release ~ Cycling England ~ Cycling Demonstration Towns ~ Bikeability scheme ~ 'Towards a Sustainable Transport System' ~ Safe Links to Schools ~ National Cycle Network
 
DCSF: From 2011, every 11 to 14-year-old will be given, hands-on cooking lessons in how to make cheap, healthy dishes from simple, fresh ingredients.  Over 85% of schools already have the facilities in place and offer food technology classes - lessons will be compulsory and will cover basic cooking skills for all pupils in these schools from this September and in every school from 2011.
 
The Government is asking the public to suggest (getcooking.consultation@dcsf.gsi.gov.uk) healthy versions of classic dishes young people can cook - including shepherd's pie, curries, tomato & bolognese sauces, baked apples and fruit crumbles.
Press release ~ 'Food in Schools' programme ~ BBC - Cooking in schools ~ Let's Get Cooking ~ Food Standards Agency - Cooking Bus ~ School Food Trust
 
ScotGovLamlashBay on the Isle of Arran is set to become Scotland's first Community Marine Conservation Area. This will be the first time statutory protection has been given to a marine area in Scotland as a result of proposals being developed at grassroots level. Under the new proposals:
* part of the bay will become a marine reserve where fishing activity will be prohibited
* the remainder will be a fisheries management area with a particular focus on scallops
* students at the new Clauchhlands Outdoor Education Centre will be able to study and enjoy a protected marine environment on their doorstep

The Community Marine Conservation Area will consist of a ‘no take’ zone and a fisheries management zone.
Press release ~ Scottish Coastal Forum ~ COAST (Community of Arran Seabed Trust)
 
DWP: The Pension Service and the Disability and Carers Service are to be brought together into a single Agency - the Pension, Disability and Carers Service - Peter Hain, the (now ex-) Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, has announced.  The new Agency will come into existence on 1 April 2008.
 
The two existing Agencies increasingly share many of the same customers - over half of the customers of the Disability and Carers Service are also customers of The Pension Service and the proportion is growing as people live longer.
Press release ~ Pension Service ~ Disability and Carers Service
 
YF: Yorkshire and Humber companies who like to work at the cutting edge are being urged by Yorkshire Forward to enter a new awards event that is recognising forward thinkers. Nominations for the innovator/08 awards are due to close on Tuesday, 5 February, which means regional companies don’t have long to put themselves forward for one of the eight accolades up for grabs.
 
One Yorkshire company, Cybertraining.co.uk Ltd, has already submitted its nomination after developing artificial ‘trees’ which generate energy as they sway to wind and vehicle movement, which can be used to power street lighting and ‘green’ property developments.
 
It also prevents negative effects of global warming including anti-desertification, irrigation, topsoil erosion, insect swarms and forest fire prevention - fulfilling three of the UN’s stated primary mission objectives – drought/famine, airborne and waterborne disease.
Press release ~ Innovator/08 - Yorkshire Forward
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