Industry News

BIS: Business Minister, Ian Lucas, had a taste of the future of motoring in the UK when he was one of the first people to get the chance to drive GM's  new electric car last week. Driving the Ampera around GM’s testing facilities at Millbrook, Ian Lucas got a chance to experience the motoring power that the next generation of electric vehicles is delivering.
 
The Ampera’s electric battery can keep going for 300 miles with the aid of a small petrol engine after the first 40 miles of pure electrical range.  The car is expected to be available in the UK in 2012 and the Government remains keen to secure its production at the Ellesmere Port plant in Merseyside.
Press release ~ Ampera ~ Amped Up: Opel Ampera @ 2009 Geneva Auto Show Video ~ BIS:  Low Carbon Vehicles
 
WAG: Rural Affairs Minister Elin Jones has announced the application window dates for the forthcoming Young Entrants Support Scheme (YESS).  The YESS scheme application window for the 2010/11 scheme year will open for applications on 4 January 2010 and close on 28 February 2010.
 
The YESS scheme provides assistance to facilitate the establishment of young farmers (under 40) who possess adequate skills & competence and are setting-up as head of the holding for the first time or have set-up as head of holding for the first time within the previous 12 months.
Press release ~ Young Entrants Support scheme
 
OS: Geographic information has played a key role in the success of an environmental project that has received a top national award and will now be showcased worldwide. Daventry District Council’s Walking Bus and Taxi Scheme for Schools has received the National Gold Award for Environmental Best Practice at the Green Apple Environment Awards at the House of Commons.  The project will now be featured in the next Green Book, the world’s only work of reference on environmental best practice.
 
The project, underpinned by Ordnance Survey data, has enabled several schools in the district to set up their own walking bus or taxi scheme to help youngsters get to & from school more safely.  Pupils draw their journeys to & from school and the District Council then maps them electronically using geographic information technology, to help schools determine the best walking bus & taxi routes for pupils & parents. The council used a combination of Ordnance Survey’s OS MasterMap Topography and Integrated Transport Network Layers to carry out the analysis.
 
The Green Apples Awards were established 15 years ago by The Green Organisation, an independent, non-political, non-profit organisation that recognises, rewards & promotes environmental best practice around the world.
Press release ~ Green Organisation (includes link to Green Book) ~ OS MasterMap
 
Newswire – HCA: Details of the successful schemes for the second round of funding from the Homes and Communities Agency’s (HCA) low carbon infrastructure initiative, totalling £8.80m, were announced last week.  The initiative, a partnership with the DECC and CLG, will provide funding for schemes across the country to benefit from new & existing low carbon energy plants by creating the infrastructure needed to link them up.
Press release ~ HCA:   Low carbon infrastructure initiative
 
ScotGovNathan's Wastesavers have officially opened their new £2.5m extension in Denny, adding to their 230 strong workforce. Over 1m garments are recycled every week at the sorting plant, the largest single employers in the area. Environment Minister Roseanna Cunningham said: "As well as the benefits to charities, recycling textiles means one more waste material being dealt with constructively, rather than landfilled 'out of sight, out of mind. ……   We will publish the national waste management plan next year and I look forward to working with service providers, like Nathan's, to make Scotland a zero waste society”.
 
Roberto Cocozza, Business Development Director at Nathan's said: "Last year, the collection of unwanted textiles raised £4.5 million for charities and the projection for this year is close to £6 million. As well as partnership with the UK-wide charities, we also work closely with schools through our Rag Bag Education and fundraising program, helping schools achieve ECOSchool awards".
Press release ~ Zero Waste Scotland ~ Nathan’s Wastesavers ~ Nathan’s Rag Bag Education program ~ ECO School awards
 
ScotGov: The Scottish Government have confirmed £120,000 funding to develop & grow farmers markets around the country with an extra £97,000 to help individual markets. It is hoped that the support will increase the number of farmers involved in markets, boost sales of local produce and expand the number of venues across the country, including making markets a more permanent shopping fixture.
 
The additional support will be taken forward by a new partnership managed by the Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS), Scottish Food Quality Certification (SFQC) and Scottish Agricultural College (SAC), with other key groups being closely involved. The Farmers Markets Development Partnership will be chaired by Sally Crystal, Chair of the Scottish Association of Farmers Markets (SAFM).
Press release ~ Food Processing, Marketing and Co-operation scheme ~ Scottish Association of Farmers Markets (SAFM) ~ National Farmers' Retail & Markets Association ~ Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS) ~ Scottish Food Quality Certification (SFQC) ~ Scottish Agricultural College (SAC)
 
Dstl: The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory’s (Dstl) new explosion debris processing facility will enable faster & safer sifting of wreckage to identify crucial forensic evidence, which could help solve terrorist crimes.  It has 2 separate process lines, each with a mechanised drying & screening process, force ventilated search cabinets and the means for capturing waste material that could have an effect on the environment.  

While going through the debris, technicians look for items that appear to be alien to the environment from which they have been recovered and that therefore could be of forensic interest. The final decision on which items to further examine is taken by the lead Forensic Explosives Laboratory (FEL) case officer.

Dstl staff specified the outline requirements of the new facility with an emphasis on operator health and safety and the environment.  The new debris processing facility is made up of commercially available equipment, saving both on cost & maintenance.
Press release ~ Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl)
 
ScotGov: A new programme agreed by ScotGov’s Public Procurement Advisory Group will target better guidance & assistance for SMEs to make it easier to access to government contracts. Other measures include the ongoing simplification of public procurement processes, better guidance for buyers & suppliers and easier access to low value contracts.
Press release ~ Public Sector Procurement in Scotland ~ Public Procurement Advisory Group ~ Public Procurement Reform Programme
 
LDA: Hospitals, colleges & councils will be helped to cut energy use & save £ms off their fuel bills under a major expansion of a climate change programme announced by the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson.  The Mayor recently visited a London fire station in Ilford, 1 of 42 buildings in the GLA family to have benefited from a green makeover, which has enabled it to slash more than 40% of its carbon emissions.  
 
A further 9 fire stations, 10 Met Police Service & 22 TfL buildings have between them achieved on average a 27% reduction in carbon emissions and have saved £1m off the annual fuel bills of London.  The Mayor has pledged another 58 Greater London Authority Group buildings will follow.
 
With the support of the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) - part of the William J Clinton Foundation - London is the first city in the world to have launched a framework of approved energy service companies, which cuts through red tape by creating a clever financial model, enabling public sector organisations to retrofit their buildings with energy efficiency measures more easily.  It is estimated if all the PS buildings in London used this model, they could save around £500m off bills and the model can be replicated across the UK.
Press release ~ Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) ~ LDA: Building Energy Efficiency Programme (BEEP)
 
DfT: Up to 1,000 jobs will be secured and up to 10,000 tonnes of CO2 saved thanks to a grant of £30m to bus operators and local authorities. The winners of the Green Bus Fund - which aims to encourage & help bus operators and local authorities to buy new low carbon buses - will now be able to purchase 349 vehicles which will operate in most of our main cities (& some rural areas) by March 2012.  
 
As more low carbon buses are produced & sold, it is hoped that costs will reduce, which should encourage bus technology and stimulate the market for low carbon buses.  Low carbon buses use at least 30% less fuel and emit nearly a third less carbon than an equivalent conventional bus.  Most of the buses are hybrids, but the Fund will also support the purchase of at least 55 new electric buses.
Press release ~ DfT: Green Bus Fund ~ Bus Service Operators Grant (BSOG)
 
ScotGov: A Scottish Government funded research institute has helped create a new diet range that is said to help 'control hunger'. The Rowett Institute of Nutrition & Health in Aberdeen has been working with retailer M&S to develop the 'Simply Fuller Longer' range of products.
 
Dr Alexandra Johnstone from the Rowett Insitute said: "My published studies have indicated that meals rich in protein help to satisfy volunteers' appetites to allow them to lose weight and not feel hungry.  These new meals are based on this principle and therefore should help to satisfy hunger”.
 
The aim of the research is to provide a sound basis for improved dietary advice to consumers and also to provide science which can be translated into ways to improve the healthiness of primary & secondary food products for the benefit of both the rural & food industry sectors in Scotland and the UK and so make a significant contribution to Scotland's Food and Drink Policy.
Press release ~ Rowett Institute ~ Scotland's Food and Drink Policy
 
MLA: The Museums, Libraries and Archive Council (MLA) is working with JISC and JANET(UK), who respectively fund & operate the JANET education and research network, to give public libraries access to a wider range of high quality online learning resources and the option of a faster internet service.
 
To give some idea of the potential improvement, JANET connection speeds are 1 gigabit per second (1Gbit/s) – up to 10 times more than existing typical bandwidths at central libraries in England, which in turn can be 10 times more than home connections.
Case Study:  Shropshire Libraries connect to JANET - During 2008, Shropshire’s ICT Department monitored usage of the entire county network and discovered that it was using almost all of its bandwidth capacity.  Options for bandwidth improvement were considered and one of those options was JANET.
 
Shropshire held meetings with JANET representatives and discovered some surprising facts.  Remarkably, the costs of increasing bandwidth by around 20 times would come out at less than Shropshire’s previous ISP service arrangements.  This meant that the quality of its People's Network could be dramatically improved & at a reduced cost.
Press release ~ Museums, Libraries and Archive Council (MLA) ~ JISC ~ JANET(UK) ~ Culture24 website ~ Shropshire People's Network
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