News In Brief 31 July 2017


The UK Government and the energy regulator, Ofgem, say that consumers might save up to £40 billion by 2050 as a result of changes to the way that electricity is produced, used, and stored. New rules will make it easier for individuals to generate their own power with solar panels, store it in batteries, and sell it to the National Grid. Greg Clark, the Business Secretary, said the Government would be investing £246 million in the UK’s industrial strategy with a focus on battery design and manufacture.


The engineering consultant Arup has published a report commissioned by ScottishPower Renewables which argues that offshore windfarms could be constructed in the UK for the same cost of new gas power stations, and would be almost half as cheap as the Hinkley Point C nuclear power station. ScottishPower is hoping to force the Government to change its policy on windfarms, which it banned from competing for subsidies and against which it imposed new planning hurdles in 2015.


The UK’s seven biggest retailers issued around 83% fewer bags (more than 6 billion bags fewer) in 2016-2017 compared to the calendar year 2014, equivalent to each person in the population using around 25 bags during 2016 to 2017, compared to around 140 bags a year before the charge. Large retailers in England sold 2.1 billion single-use plastic carrier bags during the year from 7 April 2016 to 6 April 2017. They sold 1.1 billion single-use carrier bags during the first 6 months in 2015 to 2016. Out of the total, the 7 main retailers (Asda, Marks and Spencer’s, Sainsbury, Tesco, The Co-operative Group, Waitrose and Morrisons) sold around 1.3 billion single-use plastic carrier bags.


The social investment market in the UK has grown by 30% to almost £2 billion, according to Big Society Capital (BSC). BSC reported the value of social investments outstanding at the end of 2016 was £1.95 billion, going to at least 3,000 different charities and social enterprise, a £450 million rise on the previous year. Around £630 million of new social investment deals to about 1,100 charities were made in 2016, up from £427 million to around 950 in 2015.


The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the PIK (Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research) released a joint report called A Region at Risk: the Human Dimensions of Climate Change in Asia and the Pacific, which showed that the region faces severe consequences for the environment, economy and human living conditions as a result of climate change. According to the report, a temperature increase of 6° above pre-industrial times is projected for some parts of Asia and the Pacific by 2100, and will result in drastic changes in the region’s weather systems, agriculture and fisheries, biodiversity, trade and urban development. According to a director with PIK unabated global warming will mean migration out of the region of more than one billion people.


Michael Gove, the UK environment secretary, announced plans to ban the sale of new petrol and diesel cars in Britain by 2040. All new cars will have to be fully electric within a quarter of a century. Electric cars currently account for less than 1% of UK sales. Erik Fairbairn, founder and chief executive of electric car charging company PodPoint, forecast that 90% of cars will be fully electric around 2030. He estimated that 45m national charging points would be required by 2040, of which the vast majority would be in homes.



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