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News stories from 2002

Last updated: April 13, 2006.

Since newspapers are constantly rearranging their archives, many of the links on this page are now broken. If you're interested in a particular story and you can't reach it from the link here, try copying the name of the story and pasting it into your favourite search engine.

21 September 2002: British rivers are cleanest for 200 years: The Environment Agency claims dramatic improvements in river water quality.

19 July 2002: Fishing ban off Lundy: A 10km fishing-free zone is to be established off Lundy island, Britain's only marine nature reserve.

16 July 2002: Dolphin faces extinction due to fishing: Bottlenose dolphins could become extinct within 10 years in British waters, claim the Wildlife Trusts. More from The Independent.

15 July 2002: Exotic sea life arrives in Cornwall: Cornish locals have experienced some rare marine treats.

05 July 2002: Beach owner sues over radioactivity: The owner of a beach near the Dounreay nuclear power station is suing the UK Atomic Energy Authority.

30 June 2002: MP demands inquiry into leaking foot and mouth pit: A local MP has asked for an inquiry into allegations that one of Britain's biggest foot and mouth disposal pits is leaking toxic waste into the environment.

30 June 2002: Campaign warns over swimming dangers: Accident watchdogs are warning of the dangers of swimming in rivers and ponds during the school holidays. But what we really need is not blanket disapproval of swimming in rivers and lakes, but clear guidance to parents and children on areas where it is safe for them to swim out of doors. We should be encouraging children to swim safely in the natural environment, not bringing them up to believe that sterile, chlorinated swimming pools are a better alternative. That would happen if the UK government followed its European legal obligations and designated large numbers of inland bathing waters, as other European nations do.

19 June 2002: Farmers cause £500 million of environmental damage: Environment Agency figures suggest farmers may be damaging the environment to the tune of half a billion pounds a year.

05 June 2002: River campaigner starts polluted swim: Christopher Swain is swimming 1200 miles of the Columbia river to draw attention to contamination by pesticides, heavy metals, and other toxics.

04 June 2002: Road crossing for Lake District otters: Otters will be helped over a busy road on a new flood ledge between Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite Lake, near Keswick, the first otter crossing of its type in the UK.

01 June 2002: Commercial fish farms are wiping out wild salmon: A new WWF survey reports that commercial fish farming has decimated populations of wild salmon, with 15 per cent of salmon rivers in Europe and North America found to be barren.

30 May 2002: Eating contaminated fish causes cancer: A new report suggests people who eat fish from waters contaminated by nuclear plant discharges are at more risk of developing cancer.

27 May 2002: Otters spotted in London!: Otters have been spotted on the Thames near Hampton Court and Wanstead -- the first time they have been seen in London for decades.

22 May 2002: Another huge iceberg breaks off Antarctica: The second gigantic iceberg in two weeks has broken free.

11 May 2002: Farewell to the natives: Alien plants are killing off our native species. Anglesey is one of the areas at risk, reports News Wales.

11 May 2002: Goodbye to the green belt?: The government is hoping, once more, to relax planning controls on green belt land, with support from the Royal Town Planning Institute.

05 May 2002: Ministers ignore the countryside: The Independent claims DEFRA, the rural affairs government department, is "deaf" to rural Britain's needs.

02 May 2002: Local councils will target polluting firms: New government proposals aim to make it easier for local councils to focus resources on polluting factories.

02 May 2002: New proposals will not save seas: Environmentalists say a new government strategy for Britain's seas is "too little, too late".

02 May 2002: Ancient river ferry under threat: A 400-year-old ferry crossing over the river Severn at Bridgnorth could close as the owners struggle to find the money for a new boat.

30 April 2002: Gardeners urged to avoid peat: Friends of the Earth continues to campaign for green gardening.

30 April 2002: 150,000 salmon killed in Welsh Dee tributary: Investigations are under way to find how pollution came to kill huge numbers of salmon in the Afon Ceirw. More from News Wales.

26 April 2002: Farmers choke waterways: English Nature and the Environment Agency have highlighted the danger posed to waterways by farm chemicals. Same story from The Independent.

23 April 2002: Harrison Ford to stop river polluters!: In a bizarre mix of fiction and reality, the real-life Indiana Jones actor will target polluters of the Hudson River in his helicopter.

20 April 2002: Esso and US ditch climate chief: The Exxon/Esso oil company played a key role in ousting climate chief Dr Bob Watson from the chair of the IPCC climate science body, say campaigners from Friends of the Earth. More from The Independent.

17 April 2002: Greens screen shocking pollution advert: The Green Party's election broadcast will show a man murdering a child with car exhaust fumes in an attempt to highlight the 24,000 annual deaths from pollution in the UK.

15 April 2002: Irish blitz Blair over Sellafield: A million Irish people will petition Tony Blair over the safety of the Sellafield nuclear plant. Update: Read about the response from Whitehall.

11 April 2002: A billion people lack safe drinking water: Speaking at the Accra Water Conference in Ghana, Prince Willem Alexander of Orange stated that half the world population lacks adequate sanitation, and more than two million people die each year from water-related diseases.

09 April 2002: Why were children burned in the sea?: The Environment Agency has failed to find why children were burned after a suspected chemical spill at Llanelli beach, south Wales.

08 April 2002: Alien species threat to biodiversity: An international conference has discussed the threat posed by non-native species to the world's diminishing biodiversity.

05 April 2002: 2000 fish die in River Tame: The Environment Agency is investigating why up to 2000 fish were killed in a Manchester river.

04 April 2002: Electronic tongue can "taste" polluted rivers: Electronic engineers at Cardiff University have developed a new device for measuring river pollution.

04 April 2002: Garden centre pondweed attacks Lake District: Cheap pondweed is strangling life at Bassenthwaite Lake, Coniston Water and Derwent Water.

03 April 2002: Ships and boats warm the world: Marine vessels are contributing significantly to global warming, according to a new study.

02 April 2002: Fears for wild salmon: An escape of factory-farmed salmon has prompted new fears for wild populations.

01 April 2002: Welsh surfers fight dredging: Aberystwyth surfers are fighting the dredging of their favourite break to make way for a new marina. More from Surfers Against Sewage.

29 March 2002: UK emissions rise: Bad news for the planet and global warming -- the UK's carbon emissions have risen for the second year in a row.

28 March 2002: Sellafield orders two new fire engines to fight attacks: In the wake of September 11, Britain's main nuclear plant has ordered two new fire engines. That's alright then.

28 March 2002: New satellite puts focus on environment: Envisat has started generating dramatic pictures of Earth's fragile environment.

28 March 2002: £140 million for recycling: England has one of the lowest recycling rates in Europe (surprise surprise). New government funding aims to change all that.

26 March 2002: Pesticide safety advice for children withdrawn: According to Friends of the Earth, the Advisory Committee on Pesticides (ACP) is recommending that the Government withdraw long- standing safety advice aimed at reducing children's exposure to pesticides.

25 March 2002: Ireland shrinks through global warming: Erosion caused by global warming is nibbling away at the Emerald Isle.

22 March 2002: Severe water shortages by 2025: On World Water Day 2002, the UN has warned that many people face a bleak, water-scarce future.

21 March 2002: North Sea Skate driven to extinction: Overfishing has claimed another casualty in the North Sea.

20 March 2002: UK beaches drown under tide of litter: The results of last year's Beachwatch clean-up operation, coordinated by the Marine Conservation Society, make depressing reading.

20 March 2002: New protection for wildlife?: The Highways Agency is spending £15 million over ten years to protect wildlife. But hang on! £15 million... compared to the hundreds of millions it intends to spend on new roads that will damage or destroy wildlife habitats throughout the country? Sounds like greenwash to us. As long as we have flowers on motorway verges, presumably it doesn't matter if we don't have them anywhere else.

19 March 2002: Wild salmon boost for Scottish Highlands: Prof Bob Kindness of Iverness College hopes his new plan will boost stocks of the threatened fish.

17 March 2002: Are men changing sex... or just fish?: New research by the Environment Agency could explain a decline in male fertility, as well as trans-sexual fish. Same story from The Independent.

15 March 2002: Anglian Water fined £200,000 for sewage pollution: A private prosection has punished Anglian Water for polluting the River Crouch. The Environment Agency commented: "We believe we could have mounted a stronger case and we would urge people to leave prosecutions to us in these situations." But householder Roy Hart claims he took the action himself because he was annoyed by the attitude of the Environment Agency. If the EA prosecuted more often and more consistently, and if magistrates supported them, private citizens and community groups might not need to take out private prosecutions.

13 March 2002: AMEC pulls out of controversial dam: The AMEC construction company has withdrawn from the controversial Yusufeli Dam proposed for Turkey, which would flood 18 towns and villages and precious archeological sites including churches, fortresses and a citadel. More from Friends of the Earth and The Independent.

10 March 2002: Small god of things: The Observer profiles diminutive Indian writer and anti-dam activist Arundhati Roy.

06 March 2002: Big cuts in "cancer gases": Friends of the Earth reports a 40% reduction in some cancer-causing pollutants from British factories.

05 March 2002: RSPCA asks anglers to watch out for swans: At least 3000 swans a year are hurt by discarded fishing tackle, according to the RSPCA.

05 March 2002: Salmon faces extinction in River Nore: Pollution could drive the sought-after fish from Kilkenny's River Nore within a decade.

05 March 2002: Irish plastic bag tax does rivers a favour: A new charge on Irish consumers who use disposable plastic bags is good news for rivers and the environment. Time for Britain to follow suit. More from the Irish Times.

05 March 2002: Meacher warns of marine pollution: Michael Meacher will tell an international conference about the risks to marine life of pollution and climate change.

04 March 2002: Planning reforms "a disaster": Government proposals to fast-track planning proposals would be disastrous for the environment, according to an alliance of Friends of the Earth, CPRE, and Transport 2000, who have launched a new website

03 March 2002: Environmental hazards kill under 5s: An international conference has heard that 3 million children die each year from pollution and related hazards.

01 March 2002: MPs call for better flood protection: Conservative MP Edward Leigh says he is concerned about the Environment Agency's failure to respond quickly enough to the risk of flooding.

01 March 2002: Women may need more protection from mercury in fish: Controversy rages in the US over whether women need better advice on the risks of mercury. But what about women in the UK?

24 February 2002: Peat bogs saved: Two of Britain's finest peat bog habitats are to be saved after a campaign lasting several years by Friends of the Earth and others.

21 February 2002: Richest coral reefs under "extreme threat": 10 of the world's best reefs are among many at great risk.

20 February 2002: Ethical consumers ditch fish: Fish shortages are prompting a rethink for ethical eaters.

19 February 2002: Sea levels could rise by 8 inches: New research suggests last year's climate change predictions may be too conservative.

19 February 2002: Sponsored shellfish to save polluted river: A resident of Osaka wants to grow pearl-producing shellfish to clean up the city's polluted river.

19 February 2002: US-style superhighways threaten British countryside: Environment group Transport 2000 is warning about the return of massive government roadbuilding plans in its new report Bringing Los Angeles to Middle England.

14 February 2002: EarthRights helps green groups fight flood defence: Flood defence or environmental protection? With increasing pressure from the insurance industry, householders, and the weather, the Environment Agency has had little choice but to give flood defence its top priority, often at the expense of protecting the natural environment. Critics talk of rivers being turned into "high-speed drains" and call for less engineering and more natural methods of flood protection. But specialist environmental law firm EarthRights has now mounted a legal challenge to an environmentally damaging flood defence scheme in Bideford on behalf of North Devon Friends of the Earth. Could this be a sign of things to come? We'll keep you posted. Meanwhile....

14 February 2002: Flood taxes pay for storm defences?: The government is looking at new taxes to pay for flood defence work. How about a carbon tax for starters?

13 February 2001: Fisheries board opposes hydroelectric scheme: A plan by Hal Hydro Ltd to generate hydroelectric power from the Roughty River in south Kerry is being vigorously opposed by Ireland's South Western Regional Fisheries Board (SWRFB).

13 February 2001: Hazardous waste dumped in Suir: Thousands of tonnes of sludge, including hazardous chemicals, have been dumped into the River Suir in Waterford without a discharge licence, The Irish Times has confirmed.

11 February 2002: Watercress farm threatens river Bourne (again): The Independent reports: "Europe's biggest watercress farm is seeking to expand along one of England's most beloved small rivers, whose waters it has already badly polluted."

03 February 2002: Wet winters are here to stay... thanks to climate change, according to the Met Office.

31 January 2002: Wendy Turner in fish farm protest: TV's Wendy Turner has been sitting in a bath of cold water outside the Scottish Parliament to draw attention to the problems of fish farming.

29 January 2002: Goldfish may be source of frog virus: A virus that is killing Britain's frogs by the thousand may have entered the country through imported goldfish.

27 January 2002: Environment Agency cuts back on pollution checks: In a disturbing sign of things to come, Britain's pollution watchdog is cutting back through lack of funds. As pressure mounts for the Agency to tackle the effects of climate change, just how much interest can (and will) it take in the quality of our inland waters in future?

26 January 2002: Landfills linked to Down's syndrome babies: A report in medical journal The Lancet suggests babies born within 3km of landfill sites taking hazardous waste are 40 per cent more likely to be born with chromosomal anomalies, such as Down's Syndrome. More on this story from Environment News Service.

25 January 2001: EU welcome for improved river water quality: EU Environment Commissioner has welcomed the news that the quality of Ireland's rivers is starting to improve, but points out that much work still needs to be done.

24 January 2001: Report shows improved river water quality: Ireland's rivers have started to improve... for the first time in 30 years.

20 January 2002: Soil Association suppresses critical organic food report: Organic food regulator, the Soil Association, has been accused of trying too hard not to upset big supermarkets following its decision to suppress a critical report. Meanwhile, Friends of the Earth reports that "Top organic supermarkets back call for more organic farming"

15 January 2002: Global warming slowing down?: NASA reports that greenhouse emissions may be slowing down. NASA climate chief James Hansen has renewed calls for a shift of attention from limiting carbon dioxide to limiting methane and soot.

14 January 2002: Prince attacks fishing threat to seabirds: Prince Charles has stepped up his campaign to save the albatross from the threat of long-line fishing.

11 January 2002: Decision due on Ruthin flood scheme: Denbighshire County Council is due to vote on a flood allevation scheme for Ruthin in Wales.

11 January 2002: The State of the World 2002: The Worldwatch Institute is calling for a "global war on poverty and environmental degradation that is as aggressive and well funded as the war on terrorism".

11 January 2002: World's biggest offshore wind-farm heads for Irish sea: The Irish government has given permission for 200 wind turbines five miles from the coast of Co Wicklow and 40 miles south of Dublin. More on this from Environment News Service.

07 January 2001: State urged to buy back waterways: The Irish Times reports: "Taxpayer's money is being used to pay the regional fishery boards to protect privately- owned rivers, according to a Mayo Fianna F�il councillor."

07 January 2002: International moves to avert water wars: UNESCO and Green Cross International have announced they will cooperate to reduce the risk of wars over the world's increasingly scarce water resources. The new initiative, called Water for Peace, will involve case studies of shared river basins.

07 January 2002: Fridge legislation backfires on Cornish farmer: New legislation on the disposal of fridges is leading to widespread, random tipping in the countryside, as one farmer has discovered to his cost. How long before discarded fridges start filling up our rivers?

07 January 2002: Monsanto accused of polluting rivers: The Monsanto chemical company, long under fire for its GM food technology, is now being accused of polluting rivers and land in Alabama over a 50-year period.

03 January 2002: Dolphins may die despite driftnet ban: A new European ban on driftnet fishing may not be enough to save dolphins, according to the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society.

03 January 2002: Recycle those Christmas cards!: The Woodland Trust is working with Tesco and WH Smith to encourage more card recycling. That means fewer landfills, less pollution, and better rivers!

01 January 2002: Red kite comeback may restock Europe: The return of one of Britain's rarest birds may be good news for the rest of Europe.

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