News stories from 2006
Last updated: 25 January 2007.
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28 December 2006: Hypocritical government announces measures to encourage individuals to tackle climate change and take up greener lifestyles: More greenwash from the UK government. It's just announced: "Measures to help individuals tackle climate change and adopt greener lifestyles... The announcement includes the launch of a comprehensive on-line guide to greener living on Directgov. A carbon calculator to help people find out how much carbon they emit annually from their actions is also being developed. The online guide to greener living is designed to help people who want to find out what they can do in their everyday lives to tackle climate change and other environmental issues." Meanwhile, the same government is planning to build or fund over 160 new road schemes, expand numerous airports, and return to nuclear power (all of which will directly or indirectly make climate change worse).
27 December 2006: US accepts threat to polar bears: The US has proposed listing polar bears as a threatened species because of declining Arctic ice levels. It is the first time the US has made a direct link between global warming and the threat to a species.
20 December 2006: Endangered cod falls victim to EU blunder: Britain's most articulate critic of fisheries policy, Charles Clover, writes in The Telegraph that: "An opportunity to spare the endangered cod was squandered by EU fisheries ministers yesterday after a tactical blunder by Joe Borg, the fisheries commissioner."
21 December 2006: "Celebrity" angler fined for car boot fish smuggling: A professional angler caught trying to smuggle live fish from Britain to Ireland to use as bait has been fined. Nigel Williams admitted trying to smuggle more than 200 live fish including carp, roach and goldfish out of the country without health and export certificates required by law. Transporting live fish without the correct documents is banned to stop the spread of disease.
21 December 2006: Environment Agency funding helps Staffordshire Barn Owls: The Environment Agency?s work with the Staffordshire Barn Owl Action Group to encourage the distinctive and beautiful barn owl to thrive in Staffordshire has been given a boost with £4000 of additional funding to monitor the success of the project.
21 December 2006: Do not disturb Dover's brown trout this winter: The Environment Agency is asking people in Kent to help protect brown trout living in the River Dour in Dover.
21 December 2006: Fishing quota deal 'good for UK', but experts say it's not good enough: The EU's fish quota deal (which includes cuts to the UK's cod catches) represents "a good deal", the government has said. Cod quotas will decrease by between 14% and 20% next year, with the number of days allowed for fishing also reduced. But scientific experts say the cuts are nothing like enough—and argue the cod population may be falling to a point where it cannot be rejuvenated.
20 December 2006: Can cod be saved?: According to Charles Hawley, writing in Der Spiegel, fisheries ministers aren't listening: "Once again, they are ignoring the advice of experts. To save the fish, a complete ban may be necessary."
21 December 2006: California: A flowing Owens River a gift for anglers: It's not all bad news. This week, for the first time in more than a hundred years, water is again flowing in a 62-mile stretch of the Lower Owens River near Lone Pine. After years of court battles, the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power agreed to return water to the dry streambed.
20 December 2006: West Somerset rivers and streams—We need your views!: The Environment Agency is asking the people of West Somerset to comment on the future management of local rivers and streams. They have until January 19, 2007 to respond to the West Somerset Streams Catchment Abstraction Management Strategy (CAMS), the latest in a series of CAMS consultation documents for North Wessex that aim to balance the demands of water users with the ecological needs of the aquatic environment.
20 December 2006: Defra consults on Stockholm pollution convention: The UK Government has published a consultation paper on a draft National Implementation Plan for the Stockholm Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants (POPs). The Plan outlines what the UK is doing to meet its obligations. The 12 chemicals include ten pesticides, whose use in the UK has already been tightly controlled. It also includes unintentionally produced chemicals—dioxins and furans, which have never been manufactured for use but may be formed during combustion processes. The National Implementation Plan contains a Dioxins Action Plan which outlines 13 activities to be taken forward by the UK to further reduce emissions. The consultation runs until March.
20 December 2006: British recycling: must do better: New Government figures showing that households in England recycled 27 percent of their waste during 2005/06 has been welcomed as a small step in the right direction by Friends of the Earth. Friends of the Earth's waste campaigner, Dr Anna Watson said: "We welcome the fact that England has reached its target of recycling a quarter of domestic waste. But more ambition is needed if we want a recycling record to be proud of. Flanders, in Belgium, recycles over 70 per cent of its waste—why can't we?"
20 December 2006: Count the stars—and help to save them: Countryside campaigners and astronomers are together asking people to count stars in the sky this Christmas—to help combat the rapidly spreading light pollution blotting out our view of the night time heavens. The easy-to-do star count, which runs through to Christmas Eve, comes amid a blaze of festive luminescence.
20 December 2006: Fisheries Council prepare to ignore scientific advice for the fifth year in a row: According to WWF, the annual December Fisheries Council starts in Brussels this week, whereby Fisheries Ministers from EU Member States traditionally ignore independent scientific advice and make a mockery of sustainable fisheries management.
19 December 2006: Environment stewardship schemes to continue in 2007: Natural England has welcomed the Government's announcement that the Environmental Stewardship scheme is to remain open to new applications from 1 January 2007. Entry Level schemes are open to all farmers and land managers. To date almost 25,000 ELS agreements have been signed, bringing some 3.5 million hectares under environmental management.
19 December 2006: Ministers haggle over fish quotas: EU ministers are meeting to set fishing quotas for 2007 amid renewed calls for a total ban on catching cod.
18 November 2006: Chinese mitten crabs move in on the Dee Estuary: Environment Agency Wales have been following up reports that Chinese mitten crabs were being caught in the Dee Estuary by commercial fishermen as a "by catch" as they netted for flat fish. Further investigations have been carried out and the capture of an adult mitten crab in the Greenfield area indicates that this alien species has become established in the estuary.
15 December 2006: Chinese River Dolphin (Baiji) Feared Extinct, Hope Remains for Finless Porpoise: According to WWF International, an expedition on the Yangtze River has ended with no sightings of baiji dolphins and experts now fear the worst for the species. The expedition also counted Yangtze finless porpoises and scientists warn that the situation is dire for this species as well but remain hopeful that it can survive in the wild.
14 December 2006: Fish dance on sulphur cauldrons: Canadian scientists have witnessed the extreme lifestyle of tonguefish that like to skip across pools of molten sulphur.
14 December 2006: Sea-level rise "under estimated": Sea level may be rising faster in the coming decades than previously expected. This is the conclusion of a new study by the German ocean expert Stefan Rahmstorf of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK).
14 December 2006: World's tallest man saves dolphin: Sometimes, it helps when you have long arms. A heart-warming story from China.
14 December 2006: 2006 sets British heat records: Scientists from the Met Office and the University of East Anglia (UEA) say the year was probably the hottest in central England since records began.
14 December 2006: Tyne for change on shipbuilding river: The New Year often means a new start, and as 2007 approaches the focus is on what the future holds for a historic artery of North East life and labour: the River Tyne.
14 December 2006: Pupils evacuated as River Gynack floods: A school in the Highlands has been evacuated after a river burst its banks and flooding hit much of Scotland. Northern Constabulary said pupils have been sent home from Kingussie High School because of the risk posed by the River Gynack.
13 December 2006: Goldfish in the River Thames threaten native carp: Our native fish species are being put at risk by an unlikely source as one man found to his cost at Reading Magistrates' Court. On Wednesday 13 December Derek May, of Reading, Berkshire, found himself in the dock after illegally disposing of his goldfish in the River Thames.
13 December 2006: Water efficiency initiatives lead to environmentally sustainable homes: Initiatives announced by the Government will help to make sure the location and design of new developments contribute to reducing emissions, improving water efficiency and shaping new buildings that are more environmentally sustainable, the Environment Agency has said. Chief Executive Barbara Young said the Code for Sustainable Homes, the draft climate change planning policy statement and the proposals for zero carbon developments were all critical in planning for the unavoidable impacts of climate change.
13 December 2006: So how safe is the Green Belt?: Countryside campaigners CPRE have warmly welcomed Ruth Kelly's statement "that existing Green Belt policy has served us well, and I am yet to be convinced that substantial policy changes are needed".
12 December 2006: Mersey ideal for renewable energy: The River Mersey should be used to produce renewable energy, according to a new study.
12 December 2006: Last chance for water voles: Britain's under-threat water voles have received a significant boost to their survival—and developers and landowners a possible insight into their future obligations—with a new conservation handbook unveiled this week.
12 December 2006: High stakes for wind farm plans: An interesting article by BBC science reporter Paul Rincon explores the conflict between new wind farms and the need to protect wildlife-rich peat bogs.
11 December 2006: Global warming: Abrupt Ice Retreat Could Produce Ice-Free Arctic Summers by 2040: The recent retreat of Arctic sea ice is likely to accelerate so rapidly that the Arctic Ocean could become nearly devoid of ice during summertime as early as 2040, according to new research published in the December 12 issue of Geophysical Research Letters.
8 December 2006: Teenagers get hooked on fishing!: Dozens of teenagers from Liverpool are getting hooked on fishing instead of getting into crime. Throughout 2006 no fewer than 88 local youths have taken advantage of the national 'Get Hooked' initiative which is designed to introduce youngsters to the world of angling to help them stay out of trouble.
7 December 2006: Plastics poisoning world's seas: This one won't come as news to people who take part in beach cleans. Microscopic particles of plastic could be poisoning the oceans, according to a British team of researchers. They report that small plastic pellets called "mermaids' tears", which are the result of industry and domestic waste, have spread across the world's seas.
7 December 2006: California river flows again: Independence, California: The LA Times reports: "Against a backdrop of lofty snowcapped peaks, about 500 spectators, led by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, gathered Wednesday to watch the Lower Owens River ripple anew with its first surge of High Sierra water in nearly a century."
6 December 2006: Commission calls for cuts in cod: The European Commission has called for cuts in catches of cod, herring, plaice, whiting and haddock for 2007. Announcing its annual recommendations to European ministers, the commission said there had been no significant improvement in cod stocks. But WWF has attacked the cuts as too weak (see next story).
6 December 2006: More cuts in fish catches demanded: According to WWF, the European Commission's proposal for European fishing quotas for 2007 is one of the weakest since the Common Fisheries Policy was reformed. The EC has proposed a 25 per cent reduction in cod quotas which will not conserve fish stocks in European waters and will make little difference to the recovery of this beleaguered fish.
6 December 2006: First penalties for companies issued under EU Emissions Trading Scheme: The Environment Agency has for the first time penalised four companies more than �750,000 for failing to account for their carbon emissions during the first year of the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS). Targeting the most carbon intensive industrial operators, the EU ETS provides financial incentives for industry to become more efficient and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that are contributing to climate change.
6 December 2006: Thames Water company prosecuted for raw sewage pollution: Thames Water has been ordered to pay £75,000 today for breaching its consent to discharge settled sewage and polluting four Oxfordshire watercourses.
6 December 2006: Brown budget fails green test: Friends of the Earth criticised Chancellor Gordon Brown for failing to take tough action in his Pre Budget Report to tackle climate change. The environmental campaign group said that 'green' measures announced today were just "tinkering in the margins."
6 December 2006: Environment Agency announces new approach to water discharges: New proposals to change the way that businesses, industries and organisations that discharge into rivers and coastal waters are regulated have been announced by the Environment Agency. "Our proposals will affect the hundreds of companies, organisations and individuals that between them hold around 110,000 permits to discharge effluent into our rivers and coastal waters. We want to introduce a more flexible system where risk is used when considering the level of regulation needed," Jim Gray, Head of Regulatory Development for the Environment Agency, said. Let's hope "flexible" doesn't mean "lax".
5 December 2006: Government talks to water industry: In a meeting with the water industry yesterday, government ministers confirmed plans for an updated national water strategy, addressing the issues of water supply, quality and ecology, resilience to climate change, and the carbon footprint of the water industry. They stressed the importance of water companies having clarity on what they are expected to achieve, and the need for public and consumer confidence that all partners are taking their share of responsibility for delivering results.
4 December 2006: Barker Planning Review Will Undermine Local Democracy: The Barker Review on English land use planning will have a devastating impact on the environment and local democracy, Friends of the Earth have warned. Kate Barker's report, due to be published tomorrow, is expected to recommend major reforms to England's planning system that will give business, in particular supermarket chains, a greater say in planning decisions.
4 December 2006: Big ice shelf's disappearing act: As concerns mount over climate change, sediments extracted from the Antarctic seafloor show the world's largest ice shelf has disintegrated and reappeared many times in the past.
30 November 2006: Shetland promised water improvements: People living in the north of Shetland's mainland are about to have the quality of their drinking water improved, The Shetland News reports. An upgraded treatment process called "chloramination" will be switched on at Eela Water treatment works, near Ollabery, in the next few weeks.
29 November 2006: Climate change causing "large changes" in the UK marine environment: A new "report card" by the Marine Climate Change Impacts Partnership (MCCIP) reports increasing sea temperatures, more severe storms, higher wave heights, and other significant changes to the UK's marine environment. The biodiversity and productivity of the seas could be affected.
29 November 2006: Somerset river group wins award: A community river group in Somerset, The Land Yeo Friends, has been awarded a Wessex Water Watermark Award of £450 to help it restore part of the Land Yeo River.
29 November 2006: River Severn appears on camera: A webcam is being installed in Shrewsbury so people can look out over the River Severn.
28 November 2006: Ten years to cure 'water crisis': Britain's water systems are in crisis and the government has a decade to put things right, according to a coalition of conservation and angling groups.
28 November 2006: Wessex Water fined £23,000 over sewage leak: Wessex Water was today ordered to pay £23,663 in fines and costs after sewage effluent escaped from one of its pumping stations and polluted a tributary of the River Avon.
28 November 2006: Blair warns homeowners to cut water consumption: British homes need to use less water, according to Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. As climate change hits the UK, people will either have to adjust their habits or face severe and expensive restrictions on how much water they consume.
28 November 2006: Pupils learn lessons of the riverbank: Pupils from North Bridge House School in Camden were not afraid to get their hands dirty during their field trip to Epping Forest Field Centre. According to this interesting BBC piece: "When it comes to learning about the physical environment, there's no substitute for mucking about by a river".
28 November 2006: Farmers have a key role in tackling climate change: A meeting of some of the UK?s leading experts on land use and climate change heard that improving the management of our upland peat bogs alone could reduce our greenhouse gas pollution by up to 400,000 tonnes per year, the equivalent of removing 2 per cent of cars from England?s roads. But, hey, how about getting those cars off the road as well?
27 November 2006: More fish for the River Calder: Thousands of fish have been given a new home this month to help top up an improving Lancashire river. The Environment Agency has bred 10,000 baby roach which have been added to a 10 mile stretch of the River Calder and its tributaries from Whalley to Burnley.
25 November 2006: UN refuses to block bottom trawling: United Nations negotiations on fisheries have ended without a global ban on trawling methods which destroy coral reefs and fish nurseries.
23 November 2006: China carries out major fish survey of Yangtze River: The Chinese Ministry of Agriculture has launched a survey of fish resources in a nature reserve on the Yangtze River. This is the first time China has made such a large-scale survey of fish resources in the upper reaches of the Yangtze River, the country's longest river.
23 November 2006: Environment Agency appeals to the public to help catch salmon poachers on Cornish rivers: As salmon return to Cornwall's rivers to spawn members of the public have been asked to become the "Eyes and Ears" of the Environment Agency in the latest crackdown on salmon poachers.
22 November 2006: Bad news for deepwater fish stocks: According to campaigners WWF, the EU Council of Ministers has significantly undermined its credibility on being able to deliver a sustainable European fishery by allowing continued plunder of deepwater stocks. Paul King, Director of Campaigns, said: "The EU seems to have a double standard for deep sea fisheries in its waters and outside... The precautionary principle should not be applicable wherever convenient but to all deep sea fisheries."
22 November 2006: Pollution turns Yellow River red: A stretch of China's Yellow River runs red for the second time in a month because of pollution.
22 November 2006: Climate change: global methane rise slowing down: Some good news on climate change at last: concentraions of methane (a potent greenhouse gas) have been rising much more slowly.
21 November 2006: Decision time approaches for the pressurised South East: Preparing a Plan to shape the future of England's most built up, pressurised region over the next 20 years enters a critical phase next week. On Tuesday, 28 November a public examination of the South East Plan, before a Panel of one Chair and two Inspectors, opens in Woking, Surrey. The South East plan could have a huge impact on water resources in the region.
21 November 2006: Flood risk campaign welcomes the public on board: Attacking apathy, as a major defence against flooding, will be at the top the agenda when the Environment Agency's Board meets in London on Wednesday, November 22. "Flooding is as much about people as it is about water," said Environment Agency Chairman Sir John Harman.
20 November 2006: Sea Trout Make Themselves At Home: Sea trout are returning to the River Dunsop to spawn thanks to an innovative project designed to improve their habitat. In response to declining numbers of sea trout and salmon in the river, The Environment Agency and Ribble Catchment Conservation Trust took action by funding and creating specially designed spawning channels in a bid to encourage the fish to breed.
20 November 2006: New proposals to protect Ribble salmon: New changes to laws which govern salmon and sea trout fishing along the River Ribble are being proposed by the Environment Agency.
20 November 2006: More support for Severn barrage plan: A council leader has written a letter to the government urging them to consider allowing a barrage to be built on the River Severn. Supporters say the barrage could supply 7 percent of Britain's energy needs; opponents say it could damage important estuary habitats.
20 November 2006: Government to look into water metering in areas of serious water stress: A proposal by the Water Saving Group to give the green light to water metering, where that is the best way of saving water in areas of serious water stress, has been given the Government's go-ahead for public consultation Environment Minister Ian Pearson confirmed today.
17 November 2006: Surfers oppose Northumbrian Water's return to pump and dump: Northumbrian Water are planning to stop treating sewage effluent that they discharge in the North East outside the so-called "bathing season", but year-round water-sports enthusiasts argue this would be a disaster. Campaigners from Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) took part in an action to highlight the issue on Friday 17th November.
16 November 2006: Thumbs down for new Stratford bridge: Over 56% of people surveyed in Stratford have rejected plans for a new bridge over the River Avon.
16 November 2006: Celebrating and raising awareness for the South River: How the people of Massachusetts are learning to love their river.
15 November 2006: Strong planning essential to tackle climate change: Countryside campaigners, CPRE welcomed measures announced in the Queen's Speech to tackle climate change but warned that any further reforms to the planning system need to strengthen, and not undermine, its environmental role.
15 November 2006: Scientists ask for ban on deep-sea trawling: According to the Guardian: "Scientists have called for a worldwide ban on deep-sea trawling following a major UN-backed report on the damage it is causing to vulnerable deep-sea corals."
15 November 2006: Japanese begin annual whale hunt: Six Japanese whaling ships have set sail for their annual hunt in the south Atlantic.
14 November 2006: Flood damage 30 times more costly than burglary: Homeowners who are flooded stand to lose on average more than £28,000 compared to £900 if they are burgled, the Environment Agency warned today on the launch of its flood awareness campaign.
14 November 2006: Welcome to the beautiful River Usk!: New roadside signs in Newport, Gwent encourage people to value the River Usk.
13 November 2006: Making the Dane great again: A recovering Cheshire river will take another step toward being brought back to life with thousands of fish given a new home over the next few months. More than 1,000 fish—including barbel, chub and roach—died in the summer of 2005 when a tributary of the River Dane in Middlewich was polluted with raw sewage.
13 November 2006: Rain harvesting offers new water hope: Rainwater harvesting could prove a cheap, easy solution to Africa's water woes, according to a UN report.
12 November 2006: Murmansk fish processors fight to survive: A report from BBC News on how the fishing crisis is hitting hard in Russia.
10 November 2006: Dirty water kills 5,000 children a day: Nearly two million children a year die for want of clean water and proper sanitation while the world's poor often pay more for their water than people in Britain or the US, according to a major new UN report.
10 November 2006: 'Revived' rivers get fresh fish: Thousands of fish are being introduced into rivers in north-east England that have been brought back to life after years of pollution.
9 November 2006: Record number of bathing waters meet European standards: According to Defra: "England's best ever bathing water quality results were announced today, bringing good news for beach users and the tourism industry. A record 99.5% of all bathing waters in England met the standards required by European law in 2006, compared to 98.8% in 2005. Only 2 of England's 413 monitored bathing waters failed to reach the minimum "mandatory" standard." But are the standards high enough? And why are there still virtually no inland bathing waters?
8 November 2006: Nature 'can help people keep fit': Getting in touch with nature can help keep people fit, reducing the burden of sickness on the health service, conservation experts say. Natural England is launching a campaign to get people to spend more time outside among the country's wildlife and natural environment.
8 November 2006: Young people lobby Tony Blair over climate change: Six school children, between the ages of 8 and 17, met Tony Blair at Downing Street today to highlight their concerns about climate change and urge him to take action, including introducing a new law to cut UK carbon dioxide emissions. The six who represent the Stop Climate Chaos coalition, also handed in petitions from nearly 150,000 people calling for a climate change law that would commit the UK to reducing its emissions by at least three per cent year on year.
7 November 2006: 100-year Humber Strategy will tackle climate change: Environment Agency officers today reassured the people living near the Humber estuary that plans are in place to tackle the increasing risk from climate change, following the recent Association of British Insurers report into coastal flood risk.
7 November 2006: Works begins on Ironbridge gorge land slip: Construction work has begun to combat a land slip under the historic Ironbridge to stop it falling into a river. The work on the Ironbridge Gorge in Shropshire involves stabilising a 540ft (165m) stretch of roadway which is an active landslide by the River Severn.
7 November 2006: Only one Welsh beach fails water test: Welsh beach bathing waters maintained high quality with 99 per cent meeting mandatory bacteria standards set in the European Bathing Water Directive, Minister for Environment Carwyn Jones announced today.
7 November 2006: More money needed to protect coastal areas: The Environment Agency today warned that an increase in funding for building and improving flood defences was needed to continue to protect people living along the coast from climate change and rising sea levels. In welcoming the Association of British Insurers report into coastal flood risk, Chief Executive Barbara Young today said the conclusions supported previous reports, including the Foresight report, which outlined the need to plan for already unavoidable climate change.
6 November 2006: UK minerals policy: between a rock and a hard place: Countryside campaigners CPRE fears the Government?s long-awaited planning policy for minerals, published today (Monday), is not up to the job of conserving minerals—or of conserving the countryside within environmental limits. Rivers and wetlands continue to be threatened by unsustainable mining and quarrying developments.
6 November 2006: Environmentalists demand action against Irish river pollution: Friends of the Earth and angling bodies hit out at a failure to act over renewed pollution of Six Mile Water and a major tributary, Ballymartin Water.
4 November 2006: Enough "climate chaos" already: Mike Hulme, director of the Tyndall Centre and one of Britain's top climate scientists, argues the language of chaos and catastrophe is not helpful in the battle against climate change.
3 November 2006: Greenhouse gases hit new record high: Atmospheric carbon dioxide, the gas that causes global warming, is continuing to rise according to a new report from the World Meterological Organization. It says: "In 2005, globally averaged concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere reached their highest levels ever recorded."
3 November 2006: Cold water poured on fish warning: British fishermen are querying a dramatic new report that warns of a global fisheries collapse. Fishermen were similarly sceptical in Newfoundland a few years ago.
2 November 2006: World fish stocks could collapse within 50 years: According to a new report in Science, reported by the BBC: "There will be virtually nothing left to fish from the seas by the middle of the century if current trends continue." Charles Clover, the Telegraph's enlightened environment editor, offers another perspective on the same story.
2 November 2006: Severe diesel oil spill in Somerset river: The Environment Agency is investigating after diesel oil spilled into the River Brue, near the New Clyce bridge at Highbridge on Friday evening.
2 November 2006: Disaster for fish on Norfolk Broads: The Norfolk Broads suffered one of the worst incidents of fish deaths from natural causes in the last 15 years yesterday (1 November). The Environment Agency estimates that 10s of thousands of fish have died due to saltwater coming up the Broads system on the incoming tide, driven by strong north westerly winds.
2 November 2006: Buy yourself a living whale on eBay: The World Society for the Protection of Animals (WSPA) is trying to stop Iceland killing whales by selling bids on the web auction site eBay.
1 November 2006: Waste company fined for polluting Cornish river: An energy from waste company was today ordered to pay £3,570 in fines and costs after slurry escaped into the River Tamar from a farm near Launceston, Cornwall.
1 November 2006: River closures for £4.5m upgrade: Navigation of the River Thames will be restricted this winter by lock closures allowing a £4.75m upgrade.
1 November 2006: Corals get climate survival guide: Strategies to help vulnerable marine ecosystems survive the impact of climate change have been published by conservationists.
1 November 2006: 34 bags of rubbish removed from banks of the River Dart: Volunteers working with Devon Wildlife Trust used canoes to collect 34 bags of rubbish from the banks of the River Dart in Devon. They found 552 pieces of plastic, 190 plastic cups, 179 plastic bags, 95 plastic drinks bottles and 80 sanitary towels.
31 October 2006: Perch target invasive gudgeon: Topmouth Gudgeon, a species of fish not native to the UK, are causing a problem because of their ability to reproduce up to four times the rate of other fish and take over their habitat. Previously the only way to get rid of the invasive fish to protect the native special was to poison them, but now the Environment Agency is experimenting with a more natural and humane solution. Early this year, eight large perch were introduced into the Wirral pool to see if they would feed on the smaller Topmouth Gudgeon.
31 October 2006: Zebra mussels spotted in Wrexham: Environment Agency Wales and Johnstown Angling Club, near Wrexham, have joined forces to limit the threat of a highly invasive species, the zebra mussel.
31 October 2006: Water-friendly farming initiative gathers momentum: The key elements of a programme to help farmers tackle the causes of harmful water pollution are now in place. The England Catchment Sensitive Farming Delivery Initiative, launched in December 2005, targets priority catchments across England where changes in farm practices are being sought to reduce water pollution from agriculture. It is estimated that the cost of removing harmful pesticides and nitrates from drinking water is £7 a year for every water customer.
31 October 2006: Walking for water: how far would you go?: WaterAid will be screening the premiere of Ali Hobbs's documentary The Long Walk on a 30 foot screen in Trafalgar Square, London on Tuesday 31 October. The film, which focuses on one woman's walk for water in Sudan's Nuba mountains, will be screened from 9.30am until 5.30pm. The Long Walk is an allegory for the lives of the 1.1 billion people who currently live without access to clean water, many of whom spend whole days walking miles to collect 20 litres of dirty water for their family's cooking, washing, drinking and cleaning needs.
30 October 2006: Barrage debate aims to get views: Protesters and supporters of a barrage across the River Severn get the chance to put their points of view forward.
30 October 2006: Climate change fight can't wait: The world cannot afford to wait before tackling climate change, the UK prime minister has warned. A report by economist Sir Nicholas Stern suggests that global warming could shrink the global economy by 20%.
30 October 2006: Stern offers climate salvation: The long-awaited Stern report on climate change offers new hope for tackling the problem: by addressing carbon dioxide emissions now, we can avert economic and social catastrophe in the future.
26 October 2006: Early warning system for climate change: Measurements from a network of monitors stretching across the Atlantic Ocean could offer an early warning of "sudden climate change", scientists have said.
26 October 2006: Miliband plans 'energy revolution': Power companies could be paid in the future not for producing energy, but for saving it, Environment Secretary David Miliband has announced.
26 October 2006: Stern Review to Reveal Cost of Climate Change: The economic costs of climate change are expected to be revealed on Monday 30 October when the Government publishes the long-awaited Stern Review. The report is expected to warn of a global economic catastrophe unless urgent immediate action is taken to tackle the threat of climate change.
26 October 2006: Swansea battery recycling trial: Swansea residents are being encouraged to gather all their unwanted and used batteries together in preparation for the launch on Monday (30/10) of Wales's first-ever retailer take-back battery recycling trial.
25 October 2006: Climate change 'will threaten Britain's water supply': Britain's water supplies, health, ecosystem, planning system and tourist industry are likely to be severely hit by climate change, a government report has warned.
24 October 2006: Amazon river 'switched direction': The world's largest river, the Amazon, once flowed from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific - the opposite of its present direction, a study shows.
24 October 2006: Global ecosystems face collapse: The world's natural ecosystems are being degraded at a rate unprecedented in human history, according to a report released today by WWF, the global conservation organization.
23 October 2006: Boscastle River Valency flood defence work to start: Contractors will start work on flood defences to the River Valency in Boscastle in North Cornwall next week. The £4.6 million project to lower and widen the river and raise the car park area will reduce future flooding in the village. It follows the devastating flood of 16 August 2004 when 42 homes and businesses were affected.
23 October 2006: Iceland starts whaling again: Iceland has broken the global moratorium on whaling by killed an endangered fin whale for the first time since the 1980s. The move sparked international outrage.
23 October 2006: Thames Water face double trouble for pollution offences: Thames Water has been fined a total of £40,000 for polluting two Hertfordshire rivers with raw sewage on the same day.
22 October 2006: Aussies waste water singing in the shower: Australians have been told to stop singing (or sing shorter songs) when they shower to save electricity and water.
20 October 2006: Climate change will create millions more refugees: Severe water shortages caused by climate change could create millions more environmental refugees, a new Tearfund report highlights. Calls to limit air travel and a proposed climate change bill to cut UK carbon dioxide emissions has kept climate change in the headlines. Tearfund's "Feeling the heat" report says there are currently some 25 million refugees who have been forced to move as a result of environmental problems.
19 October 2006: Congolese hippos face extinction: Poaching has brought the hippopotamus population in Democratic Republic of Congo to within a few months of extinction, wildlife experts say.
19 October 2006: Biodiesel trial looks to drive Environment Agency future: Recycled vegetable oil is being harnessed in a two-year biodiesel trial announced today, that will see 100 Environment Agency vehicles reducing their emissions by 20%.
18 October 2006: Rivers to benefit from new level of trust: The Environment Agency and the Association of Rivers Trusts are heralding their new alliance that will bring a dynamic approach to improving and protecting English and Welsh rivers. A new partnership agreement between the two bodies will be ushered in at the 15th International Salmonid Conference on Wednesday 18th October at the Baltic Centre, Gateshead.
18 October 2006: The growing problem of groundwater: Pollution and growing demand for water are putting valuable groundwater supplies in England and Wales at risk according to the Environment Agency. Releasing a report into the state of our groundwater, Environment Protection Director Tricia Henton said: "To many of us, groundwater is out of sight and out of mind. But this hidden resource, which provides clean, fresh water for our homes, industry, agriculture and the environment, is a limited resource that must be properly managed and protected.".
18 October 2006: Clyde redevelopment 'jobs boost': The redevelopment of wasteland on the banks of the River Clyde is reaping bigger than expected rewards, according to the group co-ordinating the project. It is claimed the massive project could deliver more than 50,000 new jobs, 18,000 more than originally expected. But construction projects have a habit of over-estimating the creation of new jobs, most of which are temporary.
18 October 2006: Cod fishing must be banned: Fishing for cod must be banned in 2007 to prevent the species from dying out in the North Sea, scientists from the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea have warned.
16 October 2006: UK 'must act' on plane emissions: Britain will not be able to meet its goals on climate change without curbing the demand for air travel, according to an Oxford University report.
16 October 2006: Asbos sought for Tweed poachers: A call has been made for local courts to ban poachers from the River Tweed and its tributaries. The river's commissioners want sheriffs to start handing out anti-social behaviour orders to illegal fishermen instead of fines or curfews.
17 October 2006: Time to drink sewage, experts say: Britain should tackle future droughts by recycling more sewage effluent as drinking water, civil engineers say. In its State of the Nation report for 2006, the Institution of Civil Engineers also called for a 20% rise in water prices to fund improved supply.
12 October 2006: Water for millions at risk as glaciers melt away: The world's glaciers and ice caps are now in terminal decline because of global warming, scientists have discovered. The loss of glaciers in South America and Asia will threaten the water supplies of millions of people within a few decades, the experts warn.
11 October 2006: Wales asked to support safer chemicals: Plaid Cymru MEP Jill Evans has called on people in Wales to pull out all the stops and support her campaign to strengthen a proposed EU law restricting the use of chemicals. Ms Evans welcomed a key committee vote in Brussels on the new EU laws known as REACH.
11 October 2006: Natural England takes over: Wednesday 11 October sees the official launch of Natural England, a new and powerful government agency that has been created to champion the natural environment. But critics are asking whether it will simply be another toothless watchdog, like English Nature.
11 October 2006: Dublin water supply proposal examined: The Department of the Environment is studying a proposal by Dublin City Council to supply water from the river Shannon to households in the Dublin region via a 100km pipeline. The council recently lodged a feasibility report with the Department as part of a project aimed at addressing water shortages in the Dublin region after the year 2016. At current prices the project could cost between 500-600 million Euros.
11 October 2006: Poorly managed Compost Company turned over in court: The director of an organic compost company in Surrey has been fined £12,000 and disqualified from acting as a director for a year after pleading guilty to keeping and treating more than 20,000 tonnes of green waste without a licence.
11 October 2006: New measures to tackle river pollution in vehicle accidents: An attempt to cut the risk of oil, petrol and beer from polluting rivers and water supplies is due to start. New emergency response measures and equipment will be showcased by the Fire and Rescue Service, in a project developed with the Environment Agency.
11 October 2006: Chris Tarrant launches Tweed boat for disabled anglers: TV star Chris Tarrant has launched an innovative new boat allowing disabled anglers to fish on the River Tweed. The boat, which uses oars and an outboard motor, allows anglers to fish from the comfort of their wheelchair.
11 October 2006: Northumbrian Water fined £6,000 for North Sea pollution: Northumbrian Water Ltd has been fined £6,000 at Guisborough Magistrates? Court after pleading guilty to two incidents of pollution of the North Sea at Marske, near Redcar.
10 October 2006: Toxic boat pollution must stop: WWF is calling on nations to ratify a five-year-old ban on tributyltin, a toxic chemical used to protect boats. Its latest report shows the impacts on mussels, oysters, clams, abalone and gastropods as well as high contamination of a range of other marine animals such as skipjack tuna and harbour porpoise. Dr. Simon Walmsley, Head of WWF-UK Marine Programme, commented: "This is the most toxic chemical ever deliberately released into the marine environment and there is no excuse for using it."
10 October 2006: Nuclear proposals will reduce right to be heard: Government proposals for streamlining planning procedures for new nuclear power stations will drastically reduce local people?s right to voice their opposition at a public inquiry, countryside campaigners CPRE have warned.
10 October 2006: Canals 'may close' after job cuts: Some of Britain's waterways may close after the organisation which runs the network announces 180 job losses. British Waterways says the Department of Environment Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has slashed its budget by 15%. It says it is suffering because of Defra's expensive mismanagement of farm subsidies, according to BBC rural affairs Correspondent Tom Heap.
8 October 2006: Freshwater pearl mussel breeds successfully: The freshwater pearl mussel has long been in decline, and is on the critical list as an endangered species. But now 70,000 juveniles have emerged from 70 mature mussels saved from lonely isolation in Welsh rivers.
8 October 2006: National Park fears pipeline plan: A huge new gas pipe snaking across Wales is raising fears for the countryside.
6 October 2006: Sharks swim into political waters: They are known affectionately as the "Labradors of the ocean", but grey nurse sharks are facing a fight for survival in Australia. It is estimated there are fewer than 500 of these docile creatures left in Australian waters. Most live off the east coast.
6 October 2006: 'REEL' good times ahead for fishing in Boston: The Lincolnshire Waterways Partnership is just beginning work to improve access to fishing around Boston, with a particular focus on helping disabled anglers. Two sites are being developed as part of a larger initiative to enhance rivers and drains in the area for angling and quiet recreation.
5 October 2006: Salmon catches up in Scotland: Catches of salmon on Scotland's rivers last year were the fifth highest on record, according to new figures. Anglers enjoyed another excellent year's sport in 2005 with the number of rod catches of salmon reaching the fifth highest on record. Experts at the Fisheries Research Services found that anglers have again released more fish than they retained. 55 percent of the 2005 salmon and grilse catch was returned to the water to help maintain high stock levels. Deputy Environment and Rural Development Minister Rhona Brankin said: "Angling plays an important role in sustaining our rural economy and I am encouraged to see healthy catch levels for a second consecutive year. However, there is still cause for concern about the numbers of salmon dying before they return to our shores, and our scientists are working, both here and internationally, to try to understand why this is happening."
5 October 2006: Keeping an eye on high tides: High tides along the coast this weekend could lead to the risk of flooding in some locations if they happen during bad weather, the Environment Agency has warned. At this stage, widespread flooding is not expected along the coast, but people at risk from flooding in coastal areas and near tidal rivers should ensure they keep up to date with the latest flood warning information.
5 October 2006: Green home proves impossible to build: A cautionary tale from Lecturer Nedira Yakir of Exeter, who remortgaged her house to free up some equity to turn it into a an environmentally friendly dream home.
5 October 2006: Progress in Scotland rod licence row: A "way forward" has been found in the row over rod licence fees charged on Scottish stretches of the River Esk. The Environment Agency extended the fees from England into Scotland, sparking anger among anglers. Tory MP David Mundell met with the EA this week to look at ways of finding a solution to the situation.
4 October 2006: Released a salmon? Claim a prize: Have you caught and released a salmon from the Tywi or Taf in Carmarthenshire this season? Did you know that you could claim a prize?
4 October 2006: Virtually extinct heron returns to London waters: A heron hunted to the verge of extinction has been spotted breeding in London for the first time at Thames Water's Walthamstow reservoirs.
4 October 2006: Concern Over Oceans Despite Receding Oil & Chemical Threats: A rising tide of sewage is threatening the health and wealth of far too many of the world's seas and oceans, a new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) says. In many developing countries between 80 per cent and nearly 90 per cent of sewage entering the coastal zones is estimated to be raw and untreated. The pollution—linked with rising coastal populations, inadequate treatment infrastructure and waste handling facilities—is putting at risk human health and wildlife and livelihoods from fisheries to tourism. See also this follow-up report from MSNBC news.
3 October 2006: Landowners allowing voluntary access to their rivers is the way forward, says Environment Agency: A two-year study by the Environment Agency into how landowners can open up more rivers across England for canoeing has been completed and the findings released. "The Environment Agency has a statutory duty to promote the use of water and watersides for recreation, at the same time balancing the needs of the competing water users and the environment. The popularity of canoeing is increasing and if more water is made available, more people will be encouraged to take part," explained Environment Agency Acting Chief Executive Dr. Paul Leinster.
3 October 2006: Climate change: drought could double by end of century, Met Office Hadley Centre research shows: Nearly a third of the world's land surface may be at risk of extreme drought by the end of the century, wreaking havoc on farmland and water resources and leading to mass migrations of "environmental refugees", climate experts warned yesterday.
1 October 2006: Nature watchdog could prove starved and toothless: As Natural England, the new official watchdog for landscape and wildlife comes into being, there is a real risk it will be too poor and too weak to make a difference, says countryside charity CPRE.
28 September 2006: Sewage leak leads to £11,000 fine for United Utilities: Contractors working for sewerage company United Utilities did not act quickly enough to stop a leaking pipe spilling sewage into a Lancashire brook, Bury magistrates have heard.
27 September 2006: Wales fishermen strive to go green: Many Welsh fishermen are striving to win certificates to prove their fishing practices are good for the future of fishing and the environment, it was said today, as a damning report was published on fisheries throughout the world.
27 September 2006: Eat fish with care!: Some of Europe's most popular fish dishes are a recipe for disaster for our oceans and fishing communities, warns WWF in a new report, which exposes the destructive, illegal and wasteful fishing which lies behind some of our favourite seafood. The report, Fish Dish: exposing the unacceptable face of seafood, is the first such review of six favoured fish dishes in Europe and serves up an urgent warning to governments to toughen up fisheries management. In the case of plaice and sole, most catches come from Europe's most wasteful fishery. Up to 80 per cent of some plaice catches in the North Sea are thrown overboard dead or dying, either too small or less valuable than the rest of the catch. Swordfish steak, popular for barbequing and baking, comes with a heavy toll of other marine life. For example, the illegal Moroccan driftnet fishery, targeting swordfish for the European market, catches one swordfish for every two sharks, killing an estimated 100,000 sharks per year.
26 September 2006: Don't slip up: check your oil tank: With the arrival of autumn and cooler weather the Environment Agency is reminding householders to thoroughly check their oil storage tanks before they top up for the winter.
25 September 2006: Regional and local development plans must be 'climate proofed': New regional and local development plans must be "climate proofed" with binding carbon dioxide reduction targets and adaptation measures to help communities withstand extreme climate impacts including flood risk, the Town and Country Planning Association and Friends of the Earth have argued.
24 September 2006: UK calls for action to save tuna: The UK is pressing the EU for action to stop overfishing of the bluefin tuna, which campaigners say is being fuelled by the demand for sushi. The environment group WWF says many EU fishing fleets are breaking the law and catching far more tuna than allowed.
22 September 2006: Fish return to river after 100 year gap: Fish are able to return to a south Wales river for the first time in over 100 years. A fish pass has been constructed on the Nant Cynon, a tributary of the River Afan.
22 September 2006: Investment in rivers must continue says Environment Agency: The Environment Agency has confirmed it will increase boat registration fees on the rivers it manages by 12% per year for three years from 2007 to help pay for essential repairs and improvements.
22 September 2006: Environment Agency launch appeal after 10,000 fish are killed in Bolton: Members of the public are being urged to come forward with information about a pollution incident that killed thousands of fish in a Bolton brook.
21 September 2006: Waiter! - There's a phthalate in my soup!: There is no escape from hazardous man-made chemicals because they have permeated the food that we eat, the air that we breathe and are present in our grooming and electrical products, a new report from WWF has concluded.
21 September 2006: First salmon in 100 years arrives at River Churnet, Consall: On Thursday 21 September, the Environment Agency will release 10,000 baby salmon into the River Churnet at Consall Forge, near Leek and Cheadle. This will be the first time in a hundred years that salmon have been present in the river at Consall.
21 September 2006: Scottish children to learn more about wildlife: According to The Herald: "A drive to promote the joys of Scottish wildlife to children has been undertaken by tourism officials after research revealed there was less interest among Scots in their native species than among overseas visitors."
20 September 2006: Adaptation is the key to living with climate change, says Environment Agency: "Adaptation must be at the heart of the UK?s strategy for living with the unavoidable climate change we will inevitably face over the coming decades." That is the message the Environment Agency Board will hear and discuss when they meet at the Clwyd Theatr Cymru in Mold, Flintshire, Wales, on Wednesday 20 September 2006.
20 September 2006: Polluted shellfish beds closed in Lancashire: Shellfish beds in Lancashire are closed while an area of the River Wyre is checked for contamination.
20 September 2006: California sues auto firms over climate change: The legal case filed today by the State of California against six major car companies asking "monetary compensation" for climate change damage has been welcomed by the Climate Justice Programme and Friends of the Earth. The case has been brought by the State of California on behalf of the People of California against General Motors, Toyota, Ford, Honda, Chrysler and Nissan.
19 September 2006: Endangered shellfish colony found in Essex: The white-clawed crayfish feared extinct in Essex is found to be thriving in the River Chelmer.
19 September 2006: Breathing space: Parks without grass? It sounds absurd, but in the future climate change is likely to transform our urban green spaces. Think pine trees and wind turbines.
19 September 2006: Anglian Water fined for illegal discharges to North Sea: Anglian Water?s Caister Waste Water Treatment Centre breached its discharge consent twice in six months and the company was fined a total of £18,000 by Great Yarmouth Magistrates Court.
17 September 2006: River walker plans next challenge: Graham Boanas raised over £100,000 after walking across the River Mersey and across the River Humber twice, once underwater. For his next challenge, he plans to cross the Mersey, the Thames and the Humber in one day.
17 September 2006: Water efficiency saves a mugful: Water companies on average save only a mug of water per customer per day through promoting water efficiency, according to new research from the Institute for Public Policy Research (ippr). ippr research shows that water companies only spend 11 pence per customer per year to help households reduce the amount of water they use.
15 September 2006: Reservoir 'biggest in 25 years': Britain's "leakiest" water supplier Thames Water has announced plans to build a £1bn reservoir to meet increased water demand. Thames said the site near Abingdon, Oxfordshire, would be the biggest built in the UK in 25 years, holding 150 billion litres of water. But we argue the plans are unsustainable and unnecessary.
14 September 2006: 14% fall in Arctic sea ice in just one year: A Nasa satellite has documented startling changes in Arctic sea ice cover between 2004 and 2005. The extent of "perennial" ice - thick ice which remains all year round - declined by 14%, losing an area the size of Pakistan or Turkey.
14 September 2006: Stockton man gets maximum community order for fly tipping: A Stockton man was given a 300 hundred hour community order on Wednesday at Teesside Magistrates' Court for fly tipping hazardous chemical containers in Stockton-on-Tees.
14 September 2006: Cornwall County Council fined for roadbuilding pollution: Magistrates heard today how a tributary of the River Camel turned "bright orange" after being contaminated by silt during the construction of a new road across Goss Moor in Cornwall.
14 September 2006: Deal Would Revive San Joaquin River: In California, a plan to bring flows and salmon back to 60 miles of dead waterway awaits a judge's OK.
13 September 2006: Hope shines over solar panel boom: Soaring energy prices are good news for solar energy suppliers, at least.
13 September 2006: Supermarkets 'not green enough': Supermarkets are not doing enough to help all their customers make environmentally-friendly choices, a consumer group has warned.
13 September 2006: Call to clear countryside clutter led by CPRE and RAC: The rural environment is being ruined by roadside clutter and intrusive traffic calming, and confusing signs may be putting motorists' lives at risk, according to the director of the RAC Foundation speaking at the Institution of Highway Incorporated Engineers conference, Achieving Excellence in Signing at Loughborough University today.
12 September 2006: Planning green light for Boscastle flood defences: North Cornwall District Council has today given its seal of approval to the Environment Agency's plans for flood defences on the River Valency in Boscastle.
8 September 2006: Sainsburys waste initiative welcomed: Moves by Sainsbury to cut plastic from its ready meals and organic food have been welcomed by Friends of the Earth, who called on other supermarkets to follow suit. But the environmental campaign group urged the supermarket chain to cut its waste even more, and said it must also urgently address the other negative impacts its activities have on the environment and farming communities.
8 September 2006: Solve climate change whatever it takes: Human-induced climate change must be treated as an immediate threat to national security and prosperity, says John Ashton, the UK's climate change envoy. He argues that we must secure a stable climate whatever the cost, as failure to do so will cost far more.
7 September 2006: British species moving north: Right across Britain, animals are on the march, moving northwards and going to higher ground as the climate warms, experts have told a major conference.
7 September 2006: Methane bubbles climate trouble: Thawing Siberian bogs are releasing more of the greenhouse gas methane than previously believed, according to new scientific research.
7 September 2006: Water grid still not the answer: The Environment Agency today said that a large-scale water grid from the north of England or Wales was not the answer to water shortages in the south east. Releasing its review into the feasibility of a national water grid, the Environment Agency said sharing water between regions, reducing leaks, encouraging water savings in households and industry and building new reservoirs were better, more sustainable solutions.
6 September 2006: Litter picker on Everest mission: A retired social worker known affectionately as "Rob the Rubbish" is to take his litter picking mission to Everest Base Camp.
6 September 2006: Major fish kill in River Coln: Thousands of fish were killed when chemicals leaked into a river and contaminated it after a fire at a Gloucestershire chemical plant. The Environment Agency is warning people to stay away from the River Coln until it has identified the chemicals which leaked into the river.
6 September 2006: Almost half of all fish is now farmed: Nature reports: "There's a 43% chance that your fish dinner spent its life on a farm, rather than roaming wild. That's up from just 9% in 1980, according to this year's UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report."
6 September 2006: Natural foundations: geodiversity for people, places and nature: A new report from English Nature celebrates England's rich geological heritage and calls for geodiversity to be placed at the heart of managing the environment.
6 September 2006: Supermarkets supporting GM through the back door: A new survey by Friends of the Earth, reveals that most animal products sold in supermarkets, including milk, cheese and meat, come from animals fed on GM feeds. But consumers are not aware of what they are buying, with five out of 10 supermarkets failing to tell customers when food comes from animals fed on genetically modified feed.
4 September 2006: Lost Thames whale had arthritis: The whale which lost its way and became stranded in the river Thames suffered from arthritis, scientists say.
4 September 2006: National Fishing Week lures 30% more budding anglers: Over 10,000 budding anglers cast a line for the first time during National Fishing Week (August 19-28), an increase of around 30% on previous years. "We know from our research that demand at the entry level of angling is huge and these numbers provide the proof that angling is experiencing a surge in popularity," said Environment Agency Angling Development Manager Richard Wightman.
4 September 2006: From City to Surrey: London's kids get hooked on county's fish: A carp weighing 5kg was the catch of the day at the first Inner City kids angling away day yesterday (31 August 2006), held at Willinghurst Fishery, Cranleigh, Surrey. Jeff Attard, aged 14 from Hackney, caught the prize-winning fish and will be receiving a new rod and reel for his efforts. Jeff was one of 15 young anglers, aged between 8 and 16, who took part in the day. Organised by the Environment Agency and the Thames 21 Angling Development Project the day gave young people from Rotherhithe, Hackeny and Bow the chance to experience fishing at one of south England's top fisheries.
1 September 2006: More must be done to tackle sheep dip pollution: Sheep dip is, by its very nature, extremely effective at killing insects and other invertebrates but since even a tiny amount can cause ecological havoc if it reaches a water course, regulators and farmers have decided more must be done to reduce the risk of pollution.
1 September 2006: Green goes mainstream: A leader in The Guardian comments: "By targeting Drax, in a quixotic attempt to close it down for the day through mass protest, campaigners were hitting at the heart of the matter: Britain's aging industrial infrastructure and the continued need for coal-fired generators such as Drax to provide so much of Britain's electricity. Drax alone pumps out more carbon dioxide than Sweden, hence the anger that drew hundreds to North Yorkshire this week."
31 August 2006: Climate campaigners target Dirty Drax: Hundreds of protesters have marched on Drax power station in North Yorkshire to protest against its carbon dioxide emissions.
31 August 2006: Intertidal habitat project will help boost wildlife on Camel Estuary: Work is about to start on one of the largest habitat restoration projects ever seen in Cornwall. The £100,000 scheme, led by the Environment Agency and Rural Development Service, involves the flooding of 15 hectares of reclaimed farmland near Sladesbridge on the Camel Estuary to re-create a valuable new saltmarsh habitat. On completion, the estuary and surrounding wetlands will become even more attractive to species such as otter, kingfisher, lapwing, avocet, curlew, flounder and mullet.
31 August 2006: Ninja turtle appears in Cornwall: The RSPCA is attempting to rescue a large terrapin which has been spotted in the River Tamar in Cornwall. The creature, thought to be a red-eared terrapin, was seen in the river at Polson, near Launceston.
29 August 2006: Scrap cars creating toxic waste: Under law, cars must be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way As many as 1.5 million cars are being scrapped illegally in Britain every year, presenting a major environmental hazard, the BBC has learned.
29 August 2006: 'Threat' to natural beauty sites: Beauty spots at nine sites throughout England are under threat from building and road developments, the Campaign to Protect Rural England says. According to CPRE's Tom Oliver: "Protected landscapes are only protected to the extent that the Government and local authorities obey their own rules. Time and again, it appears that the Government or a local council is tearing up the rules when a significant conflict arises between one of our finest landscapes and another interest. We have to ask "What is the point of having laws that protect our precious countryside if they are ignored when it really matters?"
29 August 2006: Tamar salmon stocks improving: It is estimated that 5,724 adult salmon returned to the River Tamar in 2005, which is 17.5 per cent higher than in 2004. In 2005, 11,240 sea trout are estimated to have run into the River Tamar, which is 5.1 per cent lower than in 2004.
29 August 2006: Hurricane Katrina? "You ain't see nothing yet": As the United States marks the first anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, today, Tuesday 29 August 2006, a major new report from a coalition of the UK's biggest environment and development groups reveals the untold story of the impact that extreme weather, exacerbated by climate change, is having on the whole of Latin America and the Caribbean. It also highlights the hard work and ingenuity that poor, local communities are using to cope.
29 August 2006: Be prepared for high September tides: Be prepared for flooding, says the Environment Agency as it reminds people living close to the coast and tidal areas that the highest tides of the year are due on September 8, 9 and 10.
25 August 2006: Climate change causes early springs: A new study finds spring is beginning on average six to eight days earlier than it did 30 years ago.
24 August 2006: USA: Court refuses to block dredging of Columbia River: A federal appeals court on Wednesday rejected an attempt by environmentalists to block the dredging of 103 miles of the Columbia River.
23 August 2006: Pelican takes up residence on River Ribble: An escaped pelican is making its home in Preston, Lancashire.
23 August 2006: Floods to follow droughts: Flood warnings are following hot on the heels of drought warnings, according to The Independent.
21 August 2006: New map details world water stress: The alarming extent of water scarcity across the world is detailed in a map compiled by a leading environmental think tank.
21 August 2006: The key questions at the heart of the UK's environmental future: Scientists have drawn up a list of the 100 biggest questions to face the UK environment, including controversies such as whether farmers should be allowed to kill badgers to protect their cattle from disease and how many seabirds are slaughtered by wind farms.
18 August 2006: Environment Agency launches lakes website: The Environment Agency has created a series of web pages devoted entirely to Cumbria?s lakes, including: how the Lake District was formed in the ice age; how the Lakes provide vital water supplies to homes and businesses; what the Environment Agency is doing to monitor water quality in the Lakes and reduce pollution; how climate change could affect the Lakes in the future.
18 August 2006: Alarming decline in threatened UK birds: The latest health check on UK bird numbers paints an alarming picture of decline in several threatened species.
18 August 2006: Chinese drought affects millions: At least 18 million people have been affected by China's worst drought in 50 years, according to the state news agency Xinhua.
17 August 2006: Historic Byblos polluted by war: The conflict in Lebanon has caused devastating damage to the local economy and environment of the ancient port of Byblos.
17 August 2006: Insects and other creatures benefit from healthier rivers: Insects and other small creatures, such as shrimps and snails, are benefiting from healthier rivers and streams, the Environment Agency announced today, releasing river biology results. But the Environment Agency warned that the lack of rainfall this summer is likely to affect the future health of rivers, particularly in the south and east.
17 August 2006: Study reveals healthier rivers: According to the Environment Agency: "The Agency's 2005 river biology survey shows that 72% of rivers in England and Wales, or 27,700 km, are in good condition. But there are some worrying signs - in Anglian region there has already been a 6% net downgrade in biological quality since 2000 and a reduction in river flows is an important factor. Overall more than 2300km of rivers have improved in biological quality since 2000, which is about seven times the total length of the Thames." For more statistics about river quality, see our page: The State of Our Rivers and Seas.
17 August 2006: Riverside revamp planned for city: Plans to develop along the River Tawe from Swansea marina to the Liberty Stadium are backed by councillors.
16 August 2006: Water pollution study blames farms, industry: According to RTE: "A new report from the Environmental Protection Agency has blamed agricultural run-off and industrial spillages for ongoing contamination in Irish rivers, lakes and groundwater... However, it found there remains an unacceptable level of water pollution leading to fish kills - 30% of rivers, 10% of lakes and 22% of estuaries require remedial measures."
16 August 2006: Water crisis hits rich countries: Water crises, long seen as a problem of only the poorest, are increasingly affecting some of the world's wealthiest nations. A new report from WWF, Rich countries, poor water is the most up-to-date overview of water issues in the developed world. It shows that a combination of climate change, drought and loss of wetlands, along with poorly thought out water infrastructure and resource mismanagement, is creating a truly global crisis. It documents water problems beyond the situation in the UK, in other countries such as Australia, Spain, USA and Japan.
15 August 2006: Support grows for wave hub project: WWF says: "The proposed development of a renewable energy project off the north coast of Cornwall would play a major part in developing the region's wave power industry as long as the environmental implications are taken into consideration."
14 August 2006: Offshore wind farms delivering benefits: According to Green Consumer Guide: "North Hoyle and Scroby Sands offshore wind farms produced enough energy to power almost 80,000 homes and saved more than 250,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, according to the first annual reports from the facilities."
14 August 2006: More disasters for warmer world: Global warming will mean more natural disasters for the world, according to a new report from Bristol University.
12 August 2006: Plans outlined to tackle knotweed: The Environment Agency is issuing new guidance to help people tackle one the highly invasive Japanese knotweed plant.
11 August 2006: USA: Canoists discover 19-foot python on White River: Three Hamilton County boaters discovered a 19-foot snake on the banks of White River this week in an area that typically produces small, nonvenomous snakes, a few spiders and the occasional abandoned alligator.
10 August 2006: Australia: $28m project to restore Snowy River wetland: A project to restore water to the iconic Snowy River and deliver water for irrigators will be launched in the Riverina region today by the New South Wales Natural Resources Minister.
10 August 2006: New online fisheries guide: An interactive guide to fisheries is being launched online by the Environment Agency and British Waterways in the lead up to National Fishing Week (August 19-28), in a bid to reel in more anglers. Comprising over 4,000 angling sites on rivers, canals, lakes and ponds across England, the guide is the first to provide anglers with a wealth of information on nearby fisheries by simply typing in a postcode or nearby town.
10 August 2006: Water shortages affect wildlife: A coalition of environmental groups, including RSPB and WWF, have warned that the current water shortages will have devastating effects on wildlife unless drastic action is taken by water companies and householders.
9 August 2006: £2m penalty for Dounreay spillage: The operators of the Dounreay nuclear site have been fined £2m for a spillage of radioactive liquid.
9 August 2006: Water pumped into Hampshire Itchen to save threatened species: Water is pumped into a drought-hit Hampshire river Itchen because water levels are low enough to threaten wildlife.
9 August 2006: Can water network curb shortages?: According to BBC News, the Environment Agency is considering a plan for a national water grid.
8 August 2006: Crayfish rescue bid by Environment Agency: The native white-clawed crayfish is to be given a helping hand by the Environment Agency in a bid to halt its dramatic decline. Several hundred of the protected species, increasingly under threat from the more aggressive alien species, the American signal crayfish, are to be moved to a safe haven where it is hoped it will flourish.
8 August 2006: Well done Lewis! Thames campaigner completes swim: Lawyer and extreme swimmer Lewis Gordon Pugh has become the first person to swim the length of the River Thames.
8 August 2006: River confusion kills endangered pearl mussels: Official excavation work being carried out for the Department of Regional Development (DRD) Water Service on the Upper Ballinderry River near Cookstown, Northern Ireland has accidentally destroyed protected and endangered freshwater pearl mussels.
4 August 2006: Green Bag Claims Cover for Tesco's Waste Mountain: Commenting today on Tesco's initiative to reduce the use of plastic bags in its stores, Friends of the Earth's Supermarket Campaigner Sandra Bell said: "This is typical of the greenwash that Tesco has been churning out over recent months. Even if it meets its target to reduce the number of bags being used, Tesco will still be handing out three billion plastic bags a year. And this is just a drop in the ocean compared to the mountains of packaging waste the chain creates."
3 August 2006: Agency plans pincer movement against invasive species: Japanese knotweed, American crayfish and the Chinese mitten crab all feature on a rogues' gallery published today of 10 foreign species that a government agency most wants to banish from the UK.
3 August 2006: "Greywater" keeps gardens green: A water recycling system called the Ban Buster, which uses household waste water to irrigate gardens, is proving a big hit with people suffering hosepipe bans. It collects "grey" water from baths, showers, and sinks and filters it for use on the garden.
2 August 2006: Dolphins at risk from jet skiers: Irresponsible jetskiers could be putting the River Tay's dolphins at risk, according to Dundee City council leisure convener Charles Farquhar.
2 August 2006: Appeal to change 'stinking' Belfast river: An east Belfast river turned into a "stinking mess" by recent hot weather should be transformed just as the River Lagan was, Sir Reg Empey has said. The Ulster Unionist leader and East Belfast assembly member has launched a campaign over the Connswater River. He wants to see a clean-up operation in place complimented by walkways for the local community.
2 August 2006: Media accused of climate "porn": A new UK report from the Institute of Public Policy Research attacks the media for apocalytic portrayals of climate change, while making individual actions to solve the problem seem insignificant and hopeless.
2 August 2006: Windfarm could destroy bird-life and peat farms, claim campaigners: The 500 turbines proposed for the Isle of Lewis will be an environmental disaster, argues Catriona Campbell in this Guardian comment piece.
2 August 2006: Major supermarkets take action on palm oil: Supermarket chains are joining international efforts to tackle the problems caused by palm oil, following a campaign to highlight the threat to orang-utans posed by the crop. Palm oil is found in one in ten UK supermarket products but conservation experts say that without urgent intervention the palm oil trade could cause the extinction of Asia's only great ape within 12 years.
31 July 2006: Thousands of microbes in one gulp: According to BBC News: "One litre of seawater can contain more than 20,000 different types of bacteria, scientists have found. The extraordinary number has been established by an international project attempting to catalogue all ocean life."
31 July 2006: Fish-lover's anger ends eel wanging event: Complaints from a fish lover have brought to an end an over-sized game of skittles, in which a dead eel is hurled at a lifeboat crew to raise money for charity.
29 July 2006: Rescue operation for stranded fish: The Environment Agency was attempting to rescue fish stranded by the hot weather from the River Teme between Leintwardine and Knighton in Wales today.
28 July 2006: Organic food sales soar by a third: According to the Soil Association, organic sales grew by more than a third last year—over ten times more than sales of other food and drinks. Research organics on our Finding out about organic food and farming page.
28 July 2006: National salmon strategy 10 years on. A public consultation for the "king of fish": Only 2% of salmon rivers in England and Wales definitely had sustainable fish stocks when the Environment Agency launched its National Salmon Strategy ten years ago. Today, the figure stands at 16%, and estimates suggest that it could be as high as 35%. The Environment Agency is now holding a consultation with those who have an interest in "the king of fish" regarding the National Salmon Strategy for the next ten years. For details on how to contribute to the National Salmon Strategy consultation, visit: the Environment Agency's website, and go to the Fisheries Management Homepage.
28 July 2006: Experts split on UK Great Whites: Holidaymakers and fishermen believe Great White sharks are in UK waters, but experts are dubious.
27 July 2006: Newbury snail may be "extinct": A wildlife group says a species of snail that almost halted the building of the controversial Newbury bypass has become extinct on a nearby site.
27 July 2006: Environment Agency urges anglers to help protect fish in summer heat: The Environment Agency is appealing for experienced local anglers to help protect fish in rivers and pools from suffering during the hot weather by spreading good practice among fellow anglers and discouraging the use of keep nets.
24 July 2006: Concern for river salmon in the heat: Patrols are carried out on the River Tyne over fears salmon will be affected by low oxygen levels in the water.
22 July 2006: UK butterfly species down to 56: Only 56 butterfly species now remain in Britain as others have fallen victim to disappearing habitat, says the Butterfly Conservation charity.
21 July 2006: Thames and Severn rapped on leaks: Most (but not all) water companies are meeting their targets on fixing leaks.
21 July 2006: Deliberate river poisoning kills 40,000 fish: About 40,000 salmon and trout have been killed after a swimming-pool chemical, sodium hypochlorite, was deliberately spilled into the River Alness, in the Scottish highlands.
21 July 2006: Live fish movements ban relaxed: Limitations on moving live fish across North Yorkshire have been relaxed for a third time following tests by Defra. A further round of tests at farms within the Yorkshire Ouse area affected by viral haemorrhagic septicaemia (VHS) have proved negative.
21 July 2006: Nuisance river users are targeted: Water craft users behaving anti-socially on rivers are being targeted by Northumbria Police.
20 July 2006: Wildlife benefits from 'softly softly' approach by the Environment Agency in new flood defence scheme: Disturbance to otters, grass snakes, slow worms and other wildlife has been kept to a minimum in the Mid-Devon village of Bampton where a new flood defence scheme is taking shape. As part of the work the Environment Agency has taken special steps to reduce any impact on wildlife and ensure the new flood defence structures blend in with their rural surroundings.
20 July 2006: Government GM consultation slammed: A Government consultation launched today, on how GM and non-GM crops can 'co-exist' in England, is a thinly disguised attempt to allow GM crops in through the back door, warned Friends of the Earth.
19 July 2006: Boaters urged to swot up on safety: Sunshine and blue skies make for brilliant boating weather, but soaring temperatures after long spells of below average rainfall can also create challenging conditions for skippers, warns the Environment Agency. After two exceptionally dry winters, that?s exactly the situation that now exists in the south east of England - the region is in the grip of potentially its worst drought for 100 years and water levels are lower than normal.
19 July 2006: Thames Water fined for polluting Pymmes Brook: Thames Water has been ordered to pay nearly £14,000 for discharging sewage into the Pymmes Brook, killing more than 100 fish.
18 July 2006: Sellafield warned over pond leak: The Environment Agency, which regulates British Nuclear Group Sellafield Ltd?s (BNGSL) disposal of radioactive waste from Sellafield, has served an Enforcement Notice on the plant.
17 July 2006: Young People's Angling Project Hit: The Young People?s Angling Project, hopes to introduce young people to the delights of fishing and along the way develop social skills and environmental awareness. Ten youngsters between the ages of eight and 14 will be given the opportunity to learn from qualified fishing coaches how to bait a hook, cast a line and land their fish. It will also give them the skills and confidence to enable them to establish and sustain their own club.
17 July 2006: End bottom-trawling, says Greenpeace: According to Fishupdate.com, Greenpeace is calling on the United Nations to establish a moratorium on high seas bottom trawling. It says the recent United Nations Secretary General's report of measures taken by states to protect vulnerable deep-sea life from destructive fishing practices such as high seas bottom trawling has confirmed that the protection these areas receive is woefully inadequate and that urgent action is required now by the international community.
17 July 2006: Annual Thames swan count begins: The annual medieval tradition of counting the number of swans on the River Thames gets under way.
15 July 2006: Nature is your neighbour: There are now more than 1,300 Local Nature Reserves in England and from 15-30 July 2006 many will be staging events to encourage you to visit and find out more. English Nature is co-ordinating this national celebration and there is a full list of events by region on its website.
14 July 2006: Warnings after river algae finds: Toxic algae has been discovered in the River Neet and the Bude Canal in north Cornwall.
13 July 2006: Victorian genius inspires today's engineers: To try and emulate, if not surpass, the single-span bridge designed in 1831 by the great Victorian engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, was the challenge set in the 2006 Clifton Crossing Competition, sponsored by the Environment Agency as part of its year-long 10th birthday celebrations.
13 July 2006: Can a Dead River Rise Again?: "Parts of the San Joaquin [River] have turned into a sewer, but the state has a chance to bring it back to life", writes Bill Stall in the LA Times.
13 July 2006: Norway's whale catch falls short: Hurrah, the Norwegians are catching fewer whales than expected. According to this BBC article: "Western environmental groups say the industry is in crisis, with stores full of unsold meat and a lack of demand from the Norwegian public."
11 July 2006: Backbench MPs pledge to oppose changes to the planning system: Labour MPs have criticised the Government's U-turn over nuclear power and pledged to fight proposals to streamline the planning system to speed up the building of a new generation of nuclear stations.
11 July 2006: Severn barrage proposal continues to excite debate: According to The Times: "A 10-mile tidal barrage across the Severn estuary could provide 5 per cent of Britain's electricity needs, the government will suggest this week.... [but] has met protests from green groups such as the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and Friends of the Earth, which say the barrage will damage bird and marine life."
11 July 2006: Tread carefully—no more landfilling of tyres: Businesses are being reminded that used tyres can no longer be sent to in landfills from 16 July 2006, when new regulations come into force across England and Wales.
11 July 2006: Plight of the white-clawed crayfish: The UK's only native crayfish faces an uncertain future, the BBC's James Lynn reports.
11 July 2006: Swimmer planning Thames challenge: Lewis Gordon Pugh is attempting to become the first person to swim the length of the River Thames.
10 July 2006: New river walkway could boost Staffordshire tourism: Work will soon begin on a £3m project for a new walkway through Stafford, which will stretch from Riverway Bridge to Doxey Marshes on either side of the town, following the line of the River Sow.
7 July 2006: Hundreds of brown trout killed in Laois: There has been a major fish kill on the Owenass River below Mountmellick in Co Laois, with a sewage leak thought to be to blame.
7 July 2006: Clarion call to save amphibians: A third of amphibians are now judged to be at risk of extinction. Hundreds of amphibian species will become extinct unless a global action plan is put into practice very soon, conservationists warn.
7 July 2006: Hundreds of fish saved at Trent Vale in the Midlands: Phil Wormald, the Fisheries, Recreation and Biodiversity Team leader involved in yesterday's rescue said; "Fish can easily become distressed at this time of year because of high water temperature and low oxygen levels. Natural death of algae in the water and low pressure during thunderstorms can also strip oxygen from the water, causing fish to suffocate. Yesterday we managed to save hundreds of fish by pumping oxygen back into the pond. Lake owners can reduce the risk of summer fish kills by reducing the number of fish in a pool, providing deep water and shading with trees and water lillies."
7 July 2006: How a 'green' Britain should look in the year 2020: The Independent reports that at least a tenth of the British landscape will have to be transformed by wind farms and specially cultivated crops to produce renewable energy as the Government grapples with the fight against climate change.
5 July 2006: Cincinatti, Ohio: Make the river cool again!: About 1,500 people are expected to paddle along the Ohio River this weekend as part of the annual Ohio River Way Paddlefest. "This is a pep rally for our region. We have to start looking at what's great about our area and not trashing it all the time," said Brewster Rhoads, vice president of Ohio River Way. "We want to make the river cool again."
5 July 2006: Sushi bars threaten Mediterranean tuna: Bluefin tuna stocks are on the verge of being wiped out as a commercially viable species in the Mediterranean Sea, according to the WWF.
5 July 2006: Cruelty to crustaceans: Save the lobster: According to The Independent, American Whole Foods supermarket chain has banned sales of live shellfish from its upmarket stores.
5 July 2006: Water Shrew sinks its teeth into Britain: The first ever nation-wide survey of the water shrew—for National Mammal Week and conducted by over five hundred volunteers—has enhanced the animal's reputation as a hardy, tolerant but evasive species. Compiling the study for the Environment Agency, the Mammal Society enlisted 506 volunteers to discover distribution and habitat preference of water shrews at 2159 sites across Britain, finding evidence of the species at 387 or 17.4% of sites. And despite possessing red-tipped fangs and venomous saliva, it's the water shrew's ability to adapt to human disruption of its habitat that stands it apart from other freshwater mammals.
4 July 2006: UK's 'biggest' wetland created: The UK's largest man-made wetland is being developed with the deliberate breaching of 300 m of sea wall.
4 July 2006: Fish dead in oxygen-starved river: Environment Agency staff mount a desperate rescue mission after hundreds of fish die in the River Don in Yorkshire.
4 July 2006: Thames Water will not be fined for leakage: Thames Water has escaped a potentially enormous fine for failing to fix leakgs, but water services regulator Ofwat has ordered it to spend an extra £150m on replacing old water pipes instead.
3 July 2006: New roads: The damage done and the lessons unlearnt: Traffic on new roads is growing much faster than the Government forecast, according to a new study commissioned by CPRE and the Countryside Agency, which proves (once again) that building roads increases traffic rather than relieving it.
30 June 2006: Voles reintroduced to River Dore: Conservationists hope the release of 500 young water voles will give the species a major boost by repopulating an entire river.
28 June 2006: River siphon to 'ease' droughts: Engineers have drawn up an ambitious plan to divert water from the River Severn to the South East to ease future droughts.
28 June 2006: WWF launches world-first website to manage water resources: A new website is being launched by WWF that will help manage rivers across the UK and the world. Rob Oates, Manager of WWF-UK's Natural Rivers Programme said: "There is a water crisis in the UK—most of our rivers are polluted and low in wildlife and each year brings more floods and droughts across the country. The solution to these problems is to manage rivers in a more integrated way and Better River Basins will help this." The new Better River Basins website will help those involved in river management integrate all of their activities affecting a river such as water abstraction, pollution discharge and dams. This will cover the length of a river from source to the sea.
28 June 2006: New thinking needed on planning for water resources: Planning for the future management of water resources will mean the water industry can no longer only look at engineering solutions, such as building new reservoirs and desalination plants, the Head of Water Resources at the Environment Agency, Ian Barker, said today: "It shouldn't all be about reservoirs and big pipes. Cutting demand by introducing more metering in homes and water efficient fixtures and fittings will lessen or at least defer the need to develop some resources. We believe all homes across the south east should have meters by 2015 and all new properties should be fitted with low water use appliances as standard."
27 June 2006: Environment Agency wages war on Top Mouth Gudgeon: A fast-breeding alien fish that has colonised two East Devon lakes and is threatening to wipe out the local fish population could soon be facing extinction itself. More coverage of this from BBC News.
27 June 2006: Safe alternatives to nuclear power do exist, Mr Blair: Responding to Tony Blair's declaration that he would take "a lot of convincing" that Britain could supply its energy requirements without nuclear power, Friends of the Earth energy campaigner, Roger Higman said: "Mr Blair should listen to his own environmental advisors. Earlier this year the Sustainable Development Commission told him that it is possible to meet the UK's energy needs without nuclear power. Our own research demonstrates this as well."
27 June 2006: Water firms are 'damaging wetlands': RSPB, the leading British bird protection charity, claims water firms are threatening bird populations by extracting too much water from wetlands.
27 June 2006: Ladder revamp helps salmon spawn: A man-made channel which helps filter water so salmon can swim more freely to spawn is to get a £40,000 makeover.
22 June 2006: Rivers of Chechnya ravaged by war: Environmental agencies have warned that the Russian republic of Chechnya, devastated by war over the past 11 years, now faces ecological disaster.
22 June 2006: Lesser Horseshoe Bat becomes greater!: With the Lesser Horseshoe Bats identified as one of the success stories of the UK Biodiversity Action Plan five year review this week, the Environment Agency has unveiled a new guide to prevent developers disturbing bat populations and falling foul of the law. The UKBAP review found Lesser Horseshoe Bat (LHB) colonies sampled in Wales had increased in number by 42%, while there was a 39% upward trend in south-west England.
22 June 2006: Thousands of fish killed through careless chemical spill into River Blackwater: Important safety guidelines on how to treat a spilt chemical were largely ignored by three organisations, including Braintree District Council, leading to the death of thousands of fish and long term damage to the River Blackwater.
22 June 2006: Welsh Water fined over Broad Haven pollution: Cymru Welsh Water has been fined £4,000 for causing sewage effluent to enter coastal waters off Broad Haven Beach in Pembrokeshire.
22 June 2006: Why Thames Water's owners are laughing like drains: An article in The Daily Mail sums up a national mood of scandal: Thames Water is making fat profits, failing to fix leaks, and imposing drought orders on its customers.
21 June 2006: Second crossing planned for Bristol Avon: A new road bridge could be built over the River Avon under plans submitted to the government as part of the Greater Bristol transport study.
21 June 2006: Fear for birds as eel fishing resumes: The European Commission yesterday announced controversial plans to end a 12 month ban on fishing for sandeels in the North Sea, sparking renewed fears about the impact on Britain's seabird populations.
21 June 2006: How the fish on your plate makes you an accessory to crime at sea: Russian Mafia-style gangs are plundering protected stocks and then laundering their illegally-caught hauls through fishing ports in Britain.
21 June 2006: Oil exploration threat to Cardigan Bay?: Three companies have applied for licences to explore Cardigan Bay for oil and gas reserves. One area is located north of Fishguard, and two other blocks are further out to sea, north of Cardigan. Environmental groups have expressed fears for wildlife and ecology.
19 June 2006: Indian activist arrested again in dam protest: Medha Patkar has been arrested leading a demonstration outside the house of Sonia Gandhi, chief of India's ruling Congress party, in protest against the Sardar Sarovar Dam.
19 June 2006: Making water out of thin air: Inspired by a beetle, researchers at MIT have designed a material that can harvest water from the air.
19 June 2006: Day of whaling shame for Denmark: According to the conservation group WWF: "Denmark has shattered the EU's anti-whaling unity by voting with the Japanese and Norwegian block of anti-conservation nations in the International Whaling Commission - an appalling move. The decision by the Danish government to side with the Japanese group does not mean commercial whaling can start again, but has handed control of the IWC to pro-whaling nations by one vote. This means that after two decades where commercial whaling has been the subject of a global moratorium, the way may now be paved for changes in the IWC that could revive the hunting that pushed some of the biggest and most magnificent creatures ever to have lived on Earth to the edge of extinction."
18 June 2006: Hundreds of thousands of new homes will drive out rare wildlife: Government plans to build hundreds of thousands of new houses across Britain are a greater threat to the country's most at-risk species and habitats than climate change, reports Juliet Jowett in the Observer.
16 June 2006: The hidden impacts of drought: As the British whinge about hosepipe bans, a timely reminder from Save the Children about what water shortages really mean for much of the world's population: "On the Day of the African Child (16 June), Save the Children is highlighting serious risks to children's safety in drought-affected areas of East Africa. The simple task of collecting water can be extremely dangerous for young children. The average distance a child has to walk every day to collect water is 6km and in times of drought this distance is greatly increased. The average person in the UK will walk 6km in a week. The children must carry the water home in containers weighing up to 20 kilos, which can cause damage to a child's spine and pelvis."
16 June 2006: Red kites hatch in the North East: Red kite chicks have hatched in the north-east of England for the first time in about 200 years.
16 June 2006: Greenwash: Bush creates world's largest marine park: According to the Independent: 'President George Bush has announced that he intends to create the world's largest marine conservation area across a broad swath of the Pacific, surprising and delighting his environmentalist critics who have had little but withering criticism of the "toxic Texan" over the past five and a half years.'
16 June 2006: MSP backs controversial hydropower plan: Plans for a hydroelectric power plant on one of the country's top white water rivers (the River Braan in Perthshire) are being opposed by canoeists, but backed by the local MSP.
16 June 2006: 25-year flood and water resource plan for London's marshes: Seven public organisations have signed up to a new 25-year plan to ensure the Inner Thames Marshes become a major part of a proposed Conservation Park in the highly controversial Thames Gateway development.
15 June 2006: Volunteers clean up the Thames: A 100-strong team has been clearing litter from the River Thames. At least 1,000 tonnes of rubbish is removed from the river every year.
15 June 2006: Groundwater directive to keep some of its teeth: Euro MEPs have blocked attempts to make the EU groundwater directive non-binding.
15 June 2006: Arctic pollution getting worse: A new study by WWF reports an increase in toxic pollution in polar bears and other Arctic creatures.
15 June 2006: Anglian Water fined £10,000: An ageing sewage system and ignorance of the extent of the surface water system by Anglian Water staff may have contributed to serious pollution.
15 June 2006: Anglers urged to report fish deaths in hot weather: Thousands of fish have died in waterways across England over past few days in the lead up to tomorrow's opening day of the coarse fishing season, with freshwater species failing to cope with plunging oxygen levels in the hot weather. The Environment Agency is appealing for help.
22 June 2006: European greenhouse emissions continue to rise: Friends of the Earth has demanded urgent climate action from European governments, after new data reveals that overall EU emissions continue to rise. The latest figures , released by the European Commission today, show that EU emissions rose by 0.4% in 2004 relative to the previous year. UK emissions rose 0.2%. In 2004, the combined EU emissions were only 0.9% below 1990 levels, meaning that the EU is shamefully off-course to meet its international Kyoto Protocol obligations to cut greenhouse pollution by 8% by 2012.
14 June 2006: Anglers - Our Climate's Watchdogs: With thousands of miles of waterways in England and Wales, who better to monitor our waterways than anglers? The Environment Agency and the Anglers Conservation Association have paid tribute to a quiet army of conservationists.
12 June 2006: Worldwide litter found on remote beach in St Kilda: According to a BBC news report, pieces of litter from around the world have been found on the Scottish island of St Kilda: "A clean-up of Village Bay collected 520 pieces of rubbish including a Brazilian mustard container, Japanese washing up liquid bottle and Canadian oil drum".
10 June 2006: New shark species discovered in US waters: A new type of hammerhead shark has been discovered in the northwestern Atlantic Ocean, marine scientists say.
9 June 2006: 150 fish killed in river incident: One hundred and fifty-two adult and juvenile brown trout were killed along a half mile stretch of the Ballymoney river in Northern Ireland.
9 June 2006: China's Yellow River estuary "cleanest in years"?: There are conflicting claims about pollution in China's Yellow River delta estuary, according to Reuters.
8 June 2006: Working together boosts wild fish numbers: Anglers and fish farmers are reaping the benefits of working together to help wild salmon and fish, it is claimed.
8 June 2006: Herring catches should be halved, say scientists: The Herald reports that fish processors could face a battle for survival after European scientists revealed they are suggesting that the amount of herring which the fleet can catch should be halved.
8 June 2006: Swans more flighty than thought: Anglers and fish farmers are reaping the benefits of working together to help wild salmon and fish, it is claimed.
8 June 2006: Welsh pupils learn about rivers: Rhydfelin school pupils recently had learned about the life cycle of the Atlantic salmon and how cleaner rivers help us all to live in a better environment.
6 June 2006: Water: Government must rethink housing strategy: Friends of the Earth is calling on the Government to review its plans to allow hundreds of thousands of new homes to be built in the South East and East of England. The call follows today's report by a House of Lords committee which criticizes the Government for failing to consider the water management implications of their house-building plans at an early enough stage, saying "their belated estimates of the growth in demand are wholly unconvincing." Friends of the Earth water campaigner Roger Higman said:
"Many parts of the South East and East of England are already facing water shortages. Building hundreds of thousands of new homes, with poor water-efficiency standards, is likely to make the situation even worse. The Government must urgently review its house building plans and bring in mandatory rules to ensure that new homes are built to the highest environmental standards."
6 June 2006: Water vole survey begins: British Waterways is launching a survey of voles and other wildlife in a bid to arrest their decline.
6 June 2006: Businesses urge Blair to curb global warming emissions: Thirteen business leaders are set to meet Prime Minister Tony Blair to urge tougher action on climate change. The group, including Shell, Tesco and Vodafone executives, will urge more curbs on emissions.
6 June 2006: Home plans 'ignore lack of water': The Office of the Deputy Prime Minister has been criticized by a House of Lords committee for not considering water shortages in plans for new homes. According to Conservative environment spokesman Peter Ainsworth: "It is deeply irresponsible to build houses unless water efficiency comes as standard, it is as simple as that."
1 June 2006: New homes 'will not add to water crisis': Government plans for tens of thousands of new homes in the south-east will not necessarily add to the water crisis in the region, the environment secretary, David Miliband, said today. But Friends of the Earth have vigorously disagreed.
1 June 2006: Cumbria magistrate guilty of poaching: A Cumbria magistrate found himself on the other side of the bench today when a salmon poaching offence cost him £3,000. Stephen Furniss, from Seascale, was found guilty after a two-day trial.
31 May 2006: Fishing just for birds: According to The Scotsman, Scotland's top angling loch will no longer be stocked or used for international competitions after protected cormorants devastated stocks of brown trout.
30 May 2006: Pollution is killing the Yangtze: Chinese experts warn worsening pollution will make the Yangtze unable to sustain life within five years.
30 May 2006: Kent councillor wages war on river trolleys: A local councillor in Kent is campaigning to stop trolleys being dumped in Kent's River Medway because they can be seen at low tide.
25 May 2006: Beaches cleaner after dry spell: A record number of UK beaches have been recommended for their excellent water quality, after the driest weather in a decade of sharply reduced storm pollution. Find out more from the Marine Conservation Society's Good Beach Guide.
25 May 2006: Government authorises more drought orders: The government has granted drought orders to two more water companies in southern England, Mid Kent Water and Southern Water, giving them the power to ban non-essential uses of water.
25 May 2006: More anglers buy rod licenses online: More anglers than ever are buying their rod licences on line, according to figures released by the Environment Agency. "Internet sales are up more than 85%," enthused Environment Agency Head of Fisheries Dafydd Evans. "Buying a rod licence has never been easier; simply visit the Environment Agency website any time, day or night, and use your debit or credit card to make sure you are fishing legally. More than 100,000 anglers now net their rod licence on line.
24 May 2006: Water crisis must lead to rethink for SE housing plans: Plans to build over half a million homes in the South East must be urgently reviewed because of the impact that this will have on the region's diminishing water resources, Friends of the Earth said today.
24 May 2006: Canoeists oppose Scottish hydroelectric plant: Plans for a hydroelectric power plant on one of the country's top white water rivers are being opposed by canoeists. Energy firm Npower Renewables believes the River Braan scheme in Perthshire could generate enough electricity to power more than 2,000 homes a year. But canoeists fear lower water levels.
24 May 2006: Biodiesel firm fined £24,000 for water pollution: Bio-diesel producer Global Commodities of Shipdham, Norfolk was today fined a total of £24,000 and ordered to pay £5,282 in costs following a prosecution brought by the Environment Agency. The company, which produces bio-diesel from waste cooking oil, pleaded guilty to nine offences including the pollution of a local watercourse and operating outside its permit.
24 May 2006: United Utilities discharged "22 olympic pools of sewage" into Mersey: United Utilities has been ordered to pay £10,000 for discharging over 56,000 cubic metres (equivalent to 22 Olympic sized swimming pools) of untreated sewage into the River Mersey. The Environment Agency expressed its deep disappointment: "Over the past 20 years we have worked closely with United Utilities, along with the Mersey Basin Campaign and local industry, to improve water quality in the Mersey. Our work has transformed it from one of Europe?s most polluted waterways to a clean, healthy river supporting many species of fish and other wildlife.
23 May 2006: Global warming risk much greater: The effects of global warming have been underestimated by up to 75%, according to new research.
23 May 2006: Public inquiry into UK's first salt-water plant: Thames Water's plans for a desalination plant to supply London with drinking water are to go before a public inquiry, after being turned down by London Mayor Ken Livingstone.
23 May 2006: Wildlife worries over lack of rain: Wildlife experts say the two consecutive dry winters are beginning to have an impact on flora and fauna in parts of the UK affected by drought conditions.
22 May 2006: Deadly parasite attacks Welsh shellfish: Movement of molluscan shellfish from the River Cleddau, Milford Haven and adjacent coastal waters, are being controlled because the Bonamia ostreae parasite has been discovered in wild native oysters.
19 May 2006: Deep-sea fish stocks 'plundered': Stocks of fish in international waters are being plundered to the point of extinction, according to a new report from conservation group WWF.
19 May 2006: Bluefin tuna on verge of collapse?: At the start of the commercial fishing season of the bluefin tuna in the Mediterranean, catches are down by a staggering 80 per cent on this time last year, according to the Tuna Trap Producers Association (OPP51). Conservation group WWF is alarmed at this demonstration that the entire Mediterranean bluefin tuna fishery is now bordering on collapse.
18 May 2006: Reservoir plan may have 'brutal' effect: Local residents are unhappy with £90m plans to expand Rutland Water. Representatives for villagers and farmers have expressed their fears to Anglian Water bosses.
18 May 2006: USA: Exxon Valdez haunts Alaska coast: Wildlife are still suffering, 17 years after the worst US oil disaster, scientists have claimed.
18 May 2006: Orange juice dye leak turns Somerset stream yellow: 8000 liters of orange-juice dye have turned a stream bright orange near Bridgwater, Somerset.
17 May 2006: Schoolchildren get reeled in to fishing at Swinton Lock: Children at Rawmarsh Thorogate Junior School in Rotherham hope to get hooked on fishing this Friday with the help of the Environment Agency and Swinton Lock Activity Centre. The taster day will give the children the opportunity to master the basics of coarse fishing, and catch roach, perch, rudd or even carp.
17 May 2006: Water industry comes under fire as 3.6 billion litres are lost every day: Amid talk of drought, more talk of leaks and waste. The worst offender, Thames Water, loses 200 million gallons daily.
17 May 2006: South West Water fined for 43 day release of sewage into river from pumping station: South West Water has been ordered to pay fines and cost of £3,750 after allowing sewage to be pumped into the River Exe estuary for 43 days at Exton, near Exeter, in a case brought today by the Environment Agency. But the Environment Agency look sheepish today too because...
17 May 2006: Environment Agency fined for polluting river: River watchdog the Environment Agency has been fined £7,500 for polluting the River Exe, in Somerset. The prosecution was brought by local landowner Ian Cook. It's the first time the Agency has ever been prosecuted in its 10-year history.
17 May 2006: Hampshire Avon salmon under spotlight: The Environment Agency is stepping-up its efforts to discover the secrets surrounding salmon stocks on one of England's best known salmon rivers - the Hampshire Avon.
17 May 2006: Sewage changing sex of male fish: Endocrine-disrupting chemicals in sewage effluent are changing the sex of male fish in a Kent river.
17 May 2006: Norwegian water shipments may ease drought: According to the Guardian, water could be shipped into the South of England from Norway and Scotland to ease shortages.
16 May 2006: The Great Drought of 1976: Martin Wainwright of the Guardian remembers the last great drought, 30 years ago. Article includes 20 top tips for saving water.
16 May 2006: Britain heading for drought?: According to the Environment Agency, if there is a hot, dry summer Britain will have the worst drought for a century. Today's Guardian has a handy Q&A about what this could mean.
16 May 2006: Anger over Blair's nuclear support: Following Tony Blair's pro-nuclear speech to the CBI, Tony Juniper of Friends of the Earth has called the energy review a "sham".
16 May 2006: Friends of the Earth launches new climate resource for schools: Friends of the Earth has just launched "Shout About Climate Solutions 2006", a resource pack and activity week for teachers, youth workers and young people who are keen to know more about climate change and what can be done to address it.
15 May 2006: Africa: Climate change could kill almost 200 million: According to a new report by Christian Aid, a staggering 182 million people in sub-Saharan Africa alone could die of disease directly attributable to climate change by the end of the century.
15 May 2006: More water savings needed as drought continues: Water supplies and the environment in the south east of England are still at serious risk because of the drought and not enough action is being taken by some water companies, people and businesses to save water, the Environment Agency said today.
14 May 2006: Water firms make £2bn profit as drought hits UK: Juliette Jowit reports on another water-industry scandal.
13 May 2006: China: More hydro-electric plants to be constructed on Yangtze River: The controversial Three Gorges dam has done little to dampen enthusiasm for hydro-power in China.
12 May 2006: Miliband urged to back clean, safe alternatives to nuclear power: Friends of the Earth push the new Environment secretary.
12 May 2006: Australia: Scheme to use salty river water: According to a report from ABC News, a new aquaculture plan in Australia is attempting to solve the River Murray's major problem of salinity.
11 May 2006: Flood warning over house building: The Guardian reports that councils are still ignoring advice and allowing new homes to be built on flood plains, a committee of MPs warned today.
11 May 2006: Major fish kill in County Meath river: According to RTE, several thousand trout have died over a three-mile stretch of the river Inny, which flows into Lough Sheelin in County Meath.
11 May 2006: Fishing fees issue taken to MPs: Introduction of English rod licence fees on the River Esk in Scotland is to be debated in the House of Commons.
11 May 2006: New agricultural waste regulations come into force: Farmers were today reminded by the Environment Agency that from midnight 14 May they will no longer be able to tip waste on their land. Tricia Henton, Director of Environment Protection for the Environment Agency, said: "From May, new regulations tell whether farmers can burn, bury or store waste on their farm will come into force. In short, it means they will need to think very carefully about how they handle, and what they do, with their waste."
11 May 2006: USA: Tidal energy for the Penebscot River?: A company in Washington, D.C., has applied to the US government for permission to study using tidal currents in the Penobscot River to generate electricity reports the Boston Globe.
8 May 2006: India: Judge rules Nardar dam work can continue: India's Supreme Court has ruled that the controversial Sardar Sarovar dam on the Narmada river in central India can continue. As part of her long-running campaign, activist Medha Patkar went on a hunger strike recently.
8 May 2006: Environment Agency works with farmers to tackle erosion on Bodmin Moor and save valuable wetland: One of Cornwall's best salmon and sea trout rivers, the Fowey, is to benefit from a pioneering partnership between the Environment Agency and a group of farmers on Bodmin Moor.
5 May 2006: RSPB says no to oil transfers in Firth of Forth: The RSPB has submitted an official objection to a plan which would allow transfers of oil to take place between ships in the Firth of Forth - an internationally important site for large numbers of birds.
4 May 2006: Retailer fined over diesel spill: John Lewis has been fined £12,000 after diesel fuel from one of its stores leaked into a river near Reading.
4 May 2006: Water water everywhere!: An irreverent look at Ken Livingstone's enthusiasm for water saving— and a mysterious puddle on his floor.
4 May 2006: Water plan to stop droughts: Wessex Water has unveiled a public consultation on its water-saving plans.
3 May 2006: Summer water shortages likely in eastern England: The Environment Agency has given its strongest warning yet that some water users could face restrictions on their water use this summer. Below average rain has fallen in Eastern England in the last 18 months. Rivers are at less than half their normal flow for the time of year and groundwater levels are also low. The Agency warned that if the summer is hot and dry, some rivers will dry up and fish could suffer.
3 May 2006: 2000 more trout for River Churnet: Environment Agency officers have just released 2000 trout fry (baby trout) into a tributary of the River Churnet. This will help to re-stock the river following a pollution incident two years ago, which resulted in a substantial loss of trout and coarse fish. The trout were raised at a Derbyshire fishery and are part of an estimated 6,000 trout to be re-stocked into the Rivers Churnet and Tean during this exercise.
1 May 2006: River patrol to protect young eels: Fishermen in Somerset are being warned to stay within the law as they try to land lucrative catches of baby eels in the River Parrett. Patrols are being mounted there and also in Kent.
1 May 2006: South West Water fined for sewage spill: An accidental spill into the River Teign in Devon lands SWW with a £4000 fine and £35,000 costs.
28 April 2006: Minister praises river conservation group: Government minister Carwyn Jones has congratulated the Wye and Usk Foundation on its community-based river work in Wales.
28 April 2006: Seven barrage plan slammed: Conservation group WWF has slammed proposals by Welsh First Minister to recommend a new energy-generating barrage across the River Severn. Friends of the Earth has also attacked the plans.
4 April 2006: Surveyors wanted for marine special conservation areas: English Nature is tendering for survey work in proposed marine SACs.