Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Primary school places budget squeeze

As birth rates continue to climb in the UK, local governments are seeing their budgets squeezed as demand for primary school places rise. It is estimated that already 100,000 5 to 7 year olds are in classes over 30 pupils and that in the next three years another 130,000 primary school places will need to be provided.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

UK must adapt to changing weather says Environment Agency

Britain must prepare better for more droughts and more floods in the future, says the Chairman of the Environment Agency. Some rivers like the Ouse and Tyne sank to historic lows and highs within a 4 month period. He said that the UK would have to look into increasing the amount of small reservoirs as well as improving th etransfer of water between dry and wet areas. He also said that more homes will have to be protected from flooding.

Chart showing the lows and highs of river levels

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Construction to start on 93 new flood defences

The government has announced that construction will start on 93 new flood defences. 64,000 homes are expected to receive better protection at the cost of £2.3 billion. The flood defences are being improved in coastal and river locations.

Flooded road

EU Plans Fishing Reforms

The EU has voted to introduce reforms for the EU Common Fisheries Policy. The reforms aim to protect endangered stocks and to end discarding (throwing unwanted fish back into the sea). Discards are believed to account for about one quarter of all fish caught. It is hoped that depleted stocks can recover by 2020. It is hoped that this will happen by moving from the current bartering overs quota and moving to a system of maximum sustainable yield (MSY).
Scallop fishing off northern France - file pic

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Huge Energy Potential off Scotland's Coast

Giant waves off the Western Isles could offer enormous energy potential. Buoys placed 5 miles off the island of Lewis recorderd average wave height of 14 metres on Monday. The heighest wave was 23 metres in height. Scientists have calculated that "based on average wave power of 75kW/m and a 200km coastline from Butt of Lewis to Barra, the total mean power would be 15GW - equivalent to 12 modern nuclear power plants, such as Torness." However, based on Monday's waves this could rise to the equivelant of 120 nuclear power stations.

Big wave surfer Garrett McNamara

Thursday, 31 January 2013

60th Anniversary of Great Flood

Today is the anniversay of the great 1953 storm that killed over 300 people. The south east of the UK was hit by a wall of water caused by storm surges and spring tides. Unfortunately 60 years ago there was little warning and many perished. Today many lessons have been learnt from this storm; defences have been introduced along much of the coast and teh Environemnt Agency and Met Office coordinate their warnings and responses. However, some scientists are warning that without further investment, our coasts might be vulnearble again because of rising sea levels and stronger storms.

A policeman and rescue worker rowing a flood victim from her home at Canvey Island, Essex

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Flood Warnings as Snow Thaws

Forecasters have warned that there might be localised flooding as warming temperatures thaw snow and rain moves in. Snow has covered much of the UK for over 10 days creating temporary surface stores. The melting snow will be unable to infiltrate as much of the UK is already saturated from a wet 2012. With no where to go the snow will run down hill to low lying areas and river valleys.

A34 at Meaford