INDEX

 

Consultations

Consultation outcomes

UK news

International news

Projects & research

Publications

 

ENVIRONMENTAL NEWS HIGHLIGHTS

 

CONSULTATIONS      

 

international ocean governance

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

The aim of this consultation is to gather input on how the EU could contribute to achieving better international governance of oceans and seas to the benefit of sustainable blue growth. On the basis of the results and other sources of data and information, the European Commission will consider how best to develop a more coherent, comprehensive and effective EU policy on improving the international ocean governance framework.

All citizens and organisations are welcome to contribute to this consultation. Contributions are particularly sought from stakeholders, private and public, in addition to international governmental and non-governmental organisations.

Period of consultation: 04.06.2015 to 15.09.2015

(http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/maritimeaffairs_fisheries/consultations/ocean-governance/index_en.htm)

 

fishing opportunities for 2016 under THE common fisheries policy

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Objective: To allow all European citizens to express an opinion on the way in which levels of fishing effort and quotas are set according to the new Common Fisheries Policy and in relation to scientific advice about sustainable fishing.

Period of consultation: from 02.06.2015 to 01.10.2015

(http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/maritimeaffairs_fisheries/consultations/fishing-opportunities-2016/index_en.htm)

 

CONSULTATION OUTCOMES

 

COMMON FISHERIES POLICY: IMPLEMENTATION OF THE DEMERSAL LANDING OBLIGATION (DISCARD BAN) IN ENGLAND

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Defra received 75 responses to this consultation. The responses will be considered in the development of the government response. The government response will be published once national policy decisions have been taken. This consultation ran from 23 January 2015 to 31 March 2015.

Consultation description - Defra sought views on how they should implement the demersal landing obligation in England. The demersal landing obligation is a ban on the discarding of fish. This prevents fish being thrown back into the sea after being caught, except when subject to specific exemptions. Demersal fisheries are those in which fishermen primarily catch demersal species (fish which live and feed close to or on the seabed) such as cod, haddock, sole and plaice. Implementation of the demersal landing obligation is one of several measures that will contribute towards achieving Good Environmental Status in our seas.

(https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/common-fisheries-policy-implementation-of-the-demersal-landing-obligation-discard-ban-in-england?cm_mid=4785003&cm_crmid=00abff55-f721-e311-a13d-00155d00012f&cm_medium=email)

 

SUMMARY OF RESPONSES TO THE CONSULTATION ON THE DRAFT UPDATE TO THE RIVER BASIN MANAGEMENT PLANS

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Following the public consultation earlier this year on Water for life and livelihoods: draft update to the river basin management plans, the Environment Agency has now produced a summary response document, which can be downloaded here:

(https://consult.environment-agency.gov.uk/portal/ho/wfd/draft_plans/consult)

The consultation on the update to the draft river basin management plans was the third and final stage of public consultation, in the 2nd cycle of river basin planning. The EA received 486 responses from a range of groups and organisations, such as water and energy companies, charities, non-governmental organisations, wildlife groups, industrial organisations, local government and individuals.

The views and opinions expressed were wide ranging and are being used to help shape the updated river basin management plans and make decisions on how the water environment is managed, protected and improved.

The consultation response document provides:

  • An overview of the feedback received for each consultation question, at a national level and for each river basin district.
  • Information on the number of responses submitted and the types of organisations that responded.
  • A summary of the consultation and engagement process.
  • Information on the next steps in river basin management planning.

In the autumn, the EA will produce a further document, describing how the main points raised in the consultation have influenced the updated river basin management plans and will continue to influence work over the next six years and beyond.

 

UK NEWS       

innovate uk funds ‘breakthrough’ microbead replacement

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

A Canadian biotech company claims to have developed a commercial-scale biodegradable replacement for the harmful synthetic microbeads found in many beauty products. TerraVerdae BioWorks announced that it had carried out a 10,000 litre production run for its microbead replacement, which it developed with funding from Innovate UK. TerraVerdae’s natural microspheres meet industry standards for biodegradation in a marine environment and can be produced in a range of sizes to meet all requirements for cosmetic formulations.

Microbeads are used as exfoliants in a range of beauty and cosmetic products, including facial scrubs and toothpastes. Their small size means that they cannot be filtered out during wastewater treatment, so they often enter rivers, lakes and seas, where they are eaten by marine species which cannot differentiate between microbeads and food.

The environmental backlash against microbeads was so strong that, in June, almost all of Britain’s major retailers pledged to faze them out of their own-brand products by 2017.

Click here for the full story

 

new protections for sea bass

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

New commercial and recreational fishing restrictions for bass to come into effect.

New restrictions on the fishing of sea bass, including the introduction of a minimum catch size, will come into effect from as early as 1 September 2015. This is following action by UK government to protect this iconic and threatened species. The new controls are the result of continued lobbying in Europe to introduce new commercial and recreational fishing restrictions for bass. These measures will address the long-term decline in bass stocks due to overfishing and support British fishermen for the future by ensuring sustainable bass fishing and angling. From next month fishermen and anglers will be prevented from catching juvenile bass under 42cm in size, giving female bass the chance to grow to an age where they can spawn. This will strengthen our stocks by creating a new generation of fish for us to catch more sustainably.

These latest steps to protect sea bass are part of a wider campaign by government to promote sustainable fishing. This includes securing historic reforms to the Common Fisheries Policy and subsequent introduction of a Discard Ban to prevent the throwing back overboard of healthy fish.

(https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-protections-for-sea-bass)

 

the way scotland’s seas and coasts are managed is changing – time to have your say!

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Scotland’s first National Marine Plan provides a framework for sustainable management of our valuable marine resource, ensuring that we all continue to benefit from it in future. Marine Scotland, the directorate of Scottish Government with responsibility for integrated management of Scotland’s seas, has identified a lack of essential information about how people use the sea for recreation and tourism. This survey aims to change that.

By providing this information you will help to ensure that these activities are appropriately taken into account in future decisions about use, protection and development of the marine environment. Everyone who completes the survey will be given an opportunity to enter a free prize draw to win one of many great prizes including: a short break in one of Scottish Canals’ holiday cottages; spa day experience for two guests at Portavadie’s new spa; family tickets for Inveraray Jail and Inveraray Castle; two return tickets for the Kintyre Express fast passenger ferry from Campbeltown to Ballycastle in Northern Ireland.

Please take some time to let them know your views at:

(http://www.marinerecreationandtourism.scot)

This will run until 31 October 2015.
 

scotland awards £7m to wave energy innovators

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

The Scottish Government-funded Wave Energy Scotland (WES) has allocated £7m to 16 wave energy developers to help them commercialise their technologies. Contracts ranged from £78,000 for concept optimisation, up to £2m for later stage prototype development. This is the first round of contracts awarded by WES which was set up last year to support the development of wave energy technology. Projects receiving funding include feasibility studies for adapting technology from the wind and automobile sectors, and finding more efficient ways of converting wave energy into electricity.

A report released in January by the journal Renewable Energy claimed that large-scale wave energy is comparatively more reliable, consistent and potentially cheaper than other forms of energy generation, including wind power.

(http://www.edie.net/news/6/Scotland-awards--7m-to-wave-energy-innovaters-WES/?utm_source=weeklynewsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=news&utm_campaign=weeklynewsletter)

 

great british beach clean 18–21 September 2015

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

The Marine Conservation Society needs your help on the beach for the Great British Beach Clean this September! It's easy to take part. Most events will take an hour or two – time well spent making a difference to the growing problem of beach litter. By joining in over this weekend, you’ll be contributing to a national and global survey, and will meet other people who also want to help keep our beaches clean.

The Great British Beach Clean includes the Great Channel Islands Beach Clean and the Great Northern Irish Beach Clean.

Click here for details.

 

bathing waters: list of designated waters in england

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

List of designated bathing waters for the 2015 bathing season, 15 May to 30 September (published 10 August 2015).

(https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/bathing-waters-list-of-designated-waters-in-england)

 

thames marine mammal sightings survey ten year report (2004–2014)

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

In 2004, the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) launched the Thames Marine Mammal Sightings Survey (TMMSS) to collect opportunistic public sightings of marine mammals in the Greater Thames Estuary. This survey was created to fill a critical data gap on the distribution of marine mammals around the UK coast in order to inform conservation efforts. Through gathering reports sent in by members of the public, ZSL has built a long-term dataset on the presence of whales, dolphins, porpoises and seals in one of the world’s busiest waterways.

Over the 10 years covered by this report 1,317 marine mammal sightings have been submitted by members of the public. The majority of sightings are concentrated in Greater London, most likely due to the greater density of people in this area. However, the TMMSS covers the entire Greater Thames Estuary, delineated by Teddington Lock in the West, Felixstowe in the North East and Deal in the South East. The method of data collection for the TMMSS has evolved since the survey was launched in 2004. Initially, it took the form of a postal survey, but in 2007 reporting was completed using an online form and since August 2013, the survey has been based around an interactive map at: (http://www.zsl.org/inthethames)

Read the report at:

(http://admin.zsl.org/sites/default/files/media/2015-08/Final%20TMMSS%20Report.pdf)

 

institute for sustainable coasts and oceans launched

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

The National Oceanography Centre (NOC) and the University of Liverpool have entered into a new strategic partnership creating the Institute for Sustainable Coasts and Oceans (ISCO). The new Institute is a collaborative venture that brings together marine scientists, social scientists, engineers and economists to meet the challenges of a changing ocean and a changing coastal population. It will provide the improved connectivity between experts in these different fields and through world-class research will provide the knowledge needed to deliver sustainable management of the coast and our coastal seas.

The NOC and the University of Liverpool have collaborated successfully for many years, particularly in the areas of ocean climate and sea level rise, observations and computer modelling of complex shelf sea systems, and marine renewable energy. ISCO will develop that research base further, building wider stakeholder partnerships to become an internationally recognized centre of excellence for joined-up research with an emphasis on societal impacts.

Read the full story here

 

master data register

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) has developed a comprehensive catalogue of spatially referenced environmental data. This catalogue is known as the MMO Master Data Register (MDR) and it currently contains information to support the business and the regulatory and decision-making functions. The MDR is a key internal tool for data management. The MMO uses information in the form of data products procured from a wide variety of public and commercial sources. Being committed to the government’s transparency agenda and the Open Data Policy, in future MMO intend to release quarterly extracts of the MDR catalogue.

The MDR is available as a PDF and was last updated on 7 May 2015.

Contact information: Access to information – 0300 123 1032

accesstoinformation@marinemanagement.org.uk

Source of these details: (https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/master-data-register)

 

marine pollution contingency plan

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

The plan summarises procedures the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) follows for a marine pollution incident. The plan is under constant review to ensure the best possible response and includes details on:

  • how to get approval to use an oil spill treatment product in English and Welsh waters
  • environment groups
  • MMO’s out of hours arrangements
  • resources
  • legal information
  • other contingency plans
  • other marine emergencies
  • forms and templates for use during and after an incident
  • approved products
  • list and details of standing approvals to use treatment products

Contact information: Marine Conservation and Enforcement Team on 0191 376 2511

dispersants@marinemanagement.org.uk

Source of information:

(https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/marine-pollution-contingency-plan)

 

M&S helps to clear 180,000 pieces of beach litter

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Staff and customers from Marks and Spencer and volunteers from the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) removed more than 180,000 items of rubbish from Britain's beaches during the Big Beach Clean-up in May.  A total of 40 tonnes of waste was picked from 148 km of beaches and waterways in the partnership's largest clean-up to date.

The Big Beach Clean-up was organised as part of the ‘Forever Fish’ partnership between MCS, M&S and the Canal & Waterways Trust. The MCS said the event had helped people appreciate the huge litter problem affecting beaches around the UK. The litter pickers included 6,000 volunteers, who together cleaned 90 beaches and 42 inland waterways. Some of the most common items were plastic bags, crisp packets, plastic bottles, angling lines, paper, metal and polystyrene.

Read the full article here

 

evidence strategy for the marine management organisation (MMO)

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

To ensure that it makes effective management decisions, the MMO must maintain a level of technical capability within its own staff alongside a clear, strategic approach to ensuring any evidence needs are met both now and in the future.

This document sets out Part 1 of the MMO’s Evidence Strategy for 2015 to 2020. This reflects MMO’s current delivery remit, recent developments in the relevant evidence base, Defra’s revised Evidence Strategy and an increased public sector focus on efficient delivery. [Part 2 of the MMO Evidence Strategy is a detailed work programme outlining the specific evidence requirements and how they will be met. This will be produced following engagement on Part 1 and will be updated annually to ensure evidence prioritisation is a dynamic process and allow for flexibility as new requirements arise.]

Within this strategy, science and evidence within the MMO falls into three themes:

  • Describing the marine environment
  • Interactions in the marine environment
  • Integrated marine management

(https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/evidence-strategy-for-the-marine-management-organisation-mmo)

 

drones used to target giant hogweed in scottish highlands

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Aerial drones are being used for the first time in the Highlands to seek out giant hogweed and other invasive plant species so that they can be destroyed. Heracleum mantegazzianum spreads at aggressive rates and its sap can cause painful burns on the skin. The Findhorn, Nairn and Lossie Fisheries Trust (FNLFT) is behind the pilot scheme and said the results so far had been impressive. Trust director, Bob Laughton, said the work was helping them to map where the invasive species were present on the river systems, and had given them a better insight into the worst affected areas.

(http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-33678398)

 

environment agency reveals ‘secret seven’ fish

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

A 400-million-year-old rare blood-sucking creature, once eaten by Vikings and a relic from the Ice Age, top the Environment Agency’s ‘secret seven’ list of England’s rarest fish, published recently.

Photographs of all seven species can be downloaded on flickr

The seven species are lamprey, Arctic charr, vendace, spined loach, allis shad, twaite shad and smelt. All seven species of fish are a conservation priority at a national and international level. The reasons for their previous decline include historically poor water quality, barriers to migration and a changing climate. But now, all seven are starting to thrive again thanks to work by the Environment Agency and other conservation groups.

Read the full press release at:

(https://www.gov.uk/government/news/environment-agency-reveals-secret-seven-fish)

 

key fish stock on the rise

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

North Sea cod, haddock and plaice numbers are rising, which should lead to significantly higher quotas next year, according to new scientific assessments published recently. There are similarly encouraging figures for a number of west coast stocks including megrim and Rockall Haddock. However, other stocks have decreased including North Sea nephrops and whiting which will present more of a challenge in the coming year.

Annual scientific advice from the International Council for the Exploration of the Seas (ICES) – an international network of marine and fisheries scientists – helps to inform the fisheries negotiations that take place in the autumn to decide how much quota our fishermen will receive in the coming year.

(http://news.scotland.gov.uk/News/Key-fish-stock-on-the-rise-1aca.aspx)

 

water and sewerage companies in England: environmental performance report for 2013 and 2014

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

There are nine water and sewerage companies that operate wholly or mainly in England, providing clean (drinking) water and waste water (sewerage) services. The Environment Agency works with these water companies to minimise the impact that their assets and activities have on the environment. The EA monitors their environmental performance throughout the year against important objectives including reducing pollution incidents, complying with permits and delivering environmental improvement schemes. The EA publishes an annual assessment of their performance.

(https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/environmental-performance-of-the-water-and-sewerage-companies-in-2013)

 

a sign of the times: a closer look at SEPA’s bathing water signage network

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Scotland’s beaches are popular places to visit all year long, and from 1 June until 15 September SEPA monitors and reports on the quality of 84 of Scotland’s bathing waters. At 23 of these locations there is electronic signage, providing real-time predictions of bathing water quality conditions and advice. Quality levels are classed as either ‘no predicted issues’, which means there are no water quality problems anticipated that day or ‘poor’. If the predicted quality is poor, bathing is not advised for that day due to a slightly increased health risk. The signs can also display general messages, such as taking care with litter, or can be used for specific local messages. This signage has been operated by SEPA since 2003, and they are the first organisation in the EU to provide a system of integrated live beach signs, which puts Scotland at the forefront of this type of public information provision.

The system is designed to also update on SEPA’s bathing waters webpage and the public information Beachline (08452 30 30 98).

Read the full article here

 

countryside stewardship: terms and conditions

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

This document provides the terms and conditions for Countryside Stewardship.

Access the document here: Countryside Stewardship terms and conditions

See the Countryside Stewardship manual for more information about the scheme.

(https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/countryside-stewardship-terms-and-conditions)

 

best (benefits of suds tool)

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

CIRIA has developed a new, free tool and guidance: BeST (Benefits of SuDS Tool) for use on PCs. It makes assessing the benefits of SuDS easier, without the need for full-scale economic inputs.

BeST provides a structured approach to evaluating a wide range of benefits, often based upon the overall drainage system performance overall. It follows a simple structure that begins with a screening and qualitative assessment to identify the benefits to evaluate further. Then it provides support to help quantify and monetise each benefit. On completion of the evaluation, the tool provides a series of graphs and charts to present the benefits based on Ecosystem Services and Triple Bottom Line criteria.

(http://www.susdrain.org/resources/best.html)

 

selfridges stops selling plastic water bottles to save oceans

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

London retailer Selfridges has stopped the sale of single-use plastic water bottles in its shops as part of a campaign to reduce pollution of the oceans. The department store will stop more than 400,000 plastic water bottle being sold in its food halls and restaurants each year. Customers will now have to refill reusable bottles at in-store drinking fountains.

The move comes as part of Project Ocean – a collaboration between Selfridges and the Zoological Society of London. The partners’ new initiative ‘Be part of the sea change: see through the plastics problem’ hopes to raise awareness of the problem of ocean plastics and change consumer behaviour. The UK is thought to use up to 15 million plastic bottles per day, and more than five trillion pieces of plastic are thought to be circulating in the world’s oceans. Recent studies have found around eight million tonnes of plastic waste enters the world’s oceans each year and is currently increasing year on year.

Read more here

 

the blue new deal

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

The Blue New Deal aims to deliver stronger economies for UK coastal communities through a healthier marine environment. There are already great examples of innovative and sustainable approaches happening around the UK coast, from investment in renewable energy to innovative management of our coastal environment – proof that change is possible. You can learn about some of these stories by visiting the Blue New Deal gallery.

The Blue New Deal will bring together a range of economic sectors, organisations and individuals committed to the Blue New Deal vision, to generate ideas and develop an action plan that will help turn this vision into a reality.

Download the Blue New Deal vision

Read more at:

(http://www.bluenewdeal.org/)

 

fish survey reveals huge variety in river thames (press release)

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

The variety of fish which live in the River Thames has been highlighted by an Environment Agency fisheries survey along the river. The survey found dace, smelt and common bream, as well as marine species such as sea bass and flounder. A variety of invertebrates, which are an important food source, and some rare and unexpected fish, such as pogges, were also discovered.

Specialist fisheries teams surveyed fish populations at 8 locations on the tidal Thames, between Gravesend and Richmond, and identified 17 different species in total. Fisheries teams have been collecting fisheries data from the tidal Thames since the 1960s, and the information is used to get a picture of the health of the river and protect fish.

Environment Agency River Thames surveys are supported by volunteers from Zoological Society of London (ZSL). The volunteers joined fisheries officers as they carried out the work, which involved netting off small sections of the river and counting the fish in each section.

(https://www.gov.uk/government/news/fish-survey-reveals-huge-variety-in-river-thames)

 

environment secretary unveils vision for open data to transform food and farming

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Defra's data reserves will be released to create opportunities for people in the UK making their living from food, farming and the environment. Vast data reserves from Defra are set to transform the world of food and farming in the single biggest government data giveaway the UK has ever seen, Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss announced recently. Outlining her vision for the future of British food, farming and the natural environment, the Environment Secretary will say that over the next year, virtually all the data Defra holds – at least 8,000 sets – will be made freely available to the public.

In terms of the natural environment, canoeists will be able to check an app to see how fast their local river is flowing; swimmers can find the cleanest bathing water; supermarkets can monitor whether the fish they buy are from sustainable sources. The data goldmine will allow UK farmers to apply cutting-edge techniques to boost efficiency and productivity, and allow better monitoring and management of environmental risks.

New data releases will be announced in the coming months and will build upon wider environmental data releases such as:

  • Imagery from the Copernicus satellite system that can detect live if a ship is acting suspiciously in a marine conservation zone, or assess the health of crops and chart their performance under different conditions from space.
  • Real-time air quality and river level readings, beach cleanliness measurements and the records of the National Biodiversity Network which charts plant, animal, bird, insect and invertebrate numbers across Britain.

(https://www.gov.uk/government/news/environment-secretary-unveils-vision-for-open-data-to-transform-food-and-farming)

 

wyre tidal barrage plans revealed

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Initial plans for a tidal barrage across the River Wyre in Lancashire have the go-ahead in a deal with the Queen’s estates in the Duchy of Lancaster. The Wyre Tidal Barrage will be the UK’s first across a river estuary and, at a cost of £200m, claims to be one of the least expensive energy projects in Great Britain. The deal grants exclusivity rights to project managers Natural Energy Wyre Ltd to build a tidal barrage across the river and means that the project is now able to move forward to the funding and planning application stage. The span of the proposed barrage is just 600 m and the average tidal range of approximately 10 m, making it the most economic site for this purpose in the UK (based upon a basic kW/£ generating cost).The barrage will have an installed capacity of 90 MW/hr of electrical energy from six turbines in a single construction spanning the mouth of the river, powered by the twice-daily movement of the tides.

The project will now move forward with securing the £10m Stage One funding which is needed for full completion of the planning application. Once the consultation stages are complete, full construction is expected to take three years.

Read more here

 

springs of rivers project receives hlf funding

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

A multi-million pound plan to restore the River Teme is a step nearer today thanks to vital funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF). HLF has approved a development grant of £204,000 to allow the Severn Rivers’ Trust (SRT) to develop plans and apply for a full £3 million grant for its Springs of River project that will restore the wildlife and revitalise the historic communities along the river. 

The Springs of Rivers project, which will be managed by SRT, aims to reconnect and improve more than 200 km of river through a number of linked initiatives. These will include practical conservation; a range of community events; improving access to the river; and creating volunteering opportunities and apprenticeships.  A new visitor centre will form a hub for the community across the river.  An educational programme is also planned that will aim to work with schools and their local rivers and streams across the region.

The importance of the River Teme is already widely recognised; it is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest and the wider catchment covers two Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and a Special Area of Conservation. It is one of the most important tributaries of the UK’s longest river, the Severn.

(http://severnriverstrust.com/news/springs-of-rivers-project-receives-hlf-funding/)

 

new website helps anglers to find perfect fishing spot

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

A new mobile-friendly interactive website has been launched to help anglers, and would-be anglers, find the best spot to fish. Fishinginfo.co.uk provides everything needed for a fishing trip, from searching for fishing spots to what the weather is doing, plus live water levels to information on buying a rod licence and where to buy kit. Produced by the Angling Trust in partnership with the Environment Agency, Met Office and Post Office, Fishinginfo.co.uk is part of a major nationwide drive to increase participation in angling.

To promote the launch on 9 June 2015, Fishinginfo.co.uk teamed up with comic actor Paul Whitehouse to produce a film starring Paul as the ムBrilliant Kid. Paul is an Angling Trust Ambassador and was very keen to reprise the ‘Brilliant Kid’ character made famous by the BBC comedy series ‘The Fast Show’.

(https://www.gov.uk/government/news/brilliant-new-website-helps-anglers-find-perfect-fishing-spot)

 

tidal energy ‘fence’ planned for bristol channel

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

A second tidal energy scheme could be coming to the Severn estuary as plans have been unveiled for a 30 MW tidal energy fence to be constructed in the Bristol Channel. The new tidal technology has been developed by Oxford University’s department of engineering science for deployment in shallow, low velocity tidal waters around the UK coastline. If it is approved, the £143 m Bristol Channel tidal fence – which will be constructed from the latest carbon fibre technology – could be installed and operational by 2020/21. The tidal technology, which operates similar to a water mill, is likely to be subject to stringent environmental impact assessments to ensure it presents no significant risk to marine life.

The announcement comes after DECC approved the worldメs first ever tidal lagoon energy project at the nearby Swansea Bay. The tidal lagoon is expected to operate at full capacity by 2023 and provide an installed energy capacity of 320MW. There are also further plans to harness the tide's power further north in the UK, with plans for the Wyre tidal energy project gathering momentum.

(http://www.edie.net/news/4/Kepler-Energy-proposes--tidal-fence--for-Bristol-Channel/?utm_source=weeklynewsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=news&utm_campaign=weeklynewsletter)

 

seafood campaigners collaborate to investigate sustainability of restaurants

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

The Marine Conservation Society (MCS) and Fish2Fork have agreed a long term partnership to assess the sustainability of seafood sold at some of the UK's largest restaurant chains.

MCS has previously focused on advice for the general public and retailers, while Fish2fork specialises in assessing the seafood sustainability of restaurants. MCS has looked to inform the public about sustainable seafood using its Good Fish Guide and fishonline.org. The two groups announced this week that they will be co-ordinating their sustainable seafood campaigns in the belief that the closer partnership will increase the consistency of advice and increase its reach across the seafood supply chain, for both consumers and businesses.

The partners stated their belief that the restaurant industry can and must make significant improvements to its seafood sourcing. During the remainder of 2015, the two organisations plan to assess restaurant chains which boast more than 40 branches, with Fish2fork conducting reviews using the MCS FishOnline guide to sustainable seafood. Between them, the groups expect to add hundreds of new ratings to the Fish2fork website.

(http://www.edie.net/news/4/Seafood-campaigners-collaborate-to-serve-up-sustainability-to-restaurants/?utm_source=weeklynewsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_content=news&utm_campaign=weeklynewsletter)

 

INTERNATIONAL NEWS     

 

new, simplified system makes eu data for fisheries easily available

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

The European Commission has adopted a proposal for a regulation, upgrading the EU framework for the collection, management and use of data for fisheries. The data is crucial in improving the scientific advice necessary for the implementation of the Common Fisheries Policy (CFP). The most promising development is that in the future, data will be easily available to anyone who needs it. Currently, data is obtained only upon request. This creates an unnecessary burden for the research institutes and leaving much of the data underutilized.

The new system will make it easier to achieve optimal levels that allow fish stocks to regenerate, known as Maximum Sustainable Yield (MSY). The aim is to achieve this for all the stocks fished in EU waters by 2020.

(http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/newsroom/cf/mare/itemlongdetail.cfm?subweb=343&lang=en&item_id=24047)

 

definition of deterioration under the water framework directive: implications for new projects

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Jan Brooke writes: The long-awaited ruling of the Court of Justice of the EU on the Weser dredging case defining deterioration under the Water Framework Directive was published on 1st July 2015. Whilst many of the Court’s findings reflect the approach already adopted in the UK, some of the points of detail clarified by the ruling nonetheless have potentially important implications for anyone proposing an activity or development that could affect the ecological or chemical status of a water body.

The details of the case are available here

Source of article: (http://cmscoms.com/?p=4281)

 

floating litter in the black sea: abundance and composition

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Reliable data regarding marine debris pollution in the Black Sea are lacking. This study provides the first account of the abundance and types of litter floating in the north-western part of the Sea. This information will help to develop effective solutions for marine litter in the region and therefore to achieve the EU objective of ‘Good Environmental Status’ by 2020.

(http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/floating_litter_in_the_black_sea_abundance_and_composition_42 4na4_en.pdf)

 

global fisheries sustainability fund

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Global Fisheries Sustainability fund supports critical fishery science research and projects. The fund launched in July 2015 with an initial allocation of £400,000 split over two years. The fund is aimed at strengthening knowledge and capacity to assist small-scale and developing world fisheries in their journey to achieving MSC certification.

The MSC invites applications that will:

  • Deliver critical scientific research addressing information, technology and management gaps and barriers that fisheries encounter in achieving the MSC standard.
  • Build the capacity of personnel to assist small-scale and developing world fisheries in their improvements and gaining certification.

The fund is open to academic institutions, independent researchers, fisheries, governments and non-governmental organisations. It is hoped that further allocations will be made in future years. Interested organisations and individuals should contact the MSC via GFSF@msc.org to request guidance and an application form. The deadline for applications for 2015 is 31 October, with awardees to be announced towards the end of the year.

Access the MSC website here.

 

commission plans for 2016 fishing opportunities: north and atlantic seas fisheries progress to sustainability; serious overfishing in mediterranean
(EC Press release 2 June 2015)

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Fisheries in Europe are further progressing to sustainability in the North and West of the EU. More fish can be harvested, thereby contributing to improved revenues for our fishermen and their communities. However, in the Mediterranean Sea, serious problems of overfishing continue to persist. These are the key messages that Karmenu Vella, European Commissioner for Maritime Affairs and Fisheries, passes in this year's report on the state of fish stocks and the preparation for setting next years' fish quotas.

The document is now open to the views of stakeholders via an online public consultation. The Commission will make its proposals for the 2016 fishing opportunities during the autumn. The Commission confirms its commitment to bring all fisheries as soon as possible to levels that correspond to maximum sustainable yields (MSY). This core objective of the new Common Fisheries Policy will contribute to reaching good environmental status in our seas by 2020 at the latest.

(http://europa.eu/rapid/press-release_IP-15-5082_en.htm?subweb=347&lang=en)

 

governments advance new legally-binding law of the sea agreement

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

The UN General Assembly (UNGA) last week adopted a formal resolution to develop a legally-binding treaty for the conservation of marine biodiversity on the ‘high seas’. The new ocean regulations are proposed to include: area-based management tools, such as marine planning and marine protected areas; environmental impact assessment (EIA) requirements; the transfer of marine technology; and a regime for managing marine genetic resources, including benefit-sharing. These developments have potentially significant implications for ocean economic activities, such as shipping, oil and gas, cruise tourism, fishing, marine mining, biotechnology, submarine cable, as well as for related sectors, such as maritime law, insurance and investment.

The UNGA resolution identifies ‘the need for the comprehensive global regime to better address the conservation and sustainable use of marine biological diversity in areas beyond national jurisdiction’. The resolution calls for a two-year preparatory process in 2016–17 to develop the treaty elements.

(http://www.oceancouncil.org/site/pdfs/WOC%20News%20Release%202015-07-02%20Governments%20Advance%20New%20Legally%20Binding%20Law%20of%20the%20Sea%20Agreement%20-FINAL.pdf)

 

invasive species: monitoring system aims to protect vulnerable antarctic

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Better monitoring is needed to safeguard the Antarctic against threats posed by invasive alien species, according to a new study. The authors developed ‘the Antarctic Biological Invasions Indicator’ (ABII) to help generate data for tracking trends in alien invasions and the measures taken to prevent them.

Invasive alien species are a leading threat to biodiversity. Currently there are no systems for tracking invasion trends in the Antarctic, or for documenting the impacts of invasions on other wildlife or the management responses taken. Under the Antarctic Treaty System, parties of the treaty have committed to preventing accidental introductions of alien species, but there is no requirement to report on new species, their impacts or eradications. A global indicator of invasion developed under the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) is not applied in Antarctica.

In an attempt to develop a framework for monitoring invasions in the region, the authors adapted the global CBD invasion indicator and applied it to generate baseline data for future monitoring efforts.

(http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/monitoring_system_aims_to_protect_Antarctic_from_invasive_sp ecies_419na1_en.pdf)

 

impact of ‘ghost fishing’ via derelict fishing gear

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

This report is a summary of the current scientific knowledge of ghost fishing, the derelict fishing gear that contribute to it, the species mortalities, and the economic losses to certain fisheries due to ghost fishing mortalities. Gaps in knowledge are identified, and suggestions for the prevention and mitigation of DFG and possible future research foci are presented here within the framework of prevention, removal, and education as means of reducing ghost fishing.

(http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/sites/default/files/publications-files/Ghostfishing_DFG.pdf)

 

PROJECTS & RESEARCH

 

ecopharma project website now launched

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

A website dedicated to raising the profile of an EU-funded research project to improve the quality of surface water across Europe has been launched. UK-based Aqua Enviro is part of a six-strong consortium taking part in the €1m CFIS-ECOPHARMA project which will help detect pollutants, such as pharmaceuticals, in water across Europe using the CFIS (Continuous Flow Integrative Sampler) probe system. The website, which gives a detailed project plan as well as news updates, can be found here.

Aqua Enviro, as part of the European-wide joint venture, will now trial and verify the CFIS for detecting contaminants in water, such as pharmaceutical products and herbicides. New EU legislation has driven an improvement in analytical techniques to monitor and detect chemical pollutants; however the current analysis is expensive, does not produce immediate results and has a slow turnaround time. Pharmaceutical products, such as oral contraceptives, can pose a risk to marine wildlife and disrupt development in fish. Scientific studies have shown that other substances can be harmful, potentially proving toxic to humans and aquatic wildlife.

The online system, developed by Spanish company Labaqua, could enable flow-balancing and treatment responses to be tailored to incoming contaminants. This will avoid excessive capital and operational costs through overtreatment. The two year ECOPHARMA project began in January 2015 and will complete in November 2016.

(http://www.aquaenviro.co.uk/ecopharma-project-website-now-launched/)

 

overexploitation of fish stocks in the mediterranean and black sea

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Worldwide global fishing fleets are two to three times larger than the oceans can sustainably support. To help tackle the problem of overexploitation of fish stocks the EU has developed and implemented a variety of fisheries legislation. Developing effective, sustainable management practices requires reliable information on the levels of fish stocks.

The number of overexploited or collapsed fish stocks in the Mediterranean Sea has been increasing at a rate of approximately 38 every 10 years between 1970 and 2010, a new study has shown. In the Black Sea, the equivalent figure is 13 stocks per decade. The authors augmented traditional methods of stock assessments with a variety of other data sources on multiple fish species to give a more accurate overview of these marine ecosystems.

(http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/overexploitation_fish_stocks_in_mediterranean_black_seas_423n a5_en.pdf)

 

hydropower: assessment of the impact on weir pool habitats

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Run-of-river hydropower schemes are often installed on existing weir structures. The Environment Agency has evaluated how such installations can affect the weir pool habitats found immediately downstream of weirs.

A literature review found no specific studies on weir pools as ecosystems. Consequently, a modelling study was carried out to predict how the characteristics of these locations may change. A framework was also produced for evaluating the potential value of weir pools to help assess the impact of proposed hydropower developments on weir pool habitats.

Access the report, appendix and summary here:

(https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hydropower-assessment-of-the-impact-on-weir-pool-habitats)

 

marine governance across the english channel lacks integration

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

The English Channel (La Manche) is one of the world’s busiest sea areas, and management of it is a challenging task. This study reviews governance across the Channel, finding poor integration between countries, sectors, policies and research. The study also considers management in terms of the ecosystem approach and suggests that linking research between the UK and France could be key to improving marine governance.

(http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/marine_governance_in_the_english_channel_422na4_en.pdf)

 

british and canadian firms join forces for tidal energy research

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Five British firms have received grant funding from Innovate UK to develop tidal energy with Canadian businesses and universities. Funding worth £700,000 will be split across two projects to help improve our understanding of the impact of tidal power on marine environments and the impact of the environment on the tidal technology.

The projects are being supported by Innovate UK, private capital and Nova Scotia’s Offshore Energy Research Association. One project will involve developing new sensor systems to measure the impact of water turbulence on tidal energy technology. A better understanding of turbulence will allow new technology to better withstand the effects of strong tides and projects. A second project will develop acoustic testing systems to improve the detection of fish and marine mammals at tidal sites to assess the impact of tidal turbines on marine life.

Read the full article here

 

plastic found in stomachs of over 1 in 6 large pelagic fish sampled in Mediterranean Sea

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Plastic pollution in the ocean is a growing problem. This study, which is the first to investigate the presence of plastic debris in large pelagic fish in the central Mediterranean Sea, found that over 18% of fish had ingested plastics.

(http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/first_evidence_of_presence_of_plastic_debris_421na2_en.pdf)

 

public perceptions of environmental risk: the role of journalists

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Science not communicated is said to be science not done, but journalists’ portrayal of scientific findings can sometimes have a negative impact on public perceptions of science and even create false controversy. This study examined how presenting opposing scientific viewpoints affects public perceptions of environmental risk.

In an effort to appear objective, science journalists sometimes give equal weight to opposing viewpoints — even if one is a minority view — which can make the scientific findings seem more controversial than they really are. There are many examples of this in health reporting, including the link between smoking and cancer, and the MMR vaccine and autism. In environmental science perhaps the best illustration is climate change. Many past media reports have included opposing viewpoints on the causes of climate change, despite the widely accepted scientific consensus.

To prevent false perceptions of controversy or risk while providing balance, journalists often use the strategy of discrediting one side of an argument. However, little previous research has explored whether this strategy actually works. To answer this question, this study investigated the effects of discredited information on public understanding of risks by manipulating controversy in news articles.

(http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/role_of_journalists_in_public_perceptions_of_environmental_risk _420na1_en.pdf)

 

nature in urban environments reduces stress

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Urban nature — such as trees and public parks — is beneficial to human health. A number of studies have found that living close to nature can have immediate positive effects on mental and physical health. However, the longer term health impact of urban nature remains poorly understood. This research found that people whose homes had views of different kinds of vegetation had significantly lower levels of stress hormones, indicating that green spaces play an important role in healthy cities.

(http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/nature_in_urban_environments_reduces_stress_420na4_en.pdf)

 

conserving the critically endangered european eel

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Over recent years a large section of the European eel’s habitat has been degraded and lost due to land reclamation, the construction of dams and reductions in water quality. In combination with overfishing, this has led to a drastic decline in the number of eels in European waters. The eel is in such serious decline that the IUCN has declared it critically endangered. This is a big problem for Europe as the eel has socio-economic importance and has, historically, sustained many small-scale fisheries.

In order to prevent further decline, the European Commission introduced a number of policies to protect the eel including national eel management plans which aim to limit fishing and restock inland waters with young eel. Measuring the effectiveness of such initiatives is difficult, however, due to the complexity of the eel’s life cycle. Italian researchers have developed a model of the long-term population trends of the eel to assess the effectiveness of these measures and prevent its further decline.

Read more at:

(http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/conserving_the_critically_endangered_european_eel_419na2_en.pdf)

 

risks of biodiversity loss posed by nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in european freshwaters

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

The risk of eutrophication as a result of nitrogen and phosphorus pollution in Europe’s freshwaters fell by 22% in lakes and by 38% in rivers between 1985 and 2011, new research has shown. Data was analysed across 88 European river basins using a new statistical approach which could be used to help identify factors which increase eutrophication risks.

For this study, which was funded by the EU projects LC-IMPACT1 and IMBALANCE-P2, researchers proposed a statistical approach to determine whether nitrate or phosphorus causes the highest risk of eutrophication in freshwater lakes and streams. The researchers explain that this method has the advantage that it can provide predictions even when there are few data available.

The authors did note a number of limitations to their work, e.g. they considered the effects of the two nutrients separately rather than in combination. However, this statistical approach could feed in to environmental policy decisions, as it can be used to show whether nitrate or phosphorus carry the highest risk of eutrophication, which European river basins are most subjected to eutrophication risks, and how these risks have changed over time.

(http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/risks_of_biodiversity_loss_posed_by_nitrogen_and_phosphorus_ 418na6_en.pdf)

 

managing wastewater treatment at the river-basin scale

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

The EU Water Framework Directive requires policymakers to consider the management of water, eg in rivers, lakes and streams, at the scale of the river basin, but can wastewater treatment systems be managed at the same scale? To help policymakers answer this question, a team of Spanish researchers have created a method for assessing the integrated operation of wastewater treatment plants in a river basin. The method considers both local and global environmental factors and an economic assessment.

(http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/managing_wastewater_treatment_at_the_river_basin_scale_418 na4_en.pdf)

 

seaweed could effectively monitor metal pollution in coastal waters

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Seaweed may prove to be a valuable tool to monitor metal pollution in coastal waters. Spiral wrack seaweed (Fucus spiralis), which is common to rocky coastlines across western Europe, was found to contain concentrations of metals that rose and fell in line with concentrations in the surrounding seawater. This makes it a good candidate for inclusion in the European environmental specimen banks as part of an environmental monitoring network under the Marine Strategy Framework Directive.

(http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/seaweed_could_effectively_monitor_metal_pollution_in_coastal_w aters_417na5_en.pdf)

 

how to improve efficiency of public participation processes in coastal management

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Public participation in developing coastal management plans can have numerous benefits, such as augmenting expert information with local knowledge and building trust. However, challenges remain. In this research, the experiences of 10 case studies are used to make a series of recommendations on how to improve the efficiency of the process.

Public participation has a valuable role to play in the development of sustainability policies; it can enhance the democratic nature of the process, encourage knowledge exchange, foster trust and help reach a consensus. It is considered to be particularly important when managing coastal environments, as this complex task involves many different stakeholders all using the areas in different ways. However, public participation can also create challenges; it can be expensive, labour-intensive, confrontational, and can cause delays to the development and implementation of policies.

Read more at:
(http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/how_to_improve_the_efficiency_of_public_participation_processes _in_coastal_management_417na6_en.pdf)

 

environmental impact assessments of developments should incorporate impacts on ecosystem services

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Ecosystem services – the benefits that nature provides to people – are inadequately accounted for in Environmental Impact Assessments, a new study suggests. The researchers used a case study in France to illustrate the substantial economic losses that are incurred as a result of infrastructure development that goes ahead without sufficient consideration of the impacts on ecosystem services.

(http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/environmental_impact_assessments_of_developments_should_in corporate_impacts_on_ecosystem_services_416na6_en.pdf)

 

PUBLICATIONS

 

World's largest ever fishing impact study brings hope for Cardigan Bay Scallop fishermen

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Scientists from Bangor University, working with the Welsh Fishermen's Association, Welsh Government and Natural Resources Wales, have published their findings from the world's largest ever fishing impact study, funded in part by the European Fishery Fund. Cardigan Bay Special Area of Conservation (SAC) was closed to scallop fishing in 2009. Research led by Bangor University has focused on understanding the amount of scallop fishing within the SAC that would be considered sustainable and that would not damage the conservation features of the area.

To do this, the team spent 18 months preparing to undertake a mammoth fishing experiment in which 12 different sites were fished at different intensities by commercial boats. The results of the fishing were compared to four areas left unfished. Having now established that the area can withstand a certain level of fishing, the next step in the work is to provide more information to further guide the agencies responsible to decide on future management measures, and, if appropriate, for setting the level of fishing to be permitted. Most fisheries are managed according to the target species, in this case scallops. Setting two thresholds, one for seabed disturbance and one for scallops, would provide a strong incentive for fishermen to disturb as little of the seabed as possible.

The reports are available online – follow the link below:

(http://phys.org/news/2015-08-world-largest-fishing-impact-cardigan.html)

 

Riverside ownership: rights and responsibilities

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

This guide Living on the edge explains your rights and responsibilities of riverside ownership. If you own land or property next to a river, stream or ditch you are a ‘riparian landowner’ and this guide is for you. It explains:

  • your rights and responsibilities as a riparian landowner.
  • the roles of your risk management authority and other organisations you may need to work with.
  • who is responsible for flood risk management and flood defences, and what that means in practice.
  • how you can work with your risk management authority and other organisations to protect and improve the natural environment of our rivers and streams.

(https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/riverside-ownership-rights-and-responsibilities)

 

LIFE and Freshwater Fish

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

The LIFE programme is an important resource for improving the conservation status of freshwater fish species and a vital tool for the management of the Natura 2000 network. It has done much to deliver key targets in the EU Biodiversity Strategy to 2020. The programme has made a major contribution to the implementation of the Natura 2000 network, in particular with regards to requirements for the protection and conservation of habitats and species, and the management of sites established by the EU Habitats and Birds directives.

(http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/publications/lifepublications/lifefocus/documents/fish.pdf)

 

Ecosystem planning for the marine environment

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Published by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO), the report Practical Framework for Outlining the Integration of the Ecosystem Approach into Marine Planning in England provides a framework for improving the implementation of the ecosystem approach in marine planning. In undertaking marine planning, the MMO is required by the Marine Policy Statement to use the ecosystem approach, in particular to ensure that human pressures are kept within levels compatible with the achievement of environmental objectives.

Access the document here

 

European Red List of Marine Fishes

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

The European Red List is a review of the conservation status of European species according to IUCN regional Red Listing guidelines. It identifies those species that are threatened with extinction at the regional level, so that appropriate conservation action can be taken to improve their status. This Red List publication summarises results for all described native European marine fishes.

Overall, 7.5% of the total of European marine fish species that were assessed in this study are considered threatened (ie assessed as having an elevated risk of extinction) in European waters. A further 2.6% (26 species) are considered Near Threatened. However, for 204 species (20.6%), there was insufficient scientific information available to be able to evaluate their risk of extinction and thus they were classified as Data Deficient (DD). When more data become available, some of these species might also prove to be threatened.

(http://cmsdata.iucn.org/downloads/iucn_european_red_list_of_marine_fishes_web_1.pdf)

 

The UK Water Partnership Newsletter

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Issue 3 is now available.

On 30 June 2015, some 200 delegates from industry, government, civil society organisations and the research community attended Water in Future Cities ヨ RCUK Water Showcase 2015 in London. This event was organised by the UK Water Partnership on behalf of Research Councils UK. Second meetings of the Partnership Delivery Groups have been held (Research & Innovation, Development & Implementation, Commercialisation & Economic Growth); details are included in the newsletter.

(http://www.theukwaterpartnership.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/The-UK-Water-Partnership-Newsletter.-Issue-3-August-2015.pdf)

 

Economics resource pack for marine NGOs

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Efforts towards marine conservation and sustainable fishing must be made on a number of fronts: political, social, economic and environmental. Non-governmental organisations (NGOs) typically engage in environmental debate, but many of the decisions made by policy makers and marine users are based primarily on socio-economic considerations.

It is increasingly crucial that marine charities and other NGOs can confidently engage in economic argument to support the sustainable change they campaign for. Since 2012 the Marine Socio Economics Project has worked to improve access to, and understanding of, economic issues for NGO staff.

Read more and access the briefings here:

(http://www.neweconomics.org/publications/entry/economics-resource-pack-for-marine-ngos)

 

Marine planning newsletter – Issue 2 (Summer 2015)

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

The newsletter is for stakeholders and the public to keep informed of the work of the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) planning team. This issue focusses on:

  • Marine Information System relaunch
  • South Inshore and Offshore Marine Plans
  • South Marine Plans Implementation
  • East Implementation
  • South Inshore and Offshore Marine Plans
  • Out and about diary
  • Evidence projects round up

See the newsletter here:

(https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/447465/Issue_2.pdf)

 

Catchment and River Basin Management: Integrating Science and Governance

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

The central focus of this volume is a critical comparative analysis of the key drivers for water resource management and the provision of clean water – governance systems and institutional and legal arrangements. The authors present a systematic analysis of case study river systems drawn from Australia, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, UK and USA to provide an integrated global assessment of the scale and key features of catchment management. A key premise explored is that despite the diversity of jurisdictions and catchments there are commonalities to a successful approach. The authors show that environmental and public health water quality criteria must be integrated with the economic and social goals of those affected, necessitating a 'twin-track' and holistic (cross-sector and discipline) approach of stakeholder engagement and sound scientific research. A final synthesis presents a set of principles for adaptive catchment management. These principles demonstrate how to integrate the best scientific and technical knowledge with policy, governance and legal provisions. It is shown how decision-making and implementation at the appropriate geographic and governmental scales can resolve conflicts and share best sustainable practices.

The book is edited by Smith, L and Porter, K and Hiscock, K and Porter, MJ and Benson, D.

(http://www.wskep.net/news-calendar/wskep-news/catchment-and-river-basin-management-integrating-science-and-government/)

 

New report reveals public views on ecosystem services and valuing nature

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Public views on the challenges facing policy and decision makers to manage the natural environment have been revealed in a major national public dialogue project. Led by the University of Exeter's Centre for Rural Policy Research, the research has informed a major report explaining why the natural environment matters to people. It also explores how current approaches to environmental policy and decision making resonate with public concerns and priorities. The 'Naturally Speaking…' public dialogue process was run in partnership with NERC, Defra and Sciencewise, the UK's national centre for public dialogue in policy making involving science and technology issues.

The report reveals that people value their natural environment for a range of cultural and health benefits and its contribution to human livelihoods and prosperity. As well as being important for economic activity, the natural environment is viewed as a place to enhance relationships with family and friends; encourage physical exercise; enable inner peace and mental calm; reconnect with the past; and find meaning in life. The research builds on the findings of the UK National Ecosystem Assessment, a ground breaking study of the changing state of the UK ecosystems published in 2011, and the follow-up published in 2014.

(http://www.nerc.ac.uk/latest/news/nerc/public-views/)

 

Ecosystem Services and Biodiversity

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Ecosystems provide a multitude of benefits to humanity, from food, clean water and flood protection to cultural heritage and a sense of place, to name but a few. However, many of these benefits, known as ‘ecosystem services’, are under severe threat from human pressures. Decision makers need clear information on how biodiversity underpins these services, the demand for them, the capacity of ecosystems to provide them and the pressures impairing that capacity. In this report four core facets of the ecosystem services concept are explored: the links between biodiversity and ecosystem services; current techniques for mapping and assessing ecosystems and their services; valuation of ecosystem services; and the importance of considering all ecosystem services and biodiversity as part of an interconnected system.

Read the ‘Science for Environment Policy’ report (published by the EC) at:

(http://ec.europa.eu/environment/integration/research/newsalert/pdf/ecosystem_services_biodiversity_IR11_en.pdf)

 

WSKE portal news and events July 2015

(Posted 10 September 2015)

Bumper summer funding issue: this month's 16 news items contain no fewer than 11 funding opportunities! The WSKEPortal is designed for users of water research and water data. In addition to news and events listings, it provides a fast introduction to national-scale datasets, includes 60 case studies that demonstrate the efficacy of high-quality research, and puts you in touch with those actively involved in water research.

(http://us2.campaign-archive2.com/?u=09d07c67a261f2ebc6e211496&id=771cef2f79&e=ac7b0d1ba2)

 

Pollution Incidents – 2014 evidence summary from the Environment Agency

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Following an increase in the number of serious pollution incidents in 2013, the total number of serious pollution incidents decreased by 11% in 2014. However, the total number is still higher than those recorded in 2012.

Serious pollution incidents - the top 5 sectors

  1. Farming – 16% of the total number of serious pollution incidents
  2. Water companies – 10% of the total
  3. Non-hazardous waste treatment facilities with permits – 8% of the total
  4. Biowaste treatment facilities with permits – 6% of the total
  5. Landfill facilities with permits – 6% of the total

These top 5 sectors in 2014 were the same as in 2013. However, in 2014 each of these sectors except farming caused fewer serious pollution incidents than in 2013, and this included a 31% decrease in incidents caused by water companies.

Impact on water

The largest numbers of incidents affecting water were caused by non-permitted activities (48%), or where a source could not be identified (28%). The largest single cause of incidents seriously affecting water caused by non-permitted activities was containment and control failures at agricultural premises.

In 2014, 86 serious pollution incidents affecting water were caused by sites with permits, a decrease of 22% since 2013. Of these, most were caused by water companies (61 incidents, 82% of which were due to containment and control failures) and waste management activities (10 incidents, of which 5 were caused by fires and 3 were caused by containment and control failures).

Read the detail here:

(https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/444544/LIT_10127.pdf)

 

Salmon stocks and fisheries in England and Wales in 2014

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Annual reports on the status of salmon stocks and fisheries in England and Wales have been produced since 1997. These reports present a preliminary assessment for the latest year to assist ICES in providing scientific advice to the North Atlantic Salmon Conservation Organization (NASCO) and to provide early feedback to fishery managers and anglers.

Report produced by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science.

(https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/salmon-stocks-and-fisheries-in-england-and-wales-in-2014)

[The background report on methods, approaches and wider stock conservation and management considerations can be seen here.]

 

State of nature in the EU

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Results from reporting under the nature directives 2007–2012. This report describes the state of nature in the EU and is based on reports from Member States under the Birds and the Habitats directives and on subsequent assessments at EU biogeographical levels. It provides comprehensive facts and figures on the status and trends of the species and habitats covered by the two EU nature directives, fully underpinned by the numerous reports submitted by Member States in 2013, and was published in May 2015.

(http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/state-of-nature-in-the-eu/)

 

State of Europe's seas

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

The main aim of this report is to assess whether Europe's seas can be considered healthy, clean, undisturbed, and productive. These are three core aspects of the EU's main marine policy instrument – the Marine Strategy Framework Directive – and relate to the condition of marine ecosystems and the human drivers of ecosystem change. This assessment also involves identifying the main sustainability challenges affecting our seas, and how the EU is responding to these challenges.

Ultimately, the report argues that the EU is not on the path to fulfil its ambition of achieving sustainable use of its seas, although it is fully empowered to do so through the current array of policies and knowledge. This report also discusses how a long-term transition to sustainability could be secured using the available policies and knowledge.

Access the report here:

(http://www.eea.europa.eu/publications/state-of-europes-seas)

 

Countryside Stewardship manual and grants: print versions

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Find out about the Countryside Stewardship options and capital items requirements, and how to apply.

Countryside Stewardship manual

Ref: NE608 PDF, 508KB, 75 pages

Countryside Stewardship: options and supplements

Ref: NE606 PDF, 2.11MB, 355 pages

Countryside Stewardship: capital items

Ref: NE607 PDF, 1.63MB, 275 pages

These documents provide information about:

  • how to apply for the Countryside Stewardship scheme
  • the requirements for capital items and annual management options and supplements

See the Countryside Stewardship page for more information about the scheme.

 

Catchment Sensitive Farming Phase 3: Delivery and Evaluation Reports

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF), established in 2006, encourages farmers in priority areas to take action to improve the quality of England’s rivers and lakes through reducing Diffuse Water Pollution from Agriculture (DWPA). This helps the UK government meet the requirements of the WFD and Biodiversity 2020 targets.

CSF works through local CSF Officers (CSFOs) and partners in 79 catchments across England to implement voluntary measures to improve farming practices in the long-term. Such improvements have led to significant environmental and farm business benefits.

This report describes the purpose and activities of CSF covering Phase 3 of the project from April 2011 to March 2014. It complements a detailed evaluation report which describes the environmental impact of the project.

(http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/6312755155959808?category=6919090)

Evaluation is a core part of the Catchment Sensitive Farming (CSF) project, essential for assessing delivery of objectives and the project outcomes. This report covers the project’s work since inception in 2006 and demonstrates the considerable impact of voluntary work with farmers to reduce diffuse pollution. All the activities in the Phase 3 reports are framed around a 4-stage process to inform farmers of local water quality issues and help them take action to accrue both environmental and business benefits.

The 4 stages are:

  1. farmer engagement
  2. increased awareness
  3. taking action
  4. improvements in water quality

This approach has been tightly targeted to WFD Protected Areas and water-dependent SSSIs which are failing water quality objectives.

(http://publications.naturalengland.org.uk/publication/6510716011937792?category=6919090)

 

Water strategy for wales

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Excerpt from Introduction:

This Strategy sets out our long-term policy direction in relation to water. Our aim is to ensure we have a more integrated and sustainable approach to managing our water and associated services in Wales. This Strategy has been developed within this context and will contribute to the implementation of our wider natural resource management policy.

A more integrated approach to the way we manage our water resources will help to promote the co-ordinated management of water, land and related resources. This in turn will enable us to maximise economic and social benefits in an equitable way while protecting vital ecosystems and the environment. We must ensure the long-term needs of a sustainable and resilient environment and ensure that there are sufficient, reliable water resources and waste water services available in Wales. This approach will also drive green growth by providing an essential resource for businesses, as well as providing new opportunities for employment.

(http://gov.wales/docs/desh/publications/150521-water-strategy-for-wales-en.pdf)

 

Demonstration Test Catchments Summer 2015 Newsletter

(Posted 10 September 2015)             

Includes:

  • Case studies from the recent DTC conference
  • Stakeholder engagement in the Wensum
  • Recent and future climate trends in the Eden, Avon and Wensum catchments

(http://www.demonstratingcatchmentmanagement.net/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/DTC-Summer-2015-Newsletter.pdf)