Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Answer's a Lemon

Published on iTunes, Stitcher and on 28th April

Welcome to you all, wherever you are in the world.

I'm never short of ideas for topics to include in these weekly reports. It's deciding what to leave out that's the problem. 

This Week…
We've all heard of the Big Apple but Brighton has a Big Lemon. You can ride in it. You’ll soon be able to ride in driverless cars. They’re expected to arrive in 2019.
After last week’s edition on rubbish I can tell you about Reverse Vending and about grubs that eat plastic. Meanwhile the government is in court yet again over its failure to improve air quality. It’s also using the election to delay the UK’s emissions reduction strategy, as predicted by The Environmentalist. In South Wales there are fears that the General Election could push the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon start date back a year to 2019. We’re still waiting for the government’s 25-year environmental strategy and we’ve been waiting for that since last summer. Fat chance of seeing that before the election! Remind me why we needed this election?

By the way, once the manifestos are out I’ll let you know what they say about sustainability. I’ll look in particular for any signs of an energy policy.

What goes around comes around, but the Environmental Services Association warns that the circular economy can’t come around until the planning system has greater flexibility. We look at their latest report. EDF is under pressure at Flamanville in Normandy. Greenpeace claim that the new nuclear reactor there is just too dangerous to be put under pressure.

The Green Investment Bank has been sold to the Australians…there’s a new vertical farm…and a climate clock…
All this and more in this week’s Sustainable Futures Report.

Did I mention patreon? It's not too late for the April special offer which means that if you sign up to support the Sustainable Futures Report for as little as $1 per month you can still get the unique Sustainable Futures Report  enamel badge, normally only available to Silver Supporters and above. It’s all at

Let’s start with… 
…a quotation from Jeremy Leggett’s latest report:
“President Trump moved to dismantle President Obama’s climate legacy with an executive order that seeks to dismantle the Clean Power Plan. Within a week, 17 US states filed a legal challenge. China immediately pledged to uphold its Paris climate commitments, including considerable efforts not to use coal, accusing the US of “selfish” behaviour. The EU joined the pushback. Miguel Árias Cañete, the EU’s climate action commissioner, said: “The continued leadership of the EU, China and many other major economies is now more important than ever. When it comes to climate and the global clean energy transition, there cannot be vacuums, there can only be drivers, and we are committed to driving this agenda forward.””

You can read Jeremy's full report and indeed sign up for his newsletter and get a free copy of The Winning of the Carbon War if you go to 

Despite President Trump and his climate-change denying energy secretary, Eco Watch reports that the city of Chicago announced this week that renewable energy will power 100 percent of all of its government buildings by 2025.

More Rubbish
Reverse Vending
Following last week's report on rubbish, I've been told about the reverse vending machine. It’s a machine which is typically installed next to normal vending machines and you put in your empty containers and it gives you back your deposit or a voucher to spend, or makes a donation to a charity of your choice. More than 100,000 vending machines are already installed across the world, mainly in Scandinavia. Machines will accept plastic bottles, glass bottles, or cans. Plastic bottles which cannot be refilled are crushed and separated out for recycling. The same happens to cans. Glass bottles are diverted into a separate container and refillable plastic bottles are separated out as well. Some machines can even recycle lightbulbs. There are already some of these machines in the UK, in hospitals and schools, but clearly not nearly enough. has more information, although the website is not very clear. It’s best to take the Media link and go to their YouTube videos to see exactly how these machines work.

Wax Moth
I've mentioned before that I keep bees and yes, they are doing very well at the moment, thank you very much. They are not without their pests and diseases, of course. One of them is the wax moth. It lays its eggs in the hive and the larvae burrow into the wood of the frames. Then they come out and eat the wax in the combs. This is a particular problem when the empty combs are stored over winter. The wax moth larvae can destroy combs completely.

Researchers in Cambridge and Spain have discovered, apparently by accident, that wax moth larvae can destroy plastic. In fact they can destroy it very much faster than bacteria does. Could this be the start of a solution to the plastic pollution problem which has dominated the press in recent weeks? Bad news though, for those of my beekeeping colleagues who have transferred from wooden to plastic hives!

Circular Economy Futures
Recycling is all part of the circular economy. OK, repairing and remanufacturing is preferable, but it's all about getting the maximum utility out of the materials, energy and labour that's put into the production of any product. Waste is not waste until there is absolutely no way in which it can be used as raw material for another process. A new report from the Environmental Services Association highlights a problem.

Opening the report, Jacob Hayler, Executive Director, says,
“Defra estimates that UK businesses could benefit by up to £23 billion per year from the introduction of quick-win resource efficiency measures.” He goes on,

“Of course, the UK’s planning system has a key role to play in making this transition.There have recently been positive moves to embed climate change objectives and sustainable economic growth at all levels of the planning system (national policy down to local plans). However, some of the preconceived notions of our industry [the waste industry], often harking back to the days of reliance on landfill disposal, continues to prevail in many planning authorities and needs to be overcome if the planning system is to facilitate the delivery of the infrastructure capable of transitioning to the Circular Economy of the future.

“In the short term, we need the planning system to provide the new treatment facilities the UK critically needs as landfill sites close around the country. In the longer term, flexibility to adapt to new business models, new ways of thinking and meeting the demands of an increasingly environmentally conscious customer base will all take on greater significance. The planning system needs to adapt to these changes too and enable the industry to position itself to optimally manage material flows and source sustainable end markets for materials produced by the wider economy.

Find the full report at 

Air quality - govt misses target and claims election purdah.

I’ve reported in the past how Client Earth has successfully sued the government on two occasions for failing to meet regulations for air quality in the UK. The government had until 4 PM on Monday 24th April to announce the measures that it would take, but only hours before this government lawyers requested a deferral on the grounds that such plans could not be published during the purdah period prior to an election. Others believe that the government is keen to avoid announcing these measures because they will almost certainly penalise drivers of diesel vehicles, and in any case the purdah period does not officially start before the dissolution of Parliament on 3rd May. The hearing will take place on Thursday, 27 April after this Sustainable Futures Report recording is complete.

Client Earth said:

“We are preparing our response to the government’s application. This is a public health issue and not a political issue. Urgent action is required to protect people’s health from the illegal and poisonous air that we are forced to breathe in the UK.
“This is a matter for the court to decide once the government has made its arguments because it is the government which has not met, and instead seeks to extend the court’s deadline for the clean air plan, to clean up our air.”

The government is currently failing to comply with pollution laws. A total of 37 out of 43 regions of the UK are in breach of legal limits for nitrogen dioxide.

Carbon Reduction
A plan for how the UK will meet future carbon reduction targets is also likely to be held up by the election.

Giving evidence to the parliamentary Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy committee, Minister Nick Hurd said the plan, now to be known as the Clean Growth Plan, was in a ‘holding pattern’ along with other policies that had been due to be published soon, but that may now be held over until after the general election on 8 June.  

The Clean Growth Plan would set out the policies for the country to meet its fifth carbon budget, which commits the government to cutting CO2 by 57% from 1990 levels between 2028 and 2032. The budget was adopted by the government in July 2016, and the plan was originally due to be published in December. But the government pushed this back, first to February 2017 and then the first quarter of the year.

Wales online reports that the Swansea Bay Tidal Lagoon is another project that could be delayed by this election. A decision has been awaited for over a year, and a further delay could add another 12 months. Even if a decision is made immediately after the election it will be too late in the year to start construction before the winter weather closes in.

One thing that hasn’t been held up is the sale of the Green Investment Bank. BBC News reports that the Green Investment Bank (GIB), set up by the UK government five years ago, has been sold to the Australian Macquarie Bank, with a value of £2.3bn. The bank was set up to fund renewable and low-carbon projects and has invested about £800m per year so far. The deal requires the new owner to retain its name and headquarters team in Edinburgh. Although all the shares are transferring, the government is appointing independent trustees with the power to ensure it continues to have an environmental mission.

Not everyone was happy with this. According to The Guardian, Doug Parr, policy director at Greenpeace UK, said the sale will set the UK back on reaching its climate targets and mean more new jobs in the sector will go elsewhere.
“If the government picks up its pace, the UK could be a world leader in renewable and green technology,” he said. “But selling a great British success story, which levered private money into eco-projects, to a controversial Australian bank known for asset-stripping, is a disaster.”

Ed Davey, former Liberal Democrat secretary for energy and climate change, said: “Selling the Green Investment Bank is environmentally irresponsible, and on the eve of an election is politically dubious. The government clearly hopes to avoid parliamentary scrutiny.”

More on energy - there’s always something on energy!

A group of activists has filed a legal challenge with the French prime minister's office against the extension of EDF's licence for construction of the Flamanville nuclear reactor in northern France.
The move by Greenpeace and other anti-nuclear groups is in response to safety concerns over the Flamanville reactor and is a precursor to elevation of their challenge to the State Council, the country's highest administrative court.
The lobby groups said in a statement that the licence, issued in 2007 and renewed this year, should not have been granted because EDF and reactor supplier Areva were aware of technical shortcomings at Areva's Creusot Forge nuclear foundry since 2005.
In 2014 Areva discovered that the lid of the Flamanville reactor vessel manufactured by Creusot Forge showed abnormally high carbon concentrations, which weaken its steel.
Nuclear regulator ASN is investigating whether the irregularities threaten the safety of the reactor and whether EDF can proceed with Flamanville's start-up in 2018 as planned.

All this is important because EDF is responsible for building the new Hinkley C power station in Somerset, using the same Areva-designed EPR reactors. No reactors of this design have yet been brought into production. Apart from the seriously delayed unit at Flamanville there is a power station in Finland which is equally late and over budget and two units nearing completion in China. Although EDF is pouring concrete at the Hinckley C site, nobody knows whether the project will ever be finished or whether it will ever work. Whether it works or not, the multibillion investment will be paid for by the British people, either as electricity consumers or as taxpayers–or both.

Enjoy the Drive
Getting away from it all on Bank Holiday Monday? Soon, well in a year or two, you may be able to take a driverless car. They probably won't shorten the hours of queues on our motorways, but at least you won't have to steer.

Paul Newman is a professor of information engineering at Oxford University and co-founder of Oxbotica, a specialist provider of autonomous control system technologies. He believes driverless cars will make our roads safer and help an ageing population remain independent. To start with driverless or autonomous vehicles will run errands like collecting groceries from the supermarket, but over time they will develop into fully functional cars. Along the way, because driverless cars will be expensive, we'll see them develop through car clubs and shared ownership. They will be cleaner because they will almost certainly be electric and they will be safer because 90% of accidents are caused by driver distraction. Because they will eventually be able to interact with other cars and with traffic signals they will not only be able to flow more easily, thus reducing congestion; but by avoiding harsh acceleration or braking they will reduce wear on the car and the road surface and use less energy.

It’s a Lemon
The Big Lemon - it’s a bus company in Brighton. Norman Baker became its managing director last month. Norman used to be a LibDem MP and was transport minister in the coalition government. He later moved to the Home Office, but quit in 2014 after finding working with Theresa May a “constant battle”. He lost his seat in 2015 and has no plans to stand this time.

According to The Guardian, he will shortly be taking delivery of Britain’s first electric-powered bus. What they actually meant was that this would be Britain’s first solar-powered electric bus. The company is installing solar panels on its garage roof and will use the energy to charge up the buses - there will be two of them - overnight. Is it charging up a battery which will then charge the bus battery, or is it feeding the electricity into the grid during the day when the buses are presumably on the road and taking an equivalent amount from the grid overnight? Either way, it’s contributing to cleaner air in Brighton. We know of no plans for self-driving buses. Yet.

Growing Up
Construction of Europe’s first commercial vertical farm begins shortly in Dronten, the Netherlands. It will serve one of Europe’s biggest supermarket chains with lettuce grown using LED horticultural lighting.
 To date, the only vertical farms in Europe using LED-based lighting have so far been research centres or specialist producers serving restaurants.
The new facility in Dronten – built by fresh fruit and vegetables company Staay Food Group – will be the first vertical farm in Europe to operate commercially.
The facility will serve one the continent’s largest supermarket chains in addition to being used for testing and optimising processes for future, larger vertical farms, and is scheduled to begin operating in the latter half of this year.
The 900 square metre indoor vertical farm will have over 3,000 square metres of growing space, and will use Philips GreenPower LED horticultural lighting.
As the farming happens indoors, any harmful insects or other pests will be prevented from reaching the crops – as a result no pesticides will be required in the process.

Udo van Slooten, Managing Director of Philips Lighting Horticulture LED Solutions, said: “Our plant specialists at our GrowWise research centre in Eindhoven are testing with seeds of a selection of the most suitable lettuce varieties to define the best growth recipes and to optimise the crop growth even before the farm is running”.

Vertical farming also allows for the locating of food production close to – or even within – urban areas, where food consumption is concentrated.

Grootscholten went on to say: “It will help us with our continuous challenge to offer solutions for the growing world population. We believe that vertical farms will become increasingly important, because in the future we see more economic and environmental pressure to produce fruit and vegetables, such as lettuce, closer to where end customers are located.”

Farms located nearer consumers will help to reduce emissions and transport-related costs.

This may be the first commercial vertical farm, but vertical farming has been in operation for several years at Paignton Zoo in Devon, producing salads for the animals. There’s no reason why the technique shouldn’t be used for human food, and the yield per hectare is vastly greater that what conventional agriculture can achieve. There’s a link to a video below.

Where are we up to?

I still haven’t told you about

    • An apparently new crack forming in the Petermann Glacier, 
    • Peak toiletries
    • Airline food waste
    • Wave power
    • Palm oil
    • The Climate Clock - oh, but I must tell you about the climate clock…

Amanda Crossfield told me about this. You can find it at It's a clock constantly counting down the seconds until we reach the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere which will raise global temperatures by 1.5 ℃. On present performance we've got just 16 years left. You can see the climate clock on your screen, counting down the seconds in real time. It's being displayed at events across the world, where the image is projected onto the sides of buildings, showing the time counting down second by second and global emissions rising by tens of thousands of tonnes every minute. Go to  and behind it you'll find details of how the figures are calculated. Thanks, Amanda. It really brings the message home!

And that’s it…
Thank you for listening or indeed reading the Sustainable Futures Report. As I said, there is more than I can cover in 30 minutes and probably more than you would want to listen to. Let me know the areas that you would like me to concentrate on. After all, if I'm not providing what you want there's not much point in all this. Contact me at or post on the Patreon site which by now you well know is

I’m Anthony Day 
That was the Sustainable Futures Report  
Next week there’ll be another one.
In the meantime have a really good week, a great Bank Holiday Monday if you’re in the UK, and bye for now.

@climate_action_ @ecowatch @thebiglemon @esa_tweets @tidallagoon @oxbotica

Thursday, April 20, 2017


Published as a podcast on Friday 21st April on iTunes, Stitcher and

Hello and welcome to the Sustainable Futures Report  which is guaranteed to be a election-free zone! You will hear more than enough about the election in the next six weeks, but nothing at all here. At least not in this episode.

Welcome to my patrons, Richard, Frederika and Kasper. You can join them if you go across to and help keep this podcast going without advertising, sponsorship or subsidy.

Welcome to all you listeners across the world. The majority of you are in the United States, although I do take a very British perspective. Sustainability is of course a global issue so I try and cover international aspects when I can. If there’s a story you think I should look into please get in touch. 

Yes, I'm Anthony Day and the theme of this week’s report is rubbish. There's a lot of it about! (There’ll be a lot more in the next six weeks in the UK, but that’s another story.)

In brief, 
  • they want more drinking fountains in London so we don't have to throw away so many plastic bottles. 
  • Someone's come up with a plastic container that you can eat. I wonder what you wrap it in. 
  • Should you be entitled to a doggy bag in Scotland? 
  • Your clothes are probably polluting the oceans, but some people have the balls to solve this problem. 
  • Plastic Planet is a pressure group seeking to banish plastic from the planet, or a lot of it anyway. They are targeting supermarkets. 
  • The Local Government Association is targeting chewing gum manufacturers.
  • Let’s aim for Zero Waste to Landfill. The Carbon Trust has a document that tells us how.

On the energy front, 
  • there’s trouble at Drax and 
  • there’s a new renewables project in the wind on the Outer Hebrides.

Scientists have discovered a material which absorbs CO2. Good news, maybe, for Al Gore who launches An Inconvenient Sequel in July. Finally, a word from a concerned citizen, writing to my local paper.

Not Bottling It
It's not been good for soft drink manufacturers recently. Pepsi had to pull that ad after a social media storm accused them of trivialising civil protest. Coca-Cola got grief for all the millions of plastic bottles which it produces, many of which are thrown away. Of course, many, many manufacturers use plastic bottles but bottles for water and soft drinks are the ones most likely to be taken out of the home and thrown away and not recycled. Other brands of soft drink are available, but I suppose that Coca-Cola's problem is a penalty of being a market leader. 
A solution to the plastic bottle could be to do away with the need for a container. With this in mind the London Assembly Environment Committee has called for more drinking fountains to be installed. 

A more innovative solution is the Ooho sachet. The Ooho sachet is produced by Skipping Rocks Lab in the UK. It’s a clear sachet about the size of a golf ball. It is: 
    • 100% made of Plants & Seaweed
    • Biodegradable in 4-6 weeks, just like a piece of fruit
    • Edible, can be flavoured and coloured
    • Fresh (shelf life of a few days)
    • 5x less CO₂, 9x less Energy vs PET (common material for plastic bottles)
    • Cheaper than plastic

Here’s a drink where you can eat the container. And if you decide not to, it will just biodegrade. This has got to be better than plastic bottles, because even recycling plastic bottles takes energy to collect the bottles, energy to take them to the recycling plant, energy to run the recycling plant, energy to take them to the manufacturing plant, energy to remanufacture them and then deliver them to the user.
At the moment Ooho is mostly being sold at events for immediate consumption, but what would you wrap them in if you wanted to take them home?

Ooho sachets can be used for liquids including water, soft drinks, spirits and cosmetics.

Skipping Rocks Lab is part of the Climate KIC start-up acceleration program founded by the European Institute of Innovation & Technology (EIT) and the scientific team is based in Imperial College in London. They are currently crowd funding to support development. 
Find out more at You could be part of their future.

A Plastic Planet
A Plastic Planet is a pressure group that wants to banish plastic from supermarkets. Well, some of it, anyway. They say on their website - - that every piece of plastic ever made – unless it has been burned – STILL EXISTS. That is 60+ years of plastic building up on our planet, in our oceans, in our land, in our food chain and in our own bodies. 

They call on anybody and everybody to record a brief video on the phone saying: “My name is [First Name]. I am a Plastic Addict but I am ready for change. I want a Plastic Free Aisle.”

They want to pressure supermarkets into providing plastic-free aisles - no plastic bottles, containers or bags - so that they can shop without adding to the mountains of plastic which are used and mainly discarded each day. They argue that there are gluten-free aisles so why not plastic-free aisles? It’s certainly a challenge. Just visiting a supermarket reveals how many things are packed in plastic for hygiene, for security or to prevent breakages. But plastic can do things that paper or cardboard cannot. Plastic can be transparent, it can be flexible or rigid and it can seal in flavours and keep out moisture or contamination. And yet it generally does not biodegrade, and while it can be recycled there are many places where recycling facilities are not available - I don’t just mean the bins, I mean the recycling plants - and it can break down over time and seep into the food chain. The solution is not simple and not clear. But we need a solution.

Microplastic Fibres
Plastics get into the oceans not just from containers, bottles and bags but your clothes are probably polluting the oceans as well. The National Federation of Women’s Institutes has put down the following resolution for its Annual Meeting in Liverpool on 7th June: “Plastic Soup: Keep microplastic fibres out of our oceans. Microplastic fibres are shed from synthetic clothing with every wash and are the main contributors to microplastic contamination of the oceans. The NFWI calls on Government and industry to research and develop innovative solutions to this problem in order to stop the accumulation of microplastic fibres in our oceans.”

Let’s hope the government listens, although on 7th June it may be preoccupied with things planned for 8th June.

There may be a solution. It’s the Cora Ball. It’s not actually a ball. It’s a spherical object made up of a whole lot of what you might call ‘looped segments’. It’s probably made of plastic. You throw the Cora Ball into the washing machine with your laundry and it attracts the micro plastic fibres. When everything’s finished you clean the debris off the ball and it’s ready to use again. The micro plastic fibres are put in the bin, not washed down the drain.
It’s another crowd-funded project which is open until 25th April. They set the target at $10,000 but already more than $250,000 has been pledged. If you pledge $20 or more you’ll get your very own Cora Ball shipped to you anywhere in the world. Find more at 

Doggy bag, Madam?
Do we waste food? Yes we do. In the news this week is an initiative called “Good to Go” from Zero Waste Scotland. Not sure why it’s in the news this week, because it actually launched in 2014. It’s aimed at restaurants and it encourages them to offer their customers a doggy bag so they don’t waste what they can’t eat. There are window stickers, containers made from cardboard from sustainable sources, fully compostable and containing a starch lining, making a leak-proof box which can be used for all foods. 
 There’s a “Good to Go” label and a stylish “Good to Go” carrier bag. (Price 5p, by law)

Zero Waste Scotland estimates that around 53,500 tonnes of food is wasted from Scottish restaurants each year, and that two-thirds of this could have been avoided. 34% of this good food is estimated to be ‘plate waste’ – food left over at the end of the meal. Research has shown that, while customers overwhelmingly want to be offered ‘doggy bags’, two fifths (42%) are currently too embarrassed to ask for one. Not sure whether they’d be too keen on a bright green “Good to Go” carrier bag, but the results of the pilot indicated that if every restaurant in Scotland offered doggy bags it could save the equivalent of 800,000 full meals going in the bin every year. 

Or maybe they could serve smaller portions.

Incidentally, the also has a campaign to stop food waste. Theirs is aimed at supermarkets. Supermarkets just can’t win, can they?

By Gum!
The Local Government Association has it in for chewing gum manufacturers. There’s a very important principle here. Do we prosecute careless consumers for dropping litter - if we can catch them - or do we target the organisation that manufactures what ends up as litter?

“Chewing gum is a plague on our pavements,” says the Local Government Association. “It’s ugly, it’s unsightly and it’s unacceptable.”

The Association is calling for gum manufacturers to contribute to the £60 million annual gum removal cost. It said this money would be enough for councils to fill in more than a million potholes.

Recent research by Keep Britain Tidy found 99 per cent of main shopping streets and 64 per cent of all roads and pavements are stained by chewing gum.
The average piece of gum costs about 3p to buy - but up to 50 times that to clean up per square metre (£1.50). Most chewing gum is not biodegradable and once it is trodden into the pavement this requires specialised equipment to remove. Gum manufacturers should also be switching to biodegradable and easier-to-remove chewing gum, the LGA says.
Councils up and down the country are being forced to use new and innovative methods to fight the blight. These include awareness campaigns, posters which people can wrap their discarded gum in and special chewing gum bins.

I understand that in Singapore there is a ban on importing chewing gum. Gum is available there only for therapeutic reasons and then only with a doctor’s prescription. Penalties for chewing gum in Singapore include a fine of up to $100,000, a prison sentence of up to two years, or both. That’s Singapore dollars, but that's still more than £50,000. When I was there the streets were very clean.

Free Advice
While we’re about it, let’s aim for Zero Waste to Landfill. The Carbon Trust tells us how. You can download their guide from the website -

Something in the Air
While we are on the subject of rubbish we could talk about CO2 as atmospheric rubbish. Researchers at the Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University are studying a mineral, peridotite, which reacts with carbon dioxide and extracts it from the atmosphere. They are taking part in the Oman Drilling Project, extracting rock cores for analysis. Oman boasts the largest exposed sections of the Earth's mantle (core), thrust up by plate tectonics millions of years ago. The mantle contains peridotite, a rock that reacts with water and the carbon dioxide in the air to form marble and limestone. The scientists are looking at the possibility of speeding up the reaction so that significant quantities of CO2 can be extracted from the atmosphere.

Dealing with carbon dioxide is the major problem with burning fossil fuels - coal, gas and oil. The only solution under serious consideration at the moment is CCS, carbon capture and storage. This is a process for extracting the CO2 from the emissions of major installations, usually power stations, compressing it and pumping it away to caverns under the sea. The problem with CCS is that no-one has yet made it work on a commercial scale and even if they did, the process would be expensive and inevitably require significant amounts of energy. If peridotite could be used to trap the CO2 on site it could revolutionise the handling of power station emissions and might even be able to clean up cars and domestic heating boilers. But there’s a long, long way to go before anything like this can be proved to be commercially viable.

Talking of energy…
Last week Drax Power held its annual general meeting. Drax has the largest thermal power station in the UK and produces some 7% of the nation’s electricity. Protesters gathered outside the meeting to complain about the £1.5m subsidy that Drax receives every day. Although the plant has replaced half the coal it uses with with biomass, protesters claim that the wood pellets that it imports from the United States do not come from sustainable sources. They say that the emissions of carbon dioxide and other pollutants from burning biomass are worse than from burning coal.

Protests also took place inside the meeting where a third of investors voted against the company’s remuneration report. In particular they criticised the rewards offered to finance chief Will Gardiner. Despite opposition he’s in line to receive 358,567 shares worth £1.355 million in 2019. Mr Gardiner's total pay reached £971,000 for 2016, while chief executive Dorothy Thompson's total pay rose 26% to £1.5 million for the period.

Something in the Wind…
When I worked in Stornoway in the Outer Hebrides some 12 years ago there were plans for a massive wind farm on the Isle of Lewis. Eventually it came to nothing, due to opposition on the island and partly due to a campaign called No Pylons in the Highlands. If the wind farm had been built there were plans for a pylon line from Ullapool down to Bewley near Inverness to take the electricity into Scotland. Environmentalists clearly saw that as a price too high to pay for renewable energy. Things may be about to change. Business Secretary Greg Clark visited Lewis recently and the business department launched a consultation last November on whether it should make an exemption to its 2015 manifesto commitment to “end any new public subsidy” for windfarms.

Of course until this election is over all bets are off, but the Scottish government warned this week that if Westminster ruled out allowing onshore windfarms in the Western Isles, Orkney and Shetland to compete for subsidies, £2.5bn of investment would be put at risk. The islands are also heavily dependent on expensive diesel imports for power.

An Inconvenient Sequel
Do you remember Al Gore? The man who used to be the next president of the US? He’s followed up his 2006 “An Inconvenient Truth” with “An Inconvenient Sequel”. It’s scheduled for release in cinemas in July. I’ll keep you posted.

And finally…
This week my local paper published the following letter. Listen carefully to get the full sense. And if you do get any sense, please let me know.

“Why is it the sanctimonious egotistical save the planet climate change idealists, no fracking in my backyard brigade show no concern about the half million tons of man-made debris orbiting the earth? Could it be the thought of sitting around a log fire in outer space with no-one to polish their egos has little appeal?”

No, I don’t understand it either.

And that’s it for another week. I'm Anthony Day and that was the Sustainable Futures Report brought to you as always without advertising, subsidy or sponsorship. Of course, if you enjoy these podcasts please pop along to and and donate a dollar or two. (Yes I know, but it's an American site. It's about 80p.) And for April only, if you sign up as a patron for $1 a month you will receive the unique Sustainable Futures Report  enamel badge, normally available exclusively to those pledging more than $5 per month.

Either way, I am Anthony Day and I shall be back with a another Sustainable Futures Report this time next week. Thanks for listening and keep listening. 

Bye for now.

Rubbish - what do we do about it? Ideas from @OohoWater, @womensinstitute, @aplastic_planet, Cora Ball, @LGANews and