Boris Johnson Launches London Cycle Hire Scheme


London’s Mayor Boris Johnson will launch a new bike hire scheme in the city today, July 30th. An enthusiastic cyclist himself, Johnson is eager to introduce a sustainable alternative to motor transport while cutting congestion as well as London’s carbon emissions.

A quarter of the bikes under the new London Cycle Hire project will not be ready for the launch, however upon completion there will be 6,000 bikes at 400 docking stations across Zone One. This will lead to an estimated 40,000 extra bike journeys each day in Central London.

Users will pay £3 per an electronic tag that releases the bike and an ‘access charge’ of £1 for a day, £5 for 7 days, £45 for a year. As with Dublin Bikes, the first 30 minutes of any journey will be free of charge.

‘Green’ certification for Irish fishing vessels under new BIM strategy


Minister for Agriculture, Fisheries and Food, Mr. Brendan Smith TD and Minister of State Mr. Sean Connick TD officially launched a new three year strategy for the seafood sector published by Bord Iascaigh Mhara (BIM) earlier this week (23rd July). The Ministers also released the Government’s long-awaited EU-sanctioned programme for the sector (2007-2013).

The ambitious BIM strategy is laid out in four key areas of Business Development and Innovation, Knowledge and Technology Transfer, Skills Development, and Environment and Sustainability.

One of the actions under this new strategy is that Irish fishing vessels may carry ‘green’ certification for sustainable catches. There are also plans to differentiate 40,000 tonnes seafood as eco-labelling and of Irish origin on the international market, and BIM expect to generate an additional €50 million in sales by 2012.

Under the Government’s programme for the sector, €6.5 million will be made available in grant-aid to the end of this year.

A pdf of the strategy Delivering on the potential of Irish seafood is available from the BIM website.

Plastiki Expedition arrives in Sydney

Plastiki - the boat made from plastic bottles
Courtesy of Luca Babini


Message in a bottle to beat waste has global impact to create change

After sailing more than 8,000 nautical miles and spending 128 days crossing the Pacific, the world's largest ocean, in a boat made of 12,500 plastic PET bottles, the Plastiki expedition and her crew have safely and successfully reached their planned destination of Sydney to cheers of welcome and support.

Arriving at Sydney Heads at 11.10am local time with a 12 knot south south easterly breeze, the Plastiki triumphantly sailed into Sydney Harbour to cheers of welcome and support from a small spectator flotilla.. The historic expedition was completed in four legs : San Francisco ? Kiribati - Western Samoa - New Caledonia before reaching the Australian Coast (Mooloolaba) on Monday 19 July and continuing on to Sydney.

"It's an incredible feeling to finally arrive in Sydney. We had great faith in the design and construction of Plastiki and while many people doubted we'd make it, we have proved that a boat made from plastic bottles can stand up to the harsh conditions of the Pacific." expedition leader, David de Rothschild said.

Read full press release
Source: www.theplastiki.com

2011 Isover Energy Efficiency Awards


A new awards scheme was launched on July 19th in order to recognise efforts made in energy efficient building design. All those involved in the building sector in Ireland, including architects, engineers, builders and developers, are being invited to submit entries to the Isover Energy Efficiency Awards (EEA). Entries for any building that has a low energy output, whether new or renovated, are welcomed.

The overall Irish winner will be presented with a €10,000 prize and will then go on to represent Ireland in the European Awards ceremony that will take place in Madrid in May 2011. All projects entered for the awards must be completed by December 2010 and must not be more than five years old. The closing date for entries is October 8th 2010. Further details are available on the Isover website.

Science for Environmental Policy


The latest issue of the European Commission (EC) ‘Science for Environment Policy’ newsletter is now available on the EC website. The following articles appear in this issue:

  • How to increase bicycle use: key policies identified

  • Restoring European grasslands takes more than just sowing seeds

  • Hunting and fishing quotas should be used with care

  • Estimating agriculture’s phosphorus footprint

  • Local sustainable development through renewable energy schemes

  • Forward-looking approach needed to conserve biodiversity corridors

Teagasc Propose Changes to Nitrates Regulations


Teagasc has proposed twenty-one amendments to the Draft European Communities (Good Agricultural Practice for Protection of Waters) regulation 2010 as part of the consultation process to review the nitrates regulations.

The detailed 120-page scientific document has been submitted to the Department of Environment, Heritage and Local Government and to the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

The 21 amendments to the regulations proposed by Teagasc are based on solid scientific research, have been subjected to an environmental impact assessment, and have been cross-evaluated to ensure synergy between the proposals. The combined objectives of these proposals can lead to more effective protection of the rural aquatic environment and more efficient production of food. In the submission, Teagasc describes how there can be significant time lags between changes in farm nutrient management and improvements in water quality, which is important in the context of setting realistic expectations for improvements in the quality of water.

Read more

Source: Teagasc

ECO-UNESCO launches ECO-Camp in Dublin


ECO-UNESCO, Ireland’s environmental education and youth organisation, is set to introduce Dublin City’s first environmental summer camp from 9th-13th August. ‘ECO-Explorers’ will use The Greenhouse, Dublin 2, as the base from which to investigate nature in Dublin City Centre.

Some of the activities will include outdoor adventures, interactive games, a treasure trail, building a bug hotel and starting a sunflower race.

Bookings made for the ECO-Explorers summer camp before Friday July 23rd will be at a discounted price of €90. For full details, please contact ECO-UNESCO’s Environmental Youth Officer Colin at 01-662 5491 or email youth@ecounesco.ie.

World’s largest solar power station opens in Spain


The world’s biggest solar power plant has been opened in Alvarado, Spain, overtaking the US as the world’s largest solar generator. The new La Florida parabolic trough solar plant covers an area of 550,000 square metres and has the same energy output as a nuclear plant.

Spain is also a leader in other renewable energy solutions. It has well developed wind power and hydro-electric sectors, and globally only China and the US have more dams. In March this year, the Spanish Government announced plans to increase the national renewable energy share from the current 12.9% to 22.7% by 2020, bringing it just ahead of 20% EU target.

New Guide to Running Green Meetings and Events


The Clean Technology Centre (CTC) and Hospitality Solutions Consulting (HSC) have launched A Guide to Running Green Meetings and Events for Fáilte Ireland.

This guide is targeted at businesses that are involved in any aspect of conferences and events in Ireland, including organisers, hotels/venues, accommodation businesses, catering companies, activity and transport providers, with the aim of improving the businesses green credentials.

Download the pdf of A Guide to Running Green Meetings and Events from the CTC website.

Call for Papers: Resource Ireland Exhibition and Conference 2010


The Resource Ireland Exhibition and Conference 2010 will take place on 13th-14th October at the RDS Simmonscourt, Dublin. Two workshops on sustainability and water will take place at the event, hosted by Cleantech Network and the Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland (ESAI). They are looking for speakers on a range of topics within the themes of sustainability and water.

Full details are available on the pdf document available on the ESAI website. All papers must be submitted by Friday 23rd July 2010.

BASDA launches Green-XML Standard


The Business & Application Software Developers’ Association (BASDA) has launched a new software standard, The Green-XML Standard, which is designed to make it easier for developers to integrate environmental management systems into business software applications.

Using this standard, businesses around the world should be able to provide information on carbon emissions and water use to customers when a purchasing a product online. It will allow businesses to exchange their environmental data with partners and may also be used to help companies report on their carbon emissions under government regulations.

BASDA are currently working on another data standard where information on biodiversity could be included and shared.

Consumers yet to prioritise eco features when choosing new electrical products


Research conducted by WRAP - the organisation charged with supporting businesses and consumers in resource efficiency - reveals that there is much to do to get consumers to choose “green products” when purchasing electrical items.

Research paper, Consumer attitudes to sustainable electrical products is released today by WRAP as it continues to lead on waste reduction work in a variety of areas including; waste electricals, new technologies and product development.

The research study was set up to explore consumer attitudes to products on the market described by manufacturers as having eco features and to gain more insight into key influences behind the purchase of a range of electricals from washing machines to mobile phones. It looked at seven products and considered things like reparability, energy usage and recycled content.

Read more

Source: WRAP

St. Anne’s Park Rose Festival this weekend!


The St. Anne’s Park Rose Festival is taking place this weekend, the 17th and 18th July. Located in Raheny, St. Anne’s Park boasts two acres of some of the finest rose gardens in Dublin. The festival also coincides with the judging of the Dublin Rose Trials, where international breeders submit their roses for planting in St. Anne’s Park trial beds for a period of 18 months. Local and international judges are then invited to decide on the winners, which will be announced at the festival.

With market stalls, music, exhibitions and plenty of flowers, it’s a relaxing way to spend the weekend!

First proof of pine martens in England for 16 years


A member of the Vincent Wildlife Trust (VWT) in England has found the first proof in 16 years of the existence of the pine marten in the country. A female scat was found in Northumbria, which was sent for DNA testing in Ireland’s Waterford Institute of Technology, proving that long-held view that these mammals exist in the area but are numbers are so low that it is rare to see one.

A native species to both Britain and Ireland, pine martens had become extinct throughout much of Britain by the early part of the 20th century. Small populations survived in Wales, parts of northern England and the Scottish Highlands, and since the mid 1990s, the VWT has been gathering information on reported sightings of the pine marten in Wales and England as part of their ‘Prospects for Pine Martens’ project.

In pursuit of further evidence of this elusive, shy mammal, the VWT are organising a 15-day ‘Great North Pine Marten Pursuit’ in Cumbria, Northumbria, Durham and Yorkshire during August.

BirdWatch Ireland: July 2010 issue of eWings


The July 2010 issue of eWings is available on the BirdWatch Ireland website. Articles in this month’s issue include:

  • Great Spotted Woodpecker - a success story?
  • Hummingbirds in Ireland?
  • Support a strong EU Action Plan to reduce seabird bycatch
  • BirdWatch Ireland seeking to recruit a Chief Executive

Science for Environmental Policy: latest issue


The latest issue of the European Commission (EC) ‘Science for Environment Policy’ newsletter is now available on the EC website. The following articles appear in this issue:

  • Self-interest could hold key to sustainable consumption

  • Managing electricity demand could maximise wind power benefits

  • Dealing with external costs of district heating plants

  • Local participation in Payment for Environmental Services scheme

  • Stricter regulations reduce GHG emission from waste

  • Cyclists inhale high levels of traffic pollution

GE ecomagination Challenge: Powering the Grid


GE has launched a $200 million programme known as GE econmagination Challenge: Powering the Grid. GE is seeking innovative ideas from entrepreneurs, technologists, businesses and students to help create a cleaner, greener, next-generation smart power grid. $100 million will be invested by GE while the remaining $100 million will be invested by venture capitalists.

GE is looking for Ideas and proposals in three main categories:

  1. Renewables

  2. Grid and Eco Homes

  3. Eco Buildings

The deadline for submissions will be September 30th, 2010 and all entries must include a detailed proposal describing a smart grid technology. There will be a $100 innovation challenge award given to five innovation challenge award recipients in recognition of outstanding innovative ideas. Members of the public will also be invited to vote on which idea they believe will have the greatest impact on the next-generation smart grid.

Further information about the ecomagination Challenge is available at http://challenge.ecomagination.com/ideas.

EU Ministers call for higher emission reductions


In an article published in the Financial Times yesterday (14th July), British Energy Minister Chris Huhne, German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen and French Ecology Minister Jean-Louis Borloo urged the EU to increase greenhouse gas emission reduction targets to 30% by 2020, instead of the current figure of 20%. They believe this increase would not be difficult to achieve and that it is a necessary step to prevent Europe falling into the “global slow lane” in the race for green technology.

The ministers wrote:

“If we stick to a 20 percent cut, Europe is li kely to lose the race to compete in the low-carbon world to countries such as China, Japan or the U.S. - all of which are looking to create a more attractive environment for low-carbon investment”.

This stance by the three ministers reopens the debate on EU emission reductions that began earlier this year, one which was believed to have been settled. In April, the data on the EU Emissions Trading Scheme for 2009 was released. It showed a decrease in carbon emissions from each of the EU Member States in comparison to 2008, indicating that the EU has passed the half way mark to achieving the 20% emissions reduction target by 2020. Proposals of a 30% emission reduction target were put forward, but were subsequently shelved due to pressure from European business groups.

Irish Winners of the European Environmental Awards announced


Neil Walker, IBEC head of environmental policy, has announced the winners of the 2009/10 European Business Awards for the Environment. The winners were:

  • Abbott Ireland – best environmental management through introduction of a green plan that improved environmental efficiency and sustainability within the business

  • JFC Manufacturing – best environmental product for converting bottles into raw material for pipe manufacturing, which are used as part of a storm attenuation system

  • Lagan Cement – environmental excellence for dramatically reducing its carbon footprint through replacing some of its fossil fuel use with green energy from solid recovered fuel (SRF)

During the award ceremony, Walker noted:

These awards showcase the best of Irish innovation in environmental management and practice. The number and quality of Irish entries this year reflects the increasing importance of environmental issues for businesses of all types and sizes.”

EPA: Environmental funding available for businesses


Funding is available through the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Waste Prevention Programme (NWPP) and under Phase 5 of the Cleaner Greener Production Programme (CGPP5) to assist businesses in improving their environmental performance. Helping businesses to reduce the waste produced and resources consumed reduces costs as well as the overall environmental impact.

The grant-aid available is between €5,000 and €25,000. Full details are available from the EPA website.

Clogherhead Prawn Festival this weekend!


The annual Clogherhead Prawn Festival in Co. Louth will take place this coming weekend, from Friday 16th – Sunday 18th July. The three days will be packed with activities for all the family, both in and out of the water – jet ski racing, fancy dress, kite surfing, Irish dancing, markets and much more. You could even take part in the World Record Attempt for ‘The Most People Buried in the Sand Simultaneously’, which is currently held by the French with 342 people!

  A full programme of events is available on at www.clogherheadprawnfestival.ie.

Guiding Principles adopted by EUropean Food SCP Round Table


The European Food Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) Round Table has announced that it has formally adopted Guiding Principles on “Voluntary environmental assessment and communication of environmental information along the food chain, including to consumers.”

The Round Table has adopted 10 Guiding Principles that will form the basis of its work towards voluntary environmental assessment of food and drink products and voluntary communication of this environmental information along the food chain. The SCP Round Table aims to complete this framework in 2011.

These Guiding Principles aim to promote consistency in environmental assessment within the industry across Europe, which will allow reliable, clear and focused information to be communicated. This in turn will allow partners along the food chain to make informed choices. The guidelines will also be used to identify voluntary business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumers (B2C) communication tools.

The full pdf document is available for download from the

SCP Round Table


TEEB for Business Report now available


The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) for Business report has been launched today (13th July) an is available on the TEEB website.

TEEB for Business is an international initiative hosted by the UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme) and initiated by the G8 and five major developing economies. It is part of a series of reports being launched by the UN International Year of Biodiversity and aims to highlight the major global economic benefits of biodiversity, and the financial costs involved in biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation. TEEB urges the integration of the economics of biodiversity and ecosystem services into the decision-making process.

The report briefly outlines how businesses can support biodiversity and ecosystems through corporate social responsibility initiatives. It also indicates that those businesses that do not make sustainability part of their business plan may find themselves out of sync with the market place.

The introduction to the report reads:

“TEEB has assembled much evidence that the economic invisibility of nature’s flows into the economy is a significant contributor to the degradation of ecosystems and the loss of biodiversity. This in turn leads to serious human and economic costs which are being felt now, have been felt for much of the last half-century, and will be felt at an accelerating pace if we continue ‘business as usual’.”

Féile Bia na Mara/ Achill Seafood Festival starts this Thursday!


Achill Seafood Festival 2010 will take place later this week, from Thursday 15th – Sunday 18th July. It will be officially opened at a Gala Seafood Buffet in Óstán Oileán Acla on Friday 16th July and tickets can be purchased from Achill Tourism for €35.

The festival is a celebration of the rich culture and heritage with the sea on Achill Island. This year’s Guest of Honour is renowned Irish chef Jenny Bristow, who will host an informal seafood questions and answers session on Saturday 17th. A full programme of the weekend’s events is available at http://www.feilebianamara.ie/events.html.

Clare County Council encourages continued water conservation


Clare County Council has announced that water levels within the county remain at low levels and has urged consumers to conserve the water available. The authority has advised that the hose pipe ban that was introduced two weeks ago in the areas surrounding Ennis, North Clare and Tulla will remain in force until further notice.

Please see the Clare County Council websites for any further updates.

UNEP Yearbook 2010


The UNEP (United Nations Environmental Programme) Yearbook 2010 is available online at http://www.unep.org/yearbook/2010/. This yearbook is an extremely informative and authoritative resource, containing numerous reports on new environmental science and recent developments within the field. It is divided into six chapters, each reflecting the six priority areas of the UNEP:

  1. Environmental Governance
  2. Ecosystem Management
  3. Harmful Substances and Hazardous Waste
  4. Climate Change
  5. Disasters and Conflicts
  6. Resource Efficiency

A reference resource database for the UNEP Yearbook 2010 is also available online, which may be searched for scientific journals, articles and other materials used in the yearbook.

EBAE Newsletter: EBAE winners 2010 announced


The July 2010 newsletter for the European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE) is now available for download from the European Commission website. The issue lists the winners from this year’s EBAE competition under the four different categories:

  • Management Practices: The Findus Group, UK
  • Products: Energy ICT, Belgium
  • Process: Zenergy Power GmbH ans Bultmann GmbH, Germany  
  • International co-operation: Ferrovial, Spain

The winners are recognised as contributing to economic and social development without harming the environment. An overview of their activities which lead to the awards in provided in the newsletter, together with details of this year’s runners up.

Cap on emissions for 2013 under EU trading scheme


The European Commission (EC) has announced that the greenhouse gas emissions allowances under the EU emission trading scheme (EU ETS) will be capped at just under 1.927 billion tonnes in 2013, the first year of the 2013-2020 trading period. This is the first time that a community-wide cap on emission allowances has been set and this will replace the current system of 27 national caps.

This cap has been applied in line with the provisions of the revised Emissions Trading Directive, and is expected to result in a 21% drop in emissions from the 2005 level by 2020.

Questions and answers regarding the EU ETS cap for 2013 are available on the EC website.

Funding for Kildare water treatment plant approved


Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, Mr John Gormley TD, has approved funding to allow Kildare County Council to accept a tender from Veolia Water Ireland Ltd. for the construction of a new water treatment plant at Srowland, near Athy. The contract also includes the connection of the water treatment plant to two service reservoirs at Ardscull and Old Kilcullen.

Ireland's future as innovation hub


An Taoiseach Brian Cowen is expected to unveil details of the Government’s plan to make Ireland a global innovation hub during his visit to the US. This ambitious plan will see the State investing €250m over the next three years in Irish businesses, and a further €250m is expected to be provided by investment from venture capitalists.    

This investment fund has been part of the Government Building Ireland's Smart Economy plan that was outlined in 2008, but has been delayed until now due to the recession. The first 'expressions of interest' calls for the fund are expected this September.

Target limit of outdoor night noise


The European target limit for outside night noise levels has been set at an annual average of 40 decibels by the World Health Organisation (WHO). In new night noise guidelines, the WHO Regional Office for Europe aims to assist EU states in developing legislation to limit noise thresholds.

The guidelines refer to the adverse effects of exposure to noise above 40 decibels. Based on research findings, noise levels above 55 decibels increase the risk of cardiovascular disease.

The Night Noise Guidelines for Europe are available online in pdf format.

New prototype for producing tidal energy


The Harland and Wolff shipyard in Belfast has been awarded a contract to construct a new tidal turbine for testing.   The tidal turbine prototype will be used by the marine power company, Scotrenewables Ltd. in the Orkney Islands. The new device, which is 30 metres long and weights 80 tonne, will use rotors to produce 250kw of tidal energy.

Solar-powered plane successfully completes 26 hour flight


An experimental solar-powered plane by Solar Impulse has successfully landed in Switzerland following a 26 hour flight. This is the longest flight on record by a solar-powered plane and is also the first time such a plane has flown through the night.

The plane is fitted with 12,000 highly efficient solar cells and batteries along its wingspan, which had stored enough solar energy to keep it in the air overnight. This ground-breaking flight was piloted by one of the designers Andre Borschberg, a former jet pilot from Switzerland.

Another member of the Solar Impulse team is Bertrand Piccard, who made an historic non-stop flight around the world in a balloon in 1999. The aim of the Solar Impulse team now is to continue developing the solar-powered plane and produce a more advanced model with which to circumnavigate the globe by 2013.

For video interviews with the Solar Impulse team during this historic flight, please see the Solar Impulse website.

LaunchPad programme: closing date Sunday 11th July


LaunchPad is the National Digital Research Centre’s (NDRC) Entrepreneurial Internship Programme that takes place over a three-month period. The aim is to assist individuals or teams of up to three members to develop their idea and technology to the point where it is ready for customers and investors. Each project can receive financial assistance of up to €20,000 over the course of the internship, which involves workshops, seminars, mentoring and presentations.

The closing date for applications is this coming Sunday, 11th July 2010. For details, please see the

LaunchPad programme


Marine scientists discover animal close to missing revolutionary link


Marine scientists have discovered rare animals and over ten possible new species during a six week expedition in the Atlantic Ocean. This expedition was the last leg of MAR-ECO international research programme, which is part of the Census of Marine Life. The research is focused on the marine environments along the Mid-Atlantic Ridge between Iceland and the Azores.

The scientists believe that one group of species they discovered is close to the missing evolutionary link between vertebrates and invertebrates. Speaking about the expedition, Professor Monty Priede, Director of the University of Aberdeen’s Oceanlab, said:

"These worms are members of a little-known group of animals close to the missing link in evolution between backboned and invertebrate animals.

"The creatures were observed feeding and leaving characteristic spiral traces on the sea floor.

"They have no eyes, no obvious sense organs or brain but there is a head end, tail end and the primitive body plan of back-boned animals is established. One was observed showing rudimentary swimming behaviour.”

The team also encountered large populations of animals that are extremely rare elsewhere. Professor Priede added that the expedition had “revolutionised our thinking about deep-sea life in the Atlantic Ocean. It shows that we cannot just study what lives around the edges of the ocean and ignore the vast array of animals living on the slopes and valleys in the middle of the Ocean.”

For further information on research into ocean life, photographs of rare sea creatures and marine videos, please see the Census of Marine Life website.

Russia: 3.8 million ha to be protected by 2020


The Russian Government has taken the decision to establish nine new nature reserves and thirteen national parks by 2020. These will account for an area of 3.8 million ha, while a further marine buffer zone of over 1 million ha will also be introduced. Upon completion, Russia’s total national protected areas will be 3% of its territory.

There are currently nine nature reserves and one national park in Russia. A huge number of endangered species will benefit from the creation of these protected areas, including walruses, sea otters, and polar bears among others.   Further information and a map of the existing and newly formed protected areas is available on the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) website.

New manual for end-of-life tyre management


End-of-Life Tires: A Framework for Effective ELT Management Systems
is a new manual that has been developed by the World Class Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) which aims to support those interested in establishing an end-of-life tyre (ELT) management system in their region.

Each year an estimated 1 billion tyres reach their ‘end-of-life’ and it is estimated that 4 billion ELTs are currently in landfills and storage across the world. This causes a huge environmental challenge for the tyre industry, despite the fact that many ELTs can be recycled and used in other industries. This new WBCSD manual outlines all the stages of an effective ELT management system and aims to improve the sustainable practices of the industry. It is available to download from the WBCSD website.

Study on product carbon footprinting released


One of the major conclusions of a new study carried out by the Öko-Institut in Germany is that “single number CO2 labels make no sense”. The study Requirements on Consumer Information about Product Carbon Footprint examines the risks and opportunities involved in product carbon footprinting and the suitablility of this approach for environmental labelling.

The study highlights the constraints of product carbon footprinting, particularly as the information may be misleading and could lead to misinterpretation. It also recommends that manufacturers include climate protection information to consumers in various product groups.

The full PDF of the study is available from the ANEC website.

Irish company wins European Space Agency contracts


Galway-based company ÉireComposties Teoranta has won contracts worth €1.9m with the European Space Agency (ESA) to design and develop technologies for next-generation space launchers and satellites. The company specialises in developing advanced lightweight composite materials that can be used in spacecraft, aircraft, Formula 1 cars, wind turbines, and other automotives. The announcement was made by Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Innovation, Batt O’Keeffe TD, at the end of June.

ÉireComposties Teoranta was formed in 2006 as a result of a merger with four composites companies: Irish Composites (Ábhair Cumaisc Teo); Composites Testing Laboratory (CTL Tástáil Teo); PPA Teo; Gaoth-Tec Teo.

Dublin: 2012 City of Science


Dublin has won a bid to become the 2012 City of Science, and will host the Euroscience Open Forum from 12th-16th July 2012. Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Mr Conor Lenihan TD, travelled to Turin (Italy) at the weekend for the Euroscience Open Forum 2010 where the handover ceremony took place.

The purpose of the event is to stimulate public awareness of, and interest in, science and technology, as well as showcasing the latest developments within the sector. Speaking of the event, Mr Lenihan said:

“This is the Olympics of science and our campaign prior to the event will kick off this year. Scientists from all over the world will come to Dublin in 20120 and it is a great opportunity to showcase Ireland’s achievements as a smart economy.”

For further information, please see the 2012 City of Science event website.

Galway Garden Festival: 11th-12th July


The 1st annual Galway Garden Festival will take place over the weekend of 11th-12th July at ClareGalway Castle. The festival will run from 11am-6pm on both days and will include a range of activities such as bird drawing for children and talks by experts on plants, their care and cultivation. Visitors will have the opportunity to view and purchase many rare and unusual plant species.

An entry fee of €5 applies, and all profits will be donated to the Christian Blind Mission, Ireland. Please see the event website for further details.

IFI comes into operation


On 1st July 2010, Inland Fisheries Ireland (IFI) became responsible for the protection, management and conservation of Ireland’s inland fisheries resource as well as sea angling. This move follows the amalgamation of the Central Fisheries Board, the seven former Regional Fisheries Boards, the National Salmon Commission and eight Fisheries Co-operative Societies into a single agency. Over 70,000 km of rivers and streams in Ireland and 144,000 hectares of lakes now fall under the jurisdiction of the IFI.

The establishment of the IFI is part of the Government’s programme for the rationalisation of State bodies. The board of this central management of Ireland’s inland fisheries will consist of nine members, in comparison the the 150 board members of the former management structure. It is expected that this new approach to managing the inland fisheries through the IFI will result in cost reduction.

Carlow: interruption of water supply


As part of the Water Conservation Project in Ballyoliver, essential maintenance works will be carried out between 10pm and 5am on Monday night and Tuesday morning, the 5th and 6th July. Carlow County Council has advised that this will result in some disruption to the water supply in the following areas: Ballyoliver, Ballybit, Kill, Moatabower, Straboe, Killerig, Killerig Cross, Grangeford, Rathrush, Rathoe, Kilcoole, Graiguenaspidogue, Friarstown, Johnstown, Killamaster, Ballymurphy Road (Tullow) to The Square in Tullow, Downings, Cannonsquarter, Tullowphelim, Tullowbeg, Ardristan, Aghade, Castlegrace, Bang Up, Carrigslaney, Closh, Cunnaberry, Bennekerry, Russelstown, Rytland, Ballylennon, Kernanstown, Palatine Eastern Relief Road (Carlow).

Gormley takes initiative on UN environmental taskforce


The Environmental Pillar of social partnership has welcomed the "bold initiative" taken by Minister John Gormley to take the lead on the establishment of a Taskforce to strengthen the implementation of the Aarhus Convention.

"Environmental groups will welcome this new initiative, and we hope this will lead to Ireland finally ratifying the Aarhus Convention" said Michael Ewing, Coordinator of the Environmental Pillar of Social Partnership.

The Aarhus Convention is an international legal instrument providing for the public's rights on access to environmental information, public participation and access to justice in environmental matters.

Although Ireland signed the Convention in 1998 it is the only member of the EU not to have ratified it. "We are denying people in Ireland the same human rights of access to information, participation in decision-making and justice that are enjoyed people in the six counties of Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK as well as the other 43 Parties to the Convention" said Michael Ewing.

The Task Force on Public Participation, to be chaired by Irishman Phil Kearney, will work on improving the implementation of the Convention's provisions on public participation in environmental decision-making, including through sharing expertise and good practices, developing recommendations, strengthening civil society and building capacity for public authorities and other stakeholders.

Environmental Pillar of Social Partnership

New flood defence system launched


The Minister for Housing and Local Services, Michael Finneran launched a new flood control system for Irish company Global Flood Solutions at the end of May 2010. Known as the Big Bag System, it is much more efficient than the traditional sandbag approach to flooding crises, such as those experienced in Ireland last winter, taking a fraction of the time to assemble.

At the launch, Brendan J Kelly of the Irish Insurance Federation stated that in his “35 years in the insurance business, the floods of November 2009 were the worst he had witnessed from an insurance perspective...as a result, the total cost from flood insurance claims alone was almost€ 244 million and 4,629 families were directly affected. We now have an internationally acclaimed affordable solution in the Big Bag System at our disposal and the severity of the disaster we saw in November 2009 need never happen again.”

For further information on this new flood control system, please email info@globalfloodsolutions.ie or see the product brochure.

Major Marine Climate Change Reports published


Two major reports on the effect of climate change on Ireland’s marine ecosystems were launched on 29th June by Mr. Sean Connick TD, Minister of State at the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food.

The Irish Ocean Climate and Ecosystem Status Report 2009 provides detailed information on Ireland’s ocean climate based on relevant environmental datasets available in 2009. Some of the key findings in the report include an increase in sea surface temperature of 0.6 °C per decade since 1994, increased wave heights off the south west coast and an increase in populations of warm water species. The report also predicts that the global mean sea level could rise by up to 0.88m by 2100, which when combined with increased wave height could lead to severe flooding and coastal erosion.

The second report, Ocean Acidification: An Emerging Threat to our Marine Environment – 2010, examines the effect of ocean acidification on marine life and fragile ecosystems in Irish waters.

Both reports are available to download from the Irish Marine Institute website.

Minister Officially Launches Energy Systems Engineering Programme at NUI Galway


Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources Eamon Ryan T.D. officially launched the B.E. Programme in Energy Systems Engineering today (Monday, 28 June) at NUI Galway.

The new course, which will be based in the new Engineering Building currently under construction at NUI Galway, has been developed in partnership with key members of the Energy industry including; ESB, GE Energy, Airtricity, Bord Gáis, Wavebob, a wave energy technology company, and ARUPS and RPS, two consulting engineers’ practices.

Source: Press Office, NUI Galway
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Food Waste Regulations


Food Waste Regulations (SI 508 of 2009) entered into force in Ireland on the 1st of July 2010. The Regulations require that main sources of food waste should use a dedicated bin for their food waste and not mix it with other types of waste.

The regulations require that a brown bin collection service is used so that the waste is brought to a composting facility or other approved recycling centre. Alternatively, the food waste can be brought directly to the recycling facility or can be treated by the business themselves by installing a composting unit.

Further infomration is available on the Food Waste website.

Euro-Leaf logo comes into play

Euro-leaf: new EU organic logo


From today, the new Euro-Leaf organic logo will begin to be displayed on all pre-packed organic goods that are produced in each of the 27 EU Member States. This new Euro-Leaf logo was selected in February 2010 following an EU-wide competition.

The new logo uses the EU stars to outline the shape of a leaf, signifiying the association between Europe and Nature. This “Euro-leaf” logo was designed by German student Dusan Milenkovic. It will provide a great boost to the organic farming community, while consumers will have the assurance and confidence that the produce is completely in line with EU organic farming regulations.

Unpacked food and food produced outside the EU will not be obliged to use the logo initially. Other logos can also continue to appear alongside the Euro-leaf.

Climate Change Documentary: A Burning Question


If you missed the Climate Change Documentary A Burning Question that was aired on Tuesday 29th June, it is now available to view on RTÉ Player until 20th July.

What do we think about Climate Change? What are the scientific facts to support it?

In this documentary, Duncan Stewart considers public perceptions around the issue, and speaks to renowned scientists, including Paleoclimatologist Professor Jennifer McElwain, to gain a greater understanding of climate change.

Contributors to the programme include Mary Robinson, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, David McWilliams, Irish climate scientists, journalists, and academics.

Irish Wildlife Rehabilitation Conference


The Irish Wildlife Rehabilitation Conference will take place on the weekend of 21st-22nd August in the Boyne Valley Hotel and Country Club, Dublin Road, Drogheda. International speakers will present talks as well as practical sessions on wildlife first aid, treatment and rehabilitation. The first day of the conference is open to veterinary professionals only, but all are welcome to attend the second day.

Please see the Irish Wildlife Matters website for a full programme of events and details of the speakers, or email info@irishwildlifematters.ie for further details.

Wild Child Day – 21st August


In celebration of 2010 UN International Year of Biodiversity, the Heritage Council will host Wild Child Day on Saturday August 21st to mark the beginning of National Heritage Week. The idea behind Wild Child Day is get families and kids outside connecting with nature and investigating the biodiversity all around us. There are lots of activities to choose from all around Ireland on the day, from a butterfly walk in Santry to a Bio Blitz with Dale Treadwell in Westmeath.

To find an event close to you, please see the full programme on the National Heritage Week website.

ESAI Summer 2010 newsletter


The Environmental Sciences Association of Ireland (ESAI) Summer 2010 newsletter Environews has been released. Some of the articles included in this summer issue are:

·          ENVIRON 2010: the 20th Colloquium

·          ENVIRON 2010 ESAI Best Oral Presentation: Development of new biodegradable hydrogels to deliver dicyandiamide

·          ENVIRON 2010 ESAI: Best Forestry Oral Presentation: The ecophysiological factors controlling the regeneration of yew (Taxus baccata) in Ireland

·          Wastewater workshop at ENVIRON 2010

·          Greening the Campus at CIT

·          SmartOcean

·          ESAI joins European science events group

The full newsletter is available to download from the ESAI website.

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