The Landfill Ban in Scotland - what next for the 1M tonne Gap

It seems fairly clear that the looming landfill ban to be enforced in Scotland by legislation, enacted in 2012 (The Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2012) and which comes into force on 1st January 2021 will leave around 1 million tonnes of biodegradable residual waste stranded. In England there is no absolute ban yet, but the Committee on Climate Change has urged government in Westminster to follow Scotland's lead by 2025 and legislate by implementing a legally binding ban. Governments in Scotland and England have encouraged the reduction of landfilling biodegradable waste and thus the production of environmentally damaging methane by gradually increasing landfill tax in the expectation that private enterprise would step in and build more and better recycling; and energy recovery facilities (ERF's) for the inevitable material that cannot be recycled. To an extent this has been successful, but not entirely so and various estimates suggest that there will be a shortfall in available recycling and ERF's of 1M tonnes in Scotland and at least 8M tonnes in England.

In the last few months there has been an increasing media interest in what will happen in Scotland on 1st January 2021 when the ban comes into force. Various suggestions have been made including shipping to Europe, transporting it, by road or ship, to English landfill or derogation on the ban in those areas which are not served by recycling and ERF's.

Shipping waste to Europe particularly from more remote areas, involves multiple handling, road transport and storage and is increasingly, and rightly, recognised as an irresponsible solution for waste disposal. There is now a public awareness of the dangers of waste export, making headline news with the 'Blue Planet' and 'Drowning in Waste' and other documentaries, and highlighting a fact long known within the industry that not all waste exported is treated responsibly. Responsible waste handling/disposal aside, fossil fuelled shipment of waste overseas is costly both in terms of cash and carbon emissions and is simply unsustainable and environmentally damaging. We must recycle what we can and recover energy with what is left. But, what of the landfill ban and the stranded 1M tonnes in Scotland?

There are a number of options for this waste which excludes shipping it overseas for the above reasons:

  1. Ship the waste to England for landfill - can only be a temporary solution as England is likely soon to implement a legal ban. Furthermore, this will be a costly exercise adding at least £50/tonne to the cost of landfilling in Scotland today. The most striking result however will be the flight of landfill tax out of Scotland and into the English exchequer and this surely would be politically and economically unacceptable.
  2. Lift the ban on landfill - but this would be environmentally unacceptable and probably constitute political suicide on the part of the sitting Scottish Government
  3. Allow a managed derogation of the ban - in certain areas where there is no or insufficient recycling/ERF facilities. Derogated landfilling would be subject to close scrutiny by SEPA and subject to an additional landfill tax designed to accelerate the building of recycling and ERF's to replace landfill. In other words simply an acceleration and intensification of the drivers currently in place that have been largely, but not wholly successful.

Of the options suggested above, we believe that derogation of the landfill ban is now inevitable in certain areas. It keeps landfill tax in Scotland, avoids costly transport and breaking of the proximity principle and will increase and enhance the financial incentive for private enterprise and councils to build and operate recycling and energy recovery facilities. As soon as such facilities are in place then landfills in the catchment area can be immediately closed and the derogation for them removed.


Scottish Government Climate Change Bill - Revised Target for 2045

NEWS

Climate Change action

Published: 02 May 2019 00:01

Scotland will go greener, faster with world-leading targets.

Scotland will stop contributing to climate change within a generation under new, tougher climate change proposals.

Amendments to the Climate Change Bill have been lodged to set a legally binding target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2045 at the latest with Scotland becoming carbon neutral by 2040.

The existing targets proposed in the Bill were already world-leading. In response to calls from young people, scientists and businesses across the country, Scottish Ministers have adopted the advice of independent experts, the UK Climate Change Committee.

This means that in addition to the net-zero target for 2045, Scotland will reduce emissions by 70% by 2030 and 90% by 2040 – the most ambitious statutory targets in the world for these years.

The Committee’s recommended targets for Scotland are contingent on the UK adopting a net-zero greenhouse gas emission target for 2050.

Climate Change Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said:

“There is a global climate emergency and people across Scotland have been calling, rightly, for more ambition to tackle it and safeguard our planet for future generations. Having received independent, expert advice that even higher targets are now possible, and given the urgency required on this issue, I have acted immediately to set a target for net-zero greenhouse gas emissions for 2045 which will see Scotland become carbon neutral by 2040.

“I have been consistently clear that our targets must be ambitious, credible and responsible. We must take an evidence-based approach and balance our climate, economic and social responsibilities. We have already halved greenhouse gas emissions from Scotland while growing the economy, so we know we can do it. I am committed to meeting the most ambitious targets possible, and doing so while continuing to build an inclusive and fair economy.

“Every single one of us now needs to take more action – not just the Scottish Government but also all businesses, schools, communities, individuals and organisations. The UK Government must also act.

“The Committee on Climate Change say that Scotland’s ability to meet these world-leading targets is contingent on the UK Government also accepting their advice and using the relevant policy levers that remain reserved. As such, I call on the UK Government to follow our lead, accept the Committee’s advice, and work with us to achieve this goal.

“We can, and we must, end our contribution to climate change. I invite everyone to accept the advice we’ve received and work with us in a just and fair transition to a net-zero economy.”


£24Bn Tax Bill for Decommissioning Oil and Gas Assets in UK Waters

The OGA estimates that the total cost of decommissioning around 320 installations, including offshore platforms, will be between £45 billion and £77 billion. But operators can use decommissioning costs to offset corporation tax they have paid since 2002 and petroleum revenue tax, which is a tax on profits made on oil fields commissioned before 1993. In November 2017, HM Treasury changed tax rules so that companies buying assets could offset decommissioning costs against taxes paid in the past by the operator selling the assets, a change that was intended to make buying and selling assets more viable for operators.

The NAO notes that operators’ expenditure on decommissioning is rising: they have spent more than £1 billion on decommissioning in each year since 2014. In 2016/17, the government paid out more to oil and gas operators in tax reliefs than it received from them in revenues for the first time – a repayment of £290 million.

Revenues recovered in 2017/18 – the Office for Budget Responsibility expects net annual receipts from the oil and gas sector to  rising from £1.2 billion in 2017/18 to £2.4 billion in 2022/23 - but the government’s tax relief payments are increasing as tax revenues fallen due to a combination of lower production rates, a reduction in oil and gas prices and operators incurring high tax-deductible expenditure.


Animated Infographic of the World's Ten Largest Economies

Animation: The World’s 10 Largest Economies by GDP (1960-Today)

Animation: The World’s 10 Largest Economies by GDP

Just weeks ago, we showed you a colorful visualization that breaks down the $80 trillion global economy.

While such a view provides useful context on the relative size of national economies, it’s also a static snapshot that doesn’t show any movement over time. In other words, we can see the size of any given economy today, but not how it got there.

Today’s animation comes to us from Jaime Albella and it charts how GDP has changed over the last 57 years for the world’s 10 largest economies.

It provides us with a lens through time, that helps show the rapid ascent of certain countries and the stagnation of others – and while there are many noteworthy changes that occur in the animation, the two most noticeable ones have been described as “economic miracles”.

JAPAN’S ECONOMIC MIRACLE

You may have heard of the “Japanese economic miracle”, a term that is used to describe the record-setting GDP growth in Japan between the end of World War II and the end of the Cold War.

Well, the above animation shows this event better than pretty much anything else.

In 1960, Japan had an economy that was only 10% of the size of the United States. But in just a decade, Japan would see sustained real GDP growth – often in the double digits each year – that allowed the country to rocket past both the United Kingdom and France to become the world’s second-largest economy.

It would hold this title consecutively between 1972 and 2010, until it was supplanted by another Asian economic miracle.

ECONOMIC MIRACLE, PART DEUX

The other rapid ascent in this animation that can be obviously seen is that of China.

Despite falling off the top 10 list completely by 1980, new economic reforms in the 1980s and 1990s helped pave the way to the massive economy in China we know today, including the lifting of hundreds of millions of people out of extreme poverty.

By 1993, China was once again one of the world’s largest economies, just squeezing onto the above list.

By 2010 – just 17 years later – the country had surpassed titans like the United Kingdom, Germany, France, and even Japan to secure the second spot on the list, which it continues to hold today in nominal terms.


World's first home with launch pad for a FLYING car will be built in UK

The first landing pad for a flying car is being constructed in a new-build £10 million home near Nottingham.

The pad is being built at the home in the village of Edwalton by property developer, Guy Phoenix in partnership with VRCO, a Derby-based company working on a flying car design.

The electric powered NeoXcraft two-seat vehicle will be able to zip to London in half an hour and VRCO expects to have a prototype in the air next year.

The pad will have a renewable energy source to recharge the electric aircraft and is 6 metres in diameter. Pictured an artist impression of the two-person vehicle and the house 

The pad will have a renewable energy source to recharge the electric aircraft and is 6 metres in diameter. Pictured an artist impression of the two-person vehicle and the house 

The pad will have a renewable energy source to recharge the electric aircraft and is 6 metres in diameter. Pictured an artist impression of the two-person vehicle and the house

The pad is six metres in diameter and has a renewable energy source to recharge the aircraft which will be included in the asking price for the home, called Hermitage,  when it is put up for sale after being completed early next year.

Mr Phoenix said: 'My interest in the craft is of course is to bring bigger cities including the capital within commuting distance of Edwalton. Currently a commute to London, as I often do myself, can take anything from two-and-a-half to five hours depending on traffic. This vehicle would enable the user to travel short and medium distances  - in the very beginning until range can be extended - in a fraction of the time it takes to travel by road.

'I appreciate helicopters currently fill this void, however, this craft will undoubtedly improve on what they can offer. Not only are they a nuisance in the noise pollution, there are numerous restrictions as to take off and landing. It has been suggested to me that the NeoXcraft will sound more like a leaf blower than a helicopter and therefore disruption to local residents will be kept to a minimum.

'With a number of the most expensive homes ever sold in the area being mine, my intentions are to offer a craft with Hermitage in early spring next year. The house itself has been built to a level rarely seen in construction in both design, finish and technology applied.

'Fairmont, its immediate neighbour, is now on the market but with four offers already refused this house will not be sold for less than the asking price. The investment into Fairmont eclipses the asking price and whoever ultimately acquires the property will be buying one of the most amazing homes on the market. So together the Guy Phoenix brand delivering luxury homes and the VRCO brand soon to deliver the future in transport I am sure will work well together.'

The NeoXCraft flying car with foldable wings and an airborne speed of 210mph could be in the air by 2020. Its fans fold down to become wheels for land-based driving

The NeoXCraft flying car with foldable wings and an airborne speed of 210mph could be in the air by 2020. Its fans fold down to become wheels for land-based driving

The NeoXCraft flying car with foldable wings and an airborne speed of 210mph could be in the air by 2020. Its fans fold down to become wheels for land-based driving

HOW IT WORKS

When the vehicle is safely on the ground, the pilot can transform it from flight to road mode with the push of a button, according to Mike Smith, chairman and co-founder of the project.

The propeller housings, which feature wheel structures on the outside, will then tilt downwards, allowing the vehicle to drive.

The car is computer controlled, and the pilot 'will follow a series of voice commands to drive it in the air and on the road', Mr Smith said.

The flying car is a short-range driving vehicle but a medium-range flying vehicle, he said.

To recharge the pad uses stored and solar energy to recharge and includes an 'etched data store code' which is scanned from the air and allows the car to land autonomously.

The futuristic 'NeoXCraft' is expected to sell for £1.5 million and will use four high-powered fans to reach speeds of up to 210mph (320kph).

 Mr Phoenix is in talks with planners and the Civil Aviation Authority about how the craft will land and take-off.

He added: 'Helicopters currently can land 28 times a year without planning, we hope this to be extended once noise pollution calculated. As this is a worlds' first I have no prior application to refer to.'

Hermitage is currently under construction and will be available in Spring 2019 for £10 million. Included in the price will be a NeoXCraft flying car

Orders are already being placed for the car which the company hopes to be selling by 2020.

The NeoXCraft, which will be controlled via a computer programme, is the joint vision of Nottingham-based aviation company VRCO and the University of Derby.

Upon release, only a few people will be qualified to pilot it in the air and along Britain's roads.

It's hoped future models will feature autonomous software that will allow them to fly passengers around the country with no driver.

The craft, which has parachutes installed in case of an emergency and carries no solid fuel,  is undergoing multiple safety tests over the coming months.

Hermitage is currently under construction and will be available in Spring 2019 for £10 million. Included in the price will be a NeoXCraft flying car 

Hermitage is currently under construction and will be available in Spring 2019 for £10 million. Included in the price will be a NeoXCraft flying car 

Hermitage is currently under construction and will be available in Spring 2019 for £10 million. Included in the price will be a NeoXCraft flying car

To recharge the pad uses stored and solar energy to recharge and includes an 'etched data store code' which is scanned from the air and allows the car to land autonomously.

To recharge the pad uses stored and solar energy to recharge and includes an 'etched data store code' which is scanned from the air and allows the car to land autonomously.

To recharge the pad uses stored and solar energy to recharge and includes an 'etched data store code' which is scanned from the air and allows the car to land autonomously.

Hermitage will include a variety of neat features such as climate control, solar panels and armored glass in its windows

Hermitage will include a variety of neat features such as climate control, solar panels and armored glass in its windows

Hermitage will include a variety of neat features such as climate control, solar panels and armored glass in its windows

The University of Derby's Institute of Innovation has been involved with the project.

When on the ground the pilot is able go into flight with the push of a button.

The propeller housings, which feature wheel structures on the outside, will then tilt downwards, allowing the vehicle to drive.

The car is computer controlled and the pilot will follow a series of voice commands to drive it in the air and on the road.


No Biodegradable Material to Landfill by 2020

Existing legislation (Waste (Scotland) Regulations 2014) will forbid the disposal of biodegradable material to landfill by December 2020. In Scotland we are only recycling around 35% of our waste - in Sweden they manage about 50% and send less than 1% to landfill sites. The other 50% that is not landfilled is used as fuel in energy-from-waste (EfW) plants that are highly efficient by virtue of the fact that they generate electricity but instead of wasting the heat, send hot water to their city and town district heating systems.