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Huge cruise ships will worsen London air pollution, campaigners warn

Resident groups mounting a high court challenge to plans for a new wharf in Greenwich say diesel emissions from docked liners would breach legal limits.

Toxic fumes from large cruise liners powered by giant diesel engines will worsenLondon’s air pollution and could prevent the city from meeting its EU legal limits on deadly nitrogen oxide emissions, says resident groups opposing a new terminal.

Plans for a wharf in the Thames that would be able to handle 240 metre-long cruise liners carrying up to 1,800 passengers and 600 crew were approved by Greenwich council last July but are being challenged in the high court by residents.

Developers say that 55 liners a year, each weighing around 48,000 tonnes, would be expected to spend up to three days “hotelling” at Greenwich. Using their auxiliary diesel engines while moored, they would burn around 700 litres of diesel an hour for six months of the year in a borough considered a hot spot for air pollution.

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Consultants have calculated that each ship would emit the equivalent of 688 heavy lorries permanently running their engines at Enderby Wharf in Greenwich.

But larger ships, potentially the size of the 12-deck high Crystal Symphony, may also be allowed to moor at Enderby and would emit as many diesel fumes as 2,000 lorries a day, say objectors.

“On top of the ships the port will need tugs, hundreds of taxis and service vehicles all belching diesel close to high-density housing in an already heavily polluted area. I am aghast. Greenwich is already breaching EU limits. The council must know that 10,000 people a year die from diesel fumes a year in London,” said Ralph Hardwick, a campaigner from the Isle of Dogs.

“The alternative is to supply clean onshore power to the cruise vessels rather than running filthy diesel engines. Yet the current planning permission does not require a cleaner operation. Nor has a health feasibility study been undertaken,” said a spokesman for East Greenwich Residents Association.

A spokeswoman for London City cruise port declined to comment pending the legal challenge.

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The residents will argue in court that the council should have required the development to provide an onshore power supply for the ships. If so, the liners could turn their engines off while berthed. Instead, it accepted the developers’ argument that it was not “commercially viable”.

The legal challenge follows law firm ClientEarth taking the UK government to court for a second time over what it says are its repeated failures to tackle illegal levels of air pollution in London and other UK cities. Last year the supreme courtforced the government to rethink its plans to meet EU limits.

Concern about air pollution from cruise ships is growing as a new generation of mega-liners is commissioned and cruise holidays become more popular. The largest liners are now effectively floating cities, able to take 8,000 passengers and crew. Powered by some of the largest diesel engines in the world, they burn hundreds of tonnes of fuel a day.

“Air pollution emissions from ships are continuously growing, while land-based emissions are gradually coming down. If things are left as they are, by 2020 shipping will be the biggest single emitter of air pollution in Europe, even surpassing the emissions from all land-based sources together,” said a spokesman with Brussels-based Transport & Environment group.

Air pollution from international shipping accounts for around 50,000 premature deaths per year in Europe, at an annual cost to society of more than €58bn, according to studies.

In Southampton, one of nine UK towns and cities cited by the World Health Organisation as breaching air quality guidelines, up to five large liners a day can be berthed in the docks at the same time, all running engines 24/7, said Chris Hines, vice-chair of theSouthampton Western Docks Consultation Forum (WDCF).

Southampton is one of the world’s busiest ports for starting and ending sea cruises. “Pollution from the ships is leading to asthma and other chest diseases. The docks are the most polluted areas of Southampton. The pollution is getting worse. We are now getting more, bigger liners, but also very large bulk cargo ships,” said Hines.

Under EU law, ships must switch to their auxiliary engines and burn low-sulphur fuel within two hours of arriving in port until two hours before they leave. However, there are no regulations on how much NOx and particulate emissions they can emit.

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Low-sulphur fuel has greatly reduced SO2, or “acid rain” pollution but not other toxins like nitrogen oxides, benzene, toluene and formaldehyde which are emitted in diesel fuel and can have serious health impacts.

According to the Southampton city council scrutiny committee, admissions to hospital from lung, chest and heart diseases are most common from polluted areas like the docks.

According to evidence given to the commitee by WDCF, the cumulative effect of up to 20 or more ships in port at the same time, including many large cruise liners with large diesel engines, was a major concern to the public. Incidences of lung diseases in the city and hospital admissions for respiratory diseases linked to air pollution were much higher than the average in England, it was said.

Emissions can be reduced by 95% if ships and ports are adapted allow ships a shoreside electricity supply but this is resisted by the industry on grounds of practicality.

According to Royal Caribbean, one of the largest cruise line companies in the world, only six out of the 490 ports that their ships visit have shore power.

In evidence to the scrutiny committee, Royal Caribbean said: “If Southampton were to explore installing shore power, it would be important to note that ships may not come equipped to use it. The European Union has stated that emissions reductions of only 1-3% of emissions are seen during a seven-night cruise during which a ship could use shore power at every port on the itinerary.”

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Source: theguardian


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World Responsible Tourism Awards 2016 at WTM London kick off 20th year of ethical tourism

New categories for 2016 include the ‘Best responsible tourism campaign’ which aims to celebrate the most successful marketing or advocacy campaigns in encouraging and promoting a more responsible style of travel.

Tourism businesses, organisations and initiatives around the world are now being invited to submit an entry into the World Responsible Tourism Awards 2016 at WTM London, as the world celebrates 20 years of responsible tourism action.

The global search for the world’s most enduring and inspirational examples of responsible tourism in action kicks off today with entries being accepted into five categories spanning issues across the tourism industry.

The announcement of the 2016 winners, at World Travel Market London, will this year be part of the celebrations marking 10 years of World Responsible Tourism Day – the largest event for responsible tourism action globally. Furthermore, this year marks 20 years of the global responsible tourism movement, with the South African government publishing a tourism white paper in 1996 putting responsibility at the centre of its strategy.

New categories for 2016 include the ‘Best responsible tourism campaign’ which aims to celebrate the most successful marketing or advocacy campaigns in encouraging and promoting a more responsible style of travel.

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Justin Francis, founder of the Awards and managing director of organisers Responsible Travel comments “I am truly excited by what we will discover through the World Responsible Tourism Awards this year.

The organisations, initiatives and businesses we uncover each year have the power to shape the future of tourism, to be catalysts for change in an industry which will have a huge impact on global climate and development.

”I want to encourage any tourism business or organisation around the world, big or small, to submit an entry. We want to hear your story”.

The importance of the Awards in assessing how far responsible tourism has developed, and how much it been achieved in the last 10 years is not lost on chair of the judging panel, Professor Harold Goodwin of the Responsible Tourism Partnership and the  International Centre for Responsible Tourism. “Through the Awards winners every year we see the standard of what is being achieved by people taking responsibility for tourism getting higher and higher” he says “And every year we see more and more countries represented in our entries.

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“Tourism, if sold, enjoyed and organised responsibly is of global importance, something that has been recognised in the new Sustainable Development Goals, and our winners this year will set the standard to which all tourism businesses should aspire”.

Awards Judge Simon Press, senior exhibition director for World Travel Market London, hosts of World Responsible Tourism Day says “The World Responsible Tourism Awards at WTM London are a central pillar of the success of World Responsible Tourism Day.

“The awards winners and shortlisted companies act as a benchmark and inspiration for what the global travel and tourism industry can achieve in responsible tourism practice.”

The 2016 categories:

  • Best accommodation for responsible employment
  • Best contribution to wildlife conservation – sponsored by Florida Keys and Key West Tourist Development Council
  • Best innovation by a tour operator
  • Best for poverty reduction and inclusion – sponsored by the Tobago House of Assembly
  • Best responsible tourism campaign

WTM London’s World Responsible Tourism Day takes place on Tuesday 8 November.

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Source: traveldailynews


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Solar streetlights promise to shine spotlight on low-carbon city planning

Danish lighting company Scotia unveils new range of solar-powered streetlights that promise to turn local authorities into ‘energy powerhouses’

London may take a lead in zero-emissions street lighting later this year if plans go ahead to install the first wave of a pioneering streetlight that illuminates streets and feeds energy back into the grid using only solar power.

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The Monopole street light, developed by Danish solar lighting firm Scotia, collects solar energy during daylight hours and stores it in a battery for use after sundown. Not only do the lights generate enough energy to power themselves, they can also feed energy back into the local grid to turn local authorities into “energy powerhouses”, according to Scotia’s founder Steven Scott.

Scotia unveiled its new range of Monopoles at a German trade fair last week. Earlier versions have already been installed in Denmark, Nigeria, and the Middle East and the firm is now hoping to install two trial streetlights in the London borough of Westminster as part of Transport for London’s strategy to roll out solar energy across London.

According to Scotia, if all of the UK’s seven million streetlights were switched to Monopoles, it would save more than £300m in electricity costs and generate more than 4TWh of clean power per year. Some 40 per cent of this would feed back into the grid, saving more than two million tonnes of CO2 every year, it added.

“Instead of being a drain on national grids and a huge expense for local authorities, Monopoles turn streetlights into mini power stations,” Scott said in a statement. “They’ve already proved to be hugely successful in our pilots in Copenhagen, Abu Dhabi and Riyadh and we anticipate demand will be high from around the world.”

 He added: “This could effectively turn these authorities into energy powerhouses and create a larger buffer for the National Grid. It could even empower local authorities to establish their own micro-grids to make areas self-sufficient.”

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Source: businessgreen


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African power investors get London invitation

KAMPALA, UGANDA – African governments wishing to attract private sector money to pay for new badly needed power projects are expected to send representatives for the Africa Energy Forum scheduled for London on June 22nd.

“Being in London, the world’s finance capital, will enable Africa’s growing number of power developers to showcase their businesses to decision makers of the world’s most prolific investment organisations from around the globe,” Shiddika Mohamed, the Group Director of EnergyNet Limited and main organisers of the talks said last week.

The Africa Energy Forum which is the annual global investment meeting for Africa’s power, energy, infrastructure and industrial sectors.

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The event is expected to bring together 1,000 investors, 500 public sector stakeholders, 300 technology providers, 270 developers and representatives from 70 countries.

According to a company statement, “The decision to move the forum to the UK this year, was taken to capitalise on the investment potential of the UK and promote the strong trade relationship between the UK and Africa’.

The last three forums were held in Dubai in 2015, Istanbul (2014) and  Barcelona (2013).

The African Development Bank (AfBD) says the entire installed generation capacity of Africa’s 48 sub-Saharan countries is just 68 gigawatts, no more than Spain’s.

As much as one-quarter of that capacity is unavailable because of aging plants and poor maintenance.

More than 645 million people in sub-Saharan Africa — roughly 70% of the region’s population — do not have access to electricity. If current trends continue, fewer than 40% of African countries will reach universal access to electricity by 2050.

This lack of adequate power supplies continues to be a major deterent for investment. Per capita consumption of electricity in Sub-Saharan Africa (excluding South Africa) averages only 124 kilowatt-hours a year and is falling. The rate of consumption is barely one percent of that in high-income countries. If entirely allocated to household lighting, it would hardly be enough to power one light bulb per person for six hours a day.

This year sees the Forum hosted in London for the first time – at the new London Intercontinental O2 overlooking the skyscrapers of the Canary Wharf and the famous River Thames.

New for this year will be the Growing Economies Energy Forum (GEEF), running alongside the Africa Energy Forum. GEEF will host a day of open discussions between the governments and private sector from new energy markets such as Iran, Pakistan, Myanmar and Peru, as these growing economies open up for international investment following political and economic developments.

EnergyNet will also host a typically English opening night pub quiz party on the evening of 21st June featuring some legendary British culture and food, allowing participants to network in a fun, laid back environment before the formal opening on the 22nd.

Speaking in Washington last month, Power Africa coordinator Andrew Herscowitz (a United States government initiative) said: “There is absolutely no reason the entire continent can’t be lit up because there is the money, the technology and the desire to make it happen. People have to be more forward thinking, forward leaning and have competition to bring costs down.’

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Source: busiweek


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Floating array on reservoir near London will be the second-largest in the world once completed in March

Construction work has begun on Europe’s largest floating solar farm at the Queen Elizabeth II reservoir near London as part of Thames Water’s plans to source a third of its energy from renewable sources by 2020.

More than 23,000 panels will be floated on the reservoir, providing enough electricity each year to power the equivalent of around 1,800 homes. Due for completion at the end of March, the finished array will cover around a 10th of the reservoir’s surface – the same area as eight Wembley-sized football pitches.

The renewable electricity produced by the 6.3MW array will power a nearby water treatment centre, Thames Water said.

“Becoming a more sustainable business is integral to our long term strategy and this innovative new project brings us one step closer to achieving our goal – this is the right thing for our customers, the right thing for our stakeholders and most importantly the right thing for the environment,” energy manager Angus Berry said in a statement.

Solar energy company Lightsource is managing the installation, which will require more than 61,000 floats and 177 anchors to keep the array above water.

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Lightsource chief executive Nick Boyle said that as more industries look to decarbonise, the solar industry will need to develop new skills to ensure projects deliver maximum efficiency.

“There is a great need from energy intensive industries to reduce their carbon footprint, as well as the amount they are spending on electricity and solar can be the perfect solution,” he said in a statement. “We’re therefore constantly evolving new skill sets to ensure that all of our projects deliver maximum energy generation over the lifetime of the installation.”

Floating solar farms are considered an efficient way to maximise renewable energy generation in areas where land is scarce, by using the normally redundant surface area on reservoirs and lakes.

The largest floating solar array is currently under construction on a reservoir in Japan. Once completed, it will provide enough clean electricity to power nearly 5,000 households.

Advocates of the approach argue it can also reduce evaporation from reservoirs, while the cooling effect of the water is said to help improve output from solar PV cells.

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Source: businessgreen


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London drivers urged to turn off engines in bid to tackle air pollution

Plans announced by Boris Johnson would see the capital’s drivers encouraged by signs and volunteers to turn off their engines in traffic jams

London drivers will be encouraged by volunteers and signs to turn off their engines in traffic jams to tackle the capital’s illegal air pollution levels, under plans announced by Boris Johnson on Thursday.

But campaigners accused the mayor of failing to take hard measures to cut the city’s pollution problem, which has seen six sites including Oxford Street, Knightsbridge and Brixton Road already breach annual limits just weeks into 2016.

Johnson’s Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ) for cutting pollution does not come into effect until 2020 and only covers central London. The schemes unveiled today are those that have won £5m from an air quality fund.

Nearly £200,000 will be spent on new electronic signs and measuring equipment at Tower Bridge to ask drivers not to leave their engines idling when the bridge opens, causing congestion for the 31,000 cars that cross it daily. But there will be no enforcement or incentive for doing so.

Another scheme will see “friendly, trained volunteers” sent out on to the streets of eight boroughs including the City of London on high pollution days, to talk to drivers about turning their engines off.

Source: theguardian


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Chinese-built zero-emissions electric doubledecker bus prepares for service in London

Fully electric doubledecker bus with new compact battery to launch in autumn, as London prepares for ultra low emission zone, reports China Daily

For years, London’s red doubledecker buses have dominated the capital, where nearly 1,000 routes are operated by 8,700 buses, many of them doubledeckers. Although there has been a gradual move to hybrid vehicles, many are still diesel-powered.

This will all change in October, when the world’s first pure electric zero-emission doubledecker bus, designed and built by Chinese automotive manufacturer BYD, will enter service in London.

The electric doubledecker bus represents a technology breakthrough in public transportation, said Isbrand Ho, managing director of BYD Auto Europe.

“In the past, electric vehicle manufacturers have produced electric buses with three batteries – at the vehicle’s front, back and top – but this design would not work with the doubledecker bus. BYD’s advanced technology is able to make the batteries more compact, so the battery on top of the bus is no longer required,” he said.

“London has the most dense population in Europe and has the highest visibility of doubledecker buses. London is replacing 700 to 800 doubledecker buses every year, so there is a big market.”

According to Ho, the inspiration to supply doubledecker buses to London came about two years ago when Wang Chuanfu, chairman of BYD, met with London mayor Boris Johnson.

“Boris Johnson said to our chairman, ‘If you can make it, I will buy it’.

“Actually, electric cars came before gasoline cars, but because of the weakness of the batteries, gasoline cars became more successful. But now is the time for electric cars to take over gasoline cars,” Ho said, explaining that the environmental benefit and the fuel cost savings of electric vehicles give them a distinct advantage.

Denis Naberezhnykh, the head of ultra-low emission vehicle and intelligent transportation system technology at the UK’s Transport Research Laboratory, praised BYD’s achievement.

“Until now, fully electric doubledecker buses have been considered unfeasible. This is mainly due to the competing requirements for battery space and passenger capacity,” Naberezhnykh said.

He says unlike their single-decker counterparts, doubledecker buses in London typically cannot accommodate batteries on the roof due to the height limits of the vehicle.

“A purely electric doubledecker bus not only provides further options for the electrification of London’s bus fleet, but with growing pressure to improve air quality in cities and the impending introduction of the ultra low emission zone in London, it provides another way of reducing emissions,” Naberezhnykh said. The zone is set to launch by 2020.

“Over the next few years, we can expect to see a growing shift toward the electrification of public transport vehicles, as we seek to reduce air pollutants in urban centres and improve local air quality. Ensuring that these vehicles are able to operate the demanding duty cycles without excessive charging time requirements will be a vital factor in accelerating this shift.”

London has already introduced hybrid buses in a bid to reduce the environmental impact of public transport.

The latest development is the New Routemaster bus, designed by English designer Thomas Heatherwick, which is 15% more fuel efficient than the existing hybrid buses and 40% more efficient than conventional diesel doubledeckers.

The first New Routemaster vehicles, nicknamed “Boris buses” after the mayor of London, began service on a limited number of routes in 2012, and it is planned that more than 600 of the buses will enter passenger service by 2016.

BYD chose London for the launch of the all-electric doubledecker bus because of the vehicle’s iconic significance, but the same technology can be applied to many other markets, including European markets such as Germany and Asian markets such as Hong Kong, Malaysia and Singapore.

Many of these markets would require localisation of design to suit customer needs, for example, with regards to wheelchair access, but the core technology of battery, control system and electric drivetrain would all be the same, according to Ho.

The first batch of BYD doubledecker buses will consist of five vehicles, all manufactured in China. Ho says BYD will explore the possibility of local manufacturing if the quantity supplied increases.

BYD won’t disclose the cost of the buses, explaining that it is highly dependent on customer specifications and volume, but says the electric buses can help save about 70% of the costs of fuel, producing long-term savings.

The latest New Routemaster costs £325,000 each, compared with £200,000 for an existing hybrid vehicle, according to the mayor’s office.

“For a bus, the largest part of the cost is actually the fuel, so over the long term electric vehicles can give a big cost saving effect,” Ho says.

The main challenge for electric buses is the lack of charging points, as is the case with other electric vehicles, because the technology is still relatively new, he says.

His team is working with Metroline, the London bus operator, to install charging infrastructure at bus depots, and is providing guidance on how to install the charging points, where to install them, what type of power requirements are needed. The company has invited Metroline engineers to China to see similar facilities.

Two years ago, BYD supplied two single-decker buses to the London bus operator Go-Ahead, which are still in use. BYD also helped Go-Ahead with installing the charging points.

The charging points are installed at bus depots, where the buses are parked at night, so the way the buses operate during the day is not affected. Most bus routes can be serviced for a full day on a single charge, needing only four hours to recharge during the night, using cheaper off-peak electricity, he says.

Founded in Shenzhen in 2003, BYD is already a leader in electric vehicles in both its domestic and international markets.

Ho says in Europe the company hopes to focus on the commercial vehicle market first, producing buses and taxis, because these vehicles can reach a wider user base and help BYD to build up a brand in Europe.

BYD has supplied vehicles to many countries, including Sweden, the Netherlands, Denmark, Belgium, the UK and Spain. Its European headquarters is in the Netherlands.

Looking ahead, Ho is optimistic about growth in the use of electric vehicles in Europe, because cities are becoming increasingly densely populated with many people preferring to live in the city, creating a big demand on public transport.

Meanwhile, the environmental credentials of the electric vehicles is also a big contributor to this trend, as European cities move increasingly to reduce pollution, he says.

According to China’s ministry of industry and information technology, some 19,000 plug-in electric cars, buses and trucks were produced in China in May. The International Energy Agency says China ranks third on the list of countries using pure electric cars, with 80,000 sold since 2008.

Source: theguardian


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Minister woos European maritime investors to South Africa’s oceans

Deputy Transport Minister Sindisiwe Chikunga hosted an investment seminar in London on Tuesday to promote investment in South Africa’s multi-billion-rand oceans economy, where she announced that South Africa’s 2030 National Development Plan (NDP)’s aim was to grow the country’s economy in a manner that eliminated poverty and reduced unemployment.

South Africa is situated on one of the busiest international sea routes that is very critical to international maritime transportation. Our geographical location presents a huge opportunity for investing in a diversified maritime market, Chikunga pointed out in her speech at the seminar.

Research has shown that SA’s oceans economy had the potential to contribute up to £9.8bn (R189bn) to South Africa’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and create about a million jobs.

Part of the purpose of Chikunga’s London visit was to share information on the recent developments South Africa achieved in growing our oceans economy.

“We need potential partners on a win-win basis to support South Africa’s oceans economy strategy. We extend an open invitation to investors to visit South Africa to further explore vast investment opportunities,” she said.

The seminar, Oceans Economy Investment Seminar was part of Operation Phakisa – an initiative focused on driving the economic potential of the country’s oceans. The seminar welcomed Europe based investors who were looking towards investment in South Africa, and particularly investing in maritime related interests.

From ship builders, to maritime transporters, import and export business, to all maritime related investors, the seminar showed South Africa’s true potential as a maritime nation. Presentations were delivered by Chikunga, High Commissioner Obed Mlaba, South African Oil and Gas Alliances’ Ebrahim Tokalia, Head of Operation Phakisa in the Presidency Ismail Akhalwaya and Transnet’s Richard Vallihu. The British special envoy for trade to South Africa, Baroness Patricia Scotland also attended and presented at the Seminar hosted by the Chikunga.

Chikunga was also present last week at the International Maritime Organisation special plenary session, followed by visits to harbors and Ports in England, including Plymouth, South Coast of Devon England, held various stakeholder meetings with maritime business and organisations and which finally ended with the intensive one day Seminar.

Source: cnb


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