Environment secretary Theresa Villiers has picked Robert Rams as her new special adviser. Photograph: UK Parliament Environment secretary Theresa Villiers has picked Robert Rams as her new special adviser. Photograph: UK Parliament

10 key things that happened this week

10 of the biggest stories this week: Villiers appoints new special adviser; Council slammed for spraying beach with glyphosate weedkiller; Dutch waste import ban could lead to emergency landfilling...

1. Villiers appoints new special adviser with links to ‘Team Boris’

Environment secretary Theresa Villiers has appointed a former London Assembly insider and Barnet councillor as her special adviser. Describing himself as an “experienced political operator within all levels of government”, Robert Rams worked for almost 12 years as the head of office for the Conservative Party in the Greater London Authority (GLA), from 2006 to 2018. MORE

2. Council slammed for spraying beach with glyphosate weedkiller

Wirral Council has generated a backlash on Twitter for warning bathers to exercise caution after it sprayed a beach with a controversial herbicide. MORE

3. Dutch waste import ban could lead to emergency landfilling, warns industry

The waste industry has warned it may have no option but to landfill hundreds of thousands of tonnes of waste after the Netherlands announced a temporary ban on refuse-derived fuel (RDF) imports. MORE

4. Natural England in line for 20% budget cut

Treasury estimates show that for the 2018/19 financial year, Natural England received £82.2m in total, but for the 2019/20 financial year, the regulator will only receive £66.4m – a drop of 19.2% in direct funding from DEFRA, known as resource departmental expenditure. MORE

5. Plans for 10 UK EfW plants revealed

A group of companies has announced plans for 10 new energy-from-waste (EfW) facilities to be built across the UK in addition to one already in progress. MORE

6. Damaging and unjustified’: Environment Bill secrecy clause must go, NGOs urge

The government must drop secrecy provisions contained in the Environment Bill that would force the new green watchdog to withhold information about the organisations it is investigating, according to a group of 36 NGOs. MORE

7. Uplands burning: Study casts doubt on current evidence

A landmark study showing the negative impacts of blanket bog burning on water and peat quality is “flawed” and “unreliable”, according to a team of researchers. MORE

8.Chemicals giant ditches ‘non-stick’ chemicals for food packaging

A major producer of non-stick coatings has confirmed it no longer manufactures three products for food packaging containing a class of chemicals linked to environmental and health risks. MORE

9.Water firm to pay rivers trust £350k for ‘wiping out fish population’

Details of the pollution incident that prompted South West Water to offer a payment of £350,000 to a local wildlife charity have been revealed by the Environment Agency. MORE

10. Natural England's agri-environment pilots show mixed results

A test scheme aimed at boosting yellowhammer numbers in England has failed, but some successes have been achieved in reducing ammonia emissions, according to wildlife regulator Natural England. MORE

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