In a hurry? Thursday’s environment news in 60 seconds

A round-up of the top stories this morning from ENDS, including the environmental take-aways from the Conservative Party conference, and the MPs calling for the chancellor to provide £15m fund to probe plastic impacts on human health.

In a hurry? Thursday’s environment news in 60 seconds In a hurry? Thursday’s environment news in 60 seconds

Conservative party conference: 7 things we learned

Rewilding is in and decarbonising electricity is out - as the Conservative Party conference closes for another year, here’s what you need to know about the environmental announcements made during the event. READ MORE

MPs call for chancellor to provide £15m fund to probe plastic impacts on human health

A group of MPs is calling on the chancellor to commit to a £15 million fund to examine the potential human health impacts of plastic. READ MORE

'Build back beaver': Johnson endorses rewilding in conference speech

The prime minister’s first in-person speech to the Conservatives’ annual conference endorsed rewilding but there was no mention of zero-carbon power, as had been expected. READ MORE 

Natural England water neutrality advice ‘risks new housing logjam’

Concerns have been raised that new water neutrality advice from Natural England may risk a “new moratorium” on house building in Sussex, as councils say they are pausing decision making. READ MORE

‘Grave and irreversible’: Common flame retardants ‘harm brain development’

Chemicals used as both flame retardants and plasticisers are neurotoxic, with ‘implications for the development of cognitive and social skills in children’ according to a scientific review released today. READ MORE

Pow dismisses Environment Bill concerns

Minister Rebecca Pow has strongly rejected the idea that the Environment Bill will be weaker without the amendments made to the Environment Bill in the House of Lords. READ MORE

In other news…

Fossil fuel industry gets subsidies of $11m a minute, IMF finds

The Guardian reports on analysis from the International Monetary Fund which says the fossil fuel industry benefits from subsidies of $11m every minute. The IMF found the production and burning of coal, oil and gas was subsidised by $5.9tn in 2020, with not a single country pricing all its fuels sufficiently to reflect their full supply and environmental costs. The newspaper cites experts as saying that the subsidies were “adding fuel to the fire” of the climate crisis, at a time when rapid reductions in carbon emissions were urgently needed.

Concern as Welsh farms 'bought up' for carbon offset projects

Figures show an increasing number of Welsh farms and land are being bought by people outside of Wales for tree planting and carbon offsetting, causing concern within the local farming industry, reports Farming UK. The news outlet cites the Farmers' Union of Wales as saying it has received reports from members on an 'almost weekly basis' of whole farms or parcels of land being bought up by wealthy individuals and businesses from outside the country. 

Shell in deals with Island Green Power and Clearstone as it makes push into solar energy

Royal Dutch Shell has made a push into solar energy in the UK as it scales back its traditional oil and gas business, reports The Times. It signed agreements with Island Green Power to develop a project with more than 700 megawatts of generation capacity, and another with Clearstone Energy for projects with a combined export capacity of 100 megawatts. The newspaper writes that the investment in joint projects marks a shift by Shell, which previously had a five-year agreement with British Solar Renewables to buy all the electricity generated by their Bradenstoke solar power plant in Wiltshire.