In a hurry? Friday's environment news in 60 seconds

A round-up of the top stories this morning from ENDS and elsewhere, including 1,300 hectares of offsite net gain land required each year, EA ‘says smelly landfill emissions falling month-by-month’ and Southern Water staff sacked for dumping sewage into rivers.

1,300 hectares of offsite net gain land required each year, analysis finds

An area of land equivalent to 20 per cent of the amount of land developed for housing in England each year is likely to be needed for offsite habitat creation under new biodiversity net gain measures due to be implemented by the Environment Bill, according to an analysis. MORE

EA ‘says smelly landfill emissions falling month-by-month’ 

The Environment Agency has said that hydrogen sulphide emissions at a Staffordshire landfill site, which has made headlines over the past year due to odour problems that have blighted the local area, are falling on a “month-by-month basis” and the regulator is on track to meet a High Court-set requirement to cut emissions at the site, according to reports. MORE

Senior water firm staff sacked for deliberately dumping sewage into rivers

A number of Southern Water staff have been sacked following the firm being fined £90m for repeatedly and deliberately dumping raw sewage into seas along the south coast in breach of its environmental permits, and a second investigation is underway. MORE

‘Get your best bats’, Goldsmith tells peers as Environment Bill enters final stages

The environment minister has encouraged peers to get their 'best bats' in anticipation of the Environment Bill entering into a to and fro 'battle' between the House of Lords and Commons. MORE

Goldsmith hints COP26 will deliver billions for nature

The UK’s diplomatic efforts are tantalisingly close to securing the Paris Agreement $100bn annual climate finance goal, according to environment minister Zac Goldsmith – hinting that the government’s spending review will boost investment in nature. MORE

‘Strong need’ for digital waste tracking service, says DEFRA

DEFRA has said initial feedback from the waste industry has shown support and a 'strong need' for a nationwide digital waste tracking service. MORE

In other news…

‘The climate disaster is here’

In a special report ahead of COP26, the Guardian describes the results of the ‘horrifying experiment’ on the Earth that is climate change. It lists the heatwaves, floods, wildfires and crop failures that the world has seen this year alone. “The action is far too slow at the moment, but we can still act,” it concludes.

US seeks 30GW of offshore wind power

On Wednesday, US interior secretary Deb Haaland announced plans to hold up to seven offshore energy lease sales by 2025 in the Gulf of Maine, New York Bight, Central Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico, as well as off the Carolinas, California, and Oregon. She described it as part of an “ambitious roadmap [to] advance the administration’s plans to confront climate change, create good-paying jobs, and accelerate the nation’s transition to a cleaner energy future.”

Five sites shortlisted for UK fusion energy plant

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has earmarked five locations for the potential construction of a prototype fusion energy plant – the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production. It could be built in Ardeer (North Ayrshire), Goole (East Riding of Yorkshire), Moorside (Cumbria), Ratcliffe-on-Soar (Nottinghamshire) or ‘Severn Edge’ at Berkeley and Oldbury in Gloucestershire.

Boat owners to establish flare disposal scheme

The government has responded to a consultation on plans to end the Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s non-statutory scheme to collect and dispose of marine flares, which was established “to ensure that out of date marine pyrotechnics from the pleasure vessel sector do not pose a danger to the general public or risk environmental damage in and around the UK coastline”.

The pleasure vessel sector supported “an industry-led, self-regulated set of schemes” to dispose of redundant flares, which has now been endorsed by the Department for Transport.