Offsetting Ed Sheeran, new wood burner rules and coal mine expansion: 12 big green stories you may have missed over the break

Despite the festive slowdown the news kept on coming thick and fast. Here are some of the biggest green stories from across the Christmas period.

Ed Sheeran on stage holding a guitar Ed Sheeran plans to offset his carbon emissions by planting trees. Photograph: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Cost of offsetting Heathrow third runway ‘doubles to £100bn’

A report by the New Economics Foundation suggests that the cost of offsetting the carbon emissions of the proposed new runway had doubled from £50bn in 2018 when the airport's expansion was approved, to £100bn today, reports the Guardian.

Investigation into Veolia-Suez merger launched

At the end of December the Competition and Markets Authority launched a probe into the waste and water management groups, concerned that a prosposed merger could lessen competition and lead to a hike in bills for councils in the UK, reports Reuters

Woodburners major driver behind air pollution cancer risk, finds study

Woodburning stoves in urban areas are responsible for almost half of people’s exposure to polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which have carcinogenic effects, according to researchers at the Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas in Patras, Greece, and the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Switzerland, reports the Guardian

New rules for woodburners enter force

New eco design rules for stoves in the UK entered into force on 1 January, which mean that all new stoves will need to meet certain emissions standards regardless of where they are used. 

Labour calls for stricter air pollution limits

The opposition wants tougher air pollution limits put in place after an analysis revealed that around 6.7 million children live in areas of the UK where air pollution has breached legal limits, reports the Guardian

Kwarteng accused of courting oil firms after COP26

Energy secretary Kwasi Kwarteng “met oil industry bosses for a private dinner days after the COP26 climate summit to encourage them to keep drilling in the North Sea”, reports The Times

Wales coal mine expansion could be approved despite COP pledges

The Coal Authority is expected to imminently decide whether an extension to the Aberperfwyn coal mine should be approved. Wales’s deputy climate minister Lee Waters has written to the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to request that the licence is not issued, reports the Guardian

Remove trade barriers to enable a just transition, says WTO

The head of the World Trade Organisation Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said supply chains need to be climate proofed and trade barriers dropped to help tackle the climate crisis, reports the Guardian

Resurrect the Royal Commission on Environmental Pollution, say experts

Professor Stephen Holgate, Medical Research Council clinical professor of Immunopharmacology at the Faculty of Medicine in Southampton, and Dr Gary Fuller, an air pollution scientist at Imperial College both want to see the commission reinstated because “the absence of an independent, strategic view of environmental evidence leaves us vulnerable to missed opportunities”, they say in an opinion piece for the Guardian

Nuclear reactor decision likely to be delayed

A decision on whether to approve the proposed Sizewell C reactor in Suffolk is likely to be delayed after business secretary Kwasi Kwarteng granted a delay so that experts could have more time to prepare a report, says the BBC

Ed Sheeran plans to buy up land for rewilding

Musician Ed Sheerhan set out plans to offset his carbon emissions by buying plots of land and planting trees during an interview on BBC Radio London

National Trust accused of hiding its rewilding activity

Charity Rewilding Britain has accused the National Trust of not being open about its plans for rewilding because it fears a backlash from tenants and neighbours, reports The Times


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