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June 2005

Scottish Forestry Forum Backs Home Grown Timber
The Highland Forestry Forum - which advises Forestry Commission Scotland on local issues in the Highlands and Islands - has pledged its backing for efforts to promote the use of more Scotland-grown timber, especially in the house-building industry. The Forum has recently had its third meeting, during which it visited sites in the Nairn area. Afterwards chairman Ian Ross, of Golspie, said members were agreed that one of the priorities for forestry in the Highlands and Islands was ...
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Manchester Tower Goes Solar
The UK's largest road-going crane towered 133m over the Manchester sky line recently as part of the ambitious project to clad the CIS Tower with solar panels. CIS asked Solarcentury, a UK solar energy company, to 'develop a solution' for ventilated PV rain cladding. Arup then employed Solarcentury to act as PV consultants, providing specialised PV knowledge and design ... more
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EST Helps Gas Heating Installers
The Energy Saving Trust (EST) is taking action to help gas heating installers explain to their customers the implications of recent changes to part L of the Building Regulations which came in to force on 1st April.

Picture of document
Installers are being encouraged to call EST's helpline to obtain copies of a practical guide for householders which lays out the energy efficiency standards for new and replacement boilers in their homes. .... more   back to top

Government Announces More Funding For Solar Power
The government has announced another round of funding for photovoltaic installations. More than a million pounds has been awarded to a range of solar energy projects across the UK. Public buildings, including churches, schools and museums, will be able to use the latest environment-friendly technology to tackle the impacts of climate change. Photovoltaic systems convert sunlight directly into electricity, even on cloudy days. ... more  back to top

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LEADER - Malaysian Timber Certification Meaningless say Greenpeace
"The Malaysian timber certification scheme misses the mark on legality, and social responsibility." Greenpeace has released Missing Links, a report that identifies serious gaps in the certification standards of the Malaysian Timber Certification Council (MTCC), and highlights its lack of credibility as a certifier of legal or environmentally responsible forest management.

The report shows:
* MTCC procedures do not ensure certified products are legal.
* The MTCC chain of custody system does not require independent tracking of wood from forest to first point of timber processing - a missing link that means no MTCC chain of custody claims have any credibility.
* There are no requirements to ensure independent verification of the chain of custody of MTCC timber exported to the Europe or elsewhere.
* There are no credible checks on the origin of uncertified material that is allowed to be mixed with certified material timber. This means that illegal timber can enter the chain of custody and be sold as MTCC-certified.
* Contrary to international treaties and standards, the MTCC system does not address the land rights of indigenous people.

The MTCC recently awarded certification to a company, Samling, for controversial logging operations in the tropical rainforests of Borneo, despite two decades of protest by indigenous people, including the Penan tribe.

A review of new rules, to be phased in during 2006, will not require an effective chain of custody from stump to sawmill, or third-party checks on the origin of uncertified timber. This means that illegal timber may continue to enter European markets as MTCC certified. "European timber buyers should be aware that MTCC certification is not a guarantee of either legality or environmentally responsible forest management, and worse still MTCC timber may be stolen from indigenous peoples' lands," said Pat Venditti, Senior Forest Campaigner at Greenpeace. "This also calls into question paper assessments by the UK government that MTCC wood can be deemed legal."

Greenpeace urges timber buyers, governments and public authorities to preference the standards and requirements of the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and to avoid buying, specifying or recommending MTCC timber. The FSC is widely recognised as the international standard for responsible forestry and currently the only credible certification scheme.

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Prototype 'EcoSphere' For Greenham Common
The ex USAF Base near Newbury, Berkshire will see the first 'EcoSphere' Sustainable House of the future. Sustainable Developments Ltd has secured planning permission to build the first prototype 'EcoSphere' dubbed 'the house of the future'.

Picture of Sphere

The EcoSphere will be built on the former USAF base at Greenham Common, now a business park, near Newbury in Berkshire and will ultimately be utilised as a visitor's centre and waiting room for the proposed Newbury South, park-and-ride scheme. .... more  back to top

Boost For Green Housing in Yorkshire
An environmentally friendly housing development in South Yorkshire has been selected for government funding as part of a national campaign to reduce greenhouse gases. Some 24 three-bedroomed homes, designed to save energy, will be built in Rotherham by the South Yorkshire Housing Association. It is hoped the scheme will be a blueprint for other developers in the region wanting to use environmentally friendly technology. ....more   back to top

UK's Biggest Green Roof Project
The Ethelred Estate, in Central London, has recently undergone a programme of building work to produce an inspiring community environment. The green roofs are part of a phased programme with works starting on 10 of the medium-rise residential buildings, which comprises 253 flats. The works are part of a £5.3m grant which was provided via the Government Office for London (GOL), with additional funding from the London Borough of Lambeth and contributions from the estate’s leaseholders. ... more   back to top

Industry Chiefs Urge Faster Change
A group of Britain's leading industrialists has written to the prime minister urgently demanding long-term policies to combat climate change. The heads of the 12 leading firms say climate change is a huge challenge that needs serious investment by business. But they say they cannot invest because they are not sure what future government policies on climate will be. The letter is signed off by the heads of BP, Shell, HSBC Bank, BAA, John Lewis, Scottish Power and more ... more  back to top 

New Campaign For Climate Change Law
Radiohead front man, Thom Yorke, is calling for thousands of people across the country to back The Big Ask, a new national climate change campaign to make the government legally responsible for reducing the UK's impact on global warming. It comes as a NOP survey shows that nearly three quarters of the public believe the government is not doing enough to tackle climate change. .... more  back to top

Where Can I find a Green Architect?
Question from Jim Marshall ...
I work for a registered charity, North East Community Forest Ltd, one of twelve "Community Forest" organisations in the U.K. We work with a range of partners to increase tree cover and biodiversity in the North-East area, and promote environmental conservation and regeneration.
We plan to develop new office premises at a prestige, high visibility location in Chester-le-Street, with the aim of reflecting the highest possible standard of environmental design, incorporating timber products where possible, based on sound, green, ecological principles. The building will be approx 250-300 sq.m.
My problem is that we have limited budget, and will have to approach the development in ... more  back to top send an e-mail to Jim

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Forthcoming Events

Straw Bale /Timber Construction Day
The seminar will take place in a straw bale and timber frame house being built in Totnes (The Carfrae House). There will be a guided tour of the work in progress with the opportunity to discuss the structural techniques used and their alternatives Friday 24th June... more    back to top

Catalyse Energy Day
Catalyse Energy Day, Low-carbon Design Training for Building Professionals - will be held at the School of the Built Environment, University of Nottingham, on Tuesday, June 28th 2005, 9:00am – 4:30pm. Cost - £95. As the drivers for a more sustainable built environment increase, Catalyse aims to develop the knowledge & skills needed ... more    back to top

AECB summit
This annual conference 15/16 July in Somerset, promises to be lively and thought-provoking with a diverse range of workshops and debate on climate change, the Code for Sustainable Buildings, modern methods of construction and more ... more    back to top

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