Chicken incinerator isn't smelling of Roses
Published: 01 Oct 2010
A group opposing a chicken waste incinerator being built on the shores of Lough Neagh has been granted leave for a judicial review of the decision not to hold a public inquiry into the planning application.
Last month, Environment Minister Edwin Poots, announced his intention to approve planning for the incinerator, saying it would create up to 400 construction jobs and 30 permanent positions. However, Chairman of the Campaign Against Lough Neagh Incinerator group (CALNI), Ray Clarke, said the proposed Moy Park incinerator would probably need about £30m in grant aid from the Executive's industrial development agency, Invest NI.
The proposed incinerator site also lies within an Area of High Scenic Value and is adjacent to a European Special Protected Area of Special Scientific Interest.
A proposed inquiry into the plan was withdrawn at the last minute by Sinn Féin after the DUP submitted a petition of concern. CALNI president, Danny Moore accused the DUP, which hold the majority of Unionist votes, of turning the issue into a sectarian debate.
Rose Energy, the company behind the proposal, say the biomass burner will produce 30 mega-watts of electricity by incinerating 260,000 tonnes of chicken waste per year. As a result, it will generate one third of Northern Ireland's target for green energy, as well as providing a significant economic boost for the local area.
Facebook slammed. Cedrec and 5 others like this.
Published: 01 Oct 2010
Social networking website Facebook has angered at least 500,000 people with its intention to run a giant new data centre mainly on electricity produced by burning coal powder.
Facebook will not say how much electricity it uses, but industry estimates suggest that at their present rate of growth all the data centres and telecommunication networks in the world will consume about 1,963bn kilowatt hours of electricity by 2020.
Facebook’s new data storage centre will be based in Portland, Oregon and although it will include some of the world’s most energy-efficient computers, the scale of the Facebook operation will almost certainly use more electricity than many developing countries.
The main source of electricity for the centre will come from Pacific Power, a provider who produces 67% of their electricity from coal power, the dirtiest form of power generation, and less than 12% of their electricity from renewable sources.
In a response to criticisms, Facebook said, “It is true that the locality for the region we chose has an energy mix that is weighted slightly more toward coal than the national average. However, the efficiency we are able to achieve because of the climate of the region and the reduced energy usage that results will minimise our overall carbon footprint.”
In a letter to Facebook, Kumi Naidoo, director of Greenpeace International, urged Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to commit his company to a plan to phase out the use of dirty coal-fired electricity. Mr Naidoo stressed, “No global business leader, particularly not one who reaches so many people daily, could deny that in this time it is both a threat to a company’s reputation and financial health risk to ignore their company’s environmental impacts."
Short-sighted approach for UK businesses
Published: 01 Sep 2010
Almost 90% of businesses in the UK are failing to meet their legal obligations to protect the sight of their staff, according to a survey commissioned by the Eyecare Trust.
The Trust and healthcare provider Simplyhealth have launched ScreenSmart, a new initiative designed to educate employers about the importance of caring for their employees’ eye health. This follows survey findings that 44% of employers fail to meet even the most basic elements of the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations SI 1992/2792 and the Health and Safety (Display Screen Equipment) Regulations (Northern Ireland) SR 1992/513, such as providing regular sight tests. In fact, one in 10 has no eye care policy at all.
Just 11% of businesses say they meet the six key measures outlined in the legislation, from workstation analysis to screen breaks, in spite of penalties such as fines and criminal prosecution. The worst offenders are small businesses with fewer than 10 staff, as 21% make absolutely no eye care provision, with only a third offering to pay for regular eye exams and just a quarter saying they make sure workstations are designed to minimise glare or reflections.
Larger businesses are also at fault, with 18% not paying for regular sight tests and 40% refusing to contribute towards the cost of spectacles for VDU work. Trust chairman Dharmesh Patel said, “Our research shows that many employees fail to comply with relevant legislation because they don’t even know that such provisions exist. By launching the ScreenSmart campaign we hope to raise greater awareness among employers about the importance of protecting employee eye health and the simple steps they need to take in order to comply with the legislation.”
The Trust has estimated that work-related eyestrain and vision problems cost UK industry an estimated £1.5 billion a year through absenteeism and reduced productivity. As a result, www.screensmart.co.uk has been set up for employers and staff in order to provide practical solutions for legal compliance.
Distribution Company Fined
Published: 01 Sep 2010
A Devon distribution company has been fined £200,000 plus £16,993 costs after a series of safety breaches caused the death of a Cornish vineyard owner.
The incident happened in April 2008 when the owner of the vineyard, George Musgrave was helping a driver unload a delivery of empty wine bottles from the back of a Gregory Distribution lorry. The load fell from the tail lift causing fatal head and chest injuries to Mr Musgrave. His wife and the lorry driver fought to free him, but were unable to lift the huge weight.
The company pleaded guilty at Bodmin Magistrates to breaches of the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974 by failing to give specific safety training to the agency driver and not carrying out routine checks of the tail lift.
An HSE Inspector said, “This tragic accident highlights the dangers involved in unloading large and heavy loads using a tail lift. Employers should ensure that employees are given the right equipment, information, instruction and training to allow them to unload loads safely. Where employers use the services of agency staff they should ensure that those agency staff are aware of the systems of work in place and have the skills and training to undertake the required tasks.”
For more information, see:
- Manual Handling Operations Regulations SI 1992/2793.
Firm fined over digger death
Published: 01 Sep 2010
Aberdeen-based company, Leiths Scotland Limited, has been ordered to pay £96,000 after an employee was fatally injured while working beneath a mechanical digger. The specialist quarry operations company pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974.
Elgin Sheriff Court heard a mobile plant fitter was fixing a transmission leak on a five-and-a-half tonne digger. The vehicle was on a raised ramp and its rear wheels were inadequately secured. The worker was crushed when the vehicle rolled off the ramp, and was suffocated as a result of a wheel compressing his chest.
An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive concluded that Leiths Scotland Limited failed to provide adequate information, instruction, training and supervision to prevent risk to health.
The worker had not previously carried out the task and was expected to establish his own method of raising and supporting the vehicle above the ground. He was left to organise suitable blocks to support the digger without direct supervision or suitable instructions.
HSE Inspector Norman Buchanan said, "This tragic incident should have been avoided. Although undoubtedly an experienced mobile plant fitter, he had not previously carried out this particular task for this firm. He should have received adequate information, training and supervision from his employers, which Leiths did not provide. It is wholly unacceptable his employers left him unsupervised to devise his own means of working on such a risky repair job.”
Health and Safety Con-Dem'd by Government
Published: 01 Sep 2010
The Government’s health and safety tsar, Lord Young of Graffham, has confirmed that the “burden” faced by small businesses in complying with regulations will be a priority in his forthcoming review of health and safety laws.
Lord Young said the fact that small firms were spending up to a day a month ensuring they were compliant with regulations was a burden that has to be eliminated. He stressed, “What we have got to do with health and safety is to reduce bureaucracy. It is all cumulative and it adds to costs.”
Representatives of small businesses have welcomed his comments with a caveat that they “genuinely help” the sector. Chris Gorman from the Forum of Private Business said, “Whatever they do we hope it will, in practice, have very measurable benefits for small businesses. We hope this is a genuine desire to help and not just political gimmickry.”
Lord Young also intimated that there would be a crackdown on “ambulance-chasing” lawyers. He commented, “These firms are inciting people to bring claims. They are not bringing cases that will win in court, they are just looking to bring cases that will last two or three letters until the other side pays them off. They are factories churning out letters and it is an area of great concern. There is no magic bullet, but it is a matter of bringing these claims management firms under control.”
The Prime Minister has repeatedly warned of the corrosive impact of health and safety laws and has called for more common sense and individual responsibility rather than bureaucratic regulations.