JP Morgan makes green pledge
Published: 27 Feb 2020

JP Morgan Chase have announced that it will end fossil fuel loans for Arctic oil drilling and begin to phase out loans for coal mining by 2024 under new green pledge.

The bank is prohibiting all kinds of direct financing worldwide for new or existing coal plants, unless the plants use technology to capture carbon dioxide emissions. Companies that get most of their revenue from coal mining will also have their services restricted, with a 2024 goal to phase out remaining credit exposure to those companies.

JP Morgan Chase also aim to offer £153 billion in environmental and economic development deals to help support clean energy and other sustainable projects.

A report by the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) called "Banking on Climate Change" named JP Morgan Chase as the world's largest funder of fossil-fuel companies globally, leading by 29%. This action has come after JP Morgan Chase economists warned climate policy had to change or else the world faced irreversible consequences.

Many have been disappointed by the announcement, with Eli Kasargod-Staub, of ethical shareholder group Majority Action stating: "These steps pale in comparison to JP Morgan Chase's responsibility to confront the climate crisis and the systemic risks it poses to investors and global financial stability".

Others have pointed out that the restrictions in this new policy will only affect a very small number of their fossil lending.

Similar announcements have also been made by Goldman Sachs and BlackRock.

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government have launched a consultation to seek views on a new First Homes scheme that aims to deliver discounted homes for local people to improve home ownership for first-time buyers and public sector workers who might be struggling to buy a house in England.

Views and ideas are invited on the First Homes scheme, including how it should be designed and implemented. 

The consultation covers:

  • what First Homes are and who should be eligible for them;
  • how the scheme would work in practice;
  • how to deliver more of these homes through developer contributions; and
  • the requirement for delivering these homes though planning or legislation.

The deadline for responses on the proposals is 3 April 2020 when the consultation will close.

For more information on this subject, see:

The expansion of Heathrow airport in the form of a third runway has been ruled illegal by the Court of Appeal on the grounds of climate change.

The controversial plan, which has been opposed by many campaigners and politicians and eventually brought to court by legal charity Plan B, was ruled unlawful as it did not take the Government's commitments on climate change into account.

Heathrow is already one of the busiest airports in the world, serving around 80 million passengers a year. A third runway would bring 700 more planes daily and consequently result in a large increase in carbon emissions.

Plan B argued that the Paris Agreement target to keep global warming well below 2 degrees compared with pre-industrial levels, was ratified by the Government and was an essential part of their climate policy. In assessing the impact of the third runway, Ministers has failed to consider the impact on climate targets.

Cait Hewitt, deputy director of Aviation Environment Federation said: "This is a huge win for the climate, and leaves Heathrow's third runway plans in tatters. In presenting plans for a third runway to MPs, the Government failed, the court has found, to assess whether this was compatible with the Paris Agreement."

"The project would increase emissions at the UK's biggest airport, and the UK has since legislated to achieve net-zero emissions by 2050, so it's very hard to see how the Government could now ever demonstrate that a third runway could be reconciled with the necessary scale of climate action. This ruling should mark the end of plans for any new runways in the UK. The Government should stand up to the airports' lobby, drop its support for airport expansion, and invest instead in low-carbon transport and supporting British tourism." 

However, judges ruled that the third runway could possibly go ahead in the future, as long as it is aligned with the Government's climate policy and Paris Agreement.

The Court of Appeal did not overturn the high court's dismissal of other challenges to the third runway, including air and noise pollution, significantly increased traffic in the area and the enormous cost of the development.

A waste management company, Peter Norris (Haulage) Ltd has been fined £140,000 after an agency worker suffered lower leg amputation after being struck by a moving excavator.

Westminster Magistrates' Court heard that in September 2017 the worker, who had been observing a tipping activity in the blind spot of the excavator, had his leg crushed by the machine which had reversed to accommodate another vehicle tipping off the waste in an adjacent part of the site.

An investigation by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) found no evidence of any system whereby new agency hired staff were shown the site's safety rules, meaning the injured worker was unaware that he had to stand in the safe refuge area whilst vehicles were moving around the site.

Peter Norris (Haulage) Ltd pleaded guilty to breaching the Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974, was fined £140,000 and ordered to pay costs of £9,322.48.

HSE inspector John Spence stated that this incident was preventable and had caused permanent life-changing injuries to a young agency worker.

"The company failed to implement an adequate system of monitoring of agency workers on-site who were, therefore, in effect, left to manage themselves without necessary oversight from the company.

"Any company that uses agency workers are required to extend the same duty of care to them as their own direct employee".

The City of Edinburgh Council has unveiled proposals to transform Edinburgh's largest brownfield site at Granton Waterfront into a new coastal town.

Central to this £1.3 billion scheme is a new coastal city park linking Granton Harbour to Gypsy Bra designed to reconnect the city with its waterfront.

The council explained this will provide residents and visitors with the opportunity to enjoy views across the Forth while experiencing enhanced leisure and outdoor activity.

The proposals will involve:

  • 3,500 new homes, 35% of which would be affordable;
  • a school;
  • medical centre;
  • new cycling and walking routes;
  • enhanced suitable transport connections with the city, making a significant contribution to the capital's target to become a net-zero carbon city by 2030.

The council's housing association partners are currently delivering about 700 new homes for sale and rent within the area with a commitment from key public sector partners. The National Museums Scotland, National Galleries of Scotland and Edinburgh College will work in collaboration to make the location one of Edinburgh's best places to live, work, learn and visit.

The 140-hectare Granton Waterfront is identified as a strategic development area in the adopted local development plan and is identified as one of seven strategic sites prioritised for delivery as part of the Edinburgh and South East Scotland City Region Deal.

Council leader Adam McVey said: "We’ve made a commitment to become a net zero-carbon city by 2030 and the regeneration of Granton offers the perfect opportunity to showcase how this can be delivered. We are committed to working with the local community and partners to create vibrant new neighbourhoods where people live and travel and grow the economy in an eco-friendly way".

Residents were contemplating taking legal action over An Bord Pleanála’s decision to approve more than 650 flats, in blocks up to nine storeys tall, in north Dublin.

Dublin City Council opposed the scheme for 657 new homes and nearly 500 parking spaces as being against the capital's development plan. There was also concern about the impact on populations of protected Brent geese as well as black-tailed godwits and curlews in Dublin Bay. These issues triggered a High Court challenge that quashed an earlier consent for a smaller scheme at the location.

The number of homes in the new scheme is 20% greater than previously planned. Residents and politicians have argued that the earlier plans of 536 houses and flats represented overdevelopment of the site.

The decision surfaced as several other fast-tracked residential schemes enjoyed mixed fortunes. An Bord Pleanála refused planning permission to:

  • Shannon Homes Drogheda Ltd, to build 357 units, made up of 169 houses, 136 flats and 52 duplex apartments in County Meath;
  • Dwyer Nolan Developments Ltd, for 359 dwellings in County Dublin;
  • Steelworks Property Developments Ltd, for 245 build-to-rent flats in Tallaght.

Are you wondering why we're discussing legislation in the Republic of Ireland? Watch this space...

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