News & Articles
Many prominent geoscientists think that a forward look in earth sciences particularly in relation to UK science strategies is a priority and are coordinating a forward look or horizon scanning exercise. The exercise is adopting a bottom up approach and aims to target earth science funders and policy makers. As part of the process over 100 key members of the earth science community met at the Geological Society for a workshop to discuss and make recommendations for the future earth science themes. The output of the exercise will take the form of an official document which will outline the objectives for the next decade including the investment, training and infrastructure necessary to achieve them.
There is now a period of consultation where comments on the workshop outputs and the proposed science themes are being sought. To find out more about the consultation please visit.
www.bgs.ac.uk/ukgeoscience/consultation.html. Consultation closes on 15 March 2010.
Extreme weather conditions continued into January with widespread snow and ice causing frozen ground conditions. Despite the freezing weather precipitation across the UK’s major aquifers was high (in the range of 70 – 130%) and soil moisture deficits remained close to zero throughout the month. Recharge to major aquifers has been good during the early winter months and groundwater levels continue to rise as a result. Winter recharge totals are particularly good in the north-eastern and southern England and groundwater levels across the UK are close to average for this time of year. With soil moisture deficits still low the prospect of further winter recharge is good.
To read the latest hydrological summary for the UK please visit the Centre of Hydrology and Ecology’s (CEH) website. www.nwl.ac.uk/ih/nrfa/monthly_summaries/2010/01/summary.html
DEFRA’s guidance on the Groundwater Regulations (2009) is now open to consultation. The guidance outlines how the Environment Agency will apply the new groundwater protection regulations and also covers the transition to licensing under the amended Environmental Permitting Regulations.
The Groundwater Regulations (2009) implement the Water Framework Directive’s (WFD) Groundwater Directive and replace the Groundwater Regulations (1998) which dealt with pollution prevention and groundwater protection.
In essence the new regulations only bring about small changes to existing procedures but there is a general shift away from prescriptive regulation towards risk-based assessment. List I and List II substances are re-named ‘hazardous substances’ and ‘non-hazardous pollutants’ respectively and definitions are more encompassing such that any substance may potentially be classed as a ‘non-hazardous pollutant’.
To read DEFRA’s guidance please visit
River Basin Management Plans (RBMPs) produced by the UK environmental regulators have been approved by the government. The RBMPs have been written to address the requirements of the Water Framework Directive and outline measures to ensure water bodies, including groundwater bodies, achieve good ecological status. Environment Secretary Hilary Benn reported that £1 million would be given to the Environment Agency (England and Wales) to assist with their water quality investigations while funding to tackle agricultural water pollution would be increased by 50% to £7.5 million.
To read Defra’s news article about the RBMPs please visit http://nds.coi.gov.uk/content/Detail.aspx?ReleaseID=409833&NewsAreaID=2
In collaboration with Thames Water, Yorkshire Water and Water UK, the Environment Agency has produced four reports which outline how the water industry can cut their carbon emissions whilst still meeting water quality targets set by the Water Framework Directive. Academic representatives who contributed to the third of the reports set out their vision of a low-carbon water industry by 2050 and call for Ofwat’s remit to extend to emission reductions as well as affordable water.
To find out more about the four reports please visit the EA website at
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