Quantum update

Refreshing revamp for recycling authority's web

Quantum PR has a long-standing relationship with the East London Waste Authority (ELWA). We've worked together for more than 10 years, so when ELWA was looking to revamp its website, Quantum stepped in to deliver.

ELWA is the authority responsible for waste and recycling disposal from the boroughs of Barking and Dagenham, Havering, Newham and Redbridge. Its existing website was looking out-dated and was confusing for users to navigate. Additionally, the website did not allow ELWA to engage with its members or the public.

Quantum was tasked with updating the website by streamlining important information on the site, making it responsive for mobile devices and refreshing the user experience.

Features of the new look website include interactive, peak-time graphs, downloadable recycling site maps and a recycling widget on the homepage - which allows users to locate their nearest facility.

In addition to this, the site also boasts a document store which holds authority correspondence and paperwork, accessed via a secure members' login area.

Quantum's Craig Francis was responsible for overseeing the design and build of ELWA's new site. "ELWA's new site offers a better user experience and the design has brought the site to life. It is a great platform to build on as the site can be continually updated by the authority for members and the public alike."

Take a look at ELWA's new site - http://eastlondonwaste.gov.uk

Quantum update

Robin restarts career with return to Quantum

Veteran PR man Robin Treacher has made a return to work following an illness which kept him away from the profession for several years. This month he has returned to his former office at Quantum Public Relations to re-join Managing Director Charlie Vavasour.

A former journalist and local government communications officer, Robin started a career in PR consultancy when he formed DTW (Durnall, Treacher and Whelan) in Teesside, with two other directors which gained prominence throughout 1990s and in 2006, he opened a southern branch of the agency with Charlie Vavasour. Both agencies were sold to staff and other directors over time.

As Associate Director, Robin will be supporting Quantum's variety of client accounts, using his experience to offer advice and assistance to businesses looking to improve their communications to stakeholders.

Robin said: "I got the all clear in November after a bit of a health battle which took longer than I hoped or expected. I am now well and firing on all cylinders. I missed the structure that the workplace provides, but most of all I missed the work and clients. I have always said I have been lucky in that I enjoy the work I do.

"Thanks to Charlie, I am able to start my career all over again."

Robin is a former chair of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) local government group. He also chaired the National Association of Public Sector Advertisers and was one of the first practitioners to be made a Fellow of the CIPR when it achieved chartered status.

For 25 years, Robin specialised in local government PR, the waste industry, media training, the fireworks industry and 'controversial' planning issues involving public consultation programmes.

After selling the two agencies to staff members, Robin went in-house for a large American energy company as European Director of Communications before being taken ill in 2011.

Charlie Vavasour said: "It is fantastic to welcome Robin back into the fold following his serious illness. His experience and knowledge bring a different dimension to the business and we are already reaping the benefits of his return."

In 2015, Robin was elected as a Parish Councillor and he now chairs his local parish council outside Canterbury, Kent.

Quantum update

Will PR ever be represented in the boardroom?

When disaster strikes a brand, news travels fast, and if it's not handled well, this could destroy the company. So it seems obvious that comms professionals need to be at the heart of any organisation, making sure that when a crisis happens, it does not affect the reputation of the business. Yet PROs still struggle to get onto the board. Quantum PR's Managing Director, Charlie Vavasour, was recently asked by prmoment.com to comment on the right of PR to be represented in the boardroom.

How PR should step up

To get into the boardroom, the first step is to get the CEO's trust. Charlie describes how: "Comms professionals need to provide clear, sensible, releant advice atthe right time on key issues. It is a mistake to continually bang the comms drum - instead try to make your interventions powerful, persuasive and well presented. CEOs need to develop trust and respect for their comms advisors - once this is established, sourcing the opinion of comms advisors on major issues will become automatic in the CEO's decision-making process.

"You need to build the reputation for their profession internally, demonstrating the clear benefits of having a communications contribution in every major decision, strategic approach or campaign. They need to make communications central to everything that their organisation does and demonstrate the added value this provides.

"PR is valuable but it needs to be more confident about its value and then prove it to CEOs in order to get its rightful place on the board. Our profession does not have a divine right to be at the board table - it is down to the practising individuals to earn that right, and consequently raise the reputation and perceived importance of the profession as a whole."

Click here to read the full article

Quantum update

Quantum PR says "You're Hired" to apprentice!

Quantum Public Relations has said "you're hired" to newly-qualified Account Executive Beverley Southern, who completed her apprenticeship at the end of October.

Beverley joined Quantum PR as an apprentice in July 2015, having completed her A-Levels at Highworth Grammar School. From the beginning of her apprenticeship, Beverley worked alongside members of the Quantum team on a variety of client accounts in the recycling, environmental and development sectors.

Speaking about her apprenticeship, Beverley said: "My time has absolutely flown by and I've learnt so many new skills that I'm sure will help me throughout my career. It's been wonderful working with such a talented team and I'm grateful for the advice and guidance they've offered me since day one.

I'm delighted to have been offered a permanent position at Quantum now that my apprenticeship has finished, and I'm looking forward to continuing to develop my skills in this fast-moving industry."

Throughout the 15 month apprenticeship programme, Beverley has also been working towards a Level 4 Diploma in Public Relations, through industry body, the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA). To gain the qualification, Beverley has had to produce evidence of her ability to undertake a number of PR-related tasks, as well as completing theory-based coursework.

Beverley continued: "I've been lucky enough to have regular contact with my PRCA mentor, Sue Buckle, who has been on hand to answer my questions and offer support when needed throughout the apprenticeship programme."

Charlie Vavasour, Managing Director, said: "Having successfully offered a graduate internship programme in the past, Beverley was the first apprentice that Quantum has ever employed.

"Her passion for communications and commitment to learning has given me great confidence in her abilities. She has become an integral part of the team, and I'm looking forward to working with her for many years to come."

Quantum provides public relations, marketing and design services to a wide range of clients to help them achieve their corporate objectives.

Quantum update

Quantum PR celebrates 10th anniversary

Staff at Quantum Public Relations have been celebrating the company's 10th birthday this month.

Since it was established in 2006 Quantum PR has turned into an award-winning agency, with clients across the UK, and been listed in PR Week's Top 150 PR Agencies in the UK.

Managing Director, Charlie Vavasour, said: "It's fantastic that we've hit this 10 year milestone and continue to grow and expand our client-base.

"Much has changed in our industry in the past decade. It's incredible to think that in 2006 only 35% of people accessed the internet on a daily basis and only 16% used any form of social media, but we have managed to adapt and evolve to maintain our service offering to clients."

Quantum provides public relations, marketing and design services to a wide range of clients to help them achieve their corporate objectives. The firm also offers young people many opportunities to learn about the industry and gain experience through its internship and apprenticeship programmes.

Charlie Vavasour continued: "As ever, the success of any business is down to the team, and ours is fantastic. Their hard work and dedication has enabled the business to thrive in the fast-moving PR industry and I'm looking forward to celebrating Quantum birthdays for years to come!"

Quantum update

FPRA appoints Quantum to boost membership

Quantum is delighted to have been appointed by the Federation of Private Residents Association (FPRA).

The FPRA is a not-for-profit organisation, offering guidance on leasehold issues for private residential leaseholders', tenants' and residents' associations, residential management companies and flat management companies.

Quantum will be providing public relations support to the FPRA, including media relations and strategic consultancy services in order to communicate the benefits of FPRA membership to residents' associations and boost membership of the organisation.

For more information on the FPRA, visit www.fpra.org.uk

Quantum update

Injured British Sidecar Champion races to a full recovery thanks to oxygen therapy

Quantum's client, The Oxygen Clinic, has successfully helped British F1 Sidecar Champion Ryan Charlwood to recover from a severely dislocated shoulder. The Oxygen Clinic provies Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy (HBOT) which helps sports stars to recover from serious injuries.

Facing two months out of action, Ryan was expecting to miss over a third of the racing season. However, after just over a week of HBOT, Ryan was ready to rejoin team mate Ricky Stevens in Round Four of the Championship at Snetterton. Stevens and Charlwood took the podium to hold their lead at the top of the Hyundai Heavy Industries British Sidecar Championship.

Ryan said: "I'm amazed by the incredible recovery that HBOT has given me. We're the defending champions and it's vital that I'm out there giving my best for the team, so the fact that I can return to the action so quickly is testament to the impressive healing powers of oxygen therapy and the skill of Dr Pender and his team. Sidecar racing requires a lot of agility and upper body strength and it was unthinkable that I'd be back so quickly; it's fantastic to get another victory so soon after such a serious injury!"

For more information on HBOT or The Oxygen Clinic visit www.theoxygenclinic.co.uk

Quantum Update

Quantum helps to promote new 'social supermarket' Nifties!

Quantum Public Relations is delighted to be working with 'social supermarket' Nifties to raise awareness about and help tackle food poverty in Dover, Kent.

Nifties approached Quantum PR for media relations support, writing press releases and targeting appropriate journalists to distribute them to, in order to promote the good work that they are doing for local people.

Quantum secured broadcast interviews for Nifties' founder, Nathaniel Richards, with radio stations including BBC Radio Kent, KMFM and Heart Radio, as well as achieving positive news cuttings with the Daily Mirror and Dover Mercury.

Annual food waste in the UK amounts to nearly 12 million tonnes, according to the Waste and Resources Action Programme. Nifties aims to reduce this, while offering customers essential food items, such as tinned and dry goods and fresh ingredients, at dramatically reduced prices by purchasing short-dated and damaged items from supermarkets and other stores. As a social enterprise, all profits are re-invested into more stock and go towards supporting further price reductions, meaning local people can afford to feed themselves.

For more information visit the Nifties' Facebook page.

Quantum Update

Quantum appointed to give ALEP a new lease of life

The Association of Leasehold Enfranchisement Practitioners (ALEP) has appointed Quantum Public Relations to help raise its profile as the "go-to" organisation for expert comment on the residential lease sector.

Planned PR activities include lobbying Members of Parliament to raise awareness of ALEP's legislative agenda, and promoting the organisation's key messages through proactive media relations, case studies and event support.

ALEP is the professional body for practitioners in the residential leasehold sector and exists to promote best practice among its members throughout the processes of lease extension and freehold acquisition. The organisation was set up in 2006 to act in the interests of the residential leasehold enfranchisement sector and to provide access to information on leasehold law and flat owner's rights.

For more information visit www.alep.org.uk

Quantum Update

Oxygen therapy helps cancer sufferer through chemo

Quantum's client, The Oxygen Clinic based in Paddock Wood, Kent, has successfully helped cancer sufferer, Ruth Hughes, through her chemotherapy treatment.

Ruth was diagnosed with aggressive triple-negative breast cancer and was referred for pre-surgery chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment. She found the chemotherapy treatment challenging, regularly experiencing side effects including nausea and fatigue. In addition Ruth struggled to sleep due to increased feelings of anxiety.

The chemotherapy also damaged the veins in Ruth's right arm and she began struggling to use it. The medication she was put on made her fingers throb and feel stiff, meaning simple tasks like doing up buttons or using a knife were more difficult for her.

From her first hyperbaric oxygen therapy (HBOT) session Ruth began to experience a number of positive changes including feeling more relaxed and sleeping more easily. She also reported that she felt less pain in her arm and fingers and was able to use them like normal again.

Ruth said: "Initially I was seeking HBOT to help oxygenise my body and reduce inflammation. I never expected such noticeable and profound physical improvements. I can only imagine what wonderful transformations are going on inside my body.

"Words cannot express my gratitude to Dr. Pender for helping me through such a challenging time. Without HBOT I would have found the experience far more painful and distressing."

The Oxygen Clinic, run by Dr. Robert Pender, offers HBOT, a treatment that gives patients access to individual chambers filled with 100 per cent pure oxygen at high pressures. This causes large amounts of oxygen to be dissolved into patients' blood and tissues, penetrating areas of the body that oxygen-carrying red blood cells cannot reach.

The increased oxygen levels in the tissues stimulate healing processes including the growth of new blood vessels, the migration of white blood cells to fight infection and the boost of fibroblasts, which manufacture new tissue.

Dr Pender said: "HBOT can be a particularly effective treatment for cancer when used in conjunction with chemotherapy. During radiation therapy, blood cells and vessels are often damaged, causing less oxygenated blood to be supplied to damaged areas of the body. HBOT works by increasing the oxygen supply to damaged tissues, helping new blood vessels to grow. The therapy increases the rate of healing for damaged tissues, reduces inflammation and swelling and improves the effectiveness of the body's immune system to fight infection. We're really pleased with the results of Ruth's treatment and recovery, and we hope other cancer sufferers will consider the benefits of HBOT."

The Oxygen Clinic is located in Paddock Wood, Kent, easily accessible from the M20, but in a private location so discretion is assured.

For more information and to book a free initial consultation please visit www.theoxygenclinic.co.uk, call 0330 016 1000 or email info@theoxygenclinic.co.uk

Recycling Update

Spending review raises recycling concerns

After local authority funding was more than halved in the November spending review, council recycling officers have questioned the Government's commitment to achieving the 50 per cent recycling target by 2020.

According to the Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee (LARAC), the decision to reduce the central grant from the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) by 56 per cent will 'severely restrict waste services to the point of stifling growth'.

Lee Marshall, chief executive of LARAC, said: "Given that cuts in budgets for DCLG and Defra were trailed prior to the Autumn Statement, the actual cuts come as no surprise, but that does not make them any less welcome. Local authorities have endured five years of cuts already that has seen a large reduction in central government funding for councils. The ability to squeeze even more efficiencies without reducing services is going to be extremely hard.

"The industry might have to expect minimal new services from councils unless they are prepared to invest and support local authorities. Council officers have done a great job in still increasing recycling in the face of the cuts in the last five years but there is a limit to what even their hard work can achieve."

For more on this story click here

Source: letsrecycle.com

Energy Update

New heat industry proposals could secure major investment

Proposals for a cost effective low carbon heat network have been launched that could help attract £2 billion worth of investment, according to the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE).

The proposals recommend a better sharing of investment risk to lower the cost of network infrastructure and an extension of the government's heat network advice body. This could help drive down the cost of infrastructure and keep costs low for taxpayers.

Tim Rotheray, ADE Director, said: "When I speak to long term infrastructure investors from across Europe, there is an overwhelming desire to invest in UK heat networks, if we can get the right policy framework in place.

"If we can solve this puzzle, there is an enormous opportunity for UK cities, with billions of pounds in local investments to make the UK energy system more productive, more secure and lower carbon. Most importantly it will deliver for consumers, helping to keep their heating costs low."

For more on this story click here

Property Update

New mortgage charge tariff introduced in UK

A new standard format for how mortgage lenders communicate their fees will be introduced in the UK to make it easier for customers to understand charges and compare deals.

Following a campaign by Which? to end confusion around mortgage costs the Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne, asked the Council of Mortgage Lenders and Which? to find ways to make it easier for consumers to understand mortgage rates from different lenders.

The new tariff, which has been tested on consumers, uses standard terminology and a common format which will make mortgages easier to compare.

Lenders representing 85 per cent of the market have already committed to introducing the tariff and putting it on their websites by the end of the year.

For more on this story click here

Source: Property Wire

Energy Update

Clean Power makes impassioned case for Waste to Energy to remain central to UK Government's Energy policy

Clean Power has today called on the Government to recognise the importance of continued support for innovative energy technologies, and has set out its case for the three key measures it wants to see in this week's CSR.

As highlighted by the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, Amber Rudd MP in her recent speech, the industry needs to unleash 'innovation to discover the clean and cheap technologies of tomorrow' and Clean Power believes that Waste to Energy will be at the forefront of this innovation.

David Massingham, spokesman for Clean Power, said: "The Advanced Conversion Technology (ACT) that Clean Power is deploying will deliver capacity for waste to be managed domestically and diverted from landfill, while also providing base load power generation. No other form of renewable energy provides these dual benefits.

"Amber Rudd's speech signalled a subtle shift in government thinking, putting energy security as the main priority. With ACT the UK can have both the energy security and the environmental benefits of reduced emissions.

"All we are asking is that George Osborne continues to provide modest support for innovators in the energy sector."

In letters to key decision makers and influencers, Clean Power is specifically urging the government to:

1. commit to future CfD auctions, even if their overall scale is limited;

2. review the technologies that will be supported in future, with a view to focusing future support on emerging technologies, enabling them to work towards market convergence; and

3. divide future support into separate technology 'buckets' with ring-fenced amounts for specific technologies.

Clean Power's waste treatment, recycling and energy recovery centres maximise the amount of waste recycled and direct the remaining material to the most appropriate methods of treatment. It provides a triple win in terms of meeting statutory targets for 2020 under EU and UK legislation: It diverts biodegradable municipal (and other waste) from landfill, helping to secure the 65% diversion from landfill needed by 2020; It reduces greenhouse gas emissions from landfill, especially from methane which is among the most potent of them; and The electricity that is generated is classified as renewable, contributing to the challenging target of securing 15% of all energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Click here to download the briefing note.

Renewables Update

IRENA report emphasises need to improve renewables

In order to keep the rise in global temperature below 2ºC, the world needs to achieve a 36% share of renewable energy generation by 2030, according to a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

The 'Rethinking Energy: Renewable Energy and Climate' report outlines five actions for improving sustainability, including strengthening policy commitments and enhancing regional engagement.

Adnan Z. Amin, IRENA Director-General, said: "The strong business for renewable energy has made the energy transition inevitable. It is now not a question of if the world ultimately transitions to a renewable energy future but rather whether it will do so quickly enough. At the upcoming climate talks in Paris, it will be up to countries to commit to strong targets and in turn, give a strong political signal to catalyse further investments in renewable energy."

For more on this story click here

Source: Energy Live News

Energy Update

EU gives three times more funding for fossil fuels than renewable energy

The EU is providing almost three times more financial support for fossil fuel projects than for renewable energy projects to its eastern and southern neighbours, according to a new report by NGO CCE Bankwatch Network.

Out of the total €9 billion provided for financing energy projects between 2007 and 2014, over €4.2 billion was used for hydrocarbon projects, while only €1.5 billion was used for renewable projects.

Klara Sikorova, senior researcher at Bankwatch and lead author of the report, said: "The EU lenders talk of leading Europe's neighbourhood to the next level when it comes to renewable energy. But their track record says the opposite. Europe must radically change course if its rhetoric on sustainable energy investments is to become a reality."

For more on this story click here

Source: Business Green

Renewables Update

Offshore wind could provide over a third of electricity

Offshore wind could meet up to 35 per cent of the UK's electricity demand by 2030, according to a new report by Offshore Wind Vision.

The report outlines how offshore wind could provide the "best opportunity for cost-effective decarbonisation".

Benj Sykes, co-chair of the Offshore Wind Industry Council, said: "It is only 15 years since the first UK offshore wind farm - just two 2MW turbines - began operating. Since then the technology has matured rapidly to the point where the UK leads the world in deployment and could readily build 30 gigawatts of capacity by 2030.

"What we need to see is a clear pathway for offshore wind through to 2025. This will provide the UK with the best opportunity for cost effective decarbonisation and ensure that we maximise the export opportunity for the UK supply chain."

For more on this story click here

Source: Edie.net

Recycling Update

UK response to EU circular economy published

The Government's response to the EU's public circular economy consultation has been published by Defra.

Responses to the EU's consultation will form the basis of the European Commission's long-awaited Circular Economy package, due to be officially published on 2nd December 2015.

The Government called for Member States to be given independence in the implementation of the package, saying: "We endorse the use of voluntary measures, which have been successful in the UK, and oppose prescriptive approaches that do not allow Member States to take account of their national circumstances."

The UK also called for the establishment of EU-wide collaborative networks in order to promote "industrial symbiosis" and a review of the use of chemicals in supporting a more circular economy.

For more on this story click here

Source: edie.net

Energy Update

UK and India agree £3.2bn clean energy deal

Prime Minster David Cameron welcomed Narendra Modi, the India Prime Minister, to London to announce a £3.2 billion package encompassing commercial agreements to encourage research, development and deployment of clean technology, renewables and nuclear energy.

Mr Cameron said: "We want UK and Indian scientists to work together to develop the low-cost, low-carbon energy that's vital for the future, and that's why we're establishing a new, £10 million joint research collaboration into new technologies.

"Today, we agreed on the vital importance of securing an ambitious global deal in Paris later this year that keeps our goals of limiting global warming by 2050 to two degrees, within reach."

For more on this story click here

Source: Edie.net

Renewables Update

Solar gets Britain's backing

Solar is the nation's favourite source of power, according to a new public attitudes survey by DECC.

80 per cent of those polled supported the use of solar, closely followed by marine energy and offshore wind, both receiving 73 per cent.

The survey suggested that opposition to renewables is very low at five per cent, and only one per cent "strongly opposed" it. In contrast, 80 per cent of people were in favour of renewable energy.

Leonie Greene, Head of External Affairs at the Solar Trade Association, said: "No other technology empowers consumers and communities to take charge of their energy bill and act on climate change like solar power.

"By cutting support for solar the Government is taking power away from people, organisations and communities all over the UK - and they don't like it one bit."

For more on this story click here

Source: Energy Live News

Property Update

An extra million homes occupied by tenants

More than two million homes have changed tenure in the last 10 years when taking into account all property sales between owner occupiers and landlords, according to research from property group Countrywide PLC.

Some 1,550,000 properties have gone from being lived in by their owner to being lived in by a tenant, while 550,000 have moved from privately renting to owning their homes. The result of this is an extra million homes being occupied by a tenant rather than a home owner.

Homes transferring from owner occupation into the private rented sector accounted for half of the growth in privately rented homes over the same period. Most of the remaining growth in the private rented sector has come from landlords buying new build homes.

For more on this story click here

Source: Property Wire

Energy Update

Millions of people still paying most expensive tariffs

Energy switching during the past two years has "failed to reduce the number of people on standard tariffs", according to Which?

The consumer body added that around 21 million people were stuck on a standard electricity tariff, which costs around £54 more than the average rate since the beginning of last year.

It also said standard gas tariffs stalled at 73 per cent (approximately 16 million customers) at the start of 2014 and have remained at that level. A standard gas tariff costs £75 more than other deals, Which? claims.

For more on this story click here

Source: Energy Live News

Recycling Update

Battery recycling costs set to rise

Collecting and processing waste portable batteries is expected to become more expensive from 2016, as a result of the way waste batteries are classified.

To bring the UK in line with other EU Member States, changes to the way that manufacturers and recyclers classify portable batteries are being brought in which will see waste batteries weighingmore than 4kg no longer classed as 'portable'.

Defra has predicted that the cost of collecting and procesing waste portable batteries will increase to around £33 million over 10 years, significantly higher than the £7.8 million figure previously anticipated by the Department.

For more on this story click here

Source: Let's Recycle

South East Update

Blackbox Donates State-of-the-art Printer and Artwork to Business Terrace

Blackbox Solutions has installed an all-in-one printer/scanner/copier and a major piece of eye-catching wall artwork at The Business Terrace as part of a new partnership with Maidstone Borough Council.

The rapidly-expanding provider of cost-cutting, multi functional copy, print and scan devices has provided the town centre flexible work space - Maidstone's new start up business facility - with a Samsung MultiXpress device and a 50ft 'innovation timeline' mural along its link bridge breakout area.

Blackbox Solutions is in the process of relocating its headquarters to the county town from Rochester. The larger Medway Street offices are currently undergoing a substantial re-fit and are expected to be completed by December.

Colin Griffin, Managing Director of Blackbox Solutions, said: "We have enjoyed rapid growth since we began trading in 2012, doubling in size every year. We're now looking forward to continuing this growth from our new headquarters and wanted to do something to support fellow businesses in Maidstone.

"That's why we partnered with Maidstone Borough Council and The Business Terrace, a thriving hub of local businesses and entrepreneurs. We hope to do more to back business in Maidstone in the near future."

Cllr Fran Wilson, Leader of Maidstone Borough Council, said: "It is vital we offer our members and tenants state-of-the-art facilities to give them a professional edge. So we were obviously delighted when Blackbox offered to supply us with a multi-functional device.

"They are investing in Maidstone's business future by helping us give our start-ups a great start."

Blackbox Solutions provides its clients with a flexible and full-turnkey solution for all their print, copy and computer networking needs, tailored to meet their individual requirements.

This comprehensive offer can include the lease/purchase of the latest and most efficient printers, copiers and scanners, all consumables such as toners and cartridges, and provision of a reliable and professional maintenance service, as well as a wide range of innovative IT services and support.

The company's 16-strong Rochester-based team is relocating to Maidstone. Blackbox will also be looking to recruit additional staff in Maidstone.

A time-lapse video showing the innovation artwork being installed can be seen here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3TXibr_Qe44

For more information visit www.blackbox-solutions.co.uk

Renewables Update

Scotland leads the way in food waste fuel

The anaerobic digestion industry in Scotland has grown by 69 per cent in the past year, according to the Anaerobic Digestion and Bioresources Association (ADBA).

Approximately 27 anaerobic digestion projects are already running and a further 43 have won planning approval.

Charlotte Morton, Chief Executive of ADBA, said: "Scotland is leading the way in demonstrating how anaerobic digestion extracts value from our waste, while supporting farming resilience, reducing billions in carbon abatement costs, improving food security and production and generating employment and investment opportunities for rural economies."

For more on this story click here

Source: Energy Live News

Property Update

Student housing market sees record investment

The UK student housing market reached record levels of total investment volumes in the first three quarters of 2015, new data shows.

The UK saw investment of $6.5 billion in larger deals compared to just over $3 billion in the US, according to research from international real estate advisors Savills.

The firm's World Student Housing Report states that the UK's record levels have been driven by foreign investment, led by North America which was the source of 80 per cent of all cross border deals in the 12 months to September 2015.

Paul Tostevin, associate director of Savills World Research, said: "Reflecting the maturity of the UK market, the major transactions have all been portfolio deals. Increased investment activity has brought with it yield compression, particularly for investments in prime London where net initial yields on direct let properties are now around five per cent."

For more on this story click here

Source: Property Wire

Energy Update

£1.2 billion will be added to energy bills this winter

Home energy bills are expected to rise by 6.2 per cent this winter, according to a report by Compare the Market.

Based on National Grid's expected energy usage and current tariffs, the winter chill will add an extra £46 to the average annual gas bill. This will total approximately £1.2 billion.

James Padmore, Head of Energy at comparethemarket.com, said: "The increased use of gas to heat homes will put a large dent in consumer finances. The £46 that we calculate may be added to a household's annual bill, as a result of increased energy usage during the severe winter, is a sum of money most people would prefer to spend on Christmas presents at this time of year."

For more on this story click here

Source: Energy Live News

Renewables Update

Floating solar system installation begins near Manchester

The installation of Europe's largest floating solar power system which will generate 2.7GWh of renewable energy each year on Godley reservoir in Hyde has now started.

The system is made of 12,000 panels and is being developed by United Utilities for £3.5 million. On completion, the site will become the second biggest in the world behind a Japanese project.

Chris Stubbs, head of renewable energy at United Utilities said: "We have a target to generate 35 per cent of our power requirements by 2020 and this project will make a significant contribution to that aim.

"While floating solar has been deployed elsewhere around the world, most notably in Japan, it is a new technology to the UK. Installations, such as the Godley solar scheme, will help to keep energy costs and water customers' bills low."

For more on this story click here

Source: Edie.net

Recycling Update

Textile industry waste targeted by WRAP

A new initiative to reduce the carbon, water and waste footprints of the textiles industries across 11 European countries has been launched by WRAP.

In partnership with the London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB), WRAP's European Clothing Action Plan (ECAP) has received €3.6 million from the European Union's environmental financial support instrument and aims to divert over 90,000 tonnes of clothing away from landfill each year.

Liz Goodwin, WRAP chief executive, said: "Finding more sustainable ways to work with textiles is an area set to deliver huge benefits - both economic and environmental.

"To be leading on a project of this magnitude is something I am very excited about, and applying tried and tested approaches such as voluntary agreements and consumer campaigns across Europe, will ready take our expertise to the next level. I look forward to watching this initiative progress."

For more on this story click here

Source: edie.net

Property Update

Half of renters cannot afford to save

High rental prices and rising house prices are making it increasingly difficult for aspiring buyers to save enough for a deposit, according to new research by homeless charity Shelter.

Nearly half of renters wanting to buy a home said they could not manage to save any money at all, with an extra 16 per cent saving less than £50 a month.

Tenants in the UK spend an average of 41 per cent of their income on rent, rising to 50 per cent in London, according to recent data from online letting agent Rentify.

Campbell Robb, Chief Executive of Shelter, said: "Behind these figures are millions of young people and families on ordinary incomes who are struggling to cope with sky high housing costs and the instability of private renting."

For more on this story click here

Source: This is Money

Quantum Update

Quantum Takes on Oxygen

Quantum Public Relations has been appointed by The Oxygen Clinic to help raise awareness of its healing, high-pressure oxygen treatments.

Quantum has devised a three-month brand building campaign for the business, based at the Hop Farm, near Paddock Wood.

Planned PR and marketing activities include promoting the clinic's key messages through media relations, social media, case studies, events and targeted e-newsletters.

The Oxygen Clinic treats patients in its chamber by breathing 100 per cent oxygen in a high pressure atmosphere, in a treatment called Hyperbaric Oxygen Treatment (HBOT). The combination of increased pressure and high concentration of oxygen causes large amounts of oxygen to be dissolved into the blood and tissues.

This dissolved oxygen can penetrate areas of the body that oxygen-carrying red blood cells cannot reach, revitalising tissues that receive poor blood flow.

For more information visit www.theoxygenclinic.co.uk

Energy Update

Energy bills soar as gadgets are left on standby

UK energy bills have risen by around £600 million since 2010, due to an increase in gadgets left on standby.

According to research, 78 per cent of people admit to regularly leaving at least two devices on standby. An advanced set-top box left on standby for 20 hours a day could cost around £20 a year alone.

Philip Sellwood, Chief Executive of Energy Saving Trust, said: "We are urging people to be in control of their energy use.

"There is a growing black hole in our energy bills because we prefer the convenience of standby but many of us blame each other for leaving things on around the house and its adding £30 to our bills every year."

For more on this story click here

Source: Energy Live News

Recycling Update

5p Bag Tax a Scottish success story

Retailers across Scotland have seen "a staggering reduction" in the number of single use carrier bags handed out since the 5p charge came into effect 12 months ago.

Data from major grocery retailers indicate a reduction in bag use of around 80 per cent since 20 October 2014. This is equivalent to at least 640 million fewer bags being handed out than in previous years.

Richard Lochhead, Scotland's Environment Secretary, said: "Previously statistics showed that people in Scotland used more than 800 million new single use carrier bags every single year - more per head than anywhere else in the UK.

"The 5p charge has been a major success with the number of single use bags down by 650 million, and with nearly £7 million raised for good causes."

For more on this story click here

Source: Recycling & Waste World

Renewables Update

UN scientist raises concerns over UK renewables

Cuts in support for renewable energy in the UK have been criticised by the UN chief environment scientist, Professor Jacquie McGlade.

She said: "What I'm seeing worldwide is a move very much towards investment in renewable energy. To counterbalance that you see the withdrawal of subsidies and tax breaks for fossil fuels.

"What's disappointing is when we see countries such as the United Kingdom that have really been in the lead in terms of getting their renewable energy up and going - we see subsidies being withdrawn and the fossil fuel industry being enhanced."

For more on this story click here

Source: BBC

Quantum Update

Quantum provides promotional Solution for Blackbox

Quantum Public Relations has been appointed by Blackbox Solutions to help support its ambitious growth plans.

Quantum has been instructed to deliver a short-term promotional campaign to raise awareness of the rapidly-expanding Kent-based business, which provides cost-cutting office equipment and services to companies across the South East, focusing specifically on the company's forthcoming relocation to Maidstone in December.

This campaign began with a review of Blackbox's key messages and existing marketing materials followed by a planned programme of regular content creation, media relations, social media and event planning activities.

Charlie Vavasour, Managing Director of Quantum, said: "We are delighted to be working on behalf of Blackbox Solutions, a company that has more than doubled in size every year since it was launched.

"We're looking forward to sharing their successes and plans for the future with key target audiences and helping to secure new business and further growth for the business."

For more information visit www.blackbox-solutions.co.uk

Property Update

UK home building programme threatened by lack of skills

The UK building industry's growing skills crisis is a serious threat to the Prime Minister's ambition to increase home ownership, according to the Federation of Master Builders (FMB).

The organisation's latest survey covering the third quarter of 2015 suggests that 60 per cent of small construction firms are struggling to hire bricklayers, up from 49 per cent three months ago.

Brian Berry, FMB chief executive, said: "If the skilled labour isn't available, the Government's ambitions for home ownership won't be realised.

"It's not just house building and home ownership that are being hampered by the skills shortage. The future economic growth of our country relies on major infrastructure projects, such as HS2 and Hinkley Point, being built."

For more on this story click here

Source: Property Wire

Energy Update

New technology could improve speed of energy response

Demand side response (DSR) technology could help meet the UK's energy grid requirements faster than a conventional power station.

National Grid, Open Energi and Cardiff University looked at the feasibility of DSR to provide a significant share of balancing services using the 'Dynamic Demand' system to improve the speed of response to supply and demand of electricity.

DSR technology, developed by Open Energi, automatically manages the energy use of businesses' assets such as air conditioning units, and releases electricity in response to the amount of electricity available on the grid. Tests showed the technology could provide full response in less than two seconds.

Nikola Gargov, Power Systems Engineer at National Grid, said: "Tomorrow's electricity landscape will look very different to that of today and the traditional assumption of needing large-scale fossil fuel power stations for base-load generation may change going forwards."

For more on this story click here

Source: Energy Live News

Renewables Update

Climate change representative says renewable energy will "continue to grow"

Sir David King, the UK Foreign Secretary's special representative for climate change, has warned the renewable energy sector that 2015 will be a "seminal year" for renewables to push forward.

In a keynote speech at Renewable UK 2015 yesterday, King said it was important that the UK moves away from fossil fuels, but emphasised that the renewable industry needs to "sell itself".

He said: "Last year more renewable energy was installed worldwide than fossil fuel. That is extraordinary. This industry I am addressing today is a leading one. The annual gross value of renewables is the same as the food and drink industry.

"It's going to continue to grow. We need to sell ourselves. Renewables is key to hitting targets."

For more on this story click here

Source: ReNews

Property Update

Lowest level London rental prices for a year

Rental value in central London fell to 2.4 per cent in September, the lowest it has been in a year.

A report from real estate firm Knight Frank also shows that the number of tenancies agreed in the three months to August fell 5.9 per cent on the same period in 2014.

Tom Bill, head of London residential research at Knight Frank, said: "This current overriding mood of uncertainty means companies are more hesitant about recruiting and are more conservative with relocation budgets for senior executives, which has dampened demand in the prime central London lettings market.

"As a result, the number of tenancies agreed in the three months to August fell 5.9 per cent compared to the previous year and the number of viewings declined 10.2 per cent."

For more on this story click here

Source: Property Wire

Recycling Update

5p charge for single use carrier bags

A 5p plastic bag tax for large retailers has been introduced in England today, with the aim of reducing the eight billion non-biodegradable single use carrier bags that end up in landfill or littering the streets.

The tax introduction has been met with positive support among green campaigners and the general public. Research from Make It Cheaper found that 60 per cent of English shoppers support the charge.

Rory Stewart, Environment Minister, said: "The more bags we take from the shops, the more plastic makes its way into our environment, blighting our high streets, spoiling our enjoyment of the countryside, and damaging our wildlife and marine environments.

"Simple changes to our shopping routines, such as taking our own bags with us or using more bags for life, can make a huge difference in reducing the amount of plastic in circulation meaning we can all enjoy a cleaner, healthier country."

For more on this story click here

Source: edie.net

Energy Update

£9.5 billion lost on wasted energy

More than half of the energy produced in the country is wasted, according to a report by the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE).

This means the UK electricity system loses £9.5 billion per year on wasted energy. ADE found that £2 billion per year could be saved by upgrading the electricity network's efficiency and using heat stations to recover waste heat, as most of the wasted energy is lost through heat.

Tim Rotheray, Director at ADE, said: "Wasted energy reduces our productivity, undermines efforts to create a competitive economy on a global level and causes unnecessary emissions. It does not have to be this way. The productivity review is a great opportunity for Government to focus on how it can support investment in cutting energy waste."

For more on this story click here

Source: Energy Live News

Energy Update

Recycled energy to power London tube stations

A new technology which collects waste energy from tube train brakes to power stations has been successfully tested for five weeks at Victoria station.

The system can recover 1MWh of energy per day according to Transport for London (TFL), enough energy to power a station as large as Holborn for more than two days per week. It could help to reduce carbon emissions from London Underground, saving up to £6 million per year for reinvestment in improving transport infrastructure.

Chris Tong, London Underground's Head of Power and Cooling, said: "This state-of-the-art regenerative braking system has the potential to transform how we power stations across the TFL network, unlocking massive power savings and significantly reducing our energy bills. We are committed to doing more to reduce our energy use and this technology - a world first for metro railways - is one of a number of innovations we're embracing to lower our environmental impact."

For more on this story click here

Source: Energy Live News

Property Update

Half of UK home borrowers will be hit hard by interest rates rise

According to research by the Building Societies Association (BSA), 52 per cent of borrowers in the UK believe they will struggle or fall behind with mortgage repayments when interest rates rise.

The survey revealed that one tenth would experience real financial problems and a further 14 per cent said it would be a constant struggle to keep up with repayments. Almost a quarter said they would experience difficulty from time to time.

Paul Broadhead, head of mortgage policy at BSA, said: "Concern from borrowers is natural when it comes to interest rate rises. There was at least 1.85 million home owners that have never experienced a rate rise, we have a record low Bank Base Rate for so long, it is unsurprising that some people are concerned that a rise in rates will affect their lifestyles and ability to make mortgage repayments."

For more on this story click here

Source: Property Wire

South East Update

Café on the Vine Now Open for Business

A new not-for-profit community café has officially opened at the Vine.

The Sevenoaks Vine Café is situated alongside the Vine band stand and pavilion in the former band practice room building, which has not been used by the public for decades.

The renovation works began in earnest after plans to bring the big band building struck a chord with funding organisations, including Cory Environmental Trust in Britain (CETB).

Angela Haymonds, CETB Trust Secretary, said: "The Trustees were pleased to be able to support this community project with a £50,000 grant, help give this striking building a new lease of life and benefit all those who enjoy leisure time at the Vine."

For more information click here

Renewables Update

Scotland set to subsidise solar power

The Scottish Government has announced it will support investment in solar projects following the UK Government's decision to reduce solar subsidies.

Scottish Energy Minister Fergus Ewing said in a statement that the solar industry needs "clarity and certainty".

He added: "To maintain a consistent policy framework until the Renewables Obligation closes, the Scottish Government is retaining the current policy on grandfathering and support levels for solar PV projects in Scotland.

"I have written to the Secretary of State to express my concern about the impact of the proposal and disappointment at the UK Government's failure to consult."

The Solar Trade Association Scotland welcomed the announcement.

For more on this story click here

Source: Energy Live News

Property Update

Property asking price reaches new heights

According to the latest index figures, the average price of property in the UK has hit a national new record this month at £294,834 up 0.9 per cent.

The average £2,550 asking price rise is the largest amount seen in the month of September since 2002, driven by a price jump in family home sectors of 1.2 per cent while owners of first time buyer properties have seen prices stall with a fall of 1.1 per cent.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove director and housing market analyst, said: "Prices are at an all-time high, yet borrowing is historically cheap and positive sentiment is aided by the ongoing postponement of rate rises from these six-year lows. Demand from those who can afford to buy remains high, and suitable supply remains tight, with the number of properties coming to market down six per cent on the same period in 2014."

For more on this story click here

Source: Property Wire

Recycling Update

Nappy recycling revolution set for 2017

An American recycling firm has developed plans to open the UK's largest Absorbent Hygiene Product (AHP) recycling site in Hayes in 2017. The US company, Knowaste, aims to open a total of seven facilities across the UK within the next five years.

The new facility will recycle disposable nappies, incontinent pads and feminine hygiene products to make plastic bins and pet litter.

The 'Hayes 180' site will charge local authorities and commercial hygiene companies a set fee to use the facility, replacing the current landfill or incineration costs associated with AHPs.

Paul Richardson, Knowaste's UK business development director, said: "Our AHP recycling process is considered to be the most sustainable solution to managing this specific waste, saving up to 70 per cent of carbon dioxide emissions when compared to the usual disposal methods of landfill and incineration.

"We are able to recycle over 97 per cent of the AHP product with our unique and exciting technology."

For more on this story click here

Source: Edie.net

Energy Update

New inquiry into power infrastructure launched

A new inquiry into the future of the UK electricity infrastructure has been launched.

The Energy and Climate Change Committee said the power infrastructure in the country is ageing and upgrades to both the transmission and distribution networks are required.

It will investigate what changes are required to build a low carbon, flexible and "fair" network, and will invite views on the limitations of the electricity infrastructure today and how they can be addressed.

The committee said: "As low carbon technologies and distributed energy play a greater role, the move towards a smarter, more localised and diverse system presents both challenges and opportunities.

"Ensuring this transition occurs in a cost-effective way while maintaining system security and stability is challenging and the government needs to ensure that policies allow proper planning, testing and investment to take place. It will require addressing all elements of the energy infrastructure, including those on the demand side of the meter, engaging with customers and addressing their needs."

For more on this story click here

Source: Energy Live News

Property Update

30% growth in commercial property market

The European commercial property investment market has continued to grow, with transaction volumes reaching €104.9 billion in the first half of 2015.

This was a 29 per cent increase on the same period of 2014, data from an analysis report by Knight Frank shows.

UK and Germany, the continent's two largest markets, performed strongly in the first half of the year, providing a significant boost to overall deal volumes. The UK is set for a record breaking year for investment.

Andrew Sim, head of European Capital Markets at Knight Frank, said: "Investment volumes continue to be driven upwards by the strong international demand for European commercial property, particularly from US investors, and by the increasing number of large portfolio deals."

"These trends are expected to continue over the rest of the year, and we forecast that annual European investment in 2015 will be more than 20 per cent up on 2014. European transaction volumes are approaching the levels seen at the market peak of 2007, and several countries may well set new records this year."

For more on this story click here

Source: Property Wire

Energy Update

Inquiry into energy policy-making process

The Energy and Climate Change Committee has launched an inquiry to find out if increased uncertainty around energy policy is undermining investor confidence.

It aims to understand how DECC's policy-making process could impact the decisions of investors.

The committee is inviting views across a number of areas including where future investment is going to come from, how the UK compares with other countries in terms of policy risk, and how well DECC considers the needs of investors in its policy making process.

Chair Angus MacNeil, MP said: "Energy projects like offshore wind farms and nuclear power stations can take years from planning to completion so maintaining investor confidence is crucial if we want to upgrade our energy system.

"Energy experts have told us that the Government has spooked investors with a series of sudden energy policy changes announced over the summer without proper parliamentary scrutiny.

"We will be looking at what steps Government must take to restore confidence in the UK's energy sector and improve DECC's policy making processes."

For more on this story click here

Source: Energy Live News

Recycling Update

EU glass recycling rate rises

Europe's glass recycling rate has hit 73 per cent, with more than 25 billion glass containers being recycled.

Industry data published by the European Container Glass Federation (FEVE) shows that Sweden, Belgium, Luxembourg, Austria and Germany continue to be the best performers. Italy, Netherlands and Malta also showed improvement.

Eastern European countries including Estonia, Slovenia, Slovak Republic and Croatia have the fastest growing rates of glass recycling.

Vitaliano Torno, FEVE president, said: "The high glass recycling rate of 73 per cent shows that the glass packaging model is the best performing closed loop business model, but more resources need to be invested to improve glass recycling even further and especially in countries lagging behind."

For more on this story click here

Source: REB News

Renewables Update

Sector slams scrapping renewable subsidies

Private investment for developing renewable energy projects, such as wind farms, is suffering because of a halt in government subsidies.

A survey by Scottish Renewables suggested investors were being discouraged from investing after the Government announced new onshore wind farms would be excluded from a subsidy scheme a year earlier than expected.

The survey asked ten major lenders whether they would be willing to provide investment and of the seven who responded, more than half said they were not prepared to lend until the UK energy bill had received Royal Assent, which is not expected until next year.

Michael Rieley, senior policy manager at Scottish Renewables, said: "Our members have already expressed concern that they were entering an investment hiatus and this survey of lenders would indicate their suspicions are well founded.

"With the decision to end support a year earlier than planned, around 2GW of onshore wind projects in Scotland have been put at risk."

For more on this story click here

Source: Third Force News

Property Update

Average rental price growth over 10 per cent higher than a year ago

Rent price rises slowed in every region of the UK over the three months to August compared to the previous three months, according to the latest lettings index figures.

The findings also show that prices are still rising at double figure rates on an annual basis and are now 10.5 per cent higher than a year ago.

The data from the HomeLet rental index shows that the average tenancy signed during the three month period was £992 per month and £1,558 per month in Greater London.

Overall, the average UK rent on new tenancies has increased 1.6 per cent in the three months to August 2015, compared to an increase of 2.2 per cent for the three months to July and June 2015.

Martin Totty, chief executive officer of the Barbon Insurance Group, HomeLet's parent company, said: "Rents continue to run slightly ahead of house prices, with the majority of the UK still experiencing rising rents, albeit at a much slower pace than we saw in the early part of 2015.

"On an annualised basis, however, rents in most regions are still significantly higher than the same period a year ago, with only the North West reporting lower rents for new tenancies in the three months to August 2015 than for the same period last year."

For more on this story click here

Source: Property Wire

Energy Update

Community energy sector searching for Government commitment

Leading sustainability organisations and businesses have called for the Government to commit to saving the UK community energy sector.

More than 650 delegates attending a major international conference in London this week backed calls from key energy entrepreneurs for the Government to keep its vow to help local groups "break the grip of the dominant big energy companies" and deliver a so-called "energy revolution".

Less than 20 months after launching the Community Energy Strategy, Energy Ministers have been accused of backtracking on their pledge to support locally-owned renewable projects by proposing a string of cost-cutting measures to the Feed-in Tariff scheme.

Author of Energy Revolution - a book about successful community energy initiatives around the world - Howard Johns, said: "The Government's latest proposals to cut the Feed-in Tariffs will as currently suggested do irreparable damage to Britain's rapidly expanding renewable energy industry.

"In particular, many groups of hard-working people striving with their neighbours and friends to develop and build local renewable energy systems will be stopped in their tracks at the eleventh hour by these careless proposals."

For more on this story click here

Source: Click Green

Recycling Update

Report suggests practical solutions to bulky waste problem

A report published today by The Great Recovery and waste management company SUEZ cites previous WRAP research stating that 32 per cent of the 1.6 million tonnes of bulky waste produced in the UK each year is completely reusable when dumped.

The aim of the report is to offer advice to manufacturers on ways to help reduce this number. These include changing the position of fire safety labels in order that sofas and chairs can be reused, creating a more formalised system of bulky waste collections to reduce fly tipping and offering guides to help people determine what to do with their furniture once they have finished with it.

Lucy Chamberlin, Head of Programme at The Great Recovery, said: "One man's waste is another's gold, and as we saw time and again it is people's perceptions about what is or isn't waste that effectively determines the fate of an object.

"Items that are no longer wanted by one person will still hold value for others so re-selling should be made as easy as possible."

For more on this story click here

Source: Resource.co

Renewables Update

DECC say no to four Welsh wind farms

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has rejected four planned onshore wind farms with a potential capacity of more than 350MW in mid-Wales.

The reasons given for refusing the farms include adverse visual effects, local wildlife damage and a negative impact on tourism.

A spokesperson for DECC said: "Careful consideration has been given to each application, and the planning and energy issues involved."

Welsh renewable energy groups said Monday's decision was a "devastating blow" to mid-Wales and removed the potential for "tens of millions of pounds of community benefit."

David Clubb, RenewableUK Cymru director, said: "It seems that with today's decision, that investment into mid-Wales will be lost for good, and the people of Wales will be the poorer for it."

For more on this story click here

Source: edie.net

Recycling Update

JTA welcomes new e-waste fund

A new scheme aimed at helping local authorities tackle e-waste has been welcomed by the Joint Trades Associations (JTA).

The £775,000 fund - made available by retailers, suppliers and manufacturers of electrical equipment as part of the Distributor Take-back Scheme and the WEEE Compliance Fee - will be awarded to local councils to support the collection, re-use and recycling of unwanted electrical items.

Savills said its results were based on economic performance and growth prospects alongside population growth.

The news was welcomed by the Joint Trades Associations (JTA), which said the fund demonstrated the WEEE scheme has been effective.

Richard Hughes, JTA Chairman, said: "The funds allocated will provide invaluable support to local authorities to improve their WEEE collections. Following the news this March that the UK met its 2014 WEEE collection targets, it is very pleasing to see yet another sign that the UK's new WEEE system is working well."

For more on this story click here

Source: Business Green

Property Update

Housing supply shortage makes Britain an investor hotspot

The housing shortage in Britain combined with the country's strong economic growth has made it the fourth best place in the world if you are looking to invest in residential property, according to Savills.

The UK housing market, which has seen prices climb by 20 per cent over the past five years, was ranked behind the US, United Arab Emirates and Singapore as the best place to make a return on rent and rising property values.

Savills said its results were based on economic performance and growth prospects alongside population growth.

Yolande Barnes, director of Savills world research, said: "When a growing population, growing affluence and limited housing or land supply converge, we would anticipate real house price growth."

For more on this story click here

Source: City A.M.

Energy Update

Government invests in tackling fuel poverty

The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has allocated £25 million to tackle fuel poverty across England.

The Central Heading Fund, has backed 20 projects to help people living in homes which are not connected to the gas grid, a move that is likely to will benefit more than 7,000 households.

Fuel poor households will also have central heating systems installed by local authorities, which is expected to save up to £1,000 a year on energy bills.

Lord Bourne, UK Energy Minister, said: "We are determined to help hardworking families keep their homes warmer for less and we recognise that households not connected to the gas grid can pay over the odds for their heating.

"So we are taking action by backing these innovative projects that will help the people who need it most by focusing on central heating for the first time - cutting bills and keeping homes warmer."

For more on this story click here

Source: Energy Live News

Property Update

Older home owners still on the move

New research suggests that many homeowners over the age of 55 are not intending on remaining where they currently live, with 37 per cent planning at least one more move.

Overall, it appears they are planning more than three million future property purchases worth a total of more than £775 billion, according to data from insurance firm Prudential.

However, this does not seem to signal an explosion in property deals fuelled directly by the new pension freedoms. Only 14 per cent say their plans have come about as a result of the pension rule changes and just one in ten think the changes make them more likely to buy a property in the future.

The research also shows that investing in property is something that remains popular with the over 55s. Almost a fifth of those planning a property deal say they will be buying a second home to let, develop, or as somewhere for their relatives to live.

Stan Russell, retirement expert at Prudential, said: "There was a lot of speculation that pension freedoms would spark a rush of over 55s investing in buy to let property as a means of generating income in retirement. However, our research suggests that this hasn't yet been the case.

"In fact the process of withdrawing cash from a pension fund to purchase property and potentially generate an income is complex and could result in a large tax bill."

For more on this story click here

Source: Property Wire

Renewables Update

Cost of renewable energy now close to fossil fuel

Generating electricity from renewable resources such as solar and wind has more than halved in cost in the last five years, according to the International Energy Association.

Their Projected Costs of Generating Electricity: 2015 Edition report suggests that the median cost of producing solar power fell from around $500Mwh to $200Mwh over five years. The cost of onshore wind fell to around $100/Mwh.

Baseload power available from natural gas, coal and atomic plants fell marginally to around $100/Mwh in the same period.

The conclusions drawn from the report show the growing trend in countries moving towards zero-carbon sources, with the report stating: "The vast majority of the technologies included in this study are low- or zero-carbon sources suggesting a clear shift in the interest of participating countries away from fossil based technologies, at least as compared to the 2010 study."

The analysis is based on data from 181 plants in 22 different countries. It highlights the cost for each resource in each country, noting how prices fluctuate depending on climate and other geographical factors.

For more on this story click here

Source: Edie.net

Property Update

Largest monthly rise in house prices for a year

According to the latest data from the Land Registry, property prices in England and Wales increased by 4.6 per cent in July compared with 2014, taking the average property value to £183,861.

Month on month they increased by 1.7 per cent with the East of England seeing the largest monthly rise of 2.8 per cent and the biggest annual price increase with a rise of 8.9 per cent.

However, the number of completed house sales in England and Wales decreased by 15 per cent to 65,619 compared with 77,488 in May 2014. From February 2014 to May 2014 there was an average of 70,029 sales per month. In the same months a year later, the figure was 61,283.

John Eastgate, sales and marketing director of OneSavings Bank, said: "The simple fact that demand exceeds supply will continue to push house prices upwards and as long as that is the case, it's hard to see prices moderating. The mortgage market remains supportive, and low rates aren't going anywhere."

For more on this story click here

Source: Property Wire

Recycling Update

Cardboard voted most popular packaging material

According to research commissioned by the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI), shoppers in Britain prefer cardboard packaging to polystyrene because it offers better protection.

The survey found that 40 per cent believe the protection cardboard offers to goods in transit, as well as the simplicity of recycling it, made it the preferred choice of packaging in the poll. Only 37 per cent prefer polystyrene.

The survey was carried out in early August with 2,030 members of the public responding from 'all cross-sections of society'.

According to the CPI, results are as expected but the opinion on which material offers the best protection to products 'should be an eye-opener for online retailers' and 'make them consider the choice of packaging in their supply chains'.

Andy Barnetson, CPI's director of packaging affairs, said: "This latest survey indicating that consumers rate cardboard as the best protection for goods in transit is a really good result for the corrugated industry.

"We may not be far ahead but the fact is that we are ahead - in the area where polystyrene has always previously been seen to lead. It's another poll that suggests cardboard packaging improves customer satisfaction with their purchases.

"I'm not surprised at the level of consumer support for ease of recycling. Awareness of the benefits of recycling cardboard is generally on the increase."

For more on this story click here

Source: Resource.co

Property Update

Housing prices up but annual growth declines

Housing prices increased by 0.3 per cent in August but annual growth has softened to 3.2 per cent from 3.5 per cent, according to the latest residential property index.

Data from lender, Nationwide shows that the average price is now £195,279 and chief economist, Robert Gardner said the fall in the annual rate of growth is due to prices having strongly increased in August 2014.

Gardner said: "This month's data provides further evidence that annual house price growth may be stabilising close to the pace of earnings growth, which has historically been around four per cent.

"However, survey evidence cautions that this trend may not be maintained unless construction activity accelerates. Surveyors reported the lowest ever number of properties on their books in July whilst new buyer enquiries picked up."

He highlighted that UK house prices have proved remarkably resilient in recent years, certainly compared with many other developed economies. House prices, for example, did not fall as far during the financial crisis and generally recovered their pre-crisis levels more quickly.

He added: "Clearly house price trends are determined by a wide range of factors, but labour market developments are amongst the most important. The strength of the UK labour market in recent years is a key reason why house prices have recovered more quickly."

For more on this story click here

Source: Property Wire

Renewables Update

Government asked to commit to renewable energy installation

Scotland is urging the Government to commit to installing renewable energy technologies on the Scottish Islands.

Fergus Ewing, Scotland's Energy Minister, previously invited Energy Secretary Amber Rudd to co-chair the next Scottish Islands Delivery Forum, set to meet in Glasgow next month.

The Scottish Government claims that David Cameron agreed to the use of more renewable energy on Scottish Islands earlier this year.

Mr Ewing has urged Ms Rudd to provide more clarity on this issue before the next meeting, which is considered crucial to the development. This is following the Government's statement earlier this year, which said that new onshore wind farms will not receive public subsidies from April 2016.

Mr Ewing said: "The Scottish Islands are arguably the best places in Europe to deliver renewable energy. The wind speeds are the strongest and they have the best potential for wave and tidal energy in the future."

For more on this story click here

Source: Energy Live News

Property Update

Cost of first time buying lower than renting

For first time buyers, the cost of buying a home is £670 a year lower than renting, according to new research by the Halifax.

To buy a three bedroom house in the UK as a first time buyer was £666 a month in June 2015, whereas the typical monthly rent on the same property type was £722.

This is in contrast to June 2009, when the average cost of buying was £1,154 per year more than the average rent paid. Even though the average price paid by first time buyers for a three bedroom house is 25 per cent higher than six years ago, the monthly costs of owning has dipped due to mortgage rates falling to 2.91 per cent from 4.92 per cent. In the same period of time, average rents have grown by 23 per cent.

The report also suggests that first time buyers in London will have experienced the largest benefit from buying rather than renting a home in the last year. The average monthly cost of £1,338 for those who have bought in London in 2015 compares to an average monthly rental of £1,419. This gives a saving over the year of £973 or six per cent.

Craig McKinlay, mortgage director of the Halifax, said: "Looking at monthly costs, the combination of lower mortgage rates and declining rental value over the past six years has made it cheaper to buy than to rent.

"While numbers of first time buyers getting on to the housing ladder in the first six months of both 2014 and 2015 has been over 135,000, almost double the lows seen in 2009, the issue of building more new homes in the right places needs to be addressed if we are to see sustainable growth."

For more on this story click here

Source: Property Wire

Energy Update

Energy secretary set to reduce solar subsidies

Energy secretary, Amber Rudd is set to reduce solar power subsidies as part of the Government's latest effort to cut costs for consumers.

Britain installed more solar panels than any other country in Europe last year, with demand strengthened by payments of 43p per kilowatt hour; nine times the wholesale rate.

As more than 600,000 homes and businesses reportedly installed the solar panels, a much higher rate of take-up than expected, the Government began cutting subsidies, which currently stand at 12.9p per kilowatt hour.

It is widely expected, however, that Rudd will go even further, slashing the current rate by as much as half this autumn.

At a consultation on the solar subsidy scheme, Rudd said: "Our support has driven down the cost of renewable energy significantly.

"As costs continue to fall it becomes easier for parts of the renewables industry to survive without subsidies. We're taking action to protect consumers, whilst protecting existing investment."

For more information click here

Source: City A.M.

Property Update

Supply of new homes building up 15 per cent year-on-year

According to the latest figures, there were over 131,000 new homes built in the last 12 months. This is 15 per cent higher than in the previous year, and the highest annual total since June 2009.

Brandon Lewis, Housing Minister, welcomed the figures but promised that the rate of new building would continue rising to meet the Government's target of 275,000 per year by 2020.

He said: "This has provided a real boost to the UK's construction industry and is delivering the homes that hard-working people rightly deserve. However, we know there is more to do."

The Office of National Statistics has shown that output in the construction industry increased by 2.7 per cent in June compared to the same month last year, and work on private new housing between April and June rose by nearly 3.9 per cent on the previous quarter.

Radical reforms made in 2012 have put Local Plans and housing delivery at the centre of the planning system which has helped to raise the average number of homes built from 573 to 717 per year.

For more information on this story click here

Source: Property Wire

Recycling update

Survey suggests children should have recycling education

A survey conducted by Direct365 has shown that 30 per cent of people in the UK believe children should be educated about recycling more at school to help reduce waste.

According to research as part of their Green365 campaign, 25 per cent of people stated that energy-saving lessons should be on the National Curriculum and 11 per cent felt that children need more guidance on saving water.

Sam Tinsley, Direct365's general manager, said: "There are plenty of statistics out there that emphasise how much damage we are doing to the planet by sending waste to landfills unnecessarily, and there's also lots of research in place that explains how much energy and water we're wasting on a daily basis.

"Schools must reinforce this message, whether that means making formal changes to the National Curriculum or introducing a more informal, holistic approach. Bad habits are hard to break, and it's far easier to maintain an eco-friendly approach to life if you have been doing the right things from a young age."

For more on this story click here

Source: edie.net

Property Update

Seasonal summer dips fail to affect property market

House prices in the UK fell 0.8 per cent in August, much less than the usual summer seasonal fall off, according to the latest index from property portal, Rightmove.

The data shows the average asking price of a home in the UK is now £292,284 which is 6.4 per cent above a year ago. However, the market is considerably varied. First time buyers face a 1.8 per cent rise with the average price in this market at £177,977. The average price at the top end of the market is £524,822, a fall of 2.2 per cent.

Rightmove says that the strongest August price performance since 2007 demonstrates the continuing supply/demand imbalance in the property market. It says that the top three reasons for people not moving are an inability to find somewhere to buy, the cost of moving and the affordability of the property.

Miles Shipside, Rightmove's director and housing market analyst, said: "While new seller asking prices have been muted by the traditional summer holiday property slowdown, the underlying shortage of property coming to market compared to buyer demand has helped to deliver the strongest August price performance since before the credit crunch.

"Buyers can normally pick up some bargains in August as sellers who are marketing their homes when they should be holidaying often have a pressing need to sell and mark their prices down pretty aggressively. At 0.8 per cent done on the previous month, this is the least generous that sellers have had to be for eight years and a clear sign of upwards price pressure in the pipeline."

For more information on this story click here

Source: Property Wire

Energy Update

Scottish motorists to receive interest-free loans for electric vehicles

A new £2.5 million fund will give Scottish motorists access to an interest-free loan of up to £50,000 for electric or hybrid vehicles.

The Electric Vehicle Loan is open to anyone looking to buy a new electric or hybrid car or van, and is offered alongside the UK Government's Plug-in Vehicle Grant.

The loan funded by the Scottish Government agency, Transport Scotland, can cover 100 per cent of the purchase price and can be repaid over a period of up to six years.

Derek Mackay, Transport Minister, said: "Encouraging mass changeover to electric vehicles, from more polluting ones running on petrol or diesel, is a key to cleaner road transport in Scotland and a fundamental factor in achieving our ambitious climate change targets while also improving local air quality.

"Electric vehicles already offer large savings to drivers through reduced fuel and taxation costs and this fund will further encourage new buyers by addressing the current cost premium often cited as a barrier to making the switch. I am pleased we are adding this incentive to the growing package of support measures for electric vehicles outlined in the 'Switched on Scotland' policy roadmap."

For more information click here

Source: Click Green

Renewables Update

Renewable energy industry breaks power record

According to new government figures, the UK's renewable energy industry generated a record level of power during the first quarter of this year.

Data published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) confirms renewables provided 22.3 per cent of power in the first quarter of the year; an increase of 2.6 per cent on the share delivered in the first quarter of 2014.

DECC said 21.1 terrawatt hours (TWh) of renewable electricity was generated in the first quarter. This is up 14 per cent on the 18.4 per cent generated in quarter one of 2014.

A rise in biomass generation was the main driver behind the increase, with output from the technology almost doubling from 2.2TWh in the first quarter of 2014 to 4.3TWh in quarter one of 2015.

Generation of solar power also grew 60 per cent from 0.5TWh to 0.8TWh over the same period, while onshore wind remains the largest form of renewable power generation in the UK.

For more on this story click here

Source: Business Green

Energy Update

Electric vehicle market set for cable-free future

The electric vehicle market is expected to roll out wireless charging systems by 2017.

It is predicted that charging posts without cables will initially be offered as an optional purchase for luxury cars but is expected to be totally commercialised by 2028.

Kevin Mak, Senior Analyst in the Automotive Electronics Service (AES) at Strategy Analytics, said: "Challenges include the speed of finalising standards, since it is critical for wireless charging systems to be interoperable, in instances where the consumer buys a different brand of electric vehicle or when charging on public infrastructures."

For more on this story click here

Source: Energy Live News

Property Update

Decrease in development land prices

The average price of greenfield land in England and Wales fell by just under one per cent between April and June, according to the latest sector index.

Knight Franks' residential land index shows a 0.9 per cent fall - a moderate decline from the 1.8 per cent fall recorded in the first quarter - which takes the annual fall in prices to 2.4 per cent.

Gráinne Gilmore, head of UK residential research at Knight Frank, said: "The sales market has returned to more normal conditions, along with absorption rates, and this is being reflected in a slowing in the growth of development land prices.

"While there are also signs that build cost inflation, which has risen sharply over the last 18 months, is now levelling off, developers are still having to factor these higher costs into their offers. In addition, house builders are generally maintaining their margins, and this is weighing on land prices."

For more on this story click here

Source: Property Wire

South East Update

New Dover Strait reference document is world first

Kent County Council and Pas-de-Calais Council have today launched The Seascape Character Assessment (SCA) for the Dover Strait. This new reference document and planning tool is the first of its kind anywhere in the world to recognise the complexities of sustainable Strait management.

The SCA will provide a mechanism to ensure that proposed developments and changes within the Dover Strait and associated coastlines take into account economic, social and environmental factors. This will support the sustainable development of the Dover Strait's marine and coastal environments.

Through this sustainable approach, the Seascape Character Assessment will also support the development and delivery of a 20-year vision for the Strait area shared by the two authorities.

Matthew Balfour Cabinet member for Environment and Transport at Kent County Council, said: "The Dover Strait is an iconic part of the UK's landscape. It's part of what makes Kent special.

"With its coastal communities and marine space, the Strait is an environmental treasure trove, an area rich in heritage and history. It's also one of the busiest shipping lanes in the world, and a growing economic hub. All of these factors make it a complex environment to manage, develop and protect.

"It's essential that we all understand, look after and develop the Dover Strait for future generations and The Seascape Character Assessment provides us with a way of doing this."

The Seascape Character Assessment is a reference document giving a detailed picture of the Dover Strait, from Dungeness to Margate on the Kent coast and Berck to Dunkirk on the French coast - and everything in between.

For more on the SCA click here

Reycling Update

Recycling rate slow down fuels fears UK could miss EU target

Household recycling rates in England are maintaining steady improvement, but currently look set to fall short of meeting EU targets for 2020, according to data released by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra).

In the 12 months to December 2014, 44.8 per cent of waste from English households was recycled by local authorities, up 0.6 per cent from the same period in the previous year, states the Defra report.

The improvement in recycling rates and the opening of new energy-to-waste facilities means that despite households seeing total waste levels rise 3.7 per cent last year to 22.4 million tonnes or 414kg per person, the amount of waste being sent to landfill continues on a downward trend.

However, the modest improvement in recycling rates will fuel fears the UK needs to see a change in approaches to recycling if legally binding EU targets are to be met. The country is required to recycle at least 50 per cent of its waste from households by 2020. Defra's latest figures confirm the recycling rate in England has improved by 3.6 per cent since 2010 but the growth rate does need to improve significantly if the government is to avoid getting an EU fine.

A spokesperson for waste advisory charity WRAP said: "On the one hand it is good to see that from the latest statistics the recycling rate is continuing in the right direction, but if we're to be a nation that is making the most of our valuable resources, as well as meeting the 2020 target of 50 per cent recycling, we have to be recycling more year on year."

For more on this story click here

Source: Business Green

Property Update

Small developers slowed down by court ruling

UK courts have delivered a blow to small residential developers that could make schemes of up to 10 homes economically unviable, according to law firm Coffin Mew.

The Brighton-based legal practice said the move concerning the exemption small residential developers have previously had from contributions towards affordable housing will particularly affect urban residential development and small rural sites.

The exemption was introduced to encourage residential developers to bring forward smaller housing schemes and to redevelop compact urban and rural spaces to help meet the chronic housing shortage.

Nick Leavey, partner and head of commercial property at Coffin Mew, said: "This decision is a major blow for smaller residential developers looking to bring forward schemes in urban environments.

"The economic viability of small schemes is often on a knife edge and this decision is likely to pull the rug from underneath those difficult to develop sites. It is also likely to have a negative effect on land values for future deals, exacerbating the housing crisis in the South East further. Nobody wins from this decision."

For more information click here

Source: Property Wire

Renewables Update

Public still supporting renewable energy

Public support for renewable energy in the UK remains strong, according to the Department of Energy and Climate Change's (DECC) latest survey.

The study, which monitors public attitudes to energy and climate change, said support for renewables has remained consistently between 75 and 82 per cent in all tracker reports.

While strong support for renewables is lower than previous surveys at 24 per cent, DECC said opposition to renewables was low at four per cent and only one per cent of the public were strongly opposed.

Daisy Sands, Head of Energy at Greenpeace UK, said: "The Government's own survey shows Ministers' priorities on energy are at the polar opposite of what the British public wants. Popular technologies like wind and solar are having their support axed, whilst the more unpopular than ever fracking industry keeps getting preferential treatment."

For more on this story click here

Source: ReNews

Property Update

House prices rise in July

The increase in UK house prices is picking up speed, according to Nationwide.

House prices rose by 3.5 per cent in July compared with the same period last year and prices between June and July were also up 0.4 per cent, raising the average house price to £195,621.

However, Nationwide raised concerns over the imbalance between supply and demand in the housing market. Its report said there was encouraging demand but supply was unclear.

Robert Gardner, Nationwide's chief economist, said: "The number of new homes under construction has started to pick up, albeit from historically low levels, and further increases are required if a sustainable recovery in the housing market is to be maintained over the longer term."

For more on this story click here

Source: Fresh Business Thinking

Energy Update

UK energy consumption falls below 1965 level

The UK is the only country where energy consumption is lower today than it was in 1965, according to data released by BP.

Energy consumption has decreased by nearly five per cent during the past 50 years, even though the economy has tripled in size and population.

Britain's energy usage peaked in 2005 and has fallen steeply since, with consumption down 6.3 per cent over the past year.

Part of the explanation for this is the decrease in industrial output, but rising energy efficiency accounts for the majority of the fall.

The greatest improvement in efficiency came from the industrial sector. The transport sector is the only one with no change in energy efficiency since 1970.

For more on this story click here

Source: City A.M.

Renewables Update

Pro-wind power petition handed to Government

A petition signed by more than 3,000 people in support of small and medium-scale wind generation in the UK has been submitted to Government.

The petition, which aims to emphasise the important role that small and medium wind projects play in the rural economy, was handed to four Government departments including the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Department for Environment.

The organiser of the petition, RenewableUK, said it wanted to highlight that farmers and small businesses have come to rely on the small and medium-scale wind in difficult economic conditions.

Gemma Grimes, director of onshore renewable at RenewableUK, said: "Today's action is about letting Government know that the decisions they have made have a real impact on the many thousands of people in rural Britain who now depend on a wind turbine to make a living.

"We want to see the 'Big 60,000' become a reality - that means more and more people generating their own power. But this won't happen without careful nurturing. The wishes of thousands of ordinary voters who signed this petition should not be ignored."

For more on this story click here

Source ReNews

Property Update

Housing demand highest for more than a decade

Demand for housing in the UK has reached an 11-year high with the number of house hunters reaching almost 430 per branch, according to the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).

The number of house seekers registered per NAEA member branch reached 439 in June, the highest it's been since August 2004.

This comes at a time when the gap between supply and demand is increasing as the supply of housing stock fell from 46 houses in May to just 44 houses available per branch.

Mark Hayward, managing director of the NAEA, said: "What we're seeing is a market that lulled over the general election period, coming back to life in full force.

"Buyers are feeling more confident and those who put their plans on hold over the election and political aftermath have kicked off their hunt, causing this massive jump in demand. There's also an impetus to buy right now in light of the impending interest rate rise as buyers fight to buy and fix mortgage rates."

For more on this story click here

Source: Property Wire

Energy Update

Gas-fired power plants given green light

The Government has given the go-ahead to the building of two new gas-fired power stations.

Progress Power and Hirwaun Power will build the plants in Suffolk and South Wales, with a total capacity of 299MW.

Both plants will provide electricity when demand is high or when there is a sudden decrease in power generation from other facilities.

The projects are expected to create up to 400 jobs, with around 30 permanent positions once they start operating.

Lord Bourne, Energy Minister, said: "Continued investment is essential as we move the UK towards a cleaner energy future. These stations will create jobs while helping to keep people's lights on.

"Gas is the greenest fossil fuel we have; generating electricity with only half the emissions produced by coal."

The news follows National Grid's announcement this winter's power margin - the difference between peak demand and available supply - could be the tightest in a decade.

For more on this story click here

Source: Energy Live News

Quantum Update

Latest Client Website Design and Build Goes Live

Quantum PR's in-house studio team has completed its latest website development work - with the launch of Casepak's new site today.

Quantum was commissioned to design and build a new state-of-the-art website for the leading recycling and waste management company.

The bespoke website build makes use of the latest coding attributes, which ensure the site is responsive across a number of devices - including mobile phones and tablets - significantly improving accessibility.

Navigation throughout the site has also been streamlined, ensuring visitors have no difficulty finding key content, such as Casepak's facilities and services.

The site has been developed within a Content Managed System, allowing Casepak to update elements as they require.

When was the last time you updated your website? Contact us today to discuss how we can bring it up to speed, ensuring it is fit-for-purpose and working as effectively as possible.

Call 01233 500200 or email info@quantumpr.co.uk

Quantum Update

Quantum PR Says "You're Hired" to its First Apprentice

Quantum Public Relations has appointed its first PR apprentice as part of plans to meet growing demand and provide an opportunity for a young person to begin a career in the industry.

The Ashford-based full service communications agency has added school-leaver Beverley Southern, 18 to its ranks.

Beverley, who completed A Levels in Media Studies, Photography and Religious Studies at Highworth Grammar School in June, will provide assistance to the company's various account delivery teams, which provide a range of PR and marketing services to clients including Ward Homes, Casepak and The Training Effect.

Beverley said: "The apprenticeship is enabling me to gain invaluable experience of the PR and marketing industry at an established and dynamic agency. The chance to join the Quantum team and help provide PR and marketing services to a range of clients of all sizes and sectors across the UK was an opportunity that I couldn't turn down."

Charlie Vavasour, Managing Director of Quantum, said: "Following the success of our long-running graduate internship programme, we decided to extend our entry level offer by giving a bright and enthusiastic apprentice the chance to carve out a career in the PR and marketing industry.

"We were looking for a candidate that was passionate about communications, committed to learning and also able to quickly become an integral team player. Beverley more than fits the bill.

"As well as on the job training, experience of a professional environment and a dedicated Quantum mentor, Beverley will also benefit from learning from the Public Relations Consultants Association (PRCA) to work towards gaining a nationally recognised qualification.

"Beverley's appointment ensures we have the capacity to continue to deliver the high standards we set ourselves and our clients expect both now and as the company grows with more and more client wins. We're sure she'll add a lot to the team and look forward to supporting her attain her apprenticeship qualification."

Property Update

Planning reforms to boost construction of houses in UK

A series of planning reforms announced by the Government aimed at boosting house building have been widely welcomed by the property and construction industries.

Under the revisions, planning permission will be granted automatically for homes on brownfield sites, even over ruling wishes of local authorities in England. However experts have warned that councils will not like the move although they have been heavily criticised for not creating local plans and taking too long to make decisions.

Ministers will also get powers to seize disused land suitable for houses, and major housing projects are set to be fast tracked through the planning system. There will be penalties for local authorities that make 50% or fewer planning decisions on time in a bid to inject some speed into the planning process.

Read more here

Source: Property Wire

Recycling Update

Three Strikes and Then You're Binned

Thurrock Council is introducing a new 'three strikes and you're out' residents' recycling bin policy.

According to the council, contamination (such as food waste contaminating paper waste, or incorrect materials being placed out for recycling) costs taxpayers 'hundreds of thousands of pounds', due to material being too dirty to recycle (and instead being sent to landfill).

As such, anyone who 'refuses to recycle properly' will be 'penalised' by having their blue co-mingled recycling bins removed. Councillor Gerard Rice, Cabinet Member for Environment at Thurrock Council, said: 'Nearly a quarter of all recycling loads are being rejected because they're contaminated by non-recyclable materials.

"Unfortunately one blue bin with the wrong materials in it can lead to a whole lorry-load - four tonnes worth - being rejected. On one lay last month, four out of seven loads were rejected and each of those costs us £120 instead of £15.

"Effectively it means one thoughtless person's action is putting part of everyone's council tax payment in the bin - and it's happening too often."

The council notes that common contaminants include: plastic bags; food waste (there is a separate bin for food waste); tetra pak packaging and other cartons; plastic film; and light bulbs.

For more on this story click here

Source: Resource.co

South East Update

CETB Supports Chipstead FC in Annual Fixture Against the Winter Weather

Chipstead Football Club is taking steps to prevent the problems posed by waterlogged pitches after scoring more than £25,000 in funding from Cory Environmental Trust in Britain (CETB).

The community club, founded in 1936, will use the grant to install a new pitch drainage system underneath its main and junior mini-soccer pitches.

It is hoped this will put an end to the frustratingly frequent site of waterlogged pitches during the winter months, which often result in cancelled games or the club having to find and pay for alternative venues.

Alan Black, Chipstead FC Chairman, said: "The drainage system would make a huge difference to the club, which has three senior and 21 junior football teams. We're incredibly grateful to CETB for providing us with such a generous grant."

Angela Haymonds, CETB Trust Secretary, said: "The new drainage system will ensure 300+ club members suffer far fewer cancelled games. The Trustees are delighted to have been able to support Chipstead Football Club with funding."

For more on this story click here

Source: CETB

Energy Update

Nuclear Will Play "Critical Role" in Government's Energy Plans

Energy Minister Andrea Leadsom has reaffirmed the UK's support for nuclear power.

Speaking at the Nuclear Industry Association conference earlier this week, she said nuclear energy plays a "critical role" in the Government's security of supply and decarbonisation goals.

Mrs Leadsom added: "Government has prepared the way for new nuclear power stations through a package of reforms and regulatory measures. [This will] remove barriers to investment and give developers the confidence to take forward projects which will help deliver secure, low carbon and affordable energy.

"We have also made sure operators of new nuclear power stations put in place robust plans and finance for managing their waste and decommissioning right from the outset."

For more on this story click here

Source: Energy Live News

Renewables Update

Offshore Wind Set to Hit Cost Reduction Target

The UK's offshore wind industry is on track to meet the Government's cost target of £100/MWh by 2020, according to a new report.

The study, Approaches to Cost Reduction in Offshore Wind, was produced by BVG Associates for the Committee on Climate Change and considers the effect of a range of policies on offshore wind.

It found better visibility and confidence of future levels of deployment for the industry could cut £1.9bn in the 2020s from the cost to UK energy users of offshore projects built between 2021 and 2030, compared with current approaches.

"Visibility in the shorter-term means rolling clarity on the anticipated size of Contract for Difference auction pots. In the longer-term, visibility and confidence come from a stable policy environment based on a rational, framework for low-carbon energy that prioritises technologies offering the lowest cost solutions," said BVG.

BVG's analysis was also based on expected future innovations, such as turbines with capacities of 10MW or more, the development of new novel foundations, improvements in HVAC and HVDC technology and optimising operations and maintenance.

For more on this story click here

Source: ReNews

Property Update

Highest levels of house seekers hindered by lack of supply

Demand for property in the UK reached an eight-month high in May, according to the latest monthly report from the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).

The data also shows that the supply of housing has increased marginally from last month, with 46 houses up for sale per NAEA member branch in May, compared to 43 last month. And whilst demand for property is at similarly high levels to May 2005, supply has almost halved year on year over the 10 years, when 81 properties were available to buy.

"There's been a significant jump in the number of house hunters searching for properties this month, no doubt because the uncertainty of the market following the election has worn off and confidence has returned," said Mark Hayward, NAEA Managing Director.

"However, supply does not meet the rise in demand, and as consumer confidence grows we will continue to see a widening of the property gap. The housing shortage will not be solved any time soon, so as pressure mounts we will no doubt see increases in house prices, making it harder for those stepping on or up the ladder."

For more on this story click here

Source: Property Wire

Recycling Update

Scotland Considers One Size Fits All Recycling Solution

Simplified and standardised recycling systems could be introduced across Scotland.

The move to a more consistent nationwide recycling process has been recommended by the Zero Waste Taskforce, a joint initiative between

Scottish Ministers and the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA), which found that a streamlined system would make it easier for people to recycle.

Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead said: "I want to make it easier for people to recycle. Presently, there are a variety of different systems for collecting paper, glass, plastics, food waste and general waste across Scotland - you can go from one local authority to the bordering local authority and find different systems.

"While this is often the case for sound local reasons, as people move between different parts of Scotland, it can lead to materials becoming contaminated and losing value, fetching lower prices and simultaneously increasing the costs for to councils for sorting and cleaning.

"More consistent systems will allow councils to work together more efficiently, save money and cut down confusion over what can be recycled where."

If agreed by council leaders later in the summer, all local authorities will be invited to sign up to a unified Household Recycling Charter.

For more on this story click here

Source: REB News

Energy Update

Owl-inspired technology could cut wind farm noise

Wind turbines could soon be able to spin more quickly and generate more power through the adoption of new noise-dampening technology inspired by owls.

Scientists from the University of Cambridge and three US institutions studied the wings of owls and identified developed a new kind of prototype material to imitate the features that make them so quiet.

The researchers believe the material could be used to coat the blades of a wind turbine, a computer fan or, eventually, the wings of an aeroplane to cut the noise.

Tests on a turbine blade in a wind tunnel cut noise by up to 10 decibels, without having a noticeable effect on its aerodynamics, they found.

For more on this story click here

Source: The Telegraph

Renewables Update

UK should adjust policies to hit 20% by 2020 target

The UK is set to miss a key EU renewable energy target and should review its policies to get back on track, the European commission has said.

A progress report for all 28 member states recommended that the UK along with France, Holland, Malta and Luxembourg should "assess whether their policies and tools are sufficient and effective" to meet the target.

Adopted in 2009, the binding target requires the EU to source 20 per cent of energy from renewables such as wind, solar and biomass by 2020.

An EU source said: "There are still five years to go [to meet the target], there is still time. We are not saying they [those countries lagging now] are going to fail. We are saying look into your policies and adjust them."

The UK's share of energy from renewable sources - which includes heating as well as electricity - was 5.1 per cent for 2013.

For more on this story click here

Source: The Guardian

Property Update

Tory victory attributed to record high property prices

A post-election property price surge is directly linked to the unexpected political certainty brought about by the Conservatives' outright majority, according to Rightmove.

New seller asking prices have risen by an average of nearly £8,500 or three per cent compared to the previous month, taking the average price of property coming to market to a new record high of £294,351.

Miles Shipside, Director at Rightmove, said: "Some buyers had been holding back in the weeks before the election, leading to some sellers suffering an unseasonal price standstill in the late spring. In particular, sentiment and prices got hit in the mooted Mansion Tax price brackets.

"Now the unexpected election outcome has caused a strong rebound, prompting an upturn in buyer demand and helping new seller asking prices to hit their highest ever levels."

For more on this story click here

Source: Rightmove

Recycling Update

Waste sector signatories call for meeting with Resource Minister

Major players in the waste sector have called on the new Resource Minister to address the stalled progress in improving resource management in England.

In a letter to Rory Stewart MP (pictured), seven signatories including CIWM, the Resource Association and the Waste Network Co-ordinators, have asked for an early meeting to "help turn this situation around".

It reads: "We are writing to you now to welcome you to your new role as Minister in Defra responsible for resource management, and to seek an early meeting with you to discuss the future direction of policy in this important area.

"We would like to work with you to see what can and should be done to address these issues."

The letters states that the rate of increase in household waste recycling and composting in England has levelled off and it is not certain that the EU target of 50 per cent by 2020 will be reached. It goes on to say that the markets for recycled materials are currently very weak and prices are making a reduced contribution to the cost of collection and sorting.

For more on this story click here

Source: CIWM Journal

Energy Update

Fire Brigade's Electric Car Charging Network Goes Live

London Fire Brigade has today switched on 156 electric-vehicle charging points at 76 fire stations and sites around the Capital.

Nine of the stations will make their charging points open to the public, as part of the Brigade's commitment to reducing carbon emissions.

London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson, said: "Electric cars offer big environmental benefits and play an important part in keeping London clean.

"The new charging network not only makes it easy and convenient to charge up a car's battery, making electric cars easier to use, but also reaffirms London Fire Brigade's commitment to lead on sustainability in the fire service and reducing our impact on the environment." Government funding for the charging-point rollout totalled £592,000, covering roughly a third of the cost.

The remaining cost was covered by Chargemaster, which installed and managed the charge point sockets. The company will recoup its expenditure by charging a tariff for recharging.

For more on this story click here

Source: London Fire

Energy Update

Insulating Robot Wins Entreprenurship Award for its Inventors

A home-insulating robot has won its UK inventors an international award.

Q-Bot Limited's four-wheeled machine earned them the Best Start-up award at the Invention and Entrepreneurship in Robotics and Automation Awards held in Seattle.

The innovative, lightweight robot can be inserted through a property's air vent to survey and apply insulation to the underside of floorboards.

The only way to insulate floorboards previously was to lift them, which is an expensive and disruptive procedure, according to Innovate UK, which backed the invention.

Tom Lipinski, Founder and Director of Q-Bot Ltd, said: "A UK start-up winning a world entrepreneurship award in robotics might sound odd - we consider Japan as the leader in robotics and the US the leader in enterprise.

"However, very little of current robotics is being applied in real life, especially in the US. With Q-Bot we are helping to reduce fuel poverty and improve lives while saving energy and helping the environment."

For more on this story click here

Source: Energy Live News

Renewables Update

Ring-fenced renewables budget hampering consumer savings

he UK can reach its 2020 renewable energy targets at a significantly lower cost by introducing more competition between technologies, according to new research.

Currently 80 per cent of the budget up for grabs at the Government's annual Contracts for Difference (CfD) auction is ring-fenced.

A study conducted by Baringa Partners on behalf of Green Hedge Renewables found that creating a truly free market without the government picking winning technologies could save consumers more than £600 million per year. Furthermore, this could still achieve the levels of electricity generation that is expected to be required for the UK to meet its target of 15 per cent of energy from renewable sources by 2020.

Green Hedge Renewables' Managing Director Niels Kroninger said: "The CfD system works well to reduce the level of government support for low carbon energy by introducing competition. But it appears at odds with the idea of a competitive allocation that 80 per cent of the budget is ring fenced for the 'winners' chosen by Government, even though they are - and are forecast to remain - substantially more expensive."

For more on this story click here

Source: Click Green

Property Update

Education, education, education - property prices protected by proximity to schools

Properties located close to independent schools and university towns hold their value and are able to recover faster from a housing market downturn than average UK homes, according to new research.

Overall average property prices of homes within a two mile radius of an independent school have outperformed the national average. House prices close to independent schools currently stand at 116 per cent of their 2007 market peak, compared to 98 per cent for England and Wales as a whole.

In 2014, the average property price stood at £173,500 while the average price paid for a property close to an independent school was £354,000, according to the study published by estate agents Hamptons International.

In the South East and South West of England average house prices have returned to 2007 levels, but for those homes close to independent schools values are on average 17 per cent higher.

The research, conducted by Hampton International, also found that the South and South West of England attract the greatest number of overseas students. Two thirds of universities with more than 10% overseas students are located in the South and South West of the country.

Fionnuala Earley, Director of Research at Hamptons International, said: "The UK is recognised the world over for the quality of its education. For many overseas parents with children studying in the UK this is a catalyst to investing in property - be this a student flat or larger family home.

"The UK's stable legal and political system, together with an economy that is growing some three faster than the Eurozone, makes the UK an attractive proposition to many overseas investors."

For more on this story click here Source: Property wire

Energy Update

Gas companies press case for gas-based global warming solution

The bosses of Europe's six largest energy companies have united in an effort to influence a UN climate change conference taking place in Paris at the end of the year.

In a letter to the Financial Times, the heads of BP, Shell, BG Group, Eni, Statoil and Total have said gas and carbon pricing should play vital roles in tackling global warming.

The letter reads: "As a group of business people, we are united in our concern about the challenge - and the threat - posed by climate change. We urge governments to take decisive action at December's UN summit.

"We are also united in believing such action should recognise the vital roles of natural gas and carbon pricing in helping to meet the world's demand for energy more sustainably."

The six oil and gas companies press the case for getting out of coal and switching to natural gas - a lucrative part of their business model.

Although they say renewable energy has "an increasing role to play", they think natural gas will help meet energy needs, arguing that governments must "pursue all options to lower carbon while providing the energy the world needs to meet demand from a growing population seeking better living standards".

For more on this story click here

Source: The Guardian

Recycling Update

Potential landfill mining financial benefits revealed

There could be a large financial value in extracting rare earth elements (REE) and other valuable metals from landfill sites, an academic study has found.

Cranfield University analysed 55 samples of soil-like material from four UK landfill sites. Excluding larger materials like plastics and chunks of metal, the researchers detected copper and aluminium across the sites with a combined value of £261m. They also found more than £92m of the precious metal palladium.

Dr Stuart Wagland, a member of the research team, said: "It is unlikely that the recovery of only rare and critical metals would be economically viable. However, recover copper and aluminium and it starts to make sense.

"We need to do a lot of metal processing to get the material away from the soil, which is a big challenge, but the value of the material is considerable. Further resource recovery is possible with the extraction of larger metal items and the reprocessing of plastics, adding even more value to the operation."

For more on this story click here

Source: MRW

Renewables Update

New renewables technology taking major steps forward

Energy from footstep will become the next big thing in renewables, according to energy innovators Pavegen.

The London-based company made the claim at the unveiling of its first urban environment installation at Canary Wharf's Reuters Plaza, at which it launched a crowd-funding campaign to make energy-generating floors as common as solar panels.

Laurence Kemball-Cook, founder and CEO of Pavegen, said: "At Pavegen we develop floor tiles that generate energy from your footsteps, so every time you step on our tiles, we are generating up to seven Watts of energy from that step.

"The technology converts your movements, your weight, into power, and it does that via an electromagnetic generation system so when someone walks on it, it rotates a flywheel and the energy from the step is stored in the inertia of the flywheel. Our aim is to make it competitive with solar energy and it works really well in places like cities where you have a limited amount of roof space but a huge amount of floor space."

The campaign on Crowdcube, running until the end of June, has raised almost half of its target amount in just one day. Through the campaign, people can buy shares in the company for as little as £10.

For more on this story click here

Source: E & T

Renewables Update

Capital-wide community-owned PV project unveiled

Edinburgh Council has revealed plans to install community-owned solar panels on buildings across the Scottish capital.

The initiative, which is believed to be the largest community-owned urban renewable energy project in the UK, will see public buildings such as schools, leisure and community centres chosen to host solar PV panels.

The energy generated by the installations will help to make future cost savings while reducing the capital's carbon emissions by an estimated 855 tonnes a year. Buildings that are chosen to participate will benefit from cheaper electricity from the solar panels, resulting in substantial savings.

Any surplus energy will be sold to the National Grid and profits made by the project will be reinvested locally through a newly-created Community Benefit Fund.

Vice Convener of Transport and Environment, Councillor Adam McVey, said: "This is fantastic news for Edinburgh and will bring long term environmental, social and economic benefits. Community energy co-operatives allow local people to play a part in building a greener, more sustainable environment whilst raising awareness more generally about the importance of being energy efficient.

"We are aiming to meet our target of reducing Edinburgh's carbon emissions by 42 per cent by 2020 and this project is an important step towards us achieving this."

For more on this story click here

Source: Click Green

Property Update

House-building surges - but is still below 2007 peak

House-building starts in the first quarter of 2015 increased by 31 per cent on the previous quarter in England and by 11 per cent compared to the same period last year, according to government figures.

Seasonally adjusted house-building starts in England are estimated at 40,300 for the first three months of 2015; the highest quarterly number since 2007. However, this increase comes in light of a 1.1 per cent decline in overall construction output that the Office for National Statistics announced last week.

The lobby group for housing developers and builders, Home Builders Federation (HBF), said that despite the increase, the numbers were still well short of the new houses that many believe are needed. The HBF says that 230,000 new homes a year need to be built in England to meet demand.

HBF Director of Economic Affairs, John Stewart said: "These figures are yet another sign that the house-building industry is responding to more positive market conditions, along with the added boost from Help to Buy Equity Loan, to raise housing supply."

For more on this story click here

Source: Construction Index

Energy Update

Coal shutdown creates opportunity for low carbon transition

One of Britain's leading energy experts has called for a "long-term" and "progressive" energy strategy after the closure of another UK coal power station.

Energy company SSE has announced that its Ferrybridge power station in West Yorkshire was "no longer economical" and will close in March.

Phil Taylor, a Professor of electrical power systems and the Director of the Institute for Sustainability at Newcastle University, welcomed the closure, saying: "We simply can't continue to burn coal - it's one of the most environmentally damaging fossil fuels and is an inefficient and expensive way to meet our energy needs."

Taylor called for more support for carbon capture and storage (CCS) and assistance for workers so they can get the transferable skills necessary for a sustainable economy.

Last year UK power from coal fell by a quarter but still represents around a third of all UK energy.

For more on this story click here (http://www.edie.net/news/6/Coal-power-closures--create-opportunity-for-low-carbon-transition-/)

Source: Edie.net

Recycling Update

World's largest gasification plant nears completion

The plant dubbed the largest gasification plant in the world will soon start the processing of 350,000 tonnes of refuse derived fuel (RDF) after entering the final stages of commissioning.

Tees Valley One (TV1) will treat pre-processed municipal, commercial and industrial waste. The facility will use plasma gasification technology to convert materials into energy for the National Grid generating enough electricity to power 50,000 homes.

A neighbouring plant, The Tees Valley Two (TV2), secured planning permission from Stockton-on-Tees council in 2013 and construction begun in April last year. The second facility will have the capacity to treat an additional 350,000 tonnes of pre-processed waste.

Both plants will provide power on behalf of the Government's Energy for Growth programme over a 20-year period.

For more on this story click here

Source: Lets Recycle

Renewables Update

Energy secretary set to put local communities "back in charge"

New energy secretary Amber Rudd has unveiled plans to shake-up the onshore wind farm industry - removing subsidies paid to operators and handing decision-making powers to local authorities.

In an interview with The Sunday Times, Miss Rudd said she liked to look at windfarms but recognised that their location was deeply divisive, with local people battling against them.

Miss Rudd said the new legislation would hand onshore planning powers to local councils, which in turn will have to consult residents first.

"It will mean no more onshore wind farm subsidies and no more onshore wind farms without local community support," she said.

"This is really important. I've already got my team working on it. That's going to be one of the first things we''re going to do.

"I've put a rocket under the team to get it done, putting the local community back in charge. We''re looking to do the primary legislation as soon as we can. Local planning authorities combined with no new subsidies will put local people in charge ... there will be a much more accountable democratic process."

For more on this story click here

Source: The Telegraph

Property Update

English regions start to outpace house price growth in London

House price growth in the South East and East Anglia has overtaken London for the first time in nearly half a decade, according to the latest index covering England and Wales.

Richard Sexton, Director of e.surv Chartered Surveyors, said: "This is the first time for nearly four and a half years that London has not been leading the pack in terms of regional house price growth, as higher stamp duty rates take some of the shine off high end properties in prime central areas."

The data also showed that the average house price in the UK now stands at £275,961, a new high for the year.

Overall, across England and Wales, house price growth picked up in April, climbing 0.2 per cent. However, the annual rate of property price growth has halved since last summer, down to 5.3 per cent year-on-year.

Average property values also hit new highs in Greater Manchester and Birmingham, as demand in other large cities continues to thrive away from the south eastern extremities of the UK.

For more on this story click here

Source: Property Wire

Recycling Update

Circular economy package to tackle plastic waste

Tackling plastic pollution and raising public awareness of the problem will be some of the key focuses of the revised EU circular economy (CE) package, Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella has announced.

Vella suggested that ensuring a "real market" for secondary raw materials, including plastics, could be essential to reducing waste and said ecodesign was a way of maximising the recycling of products.

In his latest speech, Vella said: "Plastic pollution is one of the most striking symptoms of a resource-inefficient economy. But the issue should also be seen in terms of an economic opportunity. And one where the EU can lead."

The final revised CE package is due to be published in the autumn.

For more on this story click here

Source: MRW

Renewables Update

UK electricity grid holds back renewable energy, solar trade body warns

Britain's antiquated electricity grid is stopping renewable energy projects connecting to the system, threatening the country's prospects for a low-carbon future, the solar power industry's trade body has warned.

Leonie Greene, the Head of External Affairs at the Solar Trade Association, said the grid had lacked investment for many years because of a lack of action by the Government and Ofgem, the energy regulator.

"We are missing basic information because we don't have an assessment of how much actual capacity is left and what is needed to meet the 2020 targets," said Greene.

For more on this story click here

Source: The Guardian

Energy Update

UK energy storage test bed powers up

Researchers at Newcastle University have begun use of their unique energy storage testing facility.

The energy storage test bed, which has been funded by a £2 million grant, will store energy from the local grid and test new technologies such as super capacitors and long-life, high performance batteries.

Professor Phil Taylor, Director of the Institute for Sustainability at Newcastle University, said: "This exciting new research facility allows us to learn about energy storage generally, quantify its value more effectively and improve it by working with equipment manufacturers and other solution providers.

"The energy storage test bed will help make the UK a leader in the adoption, deployment and integration of energy storage technology and establish best practice for energy distributors and industry, which is a huge part of the energy storage challenge."

For more on this story click here

Source: Edie.net

Property Update

Housebuilders enjoying best year in nearly a decade

Housebuilding is having its best year since 2007 with most of the UK seeing strong growth, an industry body has reported.

The National House Building Council (NHBC) said 40,281 new homes were registered between January and the end of March, the highest three-month total since 53,420 new registrations were recorded in early 2007.

The recent figures represent an 18 per cent increase on the first three months of 2014, the NHBC said. But in London, new registrations were down by 29 per cent year-on-year during the same time period.

Mike Quinton, NHBC Chief Executive, said: "Housing growth levels remain strong across virtually every part of the UK. However, we have made clear that the UK is still building way below the volumes of homes that we need.

"NHBC looks forward to working with government to ensure that high quality new housing is a top priority."

For more on this story click here

Source: Guardian

Quantum Update

Quantum PR adds its name to PRCA's payment campaign

Quantum Public Relations has joined a national campaign calling for an end to the unethical practice of lengthy payment terms in the business of communications.

Managing Director Charlie Vavasour added his name to an open letter written by the Public Relations Consultants Association's (PRCA) as part of its #30days drive.

The signatories call on organisations to pay their PR agencies, and indeed all suppliers, within 30 days and also urge the Government to make prompt payment a legal requirement, not merely a voluntary measure.

For more on this story click here

Energy Update

Governments must triple low-carbon spending

The International Energy Agency (IEA) has said that public spending on low-carbon technology must be tripled in to ensure global warming limits are not exceeded.

The group's Energy Technology Report found that clean-energy progress is "falling well short" of the levels needed to limit the global increase in temperatures to 2C.

It argues that the upcoming UN negotiations in Paris are unlikely to yield a sufficiently ambitious agreement and that policy makers must take the initiative by ramping up clean-energy spending.

IEA Executive Director Maria van der Hoeven said: "Today''s annual government spending on energy research and development is estimated to be $17 billion. Tripling this level, as we recommend, requires governments and the private sector to work closely together and shift their focus to low-carbon technologies."

The IEA report suggests that recent success stories, such as the rapid growth of solar and the launch of the world's first large-scale power station equipped with Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology, indicate that there is significant potential for change.

For more on this story click here

Source: Edie.net

Quantum Update

We'll be the judge of that

Quantum Public Relations' Managing Director Charlie Vavasour has been invited to serve on the judging panel for the PRCA Awards 2015. The annual PR industry awards recognise consultancy and in-house team excellence across a wide range of categories.

Charlie Vavasour said: "I always enjoy judging awards and seeing the creativity and innovation within the industry, and assessing Quantum's campaigns against the submissions from across the UK."

Renewables Update

North Wales one step closer to new electricity storage facility

The Crown Estate has agreed to lease 13 hectares of land in North Wales to Snowdonia Pumped Hydro (SPH) for what will be Britain's first grid-scale electricity storage facility for more than 30 years.

The £160m Glyn Rhonwy facility will have the potential to produce nearly 100MW. When built, it will allow water to be pumped to an upper reservoir at times of low electricity demand. This can then be released back through turbines to a lower reservoir to re-generate the electricity at times of high demand.

According to The Crown Estate, the 600MWh facility will play an important role in balancing supply and demand on the UK grid as renewables such as wind and solar continue to grow. It is expected to be operational by 2019 and achieve carbon payback within six to nine months.

Peter Taylor, Chairman of SPH parent organisation Quarry Battery Company, said: "By continuing to utilise unconventional sites such as the abandoned quarry on the Crown Estate's land, Britain can realise an additional 15GW of grid-scale storage using pumped hydro technology alone."

For more on this story click here

Source: Renews

Recycling Update

Organisations are realising the benefits of sustainability

A survey of 1,500 consultants, corporate managers and green NGO officials has found that 53 per cent of respondents linked increased revenues to sustainability initiatives.

Ethical Corporation's poll also found 67 per cent of those questioned said sustainability was driving savings and 30 per cent rated "sustainability as a source of competitive advantage" as the most important issue facing their company in the next five years.

An Ethical Corporation spokesman said: "Organisations are making strides in terms of incorporating sustainability into their strategies and are, in particular, seeking to minimise environmental and social impacts in their supply chains."

Despite the positive figures, Ethical's study found room for improvement as only a fifth of respondents believed their company was fully taking advantage of the potential of sustainability.

For more on this story click here

Source: MRW

Quantum Update

Senior Moment for Sananur Meric

We are delighted to announce that Sananur Meric has been promoted to the position of Senior Account Manager.

As part of her new role, Sananur will take on more managerial responsibilities, working closely with our in-house studio and ensuring overall standards remain high.

Charlie Vavasour, Managing Director of Quantum PR, said: "Sananur has fantastic organisational and time-management skills, which will enable her to take on her additional duties as well as continue to lead various account teams, ensuring all agreed client objectives and targets are met, if not surpassed.

"Sananur joined us five years ago as an Account Executive and it's been great to see her career develop successfully."

Property Update

House price increase slows

UK house prices increased by 7.2 per cent in the year to February, down from 8.4 per cent in the year to January 2015. The Office of National Statistics figures suggest that annual house price growth rates are showing signs of slowing across the majority of the UK.

Excluding London and the South East, UK house prices increased by 5.9 per cent in the 12 months to February 2015.

Peter Williams, Executive Director of the Intermediary Mortgage Lenders Association (IMLA), said: "Seeing annual price rises dip below an annual increase of six per cent outside London and the South East is a step in the right direction to improve affordability.

"However, in part the slowdown has only been possible by squeezing potential buyers out of the market by restricting access to finance, creating some extra breathing space for politicians to get to grips with the fundamental supply/demand imbalance."

For more on this story click here

Source: Property Wire

Energy Update

New technology trialled in Kent

An innovative and environmentally-friendly high voltage power insulating system is being trialled at the Sellindge converter station, near Ashford.

Alstom has signed a contract with National Grid to trial the system, which uses the company's g3 (green gas for grid) mixture instead of toxic alternatives.

A spokesman said: "g3 has a global warming effect 98% lower than that of SF6 gas. It is non-toxic and non-flammable, and is safe to handle with no impact or degradation on the ozone layer."

The plans are part of the National Grid's attempts to manage its environmental impact, aiming to reduce its emissions of greenhouse gases by 45 per cent by 2020 and by 80 per cent by 2050.

For more on this story click here

Source: 4traders

South East Update

New programme to focus on healthy relationships and peer dating violence

In the UK, the prevalence of relationship violence is higher in adolescents than in adults, with females aged 12-18 years having the highest victimisation rate.

Academic research has shown that approximately one in five young women has experienced violence from a partner and the first episodes of abuse frequently occur in adolescence.

To tackle this complex issue, The Training Effect has launched a new initiative through its Risk-Avert programme - developed in partnership with Essex County Council.

The Risk-Avert Healthy Relationships and Peer Dating Violence programme utilises an innovative early intervention, identification and prevention approach to help young people at risk of becoming victims or perpetrators of domestic abuse. The new programme will take a dual-level approach focused on universal interventions across the whole year group and school community alongside more targeted work for young people potentially at risk.

Mark Bowles, Director of The Training Effect, said: "Research has shown most young people know that abusive relationships are wrong, but may still commit abusive acts with their partners.

"We take the stance that domestic abuse cannot be tackled solely through a knowledge-based approach but believe that innovative and interactive prevention efforts during the teen years can be especially effective, at a time when students develop scripts that will guide their future actions in relationships.

"We hope the Risk-Avert Healthy Relationships and Peer Dating initiative, like the main programme, will really engage young people, lead to positive outcomes and give real insight into the scale of the issue. By delivering these programmes in schools we are not only providing interventions to students but also increasing the skills and expertise of the teachers and staff. Arguably, no other programme has more opportunities to reach a broad population and a specific age group."

The new programme has been developed using the latest available evidence and best practice. It is supported by the Southend, Essex and Thurrock Domestic Abuse Strategic Board and forms a key element of the Board's developing Joint Domestic Abuse Strategy. Schools currently taking part in Risk-Avert will have access to the Healthy Relationships and Peer Dating Violence programme during the current academic year.

The Risk-Avert approach has been widely used to act against drugs, alcohol and tobacco consumption in young people with very positive results. After completing the Risk-Avert programme, 94 per cent of young people felt more confident about making plans to avoid risks. Ben Hughes, Head of Commissioning: Public Health and Well-Being at Essex County Council, said: "The Risk-Avert programme has been rolled out across 25 schools in Essex and we have found it to be a highly innovative and effective way to communicate risks to young people, which has made a deep impression. We are excited at the impact that this new focus on the issue of healthy relationships and peer dating violence could have."

The Risk-Avert Healthy Relationships and Peer Dating Violence programme has now been officially launched. More information is available at www.risk-avert.org/

Renewables Update

Innovative hybrid flywheel promises renewable energy storage revolution

Construction of a new energy storage plant that could "revolutionise" the integration of renewable power into electricity supplies is set to begin in the coming weeks.

The facility, based in County Offaly, Ireland, will use a motor-generated flywheel to harness kinetic energy from the Grid at times of over-supply, while stored energy will be released from submerged turbines at times of supply shortfalls.

The project is expected to launch in 2017 with an operating capacity of 20MW.

Jake Bracken, a research manager for the Schwungrad Energie project, said: "The hybrid flywheel is a disruptive innovation with the potential to revolutionise the system services market, decoupling its provision from electricity generation by delivering energy-less system services."

For more on this story click here

Source: Greenwise Business

Property Update

Home affordability in UK cities deteriorates to 2009 levels

Rising house prices across the country has resulted in a fall in property affordability in UK cities.

The average UK city house price has increased by 7% from £181,667 in 2014 to £195,107 in 2015.

Indeed, the average house price in a UK city is 6.1 times gross average annual earnings, compared to 5.8 times in the previous year.

The affordability of city homes is now the same level as in 2009, but has not hit the peak of 7.2 times average earnings in 2008 during the housing market boom.

Oxford has been named as the least affordable city where the average house price is 11 times the gross average salary (£361,469). Houses in Oxford are more expensive compared with local average earnings than any other UK city, partly due to its appeal to London commuters.

Stirling is the most affordable area in the UK and Aberdeen has seen the highest house price growth since 2005, according to research by the Lloyds Bank Affordable Cities Review.

The Review highlighted the issues of home affordability extending the North/South divide in the UK due to the strength of the southern market. This is demonstrated by 17 of the 20 least affordable cities being in southern England and 19 of the 20 most affordable cities for home buyers being outside that region.

For more on this story click here

Source: Property Wire

Energy Update

UK Solar energy trend justifies change in policy, says Energy Secretary

The falling costs of solar panels has required an upwards revision of the UK's solar energy use forecast, according to Energy Secretary Ed Davey.

It is expected that the National Grid will be supported by 14GW of solar power by 2020 - up from 5GW at the end of 2014. That equates to a leap from 1.5 per cent of total UK annual electricity to just under four per cent.

Mr Davey said it was this surge that prompted the Government to withdraw subsidies from large-scale solar farms - above 5MW - from the end of March.

The solar industry argues that the cuts are a mistake and will reduce its competitiveness with fossil fuels. Leonie Greene, spokeswoman for The Solar Trade Association, said: "We need subsidies for another few years - maybe five - before we can compete with fossil fuels in the UK." She added that the 14GW by 2020 figure could be closer to 20GW if the subsidy reduction was not taking place.

But Mr Davey said recent tenders for energy contracts among different types of renewable energy companies showed that solar was ready to compete already.

For more on this story click here

Source: BBC

Recycling Update

Scotland set for first-of-its-kind £111m waste plant

Following a partial investment from the Green Investment Bank (GIB) a £111 million "first-of-kind" waste plant, is set to be built in Forth by Lanark, Scotland.

The plant will have a Materials Recycling Facility (MRF) alongside an Energy from Waste (EfW) unit and is set to be operational in January 2017.

Once waste arrives at the plant, recyclables material such as metals, paper and plastic will be removed by the MRF, leaving a residual Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF). This will be then sent to the EfW plant where it will processed and used as fuel to create heat. This heat will then be used to generate steam to produce electricity.

The project is forecast to recycle over a million tonnes of materials during its 25-year lifetime and will generate the heat required by the MRF.

According to the GIB, the development is expected to supply enough electricity for nearly 18,000 homes over its lifespan. It is also expected to save 1.4 million tonnes of waste from going to landfill and deliver a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of around 1.3 million tonnes.

For more on this story click here

Source: Letsrecycle.com

Property Update

First time buyers given boost in Budget

A new Help to Buy ISA unveiled by Chancellor George Osborne in yesterday's Budget has been welcomed by the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA).

The scheme will provide would-be owners with £50 for every £200 they save up to a maximum of £3,000 per person. The new measure, effectively a tax cut for first time buyers, will be introduced in the autumn.

Mark Hayward, Managing Director of the NAEA, said: "This is exactly what is needed to engage the first time buyer market, particularly as we have seen the current criteria under the Mortgage Market Reform constraining aspirations to buy a home."

Source: Property Wise

For more on this story click here

Renewables Update

North Sea wind power 'may make East of England a trade hub'

RenewableUK has suggested that the East of England could become a hub for trade in renewable energy with Scandinavia if the proper regulation is put in place.

The industry group has suggested that a report on industrial and environmental pressures in the North Sea could see development of a framework allowing the import and export of wind energy.

The committee found the North Sea was under pressure from human activity but said urgently-needed strategic and political vision would "secure it for future generations" and help manage the economic opportunities.

RenewableUK's Nick Medic said if rules were put in place to allow imports and exports between the UK and Iceland, Norway and Denmark the "East could become a hub for projects".

For more on this story click here

Source: BBC

South East Update

Sign up now for Expertise Homecare Discovery Day

Expertise Homecare is hosting two Discovery Days in Kent in the coming weeks to give potential franchisees more information about the company, its unique business model and the opportunities available to manage a successful business in the growing UK home care sector.

The free, no obligation Discovery Days will take place at Expertise Homecare HQ from 10am to 3pm on Friday 20 March and Tuesday 31 March and feature a number of short presentations that give a greater insight into Expertise Homecare.

We are keen to ensure the Discovery Days are inclusive as well as informative so we have limited the number of delegates attending to create a round-table discussion atmosphere.

Spaces are limited and booking is essential. For more information and to reserve your place click here March 20 or here March 31

Quantum Update

Quantum helps housing expert move from Blac to Regeneration UK

Quantum PR has helped an affordable housing specialist redevelop its corporate identity.

The rebranding brief required Quantum's studio team to design a new logo for Blac's new name, Regeneration UK, as well as expand and enhance its web presence on a new purpose-built website.

This new site maintains the general feel of the Blac website, also built by Quantum, but adds a case studies page and extra detail throughout the site.

To see the Regeneration UK website click here

Energy Update

Global CO2 emissions "stalled" in 2014

The growth in global carbon emissions stalled last year, according to data from the International Energy Agency (IEA).

It marks the first time in 40 years that annual CO2 emissions growth has remained stable, in the absence of a major economic crisis, the agency said.

Analysts attribute the slowdown in emissions to changing patterns of energy consumption in China and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.

China's coal consumption fell in 2014, driven by their efforts to fight pollution, use energy more efficiently and deploy renewable energy sources. China is now the biggest investor in renewable energy, outstripping the US.

But the IEA warned that while the results were "encouraging", this was "no time for complacency".

Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said the figures showed that green growth is achievable not just for Britain but for the world.

For more on this story click here

Source: bbc.co.uk

South East Update

Government to announce investment in HS1 services to Thanet

The Government is set to announce a £12 million investment in High Speed One services to Thanet.

As a result, Thanet will benefit from a faster and more regular service to and from the Capital - with journey times slashed by up to 10 minutes.

Dave Ward, Network Rail''s route managing director for the South East said: "Adding these improvements to the high speeds possible on HS1 - this country''s only high speed line - will bring Thanet closer to London and encourage investment and growth. This project is a brilliant example of how rail investment can bring benefits to the whole community."

Richard Dean from Southeastern said: "We''ve worked in partnership with Network Rail and Kent County Council to deliver improvements to services for passengers travelling with us from Thanet.

"Faster, more reliable journeys are priorities for passengers and help to create better connections for local businesses too. This is just the latest in a series of steps that we''re taking to deliver enhanced services on our network."

For more on this story click here

Recycling Update

Europe''s new circular economy package will be ''country-specific'

The European Commission''s "more ambitious" circular economy package will include country-specific waste-reduction targets and aims to "transform Europe into a more competitive resource-efficient economy."

The need for a more ambitious European waste policy is clear. In 2012, total waste production in the EU amounted to 2.5 billion tonnes with only 36% was effectively recycled and 37% sent to landfill.

The new proposal will make use of a new country sensitive approach whilst maintaining EU-wide goals on recycling levels.

Last year's scrapped proposals included a 70% recycling and reuse target for 2030 and a requirement for Member States to recycle 80% of packaging waste by 2030. However, in December, the Commission confirmed those proposals would be replaced by a wider ranging waste package in late 2015.

Speaking at the 2015 European Circular Economy Conference in Brussels last week, the European Commissioner for Environment, Maritime Affairs, and Fisheries, Karmenu Vella, said "The Commission is aiming to...transform Europe into a more competitive resource-efficient economy."

The Environment Commissioner confirmed this would cover both upstream (the production and use) and downstream (after products are no longer ''waste'') phases.

Eco-innovation and investment in clean technologies could bring in net savings of £600bn for businesses in the EU, while reducing total annual greenhouse gas emissions by 2/4%.

For more on this story click here

Source: edie.net

Energy Update

Scotland Offers £250k for Geothermal Energy

The Scottish Government has launched a £250,000 fund to tap into the potential of geothermal energy through drilling water pipes deep into the ground to bring up heat.

Organisations can bid for up to £50,000 each for feasibility studies from the Geothermal Energy Challenge Fund. Successful proposals will have to benefit local communities and help towards carbon reduction targets.

Heat is estimated to account for more than half of Scotland's total energy use, worth around £2.6 billion per year. Scotland's Energy Minister, Fergus Ewing, proposed this fund as an opportunity to follow recent housing projects in Scotland which use water from disused mines to provide heat for local households.

Ewing said: "Now is the time to take the experience of the housing projects and take the first steps towards the development of a delivery model which reduces carbon emissions, is self-sustaining and is economically viable."

For more on this story click here

Source: Energy Live News

Property Update

Residential demand up despite fall in prices

Rising wages, increasing spending power and a stamp duty tax cut are boosting demand from homebuyers despite a February fall in house prices, according to Halifax.

This was the first monthly fall since October yet Halifax said its quarterly figures showed house prices picking up - and these are judged to be a better measure of the market than volatile monthly figures.

Overall, average house prices are still almost £12,000 more expensive than this time last year. House prices in the three months to February were 2.6 per cent higher than in the three months to December, Halifax said.

Martin Ellis, Housing Economist at Halifax, said: "The supply of both new and second-hand homes available for sale remains low; another factor that is likely to be supporting house prices.

"Supply remains tight despite house building in England increasing for the second consecutive year in 2014 and a recent rise in the number of properties coming on to the market."

For more on this story click here

Source: This is money

Quantum Update

Spring is here and so is a new Quantum intern

Quantum PR has appointed a new Junior PR Account Handler.

Alex Treacher, a Law graduate from Cardiff University, started a three-month internship with Quantum this week. His responsibilities include media database management, conducting account research and event organisation.

The 23-year-old said: "I am thrilled to join Quantum and look forward to developing my skills within such an experienced team and support the company's growth in the coming months."

Charlie Vavasour, Managing Director at Quantum PR, said: "I am pleased to welcome Alex onto our highly successful internship programme, which enables the progression of graduates onto the career ladder.

"He has already settled well into the team and is providing valuable support to a number of our account teams."

Renewables Update

UK renewables sector pays price for 'policy hiatus'

A 'policy hiatus' is to blame for a slump in the UK's renewable investment appeal, according to an EY report.

The consultancy's most recent Renewable Energy Country Attractiveness Index sees the UK slip to eighth in the global league table - a 12-year low - behind China, USA, Germany, Japan, India, Canada and France.

EY energy corporate finance leader Ben Warren said: "The UK's Contracts for Difference (CfD) regime should, on paper at least, deliver the lowest possible cost of energy to the consumer. The challenge is whether renewable energy, having proven itself to be cost effective, is really given a level playing field and sufficient budget to fulfil its potential.

"The very slow passage of market reform and the late introduction of the CfD regime has made it very difficult for developers to sanction investment in new projects. The upcoming election means that we can expect an effective moratorium on energy policy.

"The role of renewable energy in the UK's long-term energy strategy remains unknown at a time when it has become affordable, quick to deploy and can deliver real jobs."

For more on this story click here

Source: ReNews

Property Update

First time buyers better off than renters

New research conducted by the Halifax shows that it pays to get on the housing ladder, with first time buyers in the UK £742 or nine per cent a year better off than those who rent.

The average monthly buying cost, including mortgage payments, associated with a first time buyer buying a three bedroom house stood at £658 in December of £720 paid on the same property type.

With the price of a typical first time buyer home rising by 8 per cent in 2014, the difference has narrowed from £80 or 1 per cent to £62 since 2013 as the average monthly buying costs grew by £46 while average monthly rents increased by £28.

However, at the same time, the number of first time buyers increased by an estimated 22 per cent in 2014, with 326,500 first time buyers getting on the ladder, the highest annual total since 2007 when it was 359,900.

Craig McKinlay, Halifax mortgage director, said: "Average home buying costs are significantly lower than average rental costs, providing first-time buyers with a large financial saving if they can get on the housing ladder.

"While the timescales associated with raising a sufficient deposit to buy a home present a hurdle to many potential first time buyers, the significant difference in costs between buying and renting, combined with still low mortgage rates, increased consumer confidence and the Help to Buy scheme, have all been factors driving the substantial rise in first-time buyers over the past two years."

Energy Update

Households urged to switch on to savings

The Government has launched a new campaign to encourage millions of UK households to switch on to energy cost savings.

'Power to Switch', launched today, urges people to take advantage of the best energy deals on the market by visiting www.BeAnEnergyShopper.com.

The campaign estimates that 13.5 million households across the UK are missing out on their share of £2.7 billion by sticking with their existing energy provider. By shopping around, millions of people can save around £200 - and some can save even more. Launching the campaign, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey said: "When it comes to switching, the power is in people's hands to get a better deal and save. We've reformed the market so that there are more suppliers, more competition, and a much faster and simpler process to switch.

"That means millions of people can switch supplier and save hundreds of pounds today."

Martin Lewis, Money Saving Expert, added: "We need to shout loud about the benefits of switching tariff. Too many people think energy firms are 'all the same'. That's far from true, there are huge differences on both price and customer service."

For more on this story click here

Source: Gov UK

Quantum Update

New banners for manners expert

Quantum PR was contracted by Etiquette & Manners for the Contemporary Woman to design new headers for the company's website and social media profiles.

The brief required Quantum's studio team to produce a header that presented the company's proposition - delivering traditional, English social and business etiquette expertise to women - in an elegant, stylish and subtle fashion.

Quantum produced three initial concepts from this brief before creating separate resized versions of the chosen header to meet the individual design specifications of each social media channel, including Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.

Emma Dupont, Founder of Etiquette and Manners for the Contemporary Woman, said: "The new header looks good and demonstrates the range of etiquette subjects I teach, from afternoon tea to more serious business areas.

"The three concepts Quantum produced were all excellent and fully understood my brief. I would like to thank the team for all their hard work."

To see the new header and the one it replaced click here

Recycling Update

Energizer charges forward with battery recycling first

Energizer has launched a range of AA batteries made in part from recycled batteries - a product it is calling a world first.

The EcoAdvanced range is made with four percent recycled batteries. By 2025, the company hopes to increase the amount of recycled battery material to 40 per cent.

Michelle Atkinson, Chief Marketing Officer at Energizer, said: "Industry experts long believed it was impossible to create a battery made with recycled batteries while maintaining performance.

"Our scientists welcome a challenge and have spent the past seven years creating just that - Energizer EcoAdvanced - our highest performing alkaline battery and the world's first AA battery made with four percent recycled battery material." For more on this story click here

Source: Businesswire.com

South East Update

Improving Home Care - Expertise Homecare Central & West Kent

Residents living in Tunbridge Wells, Tonbridge, Sevenoaks and Maidstone will have access to high-quality, high-tech home care for the first time from this month thanks to Expertise Homecare Central & West Kent.

The innovative home care company, launching on Monday, 9 February, has developed its own software and systems to streamline the delivery of care and ensure the highest standards are maintained.

Expertise Homecare is owned and operated by care specialist Natalie Richards, who has extensive experience in the domiciliary care sector, having worked for both the NHS and private care organisations.

"There is a high and growing demand for quality home care in Central and West Kent," said Natalie. "Our experienced 10-strong team is now in place and can't wait to start working to help meet this demand.

"We believe that Expertise Homecare will shape the future of adult healthcare provision. During my time working in the sector, I have seen first-hand what works and what can be improved, including decades-old, inefficient practices.

"We are committed to bringing homecare into the 21st Century through the use of innovative care processes, systems and software."

For more information about Expertise Homecare please visit www.expertisehomecare.co.uk

Property Update

Six month decline in mortgage approval ends

UK residential mortgage approvals rose in December - the first time in six months - suggesting that a steady slowdown in the number of loans for home purchases could be bottoming out.

Bank of England data shows there were 60,275 mortgage approvals for house purchases in the final month of 2014, up from 58,956 in November.

"The introduction of more restrictive mortgage regulation in the autumn took the breath out of lending for a while," said Adrian Gill, director of Your Move and Reeds Rains estate agents. "As the market adjusts to these new measures this stranglehold has been loosened."

"There was an encouraging December uptick in mortgage approvals, as borrowing is once more starting to build up speed."

For more on this story click here

Source: Property Wire

Quantum Update

Distinctive Kentish landmark scoops restoration funding

An ancient stone wall will be restored to its former glory thanks to a £20,000 grant from our client Cory Environmental Trust in Britain (CETB).

Specialist work to repair the historic boundary wall, which borders Riverhead Parkland, will begin in April and is expected to take eight weeks to complete.

The restoration works have been spearheaded by Riverhead Parish Council and supported by CETB and Cllr Margaret Crabtree, Kent County Councillor for Sevenoaks Central.

Angela Haymonds, CETB trust secretary, said: "The Trustees are pleased to have been able to support this project, which will ensure the historic stone wall will stand proudly for many more years to come."

CETB funding is available for a wide range of projects that bring benefit to local communities. This may include refurbishment of churches or buildings of architectural or historical significance, or general amenity projects, such as improving disabled access or improvements to parks and nature reserves. For more information visit www.cetb.org.uk.

For more on this story click here

Source: Kent News

Quantum Update

Quantum to support care company launch

Quantum has been commissioned to promote the launch of Expertise Homecare Central & West Kent, a revolutionary at-home care provider based in Kings Hill.

The high-quality domiciliary care company will provide a range of homecare services to people living in West Kent from next month.

Expertise Homecare is a new and innovative home care franchise business. The company officially launched in September 2014 with a simple mission - to deliver long overdue home care improvements throughout the UK through a network of high quality, high profit franchise businesses.

Quantum has been supporting Expertise Homecare from the company's inception.

Charlie Vavasour, Quantum's Managing Director, said: "It has been a busy few months for us. We have helped to promote Expertise

Homecare as a franchising opportunity and build the brand through integrated PR and marketing activities.

"We now look forward to assisting with the launch of Expertise Homecare Central & West Kent and making residents fully aware of the high-quality at-home care services now available in their area."

For more information about Expertise Homecare visit www.expertisehomecare.com

Renewables Update

Renewable energy costs fall below fossil fuels

A new report has revealed that the cost of generating power from renewable energy sources has reached parity and even dropped below the cost of fossil fuels for many technologies in many parts of the world.

The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) study found that biomass, hydropower, geothermal and onshore wind are all competitive with or cheaper than coal, oil and gas-fired power stations, even without financial support and despite falling oil prices.

Solar photovoltaic (PV) is leading the cost decline, with solar PV module costs falling 75 per cent since the end of 2009 and the cost of electricity from utility-scale solar PV falling 50 per cent since 2010.

"Renewable energy projects across the globe are now matching or outperforming fossil fuels, particularly when accounting for externalities like local pollution, environmental damage and ill health," said Adnan Z. Amin, Director-General of IRENA.

For more on this story click here

Source: Click Green

Energy Update

British Gas follows suit with price cut

British Gas will cut gas prices by five per cent from next month, reducing the typical household''s annual energy bill by £37.

The price cut, set to be introduced on Friday, February 27, was announced earlier today, just a week after rival gas supplier E.On reduced its standard prices by 3.5 per cent.

British Gas said that the price cut reflected the recent fall in wholesale gas prices, which suppliers have been under pressure to pass on.

For more on this story click here

Source: BBC

Quantum Update

Fundraising gratefully received by the furred, finned and feathered

A month-long pedometer challenge, a World Cup sweepstake and regular dress down days were among the sponsored events undertaken by Team Quantum in 2014.

These activities helped raise more than £130 for Children in Need and more than £200 for The Retreat Animal Rescue, Quantum's designated charity of the year.

Sananur Meric, Account Manager at Quantum PR, presented the Ashford-based voluntary rescue centre with a cheque for £202.47 earlier this month.

Billy Thompson, Founder of The Retreat, said: "We are so pleased to have been Quantum's charity of the year. I'd like to thank Quantum PR for all their kindness and support on behalf of all of the furred, finned and feathered animals we look after here."

South East Update

Risk-Avert shortlisted for local authority awards

Quantum PR client The Training Effect has been shortlisted in two categories at this year's Local Government Chronicle Awards.

The Ashford-based business received the nominations for its Risk-Avert programme, developed in partnership with Essex County Council.

The programme, which is now being rolled out across schools in the UK, identifies young people vulnerable to multiple risk-taking and provides them with ways in which they can manage and avoid risk.

Essex County Council entered the programme into this year's awards and judges have shortlisted it in the 'public health' and the 'innovative service delivery model' categories.

Mark Bowles, Director of The Training Effect, said: "Following Risk-Avert's successful pilot in Essex schools, it is fantastic to see that judges have recognised the hard work that has gone into developing the programme. This is a great achievement for both Essex County Council and TTE."

For more about The Training Effect visit http://www.thetrainingeffect.co.uk/

Recycling Update

Fuel cell recycling research project powering forward

High value materials from a variety of end-of-life fuel cells may soon be recycled thanks to a collaborative research project funded by Innovate UK.

Axion Consulting, Johnson Matthey Fuel Cells and Technical Fibre Products have all worked together on the 'Recover' project, launched to establish the feasibility of recovery and re-use of fuel cell membrane electrode assemblies.

Having proven the initial process steps, Axion said that further research is now underway on evaluating the viability for commercial operation and developing a take-back system for end-of-life fuel cells - such as those from forklift trucks, mobile phone masts, electric vehicles and in small portable power packs for laptops and other products.

"The ability to recycle fuel cells is important as they will be powering the vehicles and technology of the future, which needs to be cost-effective if they are to be acceptable to both consumers and manufacturers," said Roger Morton, Axion consulting director.

"To make fuel cells more cost-effective, we need to reduce their whole-life cost and maximise the value of the resources they contain, such as platinum, high-value polymers and carbon fibre.

"Recycling them would also improve resource-efficiency and security of supply for these expensive and critical materials."

Property Update

Online agents losing out to traditional counterparts - online

A new report has revealed that traditional estate agents are doing better online than their online-only rivals.

The Chat Shop's research reviewed the online activities, including visitor numbers and engagement, of five online agents and five traditional agents during a four-month period.

The study revealed that Foxtons' website has the most online traffic with 970,000 visitors per month - 300 per cent more than all of the online agents combined.

Knight Frank led the way in social media, with the highest number of followers and interaction on both Twitter and Facebook.

Online agents were found to have done better in terms of making information and services accessible to customers.

For more on this story click here

Source: Property Industry Eye

Renewable Update

Renewable rates rise by 16 per cent

Global investment in renewable energy rose by 16 per cent in 2014, boosted by fast-growing solar power in the US and China.

Solar energy attracted more than half of the total funding for the first time, thanks in part to falling costs. The figures, published by Bloomberg New Energy Finance, show £205 billion was invested in green energy projects last year.

Ed Davey, the UK's energy and climate change secretary said: "Renewables are proving they can be cost competitive, which is why they are playing a key role in powering the economic recovery.

"We are transforming our electricity market [and] that's why the UK is a leading destination for renewables and is number one for offshore wind. Since 2010, renewable electricity generation has almost trebled and renewable electricity investment has more than doubled."

Doug Parr, Greenpeace UK's chief scientist, added: "The only disappointment is that, save for offshore wind, the UK and the EU are now lagging behind. For all the whinging about UK 'going it alone' on clean energy, it is increasingly clear that the bigger economic risk is being left behind as the low-carbon jobs go where political leaders show genuine commitment to a clean energy future."

For more on this story click here

Source: The Guardian

Energy Update

Tidal turbine plans submitted to Isle of Wight Council

Plans to build the world's first tidal energy farm in the UK have taken a major step forward after developers submitted proposals to the Marine Management Organisation and Isle of Wight Council.

The Perpetuus Tidal Energy Centre (PTEC) facility would be anchored off St Catherine''s Point.

PTEC claim it would be the first of its kind and its turbines would generate enough electricity to power 15,000 homes.

Fishermen and local businesses have signalled their opposition, claiming it will damage shellfish beds.

For more on this story click here

Source: BBC

Quantum Update

Quantum PR Names Find a Voice as its 2015 Charity of Choice

Quantum PR will raise funds for a fellow communications specialist throughout 2015 after naming Find a Voice as its charity of the year. The Ashford-based public relations agency will take part in a number of sponsored events throughout the year, with fundraisers varying from monthly dress down days to fun runs.

Proceeds will help Find a Voice continue to support people of all ages across the country with speech, language and communication difficulties.

Charlie Vavasour, Managing Director of Quantum PR, said he was hoping to surpass 2014's fundraising efforts, which saw the team raise more than £200 for The Retreat Animal Rescue, a voluntary rescue centre that provides veterinary care and shelter for more than 1,000 animals at any one time.

"We're looking forward to doing as much as we can in 2015 to raise money for Find a Voice," he said.

"We'll be taking part in a number of sponsored activities both individually and collectively throughout the year and want to improve on our 2014 efforts as an absolute minimum.

"We'll post updates on our fundraising efforts on our website and Twitter throughout the year. If anyone feels our efforts are worthy of a small donation along the way that would be gratefully received."

Ann Chaplin, General Manager at Find a Voice, said: "We look forward to working with Quantum PR throughout 2015. We are about helping people communicate regardless of the inability to speak.

"Whatever their disabilities, a lot of disabled people are remarkably creative and talented; we help them make the most of those skills and talents that would otherwise remain hidden."

For more information visit www.findavoice.org.uk

Resource Update

Asda's food waste reduction campaign sees 'wonky veg' hit the shelves

Supermarket chain Asda is set to sell misshapen fruit and vegetables in a bid to reduce food waste.

The five-store trial will see ungainly potatoes, swedes, carrots, apples and pears offered to shoppers at reduced prices.

The 'Beautiful on the inside' campaign has been launched in collaboration with TV chef Jamie Oliver and farmer Jimmy Doherty and the pair's new TV series Jamie & Jimmy's Friday Night Feast.

In the first episode farmers said retailers' stringent quality controls on the physical appearance of produce led to a significant amount of food waste.

For more on this story click here

Source: Resource.co

Property Update

Experts predict house sales slump in 2015

Property analysts have predicted slower growth in 2015 than recorded in 2014 - with prices expected to rise by 4 per cent, 3.2 per cent below those seen last year.

The General Election is seen by many experts as one reason for a slump in growth, while a predicted decline in sales in the Capital, where buyers have said "enough is enough", is given as another contributing factor.

For more on this story click here and to read our 2015 property outlook click here

Source: BBC

Quantum Update

Quantum wins recycling quality research project

Quantum has, this month, been appointed by a new entrant to the UK's recycling and resource sector, Recycle2Trade. The organisation is in the process of developing a new system which will provide a real time quality monitoring system for use by collectors, processors, traders and reprocessors of recycled materials both nationally and internationally.

The organisation is at an early stage in the system's development and is currently seeking feedback from industry to ensure that the final system makes a real difference to the quality debate. Quantum is currently assisting with the feedback process, ensuring that feedback is provided by those with extensive industry knowledge that can provide relevant input.

Quantum was selected for the role due to its extensive experience of the recycling sector. Also important was the agency's network of resource and recycling contacts and understanding of the quality issues experienced by local authorities, MRFs and reprocessors.

Commenting on the appointment, Quantum's PR Director Adrienne Robins said: "I've been researching and writing about quality issues both as a journalist and on behalf of clients within this industry for some 15 years. If this system could provide a small step forward that would be excellent. We're delighted to be involved in the project and will be watching it with interest as it progresses in 2015."

If you'd like to provide feedback about quality issues in the recycling sector, please contact Adrienne by phone or email to discuss the project by 19th December 2014. Telephone: 01233 500200. Email: Adrienne@quantumpr.co.uk

South East Update

Sevenoaks Rugby Club's conversion project underway

Sevenoaks Rugby Football Club has begun its planned facilities and pitch improvement works after receiving funding from Cory Environmental Trust in Britain (CETB), Ibstock Cory Environmental Trust (ICET) and Sevenoaks Town Council.

The project will see a wheelchair-accessible covered balcony for spectators and coaches built onto the existing clubhouse, an extension added to the overflow car park and ground drainage installed on the club's three pitches.

As part of the works, pitches one and two will be re-marked to place pitch one in front of the clubhouse. The facilities upgrade, planned in partnership with Sevenoaks Town Council, has been made possible thanks to a £50,000 CETB grant and £20,000 funding from ICET through the Landfill Communities Fund (LCF).

Angela Haymonds, Secretary of both CETB and ICET, said: "The CETB and ICET Trustees are delighted to be able to support this project, which will create a year-round sports facility for the whole community to use and enjoy. It's great that these important sporting facilities won't be thwarted by our increasingly wet weather."

CETB and ICET funding is available for a wide range of projects that bring benefit to local communities. This may include refurbishment of churches or buildings of architectural or historical significance, or general amenity projects, such as improving disabled access or improvements to parks and nature reserves.

For more information contact Angela Haymonds on 01753 582513 or ahaymonds@cetb.org.uk, ahaymonds@ibstockcory.org.uk or visit www.cetb.org.uk or www.coryenvironmental.co.uk.

Property Update

New Scotland Yard sold for arresting sum

The Metropolitan Police has sold its New Scotland Yard headquarters to the Abu Dhabi Financial Group for £360 million - more than £120 million than the guide price.

The Group beat off competition from 10 other bidders to secure ownership of the 1.7 acre site, which it plans to convert into a "mixed-use residential development".

The central London 1960s office block has been home to the Met for nearly half a century, but the Greater London Authority and police leaders decided to move the Force to a smaller building and invest the proceeds of the sale in updated technology.

For more on this story click here

Source: FT

Renewables Update

UK solar market could be strong and subsidy-free by 2020

UK solar power could thrive without subsidies by as early as 202, according to a report published by Thema1.

The think-tank studied Germany's growing renewable market to make predictions about how the UK solar market might follow in the same footsteps.

It found that commercial rooftop installations, including schools and offices, could be competitive by 2020, while the domestic rooftop and large-scale solar markets would also be economic within the next 10 years.

"We are firmly convinced that solar will become the bedrock of the global power system going forward," said report author Gerard Reid, a partner at corporate finance company Alexa Capital.

For more on this story click here

Source: ReNews

South East Update

High Speed rail network boosts borough's economic fortunes

This month sees the HS1 service celebrate its fifth birthday.

With 70% of journeys from Ashford International now on high speed, the benefits it has brought the town are clear. Indeed, leader of Ashford Borough Council stated: "HS1 is the most important economic boost to the South East in years and has strengthened Ashford's reputation as the powerhouse economy of Kent. We have unrivalled road and rail links which, together with highly competitive office and house prices and a dynamic growth agenda, makes the town the smart choice for businesses, investors and residents alike."

For more on this story click here.

Energy Update

E.ON to split in two

E.ON has unveiled plans to split into two companies, pooling its existing conventional energy operations into one business while the other will focus on renewable opportunities.

The split will provide a clear distinction between business portfolios that vary in risk, with each company appealing to different investor groups.

E.ON Chief Executive Johannes Teyssen said: "These two missions are so fundamentally different that two separate, distinctly focused companies offer the best prospects for the future."

The company will hold a new conference today about its plans, which include investing more in wind and solar power.

For more on this story click here

Source: WSJ

Property Update

20% of UK office space unlettable in 5 years

The FT reported yesterday that "a fifth of all British office buildings risk becoming unlettable within five years as a result of new energy efficiency measures". If ignored, this will threaten the value of property portfolios.

Buildings are Britain's third-largest contributor to carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon Trust figures show that they account for 18% of all UK emissions. In interviews with leading commercial landlords and property agents, Patrick Brown at BPF said that the commercial property market was currently "underincentivised" when it came to thinking green, but that new energy performance certificate (EPC) regulations would change this.

Under the new regulations, announced as part of the 2011 Energy Act, from April 2018 landlords will not be permitted to let out the least energy-efficient buildings, as measured using an EPC.

An EPC measures a property's energy-saving capacity, looking at elements including thermal insulation, lighting and electrics. Figures from the Department for Energy and Climate Change suggest that 20% of UK offices only achieve categories F and G.

The market is already reporting that this is having an impact on property values.

South East Update

Minimise Energy partners with Recolight to recycle high street lights

Minimise Energy Ltd (part of the APC Technology Group plc) has partnered with electrical and electronic equipment recycling organisation Recolight to recover and recycle materials from its refurbishment programmes and supply only contracts.

Minimise provides a full range of energy efficiency services nationwide. The company designs and develops new energy efficiency and lighting products, provides strategic consultancy and finance services, and also manages nationwide installation contracts.

With the boom in retail LED lighting replacement programmes, Minimise and Recolight are together highlighting the need for efficient recovery and recycling services to be included within the initial refurbishment programme to ensure that valuable resources are captured and used in the best possible way.

"Replacing existing lighting systems with energy efficient LEDs significantly reduces energy bills while extending the time between replacement. This alone makes LEDs an easy choice for sustainable and cost effective lighting solutions," said Andrew Shortis, Managing Director of Minimise Energy.

"In order for a replacement programme to be fully sustainable, however, it's essential that building and asset managers put in place an effective end of life recycling programme for all discarded materials. This should not only comply with WEEE (Waste Electrical and Electronics Equipment) regulations, but should also give the waste producer (in most cases the building owner) peace of mind that the recovered materials are being used in the best possible way - in line with circular economy aspirations." As retail and hospitality brands increasingly recognise the consumer benefit of being environmentally responsible, managing the 'waste' resulting from refurbishment programmes can prove to be a quick and easy win, as long as the right partner is involved.

So, what does the 'right' installation or supply partner look like?

In the first instance, a lighting partner should be keen to manage the discarded electrical and electronic materials resulting from the project. They should not view this material as waste - but as materials for future use.

They should be able to remove it from site, and to do this they will need to be a licensed waste carrier.

And they should be able to detail exactly what they intend to do with the material once it leaves site. Ideally it should be taken to one of the UK's WEEE reprocessing facilities, where it will be dismantled, the elements recovered, and then supplied to manufacturers for re-use.

"This is our current approach, although going forward we are designing new products and services to be more circular," said Andrew Shortis.

In the period January to September 2014 Minimise has recycled 11,647 luminaires and 77,192 lamps from sites across the UK. This equates to 70,168 tonnes and 51,929 tonnes of recycled materials respectively and has led to Minimise being recognised as one of Recolight's top 20 collection points in the country with Gold status.

Minimise's recycling service is not limited to installation sites as the company will also take back materials from sites from supply only contracts. A full audit of material destinations can be supplied to clients for ongoing sustainability reporting.

Currently Minimise is taking back all of the T8, T5 and CFL D11 tubes used in chillers nationwide for a well known high street retail brand. This is a supply only contract, but as Minimise had the systems in place, the retailer welcomed the addition of a sustainable and compliant recycling solution within the package.

For this contract Minimise collects the WEEE materials using a weekly reverse logistics programme. The recovered materials are then stored at Minimise's Kent depot, before being transported to Recolight.

Recolight processes the collected luminaires and lamps and re-uses the component materials in a number of ways, with the crushed glass, lamp phosphor powders and mercury all recycled. Up to 95 per cent of all materials collected are recycled.

Nigel Harvey, CEO at Recolight, said: "At Recolight, we pride ourselves on providing our members and their customers with the best possible recycling service for all lighting products.

"The excellent collection rates achieved by Minimise show that a company with a strong commitment to recycling can achieve a great deal with the right partner. We are particularly pleased that Minimise Energy operates a reverse logistics approach to waste - this further reduces carbon footprint and improves operational efficiency."

"It's important to us that we provide a fully sustainable solution, and that includes managing the materials that are no longer needed," said Andrew. "We're part of the APC Technology Group, which is a cluster of Greentech companies; it's not enough for us to simply supply energy efficient products. Our company ethos is to take responsibility for the wider sustainability impacts of our work."

Recycling Update

England recycled 40% in Q1 of 2014

Figures released this week show that Local Authorities in England recycled 40% of household waste in the first three months of this year - up 1.7% when compared to the same period the previous year.

The figures released from the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs highlighted that of the 5.1 million tonnes of household waste collected between January and March 2014, 2.07 million tonnes were sent to be recycled. 1.5 million tonnes of this material consisted of dry recyclables.

Dry recyclables equated to 32.5% of all household waste collected which is up just 0.1% compared to the same period last year. The recycling rate for the quarter was boosted by an increase in organics recycling which rose by 157,000 tonnes year-on-year.

To read more about this story please click here

South East Update

Kent and Sharpshooters Yeomanry Museum Advancing on New Headquarters

The Kent and Sharpshooters Yeomanry Museum will march into new, purpose-built facilities next year after reaching its £275,000 fundraising target.

The new museum will act as a living, interactive archive of the Regiment, which was first formed in Kent in 1794, inspiring visitors of all ages with the lives and achievements of the serving Yeoman of Kent and the County of London. The regiment gained distinction in two World Wars, and today has serving squadrons - part of the Reserve Army - in Bexleyheath and Croydon.

It will cover life at war and on the Home Front, with medals, uniforms, militaria, film clips, oral histories, and a WW1 Gallipoli trench experience among the engaging touch screen displays and artefacts set to be on show.

The museum will remain at Hever Castle, relocating from its current location within the castle keep to a new spacious building, camouflaged to resemble a military operations tent, situated in the castle grounds. An exciting programme of outreach activities in schools and the community is planned once the new building opens in summer 2015. The details of this programme will be announced in 2015.

The Kent and Sharpshooters Yeomanry Museum Trust launched its Tent in the Park appeal in December 2013. It reached its £275,000 target thanks to large donations from the Heritage Lottery Fund, Armed Forces Community Covenant Trust (in partnership with Sevenoaks District Council), Cory Environmental Trust in Britain (CETB) and Garfield Weston Foundation, and numerous smaller donations from organisations and individuals.

The Rt Hon Sir Nicholas Soames MP, Honorary Colonel of the Kent and Sharpshooters Yeomanry, said: "We are tremendously grateful to all our donors for helping us to reach our fund raising target, and we look forward to welcoming everyone to the new museum in summer 2015, to mark the centenary of the Gallipoli campaign in which the Regiment fought.

"We are also most grateful to the management of Hever Castle Limited for donating the new museum building for our use."

Chris Sutton, Chief Executive of the Kent and Sharpshooters Yeomanry Museum Trust, said: "The new museum, and the programme of outreach activities, has already created a lot of interest in the community around Hever, and with local schools. We are keen to talk to anyone who would like to join our team of volunteers, to help run the new museum and our outreach events."

Councillor Peter Fleming, Chairman of Sevenoaks District Council, said: "We welcome this new visitor attraction in our community. The District Council signed up to the Armed Forces Community Covenant in 2013, in order to give greater recognition and support to former and current servicemen and women in our community, and the new museum will be an excellent focal point for promoting these objectives."

Angela Haymonds, Trust Secretary at Cory Environmental Trust in Britain, said: "We are delighted to have provided funding through the Landfill Communities Fund for the new Kent and Sharpshooters Yeomanry museum, which forms part of our commitment to support projects local to Cory Environmental's operations that bring benefit to local communities."

Philippa Charles, Director, The Garfield Weston Foundation, commented: "We are pleased to support this project which will bring benefits for schools, the local community and members of the Armed Forces past and present."

For more information about the Kent and Sharpshooters Yeomanry Museum visit www.ksymuseum.org.uk, or contact Chris Sutton at ceo@ksymuseum.org.uk

Quantum Update

Quantum PR Completes Charity March to Manchester

Quantum Public Relations went more than the extra mile during its month-long charity March to Manchester after clocking a grand total of 554 miles - nearly double the target distance.

Seven members of the public relations agency team set off on the virtual charity challenge on Tuesday 14 October tasked with collectively walking the 283 miles between their Ashford HQ and BBC Manchester - in time for Children in Need, which was broadcast live from the BBC studios in Salford on Friday 14 November.

The 'runners' logged 554 miles in the month, leaving them just 11 miles short of completing the round trip. Hattie Vavasour, Quantum PR's Accounts Manager, was the top-performing team member, registering 115 miles, one more than Junior Graphic Designer Emma Brace.

Quantum's efforts raised more than £150 for charity, with donations split between Children in Need and The Retreat Animal Rescue, its charity of the year.

While Quantum achieved its primary goal of reaching the 283-mile target before November 14, it narrowly missed out on its secondary goal; to beat fellow Ashford business Beechtree Total Care in a Race to Manchester.

Led by team member (and long-distance runner) Amy Old, who clocked 257 miles on her own, Beechtree Total Care reached Manchester two days before Team Quantum.

This gave Beechtree team captain Debbie Brace, mother of Quantum's Emma, the victory in the family face-off being dubbed as the Great British Brace Off.

Emma Brace said: "While I'm personally disappointed that we lost out to Beechtree, and will probably never hear the end of it from my mum, I'm delighted that we raised more than £150 for Children in Need and The Retreat, based in Ashford, and would like to thank everyone who donated."


Recycling Update

£20m waste infrastructure fund now open

The London Waste and Recycling Board (LWARB) has launched a new £20 million fund to support the development of new waste infrastructure projects. The fund offers a range of opportunities for waste-related projects at different development stages including a £6m capital fund for new infrastructure projects in or around London, a £5m corporate loan fund for existing companies in London seeking to expand or upgrade and a £1m development loan fund to assist prospective projects through their early stages.

The Board has stressed that funds will only be made available to those projects that meet the environmental requirements of the Mayor of London's waste strategies. In addition, funds will be not be allocated to those projects that might otherwise be wholly financed by the private sector, with the emphasis being placed on leveraging private funding by de-risking those that are on the periphery of public sector delivery.

Technologies that might qualify include recyclate sorting and separation, secondary material reprocessing or re-manufacturing, anaerobic digestion or thermal treatment. Circular economy technologies, reuse and waste collection infrastructure might also be considered.

To find out more visit: www.lwarb.gov.uk

South East Update

A Dozen Delegates Attend Second Expertise Homecare Discovery Day

Potential franchisees from Devon, Surrey, Essex and London were among the dozen delegates to attend Expertise Homecare's second Discovery Day, held in Pembury, Kent, yesterday.

The event saw the attendees learn more about Expertise Homecare and its care model, the rapidly-expanding UK home care industry and the fantastic franchise opportunities available.

Led by Expertise Homecare managing directors Harriet Smith and Natalie Richards, the Discovery Day also included presentations from the company's software developers and payroll providers as well as a Q&A session with Ian and Jo Ludlow, owners of Expertise Homecare's first franchise, Canterbury & District in Kent.

Harriet Smith said: "We'd like to thank all the delegates for attending the Kent Discovery Day. As with our first Discovery Day in London last month, their questions and input throughout the day helped generate the informal but informative atmosphere we were hoping for and also make it such a huge success."

Natalie Richards added: "It was great to be able to meet with these potential franchisees face-to-face and give them a greater understanding of our business model, the home care industry and the territories available in their area.

"Feedback has once again been overwhelmingly positive and reinforces our belief that our business model is industry-leading and will raise the standard of home care delivered across the UK."

The next Expertise Homecare Discovery Days will take place in the North of England next month and the South East in January 2015. To register your interest please email us at info@expertisehomecare.com

For more information about Expertise Homecare visit www.expertisehomecare.com

Renewables Update

Green energy boosts employment

The UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) has released a report stating that investing in renewables and energy efficiency can create up to 10 times as many jobs per unit of electricity as investment in fossil fuel.

The UKERC analysed data from fifty studies published since 2000 on the relationship between green energy investment and job creation in Europe, China and the USA.

The report revealed that electricity from renewable energy projects created about one job per gigawatt-hour generated compared with 0.1 for electricity from coal or gas.

For more information on the UKERC and to download a copy of the report, click here

Source: Edie.net

Education Update

Risk-Avert programme to roll out across the UK following successful pilot in Essex

An innovative new approach to identifying young people vulnerable to multiple risk-taking is being rolled out across the UK following a successful pilot in Essex.

Risk-Avert has been developed to explore different ways of helping young people understand and manage risk. Risk-Avert screens an entire year group (year 7 and 8) using an online or paper-based survey and aims to look beyond the behaviour to understand the access points to risk-taking.

Following the screening, a risk profile is generated for each child and school, and those most at risk are offered the programme. This approach targets young people most appropriate for the programme, enabling schools and local authorities to target resources based on need.

The survey alone is generating a huge database of information related to risk-taking behaviour in young people, this year alone over 6,000 young people will complete the survey. So far, key findings include:

  • 17% of young people surveyed have drunk alcohol with their peers
  • 2.4% of young people have tried a cigarette
  • The survey is also concerned with parental permissiveness and has found that:
  • 13.1% of young people think their parents would think it was only 'a little bit wrong' or 'not wrong at all' if they drank alcohol regularly.

The programme, which is delivered by teachers and other appropriate school staff, has been piloted in 20 schools across Essex and a further 17 schools in Medway. The evaluation and feedback has been overwhelmingly positive:

  • 94% of young people felt more confident about making plans to avoid or manage risks
  • 76% of young people thought that their relationship with their teacher improved
  • 86% rated their improvement in knowledge around risk-taking behaviour between 8-9 out of 10
  • 86% thought their confidence had improved, with most reporting an average score of 8-9 out of 10.

Risk-Avert has been jointly developed by Essex County Council and The Training Effect, a specialist consultancy with specific expertise around young people and public health.

Mark Bowles, Director of The Training Effect, said: "Risk-Avert is a radical shift in approach tackling drugs, tobacco and alcohol consumption by young people. The programme can identify at an early stage those young people who are more likely to take negative risks later in life and deliver cognitive behavioural interventions to help them avoid or manage those risks.

"We have all been stunned by the positive results from the pilot and how effective the programme has been."

The programme has been developed in close cooperation with key stakeholders from health, education, police and the voluntary sector.

Ben Hughes, Head of Commissioning: Public Health and Wellbeing at Essex County Council said: "We have been really pleased with the outcome of the programme. It is a new way to address these issues and seems to resonate far more effectively with young people than other methods."

Risk-Avert is now being rolled out to other local authorities, academies and independent schools across the UK. More information can be found at www.risk-avert.org

Property Update

Mortgage burden on UK retirees revealed

Two in five over 50s in the UK are paying off a mortgage worth an average of £49,000 and a one in five in their 70s are still paying off their mortgage, new research has found.

The study by Saga Personal Finance found more than 900,000 people in their 70s still have an average mortgage bill of some £38,000, equating to a total mortgage debt of £35.2 billion.

"Being saddled with mortgage debt well into your retirement is far from ideal as it means keeping an eye on the coffers when you should making the most of life,"' said Jeff Bromage, Chief Operating Officer at Saga Personal Finance.

"Millions of British home owners have been hit hard by underperforming endowments. Thankfully, there are options available. A growing number of people are turning to equity release as in order to avoid selling their home.

"Selling and moving is probably the least-favoured option for many facing a shortfall, as their home is so much more than bricks and mortar and will hold so many happy memories," he explained.

For more on this story click here

South East Update

The Perfect Christmas present for an SME MD

Yesterday Kent SME guru Shirley Mansfield launched her latest business book - The Grown Up Business. Now, in possession of a limited edition preview copy, the Quantum team can confirm that this is indeed the perfect stocking filler for any SME MDs who want to take their businesses to a new (more profitable) level in 2015. And no, we're not doing Shirley's PR!

The thing is, giving a business book for Christmas is high risk. First, there's loads to choose from, so how do you get the right one? Second, who really wants a business book in their stocking?

The Grown Up Business has got both of these angles covered. Based on an analogy with the human journey from birth to adulthood, it demonstrates how to transition an organisation through early years learning and the insecurities that come with the painful teenage years into a successful, profitable and downright impressive grown up (business).

It's 250 pages are packed full of incisive, informative and downright straight talking advice - all of which speak directly to SMEs. Everything in this book will be relevant to your chosen SME MD. Unlike most business books which offer a handful of takeaways, this one has them by the bucket load.

Just as importantly, it's 100% focused on UK SMEs. It understands the landscape: the challenges, the barriers and the opportunities. And the many case studies demonstrate how businesses have put the advice into action and improved their results as a direct consequence.

Author Shirley has more than 30 years' experience working in a range of UK businesses, from FTSE 250 to heavy engineering. She's also a successful high growth business coach who's worked in, on and for SMEs, solving problems and removing real and perceived barriers.

With that in mind, if you choose to give this to your favourite MD, you're not just giving a book - you'll be giving some pretty smart and thought provoking advice to take back into the business for 2015. We think that's a pretty cool Christmas present - and when they make their millions, who knows what present they'll give you!

Energy Update

Solar industry welcomes Government's energy agreement

The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) has published a new Voluntary Agreement to encourage more local ownership of and investment into large-scale solar farms.

The agreement will offer better local ownership and investment options to communities, including direct bond offers and partnerships with local authorities. This will result in large solar developers being able to explore models of community ownership - where there are legally constituted community energy groups involved when it is commercially viable to do so.

The solar industry has welcomed the Government's community energy push and recognised it as an important step away from the UK's current centralised model of energy generation.

To read more on this story click here

Source: Edie.net

Renewables Update

Green Investment Bank passes £5bn milestone

The Green Investment Bank (GIB) marks its second birthday with the news that it has ploughed more than £5bn worth of investment in 37 green energy investment projects across the country.

The Government-backed GIB launched in October 2012 and was the first dedicated green infrastructure bank in the world. So far it has used £1.6bn of its own capital to invest in the 37 projects and expects these schemes to deliver an annual return of nine per cent. On completion of all its investments, the GIB is projected to make an annual operating profit in excess of £10m per annum.

Prime Minister, David Cameron said: "Under this Government, as part of our long-term economic plan to back business, create more jobs and secure a brighter future for Britain, we have become one of the best places for green investment anywhere in the world - and the Green Investment Bank has played an instrumental role in this. "

To read more on the story and see the list of GIB projects, click here

Source: Edie.net

Manufacturing Update

€143m EC fund launched for remanufacturing

The European Commission has launched a new €143m round of funding under the Horizon 2020 programme to accelerate progress in remanufacturing. Launched last week - and with a submission deadline of 4 February 2015 - companies and organisations are now able to apply for research and innovation funding under the new Horizon 2020 €143m Factories of the Future programme.

Factories of the Future aims to increase the competitiveness of EU industry and reduce its environmental footprint. The fund has been put in place to help manufacturing industries develop innovative technologies and approaches to manufacture added-value products using fewer resources while ensuring a sustainable product life cycle based on reuse and re-manufacturing.

The European Commission says that: "Modern high-tech products adopted in the electronics, medical, energy and transport industries are made of advanced materials that are at present poorly recovered and reused. Such materials with low substitutability and low recycling rates include advanced materials such as long and short fibre composites, nano-materials and bio-materials as well as more conventional materials that are today not considered for re-use."

Complete supply chain solutions are needed to move forward, the Commission says, and the funding is aimed at those undertaking research and innovation in these areas. This might mean new product design approaches, smart monitoring such as RFID, or improved resource efficiency.

The submission scope areas are listed below:

  • Eco-innovative approaches for product design which are capable to take into account re-use and re-manufacturing aspects for enhanced product recovery and spare parts/services support.
  • New manufacturing and equipment concepts for re-use and re-manufacturing, with improved resource efficiency and service lifetime.
  • New technologies and automation solutions for the effective disassembly/separation and recovery of advanced materials.
  • Generation and validation of new business models to improve economic viability of closed-loop life cycles which make use of the systemic approaches for product life-cycle management.

The Commission recommends applications of between €3m and €6m, although other amounts will be considered.

For more details visit click here

South East Update

Expertise Homecare Named Most Promising New Business

Expertise Homecare has been named Most Promising New Business at the annual ABC Networks awards.

The Tunbridge Wells-based home care business, which launched in September, was presented with the award at the Kent networking group's 2014 awards ceremony, held at Gillingham Football Club on Friday 24 October.

The awards success marks a fruitful first eight weeks' trading for Expertise Homecare, owned and managed by Harriet Smith and Natalie Richards, which has seen the business sell its first franchise, accept a reservation for a second territory and generate widespread publicity in the care and franchise sectors.

Harriet Smith said: "We are delighted to have been name Most Promising New Business. It gives us enormous pride and confidence to have our business model recoginsed by our peers as having promise and potential for success.

"We're now focused on realising this promise and growing our network of high quality home care franchises across the UK."

Expertise Homecare sold its first franchise, Canterbury & District, to business owners Ian and Jo Ludlow last month. An Expertise Homecare Discovery Day held in London earlier this month drew potential franchisees from across the country.

Natalie Richards added: "We'd like to thank everyone we've met through ABC Networks for their support and guidance, which has helped us immeasurably during the past few months. We have been really pleased with how Expertise Homecare has been received by the care and franchise communities and potential franchisees.

"We are passionate about revolutionising the home care industry though our innovative and bespoke care model. This award gives us added impetus to continue to grow the business."

Expertise Homecare is hosting a Discovery Day in Pembury on Tuesday 11 November to give potential franchisees more in-depth information about the business, its home care offer and the high yield territories available in their area.

Spaces are limited and booking is essential. To reserve a place visit www.bit.ly/EHKent

For more information about Expertise Homecare visit www.expertisehomecare.com

Manufacturing Update

UK manufacturing output actually on the up

Perceptions that manufacturing is disappearing from the UK are wide of the mark, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS). Despite the number of workers employed falling significantly since the late 1970s, total manufacturing output is now actually slightly higher.

It has declined in relative size, though, as other sectors have grown more quickly. Its share has fallen from 36 per cent of the economy in 1948 to around 10 per cent in 2013.

ONS Chief Economist Joe Grice said: "The manufacturing industry has changed markedly over the past sixty years. It is becoming more productive, despite a steady fall in the number of people employed and broadly stable capital stock, and economic downturns in the 1970s, early 1990s, and notably 2008-9."

For more on this story click here

Source: ONS

Quantum Update

EU votes on 27% renewable energy target today

An EU summit in Brussels will today vote on a proposed 40% cut in CO2 emissions by 2030. It will also recommend that the use of renewable energy as part of the total energy mix is increased to 27%. If agreed, the targets will position Europe as a world leader in time for the UN climate change conference, taking place in Paris in December 2015.

The proposals are not universally popular, especially with many small and medium-sized businesses afraid of escalating energy costs and the continued depressed economic outlook on mainland Europe. The fact that China and India are not subject to these targets also makes others fear that EU businesses could be at a competitive disadvantage.

By comparison, Greenpeace says that the target for renewables should be much higher, at 45%.

We'll update you with news of any agreements reached as they're received.

Property Update

South East claims London's boom-town crown

Buyers forced out of London by spiralling property prices have helped fuel a 10 per cent annual rise in asking prices in the south-east - a rate that has now outstripped inflation in the capital.

Asking prices in the south-east are 10 per cent higher than they were a year ago, said Rightmove, compared with a rise of 9.6 per cent in London. This makes the region the strongest performing in the country over the last 12 months.

"The ripple effect of buyers priced out of London combined with those cashing in and moving out of the capital means that the south-east has taken London's boom-town crown," said Miles Shipside, a director at Rightmove. "Upwards price pressure is being further fuelled by a reluctance of homeowners in the hotspots of the south-east to come to market."

For more on this story click here

Source: The Guardian

Energy Update

UK homes to be powered by Tunisian sunshine

Investors are seeking funding from the UK government for an ambitious plan to import solar energy generated in North Africa.

Under the scheme, up to 2.5 million UK homes could be powered by Tunisian sunshine by 2018.

The company involved says they have already spent 10 million euros developing the site.

A number of overseas energy producers are competing to bring green energy to the UK from 2017.

The TuNur project aims to bring two gigawatts of solar power to the UK from Tunisia if the company wins a contract for difference (CFD) from the British government.

Under new rules published by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (Decc) in the Summer, the government will allow developers of renewable energy projects that are not based in the UK to bid for contracts that guarantee subsidies to supply power.

For more on this story click here

Source: BBC News

South East Update

Delegates Drawn to First Expertise Homecare Discovery Day

Expertise Homecare shared its unique home care offer with a group of potential franchisees at its first Discovery Day, held in London on Monday.

The event saw Expertise Homecare managing directors Natalie Richards and Harriet Smith present delegates with more information about the business, the growing UK home care sector and the opportunities available to franchisees.

Among the guest speakers were Independent Franchise Consultant and former British Franchising Association board member Tony Mundella and Ian and Jo Ludlow, owners of Expertise Homecare's first franchise, Canterbury & District in Kent.

Natalie Richards said: "The Discovery Day gave us the opportunity to go into greater detail about our business proposition with the potential franchisees, giving them more information about the UK home care industry, our bespoke care model and the high yield territories available in their area.

"I'd like to thank them all for attending and hope they found the day as beneficial as we did."

Harriet Smith added: "The Discovery Day was incredibly useful for us. It was great to set out our long-term vision for delivering high quality home care through a network of franchises across the UK and open our business model up to scrutiny by inviting delegates to ask any questions they may have.

"Initial feedback gained from these delegates has been overwhelmingly positive and showed real interest in joining the Expertise Homecare brand."

The second Expertise Homecare Discovery Day will take place in Pembury, Kent on Tuesday 11 November.

Spaces are limited and booking is essential. To reserve your place visit http://bit.ly/EHKent.

South East Update

London Victoria's New LED Lighting Halves Energy Usage

Network Rail's first major LED lighting upgrade is on track to achieve 50 per cent energy savings.

Network Rail contracted innovative energy efficiency expert Minimise Energy to carry out retrofit LED works at Victoria Station to solve a complex lighting issue at platforms 9-19.

Fluorescent tubes fitted during earlier refurbishment works had resulted in small energy savings but the new lighting had also placed a strain on the emergency back-up lighting system, and, although within regulation, did not match the previous lux levels.

In addition, these platforms are located below ground and so have limited headroom, which needed to be taken into consideration.

Minimise Energy was asked to provide a bespoke LED solution; increasing lux levels at the station without causing glare while at the same time delivering sizeable energy savings, which would expand the capacity of the emergency system.

Following a site survey and trials, Minimise designed, supplied and installed 25 Watt T5 LED tubes into existing fittings along the platforms.

These high-performing LEDs have increased lux levels by 10 per cent while halving energy usage, equivalent to savings of 376,521 kWh per annum. This has doubled emergency back-up capacity to six hours and led to carbon emission reductions of 197 tonnes per year.

The LEDs' improved lighting levels have also improved visibility on the staff monitors within driver-only operated trains, ensuring a better view of passengers along the length of the platforms. They have also boosted colour rendition on CCTV for security purposes.

Terry Denyer, Senior Asset Engineer (Building Services) at Network Rail, said: "My team measured it [the results] three times because I wasn't expecting that much of a saving. To save another 50 per cent on top of the savings made previously was a bit of a shock to us."

Paul West, Managing Director at Minimise Energy, part of the APC Technology Group said: "This project required us to design, develop and deliver a bespoke retrofit LED solution with set parameters.

"We are delighted that our T5 LED lights have provided Network Rail with increased lighting output, improving visibility near the platform edge, and also significant energy savings. There are also associated maintenance savings as the need for annual tube replacements, required with the previous fluorescent tubes, is removed."

LED lights were also used to solve a further lighting problem specific to platforms 15 and 16. Fluorescent lights could not be used to eliminate 'dark spots' along these platforms as the ceilings are too low for surface-mounted fittings. Minimise Energy resolved this issue through its low-profile, recessed panel lights, which are ideal when ceiling heights limit lighting options.

Terry Denyer added: "I jokingly refer to Minimise as our 'little elves' because we don't have a research and development department. What I am asking for is very complicated. I use their expertise there.

"I say, this is what I need to solve, can you do it for me?"

Property Update

UK commercial property market milestone

Overseas investors have for the first time overtaken UK institutions to become the largest owners of UK commercial property, new data from the Property Industry Alliance has revealed today.

The value of portfolios held by overseas owners has more than doubled (129%) over the last decade to £94bn.

The increase means that overseas investors now own almost one quarter (24%) of all commercial property investment in the UK, the Property Data Report 2014 revealed, with three-quarters of this investment in London.

By contrast the total owned by UK institutions fell by 16% over the decade to £75bn, representing just under one-fifth (19%) of the £385bn invested in commercial buildings.

For more on this story click here

Source: Economic Voice


Quantum PR Sets Out on Charity March to Manchester

Quantum Public Relations will begin a month-long March to Manchester today (Tuesday 14 October) to raise money for Children in Need and The Retreat Animal Rescue, its charity of the year.

Seven members of the public relations agency team are stepping up to the virtual charity challenge, which requires them to collectively walk 283 miles - the distance between their Ashford HQ and BBC Manchester - in time for Children in Need, which will be broadcast live from the BBC studios in Salford on Friday 14 November.

The 'runners' received their pedometers at 9am this morning and were also given an added incentive to hit the ground running, with Managing Director Charlie Vavasour announcing that the employee who logs the most miles will be rewarded with an extra day's holiday to let them put their feet up.

As well as competing with one another, Team Quantum will also go head-to-head with Team Beechtree Total Care in a collective Race to Manchester. Quantum's seven-man squad, led by Junior Graphic Designer Emma Brace, will go up against a Beechtree seven led by Debbie Brace, Emma's mum and Training Manager at the Ashford-based home care agency, in a family face-off being dubbed as the Great British Brace Off.

Emma Brace said: "We're really looking forward to our March to Manchester charity challenge, which will raise money for Children in Need and The Retreat, based in Ashford.

"I'm sure competition will be intense within Quantum HQ, with each member of staff hoping their feet will help them get their hands on the day off, but we'll all pull together to ensure we collectively reach our 283-mile target well before Children in Need on 14 November and, perhaps more importantly, before my mum and the rest of Team Beechtree do!"

You can follow Team Quantum's individual and collective progress throughout the month online at www.quantumpr.co.uk/walk.

To support Team Quantum on its March to Manchester fundraiser please visit https://www.justgiving.com/Quantumpr-childreninneed or text 'QUPR88 £1' to 70070 to donate to Children in Need or visit https://www.justgiving.com/Quantumpr-theretreat or text 'QUPR55 £1' to 70070 to donate to The Retreat Animal Rescue.

Beechtree Total Care is raising money for Dementia UK. To sponsor Team Beechtree visit www.justgiving.com/beechtreetotalcare or text 'BTTC50 £1' to 70070


Funding bid gets the Quantum treatment

"With Quantum's help we delivered a bid that knocked the socks off the panel." So said Simon Barnes, The High Speed Sustainable Manufacturing Institute's (HSSMI) Business Development Manager when reflecting on a recent bid to gain government and industry funding to support a new virtual engineering centre.

HSSMI is a young organisation which is already making a big impact on the British manufacturing landscape. Deliberately intelligence rich but asset poor, the not-for-profit organisation takes research from British universities and develops them into commercial and sustainable manufacturing innovations. This helps to develop skills and retain knowledge within the UK.

For this project, HSSMI was working with a complex consortium of 16 of the UK's most forward thinking organisations working within the low carbon propulsion sector. Quantum was appointed to develop a stakeholder communications and engagement strategy, develop clear key messages and co-ordinate a complex and visionary bid meeting. All of this needed to reflect the excitement, commitment and seriousness of the parties involved, highlighting the bid over competing submissions. It also needed to overcome the operational challenges of an untried meeting venue.

The results from start to finish were a real "wow". To read the full story click here

Resource Update

Global brands working Collectively

Leading global brands have joined forces to help make sustainable lifestyles the "new normal", with a new online platform.

Twenty nine megabrands including Unilever, Coca Cola, Carlsberg and BT have formed Collectively - a global non-profit platform that will be updated with content on how to live more sustainably.

The project came about at the World Economic Forum as brands discussed how to "inspire and accelerate" sustainable living.

"Collectively is an ambitious example of competitor brands and organisations working together in partnership to drive systems transformation, and tackling complex challenges far too big for anyone to solve alone," said collaborator, Forum for the Future.

For more on this story click here

Source: CIWM

Energy Update

Calls for smart meter rollout rethink

The UK Government is being urged to take "swift action" to limit the costs of the smart meter rollout to consumers.

Which? has written to Energy Secretary Ed Davey ahead of his speech at the Lib Dem conference today, calling on him to control costs in the long run.

The call follows the Public Accounts Committee's (PAC) warning that energy customers will have to fork out £215 for the installation of smart meters that will only save them around two per cent on their annual bill.

The Government's smart meter rollout requires energy suppliers to replace 53 million meters in homes and small businesses with smart electricity and gas meters by 2020.

For more on this story click here

Source: Energy Live News

South East Update

Ashford: a town on the up

Ashford has seen incredible growth over the last few years and this trend looks set to continue.

There are many exciting developments planned for Ashford. What with the town's commercial quarter, expansion of the designer outlet, regeneration of The Panorama and new Eurostar links, it is definitely a town to watch out for.

Take a look at the latest here.

Source: Kent Business

Property Update

Could garden cities help to retain UK talent?

David Cowans the Chief Executive of Places for People has said that garden cities could play a part in helping to retain intellectual talent in the UK that would otherwise move abroad because of high property costs.

Speaking at a Conservative Party conference fringe event earlier this week, Cowans stated:

"One of the big things that I think garden cities could provide is a mechanism, a framework, for creating campus-type new towns where you capture real intellectual talent, where you get in many US places, companies that create places that gather together intellectual might in one place and they then make that place attractive."

He also stated ensuring infrastructure is in place to support development is key to neutralising local opposition.

Read more on this story here

Source: Planning Resource

South East Update

Expertise Homecare secures first franchise just weeks after launching

Innovative new home care company Expertise Homecare has sold its first franchise - Canterbury & District in Kent.

Expertise Homecare, which launched on Monday 1 September, aims to revolutionise the domiciliary care sector by rolling out its progressive care model - which replaces outmoded and impractical processes with state-of-the-art support software and systems - through a network of franchises across the UK.

Ian and Jo Ludlow are the first franchisees to buy into the company's vision and will begin providing high-quality care to people in Canterbury and the surrounding area by December*. The couple, who will run Expertise Homecare Canterbury & District in conjunction with their existing business, estate planning specialists LPA Services, said they were keen to get started.


Property Update

ONS releases figures on 65+ property moves

Figures just released by the Office for National Statistics give details of the property move choices being made by those aged 65 and over in the UK.

Taken from the 2011 Census, the figures record 'the proportion of usual residents aged 65 and over who had a previous address one year before the 2011 Census outside their area of usual residence (English regions or Wales)'. The resulting tables make interesting reading for those planning to build or market retirement properties. For example, the South East region accounted for the largest proportion of moves into the South West at 27% while those in London made up the largest numbers of moves to the South East and East of England at 32% and 36%.

But ex-pats returning home from abroad tended to choose London as their location of choice, with almost half of all moves into the Capital being from overseas. A high proportion of movement was seen in City of London/Westminster and Kensington and Chelsea. The report suggests that this might be due in part to employment opportunities, the m'vement of wealthy older people to London, and the return of wealthy emigrants. It also states that these boroughs were 'more likely to attract working residents aged 65 and over in professional occupations'.

While the migration of over 65s between different areas makes interesting reading, the figures clearly demonstrate that most prefer to stay put, with 57% moving within their local authority area.

Top ten areas for 65+ house moves (England and Wales)

  • City of London, Westminster
  • Kensington and Chelsea
  • Eastbourne
  • Rother
  • Worthing
  • Conwy
  • West Somerset
  • Rushmoor
  • Chichester
  • Arun
  • Ten areas with lowest recorded 65+ house moves (England and Wales)

  • Knowsley
  • Neath Port Talbot
  • Thurrock
  • Merthyr Tydfil
  • Dudley
  • Bexley
  • Rotherham
  • Blaby
  • Staffordshire Moorlands
  • Hinckley and Bosworth
  • Source: Office for National Statistics

    Property Update

    Hometrack says housing market is stagnant

    The housing market is stagnant with growth "completely stalled", according to Hometrack's September house price index.

    Continued weakness in demand, which dropped 2.1 per cent this month, is behind the loss of momentum with an excess of supply over buyers now for the last three months.

    London is experiencing a pronounced slowdown and is the only region to record a price fall this month - albeit of just 0.1 per cent - but Hometrack says more falls are to come.

    For more on this story click here

    Source: Estate Agent Today

    Energy Update

    Flint's plans strike a chord with Sustainable Energy Association

    Shadow energy secretary Caroline Flint yesterday unveiled Labour's 10-year energy reform plans, a five-policy plan that was led by a commitment to insulate at least five million draughty homes in this time.

    Dave Sowden, Chief Executive of the Sustainable Energy Association, has welcomed Labour's proposals, saying they will bring much-needed stability to the UK's energy industry.

    "These plans contain a very clear commitment to making energy efficiency a national infrastructure priority, and that is to be welcomed," he said.

    "If Labour is elected, these are strong pledges, and it can be sure to come under considerable pressure to ensure these pledges are delivered. This in itself should help industry confidence."

    For more on this story click here

    Source: Business Green

    South East Update

    Innovative new home care franchisor sets Discovery Day dates

    The brand new home care franchisor Expertise Homecare has fixed the dates for its first Discovery Days, where it will reveal the new innovations and processes that it has adopted to shake up the UK home care sector and deliver a step change in care services and support.

    The Discovery Days will be the first opportunity for budding franchisees to find out in depth about the four core principles of trust, transparency, quality and support, that the company is founded on, and the unique franchise model that Expertise Homecare is introducing.

    The dates for the first two Expertise Homecare Discovery Days are:

    Monday 13 October, The Abbey Centre, Great Smith Street, London SW1P 3BU

    Tuesday 11 November, The Mercure Tunbridge Wells Hotel, Kent

    Read more

    Property Update

    Agents falling foul of CAP's VAT code

    How many estate and letting agents quote their fees and other charges without VAT? And how many know that they should not be doing so - for example, stating £100 + VAT?

    The rule is quite clear in the CAP (Committee of Advertising Practice) code, which states "Quoted prices must include non-optional taxes, duties, fees and charges that apply to all or most buyers".

    Since almost all estate agency and letting agency customers are consumers, they cannot reclaim VAT.

    It therefore stands to reason that agents (both the high street and online variety) should advertise fees and prices exclusive of VAT - and do so wherever they advertise, whether in print or online.

    ndeed, if agents don't, they are in breach of the CAP code.

    For more on this story click here.

    Source: Property Industry Eye

    Local Government Update

    Call for more powers after Scottish vote

    Councils in England are calling for an urgent meeting of a constitutional convention to consider the wider impact of the Scottish referendum.

    The Local Government Association (LGA) said new powers must now be given to local areas in England and Wales.

    Some ministers, such as Deputy PM Nick Clegg, broadly back decentralisation But Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said "new taxes, more politicians and new tiers of local administration was not the answer".

    For more information on this story click here.

    Source: BBC News

    Recycling Update

    Keep Britain Tidy publishes 10 point plan

    Keep Britain Tidy has published a report detailing ways in which recycling rates in urban environments across England can be improved.

    'The Ur[bin] Issue' showcases the results of a public inquiry, conducted by the campaign group, which sought to find new ways to improve recycling in urban environments by involving the public in the research stages. From this, the report revealed that there were three clear elements the public feel need to be improved. These are engagement, motivation and infrastructure.

    Based on the findings the report showcases a 10 point action plan to improve recycling across England. The action points are aimed at a range of stakeholders in the recycling process including government, manufacturers and householders.

    To read a copy of the report click here.

    Source: Waste Management World

    Energy Update

    More clarity needed for renewables sector

    The Renewable Energy Association (REA) has warned that the next government in 2015 will be responsible for the UK succeeding or failing in meeting its 2020 renewable energy targets. The manifesto titled 'Growing the Renewable Energy Economy' outlines the asks for key technologies across renewable heating, power and transport fuels. It also calls for a clear, stable policy across these sectors.

    The UK is currently in 26th place (out of 28) in the EU renewables league table. A previous report published by the REA highlighted that policies put in place to date towards the 2020 renewable energy targets have generated £30 million of investment and more than 100,000 jobs. If the 2020 targets were met, a further £64 billion of investment would be generated and 400,000 jobs sustained.

    To read a copy of 'Renewable Energy Economy' click here.

    Source: Renewable Energy Magazine

    Resource Update

    ESA launches first biowaste strategy

    This year's RWM event sees the Environmental Services Association launch its first biowaste strategy. Titled 'Circular Organics: Biowaste in a Circular Economy', the strategy addresses the key challenges faced by the biowaste treatment sector; sets out the ESA's forward vision and presents actions that the ESA believes will move the biowaste sector closer to a circular economy.

    To read the full report click here.

    Source: CIWM

    Property Update

    Summer season does not slow down housing market

    Britain's housing market has emerged faster than usual from its traditional quiet period during the summer months, suggesting that strong activity will follow in the autumn.

    According to Rightmove's house price index for September, the average value rose by 0.9% in August to £264.875 - the first monthly increase in September since 2011. Indeed, on an annual basis, the average house price was 7.9% higher.

    Source: International Business Times

    Energy Update

    National Park refuses exploratory drilling plan

    The South Downs National Park Authority has rejected Celtique Energie's proposal to explore for shale oil and gas in Fernhurst, West Sussex. The company had submitted an application for the temporary installation of a well and associated infrastructure. The Authority's Chair said that the application had failed to demonstrate the exceptional circumstances which would merit its approval within the protected landscape of the South Downs. It also said that it hadn't shown how it would be in the public interest.

    By contrast, Celtique Energie CEO, Geoff Davies was reported in The Guardian saying that the "committee appears to have made its decision based on a subjective and unjustified interpretation of planning guidance".

    He went on to say that the decision had not taken into consideration the national importance of the project. We'll be interested to see whether Celtique launches an appeal, and any resulting ministerial responses thereafter.

    The survey also highlighted that 93% thought having a garden was key.

    Source: The Guardian, EnergyLiveNews

    Property Update

    Location, location, location tops home buyers'' list!

    Kirstie and Phil have been uttering this phrase for many years, but a recent survey has revealed that location is the most important factor when buying a new home.

    According to the survey, conducted by online estate agent eMoov.co.uk, 74% of people stated they would prefer to be in the perfect area rather than the perfect home. 77% considered good transport links important and would not mind having to commute to work, while 44% of respondents said local job opportunities were important.

    Indeed, nine out of 10 people said they cared who their neighbours were, and 90% said a car parking space was essential.

    The survey also highlighted that 93% thought having a garden was key.

    For more on this story click here

    Source: eMoov

    Energy Update

    Referendum result could halt renewable projects

    A vote for independence in Scotland may halt work on renewable power projects that support 14 billion pounds of investment and 12,000 jobs by raising questions about how developers would receive subsidies, according to Green Energy Plc.

    The energy supplier said breaking up the Union would force England and Scotland to negotiate how to divide payment for electricity.

    Currently, Scottish projects receive support though the Renewables Obligation scheme, which may have no mandate north of the border if the two countries were to split.

    Scotland exports as much as a quarter of its electricity and has about 43 percent of the UK's wind power capacity. About 13 gigawatts of power projects are on the drawing board currently in Scotland, about 15 per cent of total UK capacity.

    For more on this story click here

    Source: Renewable Energy World

    Energy Update

    UK grows greener but global targets missed

    The UK is one of the most carbon-efficient economies in the world, according to new analysis by PwC, coming second in an Index of G20 nations.

    The data analyses how countries grow their economy, while reducing their greenhouse gas emissions linked to energy.

    The UK, third from the bottom in the 2012 list, is now second in the league of G20 nations on their change in rate of carbon intensity - the amount of carbon dioxide emitted for every $GDP the country produces.

    While the latest Index report makes good reading for the UK, the bigger picture is more bleak as global emission reduction targets were missed by a wide margin.

    For more on this story click here

    Source: PwC

    Property Update

    Housing shortage costs Britons £4bn a year

    A report launched today by the Confederation of British Industry says that above-inflation house price increases caused by a lack of housing stock costs UK consumers £4 billion a year.

    In 'Housing Britain - building new homes for growth' the CBI urges all major political parties to commit to building 240,000 homes within a decade. Further, it says they should commit to building ten new towns and garden cities by 2025.

    Green Party MP Caroline Lucas has indeed been focusing on future housing needs, but from a sustainability rather than quantity perspective. When visiting University of Brighton's Waste House project she questioned current construction methods, and called for the demonstration house to 'pave the way' for better resource use.

    The Waste House has been built using a circular economy model. It's structure includes: 20,000 old toothbrushes, two tonnes of denim jeans, 4,000 video cassettes, 2,000 carpet tiles, waste wood and recovered plastic. Brighton and Hove City Council is now considering how to incorporate elements from the project into mainstream construction projects.

    Source: Inside Housing

    South East Update

    Plans for Outlet expansion unveiled

    Plans for the expansion of Ashford's McArthur Glen Designer Outlet have been revealed. The new look outlet will see 30 more shops, new restaurants, additional car parking spaces and better links to the town centre.

    If planning permission is granted, the extension will be staged over two phases; the first expected to be complete by early 2017 and the next by 2019. The extension would expand out and towards Ashford International Train Station and around 1,000 jobs are expected to be created.

    For more on this story click here

    Source: kentnews.co.uk

    Technology Update

    Web traffic milestone for mobiles

    Visits to retail websites via mobile devices have overtaken desktop traffic for the first time, figures show.

    The latest IMRG Capgemini Quarterly Benchmarking Report found that 52% of visits were made via a mobile and that 36% of UK online sales are now completed on a smartphone or tablet device.

    IMRG chief information officer Tina Spooner said: "With over half of all e-retail traffic now coming via smartphones and tablet devices, the latest results reveal a huge landmark in the growth of mobile commerce.

    "Considering that as recently as 2010 mobile visits to e-retail sites accounted for less than 3% of traffic, this latest milestone represents staggering growth of 2,000% over the past four years."

    Businesses need to respond to this shift in e-commerce patterns. Read our blog here

    For more on this story click here

    Source: The Guardian


    Quantum Set to Maximise Media Coverage for Minimise

    Quantum Public Relations has been appointed by energy efficiency expert Minimise to further promote its industry-leading lighting and electrical products and services.

    The media relations campaign will see Quantum PR raise the profile of Minimise's three complimentary divisions; Minimise Energy, Minimise Solutions and Minimise Finance.

    The appointment follows a successful, short-term media relations campaign that saw Quantum secure media coverage for Minimise in relation to the Cleantech Awards, for which the company received three award nominations.

    The press coverage gained provided Minimise with a sizeable return on investment rate - with the news articles and features placed in titles including Resource Efficient Business, the Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) and Growthbusiness delivering an advertising value equivalent of eight times costs.

    Adrienne Robins, PR Director of Quantum PR, said: "One of Minimise's main unique selling points is their commitment to innovation, which has seen them secure a number of major contracts and drive the UK's energy efficiency industries forward.

    "There are many exciting projects and products in the pipeline and we look forward to sharing these successes with Minimise's target audiences, helping to secure further interest and business in the months and years to come."

    For more information about Minimise visit http://minimisegroup.com/

    Property update

    London is looking east

    The total value of residential property in eastern boroughs of central London has grown faster than any other area of the capital, according to new research.

    Since the liberalisation of planning laws in 1987, the total value of homes in Hackney has risen by 864%, the fastest of any London borough. Tower Hamlets and Southwark take second and third place, with increases of 684% and 668% respectively.

    Beaten into fourth place, Kensington and Chelsea has seen its residential property increase in value by 661% since 1987. The gains compare with 453% for the whole of Greater London in gross property value over the same period.

    For more on this story click here

    Source: Property Wire

    Recycling update

    Sainsbury's unveils first 100% recycled food safe crate in the UK

    Sainsbury's is the UK's first retailer to recycle old food crates into more efficient ones made from 100% recycled materials. A process that will significantly reduce empty crate transport and minimise the number of road journeys needed to transport crates back to suppliers. A great zero-waste initiative.

    For more information on this story click here

    Source: CIWM

    South East Update

    Caring About Care - New Home Care Company Will Raise Standards

    An innovative home care company launching on Monday is ripping up the rule book - replacing outmoded and impractical care processes with state-of-the-art support software and systems.

    Expertise Homecare, based in Tunbridge Wells, has set its sights on revolutionising the domiciliary care sector, providing high-quality care and support to people across the UK and internationally through a network of franchises.

    Expertise Homecare is built on four core principles of trust, transparency, quality and support, principles which form the basis of its offer to both potential franchisees and the people they will care for.

    Read more


    Casepak MRF makes BBC debut

    When the BBC wanted to film a recycling centre as part of a programme to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the Keep Britain Tidy campaign, Quantum client Casepak jumped at the opportunity to show off its MRF to a national audience.

    With just one day's notice, the team cleared their schedules to show the film crew how technology is used to sort and separate different recycled materials, preparing them for delivery to manufacturers both in the UK and abroad.

    The programme's producer was keen to show how drinks cans collected by a local litter hero are returned to the manufacturing chain in just a matter of days, highlighting the value of the many cans that are kicked into the gutter when they could just as easily be placed into a recycling bin.

    Now, such is the nature of this type of opportunity, that there's no guarantee that the Casepak footage will be included in the final programme, which is called Don't Mess with Us and will be aired as part of the BBC's autumn schedule. But needless to say we'll be watching!

    If you want to know what else is going to feature on the BBC this autumn, click here for a quick rundown.

    And if you'd rather take a peek inside the Casepak MRF then you can find a video here.

    Energy update

    Renewable energy toolkit for SMEs launches

    A renewable energy toolkit has launched to help small businesses benefit from the "significant opportunities" presented by the demand for green technologies in the UK''s low carbon built environment supply chain. The free toolkit is primarily aimed at suppliers and installers of solar, wind, biomass, hydropower and heat pumps, but will also be valuable to potential investors and procurers of renewable energy technologies, according to its publisher, the Institute for Sustainability.

    Other source figures are: gas 30%, nuclear 27%, hydro 600MW (2%), biomass 700MW (2.5%) and 10% imported.

    * Figures from Renewable UK.

    For more information on this story click here

    Source: Resource Efficient Business

    Technology Update

    Advanced travel technology ... New York to Beijing in two hours?

    Click here to view the video

    Source: BBC World News

    South East Update

    Parties will use rail fare hikes to get Election campaign on track

    Train commuters across the South East have become well accustomed with the annual above-inflation rail fare increases and the blame-game that follows.

    While Southeastern, the Conservatives and their Labour counterparts argue over who is responsible for the hikes, the Campaign for Better Transport has come forward with arguably the most important piece of information as far as passengers are concerned.

    The pressure group claims that fares have gone up by more than 24% since 2010, while wages have only risen by 6.9% during the same period.

    This disparity has affected the lives of thousands of commuters across the region. With an election looming, the main political parties will now all be looking to connect with these disgruntled commuters in the push for Parliamentary control.

    For more information on this story click here

    Source: bbc.co.uk

    Recycling update

    Paper packaging please

    Do you prefer to buy your tomatoes in plastic or paper packaging? According to a recent YouGov poll, 57 per cent of those asked would prefer their groceries and fresh produce to be packaged in paper-based materials, which is interesting news for recyclers of both materials.

    The poll of 2,289 people was commissioned by the Confederation of Paper Industries (CPI) also found that just eight per cent preferred plastic containers. However, almost a third expressed no material preference. Interestingly, 46 per cent of respondents said they would be 'more likely' or 'much more likely' to purchase an item in paper-based material if all other aspects of the product were the same.

    On a national level, consumers in London were the most keen to buy food products in paper-based packaging, with 62 per cent favouring it to plastic.

    For more information on this story click here

    Source: Resource


    Social media made simple

    The most common response I hear from those explaining why they are yet to switch on to the business-building benefits of social media is this: "I don't have the time for Twitter."

    It's a misconception that seemingly prevents some companies from investing in any social media activities and one that could prove costly.

    Ignoring the fact that social media extends far beyond Twitter alone, using it effectively actually requires relatively little time. The key is to use it efficiently.

    Most businesses now recognise the commercial value in maintaining a regularly updated website as it can be used as a useful marketing platform to share content with potential customers.

    This content includes the latest company and product/service news, client testimonials and case studies and special offers.

    Social media is just an extension on this system. As such, all of this existing content can be quickly repackaged and shared with potential customers through various social media channels.

    The advantage social media has over your website is that not only does it give you a way of taking your message to potential customers, it also gives them a simple and immediate way of responding.

    While maintaining these two-way channels of communication represents a modest time investment, it is one that your rivals are willing to make and gives them a commercial edge over your business.

    We can help redress this balance.

    Contact us today to see how our integrated communications package can increase your engagement with customers and generate new business.

    Call 01233 500200 or email simon@quantumpr.co.uk

    South East Update

    Chilmington Green proposals set to be discussed

    A major development including 5,750 homes, five schools and a supermarket could be granted outline planning permission next month.

    Ashford Borough Councillors will meet next week to discuss whether to set aside the entire time allocation of their October planning meeting to consider the Chilmington Green proposals.

    For more information on this story click here

    Source: kentonline.co.uk


    Free communications advice

    New businesses, products, initiatives, consultations, plans and propositions are launched onto the UK energy market each week. How do you ensure that your messages are heard by the right people at the right time?

    The first point to note is that when it comes to energy communications, strategy really is king. Early planning and research is crucial to ensure that you understand your audience and operational landscape.

    This is particularly true for energy generation projects, where it's beneficial if you also align your planning, legal, community and communications teams at the earliest opportunity. All too often these teams work in silos - it's far more efficient for them to work as a team.

    While strategy is all important - it's not everything. Energy projects are dynamic. They frequently change shape, timeline and importance, responding to external stakeholder influences. Your communications strategy (and team) needs to be flexible.

    When it comes to energy efficiency products and initiatives, one of the biggest challenges is engagement. Householders have been subjected to years of energy efficiency messages, most of which have fallen on deaf ears. Getting them motivated to buy in to new solutions and make behavioural changes continues to be a real challenge. Perhaps one way of addressing this is to attract more high profile ambassadors and advocates who can lead the way through actions - rather than just words.

    Energy efficiency needs to be cool. And more importantly, for B2B buyers, it needs to cut operational costs. Only then will it leap to the top of the specification list.

    If your energy communications aren't getting as much attention as they deserve, give us a call. We'll audit your activity, reviewing it against Quantum best practice. We'll then assess your communications against three of your peers and at the end provide you with a free set of communications recommendations.

    Call us today on 01233 500200 to book an audit. Alternatively, email Adrienne at Quantum PR.

    Energy update

    Weekend wind power outperforms coal

    The remnants of Hurricane Bertha helped the UK's wind energy industry to set a new hourly output record for August on Sunday, delivering an average of 5.0GW of power, or 17% of national demand. Wind outperformed coal power which delivered 3.2GW or 11% of the total*.

    Other source figures are: gas 30%, nuclear 27%, hydro 600MW (2%), biomass 700MW (2.5%) and 10% imported.

    * Figures from Renewable UK.

    Source: Resource Efficient Business

    Energy update

    Council urged to pledge support for plastics campaign

    Local authorities are being asked to sign up to the Pledge 4 Plastics campaign, a national initiative that aims to increase the amount of plastic materials recycled through kerbside collections.

    The scheme - due to launch next month - has been devised by recycling body Recoup in a bid to hit recycling targets set by government for 2013-2017.

    To hit these targets plastic recycling rates will need to double.

    For more information on this story click here

    Source: Letsrecycle.com

    Property update

    Switch from buyer's to seller's market

    An increase in supply has seen a switch in the UK property market, with buyers beginning to have the upper hand.

    A report from independent agents Haart has shown that there are now 9.5 buyers chase every property for sale across the UK, down from 14.4 in January 2014.

    The monthly report also shows that property sales remain healthy, up 9.8% annually and up 7.7% month on month.

    For more information on this story click here

    Source: Property Wire

    Manufacturing update

    Remanufacturing inquiry announced

    MPs Caroline Spelman and Barry Sheerman are to co-chair a joint inquiry into remanufacturing. The inquiry will examine the growth potential of the UK's remanufacturing sector. It is being conducted by the All-Party Parliamentary Groups for Manufacturing and Sustainable Resource.

    Earlier this year the APSRG published a report into remanufacturing: Remanufacturing: Towards a Resource Efficient Economy. The new inquiry will build on this report and will explore ways in which lessons can be learned from best practice case studies in key industries such as the automotive industry. It will also consider whether current Government policy promotes remanufacturing growth and analyse how different businesses have successfully adopted remanufacturing processes.

    For more information on this story click here

    Source: Resource Efficient Business

    Energy update

    Government gives UK universities £3 million energy efficiency fund

    Six universities have launched energy efficiency research projects after receiving funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC).

    The funding will be used to find further ways for UK businesses to cut costs and reduce CO² emissions through more efficient energy use.

    For more information on this story click here

    Source: www.edie.net


    Quantum Public Relations is a full service communications agency specialising in corporate, planning and public sector communications.

    To maintain these specialisms and continue to provide our clients with the best possible service, we take the time to keep up to date with the markets they are active in, monitoring and reacting to the latest industry news, innovation and legislation on a daily basis.

    We'll share this information with you, posting industry updates on our website every day of the working week. These will focus on Energy, Property, Recycling, Planning and Kent / South East.

    Quantum PR''s expertise attracts two new clients - August 2014

    Quantum Public Relations has been appointed by Expertise Homecare and Presona UK - two companies with big plans for September.
    Read more

    Quantum secures sizeable return on investment rates for clients - June 2014

    Analysis of press coverage we have gained recently for two clients has revealed sizeable return on investment rates - with the news articles and features we placed for these businesses delivering advertising value equivalents (AVEs) of six and eight times costs.
    Read more

    The latest website designed and built by the Quantum team for a client has gone live - May 2014

    MD Capital Partners is a small boutique private equity firm based in Mayfair. The Partners wanted a new website to accurately reflect their business and the areas that they specialise in, which had easy to find information and looked great.

    See the finished website at:
    Read more

    Minimise Claim Cleantech Entrepreneurial Award - May 2014

    Huge congratulations go to Quantum PR client Minimise after their recent success at the New Energy & Cleantech awards.
    Read more

    Quantum PR Sets the Standard - January 2014

    Quantum Public Relations' industry expertise has been reconfirmed following an in-depth, independent audit covering eight core business areas.
    Read more

    View more Quantum PR News here

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