Junior Marketing Assistant Required!

An exciting opportunity has arisen for a Junior Marketing Assistant to join Pali Ltd in Wallasey, Wirral.

Pali (Property And Land Information) is a multi-award winning, national Conveyancing Search Company.  Pali provides Solicitors with Conveyancing Searches and other property related reports.

Pali are seeking a friendly, flexible and efficient Junior Marketing Assistant, who is confident on both the telephone and face to face with clients and prospects as well as being extremely organised. The successful candidate will be working from Head Office which is based in Wallasey, Wirral.

Working Week:

Monday to Thursday 9am-5:30pm, Friday 9am-5pm

Monthly Wage:

National Minimum Wage

Main duties:

  • Contact prospective clients via phone and email
  • Answer client queries via phone and email
  • Database maintenance
  • Entering client’s details in to our bespoke computer system
  • Account set-up
  • Distribute marketing literature 
  • Supporting the marketing department

Desired skills:

  • A clear communicator
  • Excellent attention to detail
  • Extremely organised
  • Good computer skills
  • Excellent written skills

Personal qualities:

  • Friendly and approachable
  • Well spoken
  • Very good personal presentation
  • Team player
  • Can multitask

Qualifications required:

MINIMUM of 5 GCSE A*-C or equivalent – essential
A-Levels desirable
Driving License desirable but not essential

How to apply:

Please send your CV and cover letter to Jo Milne at jo@paliltd.com

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Invitation To Free Conveyancing Webinar

New Groundsure Agricultural Report

When: Tuesday 17th September 2019
Time: 13:00
Duration: Approx 1 hour

Topics covered:

This presentation will provide a dedicated look into the new Groundsure Agricultural report. We will provide an overview of what is included in the report including the new information that meets the standards set in Section B8 of the Conveyancing Handbook (25th Edition), as well as looking at key aspects that a buyer should be made aware of when purchasing a farm and agricultural land. We will finish off by looking at case studies to provide real life examples of the risks encountered in agricultural transactions. 

To join this webinar please CLICK HERE

Don’t have speakers or earphones?
Contact Jo Milne on jo@paliltd.com  to receive a FREE pair of earphones.

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Eco-friendly redevelopment for Rugeley Power Station?

Last month an outline planning application was put forward on behalf of site-owners ENGIE for a large, mixed-use development at the site of Rugeley Power Station. The proposal includes plans for up to 2,300 homes, as well as a retirement home and a primary school.

The power station, decommissioned in June 2016, is in the process of being demolished, a process which is scheduled to be completed in 2021.

The 139 hectare site is likely to need remediation before the construction process begins due to the historic use of the site as a power station and various works since 1882.

Section taken from application form – answered ‘yes’ to potential for contamination.
Rugeley Power Station - questionnaire

Historical map from 1981:

Coal-fired power stations can be a source of air and water pollution. Burning coal can release pollutants such as sulfur dioxide (SO2), sulfur trioxide (SO3), nitrogen oxides (NOx), particulate matter (PM), condensable PM, mercury (Hg), trace metals and radioactive substances. This is on top of the release of carbon dioxide (CO2) which is a greenhouse gas contributing to global warming.

Rugeley A power station, decommissioned and demolished in 1994, was remediated prior to residential development at a cost of £4.8 million. Following a similar costing, it could cost upward of £21 million to remediate the entire Rugeley B site.

Following remediation, the plans submitted to Cannock Chase council on behalf of ENGIE propose to transform the site into an area for sustainable living which stimulates the local economy.

The power station:
Rugeley Power Station

Colin Macpherson, development director at ENGIE has said, “The move to take what was historically a carbon-polluting site and convert it into something that is a low carbon site for people to live and work is really really important to me, my team and the business.”

The new development is thought likely to create a number of jobs in the area, as well as being at the forefront of eco-friendly development, with plans to run all homes entirely on renewable energy. This is a stark change from the years of coal power seen at the site in the past.

Should the outline application be approved, detailed plans for the site would need to be submitted to the council and if it goes ahead, construction could start as soon as next year.

References:
1. planning.cannockchasedc.com/swiftlg/apas/run/WPHAPPDETAIL.DisplayUrl?theApnID=CH/19/201&theTabNo=1&backURL=<a href=wphappcriteria.display?paSearchKey=574059>Search Criteria</a> > <a href=’wphappsearchres.displayResultsURL?ResultID=590188%26StartIndex=1%26SortOrder=APNID%26DispResultsAs=WPHAPPSEARCHRES%26BackURL=<a href=wphappcriteria.display?paSearchKey=574059>Search Criteria</a>’>Search Results</a>
2. https://www.omicsonline.org/open-access/coal-fired-power-plants-emission-problems-and-controlling-techniques-2157-7617-1000404.php?aid=92025
3. https://www.vhe.co.uk/remediation/earthworks/rugeley-power-station.php
4. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/6/6b/2011_Rugeley_Power_Station_Cannock_Chase.jpg
5. https://www.worldcoal.com/power/21112018/rugeley-power-plant-to-be-transformed-into-community-of-green-homes/

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What is Mundic Block and does it affect you?

What is Mundic Block?

Image taken from H & S Surveyors

‘Mundic block’ is a term often spoke about in Cornwall when individuals have tried to buy property or lived here.  This talks about a building material that was used mainly in Cornwall between 1900-1952.  The reasoning behind it being called mundic is down to the fact they used waste product as a form of concrete and mundic is the Cornish word for mine waste.  In this era, it was normal for the concrete to locally be mixed using materials that were close by.  This meant that many homes within Cornwall were assembled from ‘mundic’ material.

Why is it a problem?

There are numerous problems with the ‘mundic block’, the main one being that it is difficult to know what is precisely in the mixture.  However, as the Cornish soil has a high mineral content and the way in which ore is extracted from the soil, the concrete aggregate contains chemicals or minerals.  Over time this causes the concrete to degrade.

The property value can be seriously affected with buyers avoiding houses that have been built with this substance and lenders refusing mortgages depending on the condition of the property.

How can you tell if a house is built with mundic block?

With some buildings it may be obvious that it has been constructed with mundic materials where with others it might have to discovered by doing a Building Survey.  Any property within West Devon and Cornwall that was either altered or built between 1900 and 1960 that contains concrete need to be tested for mundic matter.

Countless surveyors can arrange for a mundic test to be carried out or can offer a Mundic test.  This test screens for concrete building materials.  Samples are collected with a drill from the house’s fabric, these are then analysed and graded (A1, A2, A3, B and C).

What do Grades mean?

If the grades A1 or A2 has been given this means that the concrete within the house doesn’t contain any possible harmful material or contains so little that its not considered to be a future problem.  Most mortgage lenders will accept this grade in order to lend against.

A3 will be graded if a sample of the fabric contains more levels of mundic than should be in the home.  Special testing is needed to get this grade; however, this testing is not cheap and is time-consuming.  This could still be rejected by the mortgage lenders.

If the property is graded either B or C then no mortgage will be secured.  The reason this would happen is if more than 30% of the concrete within the house is made up of mundic.  This may already have a visible degradation.  Although if the mundic is only within a specific area of the house then you may be able to replace it with a modern material to get the correct lending.

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Flooding: Ten Most Common Questions Answered

The Environment Agency and British Red Cross are urging younger people specifically to learn how to look after themselves and their communities in times of flooding. While their joint report highlights that young people are the most at risk in a flood, at Groundsure we want everyone to be aware of the risks associated with flooding, the potential for flooding where they live or own property, and the ways that can affect their property or any transactions they may be considering. Our 7-in-1 Groundsure Avista report reveals the potential risk of flooding that may impact a home, but we also want to make sure that people know what to do should flooding happen to them.

The way we hope to do this? Answer some of the most commonly asked questions on the subject. We used a handy tool called ‘Answer The Public’ to see what people are Googling about flooding.

Flooding Groundsure blogImage reference: https://answerthepublic.com/

We then pulled out 10 of the most common questions about flooding to answer below:
1. What causes flooding?
2. Where does flooding occur in the UK?
3. Can flooding be predicted?
4. Can flooding be prevented?
5. Does flooding cause harm to health?
6. Will flooding affect house prices?
7. How do I find out what flood zone I am in?
8. What can I do about flooding?
9. Who to contact about flooding
10. What should I know about buying a house at risk of flooding?

1. What causes flooding?

Flooding can be caused by a variety of factors. It can be caused by human error – like a washing machine leaking leading to water in a home, but also through environmental factors like extreme rainfall events or high sea levels.

At Groundsure, we focus on environmental risk, where flooding has been caused by groundwater, surface water and flooding from rivers and the sea. We also advise on historic flood events and the presence of flood defences.

Each type of flooding is a result of a different set of circumstances. If you want to find out more about this, this article explains each of these in a bit more depth.

The types of flooding that we’re looking at in this article are: Groundwater flooding, surface water flooding and river and coastal flooding.

2. Where does flooding happen in the UK? 

Groundwater flooding can happen in many geological environments, but is a particular problem on chalk and limestone aquifers. These areas are more prevalent in South and South East of England.

Surface water flooding happens anywhere that water is unable to permeate the ground, or sewer system, and therefore overflows.

Fluvial (river) and coastal flooding occurs in proximity to rivers and the sea, respectively.

You can find out if any type of flooding risk might have an impact on your property by purchasing a Flood report from Groundsure. Alternatively, visit https://www.gov.uk/check-flood-risk for further resources.

3. Can flooding be predicted

According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (better known as NASA) – “Predicting floods is notoriously tricky.” Prediction depends on a variety of data points, including rainfall, soil moisture and recent rainfall. Rain storms and heavy snowfall can also create unexpected conditions that are even harder to factor in.

However, this doesn’t mean reasonable attempts aren’t made. The Flood Forecasting Centre (FFC) is a partnership between the Met Office and the Environment Agency (EA) combining meteorology and hydrology expertise to forecast for river, tidal and coastal flooding as well as extreme rainfall which may lead to surface water flooding.

The centre forecasts for all natural forms of flooding – river, surface water, tidal/coastal and groundwater. You can find out more here.

4. Can flooding be prevented?

Floods can be managed through structural and non-structural approaches.

Structural approaches involve the use of physical structures to prevent, divert or mitigate the impacts of flooding.

Non-structural approaches include core processes, such as:

  • the detection and forecasting of potential flood conditions
  • the issuing and dissemination of warnings
  • the planning and implementation of responses to flood emergencies

And non-core processes, such as:

  • the operation of structural flood defences
  • complex information and media management
  • close collaboration with a range of professional FIM partners

There is no single body responsible for managing flood risk in the UK because of the role of the devolved administrations in Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales. Responsibility is joint among a number of bodies, who are detailed here.

Flood Incident Management FIM, a project developed by the EA, combines prediction and prevention to reduce the impact that floods have on the UK.
It aims to reduce the impacts of flooding on society and the economy through non-structural interventions, such as those described above.

5. Does flooding cause harm to health?

Public Health England (PHE) report that flood water may be contaminated by a number of sources, which, if ingested, can lead to infectious diseases. Flood water may be polluted by chemicals or animal faeces, if the water has run off fields, and sewage can rise and escape through drains. Rodents from the sewers can also wind up in flood water. Other risks include injuries, drowning, contact with chemicals, being stranded, having no power or clean water.

They offer advice and answers on their website: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/flooding-questions-and-answers-about-health

The UK Public Health Register (UKPHR) suggests that there may also be an impact to mental health following a flood, on top of the potential risk to physical health.

6. Will flooding affect house prices?

A flooding event can have an impact on the price a potential buyer is willing to pay for the property. As a seller has to declare any flood events or incidents that have impacted the property, prior to the sale, it may deter a buyer from proceeding with the purchase.

Alternatively, they may negotiate a lower purchase price to account for any potential costs that could be incurred from any flooding that may occur after purchase.

You may find that it is harder to sell a property at the price you had hoped for if the property does have a history of flooding – in order to sell you may need to reduce the asking price in order to make a sale.

7. How do I find out what flood zone I am in?

You can find out what flood zone the property is located in by purchasing a Groundsure Flood, or Groundsure Avista (the 7-in-1 report). Alternatively, you can conduct research on the government website: https://flood-map-for-planning.service.gov.uk/

This service is designed to give planners an indication of the risk of flooding at a site, all you need to use it is the property postcode, grid reference or easting/northing.

Flood map service Groundsure flood blog

From this screenshot of the Flood Map for Planning website you can see that this sample location is nearby to an area identified as flood zone 3. But it is located within flood zone 2.

Flood map for Planning Groundsure blog

8. What can I do about flooding?

The most important thing you can do about flooding is know if your property is at risk, and prepare for the risk accordingly.

Below we offer some practical advice about what to do before, during and after a flood.

This article from the fire service outlines what you should do in the following stages:

  • Preparing for the flood
  • When a flood starts
  • After a flood has finished

Preparing for a flood

  • Keep a list of useful numbers somewhere you’ll remember
  • Make a flood kit with useful items such as torch, medication, emergency numbers
  • Buy or make some sandbags
  • Find out where to turn off your gas and electricity supplies

During a flood

  • Stay alert – listen to local radio and TV for announcements
  • Don’t walk or drive through floodwater
  • Don’t touch items that have been in contact with the water

After a flood

  • Call your insurance company
  • Contact the gas, electricity and water companies
  • Ventilate your home
  • Watch out for broken glass or nails while you clear up
  • Don’t turn any electrical items back on. Make sure they’ve dried out first

9. Who should I contact about flooding?

Before
To sign up for warnings from the Environment Agency (EA) ahead of flood events, visit: https://www.gov.uk/sign-up-for-flood-warnings
To prepare, visit: https://nationalfloodforum.org.uk/about-flooding/preparing/checklist-action-plan/

During
If you want to report a flood, or a possible cause of flooding, visit: https://www.gov.uk/report-flood-cause
To get help during a flood, use the resources here: https://www.gov.uk/help-during-flood
And: https://nationalfloodforum.org.uk/about-flooding/during/during-a-flood/

After
How to ensure you clean up safely after a flood: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/floods-how-to-clean-up-your-home-safely
And: https://nationalfloodforum.org.uk/about-flooding/recovering/what-should-i-do/

10. What should I know about buying a house with a flooding risk?

The most important thing you need to know about buying a property with a risk of flooding is to be prepared. Find out as much as you can about any previous flood events that have affected the property, and what sort of flood risk presents the greatest threat to the home.

If you know what risks you may be facing, it is easier to prepare for a flood, should it happen, or prevent a flood from impacting your home.

Be aware of any insurance premiums which may be influenced by flood risk, and ensure that you take this into consideration when making your purchase offer.

Groundsure Avista offers seven key environmental searches including flooding, intelligently filtered to produce the most comprehensive risk report on the market. Click here to find out more about Avista.

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Invitation To Free Conveyancing Webinar

Pali, in conjunction with Groundsure, would like to invite you to join our free webinar on Contaminated Land – What to do next?

When: Tuesday 9th July 2019
Time: 11:00
Duration: Approx 30 minutes

To register for this webinar please CLICK HERE

In this informative webinar we will be providing practical advice and guidance on what to do next should your environmental report identify a contaminated land risk using a number of examples.

Please note you will need sound for this webinar.

Don’t have speakers or earphones?
Contact Jo Milne on jo@paliltd.com  to receive a FREE pair of earphones.

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Chancel – Case Study

If you think that Chancel Repair Liability (CRL) is dead and buried, think again as one man and his family found out in late 2016 when they received a letter from their local parish council regarding an urgent need for repair to the roof of their local church. Fortunately for this individual, he had covered the risk of this day coming by purchasing chancel liability cover from CLS to cover his rural property two years earlier.

What follows does not resemble a claim on more traditional insurance i.e loss event, assessment, settlement. With chancel, and other legal indemnities, loss often doesn’t crystalize until a complicated legal process has taken place. A church council, if they are following procedure, cannot just carry out repairs to the chancel and then charge their lay rectors (properties owners whose properties are subject to CRL) for their share. The lay rectors must be informed from the start of the need for repairs and then be involved throughout in securing quotes, choosing a contractor and monitoring the build. Obviously when indemnity insurance is involved, then the insurer will also be fully involved in this process.

We at CLS have vast experience in dealing with chancel and will carry out extensive checks to make sure that the parish council in question has the right to enforce CRL. This may involve a search of the National Archives, although strangely in this example the search needed to be conducted within the local archives as the liability stemmed from an Enclosure Award. In simple terms in the 18th and 19th centuries a move was made to increase the country’s agricultural output by consolidating large areas of small holdings into much larger, more productive farms. Sometimes CRL would be caught up within the enclosure, so the owner of the new larger piece of land would be liable for whatever liabilities had existed on the smaller pieces of land that had been ‘enclosed’. Our insured on this claim was able to secure a copy of the enclosure award which clarified what we were dealing with.

We then instructed a solicitor with extensive chancel experience to act for the insurer who in turn instructed leading counsel to look at all the documents and confirm that the church’s claim was genuine (which it was) and then to confirm the insured’s share of the total liability. Cover was then confirmed and we set to work liaising with the insured who attended many meetings with the parish council to gain quotes and decide on a specialist contractor. It’s not always easy to find companies that will carry out work on buildings that are over 400 years old. Once the contractor was chosen and a price was agreed and the loss was crystalized, the policy was able to pay over the insured’s share which totalled around £30,000.00. This all sounds simple, but events took place over the course of 10 months from when the letter first came through the insured’s letter box to when the final payment was made to the church for the insured’s share of the costs of the works.

CLS was able to add so much more than just this final pay out, giving expert advice to the insured throughout, ‘holding his hand’ through negotiations with the church and making sure that his/the insurer’s interests were simultaneously protected. The legal expenses expended on this case would have cost a private individual way in excess of £10,000 and was all covered by the policy. The identity of CLS as insurer was not revealed during the process and so as far as the church and the local community were concerned our insured had instructed his own solicitors to look after his interests and had contributed willingly to the upkeep of the local parish church and the policy will do the same again the next time repairs are required (hopefully not for a long, long time).

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Toxic Dumping In The UK

The concept of nuclear waste being dumped in the UK may sound like something out of science fiction or an episode of The Simpsons, however this is in fact not a new phenomenon in the UK and the consequences may be more severe on the UK’s environment than the occasional three eyed fish.

There is growing concern and anger among campaigners in South Wales, as 300,000 tonnes of potentially radioactive sludge are due to be disposed of on the Cardiff Grounds sandbank. This sediment is due to be dredged from the seabed near the Hinkley Point C plant, as EDF Energy and China General Nuclear Power Corporation (CGN) are set to build two new nuclear reactors at the Somerset site, which is situated in the Bristol channel. There are concerns that the potentially radioactive mud has not been appropriately tested and could degrade and release particles which could be damaging to human health and the environment (BBC News, 20181).

Nuclear waste in the UK

The UK currently has fifteen operational nuclear power plants, the power from which amounts to almost a quarter of the country’s electricity, as of 2016. This number is projected to increase by up to a third by 2035 (World-nuclear.org, 2018). Last month, Chris Huhne the Secretary for Energy, announced an estimated £18 billion project for the building of eight new nuclear power stations in an attempt to cut carbon emissions (Gray, 2018). There is a great deal of concern and apprehension around the topic of nuclear power, especially when considering the well-known disasters of Fukushima and Chernobyl.

Source: Groundsure

In the UK, the Office for Nuclear Regulation (known as ONR) regulates the 37 licensed nuclear sites (Onr.org.uk, 2018). Thankfully, there has not to date been any considerable disasters within the British nuclear industry, although there have been historic controversies with the dumping of nuclear waste (No2NuclearPower, 2018). In general the environmental impacts of nuclear power are harder to detect and relatively low when compared to other types of fossil power (International Panel on Fissile Materials, 2018). However, it is well known that nuclear waste can be damaging towards the environment, as it can affect the air and water, microorganisms, pests, germs, plants, birds and all forms of life in our ecosystem, which can also lead to human ingestion (Ali et al, 2015). Moreover, exposure can lead to cancer and birth defects, these horrific symptoms were sadly felt by the cleanup crew and the surrounding 6.5 million people who were in close proximity to Chernobyl (National Cancer Institute, 2018). Justifiably, there is a lot of bad press when concerning nuclear power and there is a tendency for governments to continue to go on quietly operating these huge sources of pollution without the public asking where does the waste go? And maybe it is time to ask whether these potentially huge sources of environmental degradation are really necessary as we approach 2020?

What is happening in Wales?

Source: BBC 2017

The current debate in Cardiff concerns suitable testing of the potentially nuclear sludge which is being dumped in close proximity to the Cardiff bay area. The government maintains the stance that the sludge from the Hinkley Point C nuclear power plant has been sufficiently tested and causes no risk to the environment. However, “The Campaign Against Hinkley Mud Dumping”, which include an eclectic group of scientists, some surfers and a rock star (the keyboard player from Super Furry Animals), believe that the waste has not been suitably tested and could indeed be a risk to human health and the environment.

Professor Keith Barnham (Emeritus Professor of Physics, and Distinguished Research Fellow at Imperial College, London) said on the record that:
“Hinkley Point A was used to produce raw materials for nuclear bombs in the late 1960s. Magnox Ltd has admitted also that many “de-splitting” accidents in the Magnox cooling ponds resulted in spent fuel in the sludge. EDF should have tested for alpha emitters prior to the dumping. Leaks from fuel pins at Hinkley Point were certainly not rare.” (Rowe, 2018).

This argument has been echoed by Neil McEvoy, Member of the Welsh Assembly for South Wales Central in the Assembly chamber; he read a statement in which he quoted Professor Keith Barnham. In layman’s terms, campaigners were calling for more extensive alpha testing and mass spectrometry testing of the sediment not just the gamma testing which was carried out. Gamma rays are often considered the most dangerous type of radiation and alpha the weakest as the rays are not able to penetrate human skin, however alpha rays can still be damaging when inhaled or ingested (Co.monmouth.nj.us, 2018). The campaigners believe that no appropriate environmental impact assessment had been carried out and have sought legal action against the dumping (Morris, 2018). Furthermore, in September (2018), Judge Milwyn Jarman stated that it must be clarified whether dumping the mud from near a nuclear plant is covered by an environmental impact assessment (BBC News, 20182).

This standpoint has been fiercely denied by the government and both developers EDF and Natural Resources Wales (NRW). To begin to understand the argument presented by them, you have to consider that the majority of mankind’s exposure to radiation comes through natural sources and we all naturally come into contact with radiation in our everyday lives (UN, 1988). The research presented by EDF Energy stated that combining natural and artificial levels of radioactivity together, any exposure from the potentially radioactive sludge from Hinkley point C would be 10,000 times less than an airline pilot’s annual dose, 750 times less than the average dose received by a resident of Pembrokeshire due to naturally occurring radon gas, and the equivalent to the average person eating 20 bananas each year (BBC3, 2018). The campaigners disagree, stating that without alpha ray and mass spectrometry testing the true levels of exposure and any negative ramifications from the potentially radioactive sludge remain unknown.

The future of nuclear waste in the UK

Calls to halt the dumping of the “nuclear waste” have comprehensively been denied by the Welsh Assembly, and Ms Lesley Griffiths, the Environment Secretary in a damning statement, accused campaigners as circulating lies (BBC News. 2018)4. Subsequently, the campaign group has agreed to discontinue legal action after the vote from the Assembly (BBC News. 2018)5. However, considering the UK’s determination to continue to focus on nuclear power as a viable strategy to reduce greenhouse gases, maybe it is now time to consider where this extra nuclear waste is going to go?

The implications of harm to the environment from exposure to nuclear waste and the correct way of disposing of it is not universally accepted (Yeager and Shrader-Frechette, 1994). The UK has a long history of burying nuclear waste (No2NuclearPower, 2018), and this is a strategy which the government is not going to change. Recently, a committee of MPs have backed proposals which could lead to nuclear waste being permanently buried under Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and National Parks (Carrington, 2018). Therefore, the future of environmental intelligence and potential contamination in the UK’s environment may be more complex and convoluted in years to come.

References

BBC News. (2018)1. Hundreds in nuclear mud dump protest. [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-45322712 [Accessed 30 Oct. 2018].

Ali, S.H.A., Iqbal, A. and Awan, M,S (2015) Nuclear Waste and Our Environment. American Journal of Social Science Research Vol. 1, No. 2, 2015, pp. 114-120 Available at: http://www.aiscience.org/journal/ajs  [Accessed 16 Nov. 2018].

BBC News. (2018)2. Toxic mud dump claim ‘alarmist’. [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-42226392 [Accessed 23 Oct. 2018].

BBC News. (2018)3. Campaigners drop Hinkley mud challenge. [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-45718810 [Accessed 23 Oct. 2018].

BBC News. (2018)4. Call to stop nuclear plant mud dump fails. [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-politics-45811491 [Accessed 30 Oct. 2018].

BBC News. (2018)5. Campaigners drop Hinkley mud challenge. [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-wales-45718810 [Accessed 30 Oct. 2018].

Carrington, D. (2018). Allow nuclear waste disposal under national parks, say MPs. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/jul/31/allow-nuclear-waste-disposal-in-national-parks-say-mps?CMP=share_btn_fb&fbclid=IwAR3WCyUmnHDjD6YoOlAZS5_VzWkoUfmRT1pC95EwtDDriZs65bqjarNyd7k [Accessed 30 Oct. 2018].

Co.monmouth.nj.us. (2018). [online] Available at: http://co.monmouth.nj.us/documents/118%5CRADIATION%20HEALTH%20BASICS.pdf [Accessed 16 Nov. 2018].

Gray, L. (2018). Eight new nuclear power stations despite safety and clean-up concerns. [online] Telegraph.co.uk. Available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/earth/energy/8070810/Eight-new-nuclear-power-stations-despite-safety-and-clean-up-concerns.html [Accessed 23 Oct. 2018].

International Panel on Fissile Materials (September 2010). “The Uncertain Future of Nuclear Energy” (PDF). Research Report 9. p. 1.

Morris, S. (2018). Welsh leaders urged to halt ‘nuclear mud’ dumping off Cardiff. [online] the Guardian. Available at: https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/2018/oct/02/hinkley-point-c-nuclear-mud-case-dropped-after-debate-secured [Accessed 23 Oct. 2018].

National Cancer Institute. (2018). Accidents at Nuclear Power Plants and Cancer Risk. [online] Available at: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/radiation/nuclear-accidents-fact-sheet?redirect=true [Accessed 16 Nov. 2018].

No2NuclearPower. (2018). History of nuclear waste disposal proposals in Britain. [online] Available at: http://www.no2nuclearpower.org.uk/radwaste/history-of-nuclear-waste-disposal-proposals-in-britain/ [Accessed 30 Oct. 2018].

United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (1988). Exposures from natural sources of radiation. United Nations (UN): UN.

US National Cancer Institute, Accidents at Nuclear Power Plants and Cancer Risk

World-nuclear.org. (2018). Nuclear Power in the United Kingdom |UK Nuclear Energy – World Nuclear Association. [online] Available at: http://www.world-nuclear.org/information-library/country-profiles/countries-t-z/united-kingdom.aspx [Accessed 23 Oct. 2018].

Yeager, P. and Shrader-Frechette, K. (1994). Burying Uncertainty: Risk and the Case Against Geological Disposal of Nuclear Waste. Contemporary Sociology, 23(5), p.691.

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Plans To Build Homes On Green Belt At Popular Prenton Golf Course Causes Fury

Image taken from Wirral Globe

Plans have come about to build 22 homes as well as a brand-new club house and a broader 18-hole course on Prenton Golf Club.  This has caused a frenzy with the public who are outraged over the plans which look to build “executive homes”.

In the previous week there has been an event held, public consultation, which saw over 100 people attend.  They then argued that by going forward with the plans there will be “destruction of the local green belt and woodland”.

Developers, Pegasus Group, are saying that he Merseyside golf course is going to be a part of a scheme to make this a world class sporting facility. 

The consultants for the golf club stated that the homes are just part of the plans and the club could face a possible closure without the funding that they are creating for the club.

On Monday a spokesperson for the opposing residents stated: “These plans will further erode the borough’s green belt in a scheme that sees the permanent destruction of ancient woodland and established ponds along with the eradication of habitat for local wildlife in the area”.

An official protest was proposed last week against the plans by a group that contained residents from both Prenton and Bebington the spokesperson also said.

A public consultation event was held at the Prenton golf club which was attended by both the public and councillors.  This was over the applications before May 10th which is the closing deadline.

The application is looking at remodelling a portion of the golf course, with the club house moving locations so that 22 houses can be built in its original location.

The clubhouse which is said to be “ageing” has hopes that once the renovated one is in place it will attract more occasions due to the “dramatic setting”.

Renovating the club will mean that a “world-class” resort and a “high-energy, efficient” new building could rejuvenate the golf club “for the next 100 years-plus” stated a spokesperson for Pegasus Group.  They also revealed that they have had in excess of 150 letters supporting the project.

This is the second golf course-related development to hit the Wirral news, the first being within Hoylake.  This happened earlier this year when protests took place outside Wallasey town hall over plans to build a £200m golf course.  These plans are still at the beginning stages but if these plans do go forward, Hoylake will be looking at gaining a housing, a hotel and two golf courses.

Lauren Williams, Pali Ltd
www.paliltd.com

 

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Marine Litter, What Is It And What It Does To The Environment

Being based in Brighton and a stone’s throw from the beach, Groundsure is in an envious position to many. However all too often litter can spoil the beauty of our beaches, something it is all too easy to observe being so close to the sea. In this blog post we investigate the phenomenon, where it comes from, its effects and its future management.

Marine litter, also known as marine debris, is human-created waste that has deliberately or accidentally been released in a body of water [1]. The 2018 Ocean Conservancy’s International program of beach cleans recorded the top ten offending articles as; cigarette butts, food wrappers, plastic beverage bottles, plastic bottle caps, plastic grocery bags, other plastic bags, straws and stirrers, plastic take out/away containers, plastic lids, and foam take out/away containers [2]. Of course plastics are often resistant to degradation, persist in the marine environment and often float, making them prominent, both to us and to wildlife.

Marine litter has featured heavily in the media around the world in recent years, for example in the UK, The Independent in 2018 wrote an article entitled “Plastic chemicals changing marine animals’ behaviour and leaving them vulnerable to attack, study suggests” [3]. While in Asia the Asian Correspondent wrote a recent article in 2019 “More plastic bags than fish: East Asia’s new environmental threat” [4]. For an American context CNN wrote an article “Ocean plastic predicted to triple within a decade” [5] while in Australia ABC wrote “Arctic birds, seals and reindeer killed by marine plastics; pollution expected to rise“ [6], and further searches online return thousands of such articles.

On the right is a photo of rubbish on Brighton seafront.

Rubbish seafront UK

A 2009 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) report summarises marine litter as ‘an environmental, economic, health and aesthetic problem’ [7]. Marine debris can enter the ocean environment through a myriad of sources ranging from rivers, streams, open lakes, estuaries, and land-based sources such as waste, run off, and sewage effluent, as well as through ocean-based sources, such as maritime and cruise industries, commercial fisheries, and recreational fishing and boating activities. But what exactly are these impacts and how do they affect the environment?

Ingestion and Entanglement
The two best studied environmental impacts of marine litter are the entanglement of, and ingestion by, marine wildlife. A wide range of species including invertebrates, turtles, fish, seabirds and mammals, have been reported to ingest or become entangled in plastic debris, resulting in impaired movement and feeding, reduced reproductive output, lacerations, ulcers and death [7].

The negative effects of entanglement on individuals are more obvious, with Seal pup eating plastic debris, UKexternal injuries or death often observed. Determining the effect of ingesting marine debris on an individual can be more difficult, and the consequences of ingestion are still not fully understood [8]. Sub-lethal effects of entanglement and ingestion that alter the biological and ecological performance of individuals are highly likely, and include compromising the ability of a marine animal to capture food or eat, sense hunger, move, escape from predators, migrate and reproduce.

Above shows a seal pup eating plastic debris in Norfolk.

Microplastics
Microplastics, defined as plastic pieces or fragments less than 5 millimetres in diameter [9], have been accumulating in the marine environment (presumably) since the advent of the use and production of plastics, and are at present only likely to increase in abundance given the current dependence of plastics and reluctance to adopt alternatives. Microplastics can be primary (purposefully manufactured) or secondary (derived from the fragmentation of larger plastic items) in origin [10], and are often added to cosmetics. They are a persistent pollutant that is already present in all marine habitats including Antarctic ice [11]. As a result, it is likely that every level of the food web is exposed to microplastics, from primary producers to apex predators and they have the potential to accumulate within organisms and up the food web to humans [12].

Socio-economic impacts of marine debris 
From the above discussion, we can see that marine debris has extensive negative social and economic impacts for society. There have been substantial economic losses for industries such as commercial fishing, shipping, recreation and tourism. There are also widespread social impacts of marine debris such as direct, short-term human health issues (e.g., injuries, and navigational hazards) and indirect issues such as impacts on quality of life, and reduced visitor numbers.

A global assessment on the sources, fates and effects of microplastics in the marine environment, published by the Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP) concluded that the presence of microplastics has negative social and economic impacts, reducing ecosystem services and compromising perceived benefits [13].

The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the work of more than 1,360 experts worldwide defined ecosystem services as ‘the benefits people derive from ecosystems’ [14]. Besides provisioning services or goods like food, wood and other raw materials; plants, animals, fungi and micro-organisms provide essential coastal regulating services such as flood and erosion control, climate regulation, the aforementioned recreation and tourism and even carbon sequestration.

Habitat damage 
The degradation of aquatic habitats due to marine debris poses potentially serious threats to the health of marine and coastal ecosystems and living marine resources. Habitat degradation due to marine debris has far-reaching impacts on biodiversity since many critical areas, such as coral reefs, mangroves, marshes, and seagrass also serve as breeding grounds or nurseries for nearly all marine species [15].

Marine debris can not only damage habitats directly via physical and chemical impacts, but it can also lead to reduced recruitment and reproduction for certain species, which may indirectly alter or degrade critical nurseries and other fragile ecosystems [16]. Accelerated species extinctions and declines in global biodiversity are associated with habitat loss, thus making it critical to unravel the ecological consequences associated with marine debris [17].

The impacts of debris on marine habitats vary in scope depending on the type, quantity, and location of the debris, as well as the vulnerability of the habitat. Although direct physical damage to marine habitats such as coral reefs, benthic zones, sandy beaches, and mangroves has been discussed, all habitats in this paper are in need of additional research [15].

So what can be done? The obvious starting point is preventing land-based sources of debris entering the marine environment, but this is a complex and expensive undertaking. It has been calculated that Local Authorities in the UK spend approximately £18 million each year in removing beach litter, which has also seen a 37% increase in cost over the past 10 years [18].

Legal efforts have been made at both international and national levels to address marine pollution. The most important are the 1972 Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping Wastes and Other Matter (or the London Convention), the 1996 Protocol to the London Convention (the London Protocol), and the 1978 Protocol to the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships (MARPOL). However, compliance with these laws is still poor, partly due to limited financial resources to enforce them.

Recycling and reuse of plastic materials are the most effective actions available to reduce the environmental impacts of open landfills and open-air burning that are often practiced to manage domestic waste. Sufficient litter and recycling bins can be placed in cities, and on beaches in coastal areas to accelerate the prevention and reduction of plastic pollution.

Rubbish bin Brighton seafrontRubbish bin, Brighton seafront

To effectively address the issue of marine plastics, research and innovation should be supported. Knowledge of the full extent of plastic pollution and its impacts would provide policy-makers, manufacturers and consumers with scientific evidence needed to spearhead appropriate technological, behavioural and policy solutions. It would also accelerate the conceptualisation of new technology, materials or products to replace plastics. Therefore, management should consist of a fourfold approach:

  • Prevention of further marine debris input to the marine and coastal environment;
  • Education of the effects and how simple steps can make a difference;
  • Monitoring of marine litter quantities and distribution; and
  • Removal of existing marine litter and its proper disposal.

Sources
[1] National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) (1999). Marine Debris 101, available: https://web.archive.org/web/20090213110801/http://marinedebris.noaa.gov/marinedebris101/

[2] Ocean Conservancy’s International. (2018). Building a Clean Swell, 2018 Report available: https://oceanconservancy.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Building-A-Clean-Swell.pdf
[3] The Independent. (2018). Plastic chemicals changing marine animals’ behaviour and leaving them vulnerable to attack, study suggests. The Independent, available: www.independent.co.uk/environment/plastic-pollution-ocean-animal-behaviour-microplastics-chemicals-study-research-a8654541.html
[4] Asian Correspondent. (2019). More plastic bags than fish: East Asia’s new environmental threat. Asian Correspondent, available: https://asiancorrespondent.com/2019/04/more-plastic-bags-than-fish-east-asias-new-environmental-threat
[5] CNN. (2018). Ocean plastic predicted to triple within a decade. CNN, available: https://edition.cnn.com/2018/03/21/health/ocean-plastic-intl/index.html
[6] ABC. (2018). Arctic birds, seals and reindeer killed by marine plastics; pollution expected to rise. ABC, available: www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-09/marine-plastics-killing-arctic-creatures/9417270
[7] UNEP. (2009). Accessible analyses of the environmental impacts of marine litter can be found, inter alia, in Derraik (n 4) 844-847; 2155-2156.
[8] Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel – GEF. (2012). Impacts of Marine Debris on Biodiversity: Current status and Potential Solutions, Montreal, Technical Series No.67, 61 pp.
[9] Arthur, C. et al. (2009). Proceedings of the international research workshop on the occurrence, effects and fate of microplastic marine debris. September 9-11, 2008: NOAA Technical Memorandum NOS-OR&R30.
[10] Wright, S.L. et al. (2013). The physical impacts of microplastic on marine organisms. Env. Poll. 178: 483-492.
[11] Green Peace. (2008). Microplastics in the Antarctic. Green Peace, available: www.greenpeace.org/international/publication/16899/microplastics-in-the-antarctic/
[12] Oliviera, M. et al. (2012). Effects of exposure to microplastics and PAHs on microalgae Rhodomonas baltica and Tetraselmis chuii. Comp. Bio-chem. Physiol. A Mol. Integr. Physiol. 163: S19-S20.
[13] Joint Group of Experts on the Scientific Aspects of Marine Environmental Protection (GESAMP). (2015). Sources, fate and effects of microplastics in the marine environment: a global assessment. Rep. Stud. GESAMP No. 90, 65 p.
[14] Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. (2005). Ecosystems and Human Well-being: Synthesis. Island Press, Washington, DC.
[15] National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). (2016). Report on Marine Debris Impacts on Coastal and Benthic Habitats. Silver Spring, MD. 20910 301-713-2989
[16] Gall, S C, and Thompson, R C. (2015). The impact of debris on marine life. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 92(1–2), 170–179. doi: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2014.12.041
[17] Pimm, S. L et al. (2014). The biodiversity of species and their rates of extinction, distribution, and protection. Science, 344(6187). doi: 10.1126/science.1246752
[18] Mouat, J, J., Lozano, R., Bateson, H. (2010). Economic Impacts of Marine Litter, KIMO available: www.kimointernational.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/KIMO_Economic-Impacts-of-Marine-Litter.pdf

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