CALL FOR GOVERNMENT TO RE-THINK BIOFUELS AGENDA
OIL Firing Technical Association
(OFTEC) - the body representing the oil heating and cooking industry
- is calling for a new focus when it comes to biofuels production
and use, after the British government agreed to slow down the
introduction of biofuels for road transport this week.
The change in direction comes in the wake of a Government
commissioned report by Ed Gallagher, chair of the Renewable Fuels
Agency, which suggests a cautious approach to biofuels for road
transport, amidst fears that it could contribute to greenhouse gas
emissions and rising food prices.
Jeremy Hawksley, Director General at OFTEC said:- "We are
urging the Government to take on a new biofuels agenda. The focus
now should certainly be on using biofuels for home heating rather
than road transport."
Previously the heating sector has taken a back seat with the
Government when it comes to biofuels, perhaps because the sector is
relatively small when compared with road transport. However,
research has shown that biofuels used for heating will have a more
positive effect on reducing carbon emissions than using biofuels for
government's Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation (RTFO), 5% of all
UK fuel sold on UK forecourts must come from a renewable source by
2010. There also is a challenge to provide those off the gas mains
with a sustainable alternative to oil heating and initial research
has shown that a 20% bio-fuel blend with kerosene (used for oil
central heating and cooking) might cut carbon emissions in the UK by
1.5m tonnes per annum.
To drive this vision forward, OFTEC and the ICOM Energy Association
(ICOM) have joined forces with Carbon Connections, the University of
East Anglia and Norfolk County Council on an ambitious research
project. The work will cost £0.25m, and will determine how
bio-heating oil could replace kerosene and gas oil for domestic and
commercial heating oil appliances.
Jeremy Hawksley explained:- "We are looking at the viability a
bio-heating oil blend of at least 20% biofuel mixed with 80%
kerosene, which would offer significant reductions in carbon dioxide
emissions. The preferred bio-fuel would be waste vegetable oil,
which would not contribute to rising food costs. We are also looking
at a biofuel which will run on existing oil boilers, so that people
won't have to invest in new heating equipment."
OFTEC believes that biofuels have a significant role to play in the
future of home heating. With the correct focus and proper
management, biofuels can offer a viable alternative to fossil fuels,
without increasing food prices or damaging the environment.
Lead Theft Threatens Community Churches As UK Faces ‘Highest Ever’
church buildings we so often take for
granted throughout the UK are under threat because of the massive
rise in metal theft – a national church insurer has warned drastic
action needs to be taken to combat the theft of lead from church
Congregational & General Insurance, whose claims related to church
lead theft increased by 86% last year, said that the recent UK metal
theft spree could push the left of lead to its highest ever level.
The company, which has a ‘Church Alert’ lead theft prevention
scheme put together in consultation with Crimestoppers, says that it
is not just the initial act of theft but the knock-on effect of
water damage to church interiors because of leaks that often go
With lead prices rising sharply due to fierce demand from emerging
economies such as China, the insurer has witnessed some claims
approaching £100,000, as churches often find themselves the victims
of consequential damage and loss following theft of raw materials
from roofs, guttering and other structural areas.
Carlo Cavaliere, Managing Director of Congregational, said:-
“The current dramatic rise in metal theft across the UK is not good
news for Britain’s churches – last year we had one of the highest
ever instances of lead theft and it could be higher this year.”
Following close consultation with Crimestoppers, Congregational’s
offers top tips and best practice on how to minimise the risk of
The insurer has also teamed up with top anti-theft paint
manufacturer, Coo-Var who will be offering Congregational
policyholders the chance to purchase their specialist ‘Vandolene’
anti-climb paint at a discounted rate.
Speaking about Congregational’s ‘Church Alert’ scheme, Carlo
added:- “We firmly believe that prevention is better than cure
and our dedicated campaign should help all our church policyholders
to minimise their risk of becoming the latest victims of this
fast-growing problem, even if they don’t personally feel their
church is at risk.
Whilst we want to galvanise churches into
action, we are also acutely aware that the church buildings that
cover the UK are often seen as a focal point for the local community
and we would encourage everyone, whether they attend a church or
not, to keep their eyes open and report any suspicious behaviour
The key message for Church Alert is prevention and the insurer is
keen to underscore the importance of engaging the local community as
the threat of lead theft extends further than just those attending
church buildings on a Sunday morning. With some church
buildings open only on select days throughout the week,
Congregational aims to encourage churches to enlist local
communities to become the eyes and ears of their church buildings
and to report any suspicious behaviour without delay. Other
practical, preventative advice includes use of anti-theft paint,
improving lighting, as well as defensive planting of thorny bushes.
Posters, leaflets and newsletters have been produced and they can
also be downloaded from the dedicated website.
churchalert.co.uk for more
information and guidance.
TRANSPLANT NUMBERS AT NEW RECORD – THANKS TO LIVING DONORS
THE number of
people receiving a life-saving organ transplant last year reached a
new record, with the increase due to an all-time high total of
living donor transplants. However, transplants of hearts or
lungs fell, while overall transplant numbers from deceased donors
remained static. Those figures, plus another steep rise in people
registered for a transplant, highlight the importance of
implementing the recommendations of the Organ Donation Taskforce,
according to UK Transplant Managing and Transplant Director Chris
Figures issued to coincide with National Transplant Week (6 July to 13 July
show that from 1 April 2007 to 31 March 2008, 3,238 patients
benefited from an organ transplant, 5% higher than 2006-07 which was
also a record at 3,087. The 2007-08 total includes 2,385 transplants
from deceased donors, virtually unchanged from the 2,389 in the
previous year. Living donors allowed a further 853 people to benefit
from a transplant, a 22% increase on 2006-07. This included 832
living donor kidney transplants, accounting for more than 1-in-3 of
all kidney transplants, and involved 6 altruistic donor transplants
and 4 transplants as a result of new arrangements for paired
donation. There were also 20 living donor liver transplants,
compared to just 8 in 2006-07, while 1 person received a lung
transplant using part of a lung from 2 living donors.
Despite the record transplant figure, the number of people
registered for a transplant also rose to an all-time high, finishing
the year at 7,655 – a 6% increase on the 7,219 at the end of
Chris Rudge, who has recently been appointed the first National
Clinical Director for Transplant, said:- “Another record
number of lives saved by transplants is obviously very welcome and
is a testament to the kindness of donors and their families who make
these operations possible. It also highlights how ongoing investment
in living donation and other programmes to increase opportunities
for donation have allowed more people to benefit from a transplant.
However, the lack of growth in transplants from deceased donors,
coupled with the continuing rise in people needing a transplant,
emphasise that trying to carry on as we have been is not an option.
That is why implementing all 14 recommendations of the Organ
Donation Taskforce is so important, as it holds out the real
prospect of increasing the UK’s rate of organ donation by 50% within
five years – resulting in an additional 1,200 transplants annually
and saving thousands more lives.”
Although the 809 deceased organ donors represent a slight increase
on the 2006-07 figure of 793, the number of heartbeating donors
(those who die while on a ventilator and historically the main
source of donated organs for transplant) continued its decline of
recent years. Last year saw 609 people become heartbeating
donors, compared to 634 the year earlier. Similarly, the number of
transplants resulting from these donors dropped from 2,069 in
2006-07 to 1,952 last year.
The 200 non-heartbeating donors (those who were diagnosed by cardiac
death in hospital) last year accounted for almost a quarter of all
deceased donors and represent a 26% increase on the 159 of 2006-07.
There were 429 transplants from these donors, 36% higher than the
316 the previous year. Non-heartbeating donors are able to donate
kidneys, liver, pancreas and – in rare circumstance – lungs. They
are not able to donate their heart.
The number of
pancreas transplants continued to rise in 2007-08 – with 58
pancreas-only procedures compared with 27 the previous year, and 188
kidney/pancreas combined (164 in 2006-07). Liver transplants from
deceased donors were virtually unchanged – 623 as against 626 in
2006-07. However, cardiothoracic transplant numbers were down
over the year. The 127 heart transplants carried out was 18% lower
than the previous 12 months, while 115 lung transplants (not
including one involving part of a lung from a living donor)
represent a 10% fall. In addition, 2,489 people had their
sight restored through a cornea transplant, 86 more than in 2006-07.
Health Secretary Alan Johnson said:- “Organ transplantation is
one of the big success stories of modern medicine so it is
particularly welcome to see the highest ever number of people
benefit from the procedure in the year the NHS celebrates its 60th
birthday. I would like to salute the patients and families who have
agreed to donate organs and saved so many lives. However, many
more could have benefited, which is why the Government has accepted
all 14 recommendations of the Organ Donation Taskforce and is
investing almost £12million this year to start bringing them to
During the year, 939,000 more people pledged to help others after
their death by registering their wishes on the NHS Organ Donor
Register, bringing the total at 31 March 2008 to over 15.2 million.
Sadly, during the year 482 people died while registered for a
transplant – with estimations that at least as many again died after
being permanently removed from the list because they became too ill
to undergo a transplant.
You can find out more about donation and join the NHS Organ Donor
Register by telephoning 0845 60 60 400 or visiting
or by texting the word ‘GIVE’ to 84118. Standard text
Conservative MEP on emissions trading:- Now we have a scheme that can
Parliament has voted to include the aviation sector within the EU's
existing Emissions Trading System (ETS). Sir Robert Atkins MEP,
said:- "The aviation sector is currently responsible for
roughly 7% of the UK's emissions - more than the combined emissions
from oil refineries and steel plants. Incorporating the aviation
industry, even business jets, into the EU's emissions trading scheme
will be an effective mechanism to reduce CO2 emissions.
We must now make sure that the revenues generated from the
auctioning of emission credits do not disappear into the
Chancellor's pocket, but are spent on measures to further reduce
emissions. These must include funding research into technological
innovations such as carbon capture and storage, and measures to
prevent deforestation in developing countries.
We have struck the right balance between the big national carries
and low cost airlines; looked after those in remote areas dependent
on local air transport; protected humanitarian and research flights.
We also rejected the attempt by the British Government and others to
exempt their own air travel from the scheme.
The end result is that now we have a scheme that can fly and one
that is fair both to people's transport needs and the need for a