win victory for e-cigs
MEPs have forced reluctant
governments to accept that electronic cigarettes should be widely
available and regulated as consumer products rather than restricted
In negotiations on Monday, proposals from the European Commission
that all electronic cigarettes should be controlled by
pharmaceutical legislation were decisively rejected by MEPs.
Governments will now have to propose special legal justifications if
they wish electronic cigarettes to be treated differently from
conventional tobacco cigarettes.
Health campaigners claim that e-cigs can be a game changer in the
fight against smoking related diseases that kill 700,000 people
prematurely in Europe each year. And while they admit that their
nicotine content is addictive, they argue that e-cigs should be as
available as tobacco cigarettes to encourage smokers to switch their
habit to a healthier alternative.
In negotiations with representatives of EU governments, MEPs
insisted that the maximum nicotine content of e-cigs available for
general sale should be 20mg/ml, a major increase on the 3mg
originally proposed by the Commission and above the average
The nicotine level agreed is regarded as closely comparable to that
derived from smoking conventional cigarettes.
It was agreed that the flavourings that can be used in e-cigs will
be specified by national governments rather than specified by EU
Refillable units, which are widely used at present, will continue to
be available but will be subject to a health and safety review by
the European Commission. New proposals to guide their use could be
introduced in 2016.
Liberal Democrat MEP Chris Davies, a convinced supporter of e-cigs,
said that MEPs had achieved a remarkable victory in the face of
stiff government opposition.
He said that the restrictions on the sale of e-cigs were unnecessary
but a price worth paying to secure agreement across the whole of
Davies commented:- "We have seen a massive turnaround in the
approach towards e-cigs and that is very much to be welcomed. These
things can save lives because smokers find them pleasurable to use.
It would be madness to impose so many restrictions that people
instead keep buying instead the conventional cigarettes that we know
kill in vast numbers."
ECO COMICS STRIKES GOLD AWARD WITH
PIONEERING comic book and
graphic novel publisher Eco Comics has announced that it has
received its 2nd consecutive Green Apple Award. Eco Comics was
presented with its prestigious trophy during a special award
ceremony at the House of Commons, Palace of Westminster in London.
The award; presented by the Green Organisation; recognises, rewards
and promotes environmental best practice both in the
UK and internationally.
Eco Comics said:- "Last year we won bronze, which was
fantastic, but this time we have been awarded the gold. It is
rewarding to receive some recognition for our approach of green,
paperless graphic literature. Some people initially seemed reluctant
to change from print, or to face up to the negative impact of global
deforestation caused by paper production. But once they saw the
quality of both story and digital presentation, they came round. Our
mantra is to produce the most entertaining stories possible, in
identical format to mainstream print titles. That ours are paperless
exclusive and available on all manner of digital platforms is the
icing on the cake. Paperless is the future of the medium, and Eco
Comics is proud to be leading the way."
To celebrate its Green Apple Awards, Eco Comics has released a free
comic book starring such names as Dracula, Robin Hood,
Tough Guy, and official mascot of the publisher, the Green Man.
BONUS FOR NEW HOMES IN MERSEYSIDE
CouncilS in Merseyside are
due to receive a £12.8 million bonus next year for enabling more
than 4,500 new homes to be built in the county, the government has
Across England, Councils have received over £2 billion through the
New Homes Bonus since it was set up in 2011/12 for helping to
provide 550,000 more homes. The allocation for 2014/15 means
Merseyside will have received £29.6 million over a four year period
for helping to provide 4,677 newly-built homes and conversions, and
bringing 5,520 empty homes back into use. These figures also include
3,502 affordable homes.
Housing Minister Kris Hopkins has published details of the latest
New Homes Bonus payments being made to England's 353 Councils, in
recognition of their contribution to building new homes. Official
figures last week from the Official for National Statistics showed
that housing construction has risen to its highest levels since
Under the New Homes Bonus, Councils have been rewarded for helping
to provide 550,000 newly built homes and conversions and bringing
93,000 empty homes back into use. This total includes over 160,000
Mr Hopkins said these payments are finally giving communities a
reason to say yes to new sustainable developmen; with Councils
free to spend the money as they see fit to benefit the local area,
including freezing Council tax. Housing Minister Kris Hopkins
said:- "Top-down Regional Strategies and eco-towns failed
hardworking families who aspired to own their own home, and built
nothing but resentment.
In stark contrast, Councils have received over £2 billion for their
part in getting Britain building, and leading to housing
construction reaching its highest levels for 7 years.
And they are free to spend the money any way they like to benefit
their local communities; whether that's supporting frontline
services, providing new facilities or freezing Council tax."
Communities Minister Stephen Williams also welcomed the number of
empty homes being brought back into productive use. He said:-
"The Government is doing everything possible to tackle the problem
of empty homes and urban blight, and the New Homes Bonus is a shot
in the arm for Councils tackling the problem of abandoned homes and
urban blight locally. The number of long term empty homes has
already fallen by 93,000 and we are now going further, giving
Councils the incentive to bring people, shops and jobs back to once
abandoned areas, and to provide extra affordable homes we so badly
The New Homes Bonus is a powerful, simple and transparent incentive
designed to reward Councils and communities for helping to build
more homes. It match funds the additional Council tax raised for new
homes and empty properties brought back into use for 6 years;
with extra funding for new affordable homes.
Councils across the country have made the most of this additional
funding to ensure their communities directly see the benefits of
growth in their areas.
A full list of provisional allocations of New Homes Bonus for the
2014-15 financial year can be found