Top Stories

November 06, 2012


Government funding to help cut 'road transport CO2 emissions'

The UK's goal of reducing transport CO2 emissions received a boost today as the Government made £16.5m worth of funding available for new research and development. Grants will be awarded to UK businesses through a new competition for collaborative research and development funding, which will be managed by the UK's Technology Strategy Board, in partnership with the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). The ‘Technology Challenges in Low Carbon Vehicles’ competition calls for proposals for highly innovative, industry-led projects involving low carbon vehicles that aim to achieve significant cuts in CO2. (Edie)

Biogen and Iona sign deal to turn Welsh food waste into energy

Plans to build a giant energy-from-waste plant in Wales have taken a leap forward, after developer Biogen secured £7m funding from investor Iona Capital. Biogen announced late last week that it had reached close on a 1MW anaerobic digestion plant in Denbighshire, North Wales, that will be able to process 22,500 tonnes of food waste per year from three local authority areas. The facility is still subject to planning permission, but if successful Biogen hopes to start construction in Spring next year, with operations expected to start in 2014, providing power for up to 1,500 homes. (Business Green)


Osborne to act on corporate tax avoidance

George Osborne, has signalled a crackdown on multinationals that use aggressive tactics to cut their tax bills. In a joint statement with the German finance minister, Mr Osborne called for concerted co-operation to close gaps in international tax standards, which were failing to keep up with changes such as the development of e-commerce. The chancellor’s intervention at the G20 meeting of world leaders came as senior officials at HM Revenue & Customs faced a grilling from MPs over what they described as “a failure to get to grips” with tax avoidance.  Margaret Hodge, chair of the public accounts committee, accused HMRC of failing to put enough effort into making big companies pay their fair share, while small businesses were hassled over bills. (Financial Times*, Guardian, Telegraph)

Finance & Banking

Australian court says Standard & Poor's misled investors   

Australia's Federal Court has ruled that credit ratings agency Standard & Poor's (S&P) misled investors before the global financial crisis. S&P gave its safest credit rating, AAA, to complex and risky securities, which later lost most of their value. In what is regarded as a landmark ruling, the court ordered S&P and the bank which arranged the product, ABN Amro, to pay damages to investors.  The ruling is the first of its kind on a rating agency's liability for investors' losses. The case was brought against S&P and ABN Amro Bank by several Australian local governments which lost millions when the value of the investments was virtually wiped out during the financial crisis. S&P said it plans to appeal against the decision. (BBC)

Social Innovation

Prizes for innovative solutions to waste and social isolation

Nesta, the UK’s innovation foundation, has selected 50 Semi-Finalists for its ‘Giving Challenge Prizes’, funded by the Cabinet Office. The aim of the competition is to encourage projects that combat the pressing social concerns of isolation in old age and waste reduction. Each group of 25 semi-finalists will compete for one of five finalist places, selected in January 2013. Each finalist will be supported with money and advice to put their ideas into practice. The two projects which demonstrate the most success will be awarded the £50,000 prize in September 2013. The shortlisted projects and organisations have come up with a wide range of ideas to reduce waste and isolation in old age – from local wood collections and recycling schemes, to community based travel schemes and new ways to get older people exercising. (Nesta)

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