Week Commencing 07/06/2021 – In The News

Director Fined for Safety Breaches After 17-Year-Old Worker Fell from a Mezzanine

In early 2019, Sheffield Magistrates’ Court heard the young worker, and two others were building the mezzanine floor at a site in Neepsend Lane, Sheffield. The victim “stepped on a loose board and fell 2.8 metres to the ground below, sustaining cuts and bruises.”

Wayne McKnight (trading as RJE Construction) pleaded guilty to breaching Regulation 6 of the Work at Height Regulations 2015. He has been fined £500 and ordered to pay costs of £1,300.

HSE inspector Sarah Robinson commented, after the hearing, that “Falls from height often result in life-changing or fatal injuries, which thankfully did not eventuate here…This incident could have easily been prevented if the company had installed safety nets prior to work starting on the mezzanine.”

Read more from HSE.

Landowners to be Paid Thousands of Pounds in Bonuses for Creating New Woodlands Under a New £16m Scheme for England.

A new £16m scheme announced on Wednesday 9th June 2021 will pay landowners thousands of pounds for creating new woodlands that boost wildlife, increase public access, and reduce flooding. For the first time, the Forestry Commission plan will allow payments for natural regeneration, allowing the wind-blown seeds to colonise land. In the past, grants have only allowed for tree planting. “Planting trees along rivers to improve waterside habitats” will be supported for the first time, too.

Most of the new trees will be native species, reflecting the 90% of the 2,300 hectares of  woodlands created in 2019-2020 in England being native species.

Sir William Worsley, chair of the Forestry Commission, states: “From planting a small one-hectare block, a strip of trees along rivers to reduce flood risk, to large mixed woodlands, this improved grant gives everyone the opportunity to see woodland creation as a financially and environmentally rewarding option. This will help with our journey to reach net zero by 2050.”

Read more from The Guardian.

Plans to Build a Biogas Plant in Somerset Advanced by New Investment

Planning permission for the new biogas plant in Somerset was first approved eight years ago but the project has stalled since then. Now, investment company Macquarie Capital, has bought a local renewable energy firm, Evercreech Renewable Energy Ltd, and revived the plans.

According to Macquarie Capital, “the plant could save 95,000 tonnes of food waste from going to the landfill each year.” The food will be used to produce biomethane through an anaerobic digestion process involving micro-organisms breaking down the waste. This is “considered…a more environmentally-friendly way of producing gas for use as domestic and industrial fuel.”

Patrick Ottersbach, Managing Director at Macquarie Capital, is optimistic that “the addition of the Evercreech plant is a significant step towards realising our ambitions and becoming an important part of a growing sector that is expected to play a crucial role in the UK’s plans to reach net zero.”

Read more from the BBC.

G7 Leaders Pledge the Donation of 1 Billion Vaccine Doses for Poorer Countries

The pledge comes as part of their plan to ‘vaccinate the world’ by the end of 2022. It is also intended to address criticism of G7 governments having “secured the bulk of life-saving Covid-19 vaccines to immunise their own populations,” and to counter Chinese and Russian ‘vaccine diplomacy’, with Beijing and Moscow quick sale of their jabs to developing nations. President Biden declared that “This is about our responsibility, our humanitarian obligation to save as many lives as we can.”

The EU has also pledged 100 million doses by the end of the year.

Read more from the Financial Times.