News

A handful of retired constituents delivering their local MP a petition might not sound the most terrifying of prospects, but it prompted one Tory politician to call for police protection.

Exposed: worst polluters in Britain

MORE THAN 12,000 tons of cancer-causing chemicals were discharged by Britain's most heavily polluting factories in 1996, the last year for which figures are available, according to the environmental pressure group Friends of the Earth.

Letter: Nuclear terrorism

Sir: It appears that the Government is about to undermine much of its early good work on trying to establish a rational and practical policy on the future of the nuclear industry. The announcement on 18 January by John Battle, the Energy Secretary, that plutonium is to be shipped from Sellafield to Japan in the form of MOX (mixed oxide) fuel sits uncomfortably with the Environment Agency's October 1998 report on the Sellafield MOX Plant (SMP).

Parliament: Food - GM food benefits `outweigh risk'

GENETICALLY MODIFIED (GM) crops and food offer potential benefits that far outweigh their risks, as long as there is a proper regulatory framework in place, a House of Lords committee declared yesterday.

British GM crops get go-ahead

GENETICALLY modified crops are to be planted in Britain after a last-ditch legal move to stop them failed, writes Marie Woolf.

Campaigners angry at new road projects

ENVIRONMENTAL groups reacted angrily yesterday as the Government confirmed starting dates for 24 roads and details of the next stage of 13 more projects, including five to be built by private-public partnerships.

Prescott sharpens axe for `timid' pollution chief

MINISTERS are trying to get rid of Britain's pollution watchdog for not making life difficult enough for them. They believe Lord de Ramsey, a land-owner and hereditary peer, is too timid in championing the environment.

The Queen's Speech: What Was Missing - No bills on freedom of information, food and party funds

A DISPUTE over a proposed tax of pounds 100 on every food outlet in Britain led to the omission of a Bill establishing a Food Standards Agency, despite a manifesto commitment.

Tory U-turn gives ramblers victory

THE CONSERVATIVE Party is to drop its long-held opposition to a right to roam in the countryside after a vigorous lobbying campaign by environmental groups.

Sellafield privatisation set to raise up to pounds 3bn

THE PRIVATISATION of British Nuclear Fuels, the state-owned reprocessing company that owns Sellafield, is likely to go ahead in the next 18 months and could raise almost pounds 3bn for the Government.

Consumer Policy: Ministers demand checks on GM food

A POWERFUL government committee is to investigate genetically modified foods because of growing consumer fears about their safety. The Ministerial Group on Biotechnology and Genetic Modification will be chaired by the Cabinet "enforcer", Jack Cunningham, in an attempt to monitor commercial development of the crops.

Energy reform attacked as gas ban stays

GOVERNMENT PLANS to reform the energy market came under attack yesterday after the Secretary of State for Trade and Industry, Peter Mandelson, confirmed that the ban on further gas-fired power stations would remain in place.

Taxpayers `face cost of BNFL sell-off'

TAXPAYERS COULD be left with a bill of more than pounds 30bn if the Government presses ahead with plans to privatise British Nuclear Fuels, according to environmental campaigners.

Letter: The truth about Thorp

THE astonishing revelation that the Touche Ross report on the case for the Sellafield Thorp plant never existed "as such" obviously arouses suspicions about the report on the "Mox economic case". The Sellafield Mox plant will undermine attempts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and entrench reprocessing at Sellafield with devastating effects on the environment. The Mox document was produced by PA Consulting at the request of the Environment Agency, but the version made available for public scrutiny had been stripped of all information that would have facilitated an independent assessment.

Letter: Tough on timber

Sir: PG Harris of the Timber Trade Federation (TTF) protests (letter, 7 September) about the lack of credit given to the UK timber industry for improving forest management, and points to its environmental timber purchasing policy as "a practical way of making progress with timber producers". Unfortunately this policy is deeply flawed.

Letter: A tax on land

Sir: If Lord Plant ("Memo to Mr Blair: we need to talk about raising taxes", 1 September) is attracted to "unevadable" taxes, that is very welcome. Land rental accounts for some 20 per cent of national income, is hardly taxed at all and yet could provide a substantial proportion of public revenue. In several other countries it already does.
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