Your weekly digest of policy news, funding competitions, and calls for evidence.
What’s been in the news?
Plans for a European Green Deal
The European Commission has set out its plans for a European green deal, a strategy to ensure Europe becomes greener and cleaner while also improving the competitiveness of their economy.
Sharing the three priorities to achieve the goal of a climate neutral future, Kadri Simson, Commissioner in charge of Energy at the Energy Council in Brussels, said:
Firstly, the strategy must create tangible benefits for the consumers. This would ensure everyone is able to afford secure and clean energy.
Secondly, a comprehensive plan to reduce emissions towards 55% by 2030 will be announced. This will focus strengthening the contribution on offshore wind energy and looking where clean gases, biogas and hydrogen can contribute.
Finally, external energy relations will be improved to develop a cooperative green agenda, particularly with the Western Balkans and Africa.
Commission proposes minimum water quality requirements for safe reuse in agriculture
The European Parliament and the Council agreed on new rules to ensure a supply of clean water for the EU farmers.
Under the new legislation, treated urban wastewater will undergo further treatment to meet new minimum quality parameters, making suitable for use in agriculture. With the uptake of this practice, farmers will be able to access increased sources of clean water, increasing agricultural production.
Minimum monitoring requirements and risk management guidelines will be set, addressing the health and environmental risks. A procedure on transparency will also follow whereby key information on water reuse will be made publicly available.
Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius, stated: ‘Together with water savings and efficiency measures, the use of reclaimed water in the agriculture sector can play an important part in addressing water stress and drought, while fully guaranteeing the safety of our citizens.’
Efficiency in livestock production
A one-day conference held at SCI HQ London discussed methods to optimise livestock production systems whilst ensuring long-term efficacy, sustainability and resilience.
Dr Michael MacLeod, Researcher Sustainable ecosystems, land economy, environment and society at Scotland’s Rural College, stressed the need to look at the issue from both a supply and demand perspective. ‘On the supply-side, a review in 2015 identified 182 mitigation measures, but how can these be translated into coherent policy?’ Dr Macleod commented. Looking at the demand side, issues such as changing consumption habits would have a significant impact mitigating emissions.
Professor Tom Misselbrook, Senior Research Scientist in the Sustainable Agricultural Sciences department at Rothamsted Research shared the development of robust models that now allowed greater certainty around the reporting of greenhouse gas emissions from livestock. Using more precise inventory methods for measuring emissions from livestock at various stages of their life cycle, meant that the UK could better minimise emission uncertainties leading to improved lifecycle analysis.
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Deadline: 15 January 2020
Apply for a share of up to £1.5 million from the UK and US national offshore wind programme to reduce the costs of offshore wind development projects throughout the US.
Deadline: 22 January 2020
Industrial Strategy Challenge Fund is funding an opportunity to apply for a share of up to £5.4 million. This involves taking part in the application of whole genome sequencing to analyse cancers.
Deadline: 8 January 2020
Apply for a share of up to £25 million to deliver commercially viable innovative ideas that will have a significantly large economic impact.
Deadline: 15 January 2020
Apply for a share of up to £8 million to carry out a civil aerospace research project in the UK.
Deadline: 19 February 2020
UK businesses can apply for a share of up to £12 million for solutions in smart and sustainable plastic packaging.
Deadline: 26 February 2020
Funding from the Industrial Strategy Challenge is offered to transform food production and help the industry move towards net zero emissions by 2040.