Environment news

Nanomaterial risk assessment frameworks and tools evaluated

DG ENV - Thu, 12/07/2018 - 16:40
A recent study has evaluated frameworks and tools used in Europe to assess the potential health and environmental risks of manufactured nanomaterials. The study identifies a trend towards tools that provide protocols for conducting experiments, which enable more flexible and efficient hazard testing. Among its conclusions, however, it notes that no existing frameworks meet all the study’s evaluation criteria and calls for a new, more comprehensive framework.
Categories: Environment news

BirdLife International’s ‘Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas’ well covered by Natura 2000 in Europe but potential to extend network

DG ENV - Thu, 12/07/2018 - 16:40
The coverage of ‘Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas’ (IBAs) in relation to Special Protection Areas (SPAs) for birds in the EU has been assessed in a new study. Overall, 66% of the IBA network is covered by SPAs. SPAs were found to cover 23% of the distributions of 435 EU bird species as well as 25% of the distributions of mammals, reptiles and amphibians.
Categories: Environment news

Volume of leachate and environmental impact from landfills reduced — but legacy effects remain

DG ENV - Thu, 12/07/2018 - 16:40
Landfill leachate is the liquid that seeps through or out of waste deposits in landfill sites. EU regulations, such as the Landfill Directive1, have significantly reduced the volume of leachate produced, a study on leachate management in Ireland has found. Leachate, mainly from younger landfills in Ireland is, however, stronger since implementation of the legislation, and the researchers say the future treatment of leachate under stricter environmental protection regulations will continue to be a long-term concern for landfill operators and regulators.
Categories: Environment news

More coordinated legislation needed to ensure the Good Environmental Status of European seas

DG ENV - Thu, 12/07/2018 - 16:40
A range of legislation, including the Marine Strategy Framework Directive (MSFD), is designed to ensure the ‘Good Environmental Status’ (GES) of EU seas by 2020. Researchers have assessed the MSFD in relation to existing maritime policies, concluding that coordination between directives is important to achieve GES.
Categories: Environment news

Drivers of renewable energy innovation in the EU

DG ENV - Thu, 12/07/2018 - 16:40
The effects of market regulation and environmental policy on eight types of renewable energy in the EU are identified in a study which examines nearly three decades’ worth of data. The researchers found that reducing entry barriers is a major driver of renewable energy innovation and that the ability of environmental policy to promote renewable energy innovation depends on the technology; for example, quota systems appear to work better with older technologies.
Categories: Environment news

Straw covering on soil can increase crop yields and improve the efficiency of water use

DG ENV - Thu, 12/07/2018 - 16:40
Straw from previous harvests can be used to help increase crop yields and improve the efficiency of water use in arid regions, finds a new study from China. By testing different techniques to improve water efficiency, the researchers found that the most effective method involved using straw to cover the soil when growing maize and wheat together in the same growing season.
Categories: Environment news

No-tillage management of olive groves can improve soil structure while maintaining yield

DG ENV - Thu, 12/07/2018 - 16:40
Non-conservative tillage techniques, such as milling and harrowing, are the most common way to manage soil in Mediterranean olive orchards. A new study confirms the value of alternative methods based on the use of spontaneous cover crops which can significantly improve soil structure and reduce erosion whilst maintaining yields.
Categories: Environment news

Rejuvenating arid badlands: from barren slopes to living forest in 80 years

DG ENV - Thu, 12/07/2018 - 16:40
A reforestation project has revitalised its surroundings just 80 years after its inception. In the late 1920s, the Saldaña badlands in northern Spain were a barren region, with a thin layer of intensely weathered soil, and only 5% vegetation cover. Now that cover has increased dramatically to 87%, the soil quality is improving, and the water flow in the area has stabilised, bringing greater environmental security to the local community.
Categories: Environment news

Research into root systems: key for long-term crop management

DG ENV - Thu, 12/07/2018 - 16:40
Water scarcity is an important cause of low crop yields worldwide. Yields could be significantly improved by focusing attention on unproductive water losses and improving retention of plant-available water in soils, and particularly the largely unexplored interactions between soils and roots. A new review of scientific literature sets out key soil management measures for crops under drought conditions.
Categories: Environment news

New data on soil erosion by water reveals Mediterranean at highest flood risk

DG ENV - Thu, 12/07/2018 - 16:40
Comprehensive data analysed in a new study show how extensive rainfall can erode soils across the EU and Switzerland, revealing that Mediterranean regions have the highest risk for erosive events and floods. The resulting dataset can also be used for disaster planning and relief.
Categories: Environment news

Integrating animal and crop production can reduce nutrient leaching from agricultural fields

DG ENV - Thu, 12/07/2018 - 16:40
Nutrient leaching, the movement of plant nutrients from soil to water, can have negative effects on aquatic ecosystems due to eutrophication, which reduces the oxygen available in water, causing species and habitat loss. Ecological Recycling Agriculture (ERA), which is based on ecological principles and integrates crop production and animal husbandry, may limit this effect. This study investigated the impact of ERA on agricultural fields in Finland, showing that the practice can reduce nitrogen leaching and may help to achieve agricultural nitrogen-reduction targets.
Categories: Environment news

Who should pay for best management practices to reduce soil erosion?

DG ENV - Thu, 12/07/2018 - 16:40
Worsening soil erosion in north-western Europe may be the result of a switch from traditional dairy farming to cash crops. However, even if all dairy farming ceased, reductions in runoff of up to 76% could be achieved if best agricultural practices are employed, at a cost of approximately €45 per hectare for the first three years, new research from the Austreberthe watershed in France suggests.
Categories: Environment news

More than one third of soils studied in southwest England are highly degraded

DG ENV - Thu, 12/07/2018 - 16:40
An extensive field investigation discovered that 38% of soils in southwest England show signs of enhanced surface water runoff due to soil degradation. The study also revealed which types of fields and soils are linked to the most or least degradation.
Categories: Environment news

Artificial wetlands on farmland help to prevent soil loss and recapture agricultural by-products

DG ENV - Thu, 12/07/2018 - 16:40
Small field wetlands are a simple and effective way to reduce soil erosion and nutrient pollution, recent research suggests. The authors adapted Norwegian designs for the UK environment and created a series of small rectangular lakes on the edges of agricultural fields. After three years, the wetlands had prevented tonnes of soil from leaving the land, and helped alleviate some of the nutrient run-off that would have affected neighbouring waterways.
Categories: Environment news

Flood risk from modern agricultural practices can be mitigated with interventions

DG ENV - Thu, 12/07/2018 - 16:40
In the face of substantial evidence that modern land use management practices have increased runoff at the local scale, a new study reveals changes in local land use management practices can reduce the risk of local flooding. However, there is little evidence so far that these local increases in runoff culminate in large-scale flooding effects. To address this lack of evidence, the researchers present a model that maps the downstream rate of flow back to its source areas.
Categories: Environment news

Land use changes in the Mediterranean may be triggering large weather shifts

DG ENV - Thu, 12/07/2018 - 16:40
Land use changes over the last century in the Mediterranean area may be sparking shifts in weather patterns locally, across Europe, and around the globe, suggests a new study. The findings bring to light new complexities that can be integrated into climate models and predictions.
Categories: Environment news

Soil and Water: a larger perspective - November 2015

DG ENV - Thu, 12/07/2018 - 16:40
Land use changes over time have altered relations between soils and water cycles throughout the world. Soils have been lost and degraded, and the closely interlinked processes of soils and water have become an urgent issue for European policymakers. This Thematic Issue aims to provide a review of new research into the links between soil and water issues in Europe, including a message that the soil-water links must be considered at their proper spatial scales.
Categories: Environment news

Speech by Vice - President Maroš Šefčovič at the High Level Stakeholder Conference: The EU's Vision of a modern, clean and competitive economy

Climate Action - Tue, 10/07/2018 - 16:24
European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery] Speech Brussels, 10 July 2018 Distinguished participants, Ladies and Gentlemen,   I am delighted to join you today at this High-Level Stakeholders Consultation on the EU's long-term strategy for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. For me, this is a unique occasion to jointly reflect on our...
Categories: Environment news

Speech by Commissioner Arias Cañete at the High Level Stakeholder Conference: The EU's Vision of a modern, clean and competitive economy

Climate Action - Tue, 10/07/2018 - 11:38
European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery] Speech Brussels, 10 July 2018 Ladies and Gentlemen, I am very pleased to be here – and even more delighted to see so many of you today – at the start of a very important process.
Categories: Environment news

Remarks by President Jean-Claude Juncker at the joint press conference on the occasion of the EU-Ukraine Summit with Petro Poroshenko, President of Ukraine and Donald Tusk, President of the European Council

Presidency - Mon, 09/07/2018 - 16:43
European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery] Brussels, 9 July 2018 Mr President Poroshenko, President Tusk, Ladies and Gentlemen, It is my great pleasure to welcome my good friend Petro back to Brussels to attend this 20th Summit between Ukraine and the European Union.
Categories: Environment news

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