A method for assessing urban neighbourhoods’ resilience to flooding has been presented in a recent study. The method identifies features of urban landscapes that contribute to three elements of flood resilience: resistance, absorption and recovery. In a German case study, the tool shows that the features which make a waterfront neighbourhood of Hamburg more flood resilient include high bridges, open public spaces and flood-protected basements.
Pesticides used on agricultural land can leach into nearby surface water; this is called run-off and can harm aquatic ecosystems. This study evaluated the potential of ditches to reduce run-off, using Italy’s Po Valley as a case study. Grassy ditches were able to significantly reduce the concentration of herbicides, even during extreme flooding. The researchers therefore suggest that the promotion of vegetated ditches via agri-environment schemes would be beneficial for pesticide mitigation.
A recent study has found that bumblebees in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany are more successful at pollinating urban areas than agricultural land. Urban areas also had higher flower diversity and more potential nesting areas for bees compared to agricultural areas. However, the abundance of bee parasites was also higher in urban areas, although this was not found to negatively impact on pollination. This demonstrates the value of urban green spaces as habitat for pollinators.
Analysis of farmers’ social networks identifies important stakeholders for biodiversity conservation
Stakeholder support is essential to the success of environmental policies. A recent study has identified stakeholders that can promote biodiversity in European agricultural landscapes. The researchers found farmers were the most influential group of stakeholders, as they make the final decisions on land use. In turn, farmers are influenced in their decisions by a number of actors whose influence is perceived differently on a local and regional level.
A rough total of 1 455 tonnes of floating plastic is present across the Mediterranean, estimates a new study. Researchers gathered floating plastics using trawl nets and found that microplastics with a surface area of around 1 square milimetre (mm2) were the most abundant size of plastic particles found.
Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a potent greenhouse gas and atmospheric pollutant. A new study proposes tackling both problems by removing N2O from the atmosphere using a combination of two innovative technologies — photocatalytic breakdown of the N2O to nitrogen and oxygen, and this within a solar chimney power plant that generates renewable electricity. Although some way off from commercial development, the researchers say this approach is feasible, and they outline how these two technologies can be integrated to reduce the climate impact and polluting effects of N2O emissions.
A method for developing more cost-effective agri-environment schemes is outlined in a recent study. The procedure can be used over large areas, accounts for hundreds of management regimes and several different endangered species. The model is one of the first to account for the timing of measures and, when applied to Saxony in Germany, proposed savings of over €3 million, while also improving some conservation outcomes.
No cities are yet fully car-free, but many have managed or plan to restrict access to city centres for privately owned combustion-engine passenger cars. Health benefits will come from reduced traffic-related air pollution, less noise and lower levels of heat emitted from vehicles. The greatest health benefit, however, is likely to come from increased physical activity as people walk, cycle and move to catch public transport, according to a review of the potential health benefits of car-free cities.
Green public procurement (GPP) – authorities considering environmental criteria when allocating contracts to private suppliers – is becoming increasingly popular as an environmental policy instrument. This study analysed data from Swedish cleaning service procurements, finding a ‘weak’ effect on supplier behaviour in this situation. The researchers say that, for GPP to be an effective policy instrument, it is important to consider suppliers’ decisions to participate in procurement and to screen them against mandatory green criteria.
Climate change will have major consequences for transport networks, especially those located on coastlines. This study assessed the impact of projected sea-level rise on a vulnerable stretch of railway line on the coast of South West England. The authors say their semi-empirical modelling method could provide guidance to policymakers worldwide.
Invasive alien species pose a threat to biodiversity, human health and the economy. This study describes six alien species indicators for Europe, showing that the scale and impact of biological invasions are increasing across all indicators. The societal response has also increased in recent years. The researchers say their framework could serve as a basis for monitoring the efficacy of recent EU legislation.
Subway stations with platform sliding doors and good ventilation reduce passengers’ exposure to PM2.5
Underground trains are among the most widely used public transport systems in cities worldwide. A study investigating the chemical composition and source of particles in Barcelona subway stations found that a new station design, with sliding doors that separate the platform from the tunnel and good ventilation, reduced the concentration of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) by over 50% compared with older station designs.
There is a large potential to improve the global efficiency of energy, land and phosphorus use, finds new research which modelled the effects of four worldwide scenarios between 2010 and 2050. An ‘ambitious resource strategy’ could moderate the increases in energy use (+25% globally instead of +80% in the baseline scenario), phosphorus use (+9% instead of +40%) and arable land (-9% globally, instead of + 4%).
Research has found evidence for recent contamination of Lake Como, northern Italy, with chemicals banned in the EU since the 1970s. Levels of DDT and PCBs in sediment, aquatic microorganisms and fish were examined. The results suggest glacial meltwater as a source for renewed DDT contamination and show recent contamination of fish above safe levels. The findings demonstrate the need for continued monitoring of persistent organic pollutants in European waters.
European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery] New Delhi, 6 October 2017 Ladies and Gentlemen, It is a real pleasure to be here at this Business Forum and in this city. I know that a speaker is supposed to say that he is happy to be where he...
Remarks by President Jean-Claude Juncker at the joint press conference with President Donald Tusk and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the occasion of the 14th EU-India Summit
European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery] New Delhi, 6 October 2017 Prime Minister, Mister President, Donald, We are delighted to be here. This is my second trip to India – the first having taken place in 1999 – and it is not the last.
European Commission - Statement Brussels, 6 October 2017 The 14th annual Summit between India and the European Union (EU) was held in New Delhi on 6 October 2017. The Republic of India was represented by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. The EU was represented by Mr.
European - Press release Commission Strasbourg, 3 October 2017 Today, the negotiators of the European Parliament and the Council reached an agreement on the proposal adopted by the Commission in November 2016 to change the EU's anti-dumping and anti-subsidy legislation.
Speech by President Juncker at the Plenary Session of the European Parliament on the state of play of negotiations with the United Kingdom
European Commission - Speech - [Check Against Delivery] Speech Strasbourg, 3 October 2017 Buongiorno Presidente, Monsieur le Président, Mesdames, Messieurs, September was a month rich in speeches. I started with my State of the Union address on the future of Europe in this very House where I laid out...
European Commission - Statement Brussels, 2 October 2017 Under the Spanish Constitution, yesterday's vote in Catalonia was not legal. For the European Commission, as President Juncker has reiterated repeatedly, this is an internal matter for Spain that has to be dealt with in line with the constitutional order...