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El Niño to blame for the extreme UK weather?

Many of us have noticed the unusually wet and warm winter we are currently facing in the UK, but what are the causes of this strange phenomenon? It’s not just the UK that’s facing irregular weather patterns. Severe flooding has been observed in parts of South America, with devastating storms in Northern America and droughts...

Estimated 0.5m properties sold in 2015 without flood risk search

An estimated 0.5m properties transacted in 2015 without a flood risk search. During 2015, approximately 456,000 property transactions in England and Wales did not factor flood risk into their purchase, according to calculations from location intelligence specialists Groundsure*. Flood risk is a major issue in the UK, especially in recent months where vast areas of...

Urban Botany and Vertical Gardens

Nowadays, every human activity involves energy consumption. Consequently, it is becoming increasingly important to consider the short and long term effects of our activities on nature. Today urbanisation is rampant1; nevertheless there are many empty dwellings, and cities are still growing in size. The architectural sector (especially dwellings) is thought to be responsible for up...

The Importance of Coastal Defence for Flood Risk

The importance of choosing an appropriate coastal defence to prevent risk of flooding. Coastal erosion and flooding risk. Ria Formosa, Praia do Faro (Portugal). Coastal system exposed to erosion tends to disappear without the appropriate coastal defence. Picture taken by Cristina Ortega. The coast is a dynamic environment located where land, sea and air meet....

Victorian dust-yards: early recycling

Whilst most people regard recycling as a recent phenomenon, it has been practiced in many forms for centuries. A number of studies have identified large scale recycling systems as arising from the 19th-century Sanitary Movement. [2] However, in London, an often overlooked but very effective and well-organised system appears to date back much earlier to...

Here’s to a Green Christmas

Christmas Waste – The Stats1, 6 277,000 miles of wrapping paper are wasted every Christmas; 125,000 tonnes of plastic packaging is thrown away at Christmas; 5 million Christmas puddings are thrown away every year; 2 million turkeys are wasted around Christmas time; 1 billion Christmas cards are thrown out every Christmas; 74 million mince pies...

Asbestos: The Hidden Health Hazard of 19th Century

Asbestos is a naturally occurring mineral made up of many small fibres. There are three main types of asbestos – white asbestos (chrysotile), brown asbestos (amosite) and blue asbestos (crocidolite). Asbestos is most commonly found in industrial or residential buildings constructed before 1985. Many homes built before the mid-1980s contain asbestos in flooring/ceiling tiles, roof...

Brownfield Land and the Housing Crisis

Attention is focused on brownfield land as it is considered a strong asset in tackling the housing crisis. It is predicted that over the coming years the Greater London housing shortage is going to increase sharply. The document “Further Alterations to the London Plan”, that was published by The Greater London Authority in 2014 indicated...