Time filter

Source Type

London, United Kingdom

Schaafsma A.,University of Guelph | Limay-Rios V.,University of Guelph | Xue Y.,University of Guelph | Smith J.,University of Guelph | Baute T.,Food and Rural Affairs
Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry | Year: 2016

Neonicotinoid insecticides, especially as seed treatments, have raised concerns about environmental loading and impacts on pollinators, biodiversity, and ecosystems. The authors measured concentrations of neonicotinoid residues in the top 5cm of soil before planting of maize (corn) in 18 commercial fields with a history of neonicotinoid seed treatment use in southwestern Ontario in 2013 and 2014 using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry with electrospray ionization. A simple calculator based on first-order kinetics, incorporating crop rotation, planting date, and seed treatment history from the subject fields, was used to estimate dissipation rate from the seed zone. The estimated half-life (the time taken for 50% of the insecticide to have dissipated by all mechanisms) based on 8 yr of crop history was 0.64 (range, 0.25-1.59) yr and 0.57 (range, 0.24-2.12) yr for 2013 and 2014, respectively. In fields where neonicotinoid residues were measured in both years, the estimated mean half-life between 2013 and 2014 was 0.4 (range, 0.27-0.6) yr. If clothianidin and thiamethoxam were used annually as a seed treatment in a typical crop rotation of maize, soybean, and winter wheat over several years, residues would plateau rather than continue to accumulate. Residues of neonicotinoid insecticides after 3 yr to 4 yr of repeated annual use tend to plateau to a mean concentration of less than 6ng/g in agricultural soils in southwestern Ontario. © 2015 SETAC.

Dankel D.J.,Norwegian Institute of Marine Research | Aps R.,Estonian Marine Institute | Padda G.,Food and Rural Affairs | Van Der Sluijs J.P.,University Utrecht | And 2 more authors.
ICES Journal of Marine Science | Year: 2012

There is some uncertainty in the fisheries sciencepolicy interface. Although progress has been made towards more transparency and participation in fisheries science in ICES Areas, routine use of state-of-the-art quantitative and qualitative tools to address uncertainty systematically is still lacking. Fisheries science that gives advice to policy-making is plagued by uncertainties; the stakes of the policies are high and value-laden and need therefore to be treated as an example of "post-normal science" (PNS). To achieve robust governance, understanding of the characteristics and implications of the scientific uncertainties for management strategies need to come to the centre of the table. This can be achieved using state-of-the-art tools such as pedigree matrices and uncertainty matrices, as developed by PNS scholars and used in similar sciencepolicy arenas on other complex issues. An explicit extension of the peer community within maritime systems will be required to put these new tools in place. These new competences become even more important as many countries within the ICES Area are now embarking on new policies. © 2011 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.

News Article
Site: www.reuters.com

Firefighters pump water from a building following flooding at Newton Stewart in Scotland, Britain December 31, 2015. Flood-damaged contents are removed from a business at Newton Stewart in Scotland, Britain December 31, 2015. A local resident stumbles as he wades through flood water on a residential street in Carlisle, Britain December 6, 2015. A footbridge lies littered with debris following flooding at Newton Stewart in Scotland, Britain December 31, 2015. A member of the emergency services walks past a business under flood waters in York City Centre, in northern England, December 28, 2015. Council workers rebuild a wall with sandbags following flooding at Newton Stewart in Scotland, Britain December 31, 2015. Homes and businesses across northern England, Scotland and northern Ireland were hit by storms and torrential rains in December, leaving many without electricity and some under meters of water after river levels reached all-time highs. Prime Minister David Cameron has been criticized by opposition lawmakers for not doing enough to protect the country from severe weather and the Observer newspaper on Sunday said many of Britain's flood defenses were being abandoned or maintained to minimal levels because of government cuts. In a statement, Cameron announced a package of more than 40 million pounds to improve flood defenses after Storm Eva brought gales and torrential downpours to Northern Ireland, Wales, England and parts of Scotland in late December. "I have seen at first-hand the devastation caused by flooding. And that's why this work to repair and improve flood defenses is so vital," Cameron said in the statement. He said 10 million pounds would be used to improve the Foss barrier protecting the northern English city of York, which was overwhelmed at the height of Storm Eva. The other 30 million would be spent on defenses on other rivers in northern England. The government would also support charities helping those caught up in the deluge by matching every pound of the first two million pounds raised, he said. The opposition Labour Party accused the government of complacency and said the funding would not go far enough. "The government has been woefully complacent about the flood risk, ignoring warnings from its own experts," Kerry McCarthy, Labour's Environment, Food and Rural Affairs spokeswoman, said in a statement. "Today's announcement of 40 million pounds won't go very far at all ... a lump sum of 40 million pounds is a short-term, sticking-plaster approach." The Observer quoted a document submitted to ministers late last year that said investment in Britain's flood defenses had fallen despite the country seeing "the five wettest years since 2000". On Saturday, Britain's Meteorological Office issued an "amber warning" for potentially heavy rain in eastern Scotland at the weekend and on Monday which could lead to some flooding.

News Article
Site: www.reuters.com

Walkers view The Shard skyscraper from Primrose Hill as high air pollution obscures the skyline over London April 10, 2015. ClientEarth has taken action against the government before, which resulted in a Supreme Court judgment last year ordering it to submit new air quality plans to the European Commission. But ClientEarth says those plans do not go far enough to tackle nitrogen dioxide emissions and has lodged papers at the High Court to seek an order to quash them and order new ones. "Our plans clearly set out how we will improve the UK's air quality through a new program of Clean Air Zones, which alongside national action and continued investment in clean technologies will create cleaner, healthier air for all," a Department for Food and Rural Affairs spokeswoman said in response. Last year the European Commission also began 21 infringement proceedings against EU member nations in breach of existing rules and has proposed more stringent legislation in the face of resistance from some governments. Nitrogen oxides reduce air quality and member states have been flouting EU limits on a range of pollutants associated with more than 400,000 premature deaths per year, according to European Commission data. Under the EU's Air Quality Directive, member states were supposed to comply with nitrogen dioxide (NO2) limits in 2010, but could have extended that to 2015 if they delivered plans to deal with high levels of the gas, which is produced mainly by diesel engines and causes respiratory illnesses. UK government data last year showed only five out of a total 43 pollution zones in Britain would comply by the end of 2015, 15 zones by 2020, 38 by 2025 and 40 by 2030. The remaining three zones - Greater London, the West Midlands and West Yorkshire urban areas would not even comply by 2030, the data showed. Under plans submitted to the European Commission in December, "Clean Air Zones" would be introduced in areas of Birmingham, Leeds, Nottingham, Derby and Southampton where pollution is most serious by 2020. Vehicles such as old buses, taxis, coaches and lorries have to pay a charge to enter these zones but private passenger cars would not be charged. "The government's plans were an insult to those being made sick and dying from air pollution and failed to consider strong measures to get the worst polluting diesel vehicles out of our town and city centers," said ClientEarth lawyer Alan Andrews.

The largest multi-species survey of fish labelling accuracy to date indicates a marked and sudden reduction of seafood mislabelling in supermarkets, markets and fishmongers in the EU. Scientists in six European countries, including Dr Andrew Griffiths from the University of Exeter, tracked samples of the most commonly consumed fish, including cod, tuna, hake and plaice, after a series of studies going back 5 years had shown mislabelling in up to 40% of cases. It is thought that more transparent seafood supply chains can lead to more sustainable exploitation and healthier oceans. The study is part of the LABELFISH project, supported by the EU Atlantic Area Programme and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Dr Griffiths, a lecturer in Biological Science and part of Exeter's Biosciences department, is a key author of the new study, which is published in leading scientific journal Frontiers in Ecology & The Environment. Dr Griffiths said: "I am very pleased with these results as they show that consumers can have more confidence in the accuracy of seafood labelling. They are also surprising as previous investigations detected much higher levels of mislabelling, it highlights just how seriously this problem is being addressed within the EU." The international collaboration carried out genetic testing of seafood sold in supermarkets, traditional markets and fishmongers in 19 European cities between 2013 and 2014, including Cardiff, Glasgow, Plymouth and Manchester, Dublin, Madrid, Marseille, Lisbon and Hamburg. Species verification was carried out on fresh, frozen and tinned products labelled as cod, tuna, haddock, plaice, sole, swordfish, anchovy, hake and monkfish. Of the 1,563 DNA sequence samples examined, just 77 (4.9%) proved to be mislabelled. Most commonly mislabelled was anchovy (15.5%), hake (11.1%) and tuna (6.8%). By contrast only 3.5% of cod and 3% of haddock was mislabelled. None of the monkfish, plaice or swordfish samples was substituted with other species. The study found little or no difference in tinned, fresh or frozen products and no significant country-associated trends. According to the samples taken, Spain had the highest rate of incorrect labelling (8.9%), followed by Portugal (6.7%), Germany (6.2%), Ireland (3.9%), the UK (3.3%) and France (2.7%). The study argues that the trend is due to a combination of transnational legislation, governance and public outreach, which has forced new regulation and self-regulation, and it contrasts the European 'turn-around' with the experience of the United States, where improvements appear more sluggish. Principal Investigator Stefano Mariani, professor of conservation genetics at the University of Salford, said that much remains to be investigated about the complexities of global seafood supply. He said: "Genetic identification methods have progressively exposed the inadequacies of the seafood supply chain, raising awareness among the public, and serving as a warning to industry that malpractice will be detected. "This evidence indicates we are now on the road to greater transparency, which should help the management of exploited stocks worldwide, but further standardised studies on a greater range of food provision channels, such as restaurants and auctions, are warranted, in order to have a complete understanding of the current state of the trade." Explore further: DNA barcoding reveals mislabeled cod and haddock in Dublin

Discover hidden collaborations