Press release: Driverless cars technology receives £20 million boost

Eight new projects have been awarded £20 million in funding to research and develop enhanced communication between vehicles and roadside infrastructure or urban information systems, including new ‘talking car technologies’, Business Secretary Sajid Javid will announce on a visit to the autonomous vehicles test bed in Nuneaton.

The projects are the first to be funded from the government’s £100 million Intelligent Mobility Fund. They range from developing autonomous shuttles to carry visually-impaired passengers using advanced sensors and control systems, to new simulation trials for autonomous pods to increase uptake and improve real-world trials.

Trials to test driverless cars on the streets are currently being worked on in Bristol, Coventry and Milton Keynes, and Greenwich. Autonomous vehicles are also being used in Heathrow to shuttle passengers, although these are currently on designated tracks.

The UK has a rich fabric of scientists and engineers who have established the UK as pioneers in the research and development of connected and autonomous vehicles. Today’s funding will help strengthen the UK as a global centre for the fast-growing intelligent mobility market, estimated to be worth £900 billion per year globally by 2025.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:

Our cars of the future will be equipped with the technologies that will make getting from A to B safer, faster, and cleaner. They will alert drivers of accidents ahead and be able to receive information from their surroundings about hazards, increasing the safety of drivers, passengers and pedestrians.

Britain is a world-leader in research and development in such innovative technologies which improve lives and create opportunity for all. That is why this government has protected the £6 billion science budget and is providing up to £20 million for these projects.

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said:

These projects will help profoundly change the way we travel within years, transforming our roads by making travel a simpler experience for drivers, reducing accidents and helping traffic flow more smoothly. They will also bring great benefits to our society and the wider economy by opening up new routes for global investment.

This is a landmark moment and will allow Britain to lead the way in the testing of connected and autonomous vehicles.

Roland Meister, Head of Transport at the UK’s innovation experts Innovate UK, said:

The UK is rapidly becoming one of the best places in the world for companies to develop their Intelligent Mobility business.

Driven by our work with the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles this competition has connected together the UK’s fantastic automotive industry, the research base, the insurance sector, public authorities with high growth businesses working in human behavioural science, telematics, information technology, communications, simulation, advanced sensor systems and machine learning.

Through the funding and connections Innovate UK provides we are getting Intelligent Mobility ideas off the drawing board and into our lives, making us more productive, creating jobs, growth and exports.

Chris Reeves, Commercial Manager, Future Transport Technologies and Intelligent Mobility at HORIBA MIRA, said:

This project will pave the way for the development and deployment of connected autonomous vehicles in the UK and help the industry address global challenges relating to safety, efficiency and convenience. It will help establish the UK as a global centre of excellence and drive forward the commercialisation of connected vehicles, and deliver a major wealth creation and inward investment opportunity for the UK.

Mike Hawes, SMMT Chief Executive, said:

“Britain is uniquely placed to become a global leader in connected and autonomous vehicle development, technology that has the potential to generate around £51 billion for the UK economy, save 2,500 lives and generate 320,000 jobs. Today’s (1 February 2016) first allocation of the government’s funding pledge, which will be matched by industry, is an important first step on the road to realising that opportunity.

All the projects have received financial backing from industry in addition to government funding, and are backed by leading automotive businesses, engineering firms, IT specialists, universities and local authorities. The UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment (UKCITE) project, which the Business Secretary will visit today, includes HORIBA MIRA, Jaguar Land Rover, Siemens, and Vodafone Group amongst others. He will also see demonstrations and simulations of the Flourish and Move UK projects.

In addition to the 8 collaborative R&D projects, the Business Secretary also announced 14 feasibility studies to identify where additional data could help the UK CAV market develop further.

Notes to editors:

The 8 collaborative R&D projects to receive funding are:

  1. UK Connected Intelligent Transport Environment (UKCITE): a project to create the most advanced environment for testing connected and autonomous vehicles. It involves equipping over 40 miles of urban roads, dual-carriageways and motorways with combinations of 3 “talking car technologies” and testing for a fourth, known as LTE-V. The project will establish how this technology can improve journeys; reduce traffic congestion; and provide entertainment and safety services through better connectivity. (Total project: £5.6 million; BIS funding: £3.4 million; duration: 30 months; consortium members: Visteon Engineering Services Limited, Jaguar Land Rover Ltd, Coventry City Council, Siemens PLC, Vodafone Group Services Ltd, Huawei Technologies (UK) Co Ltd, HORIBA MIRA Ltd, Coventry University, University of Warwick (WMG), Highways England Company Ltd.)
  2. Insight: a project to develop driverless shuttles with advanced sensors and control systems and trial them in city pedestrian areas, with a particular focus on improving urban accessibility for disabled and visually-impaired people. (£2.2 million; £1.5 million; 36 months; Westfield Sportscars Limited, Heathrow Enterprises Ltd, Fusion Processing Ltd, Creative Example Ltd, Conigital Ltd, Birmingham City University.)
  3. Tools for autonomous logistics operations and management: this project is a collaboration bringing together transport modellers and the computer games industry to develop new modelling and help improve the return on investment into Connected and Autonomous Vehicle fleets significantly. (£3.2 million; £2 million; 36 months; Immense Simulations Ltd, Improbable Ltd.)
  4. FLOURISH: this project will help develop innovative new tools to improve the understanding of user needs and expectations of connected and autonomous vehicles. It will be based in the Bristol City Region and will test capabilities in both urban and suburban networked environments. (£5.5 million; £3.7 million; 36 months; Atkins Limited, Age UK, Airbus Group Limited, React AI Ltd (Aiseedo), AXA UK plc, Bristol City Council, Imtech Traffic & Infra UK Limited, Office for Public Management Ltd, South Gloucestershire Council, Designability, Transport Systems Catapult, TSS – Transport Simulation Systems Ltd, University of Bristol, University of the West of England, Bristol
  5. MOVE-UK: this project will be focused on accelerating the development, market readiness and deployment of automated driving systems. (£5.5 million; £3.4 million; 36 months; Bosch, Jaguar Land Rover Limited, TRL Limited, The Floow Limited, Direct Line Insurance, Royal Borough of Greenwich.)
  6. INnovative Testing of Autonomous Control Techniques (INTACT): this project will reduce the cost of testing and evaluating autonomous control systems in a safe, repeatable, controlled and scientifically rigorous environment. (£1 million; £850k; 24 months; Richmond Design and Marketing Ltd, University of Warwick.)
  7. Pathway to Autonomous Commercial Vehicles: this project will develop an innovative solution to monitor key information from the vehicle and predict safety risks based on analytics. It will build on a prototype which monitors tyre pressures and temperatures in commercial vehicles, combined with always-on network connection. (£1.2 million; £900k; 24 months; Tructyre Fleet Management Ltd, University of Portsmouth, Satellite Applications Catapult, RL Automotive.)
  8. i-MOTORS – Intelligent Mobility for Future Cities Transport Systems: i-MOTORS will deliver a connected Vehicle to Anything (V2X) system via a mobile platform as a proof of concept. In addition, the project will develop hardware which will receive and analyse sensory data in real-time from multiple locations via online cloud technology to raise the standard of data-processing in the connected and autonomous driving industry.

Source Article from https://www.gov.uk/government/news/driverless-cars-technology-receives-20-million-boost

Press release: Ministers call on construction industry to invest and build home grown talent

Ministers have today (1 February 2016) called upon the construction industry to remove barriers to get more young people to consider careers in construction and develop an ambitious action plan to address the skills pressures and other constraints that are limiting housebuilding and infrastructure development.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis and Skills Minister Nick Boles want the construction industry to look at whether current business models are holding back the industry from developing the skills it needs – and to consider new models of construction such as offsite manufacturing.

The Construction Leadership Council has been called upon to review what skills the construction industry need to provide the homes the nation needs.

The Council has asked Mark Farmer, of real estate and construction consultancy Cast, to identify actions that will help bring more workers to the industry.

Views are being sought on how to best train a workforce which has a high level of self-employment and bring about greater use of off-site construction. The review will also look at how the industry can introduce measures that encourage more investment and new ways of working.

Housing Minister Brandon Lewis said:

The number of new homes is up 25% in the last year – and this is further proof we’ve got the country building again and delivering the homes the nation wants.

This means thousands of jobs are now up for grabs and we’re determined to make sure that there are enough skilled workers to get the job done.

Construction offers an exciting and rewarding career and we need to build a new generation of home grown talented, ambitious and highly skilled construction workers.

Skills Minister Nick Boles said:

The government is committed to getting Britain building. We are investing in measures to cut red tape and increase the number of young people doing apprenticeships and traineeships to ensure we have a pipeline of skilled workers.

As leaders in the industry, the Council is best placed to advise on how to boost productivity in the sector and build the houses and infrastructure our nation needs.

Mark Farmer, chief executive officer at Cast, said:

I’m delighted to be asked to lead this review. The construction industry’s skills shortfall has been growing progressively and its ageing workforce now means affirmative action needs to be taken to avoid more acute issues in the future.

A healthy and robust construction sector is vital to underpinning the government’s commitment to delivering critical new housing and infrastructure projects. It will also ensure the unrivalled economic multiplier effect related to construction activity continues to play its part within the wider UK economy.

The industry needs to seize the opportunity to celebrate the vital contribution it makes and, in partnership with government and other key stakeholders, ensure it overcomes the current barriers to fulfilling its potential.

Building future skills

The 2008 housing crash devastated the industry and led to the loss of a quarter of a million construction jobs. But the housing market has now turned a corner, with government investment returning builders to sites across the country and the number of new homes is up 25% in the last year.

New research from the Home Builders Federation shows that over 100,000 new construction jobs were created in England alone in the last year – the review will look at how we can go further to ensure young Brits leaving school or those looking for a career change will see building as a viable and exciting career.

Housebuilding is at the heart of the government’s long-term economic plan with plans to build 275,000 new affordable homes during this Parliament.

The housebuilding process requires a wider range of different people – as well as traditional on site trade jobs, there are a number of roles such as land buyers, accountants, engineers, sales and marketing staff.

Further information

The Construction Leadership Council is publishing questions for consultation and is inviting comments by 29 February 2016.

See the consultation seeking industry views on these issues and constraints.

Reports such as Mark Farmer’s “People and Money” report identified the training environment as a complex area for the construction sector due to very high levels of self-employment and the fragmentation of the supply chain; the volume house-builder model often provides weak long-term incentives for subcontractors to invest in training.

The Construction Leadership Council was created in 2013 to work between industry and government to identify and deliver actions to improve efficiency, skills and growth in UK construction.

The Home Builders Federation published its report ‘Building Communities, Boosting Employment’ in January 2016.

Mark Farmer is a former head of residential at Arcadis.

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Source Article from https://www.gov.uk/government/news/ministers-call-on-construction-industry-to-invest-and-build-home-grown-talent

News story: Winter 2015 floods: government response

Government departments, councils and the Environment Agency are working together to do everything they can to help communities recover from the extreme weather during December 2015.

The ground remains wet, and there’s rain forecast, so you should continue to check your flood risk and keep up to date by following @EnvAgency and #floodaware on Twitter.

Government support for homes, businesses, farmers and councils

Households and businesses

An additional £51 million to support households and businesses affected by the floods has been announced by the Chancellor. This takes the total support pledged by the government to over £60 million. In particular we will:

  • help the people directly affected by the floods – providing Local Authorities with over £500 for each household affected; for example, to help with temporary accommodation costs whilst we work to get people back into their homes

  • support people as they protect their homes against future floods by providing grants of up to £5000, so they can install new flood barriers, replace doors and windows with water resistant alternatives, or move electricity sockets up to a safer level

  • ensure flood affected businesses that have had their trading disrupted can get back on their feet, with funding equivalent to £2,500 provided to Local Authorities for each business affected and funding specifically provided for farmers to help restore their land

We’ll have more information shortly on how households and businesses can get this support. The Community Recovery Scheme (worth nearly £40 million) will be run by local authorities and will provide targeted support on the same basis as in the floods in 2013 to 2014.

Flood affected communities will not face Council Tax or business rates bills for their homes and businesses for as long as they are out of their properties.

Farmers

Grants worth up to £20,000 will be available to farmers who have been affected by flooding to help restore damaged agricultural land. An application form and guidance will be available on GOV.UK from Friday 18 December. Farmers experiencing difficulties getting online can call the Rural Payments helpline on 03000 200 301.

The Rural Payments Agency has published guidance about farm inspections, animal movements, TB testing, impacts on Basic Payment Scheme eligibility, and other Cross Compliance requirements.

Local authorities

We will be opening the Bellwin scheme for councils affected by floods. Under this scheme, councils can apply to have 100% of their costs above threshold reimbursed by the government.

We will help Cumbria and Lancashire assess the damage to the local highway network following the events over the weekend, to allow us to understand what additional local transport infrastructure funding could be provided to help repair roads and bridges damaged.

Government action on flood defences

Flood defences helped to protect 11,000 homes across the north of England, and provided vital time for homes and businesses to be evacuated as well as reducing the impact.

Over the next 6 years we will be investing £2.3 billion in flood defences which is a real terms increase on the £1.7 billion invested in the last Parliament. This in turn is a real terms increase on the £1.5 billion spent between 2005 and 2010.

In addition, flood maintenance spending will be protected in real terms over this Parliament.

We’re providing an additional £10 million so that the Environment Agency can repair flood defences that were recently damaged.

Flood insurance

The insurance industry is responding with help for homeowners. The Association of British Insurers has published a film on how to protect your home if you live in a flood prone area, or make a claim if you’re recovering from a flood. You can find more information on the Association’s website.

Flood insurance: protecting your home and making a claim

Health

Guidance on recovering from floods:

Advice and information

Met Office

For the latest weather warnings visit the Met Office website or follow them on Twitter: @MetOffice.

Highways England

For advice on travel by road visit the Highways England website or follow them on Twitter: @HighwaysEngland.

National Rail

Check with National Rail Enquiries for the latest updates on service disruptions.

Government announcements

Thursday 17 December 2015

Monday 14 December 2015

Sunday 13 December 2015

Friday 11 December 2015

Thursday 10 December 2015

Wednesday 9 December 2015

Tuesday 8 December 2015

Monday 7 December 2015

Sunday 6 December 2015

Saturday 5 December 2015

Friday 4 December 2015

Source Article from https://www.gov.uk/government/news/north-west-england-floods-2015-government-response

Press release: UK government secures EU compensation for Energy Intensive Industries

The UK Energy Intensive Industries (EIIs) have today (17 December 2015) been granted state aid compensation for the cost of renewables, giving the UK steel industry greater certainty around energy costs and saving the sector hundreds of millions of pounds, following concerted EU engagement led by Business Secretary Sajid Javid.

The Prime Minister announced on 28 October 2015 that compensation for EIIs would be paid from the date state aid clearance comes through. Today, approval has been granted from the European Commission for the UK government to commence relief in line with initial notification for the most electricity intensive businesses for the costs of renewables policy in their bills. The news was confirmed personally to Mr Javid by EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager in a phone call early this morning.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid said:

This is very welcome news and meets a commitment we made to deliver energy compensation for the steel industry by the end of the year. Relief from energy costs will save our steel industry hundreds of millions of pounds.

This comes on top of action we have taken in recent months on procurement, anti-dumping and EU emissions directives, as we do all we can to give our steel industry and workers a more secure and sustainable future.

Relief for Energy Intensive Industries was one of UK Steel’s ‘5 asks’ during the government’s steel summit earlier this year and following concerted engagement by the government it has now been granted.

Terry Scuoler, Chief Executive of EEF, the manufacturers’ organisation, said:

The Business Secretary’s support in driving this deal through the Brussels machinery on behalf of the steel industry is very welcome. It sends a very important signal that the government is backing steel and will continue to support the industry at this challenging time.

In the Autumn Statement 2015, the Chancellor went further and announced that EIIs, including the steel industry, will be exempt from the policy costs of the Renewable Obligation and Feed-in Tariffs, to ensure that they have long-term certainty and remain competitive. Compensation will continue to be paid until the exemption is in place.

Guidance will be published by the government in January 2016 and payments will be backdated to the date that state aid clearance comes through.

This news on state aid clearance comes as government laid a written ministerial statement (WMS) updating Parliament on the series of steps that have been taken to help the steel industry. Further details can be found in today’s WMS.

Source Article from https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-government-secures-eu-compensation-for-energy-intensive-industries

Press release: New IT free trade deal could boost UK exports by £113 million

  • The 24 WTO members committing to ITA II are Albania, Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, European Union, Guatemala, Hong Kong, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mauritius, Montenegro, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Singapore, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand and the United States.

  • Source Article from https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-it-free-trade-deal-could-boost-uk-exports-by-113-million

    Press release: President of CBI awarded honorary CBE

    Business Secretary Sajid Javid, has today (16 December 2015) bestowed an honorary CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) on Paul Drechsler, President of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).

    Mr Drechsler, who is an Irish citizen, received the honour for his significant contribution to voluntary and charitable services.

    The businessman is also Chairman of Bibby Line Group, Chairman of Business in the Community’s Education Leadership Team, a member of the Trinity College Dublin Business School Advisory Board, and a board member of Business in the Community (BitC).

    It was during nearly a decade as Chief Executive and then also Chairman of the Wates Group that Mr Drechsler built a reputation as a champion for young people in businesses and a leader in sustainable development.

    Serving on the board of trustees for BitC, a business community outreach charity promoting responsible business, he has helped ensure that over 500 schools across the most deprived areas of the UK have built partnerships with business. This has helped young people leave school with the aspirations, skills and motivation required to equip them for life in the workplace.

    Mr Drechsler was Chairman of the National Skills Funding Agency Advisory Board until September 2015 and is currently Chairman of Teach First, a charity which aims to end inequality of education by building a community of exceptional leaders in the most disadvantaged schools across the UK.

    The ceremony was conducted today (16 December 2015) at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

    Speaking at the event, Mr Javid said:

    I’m delighted to present this award to Paul Drechsler for the exceptional work he has done to champion young people in business.

    Paul has used his position and expertise in business to connect with a wide range of young people, opening doors and extending opportunity to all.

    Notes to editors:

    Non-British citizens are not entitled to receive their honour from the Queen at Buckingham Palace and are instead presented with their awards by the relevant Secretary of State.

    Source Article from https://www.gov.uk/government/news/president-of-cbi-awarded-honorary-cbe

    Press release: Government launches review to improve university research funding

    Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson today (16 December 2015) launched a UK-wide review of university research funding to cut red tape so that universities can focus more on delivering the world-leading research for which the UK is renowned.

    Following the decision to protect the £4.7 billion annual science and research budget in real terms during this Parliament, the Research Excellence Framework (REF) review will help ensure the government gets the most return from its investment.

    The review will be chaired by the President of the British Academy and former World Bank Chief Economist Lord Nicholas Stern. He will be assisted by a high-level steering group of academic experts, including the Vice-Chancellor of Aston University, Professor Julia King, and the Past President of the Academy of Medical Sciences, Professor Sir John Tooke.

    Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said:

    Excellent research drives productivity and is vital for delivering a better quality of life for everyone. The government has committed to protect science and research in real terms to the end of the decade, and now we need to make sure we’re getting the most from this investment.

    I’m delighted that Lord Stern has agreed to lead this review of the Research Excellence Framework and I look forward to working with the panel to carry out this work. As a renowned academic with experience of working at the highest levels of government, he and the members of the steering group will bring valuable expertise to the review.

    President of the British Academy Lord Stern said:

    I look forward to chairing this review of the Research Excellence Framework and to working with such a distinguished panel. Research assessment is a vital element in the promotion of excellence. The excellence of our research is one of the UK’s great assets, which we must continue to nurture. But it is essential that research assessment remains fit for purpose, is efficient, and carries the confidence of the UK research community.

    Research assessment should not unwittingly introduce incentives for perverse behaviour, nor should it be overly burdensome. Excellence, properly defined, must remain the central basis for allocating support and funding for research. We will explore ways in which a simpler, lighter-touch, system for the REF might be developed.

    Research Excellence Framework (REF)

    The REF is the system which assesses the quality of research carried out in UK higher education institutions and allocates public research funding according to their performance. REF2014 was used in allocating approximately £1.6 billion for research to English universities in 2015 to 2016.

    As announced in the Spending Review, the government is taking forward a review of the REF to ensure future university research funding is allocated more efficiently, offers greater rewards for excellent research and reduces the administrative burden on institutions.

    Building on position of strength

    International benchmarking has shown that past research assessment exercises have improved the quality of UK research. This review will build on this existing position of strength, rigorous assessment and focus on excellence by:

    • investigating different approaches to the evaluation of UK higher education research performance to strengthen the focus on research excellence and impact while reducing administrative burden on the sector
    • drawing on evidence from the evaluation of the last REF in 2014 and considering other models of research performance assessment
    • providing options for future iterations of the REF with a focus on a simpler, lighter-touch method of research assessment that uses data and metrics more effectively while retaining the benefits of peer review

    High-level steering group

    The review steering group will include:

    • Professor Julia Black, Professor of Law and Pro-director for Research, London School of Economics
    • Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, immunologist and Vice-Chancellor, Cambridge University
    • Professor Dame Vicki Bruce, psychologist, Newcastle University
    • Professor Linda Colley, historian, Princeton University
    • Gareth Davies, Director General of Business and Science, BIS
    • Professor Julia King, The Baroness Brown of Cambridge, engineer and Vice-Chancellor, Aston University
    • Professor Alex Halliday, geochemist, Oxford University and Vice-President and Physical Secretary, The Royal Society
    • Professor Anton Muscatelli, economist and Vice-Chancellor, Glasgow University
    • Professor Sir John Tooke, medical scientist, UCL and Past President, Academy of Medical Sciences

    Lord Stern is expected to deliver his review of the REF to the government in summer 2016.

    Notes to editors

    1. The Research Excellence Framework (REF) is an exercise that takes place every 5 to 6 years to assess the quality of research produced from UK universities.
    2. The results of the REF are used by higher education funding bodies across the UK to inform the allocation of annual Quality-Related (QR) research funding to individual higher education institutions. This is the university block grant, which for English universities is allocated from the £4.7 billion science and research budget and amounted to circa £1.6 billion in 2015 to 2016.

    3. The remainder of the £4.7 billion science and research budget funds, for example, competitive grants awarded by the Research Councils.

    4. Over 30 years the REF and its predecessors have driven a sustained improvement in the quality and productivity of the UK research base. Costs for undertaking REF2014 have been estimated at £246 million of which £232 million were costs to the HE sector.

    Source Article from https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-launches-review-to-improve-university-research-funding

    Press release: Reappointment of Chief Executive for the Natural Environment Research Council

    Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson today (14 December 2015) announced the reappointment of Professor Duncan Wingham as Chief Executive of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC).

    Universities and Science Minister Jo Johnson said:

    I am very pleased to reappoint Professor Wingham for a further term as Chief Executive of NERC. His breadth of experience and expertise in environmental science will continue to be important as he leads NERC to support world-class science and increase knowledge and understanding of the natural world.

    Sir Anthony Cleaver, Chair of NERC said:

    Duncan has been an outstanding Chief Executive of NERC and I am delighted that his term of office has been extended. His focus on demonstrating the impact of research and his vision and clarity of thinking have helped maintain Britain’s leading position in environmental research.

    Professor Wingham said:

    There has never been a more exciting time in UK environmental research, with initiatives such as those in the Southern Ocean and Artic pushing the frontier of our knowledge further promising long-term gains in our well-being and security. It will be a privilege to serve NERC and our community again as we work with the public, investigators, funders, industry and government to discover new approaches to the grand challenges faced by our society.

    The appointment is from 1 January 2016 until 31 December 2017.

    NERC is the UK’s main agency for funding research in atmospheric, Earth, biological, terrestrial and aquatic sciences. In the 2015 Spending Review, the government protected science funding of £4.7 billion in real terms over the Parliament. Growth in the ring-fenced budget will be used to invest in a new £1.5 billion Global Challenges Research Fund.

    Notes for Editors

    1. NERC is the UK’s main agency for funding and managing research, training and knowledge exchange in the environmental sciences. It coordinates some of the world’s most exciting research projects, tackling major issues such as climate change, environmental influences on human health, the genetic make-up of life on earth, and much more. NERC is a non-departmental public body, which receives funding from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). Working internationally, NERC has bases in the most hostile parts of the planet. They run a fleet of research ships and aircraft and invest in satellite technology to monitor gradual environmental change on a global scale. NERC provide knowledge, forewarning and solutions to the key global environmental challenges facing society.

    2. Professor Wingham received a BSc from the University of Leeds in 1979, and a PhD from the University of Bath in 1984, both in physics. He joined University College London in 1986, where he held lecturing posts at the Mullard Space Science Laboratory and the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering. He was appointed as a Chair in the Department of Space and Climate Physics in 1996, and was Head of the Department of Earth Sciences at UCL from 2005 to 2010. He was founder and Director of the NERC Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling (CPOM) from 2000 to 2005, which among other things discovered the widespread mass loss from the West Antarctic Ice Sheet and its origin in accelerated ocean melting. He was first appointed as NERC Chief Executive in 2011.

    Source Article from https://www.gov.uk/government/news/reappointment-of-chief-executive-for-the-natural-environment-research-council

    News story: North west England floods 2015: government response

    Government departments, councils and the Environment Agency are working together to do everything they can to help communities recover from the extreme weather during December 2015.

    Latest situation: 10 December 2015

    Communities are asked to remain vigilant and to check flood warnings as more rain is forecast over the weekend. Environment Agency staff are on the ground with other emergency response staff and military personnel to help people affected.

    With flood alerts and warnings still in place for many areas of the north of England, government is working to ensure local emergency responders have everything they need.

    You can check your flood risk and keep up to date by following @EnvAgency and #floodaware on Twitter.

    Government support for homes, businesses, farmers and councils

    An additional £51 million to support households and businesses affected by the floods has been announced by the Chancellor. This takes the total support pledged by the government to over £60 million.

    Support payments worth up to £20,000 will be available to farmers across Cumbria and North Lancashire who have been affected by flooding to help restore damaged agricultural land.

    Business rates and council tax relief for affected communities has been announced by the Communities and Local Government Secretary.

    We will be opening the Bellwin scheme for councils affected by floods, and that 100% of eligible costs will be met by the government.

    Government action on flood defences

    Flood defences protected 8,600 homes across the north of England and, provided vital time for homes and businesses to be evacuated as well as reducing the impact.

    Over the next 6 years we will be investing £2.3 billion in flood defences which is a real terms increase on the £1.7 billion invested in the last Parliament. This in turn is a real terms increase on the £1.5 billion spent between 2005 and 2010.

    In addition, flood maintenance spending will be protected in real terms over this Parliament.

    Flood insurance

    The insurance industry is responding with help for homeowners. The Association of British Insurers has published a film on how to protect your home if you live in a flood prone area, or make a claim if you’re recovering from a flood. You can find more information on the Association’s website.

    Flood insurance: protecting your home and making a claim

    Health

    Guidance on recovering from floods:

    Advice and information

    Met Office

    For the latest weather warnings visit the Met Office website or follow them on Twitter: @MetOffice.

    Highways England

    For advice on travel by road visit the Highways England website or follow them on Twitter: @HighwaysEngland.

    National Rail

    Check with National Rail Enquiries for the latest updates on service disruptions.

    Government announcements

    Thursday 10 December 2015

    Wednesday 9 December 2015

    Tuesday 8 December 2015

    Monday 7 December 2015

    Sunday 6 December 2015

    Saturday 5 December 2015

    Friday 4 December 2015

    Source Article from https://www.gov.uk/government/news/north-west-england-floods-2015-government-response

    News story: New funding for flood-affected businesses

    Today the Chancellor announced additional funding to support those affected by last weekend’s floods in Cumbria and Lancashire.

    As part of that, BIS has committed £5 million for businesses, with funding equivalent to £2,500 per business provided to local authorities. It’s estimated that 2,000 firms may have been impacted by the floods.

    Minister for Small Business Anna Soubry said:

    We are providing £5 million of quick support for businesses forced to close their doors due to the floods. Our priority is to help these hard working business owners get back on their feet, so they can open their shop doors and be back in business for Christmas.

    Yesterday the Communities Secretary Greg Clark announced council tax and business rate relief for those flooded.

    Please contact your local Growth Hub for more information on how to access the business support.

    Cumbria

    Growth Hub contacts for Cumbria:
    Telephone: 0844 257 8450 or email info@cumbriagrowthhub.co.uk

    Lancashire

    Growth Hub contacts for Lancashire:
    Telephone: 0800 488 0057 or visit www.boostbusinesslancashire.co.uk

    North East

    North East Growth Hub including Northumberland:
    Visit http://negrowthhub.co.uk/

    Source Article from https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-funding-for-flood-affected-businesses