Data Leak Reveals the Truth About Palm Oil

Owners of Battersea Power Station,  Palm Oil giants Sime Darby, want to build a bio-fuel power station at the site to power the massive development. To side step criticism they claim not have decided what bio-fuel it will use ( yeah right. Maybe Palm Oil?)

This blog has been sourced from an article by David Carrington, for The Guardian.     Click here if you would prefer to view the full article.

A new data leak has revealed how certain bio-fuels can have a worse impact upon the environment then fossil fuels. Although some bio-fuels can be advantageous in preventing climate change, others such as palm oil are quite the opposite due to the large carbon footprint that they generate.

In distinguishing the good bio-fuels from the bad ones it is also important to account for factors such as deforestation and other man made sources of pollution that are involved in harvesting bio-fuels.

A diagram displaying the individual carbon footprint of bio-fuels in comparison to that of crude oil from tar sands, puts Palm oil just beneath that of the crude oil:

Biofuels

Second generation fuels (SG), particularly those that are land-using such as Biodiesel and Ethanol produce the least CO2. While sugar cane and corn maize are thankfully less harmful then crude oil, however their carbon footprint could still be considered a cause for concern.

Recently, the US environmental protection agency stated that Palm oil failed to meet the US requirement of emitting a minimum  of 20% less carbon then the diesel produced from crude oil. Furthermore, bio-fuels campaigner Robbie Blake for Friends of the Earth Europe further condemned the use of Palm Oil (speaking to David Carrington):

“It’s getting quite indisputable that the use of soy or palm oil to fuel our cars is even dirtier than conventional fossil fuels. Forests in Asia and South America are being destroyed by the expansion of plantations to meet the European market. It’s a delusion for politicians to think that biodiesel will solve climate change.”

An important factor that helps assess how beneficial or environmentally unfriendly bio-fuels are is sourced from research into more sustainably advancements, with the latest examples in sourcing low carbon bio-fuel come from seaweed and algae.

An EU target has been made to ensure transport fuels incorporate 10% of bio-fuels by 2020. However the production of certain bio-fuels has been named ‘unethical’ in relation to the environment and to human rights. Research groups meanwhile have branded it ‘immoral’ to not look for an alternative to using fossil fuels.

For more information on this topic view the full article here, or try these related links:

Issues surrounding the production of second generation fuels, how the EU brands fuel sustainability, other recent studies into bio-fuel carbon footprints.

https://www.facebook.com/BatterseaAgainstBiofuels

http://www.biofuelwatch.org.uk/2013/battersea-biofuels/

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Commuters warned of 30-minute wait for a train during Olympics

Tube and rail travellers will have to wait at least half an hour to board trains at “hotspot” stations during peak hours at the Olympic, transport chiefs admitted earlier this week.

Passengers will be held in lengthy queues or will have to walk to alternative stations, according to the first detailed forecasts of public transport and road demand during the Games.

The busiest station will be London Bridge, with Transport for London (TfL) forecasting delays of at least half an hour during the two-hour evening peak every day during the Games. Other “hotspots” include Bank, Canary Wharf, Canada Water and Bond Street.

                                                        Photo by: Qsimple

Volunteers will be situated at hotspot stations issuing travel advice and walking maps. The second stage of TfL’s public information campaign will start early next year and target commuters rather than business. It will profile a further 30 Tube stations and provide travel advice for weekend journeys.

Transport bosses admit that disruption will be much worse if they cannot achieve a 20 per cent reduction in passenger journeys during the Games by persuading commuters to change their travel patterns.

Major challenges are also expected on Monday August 13th, the day after the closing ceremony, with an exodus of teams and their entourages to airports on what will be the busiest day in Heathrow’s history.

In addition to this, motorists have officially been urged not to drive to or through “hotspots”, such as sports venues or cultural festivals and not to take the car during rush hours. People have also been recommended to work from home during the Olympics.

What they don’t seem to take into consideration is the fact that most people are not in a situation where they can work from home for a few weeks. They’re also failing to recognise that many people live miles and miles away from their workplace and walking in every morning would take hours. Then again, it would probably be quicker than getting on the tube…

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Olympic road signs unveiled – and they’re not green

Road signs giving priority to 50, 000 Olympic vehicles were revealed earlier this week.

The signs, published by Transport for London, show how regular motorists will have to give way for official vehicles during the 2012 Games. Members of the Olympic family will have exclusive use of the right-hand lane of a dual carriageway, in a few cases shared by local buses.

Olympic lanes will also be used by athletes, media, officials and corporate sponsors, while cyclists and taxis are banned. The use of the roads by about
25, 000 sponsors has proved particularly controversial, as they will not be travelling out of operational necessity.

Priority road corridors will operate from 7am to 7pm on a third of the 106-mile Olympic network.

The signs will be installed next year but won’t become active until a few days before the operating ceremony on July 27th. Affected roads will also be painted with the Olympic rings.

Back in 2007 the organisers claimed that “walking, cycling and public transport would be promoted as the best ways to get to the events”. Despite this, they’ve now gone ahead and banned cycling on a third of the Olympic network.

Also, it has previously been revealed that guests of soft drinks company Coca-Cola will be travelling to the venues in Stratford using VIP buses, rather than public transport as called for by the Mayor.

One can certainly start asking questions about whether the organisers will be able to live up to their promises about making the London 2012 Olympic the “greenest ever.”

To quote Simon Jenkins of the London Evening Standard: “The only green thing (…) is the traffic light phase fixed for the IOC limousines and luxury buses. “

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Coca-Cola break Olympic Pledge to Public Transport

Soft-drinks company Coca-Cola have been accused of ‘breaking the Olympic spirit’, following another recent controversy over transport in London during the 2012 Games.

Guests of Coca-Cola, one of the official sponsors of the London 2012 Olympics, will be transported to and from the games in Stratford by VIP buses, it has been revealed. As a result, they are now being accused of breaking the Games’ pledge to encourage those attending the event to rely on public transport.

Whilst it would take just 20 minutes on public transport for guests to commute from their 5-star rooms at the Langham Hotel to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, guests of Coca-Cola will instead be travelling on VIP buses, driving up to Euston Road and joining the Olympic Route Network.

The Olympic Lanes were initially created for the quick transportation of competitors and employees. Yet sponsors of the games, including Coca-Cola, will also be allowed to take advantage of these specially created routes, even though the majority of their guests will be attending as spectators.

In addition to this, parking for residents around the Langham Hotel will be restricted during the games, in order to make way for the VIP buses.

Whilst London commuters are being urged to avoid making any unnecessary trips into the capital during the Games and employers are being urged to increase the number of Londoners working from home , guests of Coca-Cola and other Olympic sponsors will be able to enjoy VIP transportation.

“Coca-Cola will benefit from special measures during [the] Games … the rest of us are being asked to make sacrifices. It is a blatant affront to the Olympic spirit.”

As Simon Jenkins says, ‘Olympics VIPs and their cronies […] can cruise through London unimpeded by traffic lights, white vans, taxis, cyclists, zebra crossings or ordinary Londoners, who will be shoved into the gutter like medieval peasants’

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Olympian battle to get London’s transport fit for the Games…

A guaranteed budget of £6.5bn has been set aside to get London’s transport network up to speed in time for the Olympic Games next year. Thanks to the Games, this budget is also protected during present austerity measures.

With an estimated eight million visitors expected in London during July and August 2012, Graham Stephens, the co-ordination manager for the Olympics for Transport for London said that transport was marked as a potential problem right from the start: “The first advisers for the London bid helped us a lot when they stressed right at the beginning of the process that transportation was a major issue.”

Speaking about the legacy, Stephens pointed out that the transport system after the Olympics will be “significantly reinvigorated.” In the meantime, Londoners continue to face delays and line closures while the transport system goes through its upgrade.

For the full article click here

 

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Treasury Holdings Northern Line Battersea Extension Plans

As we have mentioned here on the Spectacle blog previously; owners of Battersea Power Station, REO (Real Estate Opportunities), have some illustrious plans to bring the Northern line to the Power Station. The project has received support from the mayor’s office but no public money is being put towards it from either the mayor’s office or the Department of Transport. This extension would serve to sever the two branches of the Northern Line so that only Bank services would travel to Morden and Charing Cross services would end in Battersea. As it is very few Charing Cross branch trains travel past Kennington. Far from benefiting the local community, this extension is effectively an attempt to build a private station for a private development with little to no concern for the local people.

In typical architectural consultation manner, they’ve produced 4 proposals and asked people to choose which one they believe will be the most beneficial. One of these maps is reproduced below and they can also be found over at London Reconnections along with some other useful information about the extension plans.

As can be observed on the below map taken from OpenStreetMap, REO’s consultation map conveniently crops Victoria station and forgets to label Queenstown Road and Battersea Park stations. The South London Line which runs from Victoria and London Bridge passes through Battersea Park station thus the Power Station site is already connected to these two major stations. Additionally Queenstown Road station, five minutes walk from the Power Station site, is one stop away from Vauxhall Station. With these two connections to major stations very nearby, surely extending the tube to the area is a bit over the top? Tunneling is not a cheap process after all.

Another proposal suggests extending the Northern Line to Vauxhall en route to the new Battersea station, but as we mentioned, Vauxhall is already easily reachable from Queenstown Road station and is in fact actually quite a crowded station already. The other two proposals suggest an intermediary station in Nine Elms, either around New Covent Garden Market or at the site of the current Sainsburys. The intention here is to serve the Nine Elms opportunity area and the new planned US Embassy (allegedly their 12 storey embassy building requires some underground facilities). However a few more buses in the area could easily serve this purpose or even a small tram service which would be far cheaper than costly tunneling. Besides, Vauxhall is really only a short walk away.

The consultation has included a Freepost Questionnaire for anyone who would like to inform Treasury/REO how they feel about the proposals. It is also worth considering that Treasury Holdings are conducting the consultation themselves and likely have no obligation to share the results. Either way, how would the public know that any published results of the consultation would match up with the actual results?

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There are no plans to build the Battersea Tube Station – Sadiq Khan MP, Minister of State for Transport

Proposed Tube Plan

Proposed tube extension

Sadiq Khan MP, Minister of State for Transport, confirmed that there are no plans to build the Battersea tube extension and no public money from either the Mayor or the government for such a scheme- dashing the hopes for the Battersea Power Station development.

Owners of Battersea Power Station, REO (Real Estate Opportunities), claim their plans for the Power Station, currently out for public consultation, depends on the extension of the Northern Line to a new tube station at Battersea (near to Battersea Park rail Station.)  Khan’s unequivocal statement bangs the nail in the coffin of a public funded tube extension.

Besides the recently announced £4 billion short fall in Transport for London’s budget the Battersea tube project was never likely to happen for a number of reasons.

The site is well connected by buses and only a short walk to Vauxhall and one stop by train to Victoria. Nearby Queenstown Rd Station connects in minutes to Waterloo and Clapham Junction.

While Battersea has long wanted a tube station a bizarre two stop branch from Kennington is not the answer. As a cul-de-sac it will either be a shuttle service or will have to have two platforms (or the shunting infrastructure) for tube trains to “turn around”.  What is needed is an integrated transport scheme.

For a tiny fraction of the cost extra buses or even a tram line could improve the connections between Victoria, Vauxhall and Waterloo, all more useful transport nodes  than Kennington on the already over crowded Northern Line. Overhead rail infrastructure exists but there is simply not enough rolling stock. The Victoria to London Bridge service that goes via Battersea Park Station has a useless two trains an hour. More frequent  trains could make it a very useful line. A bus linking Clapham Common tube, via Chelsea Bridge, with Victoria, Pimlico and Westminster tube stations would go a long way to integrating transport of the area.

Finally even with REO’s dense and greedy plans for developments all around the power station there will simply not be enough people in the station’s catchment area to make it viable. The proposed US Embassy would be as near to Vauxhall so why bother going all that way to Battersea tube simply to arrive at Kennington?

REO claim they are going to pay for the tube and it will not need public money but with debts of £1.6 billion REO are hardly in a position to engage in tunnelling, one of the construction industry’s most expensive activities. They do not seem to even have the money to repair broken windows in the Power Station.

The reality is that REO have made a seriously bad investment, they bought the site for £400m at the height of the property market. The previous owner had bought it for £100m only a few years earlier. The only way REO can recoup their investment is to demolish the power station. Without the power station the site is one of Europe’s biggest and most valuable inner city brown field sites. REO insist the tube line extension is key to their development but it is just a red herring that simultaneously wins support from locals keen for transport improvements and plays for time. It adds to the delaying tactic of perpetual deferment while the building is allowed to rot and fall down.

REO’s plan far from benefiting Battersea condemns the area to years more planning blight, their pie-in-the-sky transport scheme will never happen and only distracts attention from intelligent, achievable improvements.

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