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THURSDAY, 18 JANUARY 2018  |  GOVT

New appointments to the Adaptation Sub-Committee of the Committee on Climate Change have been made.

The Environment Secretary and Devolved Administrations have appointed Professor Georgina Mace and Professor Michael Davies to the Adaptation Sub-Committee.

The appointments have been made in accordance with the Ministerial Governance Code for Public Appointments. Their appointments will run from 31 January 2018 until 1 February 2021.

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. The appointees have not declared any political activity in the past five years.

Adaptation Sub-Committee members receive £550 per day based on a time commitment of up to three days per month.

Biographical details

Professor Georgina Mace

Georgina Mace DBE FRS is Professor of Biodiversity and Ecosystems and Director of the UCL Centre for Biodiversity and Environment Research (CBER). Her first degree was in Zoology and she has a PhD in evolutionary ecology. Her research interests are in measuring the trends and consequences of biodiversity loss and ecosystem change. She led the scientific work behind the criteria used in IUCN’s Red List of threatened species (2000), was responsible for biodiversity elements in the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (2005), and the methodology used in the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (2011). She has been President of the British Ecological Society (2011-2013), President of the Society for Conservation Biology (2007-2009) and Chair of the DIVERSITAS global environmental change program (2011-2014). She was the winner of the 2007 International Cosmos Prize and the 2016 Heineken Prize for Environmental Science. Currently she is a member of the UK Government’s Natural Capital Committee, and a member of the Natural Environment Research Council.

Professor Michael Davies

Professor Mike Davies is Professor of Building Physics and Environment at the UCL Institute for Environmental Design and Engineering (IEDE). For over a decade he has led an extensive programme of research, founded on close collaboration with researchers from health and other disciplines, which has sought to understand the complex relationship between the built environment and human well-being. Much of this has been developed through close partnership with Paul Wilkinson, Professor of Environmental Epidemiology at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine.

Through such transdisciplinary research, a highly productive, multi-skilled team has been developed which has sought innovation and stakeholder participation in responding to the world’s urban health challenges. The team has pioneered methodological developments, specifically in the modelling of health impacts and in the application of system dynamics approaches to the co-generation of research in this field. This has helped articulate the multiple underpinning connections and opportunities for healthy sustainable development.

Notes to Editors:

  • The Adaptation Sub-Committee of the Committee on Climate Change (ASC) is an advisory Non-Departmental Public Body created under the Climate Change Act (2008), sponsored by Defra.
  • The Board for the ASC c

THURSDAY, 18 JANUARY 2018  |  GOVT

The UK is to bolster a key French counter-terrorism operation in Africa by deploying three RAF Chinook helicopters to Mali.

The Prime Minister is expected to make the announcement as part of the UK-France Summit at The Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, where she will discuss the UK’s strong and wide-ranging bilateral relationship with President Macron.

The helicopters, which will provide logistic support to French troops, are part of a wider effort to increase stability in the Sahel region of Africa in order to tackle Islamist terrorism.

UK and French efforts in the region aim to provide greater stability, reducing the global terrorist threat and stemming the flow of illegal migration to Europe.

The UK has been a long-standing supporter of UN, EU and African Union military operations in Mali and has worked with international partners to prevent extremists from using the ungoverned space in the Sahel to plan and launch attacks on Europe, as well as counter the illegal trade in people, drugs, weapons and wildlife.

This is in addition to existing wider support to Africa including doubling our UN peacekeeping contribution with additional deployments to South Sudan and Somalia. Today the UK and France also agreed to work together to ensure EU African Peace Facility funding for AMISOM in Somalia.

The deployment of Chinooks to Mali will increase British support to France’s Operation BARKHANE, in addition to strategic air transport flights already being carried out by the RAF.

British military personnel will not be involved in combat operations, but the deployment of Chinooks will provide a niche capability providing logistical support but also saving lives by avoiding the need to move troops by ground where they are more vulnerable to attack.

Alongside the military contribution, DfID will allocate £50m of additional aid including lifesaving humanitarian support for hundreds of thousands of people affected by epidemics, natural disasters and conflict across Mali, Niger, Chad, North Cameroon, Burkina Faso and Mauritania.

This will provide 320,000 people with emergency food and nutrition support and provide protection for 255,000 internally displaced people, returnees, refugees and their host communities. It will also supply clean water and better sanitation for 150,000 people.

The FCO is also exploring ways to better support the UK national interest in the region by enhancing the UK diplomatic presence.

In addition, the Home Office will work with key African partners to build their capability to tackle human trafficking in support of the UK’s migration and modern slavery agenda. Discussions on taking this work forward will take place with the French after the Summit.

France has also agreed to commit troops to the UK-led NATO battlegroup in Estonia in 2019, building on the successful joint deployment which the Prime Minister and President Macron visited together last year. These personnel will make up part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence in Eastern Europe, providing deterrence in the face of increasing Russian assertiveness.

This further deployment of UK and French forces alongside our Estonian allies represents both the UK and France’s shared commitment to upholding the deterrence and defence posture of NATO, and more widely our firm resolve and commitment to European security.

Today’s Summit, which will be attended by UK Cabinet Ministers and their counterparts, will mark President Macron’s first visit to the UK as President.

While Summits in previous years have focussed on defence and security, foreign policy and nuclear energy, the 2018 Summit will be broadened to cover the full spectrum of the UK-France bilateral relationship including prosperity, innovation, science and education.

Hundreds of thousands of British citizens live in France while hundreds of thousands of French nationals have chosen to make the UK their home. And the two countries share £71billion in trade, making France the UK’s third largest trading partner.

The Summit today will reflect the broadness of the UK-France relationship, with wide-ranging discussions also expected to focus on how the two countries can work together to address the challenges and seize the opportunities presented by new technologies.

Ministers will also discuss ways in which the existing deep linguistic and cultural ties between the UK and France can be strengthened through pupil exchanges and shared education and cultural initiatives.

As well as attending the Summit the Prime Minister and President are expected to have a private lunch and attend a reception at the Victoria and Albert Museum in the evening.

The Prime Minister said:

Today’s Summit will underline that we remain committed to defending our people and upholding our values as liberal democracies in the face of any threat, whether at home or abroad.

But our friendship has always gone far beyond defence and security and the scope of today’s discussions represents its broad and unique nature.

And while this Summit takes place as the UK prepares to leave the EU, this does not mean that the UK is leaving Europe.

What is clear from the discussions we will have today is that a strong relationship between our two countries is in the UK, France and Europe’s interes

FRIDAY, 19 JANUARY 2018  |  GOVT

Oxford event offers industry chance to partner with UKAEA on ITER investment

More than 80 delegates from key stakeholders across the UK nuclear sector have heard details of multi-million-pound contracts from ITER that they can target with help from UKAEA after the Government’s recent £86 million investment in UKAEA at Culham.

John Devine, head of exports and investment on the civil nuclear team at the Department for International Trade, kicked off the event at Corpus Christi College, Oxford, on Tuesday 16 January by saying he was confident in UKAEA’s expertise, capability and record, before adding that the event represented an “opportunity for UK technologies and companies to get involved” and “take their expertise to the world.”

Ian Chapman, UKAEA CEO, outlined how the two investments – H3AT and FTF – would help in making commercial fusion a reality.

The first centre of excellence – named Hydrogen-3 Advanced Technology (H3AT) – will research how to process and store tritium and helps with ITER’s development.

Ian Chapman said:

The main purpose of H3AT is to looking forward to ITER. We want to partner with UK industry to make sure they win these contracts. This will allow the R&D to have other benefits as well as fusion, while these facilities will also help to train the next generation of people who will operate ITER.

Added to that was the Fusion Technology Facility (FTF) for developing thermal hydraulic tests for components under fusion conditions: for example in a vacuum, high heat flux, under a magnetic field. Partnering with UKAEA will support industry with a range of test and design capabilities, preparing them to bid for forthcoming major ITER contracts.

Ian Chapman commented:

We are extremely well placed – through using these processes in JET and the new facilities – to support the supply chain in its bidding for a wide range of projects.

Tom Greatrex, Chief Executive of the Nuclear Industry Association, added:

The level of Government investment seen with the £86 million National Fusion Technology Platform demonstrates the expertise, confidence and ability of staff at Culham in being at the cutting edge of research. As well as being a world leader in fusion research, we have a similar industrial capability which we have the opportunity to seize. There is a very real sense that the UK can make its mark on the world in helping to develop sustaina

THURSDAY, 18 JANUARY 2018  |  GOVT

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark has met with French ministers to discuss our approach to shared challenges.

  • countries committed to working more closely on research and innovation across sectors including artificial intelligence, space and climate change
  • Energy Minister Richard Harrington also signed agreement for the 2 countries to work more closely on civil nuclear decommissioning

Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark met with French ministers Brune Poirson, Secretary of State for the Ecological and Solidarity-based Transition, and Delphine Gény-Stephann, Secretary of State for Economy and Finance, during the UK-France Summit to promote the UK’s ambitious Industrial Strategy. He underlined how closer collaboration between the 2 countries will lead to better research outcomes, using our shared distinctive strengths to meet the Grand Challenges set out in the government’s Industrial Strategy.

Innovation is at the heart of the government’s Industrial Strategy, and the Business and Energy Secretary highlighted the importance of sharing knowledge and resources in order to meet the shared economic and environmental challenges facing the 2 countries.

After the meeting, Business and Energy Secretary Greg Clark said:

Innovation and collaboration with our international partners are at the heart of our modern Industrial Strategy. If we are to seize the opportunities and meet the challenges of the future, we need to work closely with countries that share our ambition.

France is the UK’s third largest trading partner and we want to take advantage of all possible opportunities as we move towards our highly productive, low-carbon economies of the future.

It was agreed the 2 countries will increase research links. This will include deeper collaboration between UK Catapults and French Instituts Carnot. It was confirmed during the meeting that a digital conference will be held in 2018, gathering experts from both countries on digital security, skills, artificial intelligence, data and digital government.

The Business and Energy Secretary also announced a Researcher Mobility Fund worth almost £90,000 a year to help forge further research links between the UK and France and encouraging further collaboration between researchers in both countries.

The UK and French space agencies signed a declaration of intent at the meeting, with both committing to closer working and leadership in areas, including:

  • autonomous navigation to support the search for life on Mars: the UK Space Agency and CNES – the French equivalent – are involved in the ExoMars mission that will use a rover that can move over the surface of the red planet and a satellite in orbit above it
  • climate science and space systems to support the development of a Space Climate Observatory: this could improve the analysis of key climate variables and support for developing countries, while placing UK and French industries at the centre of the growing, multi-billion pound Climate Services market
  • support of satellite telecommunications services for disaster-hit regions of the Caribbean

The 2 countries also committed to close working and leadership in a number of other areas, particularly looking at meeting the Clean Growth and Future of Mobility Grand Challenges set out in the Industrial Strategy. These include:

  • discussion on the formation a new bilateral group bringing together policy and research experts on zero-emission vehicles in order to help meet the commitment of both countries to end the sale of new conventional petrol and diesel cars by 2040
  • agreement that the UK and France will work bilaterally to identify potential areas of collaboration on smart energy innovation; this will help both economies seize the opportunities presented by the move towards electric vehicles and a fully smart energy system, while creating new business opportunities for UK and French companies in a multi-billion dollar international market

In conjunction with the Summit, UK Energy Minister Richard Harrington co-chaired a seminar on civil nuclear energy with Brune Poirson, France’s Minister of State in the Ministry for the Ecological and Inclusive Transition.

The seminar bought together senior government and industry figures from the UK and France to discuss issues of mutual interest and promote bilateral collaboration, with a particular focus on nuclear decommissioning and waste management, R&D, and skills.

Both ministers signed a declaration of intent to signify their support for greater collabor

THURSDAY, 18 JANUARY 2018  |  GOVT

The register will provide government with greater transparency on overseas companies.

  • world-first public register will require overseas companies that own or buy property in the UK to provide details of their ultimate owners
  • £180 million worth of property in the UK has been brought under criminal investigation as the suspected proceeds of corruption since 2004
  • government will publish draft laws this summer and the register will go live by early 2021

A world-first register revealing owners of overseas companies buying property in the UK will go live by early 2021 to crack down on criminal gangs laundering dirty money in the UK, the government has announced.

More than £180 million worth of property in the UK has been brought under criminal investigation as the suspected proceeds of corruption since 2004. Over 75% of properties currently under investigation use off-shore corporate secrecy - a tactic regularly seen by investigators pursuing high-level money laundering.

The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy’s register will require overseas companies that own or buy property in the UK to provide details of their ultimate owners. This will help to reduce opportunities for criminals to use shell companies to buy properties in London and elsewhere to launder their illicit proceeds by making it easier for law enforcement agencies to track criminal funds and take action.

Yesterday in the House of Lords the government committed to publishing a draft bill this summer and introducing it in Parliament by next summer. Following legislation, the register would go live by early 2021.

Business Secretary Greg Clark said:

We are committed to protecting the integrity and reputation of our property market to ensure the UK is seen as an attractive business environment – a key part of our Industrial Strategy.

This world-first register will build on our reputation for corporate transparency as well as helping to create a hostile environment for economic crimes like money laundering.

The register will also provide the government with greater transparency on overseas companies seeking public contracts.

The response to an earlier c

FRIDAY, 19 JANUARY 2018  |  GOVT

Falling prices and continuing cuts to funding for forensic science work are eating into essential services, the Forensic Science Regulator has warned in her annual report.

In the report, which was published today (Friday 19 January), Regulator Dr Gillian Tully warns that the cuts highlighted last year have continued in the sector, with serious consequences.

Already, scientists have been required to give expert advice based on interim forensic reports because some police forces have refused to pay for the scientists to produce an admissible statement of evidence in court. Often there is little time left for practitioners to prepare reports on complex cases or keep up with scientific developments.

At the same time, police are spending less on their own forensic science practices. With the tendering process for commercial services being focused heavily on costs, more and more money is taken out of the system.

Further pressure is being put on individual scientists by the delay of many organisations in starting the process of attaining the required quality standards, the Regulator states.

However, the Regulator also highlights that despite the challenges, significant progress has been made in the sector and that many organisations have achieved the required standards, or are well on their way to demonstrate objectively that their methods are scientifically valid and their staff competent.

Forensic Science Regulator Dr Gillian Tully said:

There are a lot of hard working and committed forensic scientists doing their best, but they are not always supported by the system they work in.

A year ago I warned that funding was too tight, and now even more money has been taken out of the system. We cannot continue on this path.

I urge the government to put the role of the Regulator on statutory footing now, to enable me to ensure that all organisations providing forensic science evidence in the criminal justice system, meet the high standards required.

The failure of some police forces to give sufficient priority to achieving quality standards in their own forensic science work, is of great concern to the Regulator. Whilst it is understandable that senior police leaders have a wide range of priorities, if quality cannot be sufficiently prioritised, it may become unsustainable for some forces to continue to carry out their own forensic science case work.

The Regulator also highlighted that a number of small forensic businesses have chosen, for financial reasons, not to move towards reaching the required standards. For these reasons, statutory powers are urgently needed so that the Regulator can ensure that all providers of forensic science deliver work to quality standards

THURSDAY, 18 JANUARY 2018  |  GOVT

York based Eboracum UK Ltd’s use of body-worn cameras has received independent certification of the Secretary of State’s surveillance camera code of practice.

Security firm Eboracum was established in 2011 and now provides a range of services in York. These include security guarding, facilities management and community projects. The company also provide a street ranger service to the York business improvement district.

Body-worn cameras have become important items of equipment and are now deployed with operatives across the company. Supported by local police and the city council enforcement officers, body-worn cameras have enabled the provision of evidence leading to successful prosecutions. Aside from prosecutions, body-worn cameras have also been used to deter assaults on staff and prevent crime. They also inhibit aggressive behaviour.

Recognising the importance of maintaining public trust and confidence when conducting surveillance activity, Eboracum were committed to being transparent in demonstrating high standards and ethical use of their body-worn cameras and therefore decided to undertake voluntary certification assessment against the surveillance camera code of practice, which is regulated by the Surveillance Camera Commissioner, Tony Porter.

The code of practice is intended to ensure that individuals and wider communities have confidence that public body surveillance cameras are deployed to protect and support them, rather than spy on them. The government is keen to encourage organisations to voluntarily adopt the code, which is a mandatory requirement for police forces in England and Wales.

Eboracum’s procedures, privacy impact assessment and processes were audited by the Security Systems and Alarms Inspection board (SSAIB).

Eboracum UK has taken steps to ensure that their body-worn CCTV systems operate within a legal framework and meet the standards of the Surveillance Camera Commissioner’s code of practice. This includes data security, appropriate usage, control of records and promoting a culture of honesty.

Carl Nickson, Director of Eboracum UK said:

Although accreditation is voluntary, I feel that it is important to demonstrate a transparent and compliant approach to the use of CCTV. We are leading from the front as the first security company to achieve this accolade and I hope that others will follow. Achieving this accreditation outlines that even small to medium businesses can put privacy, compliance and transparency at the top of the agenda.

Tony Porter, Surveillance Camera Commissioner, added:

A key component of my national surveillance camera strategy is to encourage organisations that are not bound by statute to comply with the Secretary of State’s code of practice, to voluntarily adopt its provisions. In doing so, Eboracum have demonstrated a real commitment to ensure that the public can have confidence in their use of body-worn surveillance cameras. I congratulate them on their achievement and encourage other organ

FRIDAY, 19 JANUARY 2018  |  GOVT

Dstl is backing the Government's pledge to make 2018 the Year of Engineering

The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) is proud to announce its support of the Government’s pledge to make 2018 the Year of Engineering. As a key campaign partner, Dstl will be promoting its state-of-the-art engineering work to demonstrate the creativity involved in designing solutions for military and security customers. With many internationally recognised subject experts, Dstl’s skilled scientists and engineers are fantastic role models who can help young people, and their parents and teachers, see the potential of a future career in engineering.

In 2017, Dstl recruited 80 graduates and 27 apprentices across our divisions, who work on some of the UK’s most exciting and interesting science and technology programmes, many of which have international and well as national implications. Engineers at Dstl work in a wide range of engineering disciplines including mechanical, electrical, materials and software. Every day they are working on a range of high-profile and exciting engineering projects including the Queen Elizabeth class of carriers, the F-35 Lightning II, unmanned aerial vehicles, ballistic protection and cyber security.

The Year of Engineering activities will build on Dstl’s current Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) outreach programme with schools and universities, which sees its STEM Ambassadors out and about meeting as many young people as possible to help inspire the next generation of engineers.

Dr Bryn Hughes, Dstl Technical Director, said:

At a national level, there is a general shortage of well- trained and qualified engineers. If not addressed, this will have a long-term impact not only for defence and security, but also the prosperity of the UK. At Dstl, we encourage our engineers to meet young people as part of the STEM Ambassador programme, and raise the profile of the exciting opportunities offered through engineering in all its forms.

To this end we look forward to the opportunity in 2018 to really focus our efforts. We’ll be working alongside other employers with the aim to inspire the next generation of engineers to join us in solving some of the UK’s most critical problems with inventive engineering solutio

THURSDAY, 18 JANUARY 2018  |  GOVT

DBS now provides the basic check service for England and Wales.

If you need a basic disclosure check for a job in England and Wales, you should apply to the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS), which now provides the service for England and Wales. If you need a basic check for a job in Scotland, then you should apply to Disclosure Scotland. If you want a check for personal reasons rather than work purposes, you should apply to the relevant organisation for your area – DBS if you live in England or Wales or Disclosure Scotland if you live in Scotland.

If you are an individual applying for your own basic check you will be able to use our new online application route.

If you are an organisation applying for a basic check on behalf of an employee or someone else, you can use a ‘Responsible Organisation’ (RO) – a third party registered with DBS . A list of Responsible Organisations can be found at https://www.gov.uk/guidance/responsible-organisations.

It is important that you apply to the right organisation for your basic check, so that the correct Rehabilitation of Offenders Act (ROA) rules are applied. There is a risk of legal action if incorrect ROA rules are applied and impact a recruitment decision.

If you have any questions, please contact

FRIDAY, 19 JANUARY 2018  |  GOVT

Crediton firm admits it should have checked farmers had necessary permits to accept the waste from building and construction sites.

A Devon haulage and site clearance company faces a bill of more than £100,000 for dumping thousands of tonnes of soil and stone on farmland. The case was brought by the Environment Agency.

CC Haulage & Sons Ltd is a family owned and run company based at Manor Farm, Colebrooke, Crediton. The two directors are Colin Clarke and his wife, Deborah Clarke.

Farmers are allowed to accept up to 1,000 tonnes of non-hazardous waste including soil and stone under a permission known as an ‘exemption’ that is commonly used on farms to construct hard-standings, bases for buildings and tracks and doesn’t need an environmental permit.

In November 2016 the Environment Agency visited Beech Down Farm in Tedburn St Mary where waste was being tipped in a valley. Inquiries revealed that CC Haulage had deposited 7,820 tonnes of waste at the farm. Excessive quantities of waste, much of it from building and construction sites, had also been tipped at 3 other Devon farms at Longdown, Exeter, Yeoford and Crediton.

The offences came to light after the Environment Agency examined waste transfer notes that identified CC Haulage as the source of the excessive amounts of waste material. The company benefitted financially by paying the farmers less to accept the waste than it was charging its clients to take the material away.

The firm’s defence said CC Haulage believed the farmers had the necessary permits to accept the waste, but admitted the company should have checked.

Richard Cloke of the Environment Agency said:

Haulage businesses must ensure they comply with the limits and conditions of environmental permits and exemptions.

These are in place to stop the illegal deposit of waste, protect the environment and create a level playing field for the waste industry.

Appearing at Exeter Crown Court, CC Haulage & Sons Ltd was fined £14,000 and ordered to pay £5,000 costs. Judge Geoffrey Mercer also imposed a £90,000 Proceeds of Crime confiscation order at the sentencing hearing on 15 January 2018. The company must pay back this figure from the profits it made from its criminal activities.

Judge Mercer said: “It is not entirely clear to me

FRIDAY, 19 JANUARY 2018  |  GOVT

Bat Expert Panel will help shape future bat conservation.

Natural England has appointed a new expert panel to help shape the future of bat conservation in this country.

As Natural England considers an innovative approach to licensing across a range of species, it is looking at how the implementation of protected species legislation could be improved in its delivery for conservation and ensuring that regulation is applied proportionately. The Bat Expert Panel will provide a forum for generating ideas and testing Natural England’s thinking with the aim of securing better outcomes for bats and stakeholders.

The panel is chaired by Natural England’s Chief Scientist, Dr Tim Hill, and includes experts with a strong track record of research or achievement in bat conservation from across academic, commercial, NGO and statutory sectors. It will shape Natural England’s bat reform programme and help to ensure the reform projects are informed by the best available evidence, and based on sound judgement of what is achievable. In this way it will play an important role in developing consensus and partnerships for bat conservation.

Dr Tim Hill said:

The number of licence applications for bats received by Natural England is greater than for other species groups and is increasing. The panel will look for ambitious change to improve bat conservation and where evidence allows, make it work positively for everyone that it affects.

The legal protection of bats commenced following the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 and was further strengthened by the Habitats Directive and subsequent Conservation of Species and Habitats Regulations. Since this legislation has been in place, national monitoring data suggests populations of most bat species have been stable or increasing although this is recognised as being set against large-scale historic declines. This improvement for certain bat species may be due in part to successful implementation of this legislation.

Over this time period considerable change has happened. The bat conservation movement has developed enormously and survey technology has moved on, advancing our understanding of bat ecology.

The members of the panel are:

  • Professor Kate Jones - Professor of Ecology and Biodiversity, University College London
  • Professor Paul Racey - Emeritus Professor, University of Aberdeen
  • Dr Matt Zeale - Research Associate and Lecturer, University of Bristol
  • Professor Fiona Mathews - Professor of Environmental Biology, University of Exeter
  • Dr Stuart Newson - Senior Research Ecologist, Population Ecology & Modelling, British Trust for Ornithology
  • Dr Carol Williams - Director of Conservation, Bat Conservation Trust
  • Paola Reason - Technical Director, Arcadis
  • Jean Matthews - Former Mammal Ecologist, Natural Recourses Wales. Retired.
  • Dr Stephanie Wray - President of CIEEM, Partner at Tyler Grange
  • Dr

THURSDAY, 18 JANUARY 2018  |  GOVT

Legal requirement for all bird keepers in England to follow strict biosecurity measures.

A bird flu prevention zone has been declared across the whole of England, Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens has confirmed today.

This means it is a legal requirement for all bird keepers to follow strict biosecurity measures. It comes as 13 dead wild birds were confirmed to have the virus in Warwickshire.

Last week 17 wild birds tested positive in Dorset and a total of 31 infected birds have now been identified at that site. Defra took swift action to put a local prevention zone in the area on Friday (12 January). However, as these latest results show the disease is not isolated to a single site the decision has been taken to extend the prevention zone across the country on a precautionary basis.

Testing of the birds found in Warwickshire is ongoing, however, it is highly expected that this will be the same H5N6 strain of the virus which has been circulating in wild birds across Europe in recent months. Public Health England have advised the risk to public health remains very low and the Food Standards Agency have said that bird flu does not pose a food safety risk for UK consumers.

Chief Veterinary Officer Nigel Gibbens said:

Following the latest finding of bird flu in wild birds in Warwickshire, we are extending our action to help prevent the virus spreading to poultry and other domestic birds.

Whether you keep just a few birds or thousands, you are now legally required to meet enhanced biosecurity requirements and this is in your interests to do, to protect your birds from this highly infectious virus.

Biosecurity measures

The prevention zone means bird keepers across the country must:

  • Ensure the areas where birds are kept are unattractive to wild birds, for example by netting ponds, and by removing wild bird food sources;

  • Feed and water your birds in enclosed areas to discourage wild birds;

  • Minimise movement in and out of bird enclosures;

  • Clean and disinfect footwear and keep areas where birds live clean and tidy;

  • Reduce any existing contamination by cleansing and disinfecting concrete areas, and fencing off wet or boggy areas.

Keepers with more than 500 birds will also be required to take some extra biosecurity measures including restricting access to non-essential people, changing clothing and footwear before entering bird enclosures and cleaning and disinfecting vehicles.

The prevention zone will be in place until further notice and will be kept under regular review as part of our work to monitor the threat of bird flu.

Poultry keepers and members of the public should report dead wild birds to the Defra helpline on 03459 33 55 77 and keepers should report suspicion of disease to APHA on 03000 200 301. Keepers should familiarise themselves with our avian flu advice.

There are no plans to carry out any culls or put movement restrictions in place.

Background

  • Trade should not be affected following the findings in wild birds, according to the rules of the World Animal Health Organisation (OIE).

  • The risk to poultry and other captive birds depends, amongst other things, on the level of biosecurity on the premises and the likely contact between kept birds and wild birds, which is why it is now mandatory that all keepers ensure they practice the highest standards of biosecurity.

  • Keep up to date with the latest avian influenza situation

  • There are currently no findings of bird flu in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland and the pre

SUNDAY, 21 JANUARY 2018  |  GOVT

Mark Field, FCO Minister for Asia and the Pacific, condemns the attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, Afghanistan

Minister Field said:

This weekend’s terrorist attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul was another tragedy for a country and people who continue to confront such threats with great resolve. I would like to extend my heartfelt condolences to all those killed and injured in the attack. I commend the valiant efforts of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces who worked day and night with great courage and skill to defeat the terrorists, and whose swift intervention certainly prevented greater casualties.

The UK will continue to work with allies and partners to help the Afghan government defeat terrorism and to support the development of the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces in dealing with this threat. We remain committed to helping the Afghan people achieve a peaceful and secure fut

THURSDAY, 18 JANUARY 2018  |  GOVT

The country’s best employers and apprentices have been recognised at the 14th National Apprenticeship Awards to celebrate their commitment to apprenticeships.

Held in London on 18 January 2018, the ‘Bright Future’ themed ceremony showcased individual and employer success stories, with businesses and apprentices beating off tough competition in regional heats to win in the national finale.

This year’s national apprentice winners are:

  • The Unilever Award for Intermediate Apprentice of the Year: Shannon Green, Althams Travel Services Ltd
  • The PeoplePlus Award for Advanced Apprentice of the Year: Heeran Basi, Severn Trent Water
  • The Nuclear Decommissioning Site Licence Companies Award for Higher or Degree Apprentice of the Year: Charlotte Hughes, GlaxoSmithKline

And 2 highly commended in each category:

  • The Unilever Award for Intermediate Apprentice of the Year: Ross Jasper, DCH and Matthew Gustard, Nottingham City Homes
  • The PeoplePlus Award for Advanced Apprentice of the Year: Hannah Magowan, Dale Power Solutions and Megan Whitbread, Troup Bywaters + Anders
  • The Nuclear Decommissioning Site Licence Companies Award for Higher or Degree Apprentice of the Year: Christopher Achiampong, IBM and Thomas Sherlock, IBM

Sarah Barley from South Hunsley School won the Santander Award for Apprenticeship Champion of the Year. She was recognised for the employer led programme she developed, recruiting 50 local employers to support and inspire young people about their next steps, whilst also planning open events to recruit employers interested in offering apprenticeships. Lois McLure from the Co-op and Julie Honour-Jones from Sir John Lawes School were both highly commended in this category.

This year’s national employer winners are:

  • The Troup Bywater + Anders Award for Small Employer of the Year: Beauty Oasis Spa
  • The Royal Navy Award for Medium Employer of the Year: Superior Seals Limited
  • The British Army Award for Large Employer of the Year: Dale Power Solutions
  • The Open University Award for Macro Employer of the Year: Royal Air Force
  • The BAE Systems Award for Newcomer SME of the Year: Lander Automotive Ltd
  • The Rolls-Royce Award for Newcomer Large Employer of the Year: YBS Group (Yorkshire Building Society)

And 2 highly commended in each category:

  • The Troup Bywater + Anders Award for Small Employer of the Year: Ginger Nut Media and McCarrick Contruction
  • The Royal Navy Medium Employer of the Year: Invotra Limited and Maycast-Nokes Precision Engineering Ltd
  • The British Army Award for Large Employer of the Year: Volvo Group UK and Eire and Home Group
  • The Open University Award for Macro Employer of the Year: BBC and Lloyds Banking Group
  • The BAE Systems Award for Newcomer SME of the Year: Blue Logic and Bury St Edmunds Canine Creche
  • The Rolls-Royce Award for Newcomer Large Employer of the Year: Magnet and NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT)
National Apprenticeship Awards 2017

Skills and Apprenticeships Minister Anne Milton said:

The National Apprenticeship Awards ceremony is a great opportunity to celebrate the work so many individuals and employers have done to champion apprenticeships.

I want to congratulate everyone that was a part of these awards for their contribution to apprenticeships in England. They are all fantastic advocates of hard work and ambition, and they highlight how apprenticeships are a great route into skilled employment for people of all ages and backgrounds.

Winner of the Rolls-Royce Award for Newcomer Large Employer of the Year was Yorkshire Building Society Group. Andy Tupman, Emerging Talent Manager at Yorkshire Building Society, said:

I’m delighted our apprenticeships programme has been recognised in the National Apprenticeship Awards 2017. Our apprentices are a credit not only to themselves but the whole organisation here at Yorkshire Building Society.

We’re committed to providing great career pathways across a number of business areas whether in one of our head offices or throughout the UK in one of our branches. I’m proud of the culture that we have created and display on a daily basis.

For us, there’s no such thing as a typical apprentice. You could be just out of school, looking to change your career, newly graduated and looking for something different or just out of retirement. There’s no average age, no average background and no experience required – we are much more interested in finding applicants with the right values and passion for exceeding customer expectations.

Centrica Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers 2017
Centrica Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers 2017

Also announced was the Centrica Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers list 2017, featuring the most exceptional apprenticeship employers from all of the National Apprenticeship Awards employer categories. The list includes Lloyds Banking Group, EDF Energy and IBM, and shows the breadth of employers offering fantastic apprenticeship opportunities.

Centrica Top 100 Apprenticeship Employers 2017

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Sue Husband, Director of the National Apprenticeship Service added:

The National Apprenticeship Awards showcase the breadth of apprenticeships on offer in a range of dynamic industries across the country. Apprenticeships are for everyone and I thank every employer and apprentice celebrated for their passion for, and commitment to, apprenticeships.

This year’s winners are all shining examples of how apprenticeships develop outstanding talent whilst enhancing the incredible work of employers. I am certain all of our winners have a bright future thanks to the enriching benefits that apprenticeships bring.

Exciting changes to the future format of the National Apprenticeship Awards was also announced. More informat

THURSDAY, 18 JANUARY 2018  |  GOVT

Country’s best principals appointed as National Leaders to use their expertise to support other colleges

Some of the country’s top college principals have been appointed to a new group which will work with underperforming colleges to help drive up standards and improve quality of teaching.

The seven National Leaders of Further Education (NLFE) will provide support to the further education sector, to help improve provision so that more people have access to high quality education and training.

All the NLFEs, confirmed today by Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton, are college leaders from good or outstanding colleges who have a strong track record of delivering improvement – both in their own colleges and in working with others.

Apprenticeships and Skills Minister Anne Milton said:

We have a number of fantastic leaders across the FE sector, who have already achieved great results. Now we want them to use their expertise and experience to help other colleges to improve.

This is an exciting new programme that will provide colleges with practical advice and support from experts within the sector, who have a proven track record of delivering results, giving learners a greater chance of gaining the skills and knowledge they need in later life.

It has also been announced that seven new members have been appointed to the Principals’ Reference Group, made up of experienced principals from good or outstanding colleges, who will advise and challenge the FE Commissioner and help inform policy development affecting colleges.

Additionally, more Deputy FE Commissioners and Advisers have been selected to support the FE Commissioner in leading interventions to help struggling FE and sixth form colleges.

These high quality appointments were made foll

FRIDAY, 19 JANUARY 2018  |  GOVT

Dame Glenys Stacey reflects on the quality of probation services.

27 February, 2018

featuring

Dame Glenys Stacey DBE

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Probation I Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Probation

Please se the attached flyer for details and how to book.

Reflections on the delivery of probation services (seminar flyer)

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THURSDAY, 18 JANUARY 2018  |  GOVT

The Prime Minister has appointed Jonathan Baume, Dr. Susan Liautaud and Richard Thomas as Members to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments with effect from 1 February 2018.

Jonathan, Susan and Richard have been appointed following an open competition run in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments’ Code of Practice.

Further Information

The Advisory Committee on Business Appointments was established by the Prime Minister in 1975. The Committee independently advises former Ministers, the Prime Minister, First Ministers for Scotland and Wales, Foreign Secretary, Defence Secretary, and departmental Permanent Secretaries on applications referred to it, under the Government’s Business Appointment Rules (the Rules).

Committee members receive an annual honorarium of £3,000. Members are also eligible to claim any reasonable travel and subsistence expenses incurred in the course of their work.

The appointment of Jonathan Baume, Susan Liautaud and Richard Thomas was made fully in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointments Code of Practice. All appointees have declared no political activity within the past five years.

Additional information about the Committee and its work is available on its website.

The membership of the Committee with effect from 1 February 2018 will be:

  • Chair
  • Baroness Angela Browning

Members:

  • Sir Alex Allan
  • Jonathan Baume
  • Lord Michael German OBE
  • Terence Jagger
  • Susan Liautaud
  • The Rt Hon Baroness Liddell of Coatdyke

THURSDAY, 18 JANUARY 2018  |  GOVT

The Office of the Public Guardian (OPG) has updated its legal guidance for professional deputies and attorneys on the rules about giving gifts.

OPG’s gifting practice note explains the legal framework around giving gifts and has been updated to reflect recent judgements by the Court of Protection.

It also explains the approach OPG takes if deputies or attorneys go beyond their authority to give gifts on behalf of the person they act for.

OPG has separate general guidance on giving gifts for non-professional deputies and attorneys.

Being an attorney or a deputy can be a demanding role – like a part-time job for some – and there are practice notes covering a range of subjects to help attor

THURSDAY, 18 JANUARY 2018  |  GOVT

The Attorney General has decided not to provide his authority for an application to be made to the High Court for a new inquest into the death of Stuart Lubbock

After careful consideration, the Attorney General Jeremy Wright QC MP has decided not to provide his authority for an application to be made to the High Court for a new inquest into the death of Stuart Lubbock. Mr Lubbock was found dead at the home of Michael Barrymore on 31 March 2001.

Mr Lubbock’s father submitted an application under the Coroners Act 1988 to request a new inquest into the death of his son on the grounds of new evidence.

An application for a fresh inquest may be made only with the authority of the Attorney General. The Attorney can provide his authority only if he is satisfied there is sufficient admissible evidence that there is a reasonable prospect of the Court being persuaded to order a new inquest.

The Attorney concluded that none of the grounds of challenge set out in the application had a reasonable prospect of success. As there is no fresh evidence that will likely lead to a different outcome being recorded on the inquisition he would not be able to provide his authority for the applications to be made to the High Court.

The Attorney General said:

I offer my deepest sympathy to the family of Stuart Lubbock for their loss, but, as disappointing as it will be for the family, it would not be right to pass this matter to the High Court when the tests for a new inquest are not met.

The original inquest was held by Coroner’s Court in Epping between 9 and 13 Sep

FRIDAY, 19 JANUARY 2018  |  GOVT

Next generation of cyber security professionals are now set to benefit from first Cyber Lab classroom, co-funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority.

The facility, based at the Energus building near Workington, Cumbria, has been specially designed to train the next generation of cyber experts.

Nine apprentices, who started their training in September last year, will now be able to use the classroom to learn the latest in cyber safety and IT. A second cohort of apprentices will use the classroom later this year.

The facility was funded by the NDA through its Cyber Security and Resilience Project. It forms part of an NDA cyber programme that is designed to grow capability and capacity for the NDA estate and its businesses.

NDA leaders said the new programme demonstrated long-term commitment from the NDA on cyber security and it is looking to invest £80 million over the next 5 years in cyber safety.

Rob Higgins, Business Services Director at the NDA, said:

Cyber security and resilience is vital to the operation of the NDA and its estate. The launch of the first NDA Cyber Lab classroom marks a clear focus on cyber safety and the NDA’s commitment to this discipline. The knowledge and expertise of these home-grown apprentices will go a long way in helping to keep the NDA and its businesses safe from the growing cyber threat.

Scott Campbell, a Level 4 cyber security apprentice, said:

The classroom is way beyond my expectations and I feel privileged to be one of the first

FRIDAY, 19 JANUARY 2018  |  GOVT

New Education Secretary unveils plans to drive up standards by supporting underperforming schools and increase opportunities in areas most in need.

Raising education standards by supporting underperforming schools and offering young people more opportunities to make the best of their lives are at the heart of a package of measures announced today by Education Secretary Damian Hinds.

Aimed particularly at disadvantaged areas across the country, today’s moves include:

  • More than £45million awarded to successful multi-academy trusts to help tackle underperformance and improve schools in areas that lack capacity;
  • 75 projects sharing £25million to provide more support for schools, many of which will increase pupils’ literacy and numeracy skills; and
  • The publication of the next six Opportunity Area plans in Bradford, Doncaster, Fenland and East Cambridgeshire, Hastings, Ipswich and Stoke-on-Trent.

The announcement builds on the government’s record of 1.9million more children now in good or outstanding schools than in 2010, England’s pupils now amongst the world’s best readers and GCSE and A levels reformed to match the best education systems in the world.

Education Secretary Damian Hinds said:

As Education Secretary, I want all children to get a truly world-class education that not only inspires them to make the most of their lives but also gives them the opportunity to fulfil their ambitions, no matter where they live.

Standards are rising in schools across the country but there is more to do to make sure that every child benefits from the progress we’ve already made thanks to an incredibly talented generation of teachers.

By supporting good and outstanding schools to help others improve, and focusing on disadvantaged areas where our young people need extra help, we can continue to make a difference to people’s everyday lives and build a Britain that’s fit for the future.

As part of the Multi-Academy Trust Development and Improvement Fund (MDIF), announced in October 2017, over £45million will support multi-academy trusts to drive improvement. More than £30million of this will be targeted to around 300 academy trusts in areas facing the greatest challenges across England. The attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers has narrowed in recent years – by 7% at GCSE and 10.5% at KS2 since 2011.

The money will go to more than 400 multi-academy trusts (MATs) with a proven record to help them build their capacity so they can help drive further improvements and raise standards. Ofsted data shows that 450,000 children are studying in sponsored academies rated ‘Good’ or ‘Outstanding’ that were typically previously underperforming.

Under the latest round of the Strategic School Improvement Fund (SSIF), 75 largely school-led initiatives will share £25million to help more children from disadvantaged backgrounds, including many to support to help master the basics of reading and maths in primary school. Overall, the SSIF is worth up to £280million over two years. It targets resources at the schools most in need to improve school performance, support teacher development and drive up pupil attainment.

The next six Opportunity Area plans – for Bradford, Doncaster, Fenland and East Cambridgeshire, Hastings, Ipswich and Stoke-on-Trent – have been developed with local educators, employers and voluntary and community organisations and set out how they will improve the life chances of young people in these communities.

They follow the publication of the government’s social mobility action plan Unlocking Talent, Fulfilling Potential in December which focuses £800million of resources on those areas that can benefit the most. All 12 Opportunity Areas will benefit from a share of £22 million through a new Essential Life Skills programme, to help young people in these areas develop life skills in resilience, wellbeing and employability.

Among the initiatives confirmed today in the latest round of the Strategic School Improvement Fund is Cotgrave Candleby Lane School, a teaching school in Nottinghamshire. Funding will be used to improve reading outcomes across primary education by focusing on phonics and other reading practices in early years education, the teaching of comprehension at Key Stage 2, and measures to close or narrow the attainment gap between pupils.

Chris Wheatley, CEO of the Flying High Trust Partnership that runs the teaching school, said:

We are thrilled to be successful in securing our application. This project is testament to strong collaboration between Nottinghamshire County Council and Nottinghamshire Teaching Schools.

Drawing on the capacity of the school-led system; we aim to bring about sustainable improvement in reading across priority schools and a legacy of collaborative working to improve reading outcomes for all Nottinghamshire children.

Sir Kevan Collins, Chief Executive of the Education Endowment Foundation and Evidence Champion for the Opportunity Areas, said:

We know that your chance of getting on in life is strongly linked to where you grew up and that low levels of social mobility are becoming entrenched in some parts of the UK. Improving outcomes for young people in these ‘coldspots’ needs a concerted effort from local partners, schools and other organisations across every stage of a young person’s life.

So it is welcome to see this evident in today’s six plans. The need now is to move swiftly from planning to action so that children and young people experience the benefit of this investment.

To really have an impact, change has to be informed by evidence. Our Research Schools will be crucial in doing this in each of the Opportunity Areas. They will help to break down barriers so that research does not stay in the pages of academic journals but has a real impact on classroom practice. Allowing teachers to use lessons from what’s worked to inform their practice can make all the difference to attainment.

Ahead of the announcement, the Secretary of State visited Curwen Primary School in London to meet with pupils and teachers. The school is part of The Tapscott Learning Trust, which has been awarded a share of the Multi-Academy Trust Development and Improvement Fund. Chief Executive Officer of The Tapscott Learning Trust and Executive Head of Curwen Primary School Paul Harris said:

It was a great honour and privilege to be able to show the new Secretary of State around our fantastic, outstanding school. As a school, and now as part of The Tapscott Learning Trust, it is our core mission to work in partnership with other providers to improve children’s life chances. We welcome the opportunity to be able to demonstrate to the Secretary of State some of the amazing work that we are doing and to also discuss wider educational issues, particularly the way in which we train and support teachers through the continued development of our Training Hub and also to improve primary sports provision from our new Sports Hub.

We are delighted to have been awarded this grant by the MAT Development and Improvement Fund to help and support our work, not just within The Tapscott Learning Trust, but for other schools. We are confident that having secured this funding this will now be achievable and enable us to achieve our vision. We also look forward to working in partnership as an accredited provider of courses for the Autism Education Trust.

Simon Bramwell OBE, chief executive of the SS Simon and Jude Church of England multi-academy trust, a small trust with four primary academies, has been awarded a share of the Multi-Academy Trust Development and Improvement Fund to take on and improve schools that need support raising attainment for disadvantaged pupils in Knowsley and Salford. He said:

We are delighted to have been awarded MDIF funding to help support school improvement in these areas. The funding will go a long way in enabling us to provide greater capacity and sustainability for delivering the school im

THURSDAY, 18 JANUARY 2018  |  GOVT

The UK Space Agency and CNES signed a joint statement to step up co-operation in space, at the UK-France Summit in Sandhurst today (Thursday 18 January).

The statement focuses on projects for climate action, Mars exploration, space applications and Europe’s space programme.

Since the signature of the Brize Norton framework arrangement on 31 January 2014, French-UK space co-operation has achieved many things, notably in the fields of Earth observation and climate action. For example, the UK Space Agency is working with CNES to develop the IASI-NG (Infrared Atmospheric Sounding Interferometer New Generation) instrument for Eumetsat’s programme to improve weather forecasts.

An agreement has also been signed to enable the UK space Agency to participate in CNES’s contribution to the SWOT (Surface Water & Ocean Topography) mission being pursued jointly with NASA. France and the United Kingdom are also teaming on the MicroCarb programme to monitor and map sources and sinks of carbon gases.

The statement signed today proposes to step up co-operation in space between France and the United Kingdom.

Alice Bunn, Director of International at the UK Space Agency, said:

The UK and France play leading roles in global efforts to explore the solar system and use satellite technologies to improve life on Earth. From missions to Mars to cutting-edge climate measurements from space, we want to build on the successful history of close collaboration for the benefit of both our nations.

Jean-Yves Le Gall, President of CNES, said:

Since the signature of the Brize Norton framework arrangement, space cooperation between France and the United Kingdom has gone from strength to strength. The statement signed today is set to consolidate and extend our collaboration, in particular our joint efforts to tackle climate change through the IASI-NG, SWOT and MicroCarb projects.

Closer cooperation will notably cover work on climate science and space systems in support of the implementation of a Space Climate Observatory (SCO), set out in the Paris Declaration adopted by the world’s heads of space agencies at the One Planet Summit.

A future partnership between the two nations on Mars exploration is also under consideration for technology developments in autonomous navigation of the ExoMars mission rover.

In the field of applications and innovations leveraging space data and technologies, CNES and the UK Space Agency are keen to nurture space hubs and ecosystems that will help to support humanitarian relief efforts around the globe in response to the increasing number of natural disasters being fuelled by climate change.

The two nations feel that technical and scientific exchanges should continue in order to furthe

FRIDAY, 19 JANUARY 2018  |  GOVT

Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, Matt Hancock hails France as a key partner in helping to protect sport's integrity.

The British and French Governments have agreed to share expertise and best practice to help tackle sports corruption and match-fixing through illegal and irregular sports betting.

The Declaration of Intention was signed by Matt Hancock and the French Sports Minister Laura Flessel as part of the UK-France Summit taking place this week.

Matt Hancock said:

The UK and France are steadfast allies in the battle against corruption. Doping and match-fixing scandals have rocked international sport in recent years and it is crucial that we take a global approach, working together to ensure the integrity of sport is upheld. Fans have to be able to believe in fair play in sport and be inspired by the best athletes in the world.

Through the work of UK Anti-Doping, the Gambling Commission’s Sports Betting Intelligence Unit and our Code for Sports Governance we are ensuring that our sports bodies are more transparent and uphold the highest standards on integrity and governance. We want to share best practice with other nations and this agreement with France underlines how important it is to work in partnership on the threat of corruption.

Working together

At the 2016 Anti-Corruption Summit in London, the UK joined the International Partnership against Corruption in Sport that has brought together the International Olympic Committee, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the Council of Europe and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

At a meeting of the partnership in Paris in December 2017, it was agreed that three task forces would be created to reduce corruption risks in procurement relating to sporting events and infrastructure, ensuring integrity in the selection of host cities for major sporting events and mitigating the risk of corruption by improving compliance with good governance.

The UK Code for Sports Governance, was announced in the government’s sport strategy. The code came into force in April 2017 and to date, 55 out of 58 national sports bodies have complied with the code, ensuring more diverse board membership and increasing transparency to help fans and those taking part better understand the decision-making of those leading their sports.

Major events

Under the Declaration of Intention, the UK has also agreed to share with France best practice and expertise gained from hosting the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and England hosting the Rugby World Cup in 2015.

France will host the Rugby World Cup in 2023 and Paris will stage the Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2024.

London 2012 generated over £14 billion worth of trade and investment for the UK while the 2015 Rugby World Cup, held in 11 host cities across England, set new attendance, viewership and competition records, generatin

SUNDAY, 21 JANUARY 2018  |  GOVT

Consultation expanding the Blue Badge criteria released.

People with hidden disabilities could soon have greater access to blue badges under new plans from Transport Minister Jesse Norman today (21 January 2018).

The proposals, which would herald the most significant changes since the blue badge was introduced in 1970, would help remove barriers to travel for people with conditions such as dementia and autism, allowing them better access to work, shops and amenities. This could also further help create parity between physical and mental health, and means everyone can take advantage of every opportunity.

Currently, about 2.4 million disabled people in England have a blue badge, allowing them to park on roads without charge and normally without time limit. Around 75% of blue badge holders say they would go out less often if they didn’t have one.

Transport Minister Jesse Norman said:

Blue badges give people with disabilities the freedom to get jobs, see friends or go to the shops with as much ease as possible.

We want to try to extend this to people with invisible disabilities, so they can enjoy the freedom to get out and about, where and when they want.

The changes could also see a variety of healthcare professionals, who are better placed to identify if mental health causes mobility issues, carry out assessments to determine if a blue badge should be given.

Sarah Lambert, Head of Policy at the National Autistic Society, said:

The National Autistic Society welcomes this government proposal. It could mean that many more autistic people will qualify for a Blue Badge, which can be a lifeline.

There are an estimated 700,000 autistic people in the UK and whilst every person on the autism spectrum is different, for some, not being able to park in a predictable place close to a destination can cause a great deal of anxiety and put their safety at risk. Some autistic people can experience too much information from the environment around them on public transport, while other autistic people might not be aware of dangers on the road.

However, current Blue Badge rules mean that all-too-often autistic people don’t qualify. The National Autistic Society has raised this issue with government over recent years and we are pleased to see they have listened to the concerns of autistic people and their families. We hope the government will make this important change and we look forward to working with them to make sure that autistic people and their families benefit.

Blue Badge animation video

Councils have different interpretations of the existing rules with some recognising hidden disabilities, but the changes proposed would give a clear and consistent guidelines for the whole of England.

The consultation will last 8 weeks.

Roads media enquiries

FRIDAY, 19 JANUARY 2018  |  GOVT

Baroness Sugg visits one of the UK's largest airports to see first-hand the contributions being made by apprentices.

Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg visited Luton Airport today (19 January 2018) to meet apprentices and trainees working at the heart of the aviation industry.

The minister was provided with an overview of Luton’s £150 million redevelopment and met some of the apprentices who are helping to transform the airport’s vision into reality.

Baroness Sugg’s visit to Luton Airport took place at the end of a week in which the government, working alongside industry, launched the Year of Engineering, a campaign which aims to increase the number of young people pursuing a career in engineering.

Touring the newly-extended terminal which is due to open later this year, the minister met one of the successful trainees from the civil engineering company behind the work. Following the completion of a two-year apprenticeship, the former apprentice joiner has a permanent role as a trainee site manager overseeing the transformation of the terminal building.

Baroness Sugg also visited Luton Airport’s control tower for a bird’s eye view of the redevelopment and met a graduate of EasyJet’s engineering apprenticeship programme. Having completed 26 months of classroom and on the job training, the qualified engineer works in the airline’s operations control centre, as part of the team managing aircraft technical issues for more than 280 aircraft.

Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg said:

It is clear to see that the investment being put in to Luton Airport goes far beyond passengers, creating jobs, developing skills and boosting the local economy.

The work being done by the airport to upgrade the terminal and passenger facilities has created a wealth of opportunities for young people with apprenticeships and trainee schemes in a variety of areas.

This major investment not only shows how our aviation industry continues to go from strength to strength but also underlines the importance of talented young people in this British success story.

Highlighting the variety of opportunities available within engineering, the Year of Engineering campaign seeks to increase diversity, challenge misconceptions and attract more women and girls into the industry.

The current transformation of Luton Airport represents the biggest single investment in the airport’s history.

Alongside the improvement of the terminal, the security search area has been expanded, a new multi-storey car park has been built as well as new shops and restaurants.

The airport is also working with Luton Borough Council to develop a £200 million mass passenger system which will connect Luton Airport Parkway station with the airport terminal.

Aviation and maritime media enquiries

THURSDAY, 18 JANUARY 2018  |  GOVT

The wait for the first MoT test on cars and motorcycles won't be extended to 4 years due to safety concerns.

Ministers put road safety first as they today (18 January 2017) decided to maintain the period before a car’s first MoT test at 3 years.

The move comes after a Department for Transport consultation last year to consider changing the wait before the first test to 4 years.

Most of those responding to the consultation were against the proposals on safety grounds, arguing that the savings to motorists were outweighed by the risk to road users and the test often highlights upcoming issues affecting the vehicle. A public survey for DfT by Populus also showed fewer than half of people were in favour of the change.

Roads Minister Jesse Norman said:

We have some of the safest roads in the world, and are always looking at ways of making them safer.

Although modern cars are better built and safer than when the MoT test was last changed 50 years ago, there has been a clear public concern that any further changes don’t put people’s lives at risk.

We are looking at further research to ensure the MoT test evolves with the demands of modern motoring.

By law, all vehicles must be roadworthy, regardless of whether they have passed an MoT, and the content of the tests will not be changed.

The test was introduced in 1960, requiring vehicles to undergo a first check after 10 years. It was changed in 1967 to 3 years.

In 2016 (the most recent figures available), more than 2.4 million cars had their first MoT test, which costs owners a maximum of £54.85. The pass rate was about 85% and the most common reasons for failure include lighting, tyres and braking faults.

Changing the time period until the first test would have saved motorists more than £100 million a year.

Roads media enquiries

THURSDAY, 18 JANUARY 2018  |  GOVT

The National Infrastructure Commission has appointed Sir John Armitt as their new Chair.

Sir John Armitt has today (18 January 2018) been appointed the permanent Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission (NIC), where he will provide strategic advice to ensure the UK has the long-term infrastructure it needs to thrive.

Having served as a Commissioner since the NIC was established in 2015 and last year being appointed Deputy Chair, Sir John Armitt is a familiar face to the Commission.

With a background in engineering, Sir John Armitt’s expertise in infrastructure and major project delivery is extensive.

He has a proven track record of working at the forefront of UK infrastructure in positions that included the Chief Executive of Network Rail, President of the Institution of Civil Engineers and Chairman of the Olympic Delivery Authority, where he played a key role in coordinating the 2012 London Olympics.

He was awarded a CBE in 1996 for his contribution to the rail industry and a knighthood in 2012 for his work in engineering and construction.

Announcing the appointment, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond, said:

Boosting productivity is essential to sustaining real wage growth. And investing in infrastructure is one of the keys to raising our productivity performance.

The National Infrastructure Commission’s expertise is vital for ensuring the UK’s infrastructure is fit for the future. Sir John Armitt brings years of experience of UK infrastructure. With him at the helm, I am confident we will develop a strategic and ambitious infrastructure plan that supports economic growth for decades to come.

Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission Sir John Armitt said:

I’m delighted to have been appointed as the Chair of the National Infrastructure Commission as we prepare for the publication of our first National Infrastructure Assessment later this year.

Making the right choices about planning and investing in infrastructure is critical to the UK’s prosperity and quality of life. I want the Commission to remain focused on tackling the long-term issues of congestion, capacity and carbon – and to continue to hold the government to account where decisive action is needed – so we can secure the improvements that companies, communities and families need.

I look forward to working with my fellow Commissioners and listening to our stakeholders as we set out the way forward for the UK’s infrastructure.

Replacing Lord Adonis who resigned from the position at the end of last year, Sir John Armitt takes charge of the NIC’s exciting programme of work, with the first ever National Infrastructure Assessment due out this summer. The assessment will take a long-term view of Britain’s infrastructure needs and make recommendations to the government on how best to meet them.

Further information

First set up in 2015 and established permanently in January 2017, the NIC is an executive agency which helps plan, prioritise and ensure efficient investment in Britain’s infrastructure. It provides government with strategic thinking to ad

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