Tag Archives: Local Authorities

Will There be Food Shortages?

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plumbshop BrookshRecent years have seen many problems appearing that have negatively impacted food production, the latest being the terrible situation in the Ukraine. Food prices are likely to increase significantly, especially as Russia and Ukraine are among the world’s main suppliers of wheat. The conflict is expected to reduce exports meaning soaring costs for farms and food processors throughout the UK.

The price of gas needed to heat greenhouses and to produce fertiliser has also soared, prompting the National Farmers’ Union (NFU) to request urgent action. The NFU has asked the government for help to enable UK farmers to produce enough food. There is a risk of supermarkets and other food outlets not being able to meet customer demand. The NFU said: “The government must act now, with a clear signal that food security is a priority for the nation,”

There isn’t a quick end in sight for all the disruption to supply chains, food production, availability and affordability. There are worries that food production problems could last for years to come. The boss of one of the largest international fertiliser companies, Yara International warned of a shock to the global supply and cost of food. Escalating fuel prices will also mean people pay more in shops and restaurants.

Around 80% of the world’s sunflower oil and 20% of corn are produced in Russia and the Ukraine say the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). Ukrainian workers account for 60% of the UK’s seasonal workers, their essential roles include planting, picking and grading produce. The NFU is urging the government to grant an additional 10,000 visas under the Seasonal Workers Scheme. The amount at present is 30,000. Some farmers are trying to be flexible by adjusting the way they do things to avoid shortages of wheat and barley.

Mark Spencer, commons Leader said the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) was “across the threats that we face”. He added: “There is no prospect of food shortages at any point in the future, and Defra are working with Treasury to try and make sure that that continues to be the case.”

 

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Is There a Use for Decommissioned Wind Turbine Blades?

Plumbing Supplies for House Builders, Refurbishing Contractors, Home Owners, Local Authorities, Tradesmen & Hoteliers

 

PlumbshopRhinosIt seems everywhere you look these days there are exciting innovations in carbon reduction technology. The latest surprising discovery is that recycled wind turbines can be used as a material for making ‘blade bridges’. There are as yet only two of these structures using repurposed wind turbine blades, one is in Poland and one in Ireland. This is not just an extremely novel idea, it represents a solution to a problem fast appearing on the horizon. Wind turbine blades are functional for around 20 to 25 years, after which time they are replaced. Although wind turbine blades look majestic from a distance, once they are decommissioned they take up huge amounts of landfill space. These blades are around 150 feet in length and weigh dozens of tons per blade.

Approximately 85% of wind turbine components can be reused or recycled, as they are made up of copper wire, steel, electronics and gearing materials. The rest, including the blades, are composed of fibre glass which present a waste disposal problem. The blade’s sturdy, fiber reinforced plastics do not break down easily, and incineration creates further pollution.

Civil engineer Kieran Ruane, a lecturer at Ireland’s Munster Technological University, saw the concept of bridges built from these blades as ‘immediately appealing’. He says: “It was a no-brainer that this needed to be investigated and trialled at least.” Ruane is also a member of Re-Wind, the research network behind Ireland’s new blade bridge.

Due to properties such as lightweightness, strength and weather resistance, the blades are ideal as engineering support structures. When used to form blade bridges wind turbine blades can last at least a hundred years. Public comments about the bridges have been 80 to 90% positive with some finding the appearance to be a bit strange. There are hopes that these blades will eventually be put to other uses such as contemporary and stylish outdoor furniture.

Rhinos Plant Hire are celebrating their 20th Anniversary this year, and this is just one of the many innovations they’ve witnessed in that time!

 

 

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Home Heating Oil Prices

Plumbing Supplies for House Builders, Refurbishing Contractors, Home Owners, Local Authorities, Tradesmen & Hoteliers

 

Home Heating OilOne consequence of Coronavirus is the fact that the price of home heating oil has dropped considerably as a result of crude oil prices globally. In fact in Northern Ireland home heating oil prices are hitting a record low, and in the UK prices dropped from 45p per litre in March to 22p by April 2020. However according to the Business Insider website, demand for oil is likely to rebound sharply in 2021, surpassing levels in 2019. You know what this means. Order soon!

Recently oil prices have been lower than in 2009, which brings some comfort to households who have lost income due to Covid 19. Many people are stuck at home in freezing weather, so being able to heat their homes cheaply will be a great relief. In Northern Ireland, 68% of homes rely on home heating oil and the UK has 1.3 million households for whom this is their only form of heating.

Keep Your Oil Tank in Good Condition

Summertime is usually the best time to buy heating oil with lower prices and less demand, but it’s a good idea to keep an eye on prices generally. Buying in bulk cuts out additional delivery costs, and if you are soon to replace your tank you might consider a larger size. It pays to make sure your oil tank is in good condition too, and avoid overfilling which could result in spillage. Oil spills can damage floors and other areas, and can be expensive to clean up. Have the tank and any connecting pipework looked over, perhaps at the same time as getting your boiler serviced.

Secure Your Oil Tank

Rural or remote areas are major users of home heating oil, meaning protection from theft needs to be a consideration. This oil is an expensive commodity, and is often the focus of thieves, who not only steal the oil but damage the tank and leave spilled oil. Use strong padlocks on filler caps, have tanks where they can be seen, install lighting with motion sensors and maybe fit CCTV.

Order home heating oil safely and quickly from home by going to the Wise Oil website.

 

 

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Bathroom Changes Ahead

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The current crisis has prompted us to rethink the way we do things, particularly regarding hygiene, which has in the past left a lot to be desired. Sensible advice is coming at us from all directions about washing hands, wearing masks and staying 2 metres apart. Certain places are a priority for change and this includes public toilets, whether in shopping centres, restaurants or hotels. Health experts, architects and designers have recently been pointing out how flawed this whole area is. There are widespread calls for strict building codes and innovative designs to reduce risk of spreading infection.

Some ideas include sensor taps, no touch entrances/exits and totally self cleaning toilets. The World Health Organization has joined the chorus of voices calling for a change in the design of public bathrooms. There is some really useful general advice on their website to keep yourself safe. Many structural upgrades can be completed by a competent DIYer with tools or equipment hired in Ipswich from companies such as Rhinos Plant Hire.

Bathrooms, Baths, Showers, Boilers, Heated Towel Rails, Plumbing & Heating Systems

Feeling Hot Hot Hot!

Plumbing Supplies for House Builders, Refurbishing Contractors, Home Owners, Local Authorities, Tradesmen & Hoteliers

 

According to NASA scientists and many other experts, temperatures are increasing each decade. The UK has experienced this, and over the past few summers desk fans have sold out meaning people have had to endure uncomfortable and sticky environments. Luckily most workplaces have high quality air conditioning systems from specialists like Turn Key Air Conditioning, which alleviate the situation somewhat. This is helpful in a number of ways, as another study released by NASA found that productivity in the workplace falls by 3.6% for every degree over 22C.

Being used to a pretty temperate climate here in the UK, air conditioning is not as common as in warmer climates. This could begin to change however, as people realise the benefits of staying cool in work during the summer months. In this country we are not as well prepared as we could be for more frequent heatwaves. For instance : –

  • Homes, especially flats in the UK are designed to be thermally efficient, which is very welcome when the weather is cold and damp. Apparently homes in north Africa and the Middle East were configurated around a central courtyard assisting with air flow.
  • Infrastructures suffer during excessive hot weather, as for instance rail tracks can buckle when the metal expands. This would cause chaos for busy rail networks, with hold ups and cancellations Countries that typically have much hotter weather, use a differently designed system to avoid this.
  • Our road surfaces can become affected with heat, occasionally bringing traffic to a standstill as emergency re-surfacing is carried out.
  • Lots more swimming pools whether public or private are available in hot countries, where people can cool down and escape the heat. Outdoor pools are even better in the summer, why not consider having a small one in your garden?
  • Cafés and restaurants are usually indoors in this country, and staff are sometimes forced to move tables and chairs outside where they are able.
  • Outdoor drinking fountains are a familiar site in parts of the US and Italy, but there are a scant amount here in the UK.
  • People in hotter countries cope with the midday heat by taking a ‘siesta’, and working later into the evening. Other efforts to avoid the warmest part of the day includes starting work at sunrise.

Bathrooms, Baths, Showers, Boilers, Heated Towel Rails, Plumbing & Heating Systems