An Ammanford company has been highlighted for its work in helping Wales become a zero-waste nation.
NappiCycle, based at Capel Hendre Industrial Estate, pride themselves on reusing and recycling nappies, as three billion are wasted each year, which equates to eight million per day.
Sophie Howe, the world’s first statutory Future Generations Commissioner, has been praising the organisation as her seven-year term comes to an end.
Sophie has been highlighting how Wales’ world-leading Wellbeing of Future Generations Act has been making a difference across Wales.
Wales’ Beyond Recycling strategy has a target of Wales being a zero-waste nation by 2050, and was built around the legislation. It is the strategy NappiCycle has been getting involved in.
NappiCycle has helped provide 4.3 tonnes of used babies’ nappies, and using them to resurface the A487 near Aberaeron. The project will now see nappies being collected from 15 local authorities across Wales.
The Wellbeing of Future Generations Act requires decisions in Wales to be made in a way which meets today’s needs without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own.
Wales became the first country in the world to legislate in the interests of future generations in 2015 – inspiring the UN’s vision for a Special Envoy for Future Generations.
Sophie Howe, outgoing Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, said: “There is still a lot more work to be done but if you travel around Wales and talk to people about how decisions are being made, you’ll see the impacts of the Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, largely due to a movement of change champions using this unique legislation to create a better Wales.
“I’m hugely proud of what’s been achieved in its short life by what I often hear described as ‘common sense’ law – ie, making joined-up decisions, looking at transport through a healthcare lens, asking communities how they want to achieve cleaner air for their children to breathe, at the same time as reducing poverty.
“If every country had a Future Generations Act decades ago, we might not be seeing the devastating effects of the cost-of-living crisis.
“We have a long way to go to fully meet the ambitions of the act but it’s crucial we do.”
Gas, coal price caps around 50% below Q3 average prices
Gas producers say price caps will backfire
Power producers say unclear when bills will fall
Coal producers seek more details on price cap
MELBOURNE, Dec 9 (Reuters) – Australia will cap coal and gas prices for a year in a bid to shave utility bills for households and businesses hit by soaring costs because of the Ukraine conflict, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said on Friday.
Gas prices will be capped at A$12 per gigajoule (GJ), while the limit for coal will be A$125 per tonne for 12 months, with the government supporting coal producers whose costs exceed that figure, he said.
“Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures, and we know, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, what we’ve seen is a massive increase in global energy prices,” Albanese told reporters after a national cabinet meeting with state leaders.
The government also agreed to provide assistance of up to A$1.5 billion to homes and small businesses, starting from the second quarter of 2023.
The gas price cap will apply to new wholesale gas sales by east coast producers. At A$12, it is less than half the average short term gas price of A$26/GJ in the third quarter, according to data from research group EnergyQuest.
The coal price cap will apply to coal used in power generation, the government said. The cap of A$125 is about half the A$249 a tonne average selling price Banpu achieved for its Australian coal in the third quarter.
Gas producers had urged the government not to impose the price cap, saying it would deter future investment in supply, which would be key to driving down prices in the long run, and could damage Australia’s reputation for foreign investors.
Producers that could be hit by the gas price cap include ExxonMobil Corp (XOM.N), Shell Plc , Origin Energy (ORG.AX), Woodside Energy Group (WDS.AX), Santos Ltd (STO.AX) and South Korean steel giant POSCO International Corp’s Senex Energy.
“The uncertainty caused by the federal government’s plan to impose a price cap in the eastern Australian gas market has already destroyed the confidence both buyers and sellers need in order to complete the transactions that will ensure energy supplies to households and businesses,” a Woodside spokesperson said.
Coal producers that will be affected include Glencore Plc (GLEN.L), Banpu Resources Australia, a unit of Banpu PCL (BANPU.BK), Coronado Global Resources (CRN.AX) and Peabody Corp (BTU.N), which supply coal to power plants in New South Wales and Queensland states.
Coal producers declined to comment until seeing further details on how the price cap would work.
The Australian Industry Group welcomed the price caps but said they were not the best solution.
“They will be messy to implement … but they look likely to be very helpful in dampening the immediate economic pain of this global energy crisis,” Ai Group chief executive Innes Willox said in a statement.
However, power producers, represented by the Australian Energy Council, said it was unclear whether electricity bills will fall anytime soon, because energy retailers and generators who hedge their risks have already settled their contracts for the next 12 months on the basis of higher prices.
“If more lower priced fuel is available, over time those savings may lead to lower wholesale electricity prices, but that will take time to flow through to end users,” Australian Energy Council Chief Executive Sarah McNamara said in a statement.
Reporting by Sonali Paul; Editing by Clarence Fernandez and Sam Holmes
WELSH Water has been named as one of the six worst performing water firms, with regulator Ofwat saying the industry is “falling short” in “too many areas”.
The regulator, which oversees regulation of the privitised water and sewerage industry in England and Wales, singled out Welsh Water, as well as Northumbrian Water, Southern Water, South West Water, Thames Water, and Yorkshire Water, saying it is “deeply concerned by those that are lagging behind expectations”.
The firms must now explain what has led to their poor performance and present a clear action plan to turn this around, Ofwat said, as it published its annual assessment of company operational performance and financial resilience.
Most companies had “again failed to clearly explain the link between their dividend decisions and payments with performance delivery for customers”, Ofwat said.
It added: “In particular, both Northumbrian Water and Portsmouth Water fell short of our expectations when considered in the context of the level of dividend they paid, which was significantly higher than our base expectations, and their relative financial resilience.”
The report said there has been encouraging progress on leakage, which is now at its lowest level since privatisation.
However, the number of serious pollution incidents increased, with Ofwat revealing earlier this week that water firms are failing to invest as much as they promised to fix their networks, including improving sewage treatment and reducing spills into the environment.
Between 2020 and 2022, 14 companies underspent their budget on improving their water network and eight companies underspent their budget for improving their wastewater network.
Affinity Water and Northumbrian Water spent just 47 per cent and 48 per cent of their water enhancement allowance respectively, and Yorkshire Water and South West Water spent just 20 per cent and 39 per cent of their wastewater enhancement allowance respectively.
The main areas of underspending across both categories included drought resilience, improvements to sewage treatment works, improvements to storm tank capacity and reducing spill frequency.
Ofwat sets allowances for how much companies can charge households to then invest over the price control period, to maintain and improve its water network.
Last month, campaign group Surfers Against Sewage (SAS) claimed that water companies had released raw sewage into UK rivers and seas almost 150 times during dry weather – despite being told to do so only when there is heavy rainfall.
So-called “dry spills” occurred at least 146 times “at a conservative estimate” when there was no rain recorded between October last year and September, SAS said.
The spills are intended to occur only during times of exceptional rainfall to help the sewage network cope, with releases at other times a potential breach of water firms’ permits.
Over the same period, SAS issued 9,216 sewage pollution alerts via its Safer Seas & Rivers Service, which covers more than 450 beach and river spots across the UK and is designed to help the public make informed decisions about where and when they swim, surf or paddle.
A quarter (2,053) were during the 2022 bathing season and 39 per cent of sickness cases reported to SAS correlated with the alerts, the group said.
Ofwat chief executive David Black said: “In too many areas, water and wastewater companies are falling short when it comes to looking after customers, the environment and their own financial resilience. We are clear: these companies need to address this unacceptable performance as a matter of urgency.
“For some companies, poor performance has become the norm. This cannot go on. We are requiring the worst performers, including Thames Water and Southern Water, to return around £120 million to customers.
“Separate from today’s reports, we are taking enforcement action on wastewater treatment works compliance, well as consulting on licence changes that will help us drive through the transformation needed across the water industry.”
Water UK chief executive Christine McGourty said: “There are areas of good performance right across the sector, but this report clearly shows there’s more to do for water and wastewater companies to meet the stretching targets of the regulators, as well as the high expectations of the public.
“It’s good to see that nearly every company has met its target on leakage reduction with an ambitious industry-wide plan in place to cut leaks by 50 per cent by 2050.
“Water companies will continue to work with Government and the regulators to ensure we enable the levels of investment needed to improve our infrastructure and protect the environment, while maintaining value for money for customers.”
Emma Clancy, chief executive of the Consumer Council for Water (CCW), said: “The cost-of-living crisis means households have enough to worry about without water companies adding to their concerns through poor customer service or the devastation of seeing their home flooded with sewage.
“Water is an essential service that should be reliable, safe and affordable for everyone but some companies are falling short of meeting their customers’ expectations.”
“Many people are irritated by leakage so the industry needs to stretch itself further, with far more focus on tackling visible leaks quickly, while keeping their customers regularly informed of what they are doing and the impact it’s having.”
SYDNEY–Star Entertainment Group Ltd. has been fined 100 million Australian dollars (US$67.7 million) for the second time in less than two months over a range of issues including actively courting gamblers banned in other Australian states.
The ASX-listed casino and resort operator was also told Friday by the attorney general of Australia’s Queensland state that casino licenses at two of its properties will be suspended if it didn’t take sufficient remedial action over its management and operations.
“It is clear that there have been major failings by the Star group and its entities. I was appalled at the extent of the actions of The Star in welcoming excluded persons to their casinos and the exorbitant incentives on offer for questionable gamblers,” said Shannon Fentiman, Queensland’s attorney general.
Queensland’s state government ruled in October that Star was unsuitable to hold a casino license in the state, mirroring a similar finding in neighboring New South Wales.
That same month, NSW fined Star A$100 million after a state regulator found that vast sums of cash evaded anti-money-laundering protocols. The NSW regulator also found that Star offered free alcohol to VIPs as an inducement to gamble and allowed vulnerable patrons to bet for more than 24 hours at a time.
Among the findings of the review in Queensland was that there were serious deficiencies with Star’s anti-money-laundering program that persisted over several years.
The Queensland government on Friday appointed an independent manager at Star’s cost to monitor operations. It also suspended Star’s Brisbane and Gold Coast casino licenses for 90 days but deferred the measure until Dec. 1, 2023, due to the fact that Star employs so many people, giving Star a chance to clean up its act.
Star reported A$1.53 billion in revenue in its most recent fiscal year, which ended June 30. It slipped to a A$198.6 million loss after writing down the value of its Sydney casino following a year of Covid-19 disruptions and regulatory problems.
The artist Samara Golden has spent months painting guts — lurid, swollen, sinuous forms in bloody red, purplish-blue or a sickly yellow. Made of expandable foam, encased in balloons like misshapen sausage links, they are layered onto large-scale panels that loom above viewers.
One installation saw the multicolor intestines surround humanoid foam figures sprawled on a mirrored platform, exhibited at Art Basel Miami Beach. Portraits of her making the work show her hand-painting each grotesque detail.
“I liked this idea of ‘guts’ as being this word that could be a lot of different things,” Golden said in a phone call. “You can have gut intuition, or you can have the guts to be bold and do something. Or you can feel it in your gut.”
“It’s mixed (in) with the visceral, disgusting (but) important role that actual intestines play.” That role is still quite mysterious — though our intestines are responsible for absorbing essential nutrients and moving waste along, the gut microbiome is also being studied for its ability to modulate our brains, from mood to neurological function and disorders.
But Golden’s foray into looking deeply inward came from a much more complicated installation, one that first exhibited at Night Gallery in Los Angeles this past January and has now traveled to the newly expanded Art Gallery of New South Wales for the exhibition “Dreamhome: Stories of Art and Shelter.” In this presentation of “Guts,” the intestinal display is just one level of a multi-tiered structure she created that looks like a skyscraper within the space. Look up or down, and mirrors create a vertiginous illusion of infinite levels — the “floors,” which feature guts, iridescent pools of water, snakes and crustaceans, and piles of furniture go on forever. The further up or down you peer, the more abstract each layer becomes, with a shimmering, mirage-like effect.
“A lot of the imagery from my installations comes from (things) I don’t totally understand that I dream about,” she said. “Or I feel like they’re just glimpses of something in (my) peripheral vision.”
But the intricate display of intestines has become somewhat of the star of the project, both for the wider associations Golden began to make about our collective health — “All of us are so fragile,” she noted — and her obsessive making of the work, something she found boiled down to the simple pleasure of experimenting with materials.
“I really enjoyed making the guts part of it. I couldn’t stop,” she recalls of her time preparing for the Night Gallery installation. “It was more of a direct relationship to making (things) — most of my projects have been really complicated.”
Golden spent close to half a year with Night Gallery’s team to get the components of the ambitious skyscraper illusion just right, and later, roughly two months of 16-hour studio days to put together the Miami presentation. In Sydney, she worked with the Art Gallery of New South Wales for another four months to adapt the project into the space, blurring the boundaries of the museum interior and her installation. “It’s supposed to look like it’s part of the architecture,” she explained.
But she also revisited the intestinal layers again, meticulously repainting them rather than showing them as they were in LA. After all, she’d since put in hundreds of hours to perfect a somewhat macabre new skill, and found her gut-painting had vastly improved.
“I’m not one of those artists that…has regular days,” she said. “I really burn the candle five ways.”