Posts Tagged ‘UK’

Jaguar Land-Rover soars even higher with Tata Motors

February 14, 2012

Jaguar Land-Rover has not merely survived under Tata ownership, it has thrived in a way few would have believed possible in 2008 when Ratan Tata acquired JLR from Ford. It’s profits are soaring and has contributed 78% of the parent company’s profits. And  investments and jobs in JLR’s UK operation are growing.

Dow Jones reports:


Europe this week: ethics loses as Berlusconi and Juholt continue while Fox resigns

October 14, 2011

Berlusconi clings to power in Italy, while Håkan Juholt continues wallowing through his mire in Sweden and Liam Fox resigns in the UK.

Strange are the ways of politics and ethics. And even when ethics seems to win – as in the Liam Fox affair – there is a sense that the victory is superficial.

Berlusconi will probably hang on by his finger nails as Italy goes the way of Greece. Juholt has probably ensured that his party – the Social Democrats – will lose members and the next election. In the UK the full extent of the dubious antics of Liam Fox’s “best man” have yet to be revealed and David Cameron is struggling with the lack of competence in his Cabinet.

It is tempting to conclude that the common thread is that ethics and competence cannot survive together. But I refuse to believe that it is impossible to be competent or a politician without sacrificing your ethics – even if such examples are difficult to find.

UK to outsource wind farms to Ireland

June 20, 2011

From the ever-reliable Guardian comes the story of high level diplomatic activity to get Ireland to be the wind-power producer for the UK.

I wonder if this means that all the UK taxpayers subsidies for wind power will also then flow to Ireland?

Ireland’s unspoiled, windswept west coast could become the focus of a new wave of wind farm construction in the wake of a high-level diplomatic meeting to be held tomorrow in London.

UK deputy prime minister Nick Clegg, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and other senior members of the British-Irish Council will gather to discuss a plan to expand electricity grid connections throughout the British Isles. In particular, they want to build new inter-connectors to link the electricity grids of Ireland and Britain in order to transmit power from new windfarms in Ireland to England.

The aim of the plan, created by the British government, is to open up remote regions that could provide Britain with more power generated by wind farms, as well as by tide and wave plants, and so reduce its reliance on fossil fuels.

Republic of Ireland, Kerry county, Dingle peninsula, Sleahead beach

Sleahead beach on the Dingle peninsula in Kerry, Ireland, which fierce winds make suitable for turbines. Photograph: Hemis/Alamy

“The west coast of Ireland has some of the fiercest winds in Europe,” said Charles Hendry, the UK energy minister, who will be attending the meeting. “They whip in off the Atlantic which makes it is an ideal location for wind farms. However, the Irish market for electricity is less than a tenth of that of Britain. That means that companies cannot afford to build wind farms in Ireland because there is no market for their power. We want to put that right.”

The construction of wind farms in Ireland that would supply power to neighbouring countries could help to put the UK back on track in its use of clean, renewable energy. Britain has recently been criticised for falling short of its targets for constructing wind power plants and for cutting its carbon emissions. Importing clean power could help to resolve the problem.

Following fiasco in Spain, electric car sales slump in the UK

October 23, 2010


G-Wiz Electric Vehicle parked outside 37 Savil...

G-Wiz Electric Car:Image via Wikipedia


In August it was apparent that Spain’s much-publicized plans to put thousands of electric cars on the road as part of a drive for a greener economy were way off target, with only 16 sold so far compared to the 2000 target for this year.

The Guardian reported today that

Sales of new electric cars in the UK plummeted by nearly 90% in 2009 compared with their peak in 2007, according to motoring trade association figures released this week. Just 55 of the green cars – whose fans include Boris Johnson, Jonathan Ross and Jade Jagger – were registered in 2009, in contrast to 397 in 2007, says the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders.

The huge fall is a blow to UK efforts to meet tough carbon emission cut targets in a decade, and comes just months before the government introduces a subsidy of up to £5,000 off new electric cars.

Nearly half of the electric vehicles sold last year were the tiny G-Wiz car. The latest modelhas a top speed of 50mph and a range of 48 miles between charges.

In January, the coalition will begin offering up to £5,000 towards the price of a series of newly launched electric cars, as part of a subsidy announced by the former Labour government. The Department for Transport (DfT) anticipates around 8,600 of the cars will be sold in the first year of the scheme. The government has so far committed £43m for the scheme to run until March 2012, with a review taking place in January 2012, but in yesterday’s spending review it talked of “supporting consumer incentives for electric and other low-emission cars throughout the life of this parliament,” suggesting the subsidy would continue after March 2012 though possibly at a lower rate.

In Spain the Industry Ministry’s plan was to have 2,000 electric cars on the road by the end of 2010 and 20,000 electric and hybrid vehicles operating the following year.

I cannot help concluding that most of these highly artificial “green” subsidies – whether for cars or for solar energy or  for wind turbines – are badly thought through, are chasing a mirage and will be counter-productive.

Now UK joins the nuclear renaissance with 8 plants approved

October 18, 2010

The quiet nuclear renaissance continues with the UK now announcing its plans.

Chris Huhne, the UK Energy Secretary, has given the go-ahead for eight new nuclear power stations in Britain despite concerns about safety and the clean-up costs.

The new nuclear power stations will be built near existing sites in in Bradwell in Essex, Hartlepool, Heysham in Lancashire, Hinkley Point in Somerset, Oldbury in South Gloucestershire, Sellafield in Cumbria, Sizewell in Suffolk and Wylfa in Anglesey.

Three sites in Dungeness in Kent and Braystones and Kirksanton in Cumbria were ruled out due to concerns over the impact on wildlife and the Lake District National Park. The new stations will not start generating power until 2018 so the Government also plans to allow existing nuclear stations to extend their life.

Nuclear Engineering International reports that




The government also signed a regulatory justification for the AP1000 and EPR reactor designs. Following 2004 regulations, it is required to justify that new reactors are worth the potential radiological risk. Following three consultations have taken place—one on the regulatory review, and one on each design—the government decided not to launch a further public consultation on the matter.

The AP1000 is a Westinghouse designed  1154 MWe PWR nuclear power plant. The EPR reactor is an advanced Pressurized Water Reactor (PWR) offered by AREVA and which is being built in Finland, France and China.


Westinghouse AP1000: Westinghouse


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