Four Canadian wolves were recently transported by helicopter from Ontario to Michigan’s Isle Royale National Park. The wolves were relocated to help deal with the moose population on the island, and to restore the dwindling number of wolves that currently live on the island. In the past, ice bridges have connected Isle Royale to the mainland, allowing wolves to migrate. Over the last twenty years, however, these ice bridges have become inconsistent, stranding wolves on the island and preventing any newcomers. The four new wolves will join two that were relocated to the island in 2018. Over the next five years the National Park Service hopes to introduce 20 to 30 wolves to the park.
Credit: Sheng JiongStagecoach has filed a claim at the UK’s High Court in London“The… claim that has been issued and the further legal actions under preparation vary in certain respects but common to all is our refusal to accept the potential pension risks that the DfT requires operators to bear in relation to the three new franchises,” Stagecoach said. “The full extent of these risks is unknown but we estimate them to be well in excess of £1bn.”Railpen had £27.5bn assets at the end of December 2017, according to its latest annual report, but did not report its liabilities. At the time it catered for more than 340,000 members and had 169 sponsoring employers.The pension scheme has traditionally been guaranteed by the state, but Stagecoach has accused the DfT of trying to transfer ultimate responsibility for funding the deficit onto railway operators.In a letter sent in April to Frank Field, chair of the UK parliament’s Work and Pensions Select Committee, Stagecoach CEO Martin Griffiths accused the DfT of being “reckless” and “constantly changing position” regarding pension funding rules.In a statement on 2 May, Stagecoach claimed that the UK’s Pensions Regulator had estimated that Railpen had a £7.5bn shortfall and was “seeking significant additional contributions to the scheme which are as yet unquantified”.Griffiths said this week that “fundamental questions” remained unanswered surrounding franchise bidders’ exposure to pension funding risk. “In view of the legal action we have taken today we believe it would be untenable for the DfT to proceed to sign any contract for the East Midlands franchise without a full and proper review of the procurement of that franchise to help restore public confidence in the process,” he said.‘Railpen funding is everyone’s responsibility’Abellio, which already operates four UK railway routes, said ensuring that Railpen was fully funded had been an “ongoing responsibility for everyone involved in running the railway” for “many decades”.In a statement issued on 8 May the company said: “Abellio is working constructively with the pension trustees, Rail Delivery Group, employee representatives, the Department for Transport and the Pensions Regulator to maintain the pension scheme for the long term.“Abellio, along with many other multinational organisations who have submitted compliant bids for current competitions, are satisfied that the protection mechanism put in place by the Department for Transport suitably balances all parties’ risk.”In a letter to Frank Field and Lillian Greenwood, chair of parliament’s Transport Committee, the transport minister Chris Grayling said no new or additional demands had been placed on franchise bidders.He also stated that companies bidding for the East Midlands route were made fully aware of the funding position and requirements, as well as the involvement of the Pensions Regulator, and were permitted to resubmit bids in September last year in light of the information. In addition, Stagecoach said it was preparing separate legal claims against the DfT relating to its decisions on the franchises for the West Coast and South Eastern routes. It also said it would seek a judicial review of the process for the East Midlands route. A UK transport company is suing the government over its decision to ban it from bidding for three lucrative rail franchises.Stagecoach’s bids to run railway services on three routes in England were all rejected by the Department for Transport (DfT) after the company opposed a requirement to contribute to the Railways Pension Scheme (Railpen). Stagecoach has claimed it would have to shoulder more than £1bn (€1.2bn) of potential pension costs to comply with the department’s bidding rules.The group announced on 8 May that it had issued a claim in the UK’s High Court in London alleging that the transport ministry had “breached its statutory duties… in connection with the procurement of the new East Midlands rail franchise”.The franchise was officially awarded to Abellio – part of Dutch transport firm Nederlandse Spoorwegen – earlier this week.
Natural Power has assisted AQUIND with the application for development consent for the AQUIND Interconnector. The application to the Planning Inspectorate was accepted on 12th December 2019.The AQUIND Interconnector is a new 2,000 MW subsea and underground high voltage direct current bi-directional electric power transmission link between the south coast of England and Normandy in France.Jane Lancaster, Offshore Associate Technical Director at Natural Power, said: “The acceptance of the submission of the AQUIND Interconnector is excellent news, both for AQUIND and Natural Power. It has been a challenging and rewarding project thus far and we have been instrumental in the preparation of the submission of the application to the Planning Inspectorate. The broad spectrum of work that we carried out highlights our capabilities when it comes to offshore projects. It has been a successful team effort between many organisations making up the AQUIND project team and we look forward to the next phase of development.”Natural Power was appointed by AQUIND in the early stages of the project, working with the AQUIND project team to undertake marine cable route feasibility work to optimise the marine cable route across the Channel, undertaking scoping exercises, co-ordinating the marine environmental impact assessment (EIA) process and environmental statement (ES) production, as well as attending public consultations.Natural Power also acted as advisor to the marine aspects of the project through liaison with marine stakeholders including the Marine Management Organisation as part of pre-application process.The AQUIND Interconnector will have the capacity to transmit up to 16 million MWh of electricity per annum, which equates to approximately 5% and 3% of total consumption of the UK and France respectively.Richard Glasspool, director of AQUIND, said: “Amongst other things, this project is an opportunity to integrate a greater proportion of non-fossil fuel energy sources into the British energy mix and in turn reduce CO2 emissions from the burning of such fuels. We are pleased to have reached this milestone in the planning of this development. Natural Power’s hard work and expertise in marine ecology and EIA management services was a major factor in the preparation of this submission. They were a highly experienced and professional team.”
The National Hurricane Center say Tropical Storm Cristobal has strengthened as it moves from the Gulf closer to the Mexican coast.Forecasters said on Tuesday night that the storm would continue to gain strength as it approaches the northern Gulf Coast this weekend, producing heavy rain, coastal flooding, and gusty winds. Cristobal could still move inland and then head back out into the Gulf, or it could stay on its current projection and reach parts of the U.S. from the Upper Texas Coast to the Florida Panhandle.SUMMARY OF 400 AM CDT…0900 UTC…INFORMATION———————————————-LOCATION…18.9N 92.0WABOUT 25 MI…40 KM NNW OF CIUDAD DEL CARMEN MEXICOMAXIMUM SUSTAINED WINDS…60 MPH…95 KM/HPRESENT MOVEMENT…SE OR 140 DEGREES AT 3 MPH…6 KM/HMINIMUM CENTRAL PRESSURE…994 MB…29.36 INCHES Cristobal is the earliest named storm on record in the Atlantic basin, beating Tropical Storm Colin, which formed on June 5th, 2016.
27 Feb 2018 Langley is top seed in South Africa Tags: South Africa Englishman David Langley fired a big warning shot when he won the 36-hole qualifier in the Sanlam South African Amateur Championship by four shots yesterday.In today’s matchplay, where he’s joined by Jack Gaunt (Drayton Park, Staffordshire), Andrew Wilson (Darlington, Durham) and Callum Mackay (West Hill, Surrey), he promptly won his first round match 3/2.The 23-year-old Berkshire golfer threw down the gauntlet in the qualifier when he opened with a five-under-par 67 in the brutal conditions at Durban Country Club on Sunday.Langley backed up his bid for the Proudfoot Trophy with a two-under 70 and sealed the top spot for the match play stage on an aggregate score of seven-under-par 137.He’s the first English player to capture the trophy since Laurie Canter in 2010, who went on to win the championship.Named after eight-time SA Amateur champion Douglas Proudfoot, the Proudfoot Trophy boasts an illustrious list of past winners, including Mark McNulty, Hugh Baiocchi, Dale Hayes, Denis Hutchinson – the last amateur to win the SA Open – and Major winners Ernie Els, Retief Goosen and Trevor Immelman. In recent years, European Tour winners Richard Sterne, Brandon Stone and Haydn Porteous also etched their names on the sought-after silverware.Langley was delighted to join the winners, but quickly added that this was just the curtain-raiser. “The real work starts now,” the Castle Royle golfer cautioned.“I am really pleased and very proud, but I’ve been in this position before. Last year I shot 14-under-par to win the 36-hole qualifier for the English Amateur at the Berkshire and got knocked out in the first round. So don’t pop the champagne just yet. If all goes well, I’ll celebrate on Friday.”Caption: David Langley with the Proudfoot Trophy (Image courtesy GolfRSA).Click here for more information