Eric Pickles's decision to block plans for a solar farm in Suffolk has been struck down by the High Court, with a judge describing the local government secretary's reasoning as fatally flawed.

Pickles overturned the Planning Inspectorate's recommendation to grant consent for Lark Energy's proposed 24MW solar farm at a former WWII airfield in Ellough in October 2013.

Local government secretary Eric Pickles has backed a petition calling on South Gloucestershire Council to drop its annual fee for collecting garden waste bins, saying authorities should not be introducing "stealth taxes".

Around 6,000 people have signed the petition urging the council to reconsider the £36 charge.

In a reply to Chris Skidmore MP, who presented the petition to parliament, Pickles said: "Councils should not be introducing stealth taxes by imposing new charges on local residents."

A new energy recovery facility in Staffordshire that will divert 300,000 tonnes of local waste from landfill a year and generate enough electricity for 35,000 homes has had its official opening.

The Four Ashes site has been built under Staffordshire County Council's biggest ever PFI contract and is expected to save taxpayers £250m over 25 years. It is also expected to create 40 new jobs.

The facility, which has been built by Veolia in partnership with CNIM Clugston Staffordshire, was opened by the Duke of Gloucester.

Areas with ambitious plans to encourage the adoption of greener vehicles will be able to achieve a new "Ultra Low City" status, allowing them to bid for £35m in Government money, deputy prime minister Nick Clegg has announced.

The funding is part of a £500m package designed to boost the UK's ultra low emission vehicles (ULEVs) industry and support the uptake of electric cars among the public between 2015 and 2020.

Clegg said that cities achieving the new status could use incentives such as allowing drivers of ULEVs to use bus lanes or offering them free parking.

A salary sacrifice scheme to help staff at Leicester City Council switch to low carbon cars has been nominated for a national award.

The scheme, which the council implemented with salary sacrifice specialist Tusker, sets a carbon cap of 120g/km on vehicles to encourage the use of fuel efficient, environmentally friendly cars.

It covers motor insurance, servicing and maintenance, Road Fund Licence, roadside assistance, tyres and glass, as well as offering protection against redundancy, resignation and maternity leave.

A new £6m food waste recycling plant in Llwyn Isaf, near Caernarfon. Prosiect GwyriAD has been opened by the first minister Carwyn Jones.

The plant is Wales’ first purpose built anaerobic digestion facility treating food waste collected by local authorities and generating renewable electricity.

The majority of people in Britain would prefer to live near a wind farm than a fracking site, new YouGov research commissioned by Ecotricity revealed today.

When given the choice, 62% said they would rather have a wind farm in their local council area than a fracking site, with just 19% preferring to have fracking nearby.

The research comes as Ecotricity founder Dale Vince today accused the Government of contradicting its own research on public attitudes to onshore wind.

The majority of people in Britain would prefer to live near a wind farm than a fracking site, new YouGov research commissioned by Ecotricity revealed today.

 

When given the choice, 62% said they would rather have a wind farm in their local council area than a fracking site, with just 19% preferring to have fracking nearby.

The research comes as Ecotricity founder Dale Vince today accused the Government of contradicting its own research on public attitudes to onshore wind.

Local government secretary Eric Pickles has been accused of being "anti-localism" after extending his ability to call in plans for onshore wind farms for another 12 months.

Pickles had originally announced powers to call in applications for six months to scrutinise the impact of planning guidance stating that the need for renewable energy does not automatically override environmental protections and community concerns.

The City of London is rolling out new technology that will allow LED street lighting to be turned on and off or dimmed remotely in real time.

The Z-LYNK system from Energy Assets uses the electricity network to send commands to receivers, allowing any switchable device to be controlled online. As a result, it does not suffer from the "urban canyon" effect where buildings interfere with radio signals. Each receiver is programmable using near field communication to respond to up to 10 commands.

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