Drive to electric needs help from those in power.

I took a call last week from a cleaning contractor at one of our more opulent flatted developments.

The gist was: “Am I permitted to unplug your customers’ electric vehicles temporarily whilst I utilise the electrical socket in the stairwell for the purposes of vacuuming the carpet?”.

We thought this might happen and now that it’s starting it’s going to pose a risk to life and property until as a country we come up with a cohesive plan of action.

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Dangerously “daisy chaining” three-pin domestic extension leads from communal sockets is going to become the norm unless the Government sits down with property factors and property owners and acts swiftly.

According to the consumer protection charity, Electrical Safety First, the explosion in numbers of plug-in electric vehicles in the UK has not been matched by the number of charging locations. There are now 186,836 plug-in vehicles and only 6,669 charging points

The ESF’s survey of 1,500 EV owners revealed that due to a lack of conveniently located charging points near their homes, a shocking 74% were using domestic multi socket extension leads, not suitable for outdoor use to charge from the mains in their home.

Newton is doing its bit through our 2020 Green Vision initiative by installing our own charging units in customer developments and while this will help some EV owners overcome their initial problem, in the short term its not going to be the permanent solution that we need.

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Like it or not, all the indications are that at some point over the next few decades all cars on sale will be electric and will require to be recharged. Our flatted housing stock has to be dragged in to the 21st century.

It’s going to require some Government intervention and amendments to the law to unravel the spider’s web of tenement legislation which causes immense inertia whenever owners of blocks of flats want to change or upgrade their property … or install EV charging points.

The Government could also give some thought to supporting local authorities, where flat owners offer to supply power to and provide their own EV chargers to public parking bays on street in areas where flats do not have off street parking.

Now wouldn’t these be exciting and inspired things to do? Few are giving thought to charging cars in shared domestic parking areas.

Derek MacDonald is Joint Managing Director of Newton Property Management

Canada looks inwards for solutions to plastic crisis

Canada is to ban the use of single-use plastics by 2021, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced. The decision follows similar legislation passed last year by the EU and will establish targets for firms that sell of manufacture plastics to be responsible for their waste.

The country has the world’s longest coastline in the world and a quarter of the globe’s fresh water and t plastic pollution threatens its marine environments. Only a small proportion of Canada’s plastic is recycled, with the official figure offered by the government “less than 10%.”

Trudeau announced the plan to tackle the problem on Monday, outlining ways the country will attempt to limit plastic waste and encourage alternative materials. It means banning single-use plastics such as straws, plastic bags, cutlery, plates and drink bottles.

The news comes in the wake of the Philippines sending tonnes of rubbish back to Canada, after a row that and saw President Rodrigo Duterte threaten to “sail to Canada and dump their garbage there”.

The dispute dates back to 2014 when Canada’s mixed waste was sent to Manila.

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Clean Air Day will be a breath of fresh air on pollution issues

Next Thursday, June 20, marks Clean Air Day (CAD) in Scotland, an annual event in which individuals and organisations come together to raise awareness of improvements that can be made to the quality of the air we breathe.

Environmental Protection Scotland (EPS)  is coordinating Clean Air Day on behalf of the Scottish Government’s Cleaner Air For Scotland (CAFS) strategy that aims to make Scotland’s air quality the best in Europe.

CAD 2019 will showcase simple but effective steps everyone can take to reduce pollution and recognise the health benefits of smarter travel choices.

Road transport contributes to around a third of NOX emissions in Scotland and one of the aims will be to encourage people to leave the car at home. and transport companies such as First Glasgow will be attending the event at George Square to highlight its low emission buses. First Group has upgraded more than 1000 mid-life vehicles which have been retrofitted to Euro VI standards via latest diesel emissions filtering technology in the past 12 months across the UK.

Local authorities are encouraged to sign pledge cards, on the Clean Air Day Scotland website, to urge people to catch the train, bus, subway or cycle for their daily commute and this year’s event will also highlight how buying an electric vehicle or joining a car club cuts emissions and congestion.

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Businesses urged to ‘Step up to the Plate’ on food waste

More than 100 of the biggest players in food, including all of the UK’s major supermarkets, have signed a pledge to take ground-breaking action to drive down food waste following a call to action from the government.

Big-hitters from the world of food and sustainability have signed a pledge committing to help halve food waste by 2030, and raising public awareness of the issue through a week of action.

In the UK alone, an estimated 10.2 million tonnes of food and drink are wasted annually after leaving the farm gate, worth around £20 billion. It is estimated that UK householders spend £15 billion every year on food that could have been eaten but ends up being thrown away, equating to £500 a year for the average household.

Among the business pledging therir support were including Aldi, Asda, Boots, Café Nero, Co-op, Costa, FDF, Lidl, Sainsbury’s, Starbucks, Tesco, M&S, Morrisons, Nestlé, Ocado, UK Hospitality, Unilever, WWF and Waitrose. Today’s announcement comes after the government’s Food Surplus and Waste Champion Ben Elliot urged organisations to “Step up to the Plate” at a landmark symposium last month.

Mr Elliot said: “We are pleased to see these retailers committing to change. To those retailers yet to sign the pledge – why not? You have a responsibility to step up and do
your bit.

“We will be highlighting those who participate and those who do not. The food waste crisis can only be solved by collective action.”

The event brought together around 300 key players from various parts of the food industry for a day of targeted discussion and action.

Environment Secretary Michael Gove said: “I am delighted to see so many UK food businesses commit to game-changing action to cut food waste, and I hope that others follow suit. The UK is showing real leadership in this area, but each year millions of tonnes of food is wasted.

“I want to thank our Food Surplus and Waste Champion for inspiring business to step up to the plate. Together we will end the environmental and economic scandal that is food waste.

Major supermarkets have vowed to reduce the food they waste.

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The Herald’s Climate for Change initiative supports efforts being made by the Scottish Government with key organisations and campaign partners. Throughout the year we will provide a forum in The Herald newspaper, online at and in Business HQ magazine, covering news and significant developments in this increasingly crucial area.

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