Category Archives: Press Releases

Humane Trapping Standards: Consultation Starts

A consultation on implementation of the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards in the UK has started and views are now being sought

Department For Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

Department For Environment, Food & Rural Affairs

The Government has today (19 March) launched a public consultation on the introduction of new and improved international humane trapping standards.

Views are being sought on the implementation proposals for the Agreement on International Humane Trapping Standards and to gather information on the supply, use and marking of traps to better inform impact assessment.

These measures will ensure gamekeepers, country estates and pest control companies are trapping certain species of animals in a humane fashion. Depending on the responses to the consultation, Government wants to implement the new standards on 1 January 2019.

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said:

We are committed to supporting a strong rural economy and upholding countryside traditions and we want to do this in a way that respects wildlife and the environment.

I would therefore encourage people with an interest in this area to contribute their views.

Today’s consultation is asking for views from the gamekeeping sector, trap retailers, manufacturers and importers, pest control companies, country estates/farms, and importers of products derived from trapped animals.

People can respond using the Citizen Space survey.

The Government will respond to the consultation shortly after the six-week consultation ends.

British High Commission Celebrates The Commonwealth

The British High Commission in partnership with local NGOs organised a Commonwealth Big Lunch: Beach Cleanup and Tree Planting to celebrate the Commonwealth

The Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, British High Commissioner to Brunei and other VIPs being served lunch by members from Hand4Hand

The Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, British High Commissioner to Brunei and other VIPs being served lunch by members from Hand4Hand

The British High Commission in partnership with local NGOs Green Brunei, Beach Bunch and Hand4Hand organised a beach cleanup and tree planting followed by a Commonwealth Big Lunch with over 200 volunteers to celebrate the Commonwealth, community and build connections.

The Commonwealth Big Lunch: Beach Cleanup and Tree Planting took place at Berakas Beach, the Berakas Forest Reserve and was supported by the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, Forestry Department, Department of Environment, Parks and Recreation, Brunei Shell Petroleum, International School Brunei and Standard Chartered Bank. This location is also one of the forest areas which Brunei has dedicated as part of The Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.

The Guest of Honour at the event was the Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports, Yang Berhormat Major General (Rtd) Dato Paduka Haji Aminuddin Ihsan bin Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Haji Abidin. Also in attendance was the Bangladeshi High Commissioner to Brunei; officials from the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports; members of the National Service Programme and representatives from International School Brunei.

British High Commissioner to Brunei, His Excellency Richard Lindsay, said:

We are delighted to organise the Commonwealth Big Lunch in Brunei.

The point of the Big Lunch is to celebrate our joint membership of the Commonwealth over a shared meal.

It is wonderful that we were able to combine with these excellent Bruneian organisations to clean litter from the beach and plant new trees within Berakas Forest Reserve, one of the areas Brunei has dedicated to the Queen’s Commonwealth Canopy.

The great turnout we had today is a sign of youth engagement across the Commonwealth to ensure that we work together to achieve a more sustainable future.

This will be a focus for discussion at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London this April and the UK looks forward to welcoming His Majesty at this important event.

I am really grateful to the hard work of our partners and supporters, and all the volunteers who participated this morning.

The beach cleanup was organised by Beach Bunch. Assistance was provided by The Brunei Four Wheel Drive Association to collect and transport the collected rubbish along the beach. Among the 53 Commonwealth nations, 46 are ocean states and 24 are small island developing states that are reliant on strong ‘blue’ sectors, such as tourism, fisheries and shipping. The world’s oceans are essential to life on our planet: they provide humanity’s largest source of protein, capture around a quarter of our carbon emissions and provide a livelihood for hundreds of millions of people across the world.

But the health of the world’s oceans is under threat: each year, around 12 million tonnes of plastic is dumped in the ocean, which can have devastating consequences for marine life. Without urgent action to reduce vulnerability and increase resilience, the impacts of climate change could push an additional 100 million people across the world into poverty by 2030. This is particularly relevant for the Commonwealth as 39 of 53 members are small or other vulnerable states. Each year across the Commonwealth, natural disasters affect 28 million people and cause economic losses of almost $8bn.

At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, the sustainable development of the world’s oceans will be discussed and there will be a push for action to reduce plastic waste, underlining the Commonwealth’s on-going commitment to tackling climate change, protecting the environment and increasing the resilience of its members.

The tree planting was organised by Green Brunei in partnership with International School Brunei’s One Million Trees Project, sponsored by Standard Chartered Bank. First launched back in 2006 The Million Trees project aims to support tree planting and forest conservation projects across Borneo and beyond, but especially in the areas defined as The Heart of Borneo, with the specific focus on Brunei. 400 saplings were planted by 100 volunteers with the support of Forestry Department. So far, the project has replanted over 300,000 trees in the Heart of Borneo area. The project aims to plant 500,000 trees in Brunei by 2020 and one million trees in Borneo by 2025.

The Commonwealth Big Lunch was organised by Hand4Hand, whose founder, Iqbal Damit, was recently awarded the Commonwealth Points of Light Award, and was generously sponsored by Brunei Shell Petroleum. Reusable, eco-friendly water bottles were sponsored by Cuckoo International (b) Sdn Bhd. The gathering in Berakas Forest Reserve with over 200 volunteers is one of many Commonwealth Big Lunches happening across the 53 Commonwealth nations from 12 March – Commonwealth Day – until Sunday 22 April.

Launched by the Eden Project in partnership with the UK Government, thousands of people from across the Commonwealth are coming together to celebrate, discover and share their Commonwealth links, stories and experiences with one another over a shared meal.

Lunches are being held ahead of and during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018. Unfolding over five days, leaders and foreign ministers from up to 53 countries and over 2,000 delegates will gather in London and Windsor, UK, from 16 – 20 April to discuss and agree how to work together to address shared global challenges.


Meet Mytholmroyd Team Constructing Vital Flood Defences

A chance for members of the Calderdale community to take part in a construction open day

New flood defences being built in Mytholmroyd, Calderdale

New flood defences being built in Mytholmroyd, Calderdale

People living and working in Mytholmroyd are invited to meet the construction team who are building the flood defence scheme to protect 400 homes and businesses in the village.

A construction open day is being held at Mytholmroyd Community Centre on Thursday 22 March, 11am – 8pm, for members of the community to drop in to find out more about the Mytholmroyd Flood Alleviation Scheme which will cost in the region of £30m.

The flood alleviation scheme has been developed by the Environment Agency in partnership with Calderdale Council and is expected to be completed by Winter 2019. Design and construction of the scheme has been carried out by main contractor VBA, a joint venture comprising VolkerStevin, Boskalis Westminster and SNC-Lavalin’s Atkins business.

Staff will be on hand throughout the day to explain what work is being carried out in each planning area of the village and answer questions on many issues including access routes and the size and type of equipment being used during construction.

Visitors will be told about the schedule of works and be asked during the event how they would like to be provided with up-to-date information about the progress of the scheme.

Vital works to be completed as part of the scheme include construction of new, raised and improved flood walls, relocation of Caldene Bridge, widening of the river channel at key locations and flood proofing of the buildings next to the river.

During the next stage of the scheme, which begins in April, drainage improvements will be made along Burnley Road to reduce the risk of surface water flooding.

Helen Batt, Calder catchment director for the Environment Agency said:

We’re keen for local residents and businesses to take this opportunity to find out about our plans for the Mytholmroyd Flood Scheme which will provide them much better protection against flood risk in the future.

Our team is committed to involving the community where possible in the delivery of the scheme and keep them informed at every stage of its progress.

Chris Blenkarn, project manager for VBA, said:

We are pleased that flood defence works are moving into the next phase on site, which will make a difference to the community and protect local homes and businesses. We look forward to hosting the event and answering any questions about the construction work.

Cllr Barry Collins, Calderdale Council’s Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Economic Strategy, said > The Mytholmroyd Flood Alleviation Scheme is part of our ongoing partnership work to help protect local communities and improve resilience following the devastating 2015 floods.

With the second phase of the scheme on its way, we encourage local people to come along to the open day and talk to the experts to help them visualise the scheme and understand the impacts.

If anyone has any questions about the scheme they can email the project team:

There is also a regular news bulletin produced with information about the scheme which is distributed throughout the village and you can request online by emailing the team.

Drop in surgeries are held at the Mytholmroyd Community Centre each week on: Tuesdays 12pm-3pm and Fridays 9am-12pm.

For latest updates visit: or follow #MytholmroydFAS @EnvAgencyYNE on Twitter.

The Environment Agency is investing £475m in Yorkshire to better protect 66,000 homes across the county as part of our current six year programme to 2021.

Residents are urged to check their flood risk online at ( and sign up for free flood warnings to give them vital time to save themselves and their possessions from the devastating effects of flooding. Find out how to prepare for a flood at the Floods Destroy website

Government Announces Major Programme To Tackle Inequalities In Youth Unemployment

PM announces £90 million programme to help tackle inequalities in youth unemployment highlighted by the Race Disparity Audit’s website

10 Downing Street

10 Downing Street

Prime Minister Theresa May has announced the launch of an innovative new programme to address ethnic disparities in youth unemployment and to help disadvantaged young people get into work.

The announcement comes after Theresa May’s challenge to society to ‘explain or change’ disparities in how people from different backgrounds are treated, following the publication of the Race Disparity Audit – the government’s ground-breaking audit of public services, from central government to local communities, launched last October.

The £90 million youth programme, designed jointly by the Big Lottery Fund, DCMS, DfE and DWP, will be shaped by evidence from the Race Disparity Audit, which highlighted the differences in outcomes facing young people from different backgrounds in different parts of England.

It will offer young people the chance to work directly with educators and youth and community organisations – who will consider how their skills can benefit their local communities and businesses.

Young people will feed into the programme’s design, working with educators, youth and community organisations and businesses to demonstrate how their skills and talents can benefit their local economies.

Today’s announcement marks the start of an engagement phase which will see the government and the Big Lottery Fund running a series of workshops with young people from across the country to gather evidence about the unique challenges they face in making the transition from education to employment.

The Prime Minister also today announces the Race Disparity Audit Advisory Group, chaired by Simon Woolley. The Advisory Group will challenge, steer and support government departments to develop interventions to tackle disparities found in the Audit – and will drive civil society, businesses and local government to take action.

Figures from the Ethnicity Facts and Figures website show that young people from ethnic minorities between the ages of 16 and 24 are almost twice as likely to be unemployed (23%) as their white peers (12%) – despite having similar qualifications.

Later today, the Prime Minister will visit a Birmingham-based youth employment charity, which has helped thousands of young people to find work since 2010. The charity runs programmes helping unemployed 16 to 24 year-olds develop key skills in team work, leadership, communication and discipline – providing them with the necessary skills to gain qualifications and work experience so they can move into sustainable employment or further training.

On the visit, Theresa May will speak to young people about the barriers they have experienced in finding work, and will also meet young people who have successfully completed training and gone into full-time employment.

Prime Minister Theresa May said:

Youth unemployment blights communities and wastes talent and potential – and too many young people from deprived and ethnic minority backgrounds face barriers preventing them from entering the world of work.

Evidence from the Race Disparity Audit clearly shows that while the educational attainment gap between people of different backgrounds has narrowed over time, this has not been reflected in getting jobs.

Talent, ability and hard work should be the only factors affecting a young person’s ability to get on in life – not their background or ethnicity.

The launch of this ambitious programme, which has young people at its heart and draws on their direct experiences, will help to address the barriers holding many young lives back, and will support young people furthest from the labour market into employment, so they can achieve their full potential.

Dawn Austwick, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund, said:

Young people who are facing multiple barriers to employment are the best placed to tell us what needs to change for them.

They will be at the heart of the process to shape solutions and create a dormant accounts youth programme that works for them by working with employers, educators, youth and community organisations.

Simon Woolley, Chair of the Race Disparity Advisory Group and Director of Operation Black Vote, said:

This intervention is driven by the Prime Minister’s leadership with support from NGOs. Our role is to find out where and how we can make the biggest impact on a range of issues including youth unemployment and the ethnic disparities within it.

PM Call With Prime Minister Morawiecki

Prime Minister Theresa May spoke with Prime Minister Morawiecki of Poland about the nerve agent attack that recently took place in Salisbury

10 Downing Street

10 Downing Street

A Downing Street spokesperson said:

Today (18 March 2018) the Prime Minister called Polish Prime Minister Morawiecki to discuss the use in Salisbury of a military grade nerve agent developed by Russia.

The Prime Minister said this was another example of an unacceptable pattern of aggressive Russian behaviour, and Prime Minister Morawiecki expressed his full solidarity with the UK in its response to this reckless act.

The Prime Minister thanked Prime Minister Morawiecki for his strong support and they agreed on the importance of a determined response from the European Union and the wider international community.

They looked forward to meeting and holding further discussions on this matter at this week’s European Council.

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