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Top environmental news stories this week: 28th October 2011

By Laura Brown - 28 Oct 2011 18:55:0 GMT
Top environmental news stories this week: 28th October 2011

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The Environment Agency has been criticised for the information and maps it provides for areas at risk of flooding.

The National Audit Office, who acts as a watchdog for the agency, says its flood map, which highlights areas at risk from flooding is inconsistent and incomplete. It presents each area as having equal risk and also does not take into account flood defences.

The report, Flood Risk Management in England, paints a picture of how information and data has been established over years, developed through local authority plans and on an ad hoc basis making it much more difficult to understand and cross-reference.

One in six properties are at risk of flooding in England. Each year it costs over £1bn to cope with the impact of flooding.

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Potentially life-saving weather forecasting came a step closer this morning with the launch of a new satellite by NASA.

The NPP satellite, which stands for NPOESS Preparatory Project satellite will observe the earth from space and is fitted with five instruments designed to collect detailed information about the planet's atmosphere, land and oceans.

The aim is to collect data that will feed in to weather forecasting and monitoring the environment.

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The UK has been given two months to tackle those breaking the law and committing environmental offences.

The European Commission has given the UK, Austria and Finland the deadline to take action against those who commit sea pollution for example, or ship illegal waste. If they fail to do so, the EC says it will levy fines. They expect each of the countries to incorporate the EU regulations into national law.

The Directive dated from 2008/9 detailed the list of breaches to be classified as a criminal offence in each country of the EU. The process was meant to be formalised by Boxing Day 2010. The UK is one of 11 countries that have failed to comply.

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Beijing plans to become the capital of green cars in China.

In an announcement by the city's Municipal Commission of Economy and Information Technology, a proposal was unveiled to push forward research and the manufacture of battery powered cars, alongside hybrid cars as part of a five year plan for Beijing's auto industry.

Citing the value of the industry at around 300 billion yen, Beijing wants to improve the development of production lines for green cars as well as developing the technology needed to make the cars.

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