The Climate Change and Industry Minister, Claire Perry, confirmed today that the sale of the Green Investment Bank (GIB) to Macquarie Group Limited has now been completed.

New owner Macquarie has committed to the GIB’s target of leading £3 billion of investment in green energy projects over next 3 years.

The £2.3 billion deal ensures that all the taxpayer funding invested in GIB since its creation, including set-up costs, has been returned with a gain of approximately £186 million.

As well as fully meeting the government’s objectives, the deal secures the future of the GIB with an ambitious new owner committed to growing the business. The Edinburgh office will be home to a new revenue-generating business as well as providing services to the green energy portfolios of both Macquarie and GIB in the UK.

The government decided that moving it into the private sector now would free it from the constraints of public sector ownership allowing it to increase investment in our green infrastructure as we transition to a green economy. GIB’s independent Board supported the government’s decision to sell the business to Macquarie.

In order to build on the company’s success within the private sector, Macquarie and GIB have announced today that the company will now be known as the Green Investment Group (GIG) so that it will be able to make overseas investments.

Climate Change and Industry Minister Claire Perry said “We led the world in setting up the Green Investment Bank and it is now being copied by others. Now that it’s in the private sector, it will be able to operate on an international level to tackle the global challenge of climate change. It is also perfectly placed to help us finance green initiatives for our Clean Growth Plan and realise the commitments set out in the Paris Agreement.

The green ‘special share’ held by the Green Purposes Company Limited also comes into force now. Five independent trustees have the power to approve or reject any proposed changes to GIG’s green purposes in the future.

The government will continue to hold an interest in a portfolio of a small number of GIB’s existing green infrastructure investments. These assets will continue to be managed by GIB until they can be sold on in a way which returns best value for taxpayers’ money.

The Mayor of London and Transport for London (TfL) have today announced a new multi-million pound funding programme that will transform town centres and neighbourhoods into more attractive, accessible and people-friendly public spaces.

A new £85.9 million Liveable Neighbourhoods programme will give boroughs the opportunity to bid for funding for long-term schemes and construction that will encourage walking, cycling and the use of public transport, in line with the Mayor’s Healthy Streets approach.

The programme will provide grants of between £1 million and £10 million for a wide range of community-supported projects, potentially including the creation of green spaces, new cycling infrastructure, redesigned junctions and the widening of walking routes to improve access to local shops, businesses and public transport. By supporting projects which have local support, the funding will particularly target schemes that are shown to improve boroughs and reduce car trips – improving health and air quality.

The Liveable Neighbourhoods programme is a key part of the Mayor’s draft Transport Strategy, which last month detailed plans to create a fairer, greener, healthier and more prosperous city by making London’s streets more welcoming and encouraging active travel and public transport.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said “I’ve set out bold plans to transform the way Londoners move around our city to improve our health, air quality and future prosperity. London’s boroughs are key partners in delivering this vision and through this new funding we can make a real difference by supporting the projects that local people want to see. This will ensure that the improvements really work for our local communities, transforming our town centres and successfully encouraging many more Londoners to walk, cycle or use public transport for the good of their health and our environment.”

Tompion Platt, Head of Policy, Living Streets said: “London is a successful city, but it can become a city with a far better quality of life. Moves have been made recently to make London more liveable, but its streets are still car-dominated. This discourages walking, causes poor air quality and undermines people’s health. The ambition to create healthier, more liveable neighbourhoods across London with walking at their heart is welcome step.”


DONG Energy confirms a positive Final Investment Decision for Hornsea One offshore wind farm off the coast of Grimsby in Northern England.

This morning, Wednesday 3 February, the board of directors at DONG Energy confirmed a positive Final Investment Decision for Hornsea One offshore wind farm off the coast of Grimsby in Northern England, meaning that construction can now go ahead.

Located 75 miles off the Yorkshire coast and capable of powering over one million UK homes with a capacity of 1.2 gigawatts, Hornsea One will be – by a considerable margin – the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

The project has the potential to create around 2,000 jobs during its construction, with up to 300 additional jobs supported throughout its 20-25 year operational phase. A new Siemens blade factory in Hull, due to be built by the end of this year, will support the project, boosting a Northern and UK wide supply chain.

Hornsea One is expected to be fully operational in 2020.

Energy Secretary Amber Rudd said “Thanks to Government support the UK is the world leader in offshore wind energy and this success story is going from strength to strength. Dong Energy’s investment shows that we are open for business and is a vote of confidence in the UK and in our plan to tackle the legacy of under-investment and build an energy infrastructure fit for the 21st century.”

“This project means secure, clean energy for the country, jobs and financial security for working people and their families, and more skills and growth boosting the Northern Powerhouse.”

Evinox Energy will be exhibiting in the District Energy Pavilion at Ecobuild, taking place from the 8th to the 10th March at the ExCeL London. Ecobuild is the leading exhibition and conference for the UK construction and energy market, attracting over 40,000 industry professionals from across the entire supply chain. This year’s event is set to be bigger and better than ever, focusing on market priorities such as housing, infrastructure, technology and innovation.

The District Energy Pavilion will provide visitors with the opportunity to meet with a selection of suppliers and industry experts all in one area, and includes a comprehensive, informative seminar programme, featuring the latest information about efficient heat networks.

We specialise in communal & district heating systems, and manufacture our own range of modern heat interface units (HIU’s), designed with efficiency and end user comfort in mind. We will also be presenting a seminar in the District Energy Pavilion at the exhibition, where we will be discussing efficient heat network design and management.

Visit us on stand E4280 to find out more about our metering & billing solutions for communal & district systems, and smart control technology. Our systems combine effective HIU control with excellent after-sales end-user support and flexible metering and billing services, ensuring the building owner has a hassle-free, efficient development and residents enjoy a comfortable and relaxed place to live.

We look forward to welcoming you at the event. You can register now to attend the exhibition for free by visiting

Britain’s leading green energy company, Ecotricity, has submitted a planning application for a Green Gas Mill at Sparsholt College – a partnership that will inject £60 million into the local economy.

As part of the unique partnership, Ecotricity will finance and build the Green Gas Mill, with an initial £10 million investment, and will also help fund the development of a renewable energy centre, where the college can train the workforce necessary to support the green gas revolution coming to Britain.

Ecotricity introduced the concept of making green gas from grass in Britain early last year[i], and if the company’s application to Winchester City Council is accepted, the Green Gas Mill will pump £3 million into the local economy every year for the twenty years of its operation.

Dale Vince, Ecotricity founder, said: “We have to stop burning fossil fuels, and green gas will play a big part in helping us to achieve that in Britain – it’s good for our economy, because we’ll no longer need to import those expensive fossil fuels; it’s good for the environment, because it’s carbon neutral and creates new wildlife habitats; and it’s good for farmers, because it allows them to diversify, rely less on farming livestock, and build a more sustainable future.

“The world signed up to the limiting temperature rise to well below 2 degrees C at the Paris Climate Conference last year – that included a long term goal of being carbon neutral after 2050 and eventually carbon negative, which means taking more carbon out of the atmosphere than we put in. They’re big ambitions – and green gas is essential to that vision.

“Sparsholt is one of the first Green Gas Mills we’re looking to build in Britain – one of the first in what will be a green gas revolution in this country. And what’s particularly special is that, together with Sparsholt, we’ll be helping to train the green gas engineers Britain will need.”

The Sparsholt College Green Gas Mill, fuelled by locally harvested grass, could produce enough clean gas to power the equivalent of 4,000 homes every year.

Tim Jackson, Sparsholt College principal, said: “We’ve carried out public consultation over the past four months with local councils, farmers and residents – and the feedback has been a mix of those who are very positive to those with concerns about the impact on local roads and the visual landscape.

“I am pleased to say that we were able to provide facts and explanations to address most of the concerns and look forward to responding to more of those as these arise.

“The Green Gas Mill is the next step on the journey towards Sparsholt College developing our status as a ‘Centre for the Demonstration of Environmental Technologies’, which is being supported by Ecotricity and through a grant from the Enterprise M3 Local Enterprise Partnership.

“Creating our own green gas on site will massively cut our environmental impact and reduce our energy bills – which have made up an increasing portion of our budget over the past few years, money that could be better spent on educating our students.

“However, the fact we can share the financial and environmental benefits of this project with the local farming community is a massively positive outcome for the college.”

Up to eight specialist professional jobs will be created to run the Green Gas Mill, while the new supply contracts with farmers – providing the grass and rye feedstock required to supply the anaerobic digestion process – will also reinforce existing jobs.

Feedback from local residents has most frequently focused on concerns about extra traffic and the routes chosen to transport feedstock.

Tim continued: “We have addressed residents concerns in the planning application and can reassure people that the Green Gas Mill will only receive normal farm traffic such as tractors and trailers which are typical of the countryside.

“We will ensure deliveries don’t happen during peak traffic times, tractors stick to main roads wherever possible, do not go through Sparsholt village, and in fact even at the busiest times of year during harvest, feedstock movements would represent a very small proportion of existing college traffic and be well within the capacity of the highway network.

“The Green Gas Mill will be a key component in the College’s development of a Centre of Excellence that will produce specialist professionals to work for the green gas industry, training engineers, plant managers and technicians in what is a growth area across the agriculture, energy, waste, water and food processing sectors.”

With more and more emphasis on ‘urban greening’, towns and cities are becoming eco-friendlier, even down to having ‘green elements’ specified for planning permission and architect’s drawings, in some situations this has created issues, our Cash & Carry facility for Ivy Green Screens, provides an ideal solution to many problems faced by smaller landscapers and domestic clients, holding stock within our nursery now allows customers to buy smaller quantities and for various different projects, from installing an instant green hedge, covering unsightly walls and fences to ‘greening up’ a concrete back garden!

RHS trained with over 30 years’ horticultural experience, with a nationwide service of design, installation and after care for all our products.

As approved suppliers and installers of Ivy screens we are approached by many architects to help complete their larger projects, this provides us with the ideal platform to demonstrate the many different uses that our products can provide, this is very well received and has provided us with new contacts, on which to discuss forthcoming projects and listen to issues they were experiencing for finding ‘urban greening solutions’.

We have worked on many projects from domestic gardens providing an extra bit of privacy from overlook neighbours, to Trinity Square in Gateshead where we installed over 200 Green Screens! Our recent installations include coverage of an unsightly flood defence in Cardiff which is now an attractive aesthetically pleasing, ivy focal point pleasing the local residents.

One of our more unusual products is an attractive floral wall system which creates a living wall made up of cassettes, fitted together suitable for an external or internal wall, and can host a huge range of interesting plant species enhancing any interior or exterior living space – why not have your company logo designed in the plants, it’s all possible with the right plant choice which we will help design.

Various other products we can install such as, soil stabilization matting, sedum roofs and acoustic walling are on our website,

Please call us on 0845 504 8211 to see how we can help with your project.

Follow us on social media for regular updates, Twitter @HEDERASCREENS / LinkedIn hederascreens.

Plans for a 16-storey residential and office development have been submitted by developer Corona Properties that intends to dramatically improve the Hemel Hempstead landscape.

Called ‘The Beacon,’ the mixed-use tower will house both residential property and office space and has been designed to be the first building of its kind to achieve an ECP A+ rating.

The tower plans also feature:

  • 208 apartments
  • Over 9,000 sq ft of office spacing
  • Gym and leisure facilities
  • Coffee shop
  • Roof garden
  • Internal arboretum
  • Projector room/party room
  • Underground parking for 228 cars.

The innovative building design is ultra-efficient, using 50-60% less energy than other similar projects and, coupled with on-site renewable energy generation, the building emission free.

Corona Properties suggest that the Beacon will improve the overall “character” of Hemel Hempstead town centre.

See the plans in the below video:

Following a recent spate of government cuts to renewable incentives and technologies, buildingspecifier hear from an industry expert to understand the impact this has been having on the UK renewables sector as a whole.

It appears that the latter half of 2015 has already seen the death of many earnest eco-friendly practices – first it began with the scrapping of the green deal shortly after an election victory, with no apparent replacement scheme to follow. The Green Deal was far from perfect – but following the subsequent assaults on environmental, ecological and energy matters that followed, such as the U-turn on Zero Carbon Homes building standards, the ending of subsidies for onshore wind farms and a failed attempt to begin fracking in Lancashire despite widespread public opposition, people are beginning to question the seriousness of this government’s commitment to the environment that we all have to live in and the validity of a speech once made by David Cameron where he expressed that he wanted to be “the greenest government ever.”

Most recently, the Department for Energy and Climate Change revealed their intentions to cut subsidies for solar energy by almost 90% from January in a consultation paper that was published earlier this month. This follows George Osborne underlining his determination to get the government’s nuclear energy programme moving by providing a £2bn government guarantee for the delayed Hinkley Point power plant project. So how is this affecting the section of the UK construction industry who specialise in green technology and renewable energy?

Silvio Spiess, founder and CEO of Innasol, the UK’s leading biomass business, comments on the recent green cuts and the uncertainty surrounding the industry.

“Heating constitutes 78% of the average consumer’s energy consumption. It is therefore a no-brainer that heating should be the government’s principal focus over the next few years.”

“The consistent degression of biomass technologies under the government’s Renewable Heat Incentive scheme clearly demonstrates that there is significant appetite in the UK for renewable heating. The tariff for domestic biomass has dropped by 47% over the last nine months, the tariff for small commercial biomass (up to 200kW) has dropped by 53% over the last 15 months – entirely due to consumer popularity. UK home and business owners are calling for affordable, clean energy.”

“The current uncertainty which surrounds renewable heating and other green technologies is only damaging the industry: consumers are less willing to invest in renewable heating technologies and green businesses themselves are less prepared to invest in their staff and infrastructure. By cutting green subsidies, the government is jeopardising the UK’s progression towards cleaner, greener, more affordable energy.”

“Innasol calls on the government to recognise this demand, and to commit to investing in renewable heating past Q1 2016. By reallocating budget to further invest in subsidies (like the Renewable Heat Incentive) to promote renewable heating, the government will propel the UK towards carbon emissions reductions and closer to the EU 2020 targets. Now is the time to act.”