An Environmentally Friendly Porsche?

For decades, the last thing the motor sport industry has been concerned with is environmental friendliness.

The average owner of a high-performance vehicle has fit a certain demographic which has, by and large, stayed the same since the concept of driving cars very fast was invented.

Taking their lead from the world-famous racers and wonderfully rich movie stars, you’ll be hard pressed to find a man in his forties who doesn’t have his eye on a sports car.

Whether its a matter of them going through a mid-life crisis, or simply a case of them reaching for a goal that they have harboured for most of their adult life; statistics shows that men are more likely to purchase their first sports car when they hit the age of 52.

But this image of an older man zooming down a motorway at 90 mph doesn’t exactly chime with the demographic of an environmentalist. So why is it that one of the leading sports car manufacturers in the world, Porsche, has just piled millions of pounds into a brand new hybrid car?

Before we make any more sweeping statements about middle-aged men and sports cars (further alienating our own audience in the process!) lets take a closer look at Porsche and see if this is something that falls in line with their usual MO.

The first Porsche car was produced in 1931, the Mk 60K10 had a top speed of 99 mph, its engine producing 50 bhp. Only three models of the car were ever produced, with two of them being destroyed in the process of World War II. During this time Porsche, designed the world-famous Beetle, in addition to the Kubelwagen (the militarised version of their iconic economy car).

Once the motor sport scene started to truly get going, after World War II, Porsche were more than ready to compete with a string of highly competitive vehicles that would go on to win multiple titles.

With such an historic reputation to uphold in terms of performance and competitions, why are they now entering into the world of hybrid vehicles?

In 2014, over 80 years after the company’s inception, the Stuttgart-based company released its first ever sustainability report.

Within this booklet the company detailed its goals in regards to how they were aiming to reduce their emissions and even reduce the amount of raw materials that were using to manufacture their parts for Porsche cars.

So it came as no surprise when, in 2016, they released the third incarnation of this report, along with the announcement that every new model of Porsche car would reduce fuel consumption and emissions by 10%, compared to the previous model.

With this year’s of their 918 Spyder, a high-powered performance vehicle that runs on both electricity and petrol, Porsche have put a firm foot into the waters of environmentally friendly driving. The question is will their efforts be rewarded by sales?

Will the middle aged men of today be interested in a car that was designed to save the planet rather than tear up the tarmac?

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Thames Water Pay Up & The Vandace Returns

Sometimes it can feel like there’s never any good news to share regarding the waterways of Great Britain…

…thankfully this month we have a couple of pieces, as well as some general bits of housekeeping for any anglers out there.

For those still hoping to get some fishing done, in this particularly pleasant run of nice weather that we’ve been having, you’ll have to be careful what you catch. For another 10 weeks or so, the catching of coarse fish is strictly off-limits for any would-be fishermen. Coarse Fish, such as the barbel or the chub, are always at the risk of over-fishing. Every year, the UK government enforces a strict ‘close season’ on these fish, in order to give them a chance to recover and breed.

In this down time, members of the Environment Agency will be aiding fish in distress, improving habitats around the country and helping to restock the rivers – with the aim of repopulating the rivers by 450,000 fish. Enforcement teams have been in operation since the embargo began on March 15th, checking the licenses of fishers (available here at £30 for the year) and carrying out up to 380 targeted patrols. 70 individuals have been found fishing on off-limits grounds – a little late getting the memo, apparently…

The Environment Agency has been busy this month, not only have they been halting illegal fishing, but they’ve also settled the biggest case of pollution in their history.

Thames Water Utilities were found to be negligently polluting the water, leading to death of wildlife and distress to the public. The Utilities company will be fined over £20.3m, the largest number in UK history, in response to their repeated illegal discharge of sewage into the Thames.

Throughout a period from 2012 to 2014, the prosecution examined 6 cases of negligent pollution that severely affected the wildlife and water quality throughout the River Thames. Wastewater sites in Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Berkshire repeatedly discharged poorly treated raw sewage as well as untreated waters directly into rivers. Members of staff raised their concerns but were ignored and thousands of high priority alarms were disregarded.

The Environment Agency spent months investigating this particular case, with dozens of officers working around the clock in order to respond to reports of pollution as well as clean up the waters. Several methods of investigation, including intelligence gathering, interviewing and in depth analysis were used in order to supply the court with the requisite information to reach the conclusion that it did.

Finally, one last piece of news that is truly good news…

The Vendace (otherwise known as coregonus albula) has made a welcome return to the UK’s freshwater systems. The fish, one of the rarest of its kinds in the UK, is known for being a relic of the ice age, with fossils of its remains being discovered to be more or less the same as its current incarnation. Populations of the animal were noted to have all but disappeared during the 1990s, this drop in numbers was largely blamed on the introduction of new species as well as industrial pollution.

The spotting was caught on camera by the Environment Agency who were happy to report that England’s rivers are the healthiest that they’ve been in 20 years. Salmon, sea trout and other species have slowly been returning to the waters of Great Britain as the waters have cleared significantly since the grim times of the Industrial Revolution.

Don’t forget, you’ll have to wait until June 15th to fish for those lovely coarse fish!

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The Orangery: A New Kind of Extension

There’s a new kind of building fad on the rise in the North of England…

They’re attractive, environmentally friendly and a little archaic but window companies in the North West are receiving more orders for them than ever before.

Inspired by Victorian aesthetics and now more environmentally friendly than ever, traditional orangeries are popping up all over the North, bringing a new level of class and distinction to areas that are in dire need of it. So many questions have arisen from this discovery.

Why are these companies busier than ever? Why are there now so many orangeries in Manchester? And just where did this trend begin?

The North of England has been home to a number of traditional Orangeries for decades. These visually arresting buildings were, more than often, attached to stately homes, providing their rich owners with space to store plants and trees that were susceptible to the cold. They also gave eager horticulturalists the opportunity to cultivate fruits that would not usually survive in the North’s chillier climate.

Great examples of orangeries that have survived into the modern age can be seen across the North, tucked away in the corners of grand parks and attached to manor houses.

Despite their fragile nature, they have been maintained throughout the years so that the Great British public can continue to enjoy them. In Liverpool’s Sefton Park, the Palm House plays host to weddings, late-night dance raves and school proms. During the day, all is peaceful as visitors to the park can wander through and explore the wide range of exotic plants that grow in there.

Over in Barnsley, Wentworth Castle is home to a quintessential example of Victorian orangery. Ornate iron framework and fine detailing make this a must-see piece of architecture, even without the broad range of plant life inside. Taking one and a half years to restore, the £3.5 million project returned the 130-year old building to its former glory and showed the people of the North how grand an Orangery could really be.

A modern orangery, built with the finest of modern materials has several advantages over its older counterparts, making it an ideal addition to any home (as long as there is space to build it). Instead of single pane glass and iron frames, windows now come double glazed with high-tech PVC for extra insulation. Ultra-modern designs allow orangeries to be built in almost any style that the customer desires and lightweight materials make the build much quicker than a traditional extension.

Perhaps the reason why orangeries have seen a significant spike in popularity in the last few months is their eco-friendly nature.

Ethically sourced PVC, combined with thick double-glazing, means that homeowners can benefit from extra space in their rooms whilst saving money on their energy bills and helping out the environment. Of course, should they so wish, exotic plants and fruits can even be grown, leaving the homeowner with endless growing opportunities.

As more and more of these buildings come into fashion, we’ll no doubt see a return to prominence of more Victorian styles. Who knows what the next archaic design concept will be to receive a modern update? An anti-gravity grandfather clock? A solar-powered rocking chair?

The sky’s the limit. 

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