Colors: Blue Color

Jamaica is well on its way to operating the first and only dedicated bamboo market pulp mill in the Western Hemisphere.

Bamboo Bioproducts Ltd (BBP) is advancing its investment in local bamboo with plans to build on lands in Frome, Westmoreland, and will focus on pulp for paper production. The company projects to spend approximately US$300 million to establish the project with an estimated return on investment of 22 per cent with conservative projections of US$1.5 billion in revenue during the first 10 years.

In addition, BBP anticipates that 500 jobs will be created directly within the facility and up to 5,000 jobs indirectly. Currently, Asian manufacturers are the primary producers in the US$24-billion global bamboo market which fuels a variety of industries including paper manufacturing, agriculture, health and wellness, construction, textiles, and furniture, among others.

Jamaica’s proximity to western markets, as well as its deep history in sugar cane production (which has strong similarities to growing bamboo) means that BBP’s Frome facility offers game-changing national economic development opportunities. In emphasising the importance of this project to Jamaica’s economy, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said investments like these, anchored on a sustainable environmental and economic model could lead to a rethink of how we might achieve our development.

“This is an example of what is needed to help drive growth in our economy. The use of bamboo and its by-products has the capacity to be a catalyst in building a new sustainable industry by utilising the value that Jamaica can provide with arable lands, availability of skilled and semi-skilled labour as well as our ideal geographic location for logistics,” said Holness recently.

“I applaud and welcome this group for responding, through this initiative, to the Government’s continued call for the take-up of former sugar lands for the planting of alternative and more economically viable crops,” added Holness. The pulp will be sold to multi-national corporations partnering with BBP to fulfil the growing market demand for sustainable ‘non-wood pulp fibre’ of globally recognised brands of consumer tissue and personal hygiene products.

In order to meet its obligations, the Frome mill will have the capacity to process in excess of 250,000 metric tonnes of bamboo pulp annually. The manufacturing process will feature state-of-the-art machinery from one of the world’s leading technology suppliers. It will produce a sustainable product efficiently, whilst simultaneously meeting world-class environmental standards.

The project’s execution team includes international pulp and paper experts, as well as lead fund-raiser/equity partner Delta Capital Partners Ltd, headed by Co-founder and Executive Chairman Zachary Harding. According to Harding, Delta Capital Partners and Stocks and

Securities Ltd are actively progressing with the capital raise.

“This is, by far, one of the most significant projects to be undertaken in Jamaica in recent decades. Bamboo pulp as an outright export product will generate significant returns in hard currency.

“It checks all the boxes including several sustainable development goals and the mill will be eco-friendly using a mix of clean and renewable energy sources. Additionally, market demand is considerably higher than what we will be supplying when fully operational, so we have an excellent opportunity for long term expansion. Most importantly, we will create thousands of jobs, both directly and indirectly,” said Harding.

British High Commissioner to Jamaica Asif Ahmad, who has been an avid supporter of this venture from its earliest inception, stated it is great to see the progress made so far. “This is a clear example of what can be achieved here when committed partners from Britain, Europe and Jamaica put in a combined effort to invest in an export-focused project,” said Ahmad.

The bamboo will be farmed on a large scale in Westmoreland as well as smaller farms across the island of Jamaica to satisfy the mill’s annual demand for more than one million tonnes of green Vulgaris bamboo. This is expected to help transition of idle sugar cane lands to bamboo cultivation. BBP is working closely with Sugar Company of Jamaica (SCJ) Holdings Limited to finalise the necessary lands and is also in talks with private landowners to supplement its land demand.

“This project has the full support of the Government of Jamaica and the provision of land, for the siting of the mill and the cultivation of bamboo, is a priority project for SCJ Holdings Limited, as it will enhance the country’s foreign exchange earnings and provide a lifeline for the thousands of persons who have suffered from the decline of the sugar industry,” said Joseph Shoucair, managing director at SCJ Holdings Limited.

JAMPRO, who is the lead facilitator for the project has been working closely with the relevant Government agencies to ensure a smooth investment and execution process and president of the agency, Diane Edwards, said the bamboo project embodies all the characteristics of a well-planned, public-private sector project.

“It will go a long way in helping to move the economy forward, getting us closer to hitting our projected foreign direct investment targets. It has our full support,” she said.

As the most solemn week of the Christian year, Holy Week - the week leading up to Easter, marks the week during which Christians particularly remember the last week of Jesus's life.

Having begun on Palm Sunday, commemorating Christ's triumphant arrival in Jerusalem to the cheering crowds who gathered for the Feast, they heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem. They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting; “Hosanna,” “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord” and “Blessed is the King of Israel!”

As crosses are burned at the start of Lent today, to provide the ash for Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday saw Christians remember it as the day of the Last Supper, when Jesus washed the feet of his disciples and established the ceremony known as the Eucharist, today’s Good Friday commemorates the Passion: the execution of Jesus by crucifixion before Holy Saturday is marked Sunday following the Paschal Full Moon, or Resurrection Sunday,which is a festival and holiday commemorating the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.


Easter Monday, also known as Bright Monday, Renewal Monday, Wet Monday, and Dyngus Day, is similar to the services on Pascha (Easter Sunday) and often include an outdoor procession. As the second day of Eastertide, the day after Easter Sunday is also a public holiday in some countries.

It’s also a Bank Holiday - a national public holiday in the United Kingdom and the Crown dependencies as people mark the occasion with Easter Eggs to commemorate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Police in Nigeria have launched a radio station in the hopes of improving their relationship with ordinary citizens.

The Nigerian Police Force have said that they launched the station to bring the police closer to the people. At the launch Police boss Mohammed Adamu said community policing information would be broadcast, and the new service would help reach the public better.

It comes months after young Nigerians led widespread protests against police brutality and extrajudicial killings. Those demonstrations, dubbed #EndSARS in reference to a particularly hated police unit, later morphed into a call for major police reforms.

An inquiry into the cases was set up aimed at bringing to justice those responsible for the brutality and killings, but some campaigners fear it will be toothless.

IGP M.A Adamu, NPM, mni, Inspector General of Police, said that the radio station will bring the police force closer to the people.

Getting support on social media, one person wrote; ‘It's a good development but I hope it pulls through and sustained.’ Another wrote; ‘Hope complaints will be addressed appropriately’.

However, in contrast, Anonymous queried: ‘So when robbers attack at night, I should tune on the police radio?’

It has been announced that the step-grandmother, of former US president, Barack Obama, Sarah Obama, has died at a hospital in Kenya.

Affectionately called Granny Sarah by the former president, Mrs Obama defended her grandson during his 2008 presidential campaign, when he was said to be Muslim and not born in the US. Her home became a tourist attraction when he was elected as the first Black US president.

Sarah Obama was the third and youngest wife of Barack's grandfather. She died at a hospital in the western town of Kisumu, her daughter Marsat Onyango said. A family spokesperson said Mrs Obama had been unwell for a week, but did not have Covid-19.

"We will miss her dearly," Mr Obama said, "but we'll celebrate with gratitude her long and remarkable life." Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta said on Twitter that Mrs Obama was a strong, virtuous woman and an icon of family values.

Before her grandson became a household name, Sarah was well known for the hot porridge and doughnuts she served at a local school. She became more widely known when Barak visited Kenya in 2006. At the time he was a senator from the state of Illinois, but a national celebrity in Kenya, and his grandmother spoke to the media about his rise in politics.

He returned in 2015, becoming the first sitting US president to visit Kenya, meeting Mrs Obama and other family members in Nairobi. He visited his step-grandmother's home in the village of Kogelo in 2018, after leaving office, joking he had been unable to visit earlier because the presidential plane was too big to land at the local airport.

Sarah Obama was born in 1922 in a village on Lake Victoria, according to AFP. She was a Muslim and part of Kenya's Luo ethnic group. For decades, she ran a foundation in Kenya to help educate orphans and girls, something she felt strongly about as she couldn't read herself.

She was the third wife of Hussein Onyango Obama, President Obama's paternal grandfather. Her husband, who died in 1975, fought for the British in Burma, now called Myanmar, and is reported to be the first man in his village to swap goatskin clothing for trousers.

Buried later on Monday, she was 99.

The stranded Ever Given mega-container ship in the Suez Canal is holding up an estimated $9.6bn (£7bn) of goods each day, according to shipping data. This works out at $400m an hour in trade along the waterway which is a vital passageway between east and west.

Data from shipping expert Lloyd's List values the canal's westbound traffic at roughly $5.1bn a day, and eastbound daily traffic at around $4.5bn. Despite efforts to free the ship, it could take weeks to remove experts say.

The Ever Given, operated by the Taiwanese company Evergreen Marine, is the length of four football pitches and one of the world's biggest container vessels. The 200,000-tonne ship is capable of carrying 20,000 containers. Its blockage is causing huge tailbacks of other ships trying to pass through the Suez Canal.

The canal, which separates Africa from the Middle East and Asia, is one of the busiest trade routes in the world, with about 12% of total global trade moving through it. According to Lloyd's List tracking data there are more than 160 vessels waiting at either end of the canal. These include 41 bulk carriers and 24 crude tankers.

Along with oil, the sea traffic is largely consumer products such as clothing, furniture, manufacturing components and car parts.

Guy Platten, the secretary general of the International Chamber of Shipping, said: "We're hearing reports now that shipping companies are starting to divert their ships around the southern tip of Africa, the Cape of Good Hope, which adds about 3,500 miles to the journey and up to 12 days." He said the ship appeared to be hard fast aground, adding that freeing the vessel from the bank was taking much longer and was more complicated than had been initially expected.

The Ever Given had been scheduled to arrive in the port of Felixstowe in early April.

Container ships have nearly doubled in size in the past decade as global trade expands, making the job of moving them much harder when they get stuck. Egypt's Suez Canal Authority (SCA) said it was doing all it could to re-float the ship with tug boats, dredgers canal, and I ask for patience from stakeholders across the supply chain as everyone and heavy earth-moving equipment.

Kitack Lim, secretary general of the International Maritime Organisation, said: "I am aware of the implications of the temporary closure of the works to ensure that the ship, its crew, its cargo and the environment remain protected."

With summer holiday travel set to return to full force post-pandemic, British billionaire Richard Branson is set to open one of his private islands in the Caribbean to the public this summer.

The 70-year-old Virgin Group founder owns three islands, two in the Caribbean and one in Australia. The island he’s going to open to the public is Moskito Island, a 125-acre property just two miles away from Necker Island, a 30-hectare property which Branson famously bought in 1978 at the age of 29.

Both islands are part of the British Virgin Islands. Branson bought Moskito in 2007 and ordered a renovation project starting 2010. The island is made up of a collection of luxury private villas which can be rented by guests looking for the ultimate island hideaway with exceptional service, just like you’d expect from a five-star hotel, according to the private island’s website. His own three-villa, 11-bedroom estate on the island is already accepting reservations.

With COVID-19 vaccines rolling out globally, the travel industry is expecting a busysummer. In fact, demand for luxury vacation experience is higher than ever as the “screw you 2020” mentality sets in, said Roman Chiporukha, cofounder of Roman & Erica, a New York-based luxury lifestyle and travel management firm.

Chiporukha said: “People are looking for different and unforgettable experiences. The bystander vacation is no longer an option or a want for our members, and they are racing to book private islands, villas, and yachts without hesitation to avoid losing the property to another.” Roman & Erica serves an exclusive clientele who pay an annual membership fee ranging from $62,500 to $180,000 for arranging vacation, travel, kids’ birthday parties and other lifestyle events.

“Our member base are seeking a disconnect from the conventional vacation that exclusive private islands can provide. These exclusive properties bring forth the opportunity for a robust getaway while avoiding flooded tourist traps,” Chiporukha continued.

According to Bloomberg’s Billionaire Index, Branson’s net worth reached an all-time high of $7.3 billion in 2020 just before the global coronavirus outbreak. He lost a third of his fortune, on paper, last summer as Virgin Group grappled with pandemic-related losses. However, thanks to a booming stock market in the second half of 2020, Branson’s net worth quickly recovered to over $7 billion by February 2021. He is said to be worth $6.5 billion.

Moskito is a favourite vacation spot of A-lister celebrities, including former U.S. President Barack Obama and the late Princess Diana amongst others.

The Venice Court of Appeals recently delivered a judgment confirming the full validity of Bottega S.p.A.'s trademarks, protecting the distinctive features of the Bottega Gold and Rose Gold bottles, and dismissed Ca' di Rajo's claim of non-infringement, recognising the confusability with Bottega's trademarks of Ca' di Rajo's gold and rose mirrored bottles, and condemned Ca’ di Rajo to the payment ofthe full legal costs and expenses of the case. .

This judgment confirms the similar judgment delivered at first instance by the Venice Tribunal, the previous decision in the precautionary phase and the subsequent appeal to the panel. It is therefore a win confirmed for four times.

Specifically, the Venetian court, one of the most competent in our country, argued that the bottles' distinctive gold and rose mirrored colours are the primary element characterising Bottega Spa's trademarks. Therefore, neither the shape of the bottle, nor the label, nor any other graphic details are capable of eliminating the confusing effect of identical mirrors. Similar judgments have been delivered in the recent past by the EUIPO, the European Union Intellectual Property Office, and subsequently by the EU Court.

The aforementioned judgment thus confirmed once again the distinctiveness of the trademarks, expressed by the worldwide diffusion of the brand to the extent that the so-called mirroring of the colours gold and pink have become the emblem of Bottega's trademarks. 

Bottega has been designing bottles with mirrored colours since 2001, confirming a long and articulated career in which it has always demonstrated the utmost originality and extreme innovation, entrepreneurial characteristics which, together with a quality recognised over the years by almost 400 national and international awards, have made the winery and distillery in Bibano di Godega (TV) one of the most imitated companies in the world in the wine and spirits sector. The validity of the trademarks registered over the years has been recognised in Italy and in Europe by the various competent bodies.

Thousands of mourners filed past the coffin of Tanzania's ex-President John Magufuli, who died aged 61. His coffin, draped in the national flag, is lying in state at the Uhuru stadium in the main city Dar es Salaam.

It was said by some politicians say that Magufuli contracted Covid-19, but this has not been confirmed. A Covid sceptic, at times he denied that the virus had affected Tanzania.

Coming to power as Tanzania's president in 2015, Magufuli's coffin was brought to the stadium in a procession that was led by his successor, Samia Suluhu Hassan before being taken to several different locations for public viewing before his burial in his hometown of Chato. Some residents wept and threw flowers on the coffin which was pulled by a military vehicle.

Newly sworn in president, Samia - Africa's only current female national leader - led the government procession in which many wore black or green and yellow to represent the colours of the ruling party. The Ethiopian presidency is a largely ceremonial role and she joins a short list of women on the continent to have run their countries.

The government announced that Magufuli had died from a heart condition after he had been missing from public for several weeks. His position on coronavirus ranged from stating it did not exist in Tanzania to saying the country had beaten the pandemic through prayer.

But in February, after a number of senior politicians died from the virus, he conceded it was circulating in Tanzania. Known as the ‘bulldozer’, before the pandemic Magufuli was praised for his no-nonsense approach and hailed for his anti-corruption stance and his distinct dislike for wasting money.

President Samia spoke of the ‘heavy load’ on her shoulders and urged for the burying of differences and unity during the mourning period.

By His Royal Highness Maponga Joshua III Marara ChangaMbire Karanga of SVOSVE Dynasty of the Kingdom of DZimbabgwe The Mornach of the Nation and Empire of Mwenemutapa

"The headmaster", the son of the soil has rested. Indeed this is a loss to the continet at large to witness the sudden and untimely death of a beacon of hope for the emancipation of the Afrikan Nations from colonial pharmaceutical oppression. He will be remembered for his unwavering position on the "test kits" and his wit in using them on fruits and animals to prove that they were contamibated. Other Afrikan presidents did not show public support to this stalwart to their shame to please their colonial masters. With such Leaedership Afrika had hope towards the "Magufulization of Afrika'.
It is a fact that many countries in the west with their multinational companies did not favor Magufuli as he posed a challenge to the economic corrupt dealings with Afrika.
His passing will bring them joy while it fills the Pan Afrokan community with tears and heartache. The snake is alive and well hissing fear in our midst. The beacon of hope has been blown out while thieves and puppets of the west continue to breath and sell the Afrikans to colonial masters. This Covid pandemic has left a bad taste in our mouths as one of our hopes for the Afrikan solutions, next to Madagascar has been cut short.

John Pombe Magufuli

We have lost a soldier and gained an ancestor, long live the spirit of Magufuli long live. The battle continues and let every Afrikan president ask themselves the question "why are you still living"? How long will it take to unite? When wiil you unite as a continent to protect each other and improve your security on the continent. What will it take for you to build one army and secure the continent from plunder of the west/east/north? Who are the enemies of Afrikan Unity but yourselves and unquenchable hunger for power and cortuption? Remember Gadaffi died while you watched, for economic unification, Sinkara for pan Afrikan views, Mugabe for his land position, Congo is still at war while you make speeches and steal money to foreign accounts. Ask yourselves the question "who is next".
The Kingdom/Empire of Mwenemutapa and the Svosve Dynasty sends its heartfelt condolences and mourns with the nation on this great loss.
Pole pole , Tanganyika. lala salama Pombe hitaonana kesho.
Harambe Chamachamapinduza Tanzania

The World Bank has approved of financing of US$150 million for the Jamaica COVID-19 Response and Recovery Development Policy Loan.

The sum is set to out to help the government protect the poor and vulnerable, support sustainable business growth and job creation, and strengthen policies and institutions for resilient recovery. The COVID-19 pandemic has led to the Caribbean island’s deepest economic contraction in decades due, in part, to the drop in tourism earnings, which account for more than 30 per cent of Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and one-third of jobs.

Ozan Sevimli, World Bank Resident Representative for Jamaica and Guyana, said: “COVID-19 has had widespread socio-economic impacts and affected every Jamaican, especially the most vulnerable. This financing contributes to Jamaica’s efforts to manage the impact of the crisis and move forward towards a resilient recovery.

“The operation supports the expansion of the country’s social protection programmes to benefit women and men who are disproportionately affected by the crisis and introduces a social pension for the elderly. It also supports measures for the recovery of affected businesses.”

The new loan supports the government in providing emergency financial assistance to the vulnerable population impacted by the pandemic. It also includes initiatives to help firms cope with the economic shock, such as through measures like the provision of grants and cash transfers to affected businesses.

“The operation supports reforms to strengthen financial institutions for sustainable economic recovery and greater climate resilience. The financing supports Jamaica’s climate change priorities, including the adoption of stronger commitments on greenhouse gas emissions,” the World Bank added.

The sum will help the government protect the poor and vulnerable, support sustainable business growth and job creation, and strengthen policies and institutions for resilient recovery.

Tanzania's President John Magufuli has died aged 61, the country's vice-president Samia Suluhu Hassan said announced. In a statement, he was said died from heart complications at a hospital in Dar es Salaam.

Mr Magufuli had not been seen in public for weeks, with rumours being circulating about his health. Opposition politicians said that he had contracted Covid-19, but this has not been confirmed.

Born in Chato, he was one of Africa's most prominent coronavirus sceptics, and called for prayers and herbal-infused steam therapy to counter the virus. He declared Tanzania "Covid-19 free" since last June.

In an announcement, Vice-President Hassan said: "It is with deep regret that I inform you that... we lost our brave leader, the president of the Republic of Tanzania, John Pombe Magufuli." She said there would be 14 days of national mourning and flags would fly at half-mast.

According to Tanzania's constitution, Ms Hassan will be sworn in as the new president within 24 hours and should serve the remainder of Mr Magufuli's five-year term which he began last year. President Magufuli was last seen in public on February 27, but Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa insisted that the president was healthy and working hard.

He blamed the rumours of the president's ill-health on "hateful" Tanzanians living abroad. But opposition leader Tundu Lissu said that he was informed that Mr Magufuli was being treated in hospital for coronavirus in Kenya.

When Covid-19 arrived in Tanzania, Mr Magufuli called on people to go to churches and mosques to pray. "Coronavirus, which is a devil, cannot survive in the body of Christ... It will burn instantly," he said. Saying that the virus had been eradicated by three days of national prayer, the president also mocked the efficacy of masks, expressed doubts about testing, and teased neighbouring countries which imposed health measures to curb the virus.

Tanzania has not published details of its coronavirus cases since May, and the government has refused to purchase vaccines. The police said they had arrested four people on suspicion of spreading rumours on social media that the president was ill.

A former chemistry and maths teacher, he was 61.

The Chinese capital of Beijing was covered in thick dust on Monday as it experienced what its weather bureau has called the worst sandstorm in a decade.

The storm caused an unprecedented spike in air pollution measurements - with pollution levels in some districts at 160 times the recommended limit. Hundreds of flights were cancelled or grounded as the sky was covered by an apocalyptic-looking orange haze.

The sand is being brought in by strong winds from Mongolia. In that country (Mongolia) the severe sandstorms have reportedly caused six deaths and left dozens missing. Media outlet reported that at least 12 provinces in the country, including the capital, had been affected, and the weather was likely to continue before improving at night.

The WHO (World Health Organisation) currently sets safe levels of air quality based on the concentration of polluting particles called particulate matter (PM) found in the air. According to news wire AFP quoting the Global Times, the PM 10 pollution in six central districts reached "over 8,100 micrograms per cubic metre" on Monday.

The WHO considers levels between 0-54 as "good" and 55-154" as "moderate" levels of PM 10. AFP added that schools had been told to cancel outdoor events, and those with respiratory diseases advised to stay indoors.

Beijing was historically hit by sandstorms on a much more regular basis, but pollution reduction projects - including prohibitions on new coal-fired power plants, restrictions on the number of cars on the road and reforestation - have significantly improved air quality in the city. Sandstorms like the one seen this week, caused by wind, are harder to control.

Beijing, though, and surrounding regions have suffered from high levels of pollution in recent weeks, with one Greenpeace activist telling AFP that it was a result of intense industrial activities. These, he said, exacerbated sandstorm conditions, which were the "result of extreme weather conditions and desertification".

By His Royal Highness Maponga Joshua iii Marara ChangaMbire Karanga of SVOSVE Dynasty of the Kingdom of DZimbabgwe The Mornach of the Nation of Mwenemutapa

The big tree has fallen birds with scartter. The elephants will smell the bones for centuries to come. The sun has gone down, we will listen to your whispers of the reeds. "Wena WoNhlanga, ubhenjani ophuma esqxiwini, Ngonyama, Wena WeNdlovu Bayethe Zulu."

On behalf of the Mwenemutapa Royal Family and Nation of the Great Dzimbabgwe we share your pain and tears at this difficult time. The walls of stone have heard the wailing of the maidens. We call for peace and healing upon the family and the aNguni/aNgoni Nation.

May His Majesty the King sleep in the Dust of the earth but continue to live in our hearts, in the chants of the regiments of wars, in the whispers of the Royal caves and the gentle breeze of lagoons of Lembe.


New mobile air quality research laboratories will help experts further develop the UK’s world leading position in analysing how air pollution is formed and what impact it has on our environment and people.

Scientists at the Universities of Birmingham, Manchester, Cranfield and Coventry, Imperial College London and Aston University have secured NERC funding for two ‘supersite observatories’ –fixed in an electric van and a trailer – that will dovetail with existing fixed air quality supersites in Birmingham, London and Manchester.

Urban Air Quality Supersites already allow researchers to gather detailed data on the contents of harmful urban air pollution; working out where the gases and particles that pollute our air are coming from and how they form in the air - adding observational capacity far beyond the routine DEFRA and local authority air quality monitoring. Poor air quality arises from the interaction of emissions, weather and atmospheric processes, affecting the amounts and toxicity of pollutants.

As part of the drive to improve regional and national air quality, the mobile supersites will help scientists better understand the balance between traffic and urban emissions, and pollutants already present in the air and carried on the wind into urban areas. They will also help to define how chemical processing agricultural emissions and changes to move towards carbon-zero transport affect air quality.

Zongbo Shi, Professor of Atmospheric Biogeochemistry at the University of Birmingham, commented: “Air pollution is the biggest environmental risk in the UK, leading to significant health inequalities and costing the country’s economy some £20 billion every year.


“Adding mobile ‘supersite observatories’ to the monitoring capacity provided by our fixed sites will take our capability for quantifying air pollution sources and processes to the next level and consolidating Britain’s world-leading position in this field.

“This exciting development will produce policy-relevant science with significant impact - informing air quality policy and helping to account for imported emissions. This is a UK-based approach with potential for global impact.”

Backed by £1.3 million of NERC funding, the new supersites are not traditional monitoring stations - they will comprise highly sophisticated instruments which monitor key species in atmospheric processes, including:

·         Trace metals, nanoparticles and particle composition, plus regulated gas pollutants.

·         Volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – key to ozone, secondary organic aerosol and new particle formation; and

·         Ammonia - key to aerosol formation;

The mobile units will help to create the UK Air Quality Supersite Triplet (UK-AQST) configuration - rural, urban and roadside. This will allow urban and roadside concentration increments to be measured, as well as processing polluted air to analyse key secondary pollutants such as nitrates, organic particles and nanoparticles in unprecedented detail.

Forthcoming revision of World Health Organisation guidelines will inform revised national air quality targets, within the new Environment Bill. UK-AQST will directly benefit the UK's atmospheric and environmental health community with six institutions involved.

Farmers are being urged to ensure they have up-to-date succession plans in place following the start of the Agricultural Transition Plan which came into being after the UK’s departure from the EU.

Tom Chiffers, from leading national law firm Clarke Willmott LLP, says farmers have entered into a period of great change and need to be ready to deal with the consequences to avoid future costly disputes over succession. The government’s Agricultural Transition Plan (ATP) outlines a timescale to change the way farming is funded, managed and incentivised which will have a significant impact on the income of farms and the farming industry.

Tom, a partner in Clarke Willmott’s Private Capital team, says that the support payments farmers currently receive in the form of BPS will start to be phased out from 2021, becoming delinked in 2024 and eventually getting replaced with a system which pays farmers for specific types of environmental land management. “All direct payments will be reduced progressively but with bigger reductions on the higher payment bands; operating much like income tax bands. For example, everyone will have a reduction of 5% on their first £30,000 of payments in 2021.

“The higher reduction rates will apply to those farms currently receiving larger direct payments. A farm receiving more than £150,000 will see a 25% reduction in 2021 followed by 40%, 55% and 70% reductions in the subsequent scheme years with the last of the direct payments being made in 2027. Meanwhile the direct payments will be replaced by a new universally accessible Environmental Land Management (ELM) scheme, that will reward farmers, growers and land managers for delivering public goods, with an anticipated 50-60% drop in funding in real terms by 2030.

“Defra is also offering a lump sum exit scheme from 2022 to help farmers who wish to retire in place of any further BPS and delinked payments enabling them to capitalise the future stream of direct payment income that would otherwise be available until 2027. Whilst there is still much uncertainty and lack of clarity as to what the new payment schemes will look like, there is an expectation there will be a significant drop in funding for all farmers at the end of the transition plan in 2027.”

“In addition to the ATP, the government has also been applying greater scrutiny to both inheritance tax and capital gains tax and given its current pandemic spending, there are concerns that the generous inheritance tax reliefs currently available to farmers in the form of Business Property Relief and Agricultural Property Relief could be cut or even abolished to help pay for the furlough scheme and other COVID-19 support schemes.

“The government may announce their future plans for changes to the inheritance and capital gains tax regime as part of their post budget announcements on March 23. All of this means that farmers need to be in a state of financial and legal preparedness with a robust succession plan in place which should include the right kind of will.”

Clarke Willmott has recently launched its #GoodWill campaign which aims to encourage people to take steps to safeguard their family’s future wealth by pledging that they will make a will this year. The firm has developed a free, online ‘Which Will?’ tool to help people that prompts the user to think about what is important to them when making a will and recommends which will best meets their needs.    

Clarke Willmott is a national law firm with offices in Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, London, Manchester, Southampton and Taunton. It is also the NFU legal panel firm for Dorset, Somerset, Gloucestershire and Wiltshire.