Coldplay are to receive the best British act award at this year’s Nordoff Robbins O2 Silver Clef Awards.
The Grammy award-winning group gained worldwide fame with their first top 10 track, Yellow, in 2000.
Since then they have sold more than 60 million records, had five number one albums and won several awards including eight Brit awards and seven Grammys.
Frontman Chris Martin said receiving the Silver Clef prize meant a “huge amount” to the band.
“Nordoff Robbins is an organisation that lies very close to our hearts,” he said.
“They provide life-changing music therapy for thousands of people each year and we’re humbled to collect this award in their honour.”
The band will receive their prize at a London ceremony on 28 June.
A huge landfill site in Essex, transformed into a 120-acre nature reserve, has been officially opened by Sir David Attenborough.
The Thurrock Thameside Nature Park at Mucking, which lies on top of 50 years of waste from six London boroughs, has been restored to grasslands, woodland, ponds and reedbeds.
Essex Wildlife Trust has turned it into a haven for bees, birds and reptiles.
It is one of the Trust’s largest restoration projects.
The scheme will eventually expand to cover 845 acres, about twice the size of London’s Regent’s Park, sitting on a “pie-crust” up to 30 metres deep which covers the landfill site.
Eco-friendly housing complex keeps down bills
Residents living on the most eco-friendly social housing development in the UK are reporting massive reductions in energy bills.
Sinclair Meadows was launched six months ago and already, the average costs have been cut by seventy five per cent. Fiona Trott visited the complex in South Shields to find out how they do it.
A 27-year-old man has become one of the first patients in the UK to have his kidney stones removed using “micro instruments” which are only millimetres in size.
Doctors used the 3.5mm apparatus to remove Graham Edgley’s kidney stones.
Medics hope that using the instrument, which is 70% smaller than the conventional kit, will mean that patients can be treated in a day rather than having to stay in hospital for two or three days. It will typically only leave a 3mm scar, compared to the 1cm scar left after laparoscopic surgical equipment is used.
Surgeons at The Royal London Hospital, who are the first in the UK to use the apparatus, believe the minuscule equipment will be suitable for half of the patients requiring the removal of kidney stones.
UK designers Westwood, Hamnett join campaign to save bees
Top British fashion designers Vivienne Westwood and Katharine Hamnett joined bee campaigners outside the Houses of Parliament in London on Friday to urge the government to support a proposed European Union (EU) ban on pesticides which harm bees.
Britain is currently one of a group of countries blocking attempts to introduce a Europe-wide ban on the world’s most widely used insecticides, neonicotinoids, arguing their impact on bees is unclear.
A vote takes place in Brussels on April 29 on whether to ban the poisons on flowering crops.
Gold-Adorned Skeleton Could Be First Windsor Queen
British archaeologists have unearthed the remains of what might be the first queen of Windsor in a 4,400-year-old female skeleton adorned with some of Britain’s earliest gold jewels. The find could predate Windsor’s royal connection by more than three millennia.
The National Trust has revealed a plan to generate half of its power from renewable sources by 2020.
The trust already has 150 individual renewables schemes, but the new document projects how fossil fuel will be reduced across its properties.
It aspires to set an example to others by integrating renewable energy into sensitive landscapes.
The organisation has been criticised for its chairman’s vociferous campaign against wind power.
This is considered as the renewable source with most potential in the UK.
Under its new plan, the trust’s main renewables by 2020 will be hydro (27%) and biomass (21%); augmented by heat pumps (1%) and solar (0.5%).
Grid electricity will supply 26% of its power, gas 15% and LPG 6%. Oil - currently a major cost and carbon source for the trust’s rural properties - will be reduced to just 3%.
There are also plans to cut energy consumption by 20%. Wind power will play no part, because the trust’s historic landscapes are deemed too sensitive.
Patrick Begg, rural enterprise director for the trust, which aims to preserve historic buildings and land for the enjoyment of the public, told BBC News: “We’ve put all our effort to make the big leap in generating renewable energy from all our properties. Our new programme will get us to (50% of energy) by 2020.”
The subsidised renewables will save the organisation money, he said, producing an expected return on capital of 10% - much better than traditional investments.
Sales of certified Fairtrade products - from food to flowers - are soaring despite the recession, as the price gap with other goods shrinks
Have you eaten a banana today? Last year Britain imported an extraordinary 4bn bananas from some of the poorest parts of the world. But in a triumph for campaigners, one in three bananas consumed in this country is now certified as Fairtrade, guaranteeing fair prices for farmers.
While sales of organic food are sagging, Fairtrade is booming. Sales in 2012 were £1.57bn, up 19% on the year before.
In what has mushroomed into a mainstream sector, more than 4,500 items registered with the distinctive Fairtrade mark are on sale in UK supermarkets and independent shops to help ethically minded consumers do their bit to ensure fair and transparent pricing through the supply chain.
Ten blooms have been selected to mark 100 years of the Chelsea Flower Show and the public is being asked to vote for which should be show plant of the centenary.
The Royal Horticultural Society has drawn up a list of 10 plants launched at the Chelsea Flower Show since 1913, with one flower taken from each decade of the world famous gardening exhibition.
They range from the Streptocarpus ”Harlequin Blue” (left) to varieties of lupin, geranium (below) and rhododendron.
Candidates include the Saxifraga ”Tumbling Waters”, which has silvery foliage topped with spikes of frothy white flowers from 1913-1922; Pieris formosa, variety forrestii, an evergreen shrub which was introduced by Victorian plant hunter George Forrest and made its debut at Chelsea in 1924; Lupinus Russell hybrids (above), a rainbow palette of lupins unveiled by George Russell in 1938; Rhododendron yakushimanum(below), an evergreen with bell-shaped white flowers, discovered on the Japanese island of Yakushima, which was instrumental in developing rhododendrons for smaller gardeners.
People can cast their vote for show plant of the centenary at the Chelsea Flower Show next month or online at www.rhs.org.uk
The British government’s main Gov.uk website has won the prestigious Design of the Year award, praised for its well thought-out but “understated” design.
Judges appointed by London’s Design Museum voted for the winner of the contest’s digital category to claim the overall prize, chosen from 98 entries and beating winners in six other design categories.
Museum director Deyan Sudjic dubbed Gov.uk the “Paul Smith of websites” in a reference to the successful British designer and described it as simple, direct and well-mannered.
“It makes life better for millions of people coping with the everyday chores, from getting a new passport, to paying their taxes,” Sudjic said in a statement announcing the awards.
UK nature reserves attract new bird species
The UK’s nature reserves act as ‘ecological welcome mats’ to new species, according to scientists.
Since the 1960s, there has been a natural influx of wetland bird species from continental Europe.
Species such as whooper swans, Cetti’s warblers and little egrets have used the nature reserves to colonise new areas of the UK, found the scientists.
The findings are published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
The effectiveness of the UK’s Protected Areas, from National Parks to nature reserves, was criticised in 2010 by a government review that concluded they were too fragmented and offered limited long term security.
“They fear that climate change might ‘push’ species out of static reserves,” said Jonathan Hiley, a PhD student at the University of York and co-author of the study.
Protected Areas are often formed to protect individual species, so if these species move out the area’s strengths can become redundant.
To examine whether nature reserves can still offer benefits in these situations, Mr Hiley and colleagues conducted research into migrant species as part of a wider project run by the RSPB.
“We have shown… that for birds which are shifting range in response to climate change or other factors, it is crucial they have good quality habitat to move in to, and our reserves provide that habitat,” he said.
Twenty previously unrecorded species of wetland bird have arrived in Britain since the 1960s, six of which have established continuing breeding patterns.
PICTURED ABOVE: Nick Smith (right) and John Nettles (left) are United Response consultants, as well as housemates.
Why Easy News is useful for people with learning disabilities
Easy News is the first newspaper to be created specifically for the 1.5 million people with learning disabilities in the UK. It includes news stories which have been translated into an “easy read” format by United Response consultants, a specialist team of people with learning disabilities employed by the charity United Response.
The easy read format uses simple language and visual cues to make information accessible to people who may have difficulty reading. For this reason, Easy News looks different from other newspapers and will appear less frequently, as translating the stories takes significant time.
However, it is a newspaper in the most important sense: it tells people what is happening in the world in a factual, unbiased way that they can understand.
No 10 Downing Street wins sustainable building award; The prime minister’s residence is named as the building that has made the most year-on-year improvement in the UK scheme
David Cameron may have been mocked for his failure to put up a wind turbine at his Notting Hill home, but his green efforts at the office seem to have paid off: No 10 Downing Street has won a sustainable building award.
On Tuesday, the building, which houses 152 workers in addition to the prime minister’s residence, was named the winner of the “in-use special award” by the respected BRE Environmental Assessment Method. BREEAM said it was the building that has made the most year-on-year improvement among 800 buildings in the scheme, across the UK.
Pioneers of the internet are the first recipients of the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering.
Sir Tim Berners-Lee, Robert Kahn, Vinton Cerf, Louis Pouzin and Marc Andreessen will share the £1m award.
The citation panel said the five men had all contributed to the revolution in communications that has taken place in recent decades.
The UK government initiated the QE Prize as a companion to the Nobels to raise the profile of engineering.
It is endowed by industry and administered by an independent trust chaired by Lord Browne, a former chief executive of BP.
The award was announced at the Royal Academy of Engineering in central London.