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Science for
Environment Policy

Future Briefs

Future Briefs are a series of horizon-scanning policy briefs, which provide an accessible overview of emerging areas of science and technology.

Latest Issue

Latest Issue

Underwater Noise – June 2013

The oceans are increasingly exposed to sounds from human activities, such as shipping and the building of foundations for offshore construction projects. What impact do these sounds have on species that inhabit the marine environment? This Future Brief from Science for Environment Policy explores existing research on the ecological effects of underwater sound. Key gaps in our knowledge are also highlighted, and potential strategies for reducing negative impacts on marine species are outlined.

This is a revised version of the report, published on 30 October 2013, which replaces the earlier versions published on 2nd September 2013 and 28th June 2013. Following consideration of comments received on the Underwater Noise Future Brief, elements of the text have been modified.

Earth Observation's Potential for the EU Environment – February 2013

Earth observation from space by satellites, combined with ground-level observations, can provide a wealth of data relating to the land, oceans and atmosphere. This Future Brief examines how the data can inform Europe's environmental policy.

Bioelectrochemical Systems – February 2013

This Future Brief examines the use of bioelectrochemical systems, such as microbial fuel cells (MFCs) and microbial electrolysis cells (MECs), to treat wastewater and generate electricity, hydrogen and valuable chemicals.

Green Behaviour – October 2012

The role that policy can play in supporting and encouraging the public's pro-environmental behaviour is examined in this Future Brief. The report explores different policy methods to reward green behaviour, such as financial incentives.

Offshore Exploration and Exploitation in the Mediterranean – April 2012

This Future Brief examines the impacts of exploration on marine and coastal environments. Focusing on oil, gas and mineral exploration as well as renewable energy schemes, the report considers evidence from recent scientific research, including reports following the Deepwater Horizon incident in 2010.

Biodiversity and Health – October 2011

An emerging body of research is now uncovering a hugely important range of ecosystem services: the benefits of biodiversity for human health. This Future Brief explores emerging issues and recent developments in our understanding of the link between biodiversity and health.

Plastic Waste: redesign and biodegradability – June 2011

This Future Brief explores current research into the redesign of plastics and developments in biodegradable plastics. It considers the implications of redesign and increased use of biodegradable plastics, as well as policy options to maximise benefits and minimise risks.