Thursday, 27 June 2013

Mandatory Carbon Reporting

By Victoria Joy, Consultant

The prospect of larger UK companies having to report their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has been on the cards for a while, but it has now become a lot more certain.  Draft legislation, the Companies Act 2006 (Strategic Report and Directors’ Report) Regulations 2013, was laid before Parliament on 10th June.  The regulations are subject to the affirmative resolution procedure, meaning that approval by both Houses of Parliament is required before they take effect, but this process is little more than a formality and is likely to be concluded soon. 

From 1st October this year, the new regulations will amend the existing directors' annual reporting requirements (as set out in the Large and Medium-sized Companies and Groups (Accounts and Reports) Regulations 2008) to oblige UK quoted companies to include reporting on their GHG emissions.  This affects all UK incorporated companies listed on the LSE's main market as well as those listed on a market within the EEA or whose shares are traded on the NYSE or NASDAQ.  The requirement applies to each company starting from its annual report covering the financial year ending on or after 30th September 2013.

For the purposes of this new reporting requirement, GHG means the six Kyoto Protocol gases, namely carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, hydrofluorocarbons, perfluorocarbons and sulphur hexafluoride.  Emissions from activities for which a company is responsible and that are due to human activity must be reported, as tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent.  The requirement applies only to emissions resulting from the combustion of fuel, the operation of the company's facilities and the purchase of electricity, heat, steam or cooling by the company for its own use, i.e. scope 1 and scope 2 emissions under the widely used GHG Protocol.  Transport emissions are caught (since they involve the combustion of fuel), but scope 3 emissions (such as those arising from supply chain activities and emissions from the company's products once they have been sold) are not. 

Any company that finds it is impractical to obtain the required information will not be in breach of the new regulations provided that its annual report states what information is not included and why. In practice, pressure from shareholders and other stakeholders is likely to make incomplete reporting under this "comply or explain" provision increasingly rare as time passes. 

There is no requirement for independent verification, but in an effort to eliminate "greenwashing" annual reports must state the methodologies used to calculate the emissions.  The company's auditors will have to carry out a very basic check on the reported information to assess it for consistency with the financial statements and their knowledge of the business.  Also, at least one intensity ratio must be included to express the company’s annual emissions in relation to its activities, such as tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent per tonne of production, per 1,000 hours of operation or per £million of sales revenue.  This may make it easier to compare one company's performance with another's, as will the requirement that, after the first year's report, the previous year's figures must be included as well as the current year's. 

Defra updated its environmental reporting guidance this month (Environmental Reporting Guidelines: Including mandatory greenhouse gas emissions reporting guidance) to help UK companies subject to the new requirements as well as those organisations that wish to report voluntarily on their environmental performance.  It gives a single page corporate GHG report as an example, but companies are free to choose whatever format they like.  The guidance goes into detail on such matters as how to set about scoping the reporting requirement and deciding which methodology to use. 

Although the new regulations are made under the Companies Act 2006 and therefore only affect companies, some public bodies such as Government departments and local authorities are otherwise required, or are strongly encouraged, to report their GHG emissions.  There are overlaps too with existing emissions reporting requirements under the CRC, Climate Change Agreements and the EU Emissions Trading System.  The areas of overlap may increase in the future because, while only about 1,100 companies will be affected by the new reporting requirements for quoted companies from this autumn, the Government has stated that it will carry out a review after the first two years of reporting and then decide in 2016 whether to extend the requirements to all UK companies defined as "large", of which there are estimated to be between 17,000 and 31,000.

Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Michelmore’s Charity 5k Race Report

On Tuesday 11th June 2013, 19 Landmark employees (plus 4 guests) took part in the annual Michelmore’s charity race around Exeter to help raise funds for “Families for Children”.   The race was back in the city centre again this year after a few years being run on The Quay.  This was a double-edged sword as on the plus side there were more spectators to cheer us on, but on the downside there were a few little hills to contend with.

After a vigorous warm up by a Royal Marine PTI the competitors gathered outside the Cathedral where celebrity chef Michael Caines got things underway. The race always starts with a sprint as people jostle for position and try to avoid being boxed in on the narrow paths so it was amusing the watch spectators diving for cover as 900 runners came at them en masse.
The first mile was run on the ring-road but then the route headed into the main shopping malls in Princesshay before sending runners down the High Street and along to Northernhay Gardens.  There was a bit of a climb here but once over the top it was back onto the High Street and a short, sharp climb up into Exeter’s medieval castle for the finish.  There was a great atmosphere here with music by Adam Isaacs (The Voice fame) and all the runners milling around discussing hills and times with big smiles on their faces.
There were some “shouts” from the commentator and Landmark got a rousing reception when we announced we had a team of 24 out, but not quite enough to retain the biggest team prize this year.  However, we went even better than that with Frank Reay winning the Veteran Over 50 age category prize with his 28th place finish in a superb time of 19 mins and 4 secs.  One of our guests Emma Hitchins won the 1st lady trophy too so Landmark did well on the day.

Well done to all the Landmark runners and thank you to everyone who has sponsored the team.  Our just giving page will remain open for a little while longer for any last minute contributions
Ian Lynch – Team Captain

Landmark Hound Dogs flushed with success in WaterAid200 Challenge

On 8th June 2013, a team of four intrepid Landmarkers undertook the WaterAid200 Mountain Challenge to help raise funds for developing safe water supplies in rural Nepal.  This was a national event organised by Water Aid with the aim of getting a team of people on top of the 200 most popular peaks in the UK at the same time.

Team leader Ian Lynch had devised a 10 mile circular route that took in the target summit of Hound Tor as part of a more challenging walk.   Ian said: "As this peak is easily accessible I thought we should try and match the sort of effort others would be doing in the more mountainous regions of the UK.”

Adam Allford, James Cook, and Lee Bastyan joined Ian on the challenge and had a very enjoyable 3 hours walking in breath-taking scenery on a beautiful sunny day.  Their route took in 9 other peaks on Dartmoor over a 10 mile course that meant they climbed a total of 1687 feet.  The target peak of Hound Tor was reached at the 6 mile mark where the team met up with another group from the Environment Agency.  Whilst that team had taken a much easier route they had also included a few fancy-dress costumes which they let us share for this photo opportunity.


Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the day and with your help have raised £287.50 to date.  Their fundraising page will remain open for a few more days so if you feel they deserve a bit more you can contribute to the total at

Footballers Missing Millions

By Gerard Faulds

A recent report from the footballers’ charity Xpro believes that as many as 8,000 former players have forgotten pensions, including a well-known player who has £500,000 in a pension he didn't even know existed.   Almost anyone can lose track of their financial assets - it is estimated that over £10 billion of accounts, plans and policies have been forgotten or overlooked when an estate has been distributed.

Since the launch of Landmark’s ground-breaking Financial Asset Search (FAS) service in 2009, we have helped probate professionals to identify potentially huge sums of money belonging to the estate which had become lost or forgotten. Frequently, life policies and pension plans are identified where it is possible that the deceased was not aware that they even existed.

There are lots of reasons for this. In the case of life policies, around a third of all policies are purchased with a single premium,  meaning that reviewing bank statements some years later will not identify the existence of the policy as there are no regular premiums. What if the deceased purchased a single premium life policy was many years ago - how would you identify its existence if the paperwork was missing?

A Landmark Financial Asset Search (FAS) looks for these types of financial assets - those which are lost or forgotten. We contact over 200 financial institutions giving you confidence that the entire estate has been identified for distribution to the beneficiaries.

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Landmark supports team in achieving Chartered Geographer status

Landmark Information Group, the UK’s leading supplier of digital mapping, property and environmental risk information, has announced that three of its team have now been awarded Chartered Geographer (CGeog) status from the Royal Geographical Society. The professional accreditation recognises competence, experience and professionalism in the use of geographical knowledge as well as promoting skills and professionalism in the workplace.

Landmark’s Business Analyst Guy Collins, has just been awarded CGeog this week, and follows Matt Wills, Senior GIS Analyst, and Darren Lamble, IT Development Project Manager who have previously achieved the status.  Guy, Matt and Darren are all Fellows of the Royal Geographical Society and successfully attained the CGeog status having met the Society’s strict criteria of having at least six years' geographical experience since graduation from university.

Mark Milner, CEO of Landmark Information Group said, “We are very proud of our team who have successfully achieved the highly-regarded Chartered Geographer status. It illustrates the importance we place on continued professional development across the business and is a great endorsement that recognises the breadth of experience and in-depth knowledge that supports our Product Development activity”

According to the Society, CGeog is the only internationally recognised professional accreditation for those with competence, experience and professionalism in the use of geographical knowledge, understanding and skills in the workplace.

Adds Guy Collins: “Landmark has supported me and my colleagues in not only becoming Fellows of the Royal Geographical Society, but in applying for the CGeog status.  By doing so, it demonstrates our competence, understanding and experience of geographical knowledge and gives us a greater professional standing.  It also provides a great deal of assurance to our clients who rely on Landmark and its range of digital mapping, GIS and related environmental reports, regarding the expertise across our business.”

For further information visit  

Landmark Information Group delivers asset management intelligence to Family Mosaic housing association

Provides address matching, bedroom count data and alerts regarding potential illegal sublets

Housing association, Family Mosaic, has worked with Landmark Information Group, the UK’s leading supplier of digital mapping, property and environmental risk information, to access a range of address matching, data cleansing and property analysis services as part of a data quality verification and improvement programme, for its portfolio of over 24,000 homes.

As a result of the data analysis exercise managed by the Landmark Analytics division – formerly Calnea Analytics – just under 40 potential illegal sublets were flagged for further investigation, in addition to over 200 potential leaseholder re-sales or sublets where Family Mosaic did not have the data.  In addition Landmark Analytics was able to verify specific property types, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms across the portfolio, potential discrepancies in council ward and local authority data, which the team can now investigate and verify.

Commenting on the project, Neil Topping, Business Processes Officer of Family Mosaic said, “With over 24,000 properties in our portfolio and serving more than 45,000 people, we are one of the largest housing providers in London, Essex and the South East.  It is vital that the information within our property database is accurate on a number of levels and so we have undertaken this intelligence exercise with Landmark Analytics, which has a reputation for having one of the UK’s most accurate residential property databases.”

 “Our immediate need was to ensure all addresses in our database match the format of Royal Mail’s, however since working with Landmark, we have been able to analyse a wider range of metrics, such as bedroom count,” confirms Neil Topping. “This is particularly important due to the so-called ‘Bedroom Tax’ as this information needs to be accurate for the benefit of our tenants.  All in all, working with Landmark has saved us a great deal of time and they have been able to provide more intelligence than we were originally expecting at the outset.”

Carole Oliver, Business Development Manager, Landmark Information Group added: “At Landmark, we are able to closely support Housing Associations with a wide range of business intelligence and asset management services, from analysing addresses, bedroom counts and council tax banding to tracking potential sublets or tenancy frauds. We also provide valuation services that deliver advantages to a housing association’s treasury team.  The accuracy and breadth of our property database which is used by HMRC, and in models approved by Fitch Ratings and Standard & Poor’s, supports housing officials with verifying and maintaining the overall quality of their internal records.”

Landmark Information Group provides a wealth of consultancy, data and mapping services, including simple, online GI mapping solutions that enable providers to instantly identify areas of risk, visualise essential business intelligence and deliver significant efficiencies and improvements.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Research methodology – How to tell a story with data

The beauty of Britain is demonstrated by the famous landmarks, ancient and modern that adorns the landscape from Land’s End to John o’Groats.

Embellished with royal palaces, castles, magnificent cathedrals, legendary sites and picturesque villages, the ever-evolving British landscape has changed dramatically since World War II. Many new developments have been welcomed with open arms, whilst others have courted controversy.

Using our archive of 1.4 million map images, including Historical Maps, which form part of the Envirocheck Report, Landmark Information Group analysed the site of  the Angel of the North, one of the more controversial landmarks built post-war, to demonstrate how the British landscape has changed.

The Story of the Angel of the North
Overlooking the A1 at Gateshead, at least 90,000 motorists a day – more than one person every second – pass the Angel of the North, a steel sculpture of an angel, 66ft tall and with wings measuring 177ft, designed by sculptor Antony Gormley and completed in 1998.

Opponents raised concerns that the sculpture would distract drivers and cause accidents and ruin views.

Built in an area of coal mining, the Angel of the North signifies that coal miners worked beneath the structure for two centuries.

Sculptor, Antony Gormley commented of the Angel of the North: ‘I want to make something we can live with and that becomes a reservoir for feelings – feelings that perhaps we hadn’t known about until this thing was there, or feelings that couldn’t arise until it was’.

Our in-house analysis showed:

  • That the coal pits and collieries surrounding the Angel of the North were largely dis-used by the 1950s.
  • The Angel of the North is built on the site of an old reservoir, a potential source of ground instability.

How you can discover the story behind your site
Although investigating the past land use of a site or area can be a challenging and complex prospect, Landmark Information Group have reduced the complexity of this process by:

  • Establishing and maintaining an archive of digital historical mapping. 
  • Developing on online historical map analysis platform, Envirocheck Analysis
  • Developing bespoke GIS tools for fast and easy data interrogation.
  • Utilising existing GIS software such as Mapinfo and ArcMap for analysis.
  •  Completing the project of analysing the UK’s historic mapping to identify past land use.

With these foundations in place a site’s history can be established  without having to leave your desk, by “peeling back” or “building up” imagery to create layers of easily visualised information. Where changes occur between the image layers changes to the environment and landscape can be identified, both minor and significant.  These can range from alterations of the landscape (in-filling of depressed land and water features) to the development of housing and industrial centres.
Visualisation of data provides unique insight into the changing landscape of the UK that can be accessed through our environmental product range.

Take the first step to discovering the story behind your site
If you would like more information about the Envirocheck Report, or to book a demonstration of Envirocheck Analysis, please contact 0844 844 9952 or email

Application: Analysis of the Angel of the North

Angel of the North site as depicted on streetview mapping

Using a bespoke data interrogation tool we selected and viewed combinations of the hundreds of datasets available to Landmark.   With our site selected we chose to view landfill data from multiple sources, both historic and contemporary, and current licensed waste sites, planning application data, fuel stations, areas of outstanding natural beauty and many more.

Next we composited historical map images with OS mapping to create a visual depiction of changes to the human and natural landscape. In the case of the Angel of the North we started by viewing a county series map from 1862. 

The map image depicts collieries, coal pits and rail infrastructure in the area.

County series historic map overlaid on contemporary Ordnance Survey mapping.

The 1862 County series map.

Layering historical map images reveals that the site of the Angel is built directly on top of a man-made reservoir.

Angel of the North site with Landmark’s in-filled land feature displayed as a red polygon.

1951 Ordnance Survey mapping depicting the reservoir site still in use.

Landmark’s holding of historical mapping is viewable within Envirocheck Analysis, an online software tool, aimed to provide significant time saving and improved accuracy benefits when undertaking historical map analysis,. These historical maps are projected over the national grid to ensure accuracy.   For any one area there can be as many as forty unique maps, spanning from the mid-1800s to the modern day.

In the case of the Angel of the North we have thirty viewable maps, ranging from 1859 to 2013.

The historic maps used for the analysis of the Angel of the North are available as part of the Envirocheck Report, which delivers site-specific information, that enable you to complete a phase 1 desk study.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Bridget Whelan, Flooding of our Home and Garden - Blog 2: Clean up begins

Well we have made it to Friday and boy is it cold, just been to buy electric heaters.
Things are now starting to dry out with the help of four dehumidifiers and two fans only problem is if you go downstairs you can barely hear yourself think, it’s like being on the runway at Heathrow!

We have been visited by the local councillor and members of the Environment Agency and I have to say they have been exceedingly helpful over the last few days.

The downstairs of the house still looks like a warzone but we are in the process of boxing and storing the possessions we have been able to save and although an awful lot of our furniture has been lost, it is possible some of the solid wood items may be saved and restored.

The cold weather has both benefits and downsides, benefits being, at least the wet items and the things piled up outside don’t smell and the downsides are obvious, hence the buying of the heaters!

At the moment we are in a lull in activities in the house as we await the arrival of more boxes for storage, but the vehicle recovery guys have been today to take away hubby’s car.  When it was winched up on the wagon it was almost unbelievable the amount of water that came out of it, water that wasn’t obvious when it was standing on the drive.  To keep busy we have been wrapping Christmas gifts and delivering as many as we can because as you can imagine we are extremely hard pressed here for space, so for the members of our family Christmas has come early this year!

Last night for a break we went to the Victorian Fayre in Worcester after having a lovely meal cooked for us by our grand daughter.  It was freezing cold in town but the sight of the lights and stalls puts you in the festive mood and allows you to forget what’s going on at home for a couple of hours, and we also bumped into a couple of friends that we had not seen for  a while, so it was well worth going.  The highlight of the evening was watching the face of our grandson as he went passed us on each revolution of the carousel, what a picture.

The daunting task for the weekend is to check out what we have lost in the garden sheds and outbuildings but the lifting alone should keep them warm anyway and I will be chief tea maker.  (For those of you that don’t know I have Fibromyalgia, which causes muscle pain and fatigue, and also asthma so I am not a lot of help when it comes to the heavy lifting)

I have asked the EA about my concerns over flood defences causing flooding elsewhere and have been reliably informed the each set of defences only causes about a 1 millimetre rise in the river and therefore makes little or no difference to anyone downstream, but I have to say I’m still not whole heartedly sure but hey, if the experts tell me it’s right then who am I to argue.

I have been told several times this week that people are surprised at how upbeat I am but really it’s a case of laugh or cry, and crying is so tiring.  Being tired is something I can manage on my own without adding to it, although our eldest daughter and her children made me laugh so much the other night, I was exhausted.

Well, it’s about time we went to see if the dehumidifiers need emptying and also wash up the lunch items, you see, even when the local brook decides to make a house call the menial chores still have to be done.  So love to everyone and keep warm and safe, back soon.

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Simplification of CRC, changes in future phases - webinar Q&A

The following questions are a sample of those that were raised during the fourth of our free webinars on CRC held on 5th June 2013.  We intend to repeat this webinar and there will be others in the series on CRC to follow.  

These questions concern the changes to the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme that have recently been brought in by the CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme Order 2013.  

Please note that this article is not intended to provide legal advice and should not be relied on.  It is not to be regarded as a full statement of law and practice in this area and specific advice should be taken on matters of concern.

Q Are domestic 01 and 02 profiles included where these are used for business purposes or staff accommodation?
A No.  Electricity supplies through profile class 01 and 02 meters are excluded now, no matter what they are used for.

Q Is all gas used to power CHP excluded?  If so, from which date?
A All gas used to supply CHP plant is excluded, from compliance year 2012-13 onwards.  It doesn't count as gas used for heating purposes, and only gas used for heating purposes now has to be reported.

Footballers Missing Millions

By Gerard Faulds

Since the launch of Landmarks ground breaking FAS service in 2009, we have helped probate professionals to identify potentially huge sums of money belonging to the estate which had become lost or forgotten. Frequently, life policies and pension plans are identified where it is possible that the deceased was not aware that they even existed.

There are lots of reasons for this. In the case of life policies around a third of all policies are purchased with a single premium meaning that reviewing bank statements some years later will not identify the existence of the policy as there are no regular premiums. What if the deceased purchased a single premium life policy was many years ago- how would you identify its existence if the paperwork was missing?

A Landmark FAS search looks for these types of financial assets - those which are lost or forgotten. We contact over 200 financial institutions giving you confidence that the entire estate has been identified for distribution to the beneficiaries

Almost anyone can lose track of their financial assets. It is estimated that over £10 billion of accounts plans and policies have been forgotten or overlooked when the state has been distributed.

A recent report from the footballers’ charity Xpro believes that as many as 8000 former players have forgotten pensions including a well-known player who has £500,000 in a pension he didn't even know existed.