News: August 2021

Art and the environment; Climate change: UN IPCC report; Community vegetable beds; Côte du Swale;  Flower identification; Hen Harrier Day 2021; Planning consultation: local occupancy and barn conversions; Planning: Leyburn hotel and country store; Recycling; Swifts and swallows; Woodland planting; Woodland tree guard removal;   

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Art and the environment

Violet Livingstone-Owen from Reeth and Gunnerside Primary School has won the competition to design the Richmondshire Climate Action Partnership’s new logo. A photo of Violet with her design along with Mike Sparrow, Deputy Chair of Richmondshire Climate Action Partnership can be found on the Richmondshire website.

If you missed the climate change artwork  at the Bainbridge Quaker Meeting House, you can see many of the panels online.  The variety and quality of the work was excellent and the exhibition included work by local school children. Work was themed around issues such as climate change, plastic pollution in the sea and recycling. Many of the artists commented that the act of creating the artwork had encouraged them to act differently in the future. 

Ali Foxon from Boggy Doodles has developed a guided green sketching booklet for  North Pennines Art Week. Green sketching is about observing and sketching your surroundings. No need to worry about producing a masterpiece, the emphasis is on looking at your surroundings and connecting with nature. The booklet and videos on getting started are available on the North Pennines website.

Climate change: UN IPCC report

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has published a report saying that human activity is changing the climate in unprecedented and sometimes irreversible ways. Scientists have concluded that a  catastrophe can still  be avoided if the world acts quickly. Lots of coverage available in the press.

Community vegetable beds

The Incredible Edible community beds at Reeth Surgery are now full of fruit and vegetables ready for picking. The beds are contributing to the Surgery’s Green Impact Scheme entry.

A community garden managed by the Brompton on Swale Methodist church was praised on a visit by our local MP, the Rt Hon Rishi Sunak MP.

Community vegetable beds were also seen at a recent visit to York. There are six little gardens situated around York including planters in the Shambles market and raised beds next to the Red Tower. More information on the project can be found at Edible York. 

Côte du Swale? Climate change consequences for the wine industry

Climate change is impacting the wine industry with projections that by 2100, parts of Europe will become too warm for white wine production making areas like Swaledale more attractive. Find out more in the blog post Grape Expectations on the Sustainable Swaledale website.

Flower identification

A number of us were able to attend a guided botany walk at Foxglove Covert Local Nature Reserve on 26th July.  Ruth Starr-Keddle of the North Pennines AONB Partnership led the walk arranged as part of the Tees-Swale: naturally connected project.  Ruth took us through a logical approach to flower identification based on whether it was a regular flower, where all the petals  of a single whorl are similar in shape or size eg buttercup or clover,  or an irregular flower where all the petals are different eg vetch.  We also looked at composite flowers eg great burnet and umbellifers eg wild parsnip. 

We then went on to look at other defining aspects such as sepals, which can look like a flower petal  or be green; leaves, which can be helpful to distinguish plants such as creeping buttercup from meadow buttercup; and stalks which also help to differentiate similar flowers.  I hadn’t realised that so many plants, which all look very different, are all part of the rose family (Rosaceae). This was my first visit to  the Foxglove LNR and I would thoroughly recommend a visit. Please note because of its proximity to military installations, the driver must have photo-id.

Hen Harrier Day 2021

A number of online events marked Hen Harrier Day 2021.  As well as looking at the plight of hen harriers, the events, such as one recorded by Wild Justice, look at wider issues affecting the moorlands where hen harriers mainly reside.  

Planning consultation: Local occupancy and barn conversions

The National Park is updating the Local Plan that defines the rules applied in considering planning applications in the Dales. Feedback from residents has shown that there is a lot of interest in how rules are applied with respect to local occupancy and to barn conversions. The Park has therefore launched a new consultation specifically on these two topics. The Park is particularly interested in hearing from people or groups directly affected by these topics, but we are all invited to comment.

It is worth remembering that the National Park neither builds nor sells homes – all it can do is set the rules used to grant planning permission. The consultation is therefore about these rules – there’s no point commenting about anything else!

Local occupancy

The purpose of the current ‘local occupancy’ strategy is to build up a small stock of dwellings that are targeted at households that have a need to live in the Park, typically because of work or family. It works through the planning system by applying conditions as to who can occupy a property. Local occupancy homes tend to be 15-20% cheaper to buy than properties on the open market because there are fewer potential buyers.

An alternative to ‘local occupancy’ is a system based on ‘principal residence’, meaning that the occupiers must live in the house most of the time. This system discourages second home use but is open to people moving permanently into the area. It can mean more homes are built (because they are easier to sell) but they would be more expensive for local buyers.

The consultation is asking if we prefer to keep ‘local occupancy’, replace it with ‘principal residence’ or just let the market prevail.

Barn Conversions

The planning rules for barn conversions have changed recently and as a result there has been an increase in the number of permissions granted, and conversions carried out. The Park is reviewing its rules with regard to location, occupancy and design of barn conversions. As more barns get converted to residences, focus will shift to barns in more remote locations, where the impact on the landscape and demand in local services may be felt more strongly. The consultation is asking if conversion of more remote barns is desirable, whether permission should depend on use (holiday let or permanent home?) and whether applications should be considered on a case-by-case basis or quota based.

A further question relates to the permitted use of a barn conversion. Should they be reserved for local occupancy? Should holiday-let use be preferred? Or should they be sold on the open market and some of the sale price reclaimed and used to conserve barns that would otherwise fall into ruin?

A final set of questions relate to the design of barn conversions. The current approach leans heavily towards the preservation of the heritage value and features of a barn, which can be at odds with modern living demands for natural light, living space and building regulations. Which is more important: retaining barns’ original features and appearance or creating liveable housing? Is it better to allow the external appearance of a barn to be modernised than to allow it fall down?

This is your chance to tell the YDNPA what you think. There is more information in the consultation document and a link to an online survey where you can answer any or all of nineteen questions. Visit and type ‘consultation 4’ into the search box. The consultation closes on 20th September.

Planning: Leyburn hotel/country store

The Richmondshire DC Planning Committee’s decision on plans for a hotel and country store in Leyburn has been postponed because the Councillors agreed that there were great gaps in the information included; there had been insufficient local consultation and that carbon cutting features such as solar panels and electric vehicle charging points were lacking or absent. Visit the  Richmondshire Today article for more information.

Recycling: RecycleNow, recycle your cycle and recycling unicorns

Not sure what you can recycle?  A new website – RecycleNow allows you to plug in your postcode and see what your local authority collects. You can also search by item to ascertain the likelihood of an item being recyclable. Another handy option is the ability to search by room e.g. bathroom to ascertain what can be commonly recycled. Did you know that all parts of a  household cleaner bottle with trigger spray can be recycled but if a soap bottle has a pump, you can only recycle the bottle: the pump has to go into general waste?

Yorwaste has joined forces with local charities: The Re-Cycle Project, Get Cycling and Resurrection Bikes to encourage people to take unwanted bikes to the Household Waste Recycling Centres. The bikes will be refurbished and donated to good causes, or sold with proceeds ploughed back into community initiatives. They are promoting the campaign over August but bikes can be taken at any time.   More information is available on the Yorwaste website.

If your inflatable unicorn has given up the ghost over the summer, it and  other beach toys can be recycled by Wyatt and Jack as long as they display a CE mark.  You can purchase a £4.00 postage label for up to 2KG weight which should be enough to send  your inflatable. The company will create new items from the product such as tote bags, thereby help to keep it out of general waste. 

Swifts and Swallows

As these birds will start to gather shortly on telephone wires in preparation for their migrations, you might want to log sightings on the Sustainable Swaledale site. You can also view the distribution of current sightings on a map.

Woodland planting

A Richmondshire Today article looks at the motivation behind the creation of new areas of native woodland in  Upper Wensleydate at Sleddale Pasture and Swinesett Hill.  

Woodland tree guard removal

There’s an opportunity to take tree guards for recycling to a collection point near Hawes in the second half of October as part of Tubex’s recycling scheme. As a result, there is interest in doing some more tree guard removal in Rowleth Wood and a site in Arkengarthdale. Anyone interested in helping in early or mid-October should  contact

Core Group Meeting

It is hoped at we might have a September meeting in person, but this is still to be confirmed – please get in touch if you’d like to join us.

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