Bird crime; Climate change calculations for the two dales; COP26 summary; COP26: Richmondshire Climate Action Group Festival; Green Christmas stationery; Heating and insulation grants; Low carbon heat pump grants; Meadows; Planning: Yorkshire Dales barns; Tree planting in the two dales – volunteers sought; Trees: Rufus Woods; Trees and squirrels: Snaizeholme
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North Yorkshire has topped the RSPB’s bird crime table for the 7th year in a row with 26 out of 137 reported incidents in 2020 occurring in North Yorkshire. The RSPB says much of the persecution is linked directly to driven grouse shooting and has called for the industry to be regulated. If you see a crime in action, you should call 999 otherwise report to the police on 101, or you can speak in confidence to the RSPB on 0300 9990101.
Climate change calculations for the two dales
Check out this BBC calculator for projections on how the Arkengathdale/Swaledale climate will change with a 2 and 4°C rise. The general trend will be for warmer, wetter winters and drier hotter summers with an increased chance of extreme weather events e.g. heatwaves and heavy downpours.
Check out Swaledale’s climate twin – a blog on the Sustainable Swaledale website using the same data to match Swaledale’s future climate to a current comparator.
The UN Conference finally concluded with agreement reached over the Glasgow Climate Pact. While many believe that the dilution of the wording regarding the “phase down” of unabated coal usage rather than “phase out” has weakened the agreement, it still remains the first ever COP decision to explicitly address the issue of coal usage.
Alongside the Glasgow Climate Pact, there were major agreements on the following issues:
- More than 40 countries agreed to phase out coal-fired power by 2030/2040 with leading financial institutions agreeing to stop financing coal developments. Unfortunately some of the world’s largest coal users such as Australia, China, India and the USA didn’t sign up to the agreement and sought to dilute coal related sections of the Glasgow Climate Pact.
- Over 100 countries, collectively home to over 85% of the planet’s forests, pledged to halt and reverse forest loss and land degradation by 2030. Funds have been pledged to help developing nations restore land, tackle wildfires and support indigenous communities’ rights. Big financial companies have promised to end investment linked to deforestation.
- More than 100 countries have signed the Global Methane Pledge aiming to limit methane emissions by 30% by 2030, mostly by plugging leaky pipes. Scientists believe this alone could help avoid 0.3C warming.
Many scientists argue that there was insufficient progress in a number of areas:
- Some net-zero pledges missed the UN’s 2050 targets. Big polluters such as China and Russia, and Saudi Arabia will only work towards 2060 targets with India opting for 2070. Many scientists think that even 2050 is too late and action in the next 10 years will be most impactful.
- Money to support developing nations pledged earlier didn’t materialise and many observers remain sceptical that funds pledged at COP26 will be any more forthcoming.
The general scientific consensus, so far, is that maintaining the Paris target of 1.5°C global warming has not been achieved, with many organisations predicting that the world is currently heading for 2 – 2.4C of warming. Proposals called for by scientists, such as national limits on emissions or a global carbon tax, were not even discussed.
Action rather than words will make the most change and action over the next 10 years in particular will be most pertinent. Climate change is already here and making life harder for all of us.
COP26: Richmondshire Climate Action Group Festival
This environmentally themed event ran in parallel with COP26. A number of us took the opportunity to find out about B-lines, eco heating schemes, natural flood management projects, plastic tree guard-free woodlands and recycling as well as having a go at bodging and making a bird box. There are plans to make some of the recorded sessions available on the Richmondshire Climate Action site.
Green Christmas stationery
Look out for stationery that can be easily recycled such as glitter-free cards. Even bio-degradable glitter gets out into the environment so glitter is best totally avoided. Buy paper-only wrapping paper which can be recycled, or reuse old wrapping paper, repurpose other paper or consider reusable fabric wrappings. Save stamps for the Reeth Post Office charity collection, remembering to leave a margin around each stamp. Don’t forget to recycle your Christmas tree by arranging a special collection if you are signed up for the green bin collection or take it to a Household Recycling Centre.
Heating and insulation grants
Richmondshire District Council (RDC) is offering grants to help improve heating and insulation. The Energy Improvement Scheme offers grants for efficient boiler upgrades, cavity wall insulation and loft insulation to qualifying homeowners and private renting tenants. YES Energy Solutions is running the scheme for RDC and can be contacted on 01422 880 100.
Low carbon heat pump grants
The government has committed £450 million to offer £5,000 grants to households to replace gas boilers with low-carbon heat pumps. The grant will be available from April 2022 for three years. Environmental groups warn that the grant is insufficient to cover all the installation costs and insulation improvements required to help make the pumps more efficient.
The current RHI scheme being phased out by April 2022 is more generous if you can meet the cost up front and wait seven years for repayment.
Source: BBC article 19 October 2021
A New Scientist article reports that the UK based Grasslands+ coalition (Plantlife, Butterfly Conservation and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust) believes that meadows may be a secret weapon in the fight against climate change. The charities argue that the contribution that meadows can provide in terms of carbon sequestration, oxygen releasing photosynthesis and recreational space should not be underestimated. With over 97% of flower hay meadows lost since WW2, our Dales’ meadows are an important habitat.
Peat product ban called for by the National Trust
The National Trust has joined with international organisations to call for the ban of peat-based compost according to the BBC. While the UK government has already said it intends to ban the sale of peat compost to the public in England by 2024, the National Trust wants to ban the sale of peat-based products entirely within horticulture. You can do your bit by buying peat-free compost and checking what plants have been grown in when purchasing.
Planning: Yorkshire Dales Barns
The Yorkshire Dales Planning Committee discussed the issue of barn conversions at its October meeting. According to RIchmondshire Today there was a call for changes to be made to planning rules as landowners, offered the option of conversion to either holiday lets or local housing, were choosing holiday lets.
Together For Trees
The tree-planting season is here! Together For Trees planting schedule for Swaledale and Arkengarthdale is now online so you can see what’s available (and where) and sign-up.
Some sessions are already full, but don’t worry, more are being added all the time – and we really want to see you.
So please come along for some warming winter activity – why not start the New Year in a really positive way?
Trees: Rufus Woods
Offers of sponsorship are being sought for 300 of the 950 trees making up the new Rufus Woods near the old racecourse, celebrating Richmond Castle’s 950 years. A tree costs from £35 and you get an e-certificate with a location so you can visit your tree. Find out more at: www.rufuswoods.co.uk
Trees and squirrels: Snaizeholme
The Woodland Trust has purchased land surrounding the Snaizeholme Squirrel Reserve. Information on plans for the 550 acre site can be found on its appeal pages. Snaizeholme is one of three red squirrel reserves in the Yorkshire Dales National Park and the YDNPA and Red Squirrel Northern England have just published a joint report on the status of red squirrels in the Dales. Red squirrels have maintained their existence in their core areas with anecdotal evidence of them moving into mid-Wensleydale.