News: September 2022

Food waste and composting; Government environmental policies and protections under review; Hummingbird hawkmoths; Peat compost to be banned for domestic use and funding for paludiculture; Peat bog restoration; Seed collection walk and tree nursery: Wing It; Yorkshire Dales residents produce high green gas emissions

Image by ZenAga from Pixabay

Food waste & composting

Ian Clare of the North Yorkshire Rotters came to speak to the group 1 September 2022 about food waste and composting. Ian started with some frightening statistics about food waste and gave some tips for reducing food waste.  He then went on to tell us that more than 60% of the contents of the average rubbish bin is biodegradable and over a third can be easily composted at home. This includes fruit and vegetable peelings, garden waste, tea bags, coffee grounds, cardboard and paper.

Ian introduced us to the different systems that exist, some of which take cooked food waste and others only uncooked food waste and advised us on how to combat the common problems experienced with each system. Factsheets on the systems are available at:

North Yorkshire County Council subsidises traditional compost bins – find out more at  They are additionally offering buy one, get second half-price so see if someone near you wants to share a purchase.

Ian also talked about the Allerton Waste Recovery Park where waste from York and North Yorkshire goes. The Allerton Waste Recovery Park (AWRP) reduces landfill by 90% with food picked out and sent to a bio-digester and recyclable plastic extracted and diverted. Through gas production and burning of waste, AWRP provides energy to power 40,000 homes (equivalent size to Harrogate). The residue ash is used for road surfacing. Individuals and groups can ask to visit Allerton: email or visit

Government environmental policies and protections under review

The government has confirmed that it is reviewing funding for environmental land management schemes (ELMS) in the light of economic pressures on farmers and the government’s aims of boosting food security and economic growth.  ELMS is made up of three payment schemes – the sustainable farming incentive (SFI), local nature recovery and landscape recovery. The National Union of Farmers (NFU) has been calling for a delay to the introduction of the SFI arguing that there needs to be more detail confirmed for the SFI and that the scheme needs to deliver for both food production and the environment. Minette Batters, the NFU President also thinks that the larger rewilding schemes should be funded by private green finance rather than public funding. The Green Alliance think tank released a report in April  estimating that delaying ELMS by 2 years would reduce the saving in agricultural emissions delivered by 2035 by half and would have profound consequences for reaching net zero objectives

The Government is also said to be considering removing environmental protection requirements from enterprise zones.  A consortium of wildlife groups headed by the RSPB and including the Wildlife Trusts and National Trust are angered by the plans which they see as  “an attack on nature”, fearing deregulation would remove protection for wildlife, rivers, clean air and food standards.

Sources: BBC website  and Guardian article 26/09/2022

Hummingbird hawkmoths

These splendid moths have been sighted in and around Reeth and Crackpot this summer. The moths are summer visitors to Britain and are known to like lady’s bedstraw and valerian which is where they were seen by Joanna and friends. Other plants that they favour include red valerian, honeysuckle, jasmine, buddleia, lilac, escallonia, perutina, red madder and phlox. 

The RSPB describes it as a day-flying moth with a wingspan of about two inches (50-58mm). It has a brown, white-spotted abdomen, brown forewings and orange hindwings. It is very swift on the wing and an expert hoverer. The wings beat so rapidly that they produce an audible hum and can be seen only as a haze. They are summer visitors and can be found all over Britain mainly between June and September and generally migrate south to the Mediterranean although some are known to over winter in the UK. 

Peat compost to be banned for domestic use and funding for paludiculture

DEFRA announced in a press release on 27th August that peat based composts will be banned for domestic use from 2024. According to government figures, bagged retail growing media accounts for 70% of the peat sold in the UK.  The ban was supported by 95% of the respondents to the government consultation on this topic. The government is also working with horticultural firms to phase out peat based composts which are currently still allowed for the commercial sector. The government has also launched a £5 million fund to promote paludiculture (farming on rewetted peatland). 

If you want to know more about buying peat free composts, check out the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) guide on what to look from a peat-free growing medium or the BBC Gardeners World Magazine article on 11 of the best peat-free composts.  

Content collected in the green bins is used to create peat free compost which can be purchased at the Leyburn Household Waste Recycling Centre.

Peat bog restoration

You can hear how peatland restoration has seen a return of  sundew to Fleet Moss (between Buckden and Hawes) by listening to the Dales Countryside Museum (DCM) Blog.  

Down in the Peak District, the Kinder Scout National Nature Reserve has been extended by 25% or 226 hectares to create a reserve of 1,082 hectares in size (equivalent to 1,000 international rugby pitches).  The reserve is managed by the National Trust and the declaration by Natural England recognises the scientific work that the National Trust, University of Manchester and Moors for the Future Partnership are doing to monitor and evaluate the consequences of  peatland restoration.

Source: National Trust Press release 31/8/2022

Seed collection walk and tree nursery

Ancient woodland contains trees best adapted to local conditions. Using locally sourced, locally propagated seeds has huge benefits for biodiversity, biosecurity and survival rates.

The Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust would like to set up a tree nursery in Swaledale/Arkengarthdale with our help. The first step is local seed collection. The second is seed propagation followed by establishing a tree nursery. It sounds quite ambitious but baby steps will help get the ball rolling and even a small scale nursery is very worthwhile – and satisfying!

Two events are planned in October:

Seed Collection Walk –  Thursday 13th October 10-12:30. The walk will be led by Alasdair Fagan from the Woodland Trust and Carol Douglas from the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and will involve collecting seeds from local trees

Seed Nursery Workshop – Saturday 22nd October.  This workshop will look at the different techniques used to grow different species, show us how to make take away seed trays (with seeds and compost) for propagation and learn how to make a centralised tree nursery. The workshop will be led by Carol Douglas from the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust. Details still to be finalised but probably 10:30-14:30 on Saturday 22nd October at a location in Arkengarthdale with lunch provided. 

If you’d like to be involved in either (or both) of the events, please let Rob know: or phone Rob on 886 381.

Wing it

Sustainable Swaledale Group has received funding for its Wing It project for swifts, swallows and martins in Arkengarthdale and Swaledale from the YDNPA Sustainable Development Fund. The project will run for 2 years and aims to:

  • create 25 new nest sites each year
  • establish an inventory of nest boxes, bricks and cups
  • develop a team of installers
  • collect data about nest sites and bird gatherings 
  • increase public awareness and engagement with the birds
  • make the project sustainable going forward.

Yorkshire Dales residents produce high green gas emissions

Richmond Today article 14/9/2022 on a report produced by Small World Consulting based at Lancaster University, who have been commissioned to provide a review of the greenhouse gas footprint of each national park. They discovered that emissions per resident in the Yorkshire Dales National Park were roughly 15% above the UK average  and that the YDNPA was higher than other national parks.

The research looks at consumption and factors cited for the higher emissions include a dispersed population, needing to drive more and old housing stock. Emissions created by visitors, including travel to and from the park, and farming practices are broadly equal to the emissions created by residents.

According to the article, the study does suggest that with the introduction of carbon-cutting activities, the YDNPA could be among the country’s first areas to achieve net zero emissions by 2033. Suggested targets include reducing energy use by residents, visitors and industry; cutting volumes of food, drink and other goods consumed by residents and visitors; reducing visitor travel to and from the national park; and changing land use to cut production of gases such as methane. The report also highlights the relative importance of the national park as a potential source of nature-based solutions, including sequestering carbon through new woodland planting, restoring damaged  peatland and managing soils better. 

Core Group Meeting

The November meeting will take place 3rd November  at  7.00pm.  Please get in touch if you’d like to join us.

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