News: July 2021

Covered this month: Climate change action; Climate change art; COP26 presidency programme; hedgehogs; Incredible Edible raised beds; litter pick; plastics recycling; swifts; tree identification; water consumption

Here are a few quick updates on what we’re up to…if you’re on Facebook, please join our group and get involved in the conversations.

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Climate change action

Friends of the Earth (FoE) have set their own targets for local authorities to meet regarding mitigating climate breakdown. Enter your postcode to find out how well FoE thinks Richmondshire DC is doing. 


Climate change art

Fabric panels depicting climate change can be seen at the Bainbridge Quaker House  between 10 and 4pm 16-27th July 2021. The panels produced locally are part of the Loving Earth exhibition which will be in Glasgow when the city hosts the COP 26 International Climate Change Conference in December 2021.

COP26 presidency programme

The presidency programme for COP26 has been released.  While the main focus will be on the negotiations, each day will focus on different themes such as advancing progress on clean energy; zero-emission transport; protecting nature; or ensuring the participation of women, girls and young people in climate action and include exhibitions and events. Further  details can be found at:

Presidency Programme – UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) at the SEC – Glasgow 2021


E-petition 550379, calling for the Government to add hedgehogs to the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 Schedule 5, was held on 5 July after the petition received over 100,000 signatures forcing a parliamentary debate.  Species listed in Schedule 5 are protected under Section 9 from being killed, injured or traded and it is illegal to destroy or block access to a building or structure that they are occupying. The Government has said that amending Schedule 5 to include hedgehogs and therefore give them greater protection would not address the main threat which is habitat loss. The debate did not, however, address the issue of habitat loss. The recording of the debate,  a written transcript for the debate  and a research note can be found on the parliament site at:

Incredible Edible raised beds at the Reeth surgery

The community beds at Reeth Surgery are now full of fruits and vegetables. The runner beans have some lovely sun and moon towers to climb up courtesy of Michael Kusz.

There are plenty of herbs, rocket and lettuce now available for picking.  Many of the herbs and the cut and come lettuce and rocket benefit from constant picking so do visit and help yourself to what is available. The blackboard advises on availability of produce and check out the blog on herbs on the Sustainable Swaledale website.

A watering rota has now been established and a whatsapp group to allow people to communicate about changes to the rota or the fact that the beds have already been watered so the person on the rota doesn’t have to worry. If you would like more information, or be included on the rota or in the whatsapp group, please email

Litter pick

Thanks to Anne Barden and the volunteers who litter picked around Reeth and parts of Arkengarthdale and Swaledale on 19th June. Thanks also to Two Dales Digital for sponsoring high vis vests and pickers. Another litter pick will be planned for the autumn.

Plastics recycling

The Co-op in Leyburn is now able to take soft plastics for recycling.  This includes plastic bags, crisp wrappers, plastic wrap and food bags which state that they can re recycled alongside plastic bags eg frozen food bags or the inner bag in a cereal box. Broadly this is plastic that pings back when it is scrunched but the Co-op website has a handy list of what they can take. This includes pet food pouches which are also being collected by Caroline in Reeth.


I saw and heard my first swifts at the start of the month and logged them on the Sustainable Swaledale Swifts, swallows & martins web page:

Have you logged your sightings?  

Tree identification

Two groups  went on Tree ID walks with Ed Mills, a chartered forester at the Heggs-Castle Cluster in Arkengarthdale.  Arranged by Tees-Swale: Naturally Connected, we walked the land between Castle Farm and Heggs Farm looking at the trees and using leaves, bark and flowers/fruits to help identify the different species. We encountered a  number of really fine mature trees within the area and also some alder carr.  We also learnt about the consequences of leaving tree guards on too long; what tree mixes we should be considering planting in the future  and how to recognise ash die-back which is increasingly visible in Arkengarthdale and Swaledale. Since the walk, I have been testing my identification skills and have  become so much more aware of ash-die back along the roadsides – it is easily identifiable by bare branches showing though the canopy. 

Water consumption

The government announced plans on 1st July  to make us think more about personal water consumption. Water supplies are coming under increasing pressure from climate change and population growth and energy usage for heating water accounts for 17% of an average household’s consumption.

Specific proposals that will be introduced over the next few years include:

• Mandatory water efficiency labels on new white goods such as washing machines and showers

• Requiring  water companies to improve on fixing customer supply pipe leakage

• Encouraging local authorities to incentivise property developers to install more efficient fittings by setting a tighter water consumption standard of 110 litres per person per day (currently 125l) 

• Looking at greater water efficiency in new developments and retrofits by use of rainwater harvesting water reuse and storage.

Additional areas have been added to the list of those suffering water stress and although  Yorkshire is not currently designated as such, we can’t be complacent and it is likely that should national water usage restrictions be introduced, we would be impacted. 


Core Group Meeting

Our meetings (first Thursday of the month) are online for the time being – please get in touch if you’d like to join us on Zoom.

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