News: July 2023

Red Admiral butterfly, image by Ralph from Pixabay

Big Butterfly Count; Mires Beck Nursery visit; National Park Protectors Awards 2023: Sustainable Swaledale nomination; North Yorkshire  Community Awards: Sustainable Swaledale nomination; North Yorkshire County Council to oversee a Local Nature Recovery Strategy; Tree Monitoring; Tree Seed Collection and Growing Events; What’s in a word: 1st July Fundraising Event; United Utilities Not Renewing Grouse Shooting Leases;World Records Hottest Days; Yorkshire Dales Bird of Prey Partnership Criticised

Big Butterfly Count

Big Butterfly Count is back – 14 July to 6 August. Check out the instructions on how to  join the UK’s largest citizen science project. Scientists have noticed that the numbers of butterflies dipped after previous hot summers, taking many years for numbers to recover. They want to see if this will be the case this year following on from last year’s record temperatures.

Mires Beck Nursery visit

There are still a couple of spaces on the trip to Mires Beck tree nursery on August 10th. It’s an inspirational place if you want to know about propagating trees and the trip is for anyone interested in the Tree Nursery project. Minibus transport is being arranged from Reeth.  Contact Naomi – if interested.

National Park Protectors Awards 2023: Sustainable Swaledale nomination

Sustainable Swaledale was honoured to be shortlisted for the ‘Campaign for National Parks (CNP) – Changemaker of the Year’ award for work on various projects. The National Park Protector Awards, which have been run annually for decades by the Campaign for National Parks, recognise and reward the efforts of individuals and groups who either champion change or protect the national park landscape.

Rob and Margaret went to the Houses of Parliament on 12th July for the award ceremony but the group lost out to the impressive Save Our Windermere: stop the sewage campaign organiser Matt Staniek, who has spent the last two years campaigning on tackling water pollution in Windermere. We were honoured to have been shortlisted and thank the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust for nominating us. A full list of winners and runners up for the three awards can be found on the CNP website.

One of the judges was CNP Ambassador and filmmaker Ruth Garrett, who many may remember filming the group planting trees at Ewell. She received a New Perspectives Award last year and produced a film entitled  Cultivating carbon and cows: sustainable carbon farming in the Yorkshire Dales National Park .

We had some very interesting conversations with other nominees including the Wild Ingleborough Project, a  landscape-scale project working with the community to effect nature, and also discovered that the South West Peatland Partnership are trialling the woollen logs produced by Ruth Lindsey, who is trying to develop alternative uses for wool. Ruth came to speak to our group over a year ago about her plans to persuade restoration projects to use wool logs for peat restoration rather than coir logs.

North Yorkshire Community Awards: Sustainable Swaledale nomination

Sustainable Swaledale is pleased to announce that is has been nominated for the ‘North Yorkshire Community Awards: Caring for the Environment’ award.  The North Yorkshire Community Awards recognise the contributions volunteers make to lives in North Yorkshire. The Caring for the Environment award is awarded to groups who have demonstrated a commitment to delivering community based initiatives that protect, restore and enhance our natural environment, helping to tackle the causes and impacts of climate change or supporting nature to thrive. All nominations are judged by an independent panel and are based on how the individual, organisation or project has:

  • tackled issues that affect people living in North Yorkshire
  • made a difference to their community
  • helped get people involved and inspired others

Sustainable Swaledale has been shortlisted for the next stage of the process which will involve 2 members of the judging panel coming to visit the group to find out more about what the group does.

North Yorkshire County Council to oversee a Local Nature Recovery Strategy

North Yorkshire County Council will be responsible for a Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS)  across the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks, 3 AOBs and York. The Council will agree priorities, map the existing areas that support nature and create or improve habitats and meet wider environmental goals. It is expected that the strategy will include the creation of more wildflower meadows, tree planting, peatland restoration and wetland creation.

North Yorkshire Council’s executive member for climate change, Cllr Greg White, has said: “Key to achieving this will be creating genuine local collaboration with a partnership of organisations and individuals so we will be working with our national park authorities, AONB partnerships, town and parish councils, community groups, local landowners and farmers to ensure we create a thorough plan for our county and address its needs to direct our future policies and ambitions”.
Source: Harrogate Informer

Solar panels campaign by CPRE

CPRE (The Campaign for Rural England) is campaigning for an increase in the use of solar panels. Research by UCL Energy Institute, commissioned by CPRE, shows that at least 60% of the solar energy needed for the UK can be delivered through installations on new builds, commercial buildings and car parks.

Increasing the use of roof top solar panels would:

  • Cut carbon emissions and help tackle the climate emergency
  • Protect the countryside by sparing more land for farming and nature
  • Make energy systems more efficient by generating power close to where it is needed

Take their quiz to see how much you know about it’s potential. Sign their petition to urge the government to set a target for roof-top solar.

SOS – Save our Swale

A public meeting was held on 12 July at Richmond Town Hall, arranged by Save our Swale, a group of volunteers concerned about the ongoing pollution of the River Swale. There was standing room only with many people unable to attend. Over 100 people heard from Charlotte Simons from the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust, Ron Wood from Richmond District Angling Society, scientist Keith Thomas who interpreted the data on pollution levels in the Swale and Deborah Meara, who presented the case for obtaining designated bathing water status (DBWS) for Richmond.

Links to news coverage of the meeting plus slides for the presentations at the event can be found the SOS facebook page. You can also keep in touch via their twitter link: #saveourswale

Rishi Sunak, MP for Richmond, was unable to attend but sent a letter supporting the campaign.

Tree Monitoring

During June we surveyed 24 sites where Together for Trees has planted over the past two years. It has been inspiring seeing how most sites have prospered and we are pleased to say we have an overall success rate of 89%. The figure would have been higher except for a couple of sites that suffered badly from the effects of warm dry weather in late May and June. The affected sites were all planted this year on south-facing slopes with a mix of other factors that made it hard for newly planted trees to establish healthy root systems. Even so, most of the trees planted on these sites survived and we will be revisiting later in the summer for a further assessment before drawing up a recovery plan.

Tree Seed Collection and Growing Events

We will be repeating last year’s lovely day collecting tree seeds from Ivelet Wood on Saturday 23rd September, with the kind permission of Gunnerside Estate.

We have several hundred saplings that have germinated following last year’s collection, and these have been potted out ready to go into our tree nursery.

We’ll meet at Rampsholme Bridge just north of Muker again this year – please email if you’d like to come along and we’ll send out some joining instructions.

We’ll shortly be arranging a construction day for our nursery too – look out for further details.

United Utilities Not Renewing Grouse Shooting Leases

United Utilities, which owns a number of moors across northern England where it leases grouse shooting to “sporting tenants” announced at its AGM that it is not going to renew the grouse shoot leases once the current leases terminate. United Utilities told Channel 4 News that “We made the decision some time ago not to issue or renew any leases on a long term basis …where we own the sporting rights…to ensure the best possible outcomes for water quality…”.  Source: Westmoreland Gazette

What’s in a Word – 1st July Fundraising Event

The Joan and Gavin Graveson lecture at the Low Row and Feetham Institute was attended by over 60 people.  The event started with the showing of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority film: ‘Farming Through The Seasons’ which follows the ups and downs of Stephen Bostock and his nephew Dave Fullerton at Hall Farm in Gammersgill, Coverdale. Described as ‘quietly brilliant’, it looks at hill farming and how farmers are working to support nature conservation. After a break for refreshments, raffle ticket purchases and blind auction pledges, Sandy Irvine, environmental blogger, spoke to us on defining ‘sustainable’ or more particularly defining what unsustainable means.  Audience suggestions for an unsustainable future included climate warming, pollution, reduced biodiversity and water shortages.

Thanks are extended to the following: Matt for organising the speaker, hiring the hall and providing the refreshments and nibbles and Alison, Cheryl and Gemma for operating the bar. Many thanks to Rachel for organising both the raffle and the blind auction and Stacey for assisting with the raffle on the night. The raffle raised  £245, the bar £150 and the blind auction £310, totalling £705.  Thanks to Rob for co-ordinating the audio visual with Neil on the Low Row Committee and Eric who offered assistance with the set up.  Thanks also to Rob and Simon for helping to put up posters and Margaret for posting on social media.

We also extend our thanks to those who generously donated raffle prizes or auction prizes and those who generously purchased the prizes. The funding will allow us to: apply for match funding for projects, kickstart projects without funding and also meet costs such as insurance and website hosting which can’t be covered by project funding.

World Records Hottest Days Ever

July has seen the world’s average temperature reach new highs as a result of a combination of human-induced climate change and the naturally-occurring weather pattern known as El Niño (which is going to be stronger next year). June was the hottest June on record, according to the EU’s climate monitoring service Copernicus. The Environment Agency received more reports of dead fish in June than the same time last year, generally attributed to low oxygen levels as river levels drop. Sea water temperatures are also 3 to 4C above average for the time of the year according to ESA/Met Office. The sea is particularly warm off the east coast (Durham to Aberdeen).

The Wildlife Trusts advise that you can help wildlife by putting out a saucer of water and leave some grass long to provide habitat.
Source: BBC news

Yorkshire Dales Bird of Prey Partnership Criticised

The RSPB has withdrawn from the Yorkshires Dales Bird of Prey Partnership which aims to address the fact that the Yorkshire Dales is one of the worst locations for bird of prey persecution. The RSPB argues that the partnership is failing to address the RSPB’s ambitions to increase bird of prey populations. Concerns have also been expressed over Natural England’s leadership of the Yorkshire Dales Bird of Prey Partnership by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority with Mark Corner, the authority’s natural environment champion, believing  that progress on tackling wildlife crime has been overstated and the partnership was “ineffective” and “poorly led” by Natural England. Source: Richmondshire Today

Raptor Persecution UK argues that there is much more to this story – check out their article about what a Freedom of Information request revealed.

Core Group Meeting

The August  meeting will take place at the Two Dales Bakery on 3 August  at  7.00pm. Please get in touch if you’d like to join us.

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