News: October 2020

Welcome to our October newsletter. 

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

The Richmondshire Coalition of Climate and Environment interested parties, including the Sustainable Swaledale Group, have received a response from Richmondshire District Council (RDC) to their letter querying progress against their climate emergency commitments. RDC used the reply to reiterate its intention to honour the undertakings set out in the Climate Emergency motion approved last July. However, while the council is still proposing to appoint a Climate Change Officer, it is evident that the authority has diluted the scope of the public commitments it made last year. Additionally, with local government reorganisation likely, it may become increasingly difficult to push RDC on its commitment to establish a Climate Change Action Plan or set up a Partnership Group. Nevertheless, the Sustainable Swaledale Group has contacted the Council to offer assistance in achieving its climate objectives.

Litter pick

Volunteers tidied up around Reeth, Healaugh, Whita Bridge, Gunnerside and Muker on 19th September.  The group helped Richmondshire District Council promote the event and a number of volunteers got their picture in Richmondshire Today.  Rob Macdonald, who co-ordinated the event, also got interviewed for BBC Radio Tees and took the opportunity to promote the Sustainable Swaledale Group.

A big thank you to each team co-ordinator and Richmondshire District Council for providing the equipment and picking up the full bags at the end of the event. A total of 24 bags were collected. The Beavers also did a litter pick so well done to them.

Pictures of the volunteers as posted on Facebook.


The Sustainable Swaledale Group has sent in its response to the Government’s Planning White Paper: Planning for the Future. While recognising that the current planning system is not perfect, it is felt that the proposals would reduce local representation without improving housing provision. An article on  Richmondshire Today suggests that the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority have reached similar conclusions. It quotes the YDNPA as saying that “many of the plans would result in local communities having much less say, and at the wrong time, on the types and volume of development around them”. See the full article on the website.

The Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority are seeking the views of residents between 15-30 about the sort of future they want for the place they live in as part of the Local Plan 2023-2040 consultation. If you are under 30 or know some under 30s, there is a short questionnaire for completion.

Trees and flowers

A number of Sustainable Swaledale Group members have applied for grants to plant woodland as part of The Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust, Together for Trees  and the People’s Postcode Lottery campaign to copses of native broadleaf woodland within Swaledale with the aim of supporting local wildlife.  An objective of the project is to create wildlife corridors.

Another project creating wildlife corridors is the Tees-Swale: Naturally Connected project: £5.7 million of National Lottery  funding has been provided for a 5 year project to help restore some of Britain’s “most important natural landscapes in the north of England”.The area covers 829km of Upper Teesdale, Upper Swaledale and Arkengarthdale. The project aims to bring together farmers, landowners, communities  and volunteers to  boost diversity, mitigate climate change and enhance people’s wellbeing. Objectives include restoration of both hay meadows and peatland; looking after the river; and creation of wetland and woodland. Further information is available on the project website

Wildflower patches help to create wildlife corridors and after a submission from the Group,  the Reeth, Fremington and Healaugh Parish Council have agreed to leave the cutting of some small areas of grass until later in summer to allow the wildflowers to bloom and set seed. A small group has also been looking at the potential to collaborate with various organisations to improve wildflower corridors up the dales.

A Friends of the Earth report Missing in action: natural climate solutions in England’s National Parks claims that there is more woodland cover in London than the Yorkshire Dales NP.  The  YDNPA is increasing woodland coverage faster than other national parks but from a lower base.  The report suggests that a lot of the more marginal agricultural land would be suitable for planting woodland. See the blog: See the good for the trees on what this would mean for the Swaledale landscape 


There are still some vegetables and plenty of herbs available in the raised beds in the Reeth Surgery Garden.  Some trees and fruit bushes have been ordered and will be planted at some time over the winter. Soil, protective netting and signage have also been ordered with the last of the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority grant.

Great advice on what you can do  in your own garden in October is available as a blog post: October in the vegetable garden. If you are looking for something to do with green tomatoes, try out the green tomato chutney or green tomato mincemeat recipes on our website.

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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