News: September 2021

Beavers; COP 26: COP26 – Richmond Climate Action Group events; Dragonflies; Environment Bill progress; Fall into Nature programme by Plantlife; Local natural flood management projects; Reeth Surgery vegetable beds; Sustainable Swaledale Facebook Group has reached 200 members; Tree guard removal working party 21 October; Trees facing extinction in the wild.

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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Beavers in the Arkle and Swale?

The government is consulting on the reintroduction of beavers in England which it hopes would deliver substantial benefits including increasing biodiversity, restoring wet woodlands, enhancing natural river processes, and attenuating water flows. DEFRA is seeking views on current and future releases either into enclosures or the wild and also on the mitigation/management of beaver  activity/ impacts in the wild. 

Applications for licences to release beavers into the wild would require a comprehensive impact assessment and would need to meet certain criteria such as demonstrating positive stakeholder engagement, local buy in and putting in support for landowners and river users.  

The government also plans to give beavers legal protection  in England, making it an offence to deliberately capture, kill, disturb or injure them, or damage their breeding sites or resting places, as part of efforts to support their recovery.

The consultation ends 17/11/2021 with publication of comments expected early in 2022. The consultation paper and supporting documentation is available at:

COP26 is almost here!

The 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference  (COP 26) is being hosted by the UK and Italy in Glasgow between 31 October and 12 November 2021.

The summit will bring together heads of state, climate experts and campaigners to agree coordinated action to tackle climate change.  The four main goals are:

• Secure global net-zero by mid-century and keep 1.5C degrees (temperature rise) within reach

• adapt to protect local communities, livelihoods, homes and natural habitats

• targeting finance to protecting people and places

• working together to deliver change 

Details of the programme and supporting documentation can be found on the COP website at: Attend some of the local events detailed below, watch out for lots of media coverage and consider lobbying your MP to ensure the UK follows up its pledges.

COP26: Richmond Climate Action Partnership events

Richmondshire Climate Action Partnership (RCAP) is running a number of events in the run up to the COP event. These free events will be open to Richmondshire residents throughout October and you are invited to sign up for events.

The events will showcase some of the wonderful work being done by organisations that work across Richmondshire, nationally and even internationally to support carbon reduction and/or protection and enhancement of our natural environment. Smaller local businesses and community groups are also running a number of  events. 

The festival covers a wide range of subjects including renewable energy solutions for home and business, the nature recovery work of the Tees-Swale Project, plastic free woodland and forestry, a trip to the Festival of Thrift, and much more. Hopefully something for everyone!

Please sign up early and  support the great work being done to reduce Richmondshire’s carbon footprint and conserve and enhance the ecological quality of our district.

Event details can be found on the Richmondshire Climate Change Action Partnership website:

Dragonflies on the move

I have noticed more dragonflies this summer: the lakes at the Foxglove Covert Local Nature Reserve were especially busy earlier in the year with all sorts of dragonflies and damselflies. The Dragonfly Society has just published its ‘State of Dragonflies 2021’ report which has revealed that many dragonflies are moving into the north as a result of climate change. At the same time, some of the upland and northern dragonflies such as the common hawker and black darter are suffering because of the loss of peat bog habitat and the impact of drought.  .


Environment Bill progress

The Environment Bill is currently being scrutinised in  the House of Lords. Factsheets providing background information to the bill have been updated on the government website:

Fall into Nature Programme run by Plantlife

One of the Richmondshire Climate Action Partnership sessions is a  presentation  from Plantlife about the importance of wildflower meadows and pasture. Focused specifically on Richmondshire, this session is part of Plantlife’s Fall Into Nature programme running throughout October. Details of  the programme are on the Plantlife website:

Local natural flood management projects

A Richmondshire Today article published 28/08/2021 outlines the environmental benefits accruing from a three-year natural flood management (NFM) project in Bishopdale. Measures to slow down the flow of Bishopdale Beck through the use of leaky dams and hedge planting have also benefitted wildlife. The Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust are working on a number of projects including flood management in Arkengarthdale and increasing tree cover on the Ure. 


Reeth Surgery vegetable beds

The community vegetable beds at Reeth Surgery have been productive all summer and there is still time to pick courgettes and runner beans which have now climbed up to the top of the lovely sun and moon towers created by Michael Kusz.

There are still plenty of herbs and rocket available for picking – many of the herbs can be dried for future use or chopped into ice cubes with a bit of water and taken out of the freezer and added to the cooking as required.

Sustainable Swaledale Facebook Group now has 200 members!

A warm welcome to the 200th member who has joined the Sustainable Swaledale Facebook Group.  The Facebook Group is a more informal area for people to post content and discuss issues. Find out for instance how to make your own conker laundry liquid!  You can link to the Facebook Group  direct or follow the link from the Sustainable Swaledale website.

Tree guard removal working party 21 October 2021

Would you like to get out in the fresh air and help out with some tree guard removal? Come along on Thursday 21st October at 10am to the Heggs-Castle cluster in Arkengarthdale. If you can help out for a couple of hours you’ll make a big difference – or bring some lunch and stay with us until 3pm.

No special equipment needed but please wear outdoor gear, rugged footwear and bring some gardening gloves if you can. Meeting place is at the top of the drive down to Castle Farm, one mile up Arkengarthdale Road from Reeth. There’s plenty of parking on the side of the road and it’s an easy walk down to the site. If you have any questions, please email

Trees facing extinction in the wild

The Botanic Gardens Conservation International (BGCI) published their report: State of the World’s Trees in September 2021. The report estimated that at least 30% of the 60,000 known tree species worldwide face extinction. This includes British native trees with ash affected by ash die-back and over three quarters of the  170 species of Sorbus native to Europe (rowans and whitebeams) considered to be threatened.

The report says that necessary action includes scientific planting schemes with the right tree in the right place.  Rowan trees are part of the mix of trees planned for the Together for Trees planting in the two dales over the next year.

Core Group Meeting

We are hoping to return to meeting in person over the next few months provided the Covid situation remains stable. Details of the next meeting are to be confirmed. Please get in touch if you’d like to join us.

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