Category Archives: Natural environment

Where is the England Peat Strategy?

This post is by Jenny Hawley, policy manager at Plantlife, Paul De Zylva, senior nature campaigner at Friends of the Earth, Ali Morse, water policy manager at The Wildlife Trusts and Chris Corrigan, policy coordinator at Butterfly Conservation. This article was originally posted on the Wildlife and Countryside Link’s blog.

Patience is a virtue. Carbon has been accumulating in the UK’s peatlands for at least 10,000 years. It now equates to just around 30 years’ worth of the UK’s annual emissions. But many peatlands now serve the opposite function: due to continuing damage and degradation they are pumping this carbon back into the atmosphere.

Read more

It is time to seal the marriage between carbon finance and forest protection

This post is by Matthew Spencer, global director of landscapes at IDH – the Sustainable Trade Initiative.

All carbon pollution is equal: this is a founding assumption of the UN Climate Convention, because the atmospheric effect of a tonne of carbon dioxide emitted from a smoking tropical tree in Mato Grosso is no different from a tonne billowing from a coal power station in Missouri.

Read more

The government has chosen to seriously harm nature by letting farmers use neonics again

This post is by Matt Shardlow, chief executive of Buglife. It is an extract of a longer piece published by Buglife.

Last Friday, just when journalists were clocking off and the Saturday papers were being compiled for print, Defra announced it would allow farmers to once again use environmentally destructive neonicotinoid seed treatments on sugar beet.  This small administrative decision has huge environmental repercussions. It is seen by the public as a bellwether environmental issue, and also highlights profound inadequacies in pesticide decision making.  No wonder the announcement was made at the most muffled moment in the government’s weekly media diary.

Read more

Instead of calling gene editing good or bad, let’s talk about what it might be used for

This post is by Jonny Hazell, senior policy adviser at the Royal Society, writing in a personal capacity

So much commentary on the public debate around agricultural genetic technologies begins with the assertion “we need to talk about gene editing” [1]. Why? Did we talk about other plant breeding technologies, like x-ray mutagenesis or marker assisted selection? Should we have done? Unless there’s something inherently harmful about a technology, ie you cannot use it without creating something that poses a risk to human or environmental health, then surely the important thing to discuss is the problem the technology is being used to address and the consequences of the proposed solution.

Read more

Our health depends on nature but this year showed that access to green spaces isn’t equal

This post is by Dr Rose O’Neill, principal specialist for people and environment at Natural England.

For all its ups and considerable downs, 2020 was a year when the nation sought solace in nature.

Since April, Natural England has been asking people in England about their relationship with nature. Each week we ask hundreds of adults from all walks of life about how they have spent time in green and natural places, how this has affected their health, and their environmental attitudes and behaviours.

Read more

What does recent damage to the River Lugg tell us about the state of environmental law enforcement?

This post is by Matt Williams, trustee of the Herefordshire Wildlife Trust.

In 2019, I led a small group of young people and their parents on a guided nature walk around Lugg Meadows. We heard a kingfisher, talked about how otters might be present in the river and watched a red kite circling nearby. As a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), this section of the River Lugg is protected for its importance for biodiversity.

Read more

It’s time for nature to be at the heart of climate strategy

This post is by Matt Williams of the National Trust, Melanie Coath of the RSPB and Shirley Matheson of WWF UK, the co-chairs of the NGO Climate and Land Use Group.

This Saturday, the UK will host an international summit on climate change. It will mark five years since the Paris Agreement was signed and less than a year until the UK hosts the delayed UN climate talks in Glasgow.

Read more

What should the role of lab grown meat be in our future food system?

This post is by Jim Elliott, senior policy adviser and Tom Booker, policy assistant at Green Alliance

Lab grown meat and dairy, produced from a group of starter cells or from genetically modified microorganisms, rather than animals, is fast becoming a reality. Recent news revealed that a US company had won approval from Singapore’s food regulator to sell lab grown meat in the country. Meanwhile, a test restaurant has been set up in Israel, though it is waiting on the state regulator for approval to sell its lab grown chicken to the public. Media coverage has tended to focus on consumers, addressing questions like what lab grown meat tastes and feels like, whether people will want to eat it, or be able to afford it. But there are also big questions about what these technologies will mean for the food system, for farmers and for our environment. To find out more about this, we surveyed people working in NGOs, research organisations and farming groups to gauge their perceptions, and what opportunities and risks lab grown meat poses.

Read more

There are signs of hope for England’s marine protected areas

This post is by Gareth Cunningham, RSPB’s principle marine policy officer

The Isles of Scilly are internationally important for seabirds, and one of only two places in England where Manx shearwater and storm petrel breed. Over the past decade a huge amount of work has been done to boost the numbers of these two burrow nesting species through the eradication of rats on the islands of St Agnes and Gugh.

Read more
« Older Entries