Tag Archives: Flooding

How Michael Gove can unleash a new wave of farming entrepreneurs

English Longhorn cattle on Cissbury Ring, West Sussex, in winter

For farmers, change is a way of life. Weather is unpredictable. Consumer appetites change. Prices go up and down. Managing uncertainty and volatility goes with the job.

But the ability of farmers to keep bouncing back will soon be tested to its limits, and possibly beyond. Brexit will bring change of a scale and at a speed that will dwarf anything seen by the current generation of farmers. This could include changes to the availability and cost of labour, the size and terms of subsidy payments, the potential imposition of new import and export tariffs and, should certain trade deals be struck, increased competition from low cost food imports. Not all farmers will cope. Many are likely to fail. Read more

We have ignored the impact of land management on flood risk for too long

flood-sign_-tico-_flickrThis post is by Daniel Johns, head of adaptation at the Committee on Climate Change.

Over centuries our communities have developed around rivers, to ensure easy access to water for use by populations, industry and for navigation. At the same time, landowners have straightened and dredged rivers, drained their land and removed natural features, aiming to raise agricultural output and get excess water away downstream as quickly as possible. But, in recent years, we have seen time and again the enormous cost of too much water at once flowing into our heavily populated floodplains, despite the billions spent by the government on flood defences. Read more

Natural markets: an idea whose time has come?

Sunset reflected in the meanders of the Cuckmere River, Cuckmere Valley, East Sussex.It’s heretical for a think tank to admit this, but our latest big idea is not really that big. It is in fact medium sized and achievable step from where we are now.  It’s an idea so obvious, that once you hear it, you’ll be surprised it’s not happening already. But it isn’t, we checked. Rather than coming up with another big idea for nature, Green Alliance, in partnership with the National Trust, has researched how to enable existing big ideas, around ecosystem services and natural capital, to translate into real changes on the ground. The result is the Natural Infrastructure Scheme (NIS), a new market mechanism which would mean farmers and other land managers could financially benefit from environmental improvements such as flood alleviation and habitat creation. We think its simplicity could lead to ‘payments for ecosystem services’ becoming a mainstream market, reversing declines in nature, and supporting new, environmentally beneficial approaches to farming in the UK.

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Housing and planning bill shows national policy making is still short sighted

Sandbags Outside Front Door Of Flooded HouseThis post is by Richard Benwell, head of government affairs at the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust.

The Greener London report, published last week, is an excellent menu of options for making our capital cleaner, safer and more biodiverse. And, at the Greener London hustings on Friday, we saw mayoral candidates vie with one another over a wide selection of ideas, and over who would commit to finish them faster: Read more

The story of the voles, the ditch and the prime minister

A little wild water vole eating some juicy blackberries looking at the cameraThis post is by conservationist and blogger Miles King. A version first appeared on his blog.

Those who believe that nature is important and that, for it to be better protected from the activities of people, the best approach is to gather evidence – scientific evidence – analyse it and present it to those in power, should heed this story. Read more

How free fruit can encourage people to climate-proof their homes

This is a guest post by Erik Bichard, Professor of Regeneration and Sustainable Development at the University of Salford.

The press release announcing the launch of the Green Deal in September last year contained an astonishing statement. It said that every one of the UK’s 26 million homes could benefit in some way from improvements to insulations, lighting, space and water heating, ventilation, and microgenenration. After decades of government efforts exhorting householders to take action, it appears that virtually none had taken the advice and finished the job.

As a statement of a potential market capacity this is impressive, but if the government expects to realise even a small portion of this in terms of take-up it may be disappointed unless it adopts lessons from behavioural studies. Read more