Author Archives: milbornecan

August Update

Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action 

It is a matter of how bad we’re willing to let it get

We’re already effed (as an eminent climate scientist put it on Twitter) and it’s rapidly getting worse – our changing climate that is – how much worse we let it get depends on how many of us act. It won’t go away if we ignore it and the task is now two-fold as we have delayed for far too long – we need to adapt to the changing climate as well as change our energy supply and shift our diets towards a far more plant-based one. The massive climate catastrophes not only in the Global North (Siberia, northwest America and China to name a few) but also close to home – Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Luxembourg and Belgium – are shaking people out of their denial, where it was unfortunately easy to feel ‘safe’ when such disaster seemed confined to the Global South or was predicted for even just a few years in the future. But neither awareness, nor hope nor fear alone, will fix anything. Act. Now. Choose to burn less fossil fuel.

What’s going on? One factor is that our formerly strong Jet Stream used to be fuelled by a pressure and temperature difference, keeping cold weather on the north side of it and warmer weather on the south. Now, fossil-fuelled ice-free open water in the Arctic allows it to get much warmer when exposed to the sun and constant higher-than-normal temperatures, and the Jet Stream is weakened, allowing colder weather to push down further south or hotter weather to push up further north. It becomes like a slow meandering stream; and the equivalent of oxbow lakes may break off and get stuck in one place with disastrous consequences. So, when the Jet Stream wobbles, an extreme in one place is accompanied by extremes of different types elsewhere as we have been seeing. We need to save all the ice we can. Governments have made commitments but the gap between the words and the action is widening. As well as reducing our own personal emissions with every choice we make, it’s literally vital that governments (and organizations and businesses) also tackle this crisis with the urgency it needs. What can you do? Protest; provide financial support to organisations such as Greenpeace or Transport Action Network who are mounting legal challenges to the government’s plans to ignore our predicament. It’s especially timely to do so now as we approach the COP26 talks which the UK is heading up; the UK is not showing climate leadership at the moment, as the government’s own Committee on Climate Change makes clear. Raise your voice for those you care about. We’re at a pivotal point for human history and the future of our loved ones.

Blossoming Hedgerows 

Wow! The survey we have been carrying out, thanks to the Hunt family, has taught us so much. I underestimated hedgerows! And, despite having my own hedges, took for granted they’d last for ever regardless of their management or lack of it. But no. Hedges will eventually die if not rejuvenated by laying or coppicing at (long) intervals and also if they are always cut to the same point. The data recorded through hedge surveys generates tailored recommendations for management and there is a splendid diagram of what and how to rejuvenate an overgrown or overcut hedge.

Hedges flower on the previous year’s growth so cutting every autumn or winter means no flowers next year; cutting every other autumn means less shelter and no winter berries and nuts for birds and mammals, and so a 3-year cycle, cutting back slightly less than the previous cut, is best.

 As well as sequestering carbon and being fantastic habitat for wildlife (their leaves, flowers, berries, nuts and seeds providing food, shelter and breeding sites for birds and other wildlife throughout the year, with potential for over 2000 species in one 85m stretch) and vital corridors for species dispersal, hedges provide so many other benefits too:

  • Natural beauty and a sense of history in the landscape
  • Shade and shelter for livestock
  • Shade and shelter for walkers 
  • Pest control for adjoining fields
  • Crop protection
  • Flood control
  • Pollution reduction
  • Soil protection
  • Shelter and food for pollinators

There is lots more information on hedgerows on the People’s Trust for Endangered Species’ web-site, including details of how to carry out either a brief or more detailed survey.

Hedges, field margins and roadside verges alike are vital relics of wildlife habitat so we all need to remember they need to flourish and understand it’s important they aren’t kept cut and neat as gardens – but that equally, management outside the flowering and breeding season time is necessary! We’ve a lot to thank farmers for when it comes to hedges!

July Update

Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action 

A stitch (or a letter) in time…

Globally; in the UK, and individually, we are not cutting greenhouse gas emissions anything like as fast as is now necessary nor, in the UK, are we adapting and preparing ourselves for the chaotic impacts of climate change. Nobody likes change and disruption but experts warn it will be nothing compared to the impact, difficulty and unnecessarily crippling costs of delaying further. Climate change will place pressure on all our supply chains and put our food, medicines, goods and services at risk. As the UK moves away from fossil fuels, we’ll need more electricity for our heating, lighting and transport and power cuts because of extreme weather will be more harmful.

Although climate change is a defining challenge for every government, the government’s independent Committee on Climate Change reported recently “there is only limited evidence of the present UK Government taking it sufficiently seriously; both on reducing UK emissions and adapting to impacts from global climate change”. So why is this the case? And what can we do about it? Has the Prime Minister heard from you?!  And you? And you?! To help the future, email our Prime Minister and our MP requesting they take the climate crisis sufficiently seriously and act fully on the advice of the CCC, their independent advisors. https://email.number10.gov.uk 

david.warburton.mp@parliament.uk

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/mp/25372/david_warburton/somerton_and_frome/divisions?policy=1030

What’s not to like? We will benefit considerably and in a number of ways by acting now to tackle and adapt to climate change. Our country needs investment in low-carbon technologies and means of adapting to climate change; the UK could be leading new and expanding global markets. UK businesses have opportunities to gain competitive advantage as they shift to the future zero-carbon basis required in the UK and the world.

In a world where, in the future, the financial cost of emitting greenhouse gases becomes high, action taken now to reduce emissions will save enormously on those costs (as well as reducing the costs of damage from climate chaos). Inadequate action, in other words, is doubly costly.

Not only will action now reduce the number of climate refugees and conflicts but it will also lessen the risks of flooding, infrastructure failure and increasingly costly food, and in so doing the UK will be supporting global efforts to fulfil climate commitments and combat climate change.

Everyone’s health will benefit from a healthy natural environment, more greenspace, reduced air pollution, greater peace and quiet, more active travel and a shift to healthier plant-based diets.

Many measures make great sense even without climate change to consider: reducing dangerous levels of air pollution; reducing water use; adapting homes to keep cool in the summer; protecting biodiversity and habitats, increasing greenspace to reduce the risk from flooding and heatwaves whilst also improving our mental well-being.

What can we do? Grow creepers up our walls to shade them; fit shutters on south-facing windows; minimize heat-absorbing, flood-worsening hard standing of any kind around our homes (grow grass or plant shrubs in tubs to remove the heat instead); let hedgerows grow taller and wider; allow some trees to grow uncut; urge councils to grow more trees along our streets and plant more in our own gardens. Trees soften the impact of heavy rain and their roots help take water into the soil. Such measures will help offset the hazards of increasingly extreme rainfall – with steep hills and a river through the village, everyone who is not without a garden can help prepare our community.

Verges  Many front lawns, areas of roadside verge and banks in the village have been uncut and their wildflowers look beautiful as well as being vital for wildlife! When you do mow later in the summer / autumn remember to remove the clippings to keep fertility low (this benefits wild flowers).

Protecting the river  Himalayan Balsam is an invasive plant that has spread around the country and can choke streams and rivers, causing bank erosion and smothering our wild flowers – not only beautiful but also essential for wildlife. If you adjoin the river Gascoigne, please look out for it and pull it up before it has a chance to flower this year. This web-page ahs a photo and more details: https://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk/discover-wild-plants-nature/plant-fungi-species/himalayan-balsam  Please contact us if you need help.

New dates for your diary

With the kind permission of the owner: a geology walk on Sunday 11th July pm led by Geoffrey Rowland and a butterfly / nature walk on Sunday 18th July pm led by Nigel Spring.  Please email to book in case we need to limit numbers, and for details to be sent to you nearer the time.

milborneportclimateaction@gmail.com    https://network23.org/milbornecan/

The future is in our hands.

Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action  June 2021

Understanding climate change & the future is in our power

  • When we dig up and burn fossil fuels, we are wrapping a blanket of carbon pollution around the earth. This pollution blanket is trapping heat in our atmosphere that would otherwise escape back out to space.
  • That trapped heat causes more damaging downpours and droughts that wipe out farmers’ crops. It powers stronger hurricanes and storms that devastate our coasts. It means hotter temperatures that fuel wildfires and cause crippling heat waves. It causes sea level to rise, which will flood millions of homes.
  • As for the science, 99 percent of climate scientists agree: it’s real, it’s human-caused, it’s serious, and there are solutions that will benefit us all. The faster we cut our carbon pollution, the better off we’ll all be.
  • The climate has changed in the past but what’s different is that the rate of change now, over a few decades, is unprecedented and too fast for most of life on earth to adapt.

The good news is that as the climate crisis is man-made so each of us has the power to address it.

What a lot of people still don’t understand – and need to, as soon as possible – is that we humans are the biggest source of uncertainty in determining how serious climate change becomes. Collapse is not a foregone conclusion. We are the problem. That means we can be the solution. What happens is down to each and every one of us. The International Panel on Climate Change didn’t say we had 12 years, 11 years, 9 years to act – it said “every action matters; every choice matters”.

So, yes, there’s lot to do but it can be done. Some recent good climate news:

  • US to develop 30GW offshore wind by 2030
  • Biden to commit $85b to public transit, $80b for rail, $174b to EVs
  • China to make world’s no.1 steel industry green
  • Japan to end support of coal power exports
  • South Africa ups 2030 emissions target 28%
  • Greece shuts down 1.2GW coal plants
  • US to align tax policy with climate goals
  • Sweden’s Polestar to build world’s 1st carbon-neutral car
  • US considers 50% emissions cut by 2030, Japan 40%

During WWII, we acted collectively for the common good. People gave up years of their lives or lost their lives to fight for the future, food was rationed, everyone contributed. The challenge now is far greater but involves far less. In fact, the necessary changes will lead to a fairer, cleaner, greener, healthier world with nature restored.

We’re becoming part of the solution by cutting our greenhouse gas emissions: eating far less meat and dairy, flying and driving far less or not at all, buying fewer things: reduce, reuse, repair, recycle. Whatever you can afford to do, we hope you’ll join us in doing it. Insulating your house, installing a heat pump or swapping to an electric car too expensive? Then lobby our PM and our MP too to play their large part by stopping pouring money into a fossil-fueled world and to do far more to support clean, green power instead.

We are each responsible for the future. What will we say to our children?

We will be starting our hedge survey in June. Do get in touch if you’d like to help.

It’s been a really tough spring for wildlife. Please help all you can and leave wild plants to flower and set seed until July if you can – to provide food for butterflies, bees, birds, hedgehogs, bats. Will there be blackberries and sloes this autumn for us? Please be aware that children enjoy nature and many people take great solace from it and are upset, for example, by seeing needless verge cutting with all the resulting loss of wildlife. Please avoid using pesticides and watch out for nesting mammals, especially hedgehogs which don’t flee from danger. Thank you.

milborneportclimateaction@gmail.com    https://network23.org/milbornecan/ And find our page on Facebook: Milborne Port Climate and Nature

May update

Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action 

Let it grow! No Mow May!

Did you know thatwild plants, rather than garden ones, are needed to enable many insects and invertebrates to breed and overwinter, as well as for pollen and nectar? It’s been inspiring to see so many front gardens and verges in the village resplendent with the sunshine-coloured flowers of spring – not just a joy to people out on their walks and a lifeline for bees and other insects but for all the birds and other species, including hedgehogs, that feed on those insects too. 

What a difference we can make!

“It’s up to every one of us to help preserve our planet for the future” said David Attenborough. As a human being living on this unique planet, you are already the perfect person to care about climate change and our natural environment, and when a community works together, that difference can really show, and give a real sense of agency, achievement and community spirit.

Postponed to Thursday 6th May at 7.30pm, you can register for the Launch and Q&A of the

Milborne Port and Sherborne Solar Streets scheme at www.SolarStreets.co.uk/MPS  (There was an error in last month’s link but these new details will work!). Email  your questions any time  to  Info@SolarStreets.co.uk. The webpage also has contact details for questions at any time, or if you want panels now.

It’s vital that we provide for nature throughout the year in our gardens & roadside verges

Why? 97% of wildflower meadows have been lost (through ploughing or fertilizing) in recent years – and many younger people may not have experienced their beauty – but we can each manage some or a part of our gardens and support the management of roadside verges (unploughed relicts) and garden grasslands for the benefit of wildlife and people. People need nature for their mental well-being; research has shown this for a fact; especially with all the lockdowns people have realized their need to be able to enjoy nature – birds, bees, butterflies and wildflowers – close to home. We all love to see swallows in the summer, and hear bird song around us; but remember that birds are vanishing as wild flowers disappear and insect numbers plummet. Let’s roll our sleeves up! Or rather, do less in the garden!

How?

  • Please stop poisoning wildlife! Pesticides and herbicides are putting bees, birds, hedgehogs, butterflies, beetles, frogs, dragonflies and more at risk.
  • Cut and Collect! Collect up your mowings to bring fertility down and stop courser grasses outgrowing and smothering wild flowers; you will then be able to mow less and less often. (In Dorset, verge cuts have come down from 12 x per annum to an astonishing 2-3 x.) Wild plants then have more time and chance to flower and set seed – benefitting pollinating insects and all the wildlife that depends on these insects. And you have more time to put your feet up!
  • Join in No Mow May, a nationwide campaign to leave all or a part of your lawn uncut in May to prolong the spring flowering period; it’s incredibly beneficial. Aim, best of all, to reach the point over a few years through Cut and Collect where the fertility is sufficiently low in part or all of your lawn for wild plants to be left to flower till the usual hay cutting time in July. You can achieve a cared-for look by keeping a path cut through larger areas, and cutting round the edges.  https://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk/discover-wild-plants-nature/no-mow-may

Photo credit: Matt Pitts, Plantlife

  • Let it Grow – mow less often throughout the season to let wild plants flower and help stop the loss of nature.
  • If you must use a strimmer, please do check carefully for hedgehogs first. Their response to danger is to curl up in a prickly ball; not flee. If anyone finds an injured hedgehog, please contact the local hedgehog rescue in Hazelbury Bryan on 01258 818266.

We are delighted that Milborne Port PC’s Planning and Environment Committee has supported our request to reduce the costs of verge management and increase biodiversity with Cut and Collect and No Mow May. This is in keeping with Britain in Bloom, as one of the three areas that judges focus on is environmental responsibility, looking for evidence there is a commitment to environmental issues including conservation, maintaining wildlife’s natural habitats, and improving pollination. Three roadside grassland areas that the Parish Council are responsible for managing will not be cut in May. These are the area on the A30 corner of Bathwell Lane; the triangle in Rosemary Street, and the area of grass at the end of Springfield Road opposite the Recreation Ground.

There is a great appetite for more nature. Across the country, the edges of playing fields, sports grounds, churchyards and so on are being managed to enable wild flowers to thrive again., whilst cutting costs. Let’s do all we can to bring more flowers and wildlife back into everyday life in Milborne Port! Please leave the verges outside your property uncut for the summer for wildlife and people to enjoy.

New! Find us on Facebook where you can find tips on helping nature thrive and combating climate change. (And, fingers crossed, follow the fortunes of Max the hedgehog if his current absence is temporary and due to him being busy finding a mate, and not to him having come to any harm).

Action on the climate and ecological emergencies is still possible; our future is, to a great extent, still in our hands. Time to act!

East Hill Restoration and Solar Streets

Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action and EuCAN volunteers joined forces and spent a great day on East Hill beginning to open up grassland habitat for the uncommon butterflies and plants which live there, with the agreement of the landowner. We hope the wildlife and walkers alike will enjoy the benefits.

The Solar Streets scheme is coming to Milborne Port! Details of the scheme and how to register for the launch presentation on the 15th of April 2021, are here:

Click here to register for the Solar Streets Zoom Launch

Wildlife Trust guide to action for insects

Humble invertebrates play a vital role in sustaining the web of life, and the fate of humans and insects are intertwined at numerous levels. Human survival is impossible without healthy, insect populations.

The Wildlife Trust have provided a guide to taking action for insects. You can download and share the guide via the link below:

ps://www.wildlifetrusts.org/action-insects-home?utm_source=Wilder+Future+Campaign+Newsletter&utm_campaign=2dc1610ffa-AUTOMATION__1&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_9036c9bc7a-2dc1610ffa-150344248

February News

Solar Streets scheme: We are excited to announce that the Solar Streets scheme (for cheaper solar panels on rooves) is coming soon to Milborne Port, Sherborne and nearby villages! A similar scheme has been run in Frome for example.  We hope to have the official launch and Q&A on zoom in April and there will be lots more on this shortly. If you can, it’s a great thing to do to help fight the climate crisis. The nation’s need for electricity is expected to double with demand from renewable heating and transport; having solar panels installed on your roof is a great way to help with decarbonization.

Hedges and the nature recovery network: do get in touch if you’re interested in joining a project on hedgerows in the parish. Hedgerows are potentially an important wildlife habitat throughout the year for feeding, breeding and sheltering insects, birds and mammals (think hedgehog!) in their own right and also act as an important corridor for wildlife to move about safely. In addition, they help store carbon. Without rejuvenating management, they can become leggy and uninviting, age and die.  Initially we hope to map all the hedges in the parish from the internet and then seek permission from landowners to survey them to record their width, height and condition and the hedgerow shrubs within them. No prior knowledge needed! It might be fun for families to take part.

Equally, roadside verges are important as wildlife habitats and corridors, and letting flowers grow (where safety is not compromised) on road verges saves councils money, saves burning fossil fuels, boosts biodiversity and provides interest and pleasure. Please help nature thrive by writing to Somerset County Council in support of minimal mowing during spring and summer, and / or signing Plantlife’s petition – search for Plantlife’s road verge campaign online. Nature – our life support system – is in trouble; we can help restore it.

We hope, coronavirus permitting, to have some family-friendly wildlife and geology walks around the village in the summer. Watch this space.

We’d be glad to rent an acre or so of land on which to create a hay meadow for wildlife and as a source of wildflower seed-rich hay to supply other sites. Any possibilities – please get in touch.

Global Climate Strike 19 March Young people are asking for our support for everybody’s future on 19th March, as governments continue to deliver only vague and empty promises for dates that are much too late. We need immediate action in-line with science before our carbon budget runs out. The climate crisis is already here and will only get worse, so if we are to avoid the worst-case scenarios, annual, short-term binding targets for a safe climate that factor in justice and equity have to be prioritized by the people in charge. Join young people in standing up for a secure future, by emailing our MP david.warburton.mp@parliament.uk, or joining what will probably be an online climate strike (taking a photo of a gallery of people with / without placards asking for climate action). Keep an eye open on Milborne Port news and everything Facebook page for details. Or email us nearer the time.

Somerset Wildlife Trust – Milborne Port Webinar

Monday 18th January 2021 at 7.00pm to 8.00pm: Somerset’s Nature Recovery Network – Simon Clarke of Somerset Wildlife Trust is giving Milborne Port a webinar about this exciting national project in which we can all play a part!

Somerset is an amazing county with an diverse range of wildlife and nature; but with the impacts of climate change and ecological decline becoming more prominent in Somerset as across the wider world our natural environment is under pressure.  But nature can also provide an answer.  From carbon storage pollination, providing clean air and water, to helping us with our mental health and wellbeing; in this presentation Simon Clarke from Somerset Wildlife Trust will talk about the wide range of benefits that nature provides for us and how by putting the protection of nature at the heart of our decision making and restoring a ‘Nature Recovery Network’ across the county we can positively tackle these huge issues. 

https://zoom.us/j/93815045191?pwd=dHV6akRPaC85eWxzQngxbnkzdlc4UT09

Meeting ID: 938 1504 5191

Passcode: 154459

Halloween Tree planting in Milborne Port!

Despite driving rain and high winds, Milborne Port climate and nature group succeeded in their ambitious target of planting 230 trees this weekend. Over the two days of intense planting our volunteers could be seen coming and going, grappling with spades, stakes, saplings and mud, sustained only by chocolate brownies and their vision of a just and sustainable future for all. The planting took place on the edge of Milborne Port’s spacious sports and recreation ground. The native trees selected were chosen for their natural resilience, and their value to a diverse array of wildlife.

Trees can lock up carbon for centuries, and have the potential to make a significant contribution in the fight against climate change. They also provide a habitat for thousands of species, prevent flooding, help provide us with clean air and water, and can even help protect our mental health. The air we breathe, the water we drink, and the living soils on which we depend all rest on nature’s economy. Increasing our tree cover is vital to restoring and maintaining nature’s health.

Government targets include planting 1.5 million trees by 2050, but we need to act long before then. MIlborne Port Climate and Nature Group will continue to act with urgency in addressing the crisis we all face. If you would like to help please contact us. Everyone’s contribution is welcome.

Milborne Port – Clean Heat

Milborne Port Climate and Nature Action

Milborne Port “Clean Heat” treat 

Thinking of making the switch to cleaner energy? Now’s a great time!

Discounts are available for Air Source Heat Pumps in Milborne Port

Air Source Heat Pumps = green, clean, efficient energy supply

For details contact:: milborneportclimateaction@gmail.com

The why…

Carbon emissions are a key factor in climate change with around 24% of UK greenhouse gas emissions coming from heating and powering homes. This means that replacing fossil fuel oil and gas boilers with low-carbon heating systems, such as Air Source Heat Pumps, is an important way to help tackle the escalating climate crisis.

Boris Johnson announced on 6th October that he will invest £160 million in wind power to ensure that everything using energy, electricity and power within our homes “will get its juice cleanly and without guilt from the breezes that blow around these islands”.

In its latest world economic outlook, the International Monetary Fund revealed that acting on climate change will actually help us deal with the recession and boost recovery from the pandemic. This is because ‘green’ jobs can be so much cheaper than heavily mechanized jobs such as building new roads. For example, a job in home insulation can be created for £59,000 which is far less than a road maintenance job, estimated by the government to be more than £250,000.

As well as lowering your carbon emissions, Air Source Heat Pumps help reduce air pollution. A comprehensive global review  in 2019 concluded that air pollution may be damaging every organ and virtually every cell in the human body. Globally, air pollution kills 7 million people per year, about 12% of ALL deaths, and the evidence is also clear that air pollution has a devastating impact on children’s health. Air Source Heat Pumps are a great way to getting cleaner air and a brilliant step in the right direction on climate.

Green Homes Grants

A homeowner or residential landlord can apply to the Green Homes Grant Team for a Green Homes Grant voucher towards the cost of installing energy efficient improvements to their home, including installing low-carbon heating to lower the amount of carbon dioxide their home produces. The voucher must be redeemed and improvements completed by 31 March 2021. Vouchers will cover two-thirds of the cost of eligible improvements, up to a maximum government contribution of £5,000 unless you, or someone in your household, receive certain benefits in which case you may be eligible for a voucher covering 100% of the cost of the improvements. The maximum value of the voucher is £10,000.

Full details from from the government website

“Installing an air source heat pump to heat our homes and water is a powerful way that we can make progress in reducing our community’s carbon emissions and shoulder responsibility for tackling the Climate Emergency”  Austin Fletcher.

Thank you

milborneportclimateaction@gmail.com