Section: Environment

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100 days of Brexit: the impact on animals

Anthea Simmons

We are such a nation of animal lovers that we barely stopped to consider the ramifications of Brexit on pets, equestrian sports, showing and breeding, and swallowed all the reassurances about food and animal welfare standards with barely a murmur. Not many of us stopped to consider the impact of a US trade deal on […]

The unstoppable march of the masts

Mick Fletcher

Most of us want it both ways.  We are keen, often desperate, to get improved mobile coverage. At the same time, we don’t want our precious landscapes scarred by ugly and alien structures. Reconciling the two will always be tricky. However, a little-known piece of legislation called the Electronic Communications Code (EC code) tips the […]

This Good Earth – recording of WCB event now available

Editor-in-chief

For those who missed the West Country Bylines event on 11 Feb 2021, the director Robert Golden has produced an audio record of the proceedings. As it was a recording of a zoom event, the sound can be erratic so please make allowances. The event was a special Q&A session following the release of Robert […]

A better urban wildlife legacy

Nick Dobbs

At the heart of Bournemouth and Poole lies an extraordinary 37 hectare fragment of the once Great Heath that stretched uninterrupted from the Purbecks to the New Forest. Eighty per cent of heathland has been lost since 1800 and today the UK is the custodian of 20 per cent of this remaining habitat worldwide. Talbot […]

Dartmoor’s wounded land – part 3: what can be done?

Tony Whitehead

In the first two parts of this series I looked at the parlous state of the Dartmoor Special Area of Conservation. I gave reasons for how it came to be in such a poor state, and covered the influence of post war agricultural policy. In this final part, I will look at what can be […]

The South West joins mass action on climate emergency

Rosie Haworth Booth

Further to the piece on 3 March by Tom Scott on Katharine Lewis and the Helston Climate Action Group, Rosie Haworth-Booth from North Devon alerts us to a cross country drive this weekend on bringing a crucial private member’s bill to greater public attention. People living in the UK don’t need to look far to […]

Welcoming prickly visitors

Helen Fairhurst

As nature starts to beckon in the spring, my thoughts turn to welcoming some prickly visitors. Each year I’m hopeful that I might see the return of hedgehogs on my little patch as they awake from hibernation. Sadly, the hedgehog population is in serious decline in the UK. The State of Britain’s Hedgehogs 2018 report […]

G stands for greenwash?

Tom Scott

As Cornwall prepares to host the G7 summit, destruction of the natural environment by the Carbis Bay Hotel is not a good look. Environmental campaigners in Cornwall have been expressing horror at the decision by the Carbis Bay Hotel – where G7 leaders will be convening in June – to destroy a swathe of coastal […]

Walking for health

Barbara Leonard

Just over a year ago I was one of small group of volunteer walk leaders sharing thoughts about a new virus being talked about on the news in the UK. Some of us had just returned from visits abroad where warnings about Covid 19 and measures to limit its spread were already happening, in sharp […]

Zebra crossing in the Masai Mara

Valery Collins

Driving through the Masai Mara Nature Reserve, I had to stop to let a herd of zebra cross the track in front of me. And not just zebra: wildebeest and the occasional giraffe as well. Mine was the only vehicle for miles around and wild animals were the only pedestrians on the vast open plain. […]

‘Woke wars’: let’s hear it for the National Trust’s long history of radicalism

Tom Scott

When the National Trust was founded, it wasn’t just ‘woke’ – it was revolutionary. Yesterday, the National Trust published an interactive online map that shows how climate change threatens the countryside, coastline and historic houses in its care – including many sites in the South West. Extreme heat and humidity, coastal erosion, landslides, floods and […]

On feast and famine

Anthea Bareham

Throughout my childhood we had a feast almost every day – not just on special occasions – every day. I expect you did too. We ate meat. Almost every day. Last week I attended a Guardian online webinar, one of Fairtrade Fortnight’s events. The topic was ‘The impact of the climate crisis on global food […]

Tackling the climate emergency starts on your doorstep

Tom Scott

Tackling the climate emergency starts on your doorstep Helston Climate Action Group has brought together people of all ages and backgrounds to find imaginative – and fun – ways to cut carbon emissions. And it’s also been bringing real mental health benefits to local people during the pandemic.  Last week, Katharine Lewis, one of the […]

Brace for denial

Mick Carter

Introduction This is an article inspired by the BBC podcast How They Made Us Doubt Everything. It explores the techniques used by those wanting to delay or stop action on climate change, and the disproportionate impact these have had on public opinion. I am not a climate scientist but my work has been connected with […]

Mars, the red planet

David Love

The night sky is an insufficiently appreciated wonder. On a dark and moonless night on Dartmoor, far from city lights, you can see a few thousand stars with the unaided eye. Yet this is just a tiny fraction of the 100,000,000,000 stars in our galaxy. We now know that a very high proportion of these […]

You can’t lie your way to Mars: the cosmos, awe and wonder with Ann Druyan

Sadie Parker

“Touchdown confirmed,” a woman’s voice announced over the public address system. “Perseverance safely on the surface of Mars, ready to begin seeking the sands of past life.” The NASA control room erupted. Staff were on their feet, their arms raised in a victory ‘V’, whooping and hollering. The only difference between this and past scenes […]

Cornwall Greens say no to ‘sport fishing’ endangered bluefin tuna

Tom Scott

Cornwall Green Party condemns an “irresponsible” proposal to promote sport fishing of bluefin tuna off Cornish coast Cornwall Green Party has condemned the proposal by Derek Thomas, MP for St Ives, to promote “sport fishing” of bluefin tuna as a way of boosting tourist spending in Cornwall. Speaking for Cornwall Green Party, marine conservationist Samuel […]

From star to satellite – science in a post-Brexit world

David Love

In matters scientific, European nations do far better working together Our civilisation has advanced dramatically in the last few hundred years and we have only to look to the leaps made in science and technology to understand why. Yet how many people realise that a key element of science lies in cooperation between different nations?  […]

Nature on fire in Cornwall

Tom Scott

A fire, started deliberately, has destroyed more than 20 hectares of Rosenannon Downs Nature Reserve in Cornwall On Tuesday night, a fire broke out at Rosenannon Downs Nature Reserve, near Wadebridge in Cornwall. Despite efforts by firefighters from neighbouring towns, it was fanned by strong winds and went on to burn over several hours. The […]

Cornwall: climate emergency or business as usual?

Tom Scott

In 2019, Cornwall Council declared a climate emergency – but you wouldn’t guess it from some recent developments. Cornwall Council’s declaration of a climate emergency in January 2019 was accompanied by similar declarations by numerous Cornish town and parish councils, and was warmly welcomed by environmental campaigners. It seemed local councillors had finally grasped the […]

Cornish gems – a box set of articles

Editor-in-chief
Cornish tin mine on the coast

In case you missed them, here’s a collection of articles from Cornish writers or on Cornish (or Isles of Scilly) subjects. Please share! You are our distribution network! If you have a story to tell, please get in touch: cornwall@westcountrybylines.co.uk; devon@westcountrybylines.co.uk; dorset@westcountrybylines.co.uk and somerset@westcountrybylines.co.uk Look out for box sets from Devon, Somerset and Dorset!

After the flood…

Anna Andrews

On 22 January, after Storm Christoph hit the UK, George Eustice said on camera that 70 homes had been flooded. Given the pictures of inundated towns across England and Wales, this figure seemed something of an understatement, with the Daily Telegraph, amongst others, reporting a figure more than five times higher: Storm Christoph: Around 400 […]

Beyond the ‘burdensome estate’

Mick Fletcher

Since West Country Bylines published my article Blocked by the ‘burdensome estate‘ people from all over the country have contacted me with similar examples of apparent official vandalism. Despite the Department for Transport (DfT) publishing a cycling and walking plan for England which ostensibly “sets out a vision for a travel revolution”, part of that […]

Gardening for wildlife: get ready for Spring!

Anna Andrews

The hours of daylight are slowly beginning to increase again and nature is responding to the lengthening days: spring is not all that far off. In February while the trees may still be stark and leafless, look really closely at the branches and you will almost certainly see the buds, the promise of this year’s […]

Take part in the nationwide star count!

Bob Mizon

Bob Mizon, UK coordinator of the British Astronomical Association’s Commission for Dark Skies, wrote an article for us last summer aboutlight pollution. We are sharing this press release to alert everyone interested in the night sky to the chance to help count stars. Bob’s original article follows on below. Nationwide star count to reveal lockdown’s […]

Planning for the destruction of local communities?

Jo Garrett

Changes to the planning system could allow unscrupulous developers to do  serious damage to historic town centres – have your say before it’s too late! The government is currently consulting on several proposed changes to the planning regulations. Here in Penryn, Cornwall, these changes threaten our town centre, industrial areas and heritage. There are three […]

The ballast of Swanage

Valery Collins
Wellington Clock Tower, Swanage. Deep blue sea, blue sky, cliffs in the background

To many, Swanage is a traditional, old-fashioned English seaside town, a place to wander along the sea front enjoying the murmur of the waves. Some may notice the old tram tracks embedded in the concrete and ponder their significance as they pause on the Stone Quay. Purbeck Stone Brings Prosperity to Swanage During the 1830s […]