Archive for the ‘campaigns’ Category

Are pesticides sprayed near you?

21 December, 2010

‘Disgraceful’ decision on spray rules – campaigner
Georgina Downs, of the UK Pesticides Campaign, said it was a disgrace that the government has decided there was no need to introduce any new measures to protect the health of rural residents from pesticide exposure.

The award-winning environmental campaigner waged a 10-year pesticide safety campaign, and won against the UK government in High Court – only for the government to return to court to overturn the legal decision. Georgina pledged to continue her crusade – even though the government has rejected the introduction of mandatory measures to protect rural residents living near sprayed fields.

Farmers Weekly (16 Dec)
Farmers Guardian (15 Dec)

Tree protection to be trimmed?

16 December, 2010

The Ancient Tree Forum and the Woodland Trust need your support to stop avoidable loss of Ancient Trees and to help protect one of the most important habitats a tree can provide – dead wood.

The Tree Preservation Order (TPO) in England is currently being reviewed and we are concerned about some proposed changes which would reduce, rather than improve, protection and could directly affect beautiful and valuable ancient and veteran trees*.

The Department of Communities and Local Government proposes to continue to allow all dead trees, however valuable, to be felled without consent. There is also a proposal to introduce a similar exception for the removal of dead branches – vital habitats that naturally develop as trees age – on living trees.

Essentially this means that very old, historic and wildlife-rich dead trees and dead branches of living veteran trees could be completely removed, rather than managed for stability.

Please help us prevent such a backward step in tree and habitat protection! The Trust has set up an emergency campaign with the Ancient Tree Forum to feed directly into the public consultation process.

Go straight to the live petition where you can add your own voice to ours**.

PLEASE, find 2 minutes today to feed directly into this consultation and
pass it on to your friends and contacts. This consultation ends 20th December.

In haste,
Neville and Nikki

Neville Fay – chair, Ancient Tree Forum
Nikki Williams – head of campaigning, Woodland Trust

We need to rethink on Phosphorous

29 November, 2010

Recently I asked the SA when we would be allowed to recycle sewage to avoid wasting nutrients – and they said it’s all down to European regulations on organic standards. It’s great that they are now campaigning to do just that.

– Jason Ball

“A radical rethink of how we farm, what we eat and how we deal with human excreta, so that adequate phosphorus levels can be maintained without reliance on mined phosphate, is crucial for ensuring our future food supplies.”
Dr Isobel Tomlinson, Soil Association policy and campaigns officer and author of the report ‘A rock and a hard place: Peak phosphorus and the threat to our food security’, November 2010

A new report from the Soil Association reveals that supplies of phosphate rock are running out faster than previously thought and that declining supplies and higher prices of phosphate are a new threat to global food security. ‘A rock and a hard place: Peak phosphorus and the threat to our food security’ highlights the urgent need for farming to become less reliant on phosphate rock-based fertiliser.
The Times (27 Nov)
Press release: New threat to global food security as phosphate supplies become increasingly scarce
Download the report here

Feeding the animals…

20 October, 2010

Yesterday we attended the launch of the Soil Association’s report – ‘Feeding the Animals that Feed Us’. They produced an excellent, concise piece of work on a very big topic. It is, essentially, the invisible impact of the eggs, dairy and meat that you eat.

Others like Yeo Valley, Hi Peak Feeds and Elisabeth Winkler (food writer) think this is important. Why should you care? Things such as rainforest destruction or sneaking in GM food through the back door (through the barn door!?) can be slowed or accelerated by what YOU buy. This is why we’re grass fans.

Urge your MP to back rainforest-safe food

20 September, 2010

A new bill to promote rainforest-safe food needs the signatures of 100 MPs. Friends of the Earth have set up a ‘MOOvement’ and they are asking people to add their voice to the campaign.  They need the politicians to back the bill by 12 Nov 2010.

Read more, and email your local MP to ask for their support.

FOOD Inc – ten tips

14 September, 2010

Help to push today’s industrialised food systems into healthier habits. Ultimately a healthy diet for us depends on a healthy food system and a healthy planet!

Here are the Top Ten tips from the FOOD Inc movie.

Click on the postcard to enlarge. Read more…

A most unusual year for Barn Owls

11 September, 2010

These chicks are living proof of how Barn Owls can bounce back after hard times if prey is abundant.
Report by Colin Shawyer, Project Director of the Barn Owl Conservation Network.

Normally the Barn Owl breeding season would be over by now, albeit, perhaps for a few sites which still contained young, a consequence of pairs which had failed earlier and chose to lay a repeat clutch in June or those which were double brooded, having laid again in July.

By August, therefore, most of us will have thought our monitoring rounds were complete. Provisional results at this time indicated fairly high occupancy rates at nest sites situated below 100 m asl although at higher altitudes many sites fell vacant due to the high mortality which had been experienced by Barn Owls from prolonged snow cover during the 2009/2010 winter.

However not unlike 2009, fledging success was once again poor. It barely exceeded an average of two fledged young per successful nest in most regions of England and Wales and was not helped by the gale force winds which ravaged the eastern half of England between 14th and 16th July.

Bad weather for Barn Owls

The winds which lasted three days and nights and which prevented the adults from hunting, caused the death of entire broods many of which were only two weeks from fledging. For example, on 16th July although it was almost impossible to erect the ladder to the outdoor nestboxes I was monitoring in Yorkshire, chicks at many sites were close to starvation weight and I suspect that most were likely to have died by the following day.

In Lincolnshire alone it is believed that this climatic event, almost unheard of at this time of year, caused the loss of between a quarter and one third of owlets, many of which had already been ringed as healthy birds only a week or so earlier.

A Poor Summer

After monitoring hundreds of nestboxes during May and early June, it was clear that although a good proportion of nest sites were occupied by pairs of owls almost a third had not attempted to lay and judging by the relatively low body weights in females at these sites, that they were unlikely to do so later in the year.

At some of these sites the adult females and even some adult males had begun their wing moult. This is a good indicator that they are unlikely to breed and that there would be little value in visiting these particular sites again in 2010.

Good Signs

At a greater proportion of nest sites where pairs were present, however, moulted wing feathers were unusually absent suggesting that the owls may still be preparing to breed.

How important these observations were. Together with my colleagues we began re-visiting these sites in late August and early September, to find healthy well-fed broods of fours, fives and sixes.

The ages of many of these chicks are currently between 4 and 7 weeks of age indicating that eggs had been laid in late June and that the owls must have achieved breeding condition soon after our earlier visits during that month when we had all but given up hope of them breeding. Even at some traditionally-used nest sites where there was no evidence of Barn Owls in early June, large and healthy broods are now present.

At a few sites, Barn Owls are still incubating eggs or brooding small young, most are probably repeat clutches but a few are genuine second attempts, the young of which will not fledge until November.

There is every indication that these late broods will successfully fledge and that when these figures are taken into account, overall breeding success in 2010, will not be as quite as bad as we had originally feared.

Colin Shawyer
BTO – BOMP Project Development and Monitoring
BOCN – Project Director, UK and Ireland

The Barn Owl is specially protected under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, making it unlawful to intentionally or recklessly disturb it whilst it is preparing to nest or is at the nest with eggs or young, or to disturb its dependent young.

Inspection of nest sites can only be undertaken by experienced fieldworkers holding a licence issued by the appropriate countryside agency: Countryside Council for Wales, Natural England, Northern Ireland Environment Agency, Scottish Natural Heritage

Keep the FiT campaign

3 September, 2010

Peter Kindersley signed an open letter to Chris Huhne this week. More than 20 business organisations and environment campaigners wrote to the Energy Secretary to persuade the government how important it is to keep the Feed-in Tariffs (FiT) and next year’s Renewable Heat Initiative (RHI) for small-scale renewable energy projects.

Read why Peter is concerned…

SOC launched today!

21 July, 2010

We told you it was coming, and today it’s live!

The Story of Cosmetics animation / video has been released and you can watch it on the Sheepdrove Organic Farm website.

Save Our Butterflies Week 2010

20 July, 2010

SOBW2010 runs from Sat 24 July to Sun 1st August. We’re doing our bit for butterflies and you can too. Search the national events listings for an activity near you.

This year’s theme is PARKS AND GARDENS FOR BUTTERFLIES. The lead charity for flutterbyes – Butterfly Conservation – has teamed up with Marks and Spencer to launch the biggest ever public butterfly count to date.

Big  Butterfly Count

BC says, “You can join in and help us track butterflies, so we know where they need our help the most. Find a sunny spot in your garden, local park or other open space and spend 15 minutes counting butterflies.”

For more information, to download an ID chart and submit your sightings please visit the big butterfly count website.