The next SNAC meeting is on June 20th at 7pm at Swarland Club, Coast View.
A Walk in the Woods
Fifteen people enjoyed a guided forest walk in Swarland Wood with Forestry England’s Alex McClennan. Alex talked about the history of the wood, its management and FE’s future plans – as well as encouraging us to ‘smell the pines’. Alex will be back in Swarland on Saturday June 3rd for a community meeting where he will talk more about work taking place later in the year as part of FE’s Storm Arwen Recovery Plan for the wood.
Low Carbon Energy Event
We’re hosting an event on June 24th to help householders find out more about how to move to renewable sources of energy – and reduce their carbon footprint. Brian Watson from Community Action Northumberland is our guest speaker and we’ll have case studies from local householders who have already changed to sustainable energy sources. Look out for more information over the coming weeks.
Houses from Fungus
A new architecture centre opens in Newcastle on April 22 2023, showing visions of how architecture can make buildings more sustainable. One of the exhibitions at The Farrell Centre shows structures made from mycelium, the root network of fungus, creating strong, self-repairing and compostable walls.
The centre is part of Newcastle University, entrance is free and no booking is required.
Nature’s Pharmacy Wild Herb Trail
Take a walk on the wild side with a guided tour of healing herbs and trees on Glantlees Organic Farm near Newton on the Moor. Managed by farmer Judy Fortescue and her two sons, Glantlees is an organic farm with a focus on environmental sustainability and working in partnership with nature. The woodlands, meadows and moorland around the farm are home to a host of wildflowers, herbs and trees, offering the home herbalist a rich supply of medicines from nature’s pharmacy. Our Trail will take approximately 2 hours and will include a walk around the meadows and hedgerows teaching you how to identify the different plants, flowers, and trees. Bring a mug and we will have an infusion of one of the safest, yet most powerful, healing herbs in nature’s pharmacy to round off the session. Please NOTE: This walk will take place on May 28th WEATHER PERMITTING. Places limited to SNAC members. The Trail Leader is Lesley Long.
To BOOK contact Lesley Long via email firstname.lastname@example.org by 21st May latest
Northern Gas Networks are building an experimental centre in Gateshead to test hydrogen boilers as a source of heating and cooking as hydrogen produces far fewer carbon emissions than natural gas.
Conventional gas boilers can use a 20% hydrogen mix but, above that level, adaptations are required. So-called ‘hydrogen ready’ boilers that will burn 100% hydrogen are being tested and the results are encouraging.
A Customer Energy Village is under construction in Gateshead, consisting of a range of properties including a 1910 terrace, 1930s semi-detached, 1950s bungalows, 1970s flats and 1990s detached houses, equipped with differing levels of insulation These will be used to measure the effectiveness of hydrogen heating. Larger scale applications are planned in Redcar, Leeds, Hull and Teesside.
However, rolling out hydrogen at scale to meet the government’s intention to ban new natural gas boilers from 2035, would require an adequately funded and ambitious national plan which currently isn’t is place.
Photo Comp Winner!
Rob Simpson is the first winner of our SNAC photography competition with his fabulous picture from Swarland Wood. We’ll be publishing some other entries from the competition over the next few weeks. Well done Rob!
New soft plastics recycling bin
Aldi have become the latest supermarket to offer a recycling point for soft plastics. The container can be found in the entrance to Aldi’s Alnwick store. Aldi joins Sainsbury’s and the Co-op who are offering this facility – so we encourage other supermarkets not to get left behind!
You can find out more about local recycling facilities by visiting our Recycling pages.
Environmental talks at Alnwick Garden
Alnwick Story Fest are holding a number of events on Saturday February 25th featuring Matt Pratt (CEO of Northumberland Wildlife Trust), Caro Giles (Countryfile’s New Nature Writer or the Year 2021) and Jesse Greengrass (shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award in 2021). You can find out more and buy tickets at http://www.alnwickstoryfest.com.
Council’s Recycling Plans
The government is consulting on changes to increase the amount of household waste being recycled. All councils will have to introduce a weekly food waste collection service and increase the range of materials they collect.
Northumberland County Council is currently running three pilot schemes – a weekly food waste collection scheme, a smaller pilot of home composting and a monthly kerbside glass collection scheme. These pilots will help shape the new services, but no changes are likely before 2024/25 at the earliest.
In the meantime, check out http://www.snac.online to find out about all the recycling opportunities near you.
Find out about Rights of Way
Swarland Moor Heritage Group’s next talk is being given by Sue Rogers on ‘The Evolution of the Rights of Way network and how missing routes can be found and retrieved‘. The meeting is on February 14th at 7.30pm in Swarland Village Club.
Peat restoration gets a boost
Peat is hugely important to the environment – acting as a carbon store, wildlife habitat and flood controller, but it must remain wet to provide these ecosystem services. Unfortunately, for centuries peat and its vegetation have been cultivated, drained and degraded. When dry, peat emits carbon dioxide and is one of the biggest sources of greenhouse gas. It is therefore critical to keep peat bogs wet.
The Northumberland Peat Partnership (NPP) has recently received funding to enable it to increase its efforts to protect the county’s peat with a new dedicated peat team.
The team of eight people is working across 10 sites in the county and will help land-managers and farmers fund, map, survey, plan and coordinate the restoration of degraded peatlands.
New Solar Farms approved
Northumberland County Council have recently approved two new solar farms, near Blyth and Bedlington. The farms will generate enough clean, renewable power to supply around 30,00 homes. The developers are also investing about £350,000 in local community projects around the sites.
New Climate Change Action Plan
Newton on the Moor and Swarland Parish Council has recently approved a Climate Change Action Plan. SNAC will be key in helping the PC to deliver many of its actions on raising climate awareness, encouraging people to reduce their carbon footprint and helping to manage land to protect nature. Find out more here.
Farm Walk at Glantlees Farm
SNAC members recently had the opportunity for a guided walk around Glantlees Farm, led by Judy Fortescue. Judy illustrated some of the ways that she is increasing biodiversity on her organic farm. Inspite of the ‘adverse’ weather conditions, it was a fantastic opportunity to learn more about regenerative farming. Judy also provided members of the group with planting trays, acorns and horse chestnuts to take away and grow.
NCC Free Tree Giveaway
Northumberland County Council are repeating their free tree giveaway this year. Local residents, schools and community groups can get a free tree or tree pack to plant to help tackle climate change. Species are available for small, medium and large sized gardens, as well as smaller shrubs for those with more limited space. For more information visit Free Tree Giveaway
Farmers get funding to improve habitats
40 projects in the Northumberland National Park are being funded to help support nature recovery, mitigate the effects of climate change and support nature-friendly farming. One project will increase the number and variety of flowers and grasses, creating a valuable resource for bees and wildlife usually locally harvested seeds.
Big Plastic Count Results
The results of the Big Plastic Count carried out by Greenpeace and Everyday Plastics have now been published. They show that UK households throw away 96 billion pieces of plastic every year and only 12% of it is recycled in the UK. The other 88% is burnt, buried, or dumped overseas.
Greenpeace has started a petition asking Government to reduce single use plastic by 50% by 2025, ban all waste exports, ban new incinerators and roll out a deposit return scheme. You can find out more and add your name to the petition here
Jubilee Tree Planted in Vyner Park
Members of SNAC and the Parish Council planted a Whitebeam tree (Sorbus aria Majestica) in Vyner Park to mark the occasion of Her Majesty The Queen’s Platinum Jubilee. The tree was funded by the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Fund.
A climate friendly alternative to oil-fired boilers ?
As we move towards net zero, the installation of new fossil fuel boilers is being phased out affecting more than 1.5m homes in the UK which currently rely on them. Households are being encouraged to consider electric heat pumps but these can be costly to install especially in older, rural properties. An alternative is emerging – it’s called hydro-treated vegetable oil (HVO) and produces up to 90% less CO2. Importantly existing boilers can be adapted for around £500. However, HVO is currently classed as a transport fuel and so the industry is lobbying government to reclassify it as a domestic heating oil which would reduce the tax on it.
Find out more here