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Dobbie’s supporting National Gardening Week with launch of new sustainable products

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Garden centre retailer, Dobbies demonstrates its support for the Royal Horticultural Society’s (RHS) National Gardening Week (26 April – 2 May) with the launch of new sustainable products in the Swansea store and the start of its #sustainabledobbies campaign.

Dobbies say they’re committed to educating about the importance of soil health and delivering environmentally-friendly practices and products, and sustainable solutions.

It’s all part of their support for the RHS’s aim to enrich lives through plants and make the UK a greener place. This year, the RHS is encouraging everyone to get their ‘dose of Vitamin G’ by taking a few minutes each day to connect with nature. Dobbies will share dedicated National Gardening Week content focused on #sustainabledobbies which will build and develop throughout 2021 both online and instore.

A key part of Dobbies’ sustainability pledge is to reduce the use of peat, plastics and pesticides in its product range. The team are on track with the commitment made in 2020 to be 90% peat free in 2021 and 100% peat free in 2022. The retailer has also worked with nursery suppliers to produce a roadmap for an annual reduction in peat use.

Carbon Gold Gro Char Fertiliser

Dobbies is launching a number of new sustainable products in the Swansea store and online. Landing in store this week are biochar products from Carbon Gold – Carbon Gold Biochar Fertiliser and Biochar Soil Improver – with Dobbies being the first leading garden centre to stock these products.

Carbon Gold’s biochar products are 100% peat and chemical-free, FSC Certified and Soil Association organic approved, and are used by professionals the world over, including conventional and organic crop growers, tree care specialists and even elite sports greenkeepers. 

Biochar is so high in carbon that adding it to soil permanently sequesters CO2 from the atmosphere. In fact, biochar acts like natural magic in the garden, with significant and permanent benefits proven to boost the health and vitality of plants.

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A garden centre first, in the next month Dobbies will launch compost bag recycling in store, in partnership with Evergreen. This will initially launch in 10 stores, with further roll out planned in 2021. New pot recycling stations will also be installed, building on the success of the pot return scheme, as well as a commitment to increasing recyclable plant pots and single use plastics.

As part of #sustaintabledobbies, there is additional focus on the safer range of pest control products, to reduce the impact on beneficial garden insects and wildlife. The retailer does not stock weedkillers that contain glyphosate or slug killers that contain metaldehyde, and rodenticides have been delisted.

Graeme Jenkins, CEO of Dobbies, said: “At Dobbies we pride ourselves on providing the best gardening products, services and advice, and it’s also our responsibility to care for our environment. Sustainable practices have been a core focus for some time and we are pleased to support National Gardening Week with #sustainabledobbies.

“It’s our duty to raise awareness and promote better sustainability practices among our suppliers, team members and customers, and we look forward to sharing news of new products and services in our Swansea store over the course of 2021.

“As well as reducing our use of peat, plastics and pesticides and providing our customers with recycling opportunities, we are also proud supporters of Terra Carta from HRH The Prince of Wales’ Sustainable Market Initiative – helping make the UK a greener place.”

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Mike Hartshorn, MD of Carbon Gold, said: “After seeing a massive boom in retail sales last year, we’re absolutely thrilled to have our biochar products on shelves at Dobbies Swansea store in time for Spring 2021.

“Gardeners, home growers and allotmenteers have always wanted their plots of outdoor space to be healthy, vibrant and disease and pest free, but these days making sure they’re also environmentally friendly is rising up everyone’s lists of priorities. Our biochar products, which have always been the professionals’ best kept secret, are the perfect replacement for unsustainable peat-based products because they really work and they’re actually good for the environment. It is the gardening product of the future!”

For National Gardening Week, Dobbies has released a new podcast episode focused on sustainable gardening. Horticulture Director, Marcus Eyles, joins host Louise Midgely to discuss Dobbies’ sustainable aims and new product launches, as well as practical advice on how gardeners can care for the environment at home.

The podcast is available to listen to now on iTunes and Spotify https://www.dobbies.com/podcasts

For keen gardeners in Swansea there are also two new FREE virtual events, which will support the #sustainabledobbies focus: https://www.dobbies.com/events

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  • 8 May – Time to Colour Your Garden
  • 15 May – Roses – The UK’s Favourite Flower

(Lead image: Stewart Attwood / Dobbies)


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Environment

Cadle Heath is alive with the sound of critters

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From endangered bats to moths, beetles and unusual critters, a Swansea suburb is giving locals an opportunity to discover exactly what’s living on their doorstep.

The Cadle Heath BioBlitz event funded by the Swansea Nature Partnership on Saturday, May 14, is a day packed with scavenger hunts, guided walks, opportunities to learn about the wildflowers, bugs birds, reptiles and mammals and help to gather important nature data by recording the unusual species living in this urban heath.

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This nature reserve is one of Swansea’s best kept secrets and stretches from behind Swansea Community Farm on Carmarthen Road, to popular shopping-destination, Pontarddulais Road Retail Park.

The event, which is organised by Swansea Community Farm, South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre and Penderi Green Regeneration project, will take place between 10am and 3pm at the farm. Followed by a bat walk at 8.30pm, giving people the chance to listen for the elusive, red-listed, Lesser Horseshoe Bat in its natural habitat.

Kate McCabe from Pobl, leading on the Penderi Green Regeneration Project, said: “This is an exciting event for us. Cadle Heath is one of the best examples of urban heathland in the country and we are proud to have such a rich, exciting space for nature in the heart of Swansea’s Penderi region. The fact that the heath is home to a red-listed bat species is something we should be really proud of and something we should protect and celebrate.”

“Cadle is in such a highly populated part of Swansea that it is often overlooked, and people don’t often realise the hidden haven that exists for local wildlife. This family-friendly event will really bring the area to life, giving people a unique opportunity to really explore the area with the guidance of passionate scientists and nature experts.”

Katharine Aylett, from Swansea Community Farm, said: “We are proud to be hosting such an important and exciting event for the area, and to be partners of Pobl’s Penderi Green Regeneration Project. At Swansea Community Farm, we know the positive effect activities like this have on the community and local wildlife; it’s about raising awareness of the natural world and bringing people together, outdoors. 

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“The Penderi Green Regeneration Project itself, is vital to the area and is already having a clear impact on this part of Swansea. We’re looking forward to working with them on future events and initiatives.”

The Penderi Green Regeneration Project is an initiative to support local people in their desire to improve green spaces in their area which will help boost health and wellbeing. Through a series of physical and educational opportunities, the initiative will bring the wider neighbourhood together to regenerate green spaces in the Penderi area of Swansea.

Funded by UK Government, under the Community Renewal Fund (CRF), Pobl Group is able to deliver the Project with the help of key partners, Swansea Environment Centre, Room To Grow and the Conservation Team at Swansea Council.

For more information on the free event, visit: www.swanseacommunityfarm.org.uk

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Environment

First Minister celebrates 10 years of the Wales Coast Path

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The First Minister will celebrate the 10th Anniversary of the Wales Coast Path with a visit to meet volunteers and walkers.

A year long programme of events and activities celebrating the Wales Coast Path will take place throughout 2022, including walking festivals, virtual challenges and art installations.

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Since its opening in 2012, the Wales Coast Path has established itself as a beacon of our nation’s natural beauty.

The 870 mile path guides walkers along Wales’ picturesque coastline, weaving its way past a hundred beaches and sixteen castles.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said: “The coastal path is one of the crowning glories of Wales and one of the proudest achievements of devolution.

“I would like to thank all those involved in the management of the path. Particularly the staff and volunteers, who are out in all weathers, working hard to maintain the path to such high standards.

“If I had to choose my favourite stretch of the path, the portion between Pendine and Amroth would be a candidate: starting in my own home county of Carmarthenshire, and ending in Pembrokeshire. It may not be the most well-known part of the path, but it offers huge variety: some challenging climbs, outstanding variety of flowers, secret coves and plenty of historical interest”.

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The Welsh Government will build on the successes of the first ten years so that more people are able to enjoy the path, from more backgrounds, more easily, and with more benefits for local communities, businesses and the environment.

The Deputy Minister for Climate Change, Lee Waters MS, asked Huw Irranca-Davies, MS for Ogmore to undertake a review of the Wales Coast Path.

A small group, drawn from academia and the public, private and voluntary sectors was established to undertake the review.

The Group reflected on the key achievements over the last decade and identified how to maximise opportunities for the future.

Their report has been published on the Welsh Government website today (11 May).

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The review recognises the potential value and challenges of the Wales Coast Path. It contains 19 recommendations for the Welsh Government to consider when developing its future strategic approach to the path.

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Dyfed Powys Police

Man banned from driving for 12 months for fishing offence

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A man from Merthyr Tydfil who travelled to the River Loughor, near Llanelli to fish using a barbaric and illegal method, has been banned from driving for 12 months as part of his sentence.

Vu Quang Tien pleaded guilty to an illegal fishing charge and also to a charge of obstruction of a Natural Resources Wales (NRW) Fisheries Enforcement Officer on 26 April at Swansea Magistrates Court.

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Mr Tien and two other anglers were witnessed by NRW Fisheries Enforcement Officers deliberately using the illegal foul hooking method of fishing – also known as snatching – at the river Loughor on 15 August 2021. NRW officers attended the site after several reports of illegal fishing were made to NRW’s 24/7 incident call centre by concerned members of the community.

When approached and questioned by NRW officers, Mr Tien and his accomplices showed significant hostility and reluctance to share identification documents which eventually had to be extracted by use of reasonable force.

All of Mr Tien’s fishing tackle and fish, along with his associates’ fishing tackle was seized by NRW Officers at the time of the incident. The district judge on the day at Swansea Magistrates Court gave permission to NRW to confiscate these items permanently from each of them.

The District Judge disqualified Mr Tien from driving for 12 months due to seriousness of the incident, and the premeditated and deliberate action of travelling such a distance to commit the offence.

He was also ordered to pay a total of £2,334 in fines, NRW costs and a victim surcharge.

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Mark Thomas, Fisheries Enforcement Officer for NRW, said: “We would like to again thank Dyfed Powys Police, the local communities and also the law-abiding anglers in the area for their continued support in reporting these illegal fishing activities.

“Foul hooking is a truly barbaric form of fishing carried out by a small minority of anglers in Wales, who have no regard for fish welfare.

“NRW and the Police take these incidents seriously as do the courts.

“Hopefully, the small minority of anglers who may in future, think of using any illegal fishing methods will take heed of the heavy fines and driving ban in this case issued by the courts.”

(Lead image: Natural Resources Wales)

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