blank
Connect with us

Environment

Wider-reaching solutions urgently needed to reach realistic ‘net zero’, warn researchers

Published

on

There should be greater investment in using a wider group of experts to make decisions about how the landscape is managed if the UK is to reach climate targets such as net zero, a new report warns.

Tackling the climate emergency should involve those knowledgeable in the arts, business owners, farmers, landowners, developers and investors, the study says.

Advertisement

The interdisciplinary team of UK researchers, which includes Dr Jemma Bezant from the University of Wales Trinity Saint David, have highlighted ‘multiple contradictions’ in the pathways to net zero climate targets and called for wider-reaching solutions to create a more sustainable future.

Dr Bezant is a landscape archaeologist with over two decades of experience in academia, third sector, and commercial practice in the UK and Europe. She has been a co-Director of the Strata Florida Abbey Research project with UWTSDs Professor David Austin for nearly 20 years.

She said: “We are being gripped by a global climate emergency and we should all act urgently to change how we use our landscapes. This interdisciplinary report demonstrates the genuine benefits of communities and businesses working inside existing traditional networks to achieve net zero.

“My own research into historic land use seeks exemplars of sustainable social and agricultural practice from the past and to explore how agricultural communities can be best placed to sustainably meet both climate and policy/subsidy changes in post-Brexit UK.”

The Landscape Decisions Programme, led by the University of Leicester, has published the new research report with input from environmental scientists, ecosystem modellers, human geographers, humanities scholars, and other experts from Leicester, Reading, Exeter, Bangor, Leeds, Nottingham, and Robert Gordon universities, plus expertise from Rothamsted Research and the UK Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Advertisement

The UKRI-funded report stresses the potential negative impact of existing pathways to net zero climate targets, which include losses in the benefits of biodiversity, human wellbeing, and cultural knowledge of the landscape.

The UK government has previously set a net zero target of 2050, through a proposed reduction in greenhouse gas emissions and better management of so-called ‘carbon sinks’ such as peatlands and forests, and with new carbon capture technologies.

Recommendations made by the interdisciplinary group include a greater focus on locally-devolved decisions in land-use solutions, as a one-size-fits all approach to net zero landscape management could be damaging in certain environments.

As well as studying the physical impact of landscape decisions, these should be taken within the full context of the social consequences of these changes; for example, in the case of sudden large-scale changes to farming.

The group do, however, recognise that “swift action is essential, otherwise we head deeper towards an inability to reach net zero carbon targets, contribute to biodiversity collapse and, promote societal disengagement with landscapes”.

Advertisement

Dr Beth Cole is Senior Research Fellow for the Landscape Decisions Programme, based at the University of Leicester, and lead author for the report.

She said: “To reach the net zero goals we need to make some challenging decisions about the way we use, manage, and interact with landscapes in the UK. These landscape decisions are dependent upon many factors including the environmental characteristics, and the geographic location of the land, but in this report, we also consider the wider social framing of these decisions and call for inclusive, place-specific net zero practices within landscapes that support both biodiversity and people.

“Collaborating across disciplines this group of researchers together make a team that is greater than the sum of its parts and who have broken down some of the silos this urgent issue is normally approached from.”

Dr Katharine Earnshaw, a co-author based in the University of Exeter’s Department of Classics and Ancient History, said: “We have an urgent need to think about the culture of change – not just what could be possible on paper. This means a better consideration of the whole picture: social and ethical ideas – the habits of thinking – alongside empirical evidence, taking account of past, present and future.

“This novel report demonstrates the genuine benefits of working across different subjects and with communities and businesses so that we do not reproduce the inequalities that have led us to this crisis.”

Advertisement

Co-author and natural scientist Professor Simon Willcock, of Rothamsted Research and Bangor University, added: “Obviously, there is an urgent need to move towards net zero landscape decisions to limit the impacts of climate change. However, landscape changes impact a great variety of things – from the carbon and water cycles to biodiversity and local peoples.

“Only by making interdisciplinary decisions that take these many things into account can we move towards achieving sustainability more broadly – benefiting people and nature. Our report highlights this and provides key recommendations as to how net-zero can be achieved more inclusively.”

Professor Heiko Balzter is a Professor of Physical Geography at the University of Leicester and Director of the Centre for Landscape and Climate Research, and is Chair of the Programme Coordination Team for the UKRI Landscape Decisions project.

He added: “Our landscapes in the UK are about to change faster than they have done in a long time. These changes are driven by the urgent need to prevent catastrophic climate change by achieving net zero emissions no later than 2050, reversing the loss of many endangered animal and plant species, as well as improving food security and livelihoods of our farmers. This report highlights some key recommendations for decision-makers on ethical consideration, participatory approaches and the trade-offs and synergies between different goals and interventions.”

(Lead image: Beth Cole/University of Leicester)

Advertisement
Advertisement
Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Environment

Cadle Heath is alive with the sound of critters

Published

on

By

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.

Advertisement

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. 

Advertisement

“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

Advertisement
Continue Reading

Environment

First Minister celebrates 10 years of the Wales Coast Path

Published

on

By

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.

Advertisement

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”.

Advertisement

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).

Advertisement

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.

Continue Reading

Dyfed Powys Police

Man banned from driving for 12 months for fishing offence

Published

on

By

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.

Advertisement

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.

Advertisement

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)

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending

Copyright © 2021 Swansea Bay News