How the ‘climate assembly’ says the UK should reach net-zero

By Climate change, Politics, Sustainability

In January 2020, more than 100 randomly selected members of the public met in a secret location in Birmingham to begin taking part in the UK’s first “climate assembly”.

The assembly’s conclusions recommend changes across a broad range of sectors, from meat-and-dairy consumption and air travel through to zero-carbon heating and electricity generation.

Measures receiving high levels of support from the assembly include: a levy for frequent fliers; a ban on the sale of petrol, diesel and hybrid cars by 2030-35; and a switch to a more biodiversity-focused farming system.

However, some measures for stronger climate action did not receive strong support. For example, the assembly did not recommend reaching net-zero emissions earlier than 2050.

<a href=””>In this in-depth Q&amp;A, Carbon Brief walks us through the assembly’s recommendations for every sector of the UK’s economy.</a>

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Get cleaner and greener by planting trees, by Sally Ikeringill

By Climate change, Habitat, Sustainability

I am a new resident in Woodhouse Eaves, having only moved here in January 2020. I came from urban Coventry as I wanted to live somewhere greener and with more trees. However green it is in Woodhouse Eaves, though, we have to accept that we are in a climate emergency and it is threatening our planet. That is why I was keen to join Woodhouse Net Zero.

In common with a growing number of people, I want to be part of the local solution rather than part of the global problem. According to experts, we are on track for an increase of between three to four degrees Celsius by the year 2100 if we take no action. These are only global average temperatures; at the poles, the increase may be higher – possibly even double. This will have devastating consequences. Changes will be irreversible as ecosystems collapse.

Climate change is such a huge and complex issue that, as individuals, we can feel helpless. However, there are simple things that many of us can do to help – and one of those is planting trees. Although trees are only part of the climate solution, and other changes must be made to reduce global carbon dioxide, it is known that one hectare of native woodland offsets 400 tonnes of carbon. This is because carbon is locked up in the trees, roots and soil, so it is a really important part of the solution. We have to be careful that we plant only in sensible places, but every tree counts.

Climate change is only half of the story. We are also facing a biodiversity crisis (through loss or degradation of natural habitats). The UK is ecologically damaged and habitat loss will only get worse if things go on unchanged. Through planting new trees, as well as protecting old, established woods and trees, we help to provide essential habitat for the wildlife that so many of us love to see.

Perhaps you are involved in a local community group or you know of a local public space that would benefit from a small copse or a new hedge? Maybe you would like to attract hedgehogs or bats to your neighbourhood or create some shade to sit under on a sunny day? Let us know here at Woodhouse Net Zero and we will see how we can make it work alongside our three parish Tree and Heritage Wardens (Kate Moore, Maggie Morland and Cathy Schou). The Woodland Trust can provide free tree packs for communities that want to plant them in public places.

We are hoping to organise regular tree-planting events, perhaps twice a year. We are especially keen to involve children and young people. Together we can make our village and its surrounding area greener and even more beautiful, and contribute to a solution to the most urgent issue of our times.

Sally Ikeringill

What really happens to your rubbish?

By Stuff, Sustainability, Waste

The UK produces more waste than it can process at home: 230m tonnes a year – about 1.1kg per person per day. So what happens to it?

45.7% of all UK household waste is classed as recycled, although that number indicates only the waste that is sent for recycling, not where it ends up. Detailed end-destination figures for our own area (Charnwood) are not available, but in 2017/18 Westminster council sent 82% of all their household waste (including household recycling) for incineration . Some councils have debated giving up recycling altogether.

From councils burning the lot to foreign landfill sites overflowing with contaminated British rubbish, this article from the Guardian reports on a global waste crisis.

Read more here.

Observations through the eyes of a Swede (a human – not the tasty turnip-looking vegetable!), by Emelie Persson

By Habitat, Sustainability

It is my first time visiting England, we have only just about taken an exit off the M1 and I immediately find myself fascinated by flying forward on a beautiful winding country road accompanied by dense, lush green hedgerows on either side. I have never seen anything like it before and England is even prettier than I could have ever imagined!

The hedgerows blend in so well with the landscape and whilst driving down a hill the gorgeous views and the rolling green landscape is almost undisturbed from the roads and traffic hidden behind the greenery.

I remember thinking, what a great natural habitat for wildlife the hedgerows must be. The hedgerows seems have an abundant variety of plant species and are even carrying fruits and berries at places. They are perfect wildlife corridors, creating a space for insects to spend the winter getting ready to start their job as natural pest control for the adjoining cultivated fields as soon as the spring starts.

I spot a gap in the hedgerow and then it hits me – how are we supposed to see if any deer or wild game is hiding in the hedgerow and how will we be prepared to stop if it decides to jump out? This can now happen any second! In Sweden we are used to most high speed roads being protected by tall see through metal fences on either side of the road. Especially at dawn, the risk of a deer or even a moose running out in the road is pretty big and it can cause some really scary accidents at times.

I remind myself of being in a foreign country and that maybe deers do not jump out on the roads here as often, fingers crossed… I try to focus on enjoying the ride again.

Looking closer at the hedgerows I started noticing little green signs with yellow writing on the side of the roads. We are driving too fast for me to read the writing on the first few but finally – “Public Footpath”. Wow, a footpath for everyone! That is fantastic. The footpaths seems to be going straight across cultivated fields, what a fantastic initiative.

The footpaths makes me think of a part of the swedish constitution called “Allemansrätten”, directly translated to “everyman’s’ right” and is maybe better described as the Right of Public Access. In Sweden everyone has the freedom to roam freely and to access land regardless of ownership. The land belongs to everybody and it is everybody’s responsibility to keep it in order. There is no such crime as trespassing as long as you keep a sensible distance to houses, take your litter with you and “leave the land as it was found”. Allemansrätten makes it really easy to camp, hike, ski, go swimming and to pick mushrooms and berries.

The idea of exploring the English countryside on the public footpaths makes me excited – I think I am going to like it here!

Emelie Persson