HS2: Moving ancient woodland habitat for rail line flawed, ecologists say

The BBC reports moving ancient woodlands cut down to make way for HS2 is a fundamentally flawed idea, leading ecologists say. The company behind the new rapid rail connection between London and the north of England is cutting down trees in the course of the construction. HS2 say the woods are not being destroyed because their soils are being “translocated” to other places. 

How an ‘orchard renaissance’ could bring nature back to UK cities

The Guardian reports volunteers are reviving a legacy of fruit trees that stretches back to the Romans, hugely increasing biodiversity – and cider production. Every autumn, cider maker Hawkes asks Londoners to donate apples to its cidery under the railway arches in Bermondsey, just south of Tower Bridge. In normal times, people who drop off a box of russets or royals leave with a bottle of cider from last year’s crop. But 2020 has not been a normal year. Through a trial delivery scheme to continue the exchange during the pandemic, 12 tonnes of apples have arrived at Hawkes in the post. 

Gardens help towns and cities beat countryside for tree cover

The BBC reports urban areas are not all high-rise flats and offices, they are also where you’ll find many of the country’s trees. Two London boroughs – Camden and Croydon – were among the top 20 places in England and Wales with the most tree cover, a research project has found. Meanwhile largely rural areas had some of the least – including part of the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales. Garden trees are boosting numbers in towns, while farming helps explain some of the low rural rankings.

Treedom fighters: Get the kids planting trees this half term

The Sun reports environmental experts say we need to plant 50million trees in the UK each year to slow climate change. This year it is more important than ever. Covid has meant that fewer trees than before have gone into the ground But YOU can help by going into your local park, fields or woods, collecting trees’ seeds off the ground and planting them. If every one of us sowed just one or two acorns this autumn and planted the resulting seedlings next year, we could make a real difference. 

Boris Johnson’s pledge to return third of Britain to nature could see Lakes and Dales rewilded

The Telegraph reports conservation groups have argued that although 26 per cent of England is technically ‘protected for nature’, these areas are not sufficiently biodiverse and actually contain less trees and nature than some of our cities. The five-year plan for Natural England promises to make our national parks “richer in wildlife”, and sources at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs have suggested this includes radically changing the landscape of our most iconic national parks. 

Does Attenborough make you happier? Nature on TV scientifically proven to boost mood

The Telegraph reports a study by the University of Exeter found that people watching coral reef footage shot by the Blue Planet II crews, complete with an explanatory voiceover, felt happier and less bored than they did before. The paper, published in the Journal of Environmental Psychology, concluded that watching nature programmes on the TV could be a good alternative to experiencing it in real life for people who are unable to do so through illness or disability. 

Seabirds face extinction if Government pursues wind farm plan, RSPB warns

The Telegraph reports the Prime Minister last week promised that Britain had “limitless” offshore wind capacity, and said a green industrial revolution with this renewable resource at its heart would create millions of jobs and avert climate change. However, conservationists have warned that an enthusiastic rolling out of offshore wind could cause our globally important seabird populations to dwindle to extinction.