Author: Richard Dallison

Environment Editor 2014/15

An ambitious project in Snowdonia National Park has passed the halfway stage in its effort to raise funds to develop a 270 kW run-of-river hydroelectricity scheme. The community of Abergwyngregyn, Gwynedd, and the founding directors of Ynni Anafon Energy Cyf, the community organisation set up to manage the scheme, are hoping to raise £300,000 by the end of November to ensure construction can begin in the new year. The scheme has already raised over £165,500 through a share offer in the scheme, offering people the chance to be part of the project for as little as £250. The target date…

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A professor from Bangor University’s School of Ocean Sciences is set to travel to Massachusetts this week as one of only 12 scientists invited to speak at the International Arctic Science Committee. Professor Tim Rippeth, who gained his PhD is in Physical Oceanography at Bangor in 1994, is to talk to the conference about how the disappearance of Arctic sea ice will affect the rest of the world. Professor Rippeth will warn that the loss of ice cover could be the cause of extreme weather in the UK, such as the wet summers and severe winters experienced in recent years.…

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A backpacker from Edinburgh got an unwelcome surprise a whole month after returning from a trip to Cambodia and Vietnam. Daniela Liverani, 24, found a three inch leech living in her nose a full four weeks after returning from her trip after presuming it was a blood clot following a motorcycle crash. The leech, nicknamed Mr Curly, came to light when it crawled out of Ms Liverani’s nose in the shower; the animal was swiftly removed from her nose at accident and emergency and Ms Liverani disposed of the creature in “an Edinburgh City Council bin”, but not without boiling…

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New research published in the journal, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, this week claims that global climate models underestimate the amount of CO2 being absorbed by plants, leading to models consistently overestimating the growth rate of carbon in the atmosphere. This rate of carbon growth in the atmosphere is important when trying to access the future impacts of climate change and important when setting emissions targets and various other policy. The research looked at a process called mesophyll diffusion, the process by which CO2 spreads inside leaves, and found that the gas is absorbed faster than previously thought.…

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Britain is being threatened with court action by the European Commission within the next 2 months for what it sees as a failure to protect Harbour Porpoises. The threat comes after the numbers of the cetaceans has plummeted in recent years due to injuries from boats, underwater noise and fisheries bycatch. To avoid court action the UK needs to introduce more designated protection sites under the Habitats Directive so as to protect the cetaceans from “seriously compromise to their ecological character”, something that could happen should numbers continue to fall.

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In the last week of August, a demolition crew detonated a battery of explosives to destroy the final 30 feet of a 210-foot high Glines Canyon dam on a small river in Washington State in the largest dam removal project in the world. The 45 mile long, Elwha River was damned twice in the early 20th century, in 1914 by the Elwha Dam, located 5 miles from the mouth of the River and secondly in 1927 by the Glines Canyon Dam in 1927, 8 miles further upstream. The dams were put in place at the time, along with many others…

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HUNDREDS of householders have been left without water in California in the past 2 months, as taps have simple run dry when ground water levels have dropped below the reach of wells. The population of California has nearly double in past thirty years and the central valley of California is one of the most productive agricultural areas on the planet, producing 80% of the world’s almonds. David Phippen, an Almond farmer in the California said, “They [the government] have done a great job at increasing the population of California, but they have paid no heed to the infrastructure required for…

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An exciting new scheme is being developed in the Anafon Valley, near the village of Abergwyngregyn, Gwynedd. The community is getting behind a brand new hydroelectricity project, harnessing the power of the Afon Anafon in what will be a 270kW run-off-river scheme. The scheme, which was originally an idea developed by the Abergwyngregyn Regeneration Company (ARC), is now being overseen by Ynni Anafon Energy (YAE), a community Industrial and Provident Society, managed by residents of the village. The project will see water extracted from the Afon Anafon via a 1m high weir, and channelled into a 45mm pipe that will…

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The government have released new regulations for the latest round of bidding for fracking licences, which it says are much stricter than before. Campaigners this week, however, have claimed that beauty spots are still at risk from fracking, with new regulations not going far enough to protect some of Britain’s most beautiful areas. Planning permission may be granted in National Parks, the Broads and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, if it is deemed by planning bodies that they are ‘in the public interest’. However, Eric Pickles, the Communities’ Secretary, will have the right to overturn planning decisions, should they not…

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