Browsing: Environment

Residents of St David’s, in Pembrokeshire, will soon be having their homes powered by a 400kW tidal power generator that was unveiled in Ramsey Sound last week. The trial project will run for 12 months generating energy from tidal currents on the sea bed, and is being hailed as Wales’ first grid connected free standing tidal turbine. It is hoped that this trial scheme will lead to a larger project for Tidal Energy Ltd, which will incorporate nine, 150 tonne, seven story high turbines which are due to be built in Pembroke Dock by Mustang Marine. Mustang Marine were recently…

Five hundred years ago, cranes were a common sight across the British Isles, however these majestic birds were made extinct by over-hunting and loss of wetlands. Over the past 5 years, a programme, termed ‘The Great Crane Project’, has aimed to reintroduce cranes back into the UK. The project has raised and released almost 100 cranes on to the Somerset Levels and moors. The Great Crane Project is a joint venture between the Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust (WWT), the RSPB, Pensthorpe Conservation Trust and Viridor Credits. The project aims to restore the Eurasian Crane to areas where they used to…

The National Trust’s most polluting property is going green. Once heated by an oil boiler, Plas Newydd, located on Anglesey, is now to be heated by the Menai Straits. During the winter months, the house used to use 1,500 litres of oil a day, which is the same amount an average house would use in 10 months. Now after a £600,000 revamp, water is pumped from the straits through a 53 meter pipe into a heat exchanger which works in a similar way to a refrigerator only in reverse. Heat is extracted from the seemingly freezing water using the same…

On Thursday the 10th of July, four Peregrine Falcons were found dead at a local Gwynedd quarry. The birds were last seen alive on Thursday 3rd July, and this has been confirmed by photo evidence obtained by the police. The police have stated that three chicks and one adult have died at Dyffryn Nantlle Quarry, tragically, the chicks were only about a week from fledging. The RSPB have said that it is highly unusual for four birds to die in such a way, and therefore foul play is suspected. The most likely cause of death is poisoning by bait brought…

A village near Betws-y-Coed is now proud to be home to one of the eight contenders for the best ree in Wales! A horse chestnut tree in in Pentrefoelas near Betws-y-Coed was announced as a contender for the best tree in Wales last week. e spectacular tree is situated in the centre of Pentrefoelas, next to the Afon Merddwr, by the A5; the competition is not looking for beauty however, its objective is to nd the tree that most brings the community together. The Woodland Trust has said that the competition is about showing the importance of trees, as they…

Treborth Botanic Gardens is a small haven that lies roughly 1 mile down a track from the Bangor Side of Menai Bridge. Following this track through the arboretum leads to the entrance of this aesthetically pleasing location used by students and the local community alike. Although small in size, there is a multitude of interesting locations throughout the site. This includes: the arboretum (a project eventually housing Welsh forest history), the tropical house (growing Bangor’s best bananas), the temperate house (containing cacti of all sizes) and the orchid house (covering 3 different temperature ranges under one roof), not to mention…

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…

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…

At the start of 2011, it was believed the general consensus amongst Japanese politicians and the public alike leant towards policies favouring “more nuclear and less renewable energy”. Yet on March 11th government officials were locked in debate amidst proposals of the Renewable Energies Promotion Bill, urging a step away from nuclear power. That afternoon the Tohoku Earthquake struck and with a tragic irony the debate was cut short by the resulting Fukushima nuclear accident. Although no deaths or cases of radiation sickness have been reported since then, Japans interests in nuclear energy have been shaken to the core. A…

Last year was an exceptional year for weather in the UK. The year began with a drought, starting in 2011, and ended with severe flooding across much of the UK. The drought continued into April 2012, but naturally as a hosepipe ban was introduced the heavens opened to 9 months of constant rainfall. The year had the wettest summer since records began and was only 6.6mm off the record set in 2000 for the wettest year. This rainfall was down to the jet stream being further south than usual bringing low pressure and rainfall. However 2013 is predicted to start…

The Endeavour Society is the student run ocean science society, running weekly talks on all aspects of ocean science from biology, geology through to engineering, chemistry and conservation which are a great way to spark an interest and to gain contacts in the scientific community for that future career. We also run lots of fun activities throughout the year including walks, beach clean socials, crabbing competitions, aquarium visits and pub socials (with free pizza and sandwiches). When we meet: Thursdays 7.30pm at Dennis Chrisp lecture theatre (Menai Bridge)- free bus provided from Bangor (Fridd Site) Contact us on email: osxe01@bangor.ac.uk The…

2012 was a year of weather extremes with drought conditions in many areas at the beginning followed by months of record breaking rain. Widespread flooding across much of the UK caused fatalities and excessive damage to properties and infrastructure. Increased development on floodplains could be increasing the risk of flooding at a time when the climate is changing unpredictably. In April, shortly after hosepipe bans were put in place in England, the skies opened and rain began to fall, which has persisted almost continuously ever since. Flooding occurred as rivers burst banks and run-off from fully saturated ground was rapid.…

Researches are concerned that west Antarctica is heating up at twice the rate as formerly thought. Data collected over many years has drawn the conclusion that there has been a 2.4 degrees Celsius increase in temperature over 52 years. The major point being emphasised is the contribution of melting ice to global sea level rise and therefore increased risk of flooding to regions such as the low-lying Maldives and Bangladesh. The US scientists have said it is expected for summer temperatures to be higher than at other times of year however Antarctic temperatures rarely exceed 0 degrees Celsius.

This December saw the School of Ocean Science’s first ever Polar Symposium, an opportunity for students and professionals from the world of polar science to meet and learn. With attendees and speakers travelling from all across the UK and a keynote speaker flying in from Norway for the event, Bangor became a hub of polar interest and knowledge over the weekend. With nine speakers on topics ranging from sea ice, to the greening Artic and even the surveying of the ocean floor for oil drilling, there was something to interest all those attending. Funded by the UK Polar Network, Bangor…

Common ash is the third most abundant native broadleaved tree species in Great Britain, its main environmental benefit is providing a diverse habitat for wildlife. In addition it has current economic uses such as flooring and barbecue charcoal. Unfortunately due to a new threat from fungal organism ‘Chalara fraxinea’, first seen in Poland in 1992, several ash species are under threat. Infection results in leaf loss, crown dieback and ultimately death. Young saplings are at particular risk as individuals are killed within one growing season of symptoms becoming visible. Despite this mature trees are by no means safe because although…

I’ve seen my fair share of storms and I’m not talking about your typical thunderstorm over the UK, I’m talking about the huge supercells that I was lucky enough to encounter during a storm chasing tour in tornado alley during 2010. Baseball size hail, winds that will topple 18 wheelers and such heavy rain the wipers are useless makes you realise pretty quickly that we get it easy. However, compared to that Hurricane Sandy was on a completely different scale. At its peak Sandy was the largest Atlantic Hurricane on record spanning 1100 miles in diameter, enough to engulf the…

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