Helping Richmondshire Heat, Eat and Meet event - Friday 1st July at Tennants, Leyburn

Richmondshire Climate Action Partnership is hugely grateful to all of the exhibitors - community support organisations, community groups and technical specialists - who attended our event at Tennants last Friday. In all 49 exhibitors attended, providing information, advice and support for those in our community who are concerned about the impact of the rapidly rising cost of living. Tennants also donated their amazing venue free of charge in support of the event. Again, we are extremely grateful for their generosity.

Below are some photographs of aspects of the event, which included ten short presentations delivered by some of the exhibitors. A selection of these presentations will be loaded onto our YouTube channel in the next few days at:

If you are interested in contacting any of the organisations that took part in the event please feel free to email and we will connect you with the relevant individuals.

The Energy Funding Service Team can be contacted here

Anne Shaw Hewitt (Ash) Creative displaying traditional spinning, weaving and textile skills

North York Moors Planning Team - making old buildings more energy efficient. Contact here

Yes Energy Solutions - grants and installation of renewable energy solutions. Contact here

MIND Darlington

Contact here

Members of the eco team from Richmond School

Riverford Organic Farm Contact here

The Rekalibrator Labyrinth

Contact here

PHUSE renewable energy installer. Contact here

Sustainable Swaledale, Newton-le-Willows Climate Change Group and Tunstall Community Gardens free vegetable seedling stall

Contact Sustainable Swaledale here and Tunstall Community Garden here

North Yorkshire Rotter Smoothie Bike

Contact here

Energy efficiency and renewable energy exhibits including GTec , Groundwork Green Doctor , Easby EV and Flexible Energy

Climate Coalition

How North Yorkshire climate groups are banding together for good...

Recently, a broad representation of North Yorkshire climate groups met to discuss ways in which we could unify our resources to better help the overall cause. We decided to form a climate coalition with a Steering Group, with the aim of helping people to coordinate their interaction with the new Unitary Authority. Fifteen local groups have now signed up to support the coalition. This means that as a collective, we can comment upon priorities in more powerful and structured way as the council starts to develop its climate change policy and strategy.

You can read more about the coalition’s letter to North Yorkshire County Council here: north-yorkshire-coalition-calls-for-more-rapid-climate-change-action

Q&A with Mike Sparrow

An interview with Mike Sparrow, Richmondshire Climate Action Partnership founder.

When did you first become interested in climate/environmental issues?

I have always been interested in nature, even as a small child. I used to spend most of my weekends exploring the woods around my grand parents farm, watching the animals and birds, and immersing myself in that peaceful, cosseting energy that an ancient woodland exudes. Climate change wasn’t really something I thought about as I grew up, or in early adulthood, but I would say that concern about environmental pollution and its consequences was, and still is, something that troubles me greatly. I have studied climate change science, as an interested spectator, in some detail over recent years, and even produced a podcast on the subject, connecting with some interesting and very committed scientists with specialisms in that area. My motivation, however, is principally founded more on a longstanding passion for nature, and the simple mantra that we should all respect and 'be kind to Mother Earth’.

Was there one particular event/incident which triggered your interest?

Like many people, having left school I got my head down and focused on earning a living without sparing much attention for the wellbeing of our world. I worked hard, was blessed to get married and have three wonderful children, and kept my nose to the grind stone to provide as best I could for my family. Nothing unusual there. But my attention was drawn back to nature and the protection of our natural world when I became interested in Native American culture, history and spirituality about 10 years ago. The traditional beliefs and way of 'perceiving and living their life' of the indigenous peoples struck a strong chord, and that resonance has reshaped my views on almost every aspect of my life ever since.

What do you believe are the current greatest threats to climate/the environment?

Ambivalence. The notion that we don’t have the time to pay attention to caring for our planet.

Inequality. You can’t expect people who live in poverty and hardship to devote attention to caring about pollution and carbon emissions, when they are struggling to feed and cloth themselves. In the western world we export our waste to poor countries, where it is stockpiled, burnt or simply washed out to sea. That model is unsustainable and unethical.

It’s up to the government. I can’t do anything myself. Unfortunately this attitude is all too common. It’s understandable to think that the problem of global pollution is too big for you to affect, but the truth is that governments won’t solve the problem without being forced to do so by the people. There is too much at stake financially in the short-term for it to be in a politician’s interest to rock the boat. But, everyone can do their bit, however small, and the sum of all those parts does then start to make a difference.

What steps are you personally currently taking to protect climate/the environment?

My journey has been an incremental one, and will continue to be so. We installed 6KW of solar panels about 9 years ago, which has been an excellent investment. We’ve planted 1,900 trees on our land to create a new woodland, and we’re working at improving the wildflower diversity in the balance of the land. We started growing our own fruit and vegetables, and have slowly migrated to a diet that is mainly vegetarian. In fact decisions about the food that we buy are very much influenced by how the food is grown, where it’s grown and how it’s packaged. There are other decisions that relate to protection of biodiversity that mean that we won’t use manufactured fertiliser on our land or plants and vegetables. We don’t use pesticides or weedkillers any more to ensure that we don’t harm pollinators and other animals/insects. It can make for a bit more work, but the benefits in insect population have been almost instantaneous. A couple of years ago we’ like many other families, has some flood water wash through our house and we were forced to replace our carpets. Again, the environment influenced our decision and we elected to go for a natural fibre replacement. Latterly, we finally decided to take the plunge by leasing an electric car, which we can charge from our solar panels. That was a big decision, but it has worked very well and we do most of our miles in the electric car, although living high up in the Dales we have kept our 4x4 for winter use. This has provoked an interesting debate too, since it has caused us to question the merits of continuing to runny repair an old car with worse emissions than a newer car, compared to selling the old one and buying a newer model. On balance, since 80% of the full-life carbon footprint of a car has been expended during the raw material and manufacturing phase, I am leaning towards repair and maintain as my preferred option, but I respect that others may take a different view.

What steps would you urge others to take to protect climate/the environment?

I think everyone needs to make their own choices. The best decisions are those that you make of free will, because you want to do something for reasons that are important to you. I would simply encourage people to make a first step, if they haven’t already. Maybe something small, that isn’t too difficult. Something that you know you can succeed with. Success encourages you to do more. It feeds your enthusiasm because you feel that you’re getting a benefit for your effort, even if it’s just a feel good factor. Then try something else, and before you know it you’ll be looking back and savouring how much you’ve managed to change.

Helping Richmondshire Heat, Eat and Meet

A recap of our community support event on the first of July.

At the beginning of July, we held our Helping Richmondshire Heat, Eat and Meet event at Tennants, Leyburn. It aimed to provide resources, knowledge and contacts to the local community in the face of the rising cost of living, specifically covering the themes of community support, energy, food, and transport and travel.

It was a fantastic day attended by 50 exhibitors that shared their wealth of knowledge to almost 300 Richmondshire locals. There were energy advisers, Community Support Officers, local transport officers, and organic food producers – just to name a few! This meant that there was lots of networking and, of course, a wealth of advice and support.

A definite highlight was the ten presentations given by community organisations, which ranged from improving energy efficiency in old stone buildings to details of grants and benefits that are available to people struggling to afford the cost of food and/or utilities. It was also lovely to see our exhibitors’ work in action on the day. We were able to give away a few hundred seedlings to get people started on growing their own vegetables at home, and Joy Barret demonstrated cooking from raw ingredients, teaching a Richmond School student how to cook fish paella, and a member of the public how to cook Tarka Dahl.

All-in-all, it was a great success, and we hope it has helped to raise awareness about the many terrific local initiatives that are supporting our community on a daily basis, as well as some of the ways in which we can all make changes to better tackle the increasing cost of living.

Transport for the North Report

The final report on Visitor Economy and Transport for the North has been added to our documents list. To access, click on the about tab at the top of our website and select 'docs'.

Please consider moving to peat-free compost!

An article by Land Management Group member, Rita Mercer.

So, why should you consider using Peat-Free Compost?

In Britain, peatlands are found in upland areas as blanket bogs and in the lowlands as lowland raised mires. They are complex habitats, each type supporting many rare and specialised species of plants and insects. Peat is formed by Spahgnum mosses which grow very slowly and then only partially decay when they die due to the wet, acidic conditions, thus storing their carbon.

Peat bogs are the largest and most efficient carbon store on earth (10 times more carbon per hectare than any other ecosystem, including forests) and they hold nearly 30% of all the carbon stored on land, so they are an important defence against climate change. Peat is the UK’s largest carbon store and in England it is estimated to be storing 580 million tonnes of carbon. has been extensively dug up in the UK for horticultural purposes, such as for growing media. Bagged retail growing media accounts for 70% of the peat sold in the UK. Currently, nearly three million cubic metres of peat are sold for horticultural use every year in the UK, one third of which comes from UK peatlands. When this extraction takes place, the carbon stored inside the bog is released as carbon dioxide, contributing to climate change.

As gardeners we can make a real difference to the protection and enhancement of these vital peat bogs by not using peat-based composts. Peat-free alternatives are becoming more widely available at local garden centres and the quality has improved enormously. Some of the most commonly recommended brands include Melcourt Sylvagrow (based on by-products of sustainably managed British forests), Dalefoot (produced in Cumbria from bracken and wool) and Fertile Fibre (based on coir, a bye-product from coconuts). B+Q and Wilko own brand peat-free composts are also recommended by Which.

For further information see:

Richmondshire Climate and Environment Festival

A festival of events staged in collaboration with third parties to mark COP26.

In the run-up to the COP26 conference held in Glasgow our Partnership organised a festival of events to showcase the work being done across our District to reduce carbon emissions, protect and enhance our environment, and improve the quality of our biodiversity. We were delighted to be supported by the Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority, The Yorkshire Dales Millenium Trust, The Tees-Swale Project, Buglife, Plantlife, The Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust, Friends of the Dales and The Yorkshire Wildlife Trust. Videos of some of the online events can be viewed on our YouTube channel at

The full schedule of events included:

  • A visit to the Festival of Thrift in Redcar

  • An Eco-festival in Richmond Methodist Hall

  • Re-wilding Ingleborough - Woodland Trust

  • Friends of the Dales, Road Verge Campaign

  • Tees-Swale Nature Recovery Project

  • Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority decarbonisation of their property estate

  • Tunstall Community Gardens Open Day - including new recycling ideas

  • Buglife's B-Lines project

  • Plantlife - The carbon sequestration value of wildflower meadows

  • Yorkshire Dales Millenium Trust - Plastic-free Woodlands

  • Just the Job, Richmond - open day of family activities

Young Rangers : Meadow Conservation

Faye McLean explains why she loves volunteering with YDNP

I first joined Young Rangers in 2018.

Gardening and the outdoors runs in my family and I am no exception: two years on and the thought of clearing and collecting sticks still appeals to me. Between 2018 and last weekend I had been unable to attend Young Rangers due to the awful mix of Covid and University, which mainly consisted of my small uni room and computer. So when my younger sister signed up for a day of meadow conservation, I leapt at the chance.

Even only four hours of hands-on work outside is the perfect cure for Vitamin D deficiency and square eyes; I definitely needed it. Not only that, but chatting with the Rangers and learning about conservation methods provided me with some skills and opportunities that I will use in my Archaeology degree.

I think Young Rangers is especially important for those who don’t have the outdoors running in their family or, like me, no longer breathe enough fresh air. It gives the perfect chance to connect with something other than the Wifi and Zoom calls. Now more than ever, Young Rangers and conservation opportunities of any kind provide escapism that is needed by all ages. I am very thankful that Young Rangers could give me that (follow the Dales Young Rangers on Facebook).

Whashton Parish : Local Leadership

The Whashton Parish Net Zero Carbon Footprint Project

Whashton Parish shows how a picturesque, rural hamlet can make a difference by taking action. It's Net Zero project has kicked off with two major components. Firstly, a survey has been undertaken to determine the current sources of energy used across the Parish. The Parish plans to review sustainable and renewable energy sources and to seek funding support to help residents if they wish to transfer to non-carbon energy. Secondly, a group of enthusiastic residents has formed the Whashton Wildlife Group (WWG) to monitor and grow the biodiversity of their lovely parish. To-date the WWG and the Parish Meeting Committee have together created two nature reserves, including the re-instatement of Bobby's Bank to how it looked when filmed for the original 'All Creatures Great and Small' TV series.

St Francis Xavier School, Taking on plastic, and winning!

Year 9 student Mathilde's eco team has unwrapped the power of constructive campaigning

‘I've been part of the St Francis Xavier (SFX) eco team for two years now. My favourite part of being in the eco team is all the experiences it brings to us such as when we went to the Guardian Newspaper after one of our members wrote a letter to them explaining how they could use potato starch bags instead of single use plastics bags to wrap their magazines in – and they did it!'

Tree cheers for Newton

Bob Sampson shows that being Covid-secure doesn't stop tree-planting...

Earlier this winter Newton-le-Willows Climate Change Group wrote to local landowners and asked if they would be willing to have trees planted on a small area of their land. Seven responded positively and then residents were asked if they would sponsor the plants. An amazing £700 was raised almost instantly, enabling nearly 300 trees to be planted with suitable protection.

Volunteers (including Beth and Hannah, pictured) carried out the planting in pairs, socially distanced in order to meet Covid requirements. Bob would like to thank all who contributed to what was a very enjoyable environmental project.

Incredible! Reeth gets growing...

Stacey Adlard has created a community kitchen garden.

Incredible Edible is a network of local groups who have created community vegetable gardens on unused bits of land across the country.

Sustainable Swaledale has created a series of raised beds in the medical centre garden in Reeth and a smaller plot in Gunnerside, so that people can grow their own vegetables for free, by communally tending and harvesting. The Yorkshire Dales National Park Sustainable Development Fund helped us buy the materials.

Eating local produce reduces food miles and packaging, thereby reducing its carbon footprint. It brings like-minded people together in the community and provides opportunities for those who may not have the space, time or ability to maintain a garden of their own.

In our first season we were able to produce a variety of herbs, beans, greens, courgettes, turnips, lettuce and more. This year we are hoping to create more raised beds to enable us to expand our project further.