News and views

Note: Insight and opinion pieces contain the knowledge and opinions of individual members. They are published to promote debate and encourage enquiring minds. Unless stated, they are not the views of the Partnership as a whole. 

NEWS: Tickets now on sale for Great Big Green Week environmental themed book events ! 

Tickets are now on sale for two environmentally themed book festival events, timed to coincide with Great Big Green Week

Organised by Richmond Walking and Book Festival in partnership with the Richmond Climate Action Partnership they will take place as follows:

Saturday 15th June; 7:30pm Town Hall, Richmond; Tom Moorhouse; “Elegy for a River”. Tom is an ecologist and author, who for over twenty two years worked for the Wildlife Conservation Research Unit, Oxford University. His authorial career comprised a number of children's books, including The River Singers, The Rising, and Trickster, all of which drew on ecological knowledge of water voles and rats, and his adult non-fiction comprises Elegy for a River and Ghosts in the Hedgerow. In this talk Tom will introduce you to the wonderful world of water voles, and the conservation challenges they face in Britain. Through his own work he will explain what conservation research actually does, why it hasn't yet achieved the outcomes we all want and need - but why he still has hope for wildlife and our collective future.


Sunday 16th June; Town Hall; Roger Morgan-Grenville; “Across a Waking Land”. In March 2022, acclaimed nature writer Roger Morgan-Grenville set out on a 1000-mile walk, from the Solent to Cape Wrath, to follow the spring as it progressed northwards at a speed of 20 miles per day – roughly the pace at which the oak leaves emerge. Concerned by species loss in the UK, he met the individuals who are helping to reverse it, from the allotments of Sheffield to the peat bogs of Kielder, from regenerative farming in the Cotswolds to the reintroduction of beavers near Inverness. Battling Covid, blizzards and age, encountering the kindness of strangers, Roger’s epic eight-week adventure is both life-affirming and life-changing.

Tickets for each event are £10,  or £5 for people in full time education or receiving income assessment benefits. 

Buy your tickets online via the ticketsource website .

We look forward to seeing you there !

Posted: 1st April 2024

David Skaith (Labour) wins race to be the first York and North Yorkshire Mayor

The York and North Yorkshire Mayoral Elections were held on Thursday 2nd May 2024, and the victor was  David Skaith.

If you want to find out what he think about climate change and nature matters, click on the links below to view and listen to recordings of the recent hustings organised by Yorkshire Friends of the Earth. All the candidates took part, except the Conservative candidate.

Opening Statements

Overall Strategy

New Housing


Energy Generation


Natural Environment

Water Pollution

Closing Statements

Updated : 3rd May 2024

Save our Swale Public Meeting, 8th June @ 5pm

Join Save Our Swale and guest speakers at a Public Meeting on Saturday 8th June, 5 – 6.30pm at Richmond Town Hall. 

Attendees will find out the results of the Swale's water quality monitoring, and hear what Save Our Swale have planned for 2024/2025 to promote awareness of the ongoing pollution of the River Swale.

This is free to attend, but it will be ticket only- register here: . Paper tickets are available from the Book Shop on Castle Hill from May onwards.

To keep up to date with SOS, check out their Facebook or instagram pages, or sign up for a newsletter, by emailing:

Posted 29th April 2024

Take part in this year's Spring Big River Watch !

National charity The Rivers Trust's Spring Big River Watch is this weekend, 3 – 6 May 2024. 

Take part in their easy citizen science survey, to help them build a large-scale picture of river health. You'll get to spend 15 meaningful minutes connecting with nature, so it's good for our rivers and good for you too!

Our rivers are suffering from sewage, plastic, chemical and nutrient pollution. To change this, The Rrivers Trust need to know where our rivers are having the problems and which problems are the most prevalent. 

You can make a difference by gathering data that can support policy change; helping turn the tide on plastics or stem the flow of untreated sewage. The data will also help identify the best places for river clean-ups, or the creation of things like wetlands. 

Download the free Big River Watch apps to get involved, from the Apple App Store or with Google Play .

Posted: 29th April 2024

NEWS People Planet Pint coming to Richmond on Wednesday 5th June !

We're excited and delighted to announce that we'll be co-hosting (with The Northern Eco ) an informal People Planet Pint meet up in Richmond on Wednesday 5th June. The event will take place at The Buck Inn on Newbiggin in Richmond from 7pm. It's open to everyone, whether you are already involved with Ricap or not, so don't forget to tell your colleagues, friends and family too ! 

The event is being supported by Small99 and Krystal. 

To find out more and to pre-register for a FREE DRINK, please visit the dedicated eventbrite page .

Updated 29th April 24

NEWS: Do you have some ideas for new nature recovery projects in this area ?

The team writing the York and North Yorkshire Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS) are looking for new project ideas to  include within it.  They are looking for opportunities under the the themes of  Woodland,  Water / wetlands, Uplands, Grassland / lowland heathland / farmland and Urban.

If you or your organisation have a project idea to put forward, then you must do so by the 20th May. You will need to provide information about the what, where and how of your project, and ideally a lead organisation. Email your ideas to:

To find out more about the strategy visit : Local Nature Recovery Strategy | North Yorkshire Council . There is a half hour webinar on the following link that provides an update on the progress in preparing the strategy. North Yorkshire and York Local Nature Recovery Strategy LNRS Update Webinar - YouTube 

A consultation on the final draft LNRS is due to take place in Autumn 2024.

Posted 1st May 2024

NEWS: Plant nursery wins Business Eco Award

Congratulations to Middlemoor Cottage Garden Plants  who came out on top in the Environmental category at the recent Richmond Business Excellence Awards, seeing off the competition from runners up The Station and DalesRunner.  

its great to see local businesses trying to do their bit to reduce the impact of their activities on the environment. 

Organised by the Original Richmond Business and Tourist Association (ORBTA), the awards ceremony also saw one of our partners, Steve Biggs, receive a One and Only Award, as well as a donation of £731 collected at the event for his organisation's Big Green Build Project. Congratulations Steve !

If you would like to support the Big Green Build, you can donate via this link:  The Big Green Build | Localgiving 

If you would like to find out more about Middlemoor Cottage Garden Plants visit their Facebook page  .

Posted : 29th April 2024

NEWS: Holmedale Nature Project events in May

If you live in North Richmondshire or Richmond and have an interest in the natural environment, then why not venture out to the Holmdale Community Nature Project's next event ? 

It's a talk entitled 'Meadow Creation', by Catherine Mercer of the Yorkshire Dales Millenium Trust, on Monday 13th May, 7:30 to 8:30pm at Ravensworth Village Hall. £2 donation

​​Later in the month, on Saturday 25th May, a visit to Earby Hall Farm< Newsham is on the agenda. Hosted by Ben and Harry Hoskyns-Abrahall, this will be an opportunity to see the benefits of 30 years of biodiversity improvements on their working farm. The visit will run from 1pm to 4pm, and involve a walk of 2-3 miles and stout footwear is recommended. Children welcome but no dogs please. There is a £5 donation per family, which includes refreshments. Booking is required – please email:

For more background and updates about the Holmedale Community Nature Project, visit their dedicated webpage on the Whashton Parish website, or take a look at their latest newsletter here.

NEWS: A guided walk in Wensleydale to discover fauna, flora and water

Wednesday 23 May, 10:30 – 3:30pm

Catherine Mason, education and engagement officer for the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust will lead a seven mile circular walk and talk exploring a short stretch of the River Ure and one of its tributaries. Starting and finishing at Aysgarth Falls (charges apply), this walk will be an excellent opportunity to learn more about the Trust’s work including river and riparian restoration to improve habitats, address pollution, prevent erosion and reduce the impacts of flooding.

The terrain is mainly easy but with stiles and one steep rocky climb and descent. No dogs please, as there are ground nesting birds and livestock.

To book, use the contact form on this webpage .

Posted: 1st May 2024

NEWS: Big Plastic Count national results update

Over 224,000 people, including over 77,000 households took part in The Big Plastic Count 2024 ! 

An estimated 1.7 billion pieces are being thrown away by households every week in the UK, demonstrating that plastic production is showing no signs of slowing down. 

The UK throws away more plastic per person than every other country in the world, except the US

Like many,  I found that most of my plastic waste was food packaging. This aligns with global findings set out in a recent article in The Guardian newspaper . It reported that an international team of volunteers collected and surveyed more than 1,870,000 items of plastic waste across 84 countries over five years: the bulk of the rubbish collected was single-use packaging for food, beverage, and tobacco products. 

Posted : 29th April 2024

NEWS: New Hedgerow Regulations are coming !

Hedgerows are valuable assets for wildlife and the environment, and often provide nesting sites for birds.

On 16th April, legislation to protect hedgerows was laid in both Houses of Parliament. If agreed, they will come into force immediately, or from 1 July 2024, depending on whether there is already a buffer strip or not.

If approved, the Regulations will (with some exemptions) establish legal minimum hedgerow management practices, providing a consistent approach across all agricultural land

This includes a 2-metre buffer strip where a green cover must be established and maintained, without the cultivation or application of pesticides or fertilisers within it, and a hedgerow cutting ban from 1 March to 31 August (inclusive).  

Posted : 1st May 2024

NEWS: Swale Fest Nature Walks ... and a film

As part of the Swaledale Festival, there are three nature and environment themed guided walks.  

Dales Flora and Fauna, May 26 @ 11:00 am - 3:00 pm 

Meet at the doctor’s surgery car park in Aysgarth (junction of A684 and the road to Thoralby). Led by Chris Meek and members of the Yoredale Natural History Society, a guided 3.5 mile walk through iconic Wensleydale scenery with an emphasis on the wild flowers of the region. 

Woods, Waterfalls & Wild Flowers, May 28 @ 11:00am - 3:00pm

Meet at St Andrews Church Aysgarth Church Bank, Aysgarth.

A guided 4 mile walk through coppiced woodland and fields, led by Chris Meek and members of the Yoredale Natural History Society. The emphasis will be on the wild flowers.

Foraging Walk with Jim Parums, May 30 @ 10:00 am - 2:00 pm

Meet at Round Howe Car Park grid ref: NZ157009, Richmond

Led by expert Jim Parums in the beautiful landscape of Round Howe and Hudswell Woods, a 4-hour session focussing on the delicious wild food found all around us. 

To find out more about all the walks, costs and booking, visit

And don't forget the film Six Inches of Soil on Friday 31st May @ 11am - 1 pm at Leyburn Arts Centre.

Film: Six Inches of Soil ( 

Posted 29th April 2024

photo of Belfast Repair Cafe,

NEWS: Richmondshire Repair Cafe plans well underway but more volunteers needed !

Three volunteers from Ricap made the trip over to Swainby on Saturday 16th March to find out how Stokesley and Villages Climate Action Group run their successful repair cafe.  We were quickly pressed into action supporting the 'front of house' team, showing people where to go and looking after visitors and repair team with cups of tea, coffee and cake.

Over 30 people visited the cafe from 10am to 12 noon and most of the items were successfully fixed.  Clothes and electrical items were the most popular things brought in, but computers, an umbrella and a small wooden chest were  also added to the roll call of items successfully fixed !

If you would like to get involved in helping to organise the Richmond repair cafe, either as a repairer, front of house or behind the scenes, do get in touch with We would particularly love to hear from people with woodwork, sewing or computer fixing skills.

The event will be on Sunday  9th June 2024, 10am to 12.30 at Richmond Town Hall. 

Posted: 1st April 24

NEWS: York and North Yorkshire Mayoral election candidates to be quizzed about climate action

In advance of the upcoming mayoral elections in early May, the North Yorkshire Climate Coalition is putting the prospective mayors on the spot. In addition to an online hustings event on 22nd April, they have also invited all the candidates to respond to questions about what they would do to tackle climate change across the area, and have already received some responses.

To find out more about the husting events and to see the candidate's responses, check out the YNY Mayoral Election 2024 tab on the coalition's website .

Posted: 1st April 2024

NEWS: Commission calling for a set of regional nature recovery actions

The Yorkshire and Humber Climate Coalition has recently launched a new insight paper on Nature's Recovery. The paper calls for a set of regional actions, including a commitment to protect 30% of land and sea for wildlife by 2030 and developing nature focussed learning opportunities for children.

To read the report, visit Nature's Recovery | Yorkshire & Humber Climate Commission ( 

There is also an associated blog by the report author Sam Herbert

on the following link: Can Yorkshire and Humber become the haven our wildlife so desperately needs? | Yorkshire & Humber Climate Commission ( 

Posted: 1st April 2024

Did you take part in the Big Plastic Count ?

Ricap members saw the shocking amount of single use plastic waste first hand when we visited Allerton Waste Recovery Park in November. That's why we asked you to take part in this year's Big Plastic Count

Over 100,000 households nationally took part in the count, which took place from 11th to 17th March.

Valerie from Richmond took part. Her 2 person household counted 35 pieces of plastic, 94% of which was food packaging, none was cleaning and toiletries, and 6% was everything else. 

If every household has as much plastic waste, then nationally that would be about 51,000,000,000 pieces of plastic waste every year. The biggest category of food packaging snack bags, packets and wrappers, from things like cereal bars and chocolate, and soft packaging for bread, rice, cheese, etc.  It was good to note the absence of black pots, tubs and trays, as we learned that these are impossible for plastic recycling machines to identify, so any black plastic ends up being incinerated - lovely!

Sue from Wensleydale also took part. Sue, who has already made great strides switching away from single use plastics, did rather better. She only counted 19 pieces of plastic, and even then, some of those (coffee pods) turned out to be reusable metal containers !

If you took part in the count we would love to hear about your experience ! Just email your results, your first name and any comments you would like to make to and we'll publish as many as we can !

Posted: 18th Mar 24, updated 1st April..

NEWS: Skeeby Solar Farm progressing well

Love it or loathe, work on the huge solar farm at Skeeby near Richmond is well underway. It is due to be completed by the end of May and will generate c. 30 MW of renewable energy when it is up and running. Its expected lifespan is 40 years.

Harmony Energy, who promoted the solar farm, have sold it on to Atrato Renewables.  Harmony Energy are now in the early stages of promoting a further 49.9MW solar farm in the area, to the east of Parkgate Lane between Brompton on Swale and Skeeby. Further details will follow. 

Posted: 25th Mar 24

NEWS: Save Our Swale update - a fundraising event and a feedback eventcoming up soon !

The Station Singers have nominated SOS for a share of funds  raised at their concert, 'Songs For A Fragile World'. 13th April, St Mary's Church Richmond. 6.30pm.

Why not support a worthy cause and have an enjoyable night out? Tickets can be purchased on TicketSource .

A public meeting is also being planned for 8th June at 7pm (venue tbc), to share the results of months of river water quality monitoring so far. If you cant wait, there's a good recent article about it on the Northern Echo website To find out more and keep up to date, check out their Facebook or instagram pages, or sign up for their newsletter, by emailing:

posted; 25th Mar 24, updated 1st Aoril 24

NEWS: What is a Healthy River ? A talk by Charlotte Simmons, Tuesday 16th April

Holmedale Community Nature Project is holding the above event on Tuesday 16th April at 7.30pm at Dalton and Gayles Village Hall.

The talk will explore what aspects of a river are considered when deciding if a river is healthy or not from the perspective of the Water Framework Directive, and what to look for in a healthy natural river. The talk will be presented by Charlotte Simmons. Charlotte has worked for over 30 years in conservation from agri-environment work on the ground to project management and now works for the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust, hosting a the Dales to Vale Rivers Network, the partnership of people and organisations working together across the Swale, Ure, Nidd, Ouse, Wiske, Foss and Wharfe.  

A  £2.00 donation would be welcome, to include refreshments.

For more background and updates to the Holmedale Community Nature Project, visit their dedicated webpage on the Whashton Parish website .

Posted: 25th Mar 24

NEWS: Local sites identified for the Coast to Coast Insect Superhighway

Further to Buglife's recent funding award from Natural England to look for potential wildflower habitat creation opportunities around the Coast to Coast walking route, at least three sites in the Richmond area have been identified as having areas suitable for scheme. This is in prt thanks to the local know-how and introductions provided to Buglife by Ricap.

Three adjacent landholdings, in the control of Richmond Town Council (Lady Serena Park), Richmond Landscape Trust and Richmond School, on the eastern fringes of the town could all soon be planted up with wildflowers or pollinator friendly garden plants. Suitable sites will be planted up between 1st April 2024 and 31st March 2025, and once established, they wil help bugs and other insects move more easily around the area, increasing their chances of survival. The sites identified will complement the excellent existing 'one acre meadow' wildflower planting that has taken place in Swaledale.

To find out more about Buglife and the B Lines project visit B-Lines - Buglife

Updated 25th Mar 24

NEWS: Climate talking points this election year

The Yorkshire and Humber Climate Coalition has just released a new Climate Talking Points briefing, to help drive the agenda on what's needed from government at all levels to be most effective at tackling climate change. 

There are four key policy changes that the Commission believes will do the most to unlock climate action in the region.

It all makes perfect sense !

For the full briefing, visit: 

YHCC Climate Talking Points 2024 ( 

Posted: 13th Mar 24

photo of Belfast Repair Cafe,

NEWS: We're planning a local repair cafe ! Could you be a volunteer 'repairer sharer' ?

Are you a person who likes tinkering and has a skill for fixing things ? If you would like to meet new people and enjoy putting your skills to good use by saving stuff from ending up in recycling and waste centres, then becoming a volunteer 'repairer sharer' could be for you !

We are planning to get our first repair cafe up and running in time to coincide with the national Great Big Green Week (8th to 16th June). A repair cafe is an event where people can bring along their broken or damaged goods and community volunteers have a go at fixing them. The service is usually offered free, or for a small donation to cover running costs.

In appealing for 'repairer sharers', Barbara Gravenor, Ricap chair said, “If you are good at repairing things, then now's the time to break out of your workshop, meet new people and showcase your unique talents. If you have that gift, there's a lot of satisfaction to be had from seeing the pleasure you can bring to people whose possessions can be given new life.”

To find out more about volunteering as a 'repairer sharer', please get in touch with, indicating what type of things you can repair. You won't have to help to organise the event – we have other volunteers who are good at doing that!

If you know someone else who fits the bill, please pass this appeal on to them, as the opportunity as open to all.

Repairing your personal possessions, whether they be clothes, shoes, bikes, electrical and mechanical goods, furniture or toys, is a great way of reducing the amount of waste going to landfill and the amount of new stuff you need to buy. It helps the environment and can help save you money too.

Posted: 21st February 2024

Volunteer for the Bilberry Bumblebee Project

Do you get a buzz from volunteering in the great outdooors?

The Bilberry Bumblebee Project is looking for new volunteers, to help with pollinator surveys from May to July this year.

The surveys wlll take place at Foxglove Covert Local Nature Reserve, Catterick Garrison.

To register your interest, contact Lizzie via

The 2024 survey is a follow up to surveys carried out in 2023, which you can read about via the pop out below. The project is supported by Ricap, Foxglove Covert and the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust.

Posted: 2nd Mar 24

Bilberry bumblebee project summary 2023.pdf

NEWS: Events with an Environmental Theme

There are several events at this year's Swaledale Festival for you to enjoy during the day that will help raise your understanding and awareness of our treasured local environment and its fragility.

26th May - Guided Walk: Dales Flora and Fauna

28th May  - Guided Walk: Woods, Waterfalls and Wild flowers

31st May - Film: Six Inches of Soil

5th June - Guided Walk: Hawes to Shore Ghyll

6th June- Guided Walk: Fauna, Flora and Streams

For more information, times and tickets, browse the Swaledale Fesitval programme via the following link:

Swaledale Festival | Programme - List View ( 

Posted: 7th Mar 24

NEWS: Electric Vehicles : North Yorkshire schools eligible for EV charging point funding

Schools in our area will soon be able to apply for more funding to subsidise the cost of installing EV charging points. North Yorkshire is one of 5 areas nationally where the Government is contributing up to 75% of the costs, up to a maximum of £2,500, to help encourage more drivers to switch to electric vehicles.

State-funded schools, colleges, nurseries and academies are all entitled to apply for the grant, as long as they have off-road parking facilities.

Who will be able to use them? How much will they cost to use ? Will they be able to charge electric bikes too ? Hopefully, we can share more informaiton soon....

Electric vehicles: North Yorkshire schools offered charge point funding - BBC News 

Posted: 8th Feb 2024

NEWS: Richmond School Eco Club stepping up the pace on community eco action

A big shout out to all the members of the Richmond School Eco Club,  who are being ever more creative and powerful in leading the way on taking action to care for the local environment

After being awarded a runner up spot in the North Yorkshire Council 'Caring for the Environment' category of community action awards in October ( Eco club wins prestigious award), students from all year groups of the Eco Club carried out a joint litter pick of the school grounds with Richmond Methodist Primary School in November, collecting 11 bags of litter and recyclables........, and a pair of new football boots (eco club and methodist school litter pick )! 

In December, two of the Eco Club's leading students, Hannah Slater and Cameron Smith, spoke at an assembly of all their Sixth Form College peers, reminding them of the real challenges our environment faces and inviting the audience to be curious and take action (sixth form students deliver environmental message).

It's great to see our young people so engaged with environmental issues and reaching out to the wider community.. watch this space for further updates on their activities. 

We invite other schools to follow their lead! 

Posted: 29th Jan 2024

NEWS: The old railway line path from The Station, Richmond - plans for an eco walk

The Station Environmental Group are investigating the possibility of making this into an environmental walk by adding information posts with mojos to provide information on what to see at different times of the year. 

The Group is currently looking at the permissions it will need to do so, and fundraising for the project. 

The Group is made up of staff and trustees from The Station, a volunteer from Ricap, and two young people from local schools. 

Watch this space for further updates. 

Posted :29th January 2024

Photo: Tim Scrivener in Farmers Weekly

INSIGHT  Agroforestry - a new kind of farming?

In recent years agroforestry, the concept of growing trees on land that's also used to produce crops or graze livestock, has gained in popularity. In modern agroforestry systems, trees generally occupy only a small proportion (perhaps five percent) of the farmed area and if planted in regular lines (as in a typical orchard) cause only minor disruption to the operation of farm machinery on the rest of the land.

Nevertheless, planting trees will require initial effort and some subsequent maintenance, so what are the advantages? Enthusiasts for agroforestry say that in return for the loss of a small percentage of crop or livestock area, trees provide an extra source of income from the timber produced and a host of environmental benefits.

The presence of trees slows rainfall runoff and reduces soil erosion while the build-up of leaf litter and the activity of tree roots help build soil organic matter, providing "free" nutrients to crops and grass. In addition, trees assist sustainable crop management by hosting birds and predatory insects which feed on crop and livestock pests. Last but not least, trees provide shelter for both crops and animals and shade grazing livestock in summer. 

In recognition of these environmental benefits, the Government is introducing a range of new agroforestry options under its Environmental Land Management Scheme. These will include both arable and grassland options and offer payments of up to £849 per hectare for higher density tree planting.

In the medieval period, livestock grazing and timber production were often combined on what were known as "wood pastures". Historical examples of these pastures have been identified in Swaledale and it's therefore not strictly correct to call agroforestry a new kind of farming. It will be interesting to see whether the current efforts to promote a more modern version of the same approach to diversifying land use are successful. 

Posted: 29th January 2024

INSIGHT: Farmers Can Turn the Environment into Cash - January 2024 update

by Frank Broughton


Defra has  just announced changes to its Sustainable Farming Initiative (SFI) and Countryside Stewardship Schemes. The changes cover both new and existing agreements. 

Fifty new options will be on offer to farmers and land managers in 2024 and payments are due to increase by an average of 10% this year. The application process will also be streamlined.

Dales farmers can benefit from a range of new and improved options.  These include a payment for low density grazing on moorland and another for managing non-peat moorland soils to reduce surface run-off after heavy rainfall, helping to lower flood risk. The increased threat of wildfires on moorland has also been addressed by a new payment to maintain fire breaks.

After lobbying by farmers, Defra had also recognised that the existing payment for conserving species-rich grassland does not properly reflect the extra costs involved and has agreed a big increase in the annual payment from just £182 to £646 per hectare.

Full details of how to apply, the choices on offer and payment rates are given in the SFI Handbook. To see a copy, just click this link .


The Sustainable Farming Initiative (SFI) is the element of the revamped Countryside Stewardship Scheme designed to have the most widespread appeal to farmers looking to make up for the loss of their subsidy payments. Subsidy payments are being reduced year and by year and will be phased out altogether by the end of 2027. 

SFI offers three-year agreements to both owner-occupiers and tenants.  and was expanded in 2023 to cover a wide range of farming practices including soil conservation, nutrient management, integrated pest control and livestock health. It offers environmentally friendly options on virtually all types of farmland, including arable, horticultural, grassland and moorland. 

To read more about the changes for farmers and farming, scroll down the page to Frank Broughton's very informative piece INSIGHT - 'Revolution in the countryside'.

Click here here to view all of Frank's agricultural policy articles.

last updated 15th January 2024

NEWS: Save our Swale campaign update

It's great to see that our friends at Save our Swale are not letting up with their activity to maintain awareness of local river pollution. 

Their plans for 2024 include regular ongoing Water Quality Monitoring(WQM) and preparations for the application for Designated Bathing Water Status (DBWS), so the River Swale can be safe for recreation and wildlife.

Though its still early days, their water quality monitoring is showing clear differences between the Swale water in the upper dale and that in the Richmond and Brompton areas. Levels of minerals, phosphate and nitrogen increase progressively downstream - by up to ten times in some measures. Of particular interest is the level of coliform bacteria (think E. coli) which also increase downstream, with variable but often high levels recorded at some locations and certainly higher than those required for bathing water status.

Interestingly, they report that the Environment Agency have only been testing the River Swale for ammonia and oxygen levels, whereas SOS volunteers are testing regularly for nitrates, phosphates bacteria and Ecoli - arguably more comprehensive indicators of river health.

If you haven't already done so, you can sign up for their Save Our Swale Newsletter here. To find out more, head over to their SOS facebook page: Save Our Swale | Facebook 

Posted 11th July 2023, last updated 23rd Jan 2024

Image: Plantlife

North Yorkshire Roadside Verges Guidance


INSIGHT: Are we managing grass verges for nature ?

Have you ever wondered why the grass verges that run alongside roads and footpaths are often devoid of the variety of flora and fauna that you might think would be there?

Part of the answer lies in the way highway verges are managed by the local highway authority, North Yorkshire Council. A recent guidance note for parish councils, published jointly by the Council, Yorkshire Wildlife Trust, Plantlife and Blue Campaign makes it clear that highway verges are primarily maintained so that safety of highway users is not compromised, e.g. by physical or sight line obstructions. 

To discover which highway verges are managed by North Yorkshire Council, or by a Town or Parish Council on the NYC's behalf, visit North Yorkshire highways grass cutting map, and zoom in to street level. The sections highlighted in blue are cut five times a year. Any other areas are cut at the discretion of town and parish councils.

What do you think of this approach? Do you know of local examples of where verges are being managed to support biodiversity? 

Posted :29th Jan 2024

TAKE PART: What do you think of new ideas to support regional businesses address climate change ? 

The Yorkshire and Humber Climate Commission (YHCC) has been seeking the public's views on a range of climate change topics. For their latest consultation which is now open, they want feedback on their ideas about how they can help businesses become more adaptive in the face of environmental and economic change. 

To take part, click through to the Commonplace engagement portal , or if you just want to find out more about who and what the YHCC actually is and what they do, then head on over to their website .

Posted 26th Jan 2024

NEWS: Great turn out for our Talking Climate Change event at Richmond Town Hall

Almost 30 like minded people demonstrated the strength of local feeling about the need for climate action by venturing out to Richmond Town Hall on a wintry November evening, for our Talking Climate Change event.  

The event attracted residents from Richmond and further afield, including Bainbridge, Newton le Willows, Catterick Village, Brompton on Swale and Whashton. 

Led by partnership chair Barbara Gravenor, participants enthusiastically shared their ideas and ambitions for doing more to tackle climate change and care for our environment locally

Go to our event reports page for the feedback from this event.

Posted : 30th Nov 23, updated 29th January 2024

NEWS: Tree Planting with Richmond Town Council and Just the Job

An enthusiastic group of local volunteers, staff and clients from Just the Job, Richmond Town Council and Ricap gathered at Lady Serena Park on the eastern outskirts of Richmond to plant up native species of saplings and standard trees at locations around the perimeter of the park. The planting is part of an overall landscaping plan for the park, so that in years to come, people will be able to enjoy different recreation activities and environments from place to place within it. 

The park is owned and managed by Richmond Town Council.

posted: 29th December 2023

NEWS: Help get the Big Green Build out of the ground

Our partners at Just the Job  recently announced their annual seasonal fundraiser for The Big Green Build ..... and if you care for the environment, it sounds like something you won't want to ignore!

The Big Green Build is a pioneering project, incorporating solar panels, green roof, reed bed water filtration, timber frame construction and straw bale insulation. It will provide expansion space for Just the Job, a charity and social enterprise based in Richmond which supports adults with a wide range of abilities in practical, work orientated therapeutic activities, including managing the nearby Rufus woods. £600,000 is needed to  bring the Big Green Build to fruition.

Stuck for a unique gift idea? Whether its for yourself or for others, on the The Big Green Build page you are just a couple of clicks away from gifting straw bales or larch cladding!

To read more about the appeal , see this recent article in Richmondshire Today

Posted: 27th Nov 2023

NEWS: Newton Le Willows Climate Change Group

Ricap volunteer Bob Sampson from Newton Le Willows Climate Change Group checked in recently with an update on the group's activity. 

In common with many groups across North Yorkshire, they recently sent a letter to Rishi Sunak, expressing their great disappointment and frustration at his recent backtracking on measures to combat climate change, particularly the delay to the ending of sales of new diesel and petrol vehicles, the postponement of the ban on new fossil fuel boilers to 2035, the scrapping of the requirement for landlords to upgrade the energy efficiency of their properties, and the recent approval of the Rosebank development in the North Sea.

The group have also been engaging in making the most of local produce, hosting an apple pressing day recently. Though the crop of apples was considerably lighter than last year, they still managed to produce a good yield of juice - not cider unfortunately!

Looks like something you might want to do in your community? Click here here to find out more about apple pressing.

If you are involved in local eco activities anywhere in Richmondshire, we would love to share your pics and activities, to help inspire others. Please send contributions to .

Posted: 15th November 2023

NEWS: Ricap awarded a Richmond Town Council grant

The Partnership is delighted to have recently been awarded £150 by Richmond Town Council to support our climate action work in the area. The money will help pay for things like printing, publicity and display materials at the events we organise.... though we do like to reuse and repurpose our existing resources where we can 😊.

Well done to our Chair, Barbara, for putting the bid together and presenting it to the Town Council, and many thanks to the Town Council for their support.

Ricap also made a presentation to the Town Council on 27th November, to raise awareness of what we do, and to encourage them to work together with us going forward. Click here to view the slides we presented - it provides a sneak preview of some of our project ideas for 2024! 

Posted: 15th Nov 23, updated : 28th Nov 23

NEWS: Helping keep Richmond litter free in '23

A big shout out to Richmond and District Angling Society who went fishing on dry land for a change, spending a morning litter picking along the banks of the River Swale in Richmond. To find out if they were more successful on land than they usually are in the water, click through to the Richmondshire Today  article from 20th November. 

Great work guys! It complements the year long efforts of Richmond Pride and Richmond Ricap volunteers to help make Richmond  litter free in '23.! 

Posted: 28th Nov 23

NEWS: Keeping warm, safe and well this winter

Community energy ambassador and Ricap trustee, Sue Stokes, recently attended the latest Northern Powergrid Stronger Together Partnership meeting. The partnership is to help communities navigate the energy and cost of living crises. This agenda links to climate change because better insulated homes and installing more efficient heating systems can help people to keep just as warm by using and paying for less energy.

Check out out Greener Living webpage and look for the home energy articles for tips and hints on how to save money and energy on your domestic heating.

Also, if you know of anyone vulnerable, e.g an elderly relative or neighbour in poor health, then they might be interested in Northern Powergrid's Priority Services Membership. By becoming a member, you are letting the company know that you might need extra support if there is a power cut. To find out more, go to Northern Powergrid's Priority Services Membership webpage.

Posted: 28th Nov 23

NEWS: Did you know Black Friday is also Buy Nothing Day?

What are you doing on November 24th this year?

In the coming weeks, you will be bombarded with adverts for Black Friday deals. Black Friday is on 24th November, but did you know it is also Buy Nothing Day ? So at last, we can all join in with doing something by doing nothing – what's not to like?

The global campaign started in Mexico in 1992 and arrived in the UK in 2000. Its message couldn't be any simpler: We need to consume less - recycling is good but reducing use is better! 

We can all take simple steps to cut down on what we consume. Then collectively, we will change attitudes towards single use packaging, fast fashion and our throw away culture.

Buy Nothing Day is a 24 hour detox from consumerism and an opportunity for you to tune into the impact we all have on the environment through our shopping.

Posted 30th Oct 2023

NEWS: Richmondshire groups clean up at North Yorkshire care for the environment awards

Hearty Congratulations to Sustainable Swaledale and Richmond School Eco Group for their recent North Yorkshire Council Community Awards. 

Sustainable Swaledale was overall winner in the 'caring for the environment category', whilst the Richmond School Eco Club was a runner up. Read more on Richmondshire Today  .

Posted: 31st October 2023

NEWS: Become an energy ambassador 

If you've recently turned on your heating, you may well be pondering the environmental and economic costs of doing so.

But not everyone in our communities has the time and know-how to do this on their own. If you have a few hours to spare and would like to help others to navigate the best solutions for them, why not consider joining over 500 others across the north by becoming an energy ambassador

Training from the Yorkshire Energy Doctor is free and online, so you don't even have to leave your house! 

The next date is Tuesday 28th November, and You can book your place on the following link: Energy Ambassadors | Eventbrite

Locals who have previously done this training have enjoyed getting out and about in the community alongside staff and volunteers from Citizens Advice. 

Check out this short Youtube video to find out more about being a community energy ambassador

Posted: 27th October 2023, updated: 13th Nov 23

Red squirrel at Snaizeholme - Sue Stokes

NEWS: New native woodland (and much more) for Snaizeholme

Did you know that one of the largest new native woodlands in Britain is being created on 291 hectares of land near Hawes? 

In what the Woodland Trust consider to be one of the boldest projects in the English uplands, it has begun planting over 100,000 new saplings at Snaizeholme, as part of a wider habitat restoration and nature recovery programme, including strengthening the habitats that support red squirrels.

This first phase of tree planting at Snaizeholme is funded by the White Rose Forest through its Trees for Climate funding programme, which is part of Defra’s Nature for Climate fund. The Woodland Trust are not using any plastic tree guards across the site.

For more about this fantastic project, visit the dedicated webpage   on the Woodland Trust's website.

Posted:21st Sept 2023

Riverfly monitoring in Holmedale 

NEWS: Riverfly monitoring, Holmedale Becks

In the wake of the recent pollution event on Holme Beck and Skeeby Beck, the Richmond and District Angling Society and local volunteers have set up a riverfly monitoring scheme. 

The monitoring is supported by the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust and the Environment Agency 

For more details. The Riverfly Partnership (

posted: 18th Aug 2023

pic: Sue Stokes

NEWS: River Bain Hydro at Bainbridge reaches one million kWh energy generation milestone

Community-owned River Bain Hyrdo Ltd has exported more than one million kWh (units) of renewable green electricity to the grid, since its hydro plant began operating in June 2011.   It passed the one million kWh milestone on 22nd February 2023.

Located on the River Bain in the village of Bainbridge, Wensleydale, the Archimedes screw (see pic), one of the first for a community in the UK, reliably generates an average of 224 kWh per day over the course of a year. 

The power of water flowing downhill turns the screw which in turn, generates electricity. There has to be enough water flow for it to operate. In 2022 the plant generated 81,675 kWh, on 196 days. That equates to the annual energy requirements of 28 houses. 

The scheme was financed by 190 company shareholders as well as a grant of £50,000 from Yorkshire Dales National Park Authority’s Sustainable Development Fund.  Currently there are 185 shareholders, of which 40 live locally. 

Is  this the Daddy of community climate action projects in Richmondshire? if you know of something bigger or better, please send in the details! 

Or why not check out this map of projects in Richmondshire that was prepared in 2021.  Was there one near you?

Posted 18th Aug 23, updated Nov 23

Did You Know?

Peatlands cover just 3% of the earth's surface but store twice as much carbon as all the world's forests combined!

INSIGHT: A walk with a difference - and definitely not 'bog standard'

On Thursday 22nd June 2023, the National Trust laid on a guided walk over Stake Moss at the head of Bishopdale, giving a dozen local walkers the opportunity to learn about the ecology of peat bogs. In their natural state these bogs are one of the most carbon-rich ecosystems on earth. The walk was led by local National Trust wardens Seb Mankelow and Peter Katic plus Trust ecologist Elizabeth Sullivan. The three leaders gave the party a fascinating insight into the formation of peat bogs, their importance for bio-diversity and the key role they can play in combatting climate change.

The visiting group learned that peat grows in depth by just one millimetre in a good year. The walk leaders drove rods into the peat to assess its depth and measured up to three metres, suggesting the bogs are at least 3,000 years old! In contrast, when it dries out peat is lost at ten to twenty times the rate it was created. Wet cover is essential to peat health and much of this is provided by sphagnum mosses, the main building blocks of peat. 

At present only 20% of UK peat is in near-natural, wet condition. The National Trust is one of a number of bodies working to restore peat bogs, essential work if the UK is to meet its 2050 net zero target. This restoration work focuses on rewetting the peat by installing "leaky" dams in the drainage grips (open drains) created in past decades to dry out the peat surface for the benefit of livestock grazing, grouse shooting or tree planting. The dams help to re-create the wet conditions which favour peat restoration. 

This kind of restoration is expensive (approximately £28,000 per acre in the case of Stake Moss) but very worthwhile. Some Government grant is available to help with these costs but, as always, persuading politicians to cough up money on the scale needed to meet their own environmental targets is difficult! 

Thanks to the National Trust and to Ann Luxmoore of Swaledale Outdoor Club for organising the walk and to Graham Rogers of the SOC for a report on the walk, on which this item is based. Geoff Wall, also of SOC, kindly sent us his photo of leaky dams.

posted: 10th July 2023

A Dales Farm (Bruce Stainsby)

INSIGHT: Revolution in the countryside

Volunteer member Frank Broughton has put together a thorough and interesting note to highlight and inform you about the changes to the financial and environmental sustainability of farming that are starting to take place in our area. If you are wondering what ELMS, SFI, CS and  LR might be and how they might affect climate then expand the article below to read more.

'Revolution in the countryside' by Frank Broughton

Posted: 29th May 2023

NEWS: Newton Le Willows 'Communitrees' taking root

Newton-le-Willows Climate Change Group and Parish Council volunteers took advantage of the former Richmondshire District Council's "Communitrees" initiative to plant around 200 mixed hardwood trees on several sites around the village. 

Not only were tree planting volunteers were rewarded with a great lunch, but their efforts are now taking root. Latest inspections show that the trees are growing well and will soon be making a contribution to the fight against climate change.

For some great advice on how to look after newly planted trees, visit the Woodland Trust  website

Posted: 10th May 2023

NEWS: Press coverage for 'Every Buzz Counts' project

NEWS: Tree Planting at Brompton on Swale

Richmondshire Climate Action, in partnership with the Woodland Trust have completed a tree planting project along a stretch of the old Richmond Branch railway, now a bridlepath, at Brompton on Swale. Children from the village primary school helped to plant more than 200 trees and shrubs, all native species such as hazel, hawthorn, dogwood and wild cherry (see photos). The Woodland Trust provided the trees, tree guards and stakes free of charge.

Frank Broughton, of Richmondshire Climate Action’s Land Management and Biodiversity Group said “we are very grateful to the Woodland Trust, to local volunteers and to the children and teachers from Brompton on Swale Church of England Primary School who came to help with the planting. The bridlepath where we were working is very close to the school and hopefully the children will be able to keep an eye on their trees as they grow. The species we’ve chosen will be great for wildlife providing lots of food for birds and insects and will also make a contribution to carbon capture.”

INSIGHT AND OPINION - Fertilizers, pesticides, soil depletion, and why you should go organic

Posted: 2022 to co-incide with world pollution day

One of the most important pollution issues for the world to address is the problem of soil depletion. ‘Modern agriculture’, in essence the agricultural model developed and promulgated after the Second World War, has been based upon extensive use of pesticides and fertilisers, allegedly promoted to increase yield in order to meet the need of feeding a burgeoning population.

There is reasonably compelling evidence to suggest that the agricultural fertiliser industry was developed as a means of utilising chemicals that had been manufactured for munitions during the war, such that the business model of those companies could transition to a secondary market to sustain their volume and profitability.

The consequence for our precious agricultural land over subsequent decades has been devastating, with pesticides and fertilisers killing essential microbes in the soil and rendering it little better than sterile. Studies by the University of Texas and the Kushi Institute demonstrate that nutrient quality of soil has declined by between 20 and 40% over the last 30 years, and a McCance and Widdowson study (2007) determined that some vegetables only contain 24% of the nutrients that they would have provided 70 years ago.

From a carbon management perspective this loss of soil quality is also a real problem. However, if soil depletion was addressed effectively it is estimated that a 2-3% improvement in the carbon sequestration performance of our soil could eliminate virtually all of the modern day spike in atmospheric carbon dioxide; and it would do this quickly!

To illustrate the above, perhaps one of the most graphic examples of the pollution impact of fertilisers and pesticides can be seen at the mouth of the Mississippi River, which collects its flow from a catchment that includes the high intensity farming lands of the mid-West/Great Plains. The Mississippi estuary is now ranked as one of the largest ocean hypoxic dead zones in the world, covering an area of 3,275 square miles, equivalent to the land mass of the state of New Jersey.

So, the message is go organic ... and quickly! A permaculture approach to farming is an essential ingredient to healing our Earth, addressing the impact of greenhouse gas emissions and improving the nutritional quality of our food. Whether you are a farmer or a consumer you can have a beneficial impact. Feed the soil in your garden with good mulch, composted leaves and organic matter. Rotate your livestock and your crops to mimic the natural order of grazer migration, replenish nutrients and keep your soil healthy. So much can be done so easily to rebuild soil quality and resolve the pollution of our land.

NEWS: The new James Herriot woodland

In January 2022 land at Thirns Farmhouse in Swaledale was planted with nearly 1,900 trees courtesy of a grant from the Yorkshire Dales Millenium Trust. The land backs onto registered ancient woodland, extending the wood up the fellside.

With the approval Alf Wight's (aka James Herriot) daughter, Rosie Page, the wood has subsequently been formally named as the James Herriot Woodland in memory of the infamous local author of the All Creatures Great and Small series. You can read more on page three here 

Posted 2022

NEWS: Reeth School Student wins competition to design logo for Richmondshire Climate Action Partnership

A Richmondshire students art skills – and love for the green agenda – have seen her design chosen as the new brand for a climate change group.


Violet Livingstone-Owen’s design depicting a world in two halves – one showing what it will be like if we save the planet’ and the other if we don’t - is to be the new livery for the Richmondshire Climate Action Partnership.


The 11 year old pupil of Reeth and Gunnerside Primary Schools said she was inspired by her interest in green issues.   She said: “I did half good and half bad in my logo design. The one with factories shows how much pollution is going into the air. I gave that piece of land a darker shade for the smoke and soot on the ground. 


“The fallen trees represent deforestation. The people are sad around that half because the animals have nowhere to live and it’s getting too hot. 

“In the other half people are replanting trees and not cutting them all down. The animals have a place to live. There is no pollution in the water on the good side if people do beach clean ups.  


“I think we need to drive less and be more active. We need to work as a community by giving time to help. We need to make a difference.”  


The Partnership brings together representatives from the district council, community organisations, individuals and businesses to take local action on climate change.  An action plan for a net-zero carbon council has just been adopted by the District Council, and the partnership is working on a complementary one for the district.   It is hoping that students and others will also come forward with ideas for projects to include in it.


“Violet’s logo illustrates the wonderfully insightful clarity of a young mind,” said Mike Sparrow, Deputy Chair of Richmondshire Climate Action Partnership. 

“The stark contrast of a world that is nurtured with care and respect, juxtaposed to the spectre of what we all face if we ignore our responsibility to safeguard clean air and healthy ecosystems; a happy world versus a sad world. It reminds us that we all have a part to play, no matter how small, no matter your age, in protecting the legacy that we leave for future generations, and we are delighted to be able to use Violet’s work as our motif.”