Parks in peril?

Harry Bowell, Regional Director for the National Trust, writes about the National Trust’s new partnership with Sheffield City Council to explore new ways of financially supporting the city’s public parks and green spaces. Funded by Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Big Lottery Fund and Nesta through their Rethinking Parks programme, the project in Sheffield was unveiled this morning with the release of HLF’s comprehensive report into the threats faced by the UK’s parks over the coming years as funding cuts begin to bite.

“Today’s ground-breaking report from Heritage Lottery Fund is an important wake up call for all who care about people and nature.

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Europe’s largest electricity generating waterwheel makes a splash at historic National Trust beauty spot

Water power has returned to a historic beauty spot that the National Trust looks after in Wales this week, following the restoration of Europe’s largest electricity generating waterwheel.

Watch BBC One’s Countryfile this Sunday from 6.30pm to see the big switch-on.

Aberdulais Tin Works and Waterfall, South Wales (National Trust / Paul Harris)

Aberdulais Tin Works and Waterfall, South Wales (National Trust / Paul Harris)

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National Trust reaction to fracking plans announced in the Queen’s speech

An Infrastructure Bill which could make fracking for gas easier was announced in the Queen’s Speech today.

Rick Hebditch, Assistant Director for External Affairs at the National Trust, said:

“The Government has only just started consulting on changing the trespass law to make it easier for fracking. It’s a little presumptuous therefore for the Government to say today that the Infrastructure Bill will open up access for shale given the continued concerns from the National Trust and others about how well fracking is regulated. 

“It’s also important that all the measures in the Infrastructure Bill, including on planning, get proper Parliamentary scrutiny in the short session before the election. Adding in measures on fracking would mean there’s less time for scrutiny, which could lead to poor policy that doesn’t address perfectly legitimate concerns about the process.”

Making waves in energy generation: National Trust powers mansion with Britain’s biggest marine source heat pump

A major milestone will be passed today with the completion of the UK’s largest marine source heat pump, off the North Wales coast, to provide all of the power needed to heat the National Trust’s breath-taking Plas Newydd mansion.

The project is the first of five schemes to be completed in a £3.5m pilot phase of the charity’s Renewable Energy Investment Programme, which was launched last year in partnership with the 100% renewable electricity supplier Good Energy.

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National Trust supports new guidance to turn solar farms into biodiversity hotspots

We are supporting new guidance to help transform solar developments into great homes for nature.

Thousands of orchids grow alongside a solar array at Plas Newydd in Anglesey (National Trust/Keith Jones)

Thousands of orchids grow alongside a solar array at Plas Newydd in Anglesey (National Trust/Keith Jones)

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National Trust enters renewable energy trading business

A hydro scheme on the side of Snowdon has been switched on as a new trading company set up by the National Trust begins to harness the power it generates, to help fund conservation.

Snowdon hydro weir (credit: National Trust/John Millar)

Snowdon hydro weir (credit: National Trust/John Millar)

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Finally, the return of the Great British Summer

After six consecutive poor summers, a hot July and August helped to turn around the fortunes for much of our wildlife, say experts at the National Trust.

The winners of the year were warmth-loving insects, particularly butterflies, moths, bees, crickets and grasshoppers, many of which fared really well. The distinctive tree bumblebee, which only started to colonize in the UK in 2001, expanded considerably, crossing north of Hadrian’s Wall for the first time.

Tree Bumble Bee B hypnorum Savernake, credit Matthew Oates

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