Yes spring is here and we’re coming out of lockdown!
Thank you to everyone who's played a role in making Planet Purbeck the movement it is today. My personal highlights are being part of the Planet Purbeck zoom events, watching 150 + people from all areas of our community working together, enjoying each other's company and having fun.
I have also been amazed by how quickly the movement is growing with almost 500 supporters now, 60 active members on our teams, 150 people coming to our zoom events and new people joining everyday
We are a really open group of people and we always welcome new people and ideas! There is so much you can get involved with: festival & events, fundraising, media & marketing land use & wildlife, youth group and campaigns.
We want the future of Purbeck to have: Less Waste & Traffic, More Wildlife, Cleaner Air & Rivers, Food & Energy Independence and Tourism that works for all! If you want this too, come and join us! It's simple, just click HERE.
- Rob Waitt, Core Team & Events Coordinator
Back to top
Planet Purbeck Youth Group
An environmental voice and action group for young people in Purbeck! This group is run by young people for young people. It’s a place to share your voice, come up with ideas and make real change.
The group will be facilitated by Planet Purbeck, National Trust, Leeson House and Dorset Wellbeing. Experts from each organisation will provide advice and steering, but it is up to the youth to put in the work and make the difference.
If you know someone 12-16 years old who would like to get involved, please email Julia!
- Julia Galbenu - firstname.lastname@example.org
The Planet Purbeck fundraising team is kicking off this month. We won’t always need money to make change happen, but it’s probably going to help! If you’d like to get involved in financing the movement and making a difference please do get in touch with Tom. If you have previous experience, that would be amazing!
- Tom Clarke Funding Team Coordinator - email@example.com
Over the last month, we’ve been promoting our hugely popular open meetings on Biodiversity and Ecotourism, we’ve released a series of short films from the core team on what Planet Purbeck means to them and we’ve been making the front page of local newspapers and websites because of all this activity.
The Media Team has been increasing in size as new members contribute their ideas, skills and personal networks to the group.
If you or your organisation or business is making a positive contribution to the environment in our local area why not let us know about it?
- Dean Storer and Heidi Florence Media Coordinators - firstname.lastname@example.org
Legal & Finance
We are a company! Planet Purbeck C.I.C. (Community Interest Company) has been established and can now undertake a number of activities, including entering into binding legal contracts with other companies and businesses, and responding in our own right to consultations such as the Dorset Local Plan, as well as lobbying the Council, MPs, Government etc. in our own name. We can build a brand, reputation and image around a clearly identifiable legal entity, which can establish its own voice in the environmental/climate crisis community, and with the assurance that the establishment of a registered company brings, we have a more credible proposition for sponsors, donors etc.
We can set about opening a company bank account enabling the company to receive funds from sponsors, donors and its own fundraising activities. Work is also in hand on drafting the legal documents that will be required for Supporters of The Planet Purbeck Festival in September, as well as reviewing the requirements of Swanage Town Council.
- Steve Hutchings and Greg Bemment Legal and Finance Coordinators - email@example.com
Campaigns Team (formerly known as the lobbying team)
Enormous thanks to everyone who contributed their time and effort to create the Planet Purbeck response to the Dorset Local Plan consultation, which was submitted by the deadline; an article based on that response will be available soon on the website. Planet Purbeck members also contributed to a User Friendly Guide for the Dorset Local Plan with Dorset Climate Action Network, which has been well received.
Two things you can do to help right now:
1. Sign and share THIS PETITION asking Dorset MPs to support the CEE Bill
2. Write to your MP asking them to support the CEE Bill - DETAILS HERE
A member of the team has also written to Richard Drax to ask for his support for the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill on behalf of Planet Purbeck.
- Helen Sumbler & Dave Pratten Campaigns Team Coordinators - firstname.lastname@example.org
Land Use Team
We are here to connect and support people living in Purbeck with projects that will make the land better for nature, climate change and people. We want to work with landowners to help them get the message out to the local community about restorative land use happening in our local area.
Two things you can do to help:
1. We plan to initiate a Purbeck hedgerow and linear woodland planting project next season, inviting community participation to bring back native hedgerows and trees to our countryside. We want to see blossom, butterflies, birds and blackberries along public rights of way as well as field boundaries. Let us know if you have any stretches of land that could be incorporated, and we’ll provide funding solutions and volunteers wanting to get their hands dirty.
2. Join Our next meeting at 7pm on Wednesday 12th May. We'll be making plans to visit estates, farmers and small landholders to share best practice and foster collaboration, in advance of ideally opening doors to the public during Planet Purbeck’s Environmental Week in September, to celebrate what is already being achieved.
Alexia Haysom Land Use Team Coordinator - email@example.com
Back to top
The Planet Purbeck Festival 20th - 26th Sept 2021
Our enthusiastic team reorganised the Planet Purbeck Festival for the week of 20-26th September 2021. It’s really happening!
Our new strategy for this year is to promote self-managed and self-financed community-led events all over the Isle of Purbeck. Our role will be to coordinate, communicate and publicise all these events.
How can you get involved?
We have organised three key planning meetings, please join us!
1. Festival Planning Meeting
Wed 31st March 7:00- 8.30pm + Bonus Virtual Café/Pub
Join HERE via Zoom.
2. Festival Showcase Meeting
Wed 7th April 7:00- 8.30pm + Bonus Virtual Café/Pub
Join HERE via Zoom.
3. Brainstorming Event
Wed 21st April 7- 8.30pm + Bonus Virtual Café/Pub
We want to hear your ideas about how we can make this Festival a success for everyone who loves Purbeck. Please encourage everyone you know to attend this event. The more voices we hear the better!
Join HERE via Zoom
- Doug Skinner Festival Coordinator - firstname.lastname@example.org
Back to top
We are pleased to announce the Parish Council has now agreed to a Giki Zero Pro Pilot Scheme, and we are looking forward to empowering householders to reduce their carbon footprint and gathering anonymised data on their progress.
We are progressing with a number of exciting biodiversity projects, including creating a seed circle, an area for a tree nursery and hopefully some planting at Kimmeridge and St Edwards Church Lawns.
We’ve arranged a meeting with Dorset Council to seek some answers to general planning queries regarding solar panels in the parish.
Also coming soon “The Secret Field”.
Want to join us?
We meet monthly on the 2nd Thursday; to join or find out more drop us an email.
- Josephine Parish, Helen Sumbler & Luke M Luke - email@example.com
Our Purbeck Transport Strategy has now been submitted to Dorset Council and a summary provided as input to the Dorset Local Plan. You can contact Nick for a copy of the Strategy.
A Dorset '20's Plenty' campaign has been set up to support communities trying to introduce 20 mph limits. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to support this.
- Nick Ward Chairman - email@example.com
At Leeson House, we have been working hard to push forward with educating school groups/young people about the Climate and Ecological emergency. As part of this, we have almost finished creating a full day of educational workshops aimed at year 7s and 8s, which includes what they can do to help. We trialled one of the workshops with a Dorset school and it was well-received. We have also been talking to various people about tailoring these workshops for adult groups.
Please follow us on Twitter @LeesonHouse to stay up to date with what we are doing.
- Peter Boorman Field Studies Tutor - Peter.Boorman@dorsetcc.gov.uk
Back to top
It’s been a busy month for us at National Trust. We’re working on the prep to bring cows back into the Studland dunes, getting a license for our beaver release (you may have heard about it) and we’ve completed loads of habitat works out across the whole estate in time for the breeding season to start. We’ve removed lots of fences across the heaths in time for the single grazing unit to come in on the western Purbeck Heaths National Nature Reserve.
It’s very busy. We’re also trying to look after our resilience as we’re facing a very busy summer for visitors again this year… if you see one of my colleagues say something nice to them, they probably need it!
- Tom Clarke National Trust Community Engagement Officer for Purbeck - Tom.Clarke@nationaltrust.org.uk
Back to top
Wanting to increase the amount of renewable energy produced in Purbeck, PEG researched how solar panels could be made more affordable. We came across the ‘Solar Streets’ scheme where bulk buying allows the installer, IDDEA, to offer discounts.
Two weeks ago Solar Streets Swanage launched with a presentation about IDDEA’s scheme followed by a Q&A. Even before the launch, there was lots of interest, with 8 surveys done and one installation completed!
You can find information about the scheme and a recording of the launch on the Solar Swanage website. Do your research to make sure solar is right for you and be sure to get quotes from other installers too.
For the moment the scheme applies to Swanage and surrounding villages, but the Wareham area may want to be next in line.
- Lucinda Neall - firstname.lastname@example.org
Back to top
St Nicholas Church, Worth Matravers has just earned a Silver Award in the A Rocha Eco Church scheme. The Eco Church project started 5 years ago and there are now more than 1000 UK churches involved. The project's purpose is to empower churches to care for God's world in worship and teaching, looking after the buildings and land, engaging with the local community and global campaigns and in the personal lifestyles of the congregation. It stimulates many questions from the seemingly mundane 'How green are our cleaning materials? Should we stop using Oasis in flower arrangements? (Yes!)' to bigger issues of choosing an ethical bank account, a renewable energy provider, or backing Dorset Council in their declaration of a Climate and Ecological Emergency.
A Silver award is great news, recognising the efforts that have been put in by the church and community, but we're going for Gold!
- Kathy Hollidge - email@example.com
Back to top
The Downs Local Nature Reserve online meeting took place this week. See our social media for updates and outcomes.
Greening project updates: 10 fruit and nut trees were planted at Prospect Green in early March and we look forward to seeing these trees blossom in the coming weeks. The next step is to lay out the meadow areas, the site will be developed with the community over a number of years and an information board installed soon.
Wildlife Surveys: Another big project for the summer at The Downs and other green spaces in the town, this includes a regular butterfly survey and monitoring swifts.
Active Travel: we have a new sub-group working on projects to encourage more use of walking and cycling with the aim to reduce cars on the roads. We are researching and working on several projects and campaigns including idling, promoting walking to school, co-wheels and bike racks.
Visit our website HERE. and follow us on Facebook ,Twitter and Insta.
- Sarah Spurling - firstname.lastname@example.org
Back to top
These are exciting times as we move to the next phase of Greengage Community Garden Swanage. We are planning to increase the number of days we can open, increasing the scope of what we do and expanding our links with the community here in Swanage.
At the centre of the garden will always be a warm welcome, a safe place and somewhere where people can grow. The greenhouse will be full of plants and we continue to grow veg of all types, herbs, soft fruit and much more beside. When we can meet please come and see what we do... you will be very welcome.
When lockdowns are fully over we will, initially, meet every Friday from 10 until 3 but we are also planning a Facebook page which should give up to date information.
Back to top
Tues 19th Jan 7:00 - 9:00pm
Join the event HERE
Everyone is welcome to join the next monthly Dorset CAN meeting.
We've been busy getting ready for a county wide roll out of the Conservation School Award following a successful 3-year pilot programme. Please help us reach out to schools in Purbeck!
So we now want to start the Dorset roll out on our home turf by asking you to help us reach out to all the schools in Purbeck - every nursery, primary and secondary school to invite them to join the Operation Future Hope initiative.
We are aware that some schools are already doing wonderful things in their grounds to create a haven for nature, and we would like to help those schools do even more, and, most importantly, for all participating schools to have access to our new and dynamic ecological education programme. Our vision is to see all schools become places where young people learn to understand the primary importance of nature and become inspired to take action to restore and protect wildlife and the habitats they depend upon. If you resonate with this vision and can help us to connect with schools in Purbeck, then we would love to hear from you!
- Lesley Malpas CEO and Founder - email@example.com
Visit our website >
Back to top
The current focus is on drafting the 2021 Report. Opportunities to contribute to this and to provide case studies or evidence of current initiatives in the county that support the drive to zero will be open to everyone. Keep an eye out for workshop invites.
- Mark Chivers - Co-founder & Project Lead: Zero Carbon Dorset - firstname.lastname@example.org
Visit our website >
Back to top
The GND campaign recognises that the climate crisis will not be solved without significant Government intervention and that solutions also must and can address our issues of social justice and inequality. The current Green Jobs For All campaign, with days of action on March 23rd and April 24th , aims to raise awareness of the specific jobs that can be created at constituency level in the climate, low carbon and care sectors if Government investment is focused on genuinely building back better.
- Mark Chivers - Volunteer National Coordinator UK: The Climate Reality Project Europe - email@example.com
Follow us on Facebook >
Back to top
Reading/listening/learning this month
- Reading The Climate Commons: How communities can thrive in a climate-changing world.
- Catching up on the Q&A from our Beaver Fever event now on our website.
- Being inspired and taking action using this easy guide compiled by Planet Purbeck member and Greenpeace Speaker Doug Skinner.
- Listening to Ninebarrow, a Dorset-based folk duo named after Nine Barrow Down in the Purbeck hills who have planted a woodland. Watch them on BBC 1 at 6pm on Countryfile.
Purbeck Planet Is Here To Help YOU!!!
If you're part of an organisation or a local group, this is YOUR opportunity to get your message out to Purbeck residents, network and help achieve your goals, Planet Purbeck is here to help!
Together We Are Stronger
Thank you for reading
The Planet Purbeck Team
Copyright © 2021 Planet Purbeck, All rights reserved.
The Climate & Ecological Emergency Bill (CEE Bill) is due it's 2nd reading / re-introduction to Parliament in the early summer (potentially May). If passed, this would be game-changing legislation and would accelerate the ability of local authorities, such as Dorset Council and all our Town and Parish Councils to tackle the C&EE and rapidly reduce carbon emissions.
The Bill is already supported by over 100 MPs! We need to send a clear message to Dorset county's 5 MPs that we want them to do the same.
Today there are coordinated actions across the country and across Dorset. Look out for banner drops in your area!
🥇How can you help change the game?
📋 Sign the petition below, let's get to 500+ signatures by the end of the day!
👨💻Share with friends, family and people in your network via email and social media.
Social media sharing: please include the following info
#Your MPs name @CEEbill_NOW
🌐 Visit the Dorset CEE Bill Alliance webpage: https://dtaction.co.uk/cee-bill/
💡 Access info, ideas, suggestions
✍Tips on writing to your MP (with a message from the heart)
🎬 Example video message to your MP
In this post we breakdown this latest 52 page report, released in March 2021 by the Progressive Policy Thinktank (IPPR) on how communities can thrive in a climate changing world
This new report will strike a chord with and inspire community activists everywhere. The prestigious cross-party think tank has researched a wide range of locally-based projects that create direct climate benefits or impacts and concluded that - managed well, the transition to a greener economy offers the opportunity to reshape local areas in a way that improves health and wellbeing, tackles inequalities and improves quality of life.
They argue that communities must be given greater ownership, not just of the process of the green transition, but of the assets and benefits that arise from it; and that progress toward tackling the climate crisis and restoring nature can be accelerated if communities are empowered to participate in the transition to net-zero. It demonstrates – with examples, ways people are already coming together to create shared low carbon assets – renewable energy, district heating, housing, woodland and food cultivation, in order to improve their health, wellbeing, local neighbourhoods, reduce poverty and increase local control.
It finishes with some strong recommendations to Government to empower more communities to take similar action with legislation for community rights and a community right to own or manage. These new ‘climate commons’ should be supported through a new Thriving Places Fund and changes to planning laws to accelerate community owned projects.
There is lots in here for us to learn from (including some useful funding models) – and absolutely supports Planet Purbeck’s approach – Stronger Together!
Here are some selected examples from the report that we think are relevant to the Purbeck area:
BURNHAM AND WESTON ENERGY COMMUNITY INTEREST COMPANY (CIC): One of the UK’s largest community solar facilities, at 9.3MW, Burnham and Weston Energy was established by raising £4 million in a local bond offer. It is situated on a farm near Weston-Super-Mare and sheep continue to graze around the solar panels. The project, owned by local shareholders, is generating £1.2 million for the community over the 25 years of its lifetime. Burnham and Weston CIC manages the project, with a board of local people. During the Covid-19 lockdown the board created an emergency fund for local residents and businesses impacted by the pandemic.
FORDHALL FARM: The UK’s first community owned farm has been growing food without pesticides for 60 years and runs leisure and education initiatives for local residents.
SWAFFHAM PRIOR COMMUNITY LAND TRUST: Swaffham Prior CLT is moving a whole village from oil-heating to a renewable energy system. This rural village of 300 homes is dependent on very expensive oil heating that currently contributes to the climate crisis. The local land trust has secured planning permission for a district renewable heating system that will provide every home in the community with affordable renewable heating.
GWENT ENERGY COMMUNITY INTEREST COMPANY (CIC): Gwent Energy is a family-run community interest company (CIC) based in South Wales. Up to 2019, the organisation had supported over 30 local community groups to install solar PV, electric vehicle charging, and battery storage for community and domestic customers.
REPAIR CAFÉS: Repair cafés offer free meeting space, tools and materials to help people make repairs to items such as clothes, furniture and electrical appliances. There are approximately 147 repair cafés across the UK, with an increasing number popping up in specific locations, supported by a repair café network. 20 For example, in Derbyshire alone, there are six community-led repair cafés across the local authority area. The motivations for setting up or participating in a repair café comes as much from saving money as from saving the amount of waste going to landfill.
SLOWING THE FLOW AT PICKERING: In Pickering, Yorkshire, faced with the cost of funding a large concrete dam which was beyond the local authority budget, local residents came together to implement a series of nature based measures including ‘leaky dams’ and planting trees to slow and absorb flood water. This has successfully reduced the flood risk in Pickering from 25 per cent to 4 per cent.
LANGHOLM MOOR COMMUNITY BUYOUT: A community land buyout in Scotland successfully raised £3.8 million to purchase 5,000 acres of land from one of the largest landowners in Scotland, the Duke of Buccleuch. The community trust plans to turn the land, Langholm Moor, into a community-run nature reserve to address climate change. It will restore peatland and woodland, which will create carbon sinks and reduce carbon emission contributions from peatland erosion. In addition, the initiative plans to include small-scale renewable energy generation and support for community regeneration
The Big Local Programme, delivered by Local Trust, is a radically different model for funding communities, one that is resident-led, flexible and long term. The programme awards 150 local neighbourhoods across England £1.15 million each to spend over a period of 10 to 15 years. There is no typical model (generally cover around 8000 residents) – but they include market towns and rural areas such as Three Parishes in Shropshire, and remote coastal communities like Withernsea in Yorkshire.
Marsh and Micklefield Big Local, High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, works with a community ranger to improve people’s connection to the local natural environment including woodlands and rivers, and has a particular focus on pollinators such as bees and other insects. The group is also involved in litter-picks and tree-planting and was the first Big Local partnership to declare a climate emergency.
North Cleethorpes Big Local, Lincolnshire, frequently organises clean-ups of the beaches and estuaries in the area and has created a cycle hub out of a redundant building near Cleethorpes train station, where people can park, hire and repair cycles.
As Purbeck braces itself for another ultra-busy season of staycations, many of us are asking ourselves how we can welcome tourists while at the same time protecting our cherished landscape and wildlife.
One man with the answers is Jeremy Sampson, CEO of The Travel Foundation. And Planet Purbeck is delighted to announce that he will be among the keynote speakers at our open Zoom meeting on low impact ecotourism, scheduled for 7pm on Tuesday March 16.
The Travel Foundation is based in the UK but works globally to ensure the full impact of tourism is well understood by all involved so it benefits communities, visitors and the environment alike. It is also a worldwide advocate for more sustainable types of tourism.
To whet your appetite for what promises to be a fascinating talk, here are some of the topics 44-year-old Jeremy will raise:
A response from Gen Crisford - Engagement Officer for the National Trust on the Purbeck beaver feasibility project
Thank you for attending the Planet Purbeck meeting and for so many good questions in the breakout rooms. The below answers cover only the specific topics which were asked about in this part of the meeting. If I’ve missed anything or if you don’t find all the information you need here, please feel welcome to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also find further information at these three helpful FAQ links:
*For more information about the Purbeck project please see: [Re-introduction of beavers to Purbeck | National Trust] which contains an attached PDF [purbeck-beaver-project-hased-proposal-summary.pdf (nt.global.ssl.fastly.net)] to summarise the current proposal for a phased reintroduction project.
There will be many ways that you can help over the coming years if we are able to bring beavers back, including volunteering activities. At the moment, whilst we continue to look at how this will work for everyone, there are a few ways that you can easily get involved:
Now that a project proposal has been produced and communicated, we need to receive permission from DEFRA to proceed with phase one. If/when this is achieved, we will go about confirming funding and putting any required management infrastructure in place. The timescales for a release will therefore be very dependent on the licencing process, so it is difficult to be precise with any predictions. If all goes well, it will be possible sometime in the next year.
Although Little Sea originated as a landlocked body of seawater, this water is now fresh and is replenished by acidic, oligotrophic water draining off the adjacent heathland, which then flows through the dune slacks and into the sea. Little Sea has been classified as freshwater for over 100 years now and is a highly suitable habitat for beavers.
The land around Little Sea at Studland is recommended for phase one because of the highly suitable habitats, and because it is naturally contained by sea and dry heath, both inhospitable habitats to the freshwater species. Beavers are therefore unlikely to spread easily from here until the available territories within the Little Sea catchment have been exhausted and territorial pressure has increased over time. Therefore, fencing should not be necessary to contain them. Should escapes occur beavers can be easily identified by trail signs, trapped and relocated. Should there be evidence of repeated escapes, additional mitigation measures such as targeted beaver fencing around the points they are escaping from could be installed. The policy for containing the beavers to the Little Sea catchment could also evolve if phase 2 becomes a possibility and as national policy develops.
England’s beavers are currently mostly sourced from Scotland. Despite regulations on health screenings, there are strict restrictions on importing animals from outside the UK to ensure control of foreign parasites. As a result, animals which have been trapped in conflict situations on the River Tay make good candidates for licenced projects in England.
If beavers are released into the Little Sea catchment, logistics allowing, they will likely be released next to the open water, in an area with plenty of willow. Up to 3 pairs of beavers could be released here under licence, but each pair would need to create a different territory to avoid fighting. Therefore, they would be released in different areas. The habitats around Little Sea have an abundance of willow trees so they/we will be spoilt for choice in finding suitable locations.
Should the project proceed to phase 2, it is likely that additional releases would be desirable, to widen the genetic diversity and to allow for a new population to begin, producing additional mates for the Little Sea beavers as they begin to disperse over time. Release sites within the wider Purbeck Heaths National Nature Reserve are yet to be confirmed in the detailed planning of a phase 2 project and a separate licence would need to be requested for permission to releases beavers here. Beyond designated project areas, it is likely that natural expansion of existing populations will be responsible for the spread of beavers throughout the countryside (again, if national policy allows for it).
It is very difficult to provide timescales for long-term migration, but it will certainly take time. Eurasian beaver dispersal is slow, especially at the beginning of a reintroduction when numbers are so low. Unlike most other rodents, beavers are monogamous, producing only one litter (ca.1-5 kits) per year. Young will disperse to find a mate and establish their own territory after 2 years, gradually expanding the population range within the catchment. Only when catchments reach capacity, will neighbouring catchments begin to see beavers migrating via wet areas or short overland stretches.
It is currently possible to use templates from previous projects such as the River Otter, where predicted dispersal can now be compared with the initial phase of reality, but different habitats and food availability will have a big impact on this too. Specialised modelling programs are now in development to help with these kinds of questions.
The proposed phased reintroduction for Purbeck is made up of several stages, each which has criteria to be able to begin, and an exit strategy at the end, to evaluate the process, so this again will work on an evolving timescale. Wider policy will also dictate how and where beavers are able to settle and in what timescales when we start to look at longer-term spread throughout the county.
Ecological impacts are expected to be positive, but they will be closely monitored as a part of a reintroduction project. Detailed information on species and habitats has been regularly collected at Studland already, which will act as baseline data to monitor any changes here. Beaver welfare will also be monitored via remote trail cameras and visual observations of individual animals; with particular attention paid to body & coat condition and behavioural changes. Each released beaver will be tagged with a sub-cutaneous microchip PIT transponder to allow for identification of individual animals if they are trapped and/or handled. Coloured ear tags may be used for easy identification from a distance, but radio tracking will be unlikely due to the challenges of safely attaching transmitters.
An exit strategy allows for a way of removing beavers from the landscape should the overall net impact of the reintroduction be negative. Whilst this is highly unlikely, it can help to build confidence that we are not entering into an irreversible situation. Should the exit strategy be implemented, the beavers would be trapped by experienced personnel and either used to supply other projects or otherwise re-homed. At the end of each project phase, one of three things will happen: (i) We proceed to the subsequent phase (if & when the criteria is achieved); (ii) There is no transition to the next phase, but beavers are allowed to stay within the existing area; (iii) The project comes to an end and all the beavers are captured & relocated elsewhere.
To date this project has been funded by private donors and business, as well as money left in trust for nature recovery projects such as this. The next phase of the project will be funded in the same way, with fundraising taking place once a licence has been granted to proceed.
Thank you for highlighting Puddle Mill as an area of concern, which can be added to our information about potential impacts in the Upper Corfe River area. This is outside the proposed project area so beavers will not be reintroduced here but may later naturally spread here over time if the national beaver policy being developed by the government allows. We understand the importance of support being available for residents and this is recommended within the ongoing development of long-term management plans. Should a beaver reintroduction go ahead, a local management strategy will need to allow for active management of beaver impacts. For example, should localised flooding risk a negative effect on property or access, this will be a top priority for mitigating action such as lowering dams, using flow devices to control water levels, or removing dams when necessary to maintain a sufficient flow of water. It is expected that government will also clearly reflect this requirement in national policy, which we expect to see later this year.
(River Corfe / River Frome): Unlike man-made obstacles and weirs, beaver dams are permeable structures, with water channels flowing over and around them. Fish are generally able to make use of these passages, continuing their migratory journeys upstream without difficulty. There is evidence at some sites however, that certain fish species may be temporarily affected, especially during periods of low flow, or in artificially contained streams, where the water is unable to spread out as it would naturally.
This issue can often be rectified by some rain, creating new bypass channels or even breaking down the dam in higher flows, and there is evidence to support that beaver dams do not hinder fish passage on a catchment scale, or for any significant length of time. But should it be determined to be causing an issue, intervention to notch or lower a dam can help to resolve this and alleviate concerns. Clear agreements may need to be in place to allow for this as part of a management strategy, as has been trialled in Devon with the “Protocol for the Assessment of Beaver Dams to Aid Fish Passage (PAD)”; and key migration routes through smaller headwaters must be proactively identified - as damming activities are limited to smaller (4th order) headwaters and streams/ditches.
Whilst the River Frome falls beyond the boundaries of a Purbeck project, we are already working together with fisheries organisations here to discuss this topic. Migration throughout the Corfe River has been identified as a more local consideration and we are investigating baseline data for monitoring fish migration here. Continued research can help us to better understand this issue, and find good management solutions, so that fish can also benefit from the habitat improvements that beavers can produce.
Beavers are not an aggressive species and will avoid people and dogs, diving underwater with a slap of their tail to indicate danger. If cornered or kits threatened, beavers can effectively defend themselves and so it is advised that dogs be kept under close control when in a beaver territory. The initial areas we are looking at in Purbeck are largely already managed for nature and so there is already active engagement to promote responsible dog-walking. However, it is important to communicate effectively with visitors and local residents, both through on-site signage and educational opportunities, about how to walk dogs safely near beaver habitat. This will be developed and ongoing throughout the project period and the wider spread of information will also be important should beavers become part of our native wildlife across the country.
After looking at the experiences of prior reintroductions and talking to our local stakeholders, we fully understand the importance of developing financial schemes, either to compensate in a case of productive land lost or to incentivise for making space for nature. The government is planning to trial a scheme over the next year which would compensate farmers for leaving a buffer zone around water courses. Alternatively, discussions with our partners indicate the possibility of developing a local scheme to pay for impacts with funds offset by reducing nitrogen runoff into Poole Harbour; or to pay landowners for benefits in carbon storage and biodiversity gain to incentivise buffer strips alongside rivers.
It is also anticipated that opportunities for funding will be available through the imminent Environmental Land Management Scheme (which will replace European agricultural subsidies), which is expected to offer benefits to landowners providing ecosystem services, opportunities for nature and access for people.
Policy is also needed to assign long-term responsibility for beaver management, including the provision of advice and practical support whilst people learn how to live alongside beavers again. The government is expected to produce details of the national policy for this later this year, following a consultation into the future management of beavers in Britain. Continuing to develop local solutions, in line with national policy will form a key part of bringing beavers back to Purbeck.
Whilst re-naturalising rivers to improve water filtration is a big part of future solutions, minimising excess nutrient runoff at the source is also important. In Poole harbour, many organisations and farmers have been working on this issue for some time, leading to the development of a pioneering partnership management scheme. The Poole Harbour Nutrient Management Scheme (PHNMS) has been put together by the NFU and farmers to create a solution to the issue of nutrients from agriculture causing environmental damage to the internationally designated wildlife areas in Poole Harbour. The scheme is farmer led/managed and aims to reduce the amount of nutrients going into the harbour, whilst creating opportunities for farming, new income streams and improving the environment. More information can be found here: https://www.nfuonline.com/nfu-online/south-west/news/phnms-summary-document-june-2020/
Whilst management agreements and confirmation of the status of beaver in England are yet to be put in place, illegal poaching of wildlife is a serious offence and would be dealt with accordingly.
Lethal control: Many practical management options to mitigate any unwanted potential impacts of beavers are available and well documented. In areas where beaver impacts are unacceptable, as a last resort, they can also be easily and humanely trapped and relocated if necessary. Initially, whilst beavers are trying to re-establish in this country, there will be a strong preference for trapping and relocation, as there is widespread suitable habitat available and an urgent need for nature recovery. When countries reach a “cultural capacity”, this can be developed into a culling licensing system.
Scotland has not reached a cultural capacity of beavers but has employed lethal control. One of the problems in Scotland has been that the River Tay beavers returned to an area right next to/within an area of Prime Agricultural Land, characterised by being very productive, relatively flat and reliant on good drainage. As an accidental/unauthorised release, there was no prior consultation or planning with local farmers or authorities. Current legislation in Scotland currently bans the translocation of beavers from Tayside to suitable habitat outside the current range, and as a result, lethal control is being permitted on around 10% of the current range of beavers in Tayside. As the beaver population has naturally expanded from these areas, conflicts are much less or non-existent, benefits can be realised and where adverse impacts do occur there is much more potential for mitigation. Translocations to licenced enclosed projects in England are currently permitted, so this is where most of England’s beavers currently come from.
Eco-tourism: We recognise that tourism is an essential part of the Isle of Purbeck’s economy (not just for the National Trust), but that this also brings challenges for the landscapes we need to protect and for the locals who live here all year round. We are working closely with statutory authorities, partner NGOs, local community groups and local businesses to develop a sustainable tourism strategy for Purbeck, beginning this year with a focus on the Purbeck Heaths NNR landscape, in a project led by the Dorset AONB team. Planet Purbeck has a Sustainable Eco-tourism meeting coming up on March 16th if you would like to know more about what is going on in this area.
Giardia (Giardia lamblia): Giardia is a gut parasite already present in Britain. It can be carried by almost all mammals and is not especially associated with beavers as a species, despite some media attention in the U.S.. Regular sampling and analysis of water quality in the Scottish Beaver Trial showed no significant increase in levels of Giardia or Cryptosporidia. Norway has around 75,000 beavers and despite much of the rural population having water supplied from untreated streams the only Giardia lamblia outbreak in recent years was near Bergen, where beavers are absent. Giardia can be removed from water by normal filtration methods and there are no reported instances of European beavers causing health problems in humans from Giardia lamblia.
Otter relations: As beavers eat vegetation and otters eat fish, they are not competitors. Otters can predate on young kits and so there is evidence of beavers chasing them away, especially when their kits are small and defenceless. However, beavers and otters often coexist, with otters making use of abandoned beaver burrows and the abundant fish found in their wetland habitats.
How much water does a beaver need? When we think of beavers, we often imagine a big river with a big dam across it. But in fact, if beavers are in a habitat where both the water is deep enough for easy travel (around 70cm or more), and there is easy access to food supplies, they won’t need to do so much to change it. They will only build dams if they wish to raise the water level, and only in smaller streams and even ditches, where the power of the water will not wash their attempts away. As so, beavers will happily occupy lakes, ponds and larger rivers, with little impact, burrowing into raised banks or lodge building by the side.
Spending time in nature has been shown to help relieve stress and anxiety, improve mood, and boost feelings of happiness and wellbeing. Whether by improving our habitats, helping to recover other species or just providing by people with a new reason to get outdoors, beavers are a charismatic species and can certainly provide benefits to people.
How can we clearly communicate potential conflicts to people without scaring them? I am a big believer in a mixture of honesty, optimism and positive solutions. Concerns or passions for different topics don’t need to lead to friction between different interest groups, but they can do, if the reasons are not widely understood, or if we don’t listen properly to each other. It is therefore important to illustrate why some people may feel differently about the topic of reintroducing beavers across the whole landscape, so that people can work together towards finding good solutions, rather than arguing and ending up doing nothing. We are working hard to prepare solutions and agreements which will work well for everyone and take any worries into consideration.
It is important to have access to accurate information about both the benefits of beavers, and the impacts they can have so that false rumours do not spread and create problems that don’t exist. Please do put people in touch with us if they would like any information. It is important to remember that negative impacts are limited to very specific situations (they do not happen everywhere), and that they are manageable. It is also important to remember how beavers can help and the implications of things staying as they are. If we educate our community and enable people to be involved in the process, I am sure that we will come together and find a way of making it work.
Young people can also get involved by learning about beavers, their habitats and the environmental issues that they may help us to improve. Why not check out some beavery activities at https://lodge.beavertrust.org/activities/
At the moment the Purbeck project is still in development, but over the coming months we will start to ask for help in developing educational materials and opportunities e.g. written communications, visual communications, events and educational activities. Anyone with a passion for the subject and a good imagination will be welcome to contribute. Start thinking up your ideas now!
I love the idea of a Purbeck Beaver Believer car sticker – are there any local companies who may like to take advantage of this budding business opportunity?
Take a look at this great downloadable resource; it's not just comprehensive list information and resources that we all need to be aware of, but an excellent overview of ways we can contribute to a brighter, cleaner future for all.
A zero-emissions society by 2030 will benefit our physical and mental health, social connections, employment opportunities and will save us money. It will also mean cleaner air and more robust wildlife populations reducing the risk of pandemics. Aiming for 2050 will be too late and more expensive. Change must be driven by Government, but we can all contribute and action groups like; Greenpeace, Extinction Rebellion, Friends of the Earth and others helping, keep the discussion relevant, visible and active at a public level.
Like them, we feel it is a perfect way to provide a safe, tranquil, traffic-free space that can become Wareham’s throbbing heart at the town’s most beautiful riverside location – Purbeck’s answer to the “café society” piazzas so beloved of British tourists in Europe.
We also believe the detailed plan reveals enormous potential in terms of events and attractions that can be staged in such a space. It will benefit the townspeople, valued visitors and the local economy alike. And it is a golden opportunity for both Wareham Town Council and Dorset Council to make a concrete statement of intent following their declarations of a Climate and Ecological Emergency.
The residents’ group will present the proposal to Wareham Town Council on March 2 2021. They have also alerted local businesses via the Wareham Chamber of Commerce’s Facebook page:
If you would like to read the proposal in full, please click here:
The Plan will last at least until 2038, so will shape all development for the next 17 years – that’s a long time. And anything built in that time will leave a legacy lasting for several generations.
We cannot afford to get it wrong.
Dorset Action and Corfe Castle Parish Council are working together to host online meetings or People's Assemblies on the plan. This is a great opportunity to understand more and discuss with others.
Find out more on the DTAction Website
The next peoples assembly is Friday 12th March 7.30-9.30
Join via Zoom here: https://tinyurl.com/47ht3q23
Dorset Climate Action Network (DCAN) have prepared a thorough guide to help you respond to the plan:
This guidance document provides help on how to fill out the form and some general comments that can be included if they wish
The WORD version is a form from Dorset Council which is simpler to fill out than their online process, guidance on where to email this when you're finished is in the document.
View the Dorset Council Local Plan consultation on the council’s website at www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/Dorset-council-local-plan
Paper copies of the plan are available for loan via click and collect from your local Dorset Council library (Covid-19 permitting) https://www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/libraries-history-culture/libraries/find-your-local-library/dorset-libraries.aspx.
If you are shielding volunteers can help you pick up a paper copy of the plan for you from your local library. Find out more about support for those shielding at https://www.dorsetcouncil.gov.uk/emergencies-severe-weather/emergencies/coronavirus/community-response/communities-and-volunteering.aspx
DC also accept responses emailed to email@example.com, completed on the specified response form.
A first for Dorset Parish Councils! An empowering People’s Assembly - hosted by Corfe Castle Parish Council Environmental Group on 5 Jan 2021.
The People’s Assembly approach is totally new to our village so we were thrilled & heartened with a Zoom call turnout of 60+. The Assembly was held to discuss Dorset Council’s proposed Strategy & Action Plan on the Climate & Ecological Emergency.
Corfe Castle Parish Councillor, Josey Parish, opened with “tackling these emergencies is the most important issue of our lifetime”.
And boy-oh-boy did we get a response that reflected that. There was a real sense of ‘a village hall feeling’ throughout. The smaller groups (or ‘tables’) worked well, with great input from everyone.
As part of our submission to DC’s proposed strategy, Dorset Council will receive every single comment that was raised on the night. That same input will also form solid foundations for the community of Corfe Castle as we continue moving forward in 2021.
Check out this comment by Jenny from Corfe “All these people who go to sports centres to wear off their energy and to get fit ought to be plugged into the national grid producing electricity!”
One overriding concern was the disconnect between the Council’s plan of action of 20 years and the Council’s acknowledgement of the need for urgent action in 8-10 years; but it was also pointed out that financial constraints on Dorset Council could limit the urgency of their action and one group fed back that the targets need to be realistic. The positive outcome was that the community has bags of ideas and plenty of passion to back an accelerated target date. Many people were unsure of what they can do. With the help of their blossoming Environmental Group, we are now coming together to take ownership with the aim to make significant positive changes.
With regards to the virtual People’s Assembly approach, Steve Clarke, the Chairman of Corfe Castle Parish Council, beamed with joy as he stated that “it’s brilliant and has transformed my vision of how you can arrange meetings and involve people in small groups.” The Chairman continued “this is an issue which affects everybody, and everyone has got to play their part.”
We were really encouraged by the numbers of residents ‘signing up’ to get more involved. Our next Corfe Environment Group meeting is on 21st January, focusing on what actions we can all take as individuals. Find out more on our Corfe Castle Parish Council Environmental Group Page.
Dorset Councillor Nocturin Lacey-Clark brilliantly noted at the beginning of the assembly “there’s no vaccine for climate change”. We’d like to counter that thought though, following the People’s Assembly “by working together, we’re stronger together, we need to own this, we together are the vaccine!
Thanks for reading!
Helen, Josey, Luke and the rest of the core team (Corfe Castle Parish Council Environment Group) 8th January 2021