Tackling Climate Change
In providing a space to plant and grow thousands of trees, Long Lands Common will clearly make a valuable local contribution to limiting global climate chaos. Depending on the finalised plans for the site, in which you will have a say if you become a shareholder, there is the potential for 20,000 to 30,000 trees to be planted. These will be primarily native species which are best for nurturing biodiversity and will be selected for their ability to be resilient to anticipated changes to our weather patterns.
Trees are vital partners in the fight against climate change. Whilst we must reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases as much as possible, it is equally important to remove what we can from the atmosphere. Although there are a number of ways to achieve this, such as wetland restoration and seaweed farming, growing trees is the most practical and best understood answer at this time. Longlands Common will take its place in the White Rose Forest, itself a part of the ambitious Northern Forest project, which aims to plant 50 million trees across the north of England. Most of the funding for this will be private and this is an ideal opportunity to be part of that.
There is another crucial way in which projects such as Long Lands Common punch above their weight. Simply by being a community project, a message is sent out to those whose decisions impact on all our environmental futures. Political parties and businesses, both large and small, increasingly want to do the right thing. After all, at the core of them all are people just like you and me. However, they are nervous of the short-term impact the decisions they make will have at the ballot box or on the balance sheet. The more they see ordinary people investing their own time, energy and money into environmental causes, the more confidence they will have to take the sometimes radical decisions needed to secure all our futures and that of our children and grandchildren.
That is why, although we obviously want to raise as much money as possible, it is also important that we raise money from as large a number of people as possible. The greater the buy-in from all of our district, the more powerfully the message will go out: “The people of Harrogate and Knaresborough are serious about fighting climate change and will support politicians and businesses who show that they are too!”
Flooding has become a major issue in Yorkshire, and the UK more widely. We are experiencing greater amounts, and rates, of precipitation that our landscape cannot handle, leading to rivers being overwhelmed, flood damage costing billions of pounds and wildlife being displaced as habitats are swamped and riverbanks and trees are washed away.
We need to slow the flow into the rivers, and natural flood management techniques are the way forward. Building the capacity of the landscape to absorb water with woodlands in river catchments, has a major role to play. By making the ground more permeable the soil is better able to intercept, store and slowly release the water.
Currently, water falling on the grassland at Long Lands Common quickly drains into Bilton Beck, which feeds the River Nidd, a mile downstream in Nidd Gorge. Increasing woodland cover on Long Lands Common will certainly help to slow the flow into Bilton Beck and the Nidd, and the proposed wetlands will store more rainwater on the land, thus helping to reduce the flooding of Nidd Gorge.
The Long Lands Common vision will also provide, or support, these further benefits:
Improved air, soil and water quality by being a living part of the landscape recycling nutrients, powered by the sun
Creation of habitats for biodiversity, which underpins the resilience of ecosystems services, on which all life is reliant
A stronger economy and job creation from growing timber, a renewable resource, as well as providing an improved environment to attract businesses and investment
Improved physical and mental health and wellbeing, from greater access to green spaces
But perhaps the greatest benefit is that by being a community resource, Long Lands Common will bring people together and lead to a sharing of ideas. That could mean mutual support for campaigns, it could mean greater incentives for individuals to take positive action by emphasising that they are part of a wider, and growing movement and this in turn could inspire the confidence to spread the message further.
This page was contributed by zerocarbonharrogate.