The hidden dangers of moorland fires

For 3 weeks in July this year fires raged on Saddleworth Moor, burning seven square miles of heather moor before being brought under control. We should be grateful that we don't see the life threatening fires that are now annual events in some countries such as California and Australia. This fire was at the time of a prolonged rain-free period at the height of summer. Moors were tinder dry and highly vulnerable to any flash point. But as climate change gathers momentum, these conditions will become more normal as will wildfires. Does this matter? The moors have always burned and providing the fire moves quickly and does not get too hot at ground level, it can stimulate new growth and the ge

Fracking in Lancashire: the beginning and the end?

It started in Lancashire. In 2011 Cuadrilla Resources, a company chaired by ex-BP head Lord Browne, started the first high-pressure frack in the UK at its site at Preese Hall, Lancashire. The fracking set off two minor earthquakes shaking the resort of Blackpool and – we found out much later – sheering the head off their drill. In response the government imposed a two-year moratorium on fracking in the UK. The temporary ban made it appear the government cared, and with Preese Hall out of action the fracking industry had nowhere else they could frack anyway, so they weren’t much inconvenienced. But a lot can happen in two years, and a lot did happen. In June 2013, when Cuadrilla arrived in th

Climate change - we need radically different policies

It's now more than a month since the International Panel on Climate Change published a dire warning that we must act now to avoid catastrophic climate change in the not too distant future. A climate wrecking budget Since then, we've had an Autumn budget from a government that seems either unaware of our danger or lacking the courage and imagination to take bold action. Greens had said that this must be an emergency budget for the climate and that it would fail if a single pound was spent on climate wrecking projects. And it did fail. Massively. Not a single word about the climate emergency and as Molly Scott Cato MEP and economic spokesperson for the Green Party said: "Rather than action to

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