About Nature Matters

Nature Matters is an electronic magazine and website covering topical news items on wildlife and the environment. It started life 15 years ago and today its membership includes academics, people employed by wildlife charities and others employed in 'green' industries, from across the world.



Stephen Hawking dies aged 76

NASA and the BBC

The world renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has died at the age of 76.

The British scientist was famed for his work with black holes and relativity, and wrote several popular science books including A Brief History of Time.

NASA said,"His theories unlocked a universe of possibilities that we and the world are exploring".

At the age of 22, Professor Hawking was given only a few years to live after being diagnosed with a rare form of motor neurone disease.


Government inaction leads to wind turbine factory liquidation

RenewableUK Press Release

RenewableUK says the Government’s failure to set out how it intends to deliver small-scale renewable energy in the future has led to one of the small wind sector’s best-known and most iconic companies going into liquidation.

Gaia-Wind opened its factory in Glasgow in 2011 and has manufactured nearly 2,000 small wind turbines - not only for the UK market, but also exporting hundreds of the them to other parts of Europe, the USA, Japan, and as far afield as Tonga in Polynesia – including the kingdom’s first wind turbine.

For over a year, the wind industry has been urging Government to start a long-promised consultation on the future of the Feed-in Tariff, which supports small-scale renewables. This is currently due to close to new applicants in March 2019, and the absence of any clarity on future policy is now having a serious impact on wind and solar companies and their investors.

The renewable energy sector has been calling for a support mechanism which allows small-scale renewables to make the transition to becoming subsidy-free. Small-scale local energy projects create economic benefits across the country, engaging communities who often use innovative business models to finance their plans.

RenewableUK’s Executive Director Emma Pinchbeck said “Inaction by Government has real consequences for small businesses and the communities they work with. We have warned officials time and again that a failure to treat this issue as urgent puts jobs at risk. These are local jobs created by British entrepreneurs. We need clarity on the future of small-scale renewables as soon as possible for the sake of other flagship firms and innovative community energy projects nationwide”.

The provisional liquidators are now looking for potential buyers for the factory which employs 12 people in Glasgow.

Plastic Pollution

British river has highest recorded microplastic pollution ever

The Telegraph

Researchers at the University of Manchester have discovered that a British river has the worst microplastic pollution in the world with levels even greater than areas of huge human population densities like South Korea and Hong Kong.

A team of scientists examined river sediments from 40 sites, both urban and rural across Greater Manchester and found microplastics everywhere including remote parts of Saddleworth Moor in the South Pennines. At 517,000 particles per sq metre, the River Tame at Denton had the highest levels of microplastics recorded anywhere in the world.


Michael Gove - Cull may be rolled out across country

The Telegraph

The controversial badger cull may be rolled out across the whole of England under proposals announced by Michael Gove yesterday.

The cull began in pilot areas in parts of Gloucestershire and Somerset in October 2013 in an attempt to control the spread of bovine tuberculosis, which devastates cattle stock, and it now takes place in 20 areas.

In a letter to the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs Committee, Mr Gove said emerging evidence from two of the zones indicate that incidence of the disease is decreasing and that “further steps” now need to be considered because “none of us wants to be culling badgers forever”.

It comes days after Labour said badger culling should be banned, as well as figures in December revealing that nearly 20,000 badgers had been shot in the previous three months, more than the tally from the previous four years.

The consultation, which runs until April 15, also considers whether to allow badger culling even in parts of the country deemed to be at low risk from bovine TB.

A government-approved badger cull has led to almost 4,000 badgers being shot in the past three years. The controversial measure is said to significantly reduce tuberculosis in cows.

Where? Trials began in parts of Gloucestershire and Somerset in October 2013 and were repeated the following year before being rolled out to Dorset. Farmers have called for the culls to be extended, citing what they described as a “desperate situation”.

The case for: The Conservatives have said they will do "whatever it takes" to tackle bovine TB, which has been described as "the greatest threat to our beef and dairy industry, endangering our food security". Supporters insist that the issue is not the badgers themselves but the disease. They include the Prince of Wales, the Princess Royal and Glastonbury founder Michael Eavis.

The case against: Campaigners claim the cull policy is “expensive, cruel and ineffective” and that the vast majority of those killed are TB-free. Opponents include animal rights activists and celebrities such as Dame Judi Dench, Brian Blessed and Brian May.


Jaguar launches first all electric car

Jaguar launches the I-Pace SUV.

With prices starting from £63,495, it doesn’t come cheap.

But that gets you the 298-mile battery that charges to 80% in 40 minutes and its twin 394bhp motors propel it from 0-60 in just 4.5 seconds.

Jaguar said,"We have torn up the rule book to create the newest member of the Pace family, the all-electric Jaguar I-Pace.

"With zero tailpipe emissions, no CO2 and no particulates, it moves us dramatically closer to our vision of a clean, safe and sustainable future."


BBC2 | Hugh's Wild West

Saturday 10 March 2018

Unusual and slightly off-beat slant on the wildlife of the South-West presented by lifelong nature lover, Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall.

Hugh, better known for his cheffing skills and various TV cooking series under the "River Cottage" banner, continues to pursue his interest in the wildlife of the West Country as he teams up with the region's most dedicated nature lovers.

Includes swallows filmed in slow motion and urban bats.

Do I rate it? Yes, I think it's excellent.

X | X


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PG Tips ditches plastics from its teabags

I started a petition in the summer of 2017 on the 38 Degrees 'Campaign by You' pages. It was widely publicised by the media, gained over 232,000 signatures and was instrumental in persuaded the UK's largest teabag manufacturer, PG Tips (owned by Unilever) to remove plastics from their teabags.

I now want to call on all the other major teabag manufacturers - Taylors (Yorkshire Tea), Twinings, Typhoo - to follow suit.

With your support, I intend to press the other leading UK teabag manufacturers to make a positive difference to the environment by removing plastics from their teabags, too.

This campaign has already shown that the public wants to see biodegradable teabags that do not contribute to the massive plastic waste problem.