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It is good news to hear that the government has produced a white paper outlining their vision for the natural environment over the next 50 years. At last some recognition that the environment is fundamental to our wellbeing, health and economy, providing us with a whole range of benefits.

Some of the key issues are the decline in pollinators which has an impact on crop production, and the lack of ‘corridors’ between wildlife areas to allow wildlife to adapt and move in response to climate change. This is important as wildlife is critical to all that nature gives us.

The government are looking to address these issues but of course, we can also play a part with our own gardens.

(i) With the wide range of flora and fauna they could offer, our gardens can provide a ‘stepping stone’ for wildlife, helping to create a network of interlinking habitats across neighbourhoods and help to reverse this reduction in pollinators and other wildlife that is essential for the food chain.

(ii) We can help to reduce the risk of local flooding and damage to riverbanks by increasing the natural drainage in our gardens e.g. by being careful how we pave our gardens and allowing water to drain into the land rather than into the drainage system. Also, by using a water butt or two, not only are we reducing the burden on the drainage system we are reducing the carbon needed to clean and process fresh water that we might only use to water our plants.

(iii) By making and using our own compost we can recycle nutrients back into the soil and reduce the carbon involved in the production, transport and packaging of processed composts as well as reducing the need for it to be processed through council recycling systems (or worse, at landfill sites.)

(iv) Growing our own food is one of the best ways of reducing our impact on the environment, not only are we getting fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs, but we are also reducing the carbon required for the processing, packaging and transport of the food we might otherwise buy.

If you are interested in more detail on the government’s White paper, you can find it on the Defra website www.defra.gov.uk.

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