Author Archives: Martin

Middlesbrough’s Avenue of Trees

We first see Middlesbrough’s Avenue of Trees in the work of Kip and Knyff published in 1707 though possibly drawn in the late 1690s. It’s a picture of extraordinary modern wealth stamped right across the landscape; a newly-built brick manor … Continue reading

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Losing Lowland Meadows

On the governments MAGIC website https://magic.defra.gov.uk/MagicMap.aspx which “provides authoritative geographic information about the natural environment from across government.” the Priority Habitat Inventory – Lowland Meadows (England) dataset shows 15 sites in the Lower Tees Valley – a total of 25.2 … Continue reading

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We are failing at plant conservation in England

Summary: Conservation means conserving within-species genetic variation as well as the species themselves; there is currently no national strategy for English native plants to do that. In the blog I point to examples of regional genetic variation/ecotypes and suggest local … Continue reading

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The practicalities of not cutting road verges

With the success of Plantlife’s rural road-verge campaign for more sympathetic vegetation management (100,000+ signed to the petition) https://plantlife.love-wildflowers.org.uk/roadvergecampaign and their excellent guidelines https://www.plantlife.org.uk/uk/our-work/publications/road-verge-management-guide  you might be wondering why it doesn’t just happen, after all it seems such an obvious … Continue reading

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Some notes from the Road-verge Conference in Suffolk

On Saturday 29th February 2020 I attended ‘On the Verge of Success. The importance for wildlife of our Roadside Verges’ with about 200 others, 9 speakers & many informative stands. Firstly to point out what excellent organisation from the Suffolk … Continue reading

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Theresa Villiers’ acres, Rishi Sunak’s ‘taking back control’, Zac Goldsmith’s ‘ramp up’, the very real problem of Teesside International Airport, and the meaning of words.

*updated 29 Jan 2020 at the end of the blog **updated again 31 Jan 2020 at the end of the first paragraph I noticed recently https://www.gov.uk/government/speeches/a-vision-for-future-farming that the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and MP Theresa … Continue reading

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Mis-reporting of the data in England biodiversity indicators Priority Habitats 2018

Summary Way back in January 2019 I wrote to the Office for Statistics Regulation about the inaccuracies I thought were present within the Defra statistics for Lowland Meadow Priority Habitat; they agreed with my points and wrote to Defra asking … Continue reading

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How much can we influence the future we want?

I wrote this piece in April 1997 for a local environmental residents group of which I was part. After a wide-ranging discussion about the future we wanted to aim for this was a way of imagining how we thought that … Continue reading

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The Glover report on national Landscapes, a brief review

The Glover report on National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs) (see terms and refs here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/designated-landscapes-national-parks-and-aonbs-2018-review/terms-of-reference ) was published today https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/833163/landscapes-review-final-report.pdf . Right near the start of the report is a quote “The United Kingdom is now … Continue reading

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Sow trees for Conservation: Plant trees for Timber

In Conservation our goal is primarily about conserving the widest range of genetic diversity within each species in a given area. If each area conserves their local genetic diversity of a native species then we will end up with the … Continue reading

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