Is this the greenest election ever?

Badger Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption There's a disagreement among political parties about the badger cull

As part of Midlands Today's election coverage, we're looking at the environment, farming and countryside issues. So to complement that, here's a blogpost with some useful links.

If you want to read the major manifestos for yourself, you can find them at these links: Conservative, Labour, Lib Dem, Green, Brexit Party.

What follows is an outline of some of the issues we've looked at and further reading if you fancy it.

Badger cull and hunting

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Last election, a promise for a free vote on hunting foxes seemed to cause real problems for Theresa May

With all the parties now really pushing their green credentials it's interesting how similar some of their promises can sound but there's clear disagreement over the badger cull. A quick reminder, the coalition government introduced pilot culling of badgers in 2013.

It's a policy that continues and has been expanded since then. Culling is currently seen as one way to try to tackle the problem of TB in cattle.

Read full article Is this the greenest election ever?

Weevils nibble but they won't slow down on plant damage

  • 20 November 2019
  • From the section England
Vine weevils
Image caption Many gardeners and commercial growers say vine weevils are a pest

Vine weevils are a recognisable garden visitor. You might consider them a pest for the damage they can do to plants.

But for commercial growers they are a very real problem.

Read full article Weevils nibble but they won't slow down on plant damage

How Shropshire ideas may help the angry rewilding debate

In the Cambrian Mountains there’s strong local opposition to rewilding
Image caption In the Cambrian Mountains there’s strong local opposition to rewilding

It seems we live in divided times but even so it seems strange to say there's a nature conservation idea out there that is wildly controversial.

Seen as either vital and brilliant or seductive and horrific depending which side of the debate you are on. But such are the passions aroused by rewilding.

Read full article How Shropshire ideas may help the angry rewilding debate

Fight climate change. Think global. Act local (council)

Man on a bike
Image caption Here I am using a Beryl bike to get to the archive centre (in the background)

All over the Midlands we've seen people protesting about climate change, with some rather full on direct action in London.

But almost unnoticed, many of our councils are making huge strides tackling climate change at a local level.

Read full article Fight climate change. Think global. Act local (council)

Eat less meat to save the planet from climate change?

  • 23 August 2019
  • From the section England
A herd of cows
Image caption James Evans’ herd of organic beef cattle

Eat less meat and save the planet. It's an idea that's been floating around for a while and now seems to have reached peak newsworthiness in response to the latest expert report on climate change. But perhaps not surprisingly farmers really don't agree with this idea at all.

The latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report is called "Climate Change and Land" and it burst into the news cycle earlier this month. The IPCC presents a complex and nuanced discussion about many aspects of land use but most news organisations boiled all that down to "eat less meat and save the planet".

Read full article Eat less meat to save the planet from climate change?

The Brexit lambs posing pricing problems

  • 5 July 2019
  • From the section England
A farm lamb
Image caption Lamb attracts a tariff of about 40% under World Trade Organisation rules

I've been to see some Brexit lambs in Redditch this week. Born in March they will be ready for slaughter at the end of October, almost exactly when we are due to leave the European Union. And how we leave, with or without a deal, will have a drastic impact on the price the farmer gets for them. Or indeed if they will at all.

About a third of our lambs go for export and they usually go to European countries. But in parts of the Midlands, some farmers have flocks that are entirely for export and we also have companies like Farmers Fresh in Kenilworth that have built up a strong business by supplying meat for the export trade.

Read full article The Brexit lambs posing pricing problems

Does compression gym gear actually benefit the wearer?

A cyclist taking part in the trial
Image caption Twenty-five cyclists took part in the tests at the University of Birmingham

I'm very definitely a "MAMIL" - a middle-aged man in lycra - who spends not as much time as he'd like in the gym.

But as I'm getting older I'm more and more interested in anything that might help improve my workout and even aid recovery.

Read full article Does compression gym gear actually benefit the wearer?

CBD oil products - fad or the future of food?

Cans of the fizzy drink
Image caption A company says it is the first to make a fizzy drink containing CBD

CBD oil is derived from cannabis and hemp plants and it's suddenly everywhere.

From coffee to frozen yogurt to balms, drops and even cosmetics... and all on sale online or on your local high street.

Read full article CBD oil products - fad or the future of food?

Roaches recovery eight months after fire disaster

Footage shows smoke billowing into the air
Image caption Drone footage of the fire from August last year

In August last year a devastating fire swept through the Staffordshire Roaches leaving around 20% of this important wildlife area blackened and lifeless.

Last week I was offered the chance to go back and see how nature is recovering. And sadly it isn't good news.

Read full article Roaches recovery eight months after fire disaster

Electric cars and the councils that have run out of juice

  • 5 April 2019
  • From the section England
Electric charging point
Image caption Rapid charging points in Coventry city centre

The government has set some ambitious targets to increase the use of electric vehicles, for all the usual green reasons.

But new research from the BBC's Shared Data Unit shows there's a real postcode lottery when it comes to that most vital bit of having an electric car - somewhere to charge it once you leave home.

Read full article Electric cars and the councils that have run out of juice