We must do all we can to protect our beautiful environment

North Devon Gazette

During the last few weeks, I have been host to a friend from Islamabad and I have taken great delight in showing her some of our beautiful countryside and coastal areas.  Â

We are so fortunate to have such a fantastic environment to enjoy and she has been able to take some photos to show on her return to Pakistan. From the wild goats in the Valley of the Rocks, to the moors of Exmoor, or the Taw valley or our coastal beaches, we have a remarkable variety of nature’s beauty to behold.  Â

Being from a city, my friend wanted to run in the green fields or across our golden beaches, as they are such a new experience for her. She will never forget seeing the waves crashing on to the rocks of our headlands or watching the surf at Croyde and Woolacombe. Â

It is so important that we do our best to enhance our bio-diversity and protect our area.  The attractiveness of North Devon could be ruined if we do not take pride in our surroundings and ensure that we do not leave litter everywhere. Â

I am pleased that North Devon Council’s litter committee is working hard, along with others, to encourage everyone to act responsibility, recycle as much as possible and deposit rubbish in the bin, rather than litter our towns, villages and countryside.Â

This year, the theme of 'Our Environment' was chosen for North Devon's popular annual Documentary Photography Open competition. The resulting photos are currently on display in the Museum of Barnstaple and North Devon. Â

I am sure that it is well worth a visit to see the entries, as well as other the exhibitions, and you will get a warm welcome from Museum Manager, Alison Mills or members of her team. Â
Participants over the age of 14, including amateurs, professionals, and photography groups were able to enter and the winning entry will receive a prize of £300 from the competition sponsors, Jamaica Press. Â

The theme of ‘Our Environment’ was chosen partly as a response to COP26 and in the light of climate change. Photographers were asked to send images of their favourite environment, whether social, cultural or natural and these are now on display until the end of April. Â

If you are able to visit and see the exhibition, you will have the opportunity to vote for your favourite image, and the photograph with the most votes will be awarded a certificate and £300 prize money from Jamaica Press. Â

Photos have been taken covering the area of North Devon, including Torridge, Lundy Island, and Exmoor. It is good that we can document our environment for future generations and encourage local photographers at the same time.  Â

Since the last District elections, North Devon Council has introduced Climate and Environment Grants (CEG) to encourage and support projects undertaken by small parish councils, which are sustainable and look to improve the environment and/or tackle climate change issues, such as reducing carbon and improving biodiversity. Â

The Climate and Environmental grants (CEG) scheme has £20,000 of funding available each year up to at least 2023 to give out as grants and was introduced in 2020 to help fund parish council projects in the North Devon Council area, which have an emphasis on sustainability and countering climate change. The awards are made to different schemes every six months and will be open again in April. Â

These projects could include “wilding” open spaces, wild flower meadows, more sustainable approaches to graveyards, renewables, carbon catchment (eg wetland creation, rain gardens etc). Match-funding and projects, which are undertaken in partnership with the local community, are encouraged.Â

The grants are offered to eligible parish councils in the North Devon Council district with a population of less than 1,000 (as of November 2019). They may be used as part of their project for training costs, set up costs and/or promotion, purchase of goods or equipment and/or costs of an event(s) to raise awareness of an environmental issue.Â