Rural news from across Britain: your weekly roundup

We round up the week's breaking news on rural affairs and countryside issues. 

Gloucestershire floods

Climate change plans require urgent action, government warned


Ministers should focus on the future risks of heatwaves and flooding, says the Committee on Climate Change.

Council blocks Little Plumpton fracking application

An application to start fracking at a site on the Fylde coast in Lancashire has been rejected by councillors. Energy firm Cuadrilla wanted to extract shale gas at the Little Plumpton site between Preston and Blackpool. Lancashire County Council rejected the bid on the grounds of “unacceptable noise impact” and the “adverse urbanising effect on the landscape”.

Call for more protection for seagrass meadows

Seagrasses – the underwater plants that act as nursery grounds for young fish – need more protection, say scientists. Monitoring of seagrass meadows off the North Wales coast found areas damaged by the likes of boat moorings, anchors and vehicles crossing at low tide had reduced value to the ecosystem. Fewer species of fish were found where seagrass was degraded, according to research published in PeerJ journal.

UK GM wheat ‘does not repel pests’

A strain of genetically modified wheat developed in the UK has failed to repel pests as intended in field trials. Scientists had wanted to engineer a variety with an odour that deterred aphids, nicknamed “whiffy wheat”. While it worked in the lab, out in the field, the wheat was still attacked by the pests. But negative results are part-and-parcel of the scientific process; researchers behind the project will now work to improve the strain.

Government must explain removal of support for onshire wind, advisers say

Lords Deben and Krebs say end of subsidies is political step by government, which must explain cost and what will be done instead to meet targets.

North York Moors mineral mine set to get go-ahead

Promising to create over 1,000 jobs and pump £1bn-plus into the UK economy, the scheme has won over many locals but angered environmentalists.

Town besieged by seagulls smashes 600 eggs in crackdown ahead of tourist season

Officials in a Wiltshire tourist town have ordered and all-out assault on a flock of seagulls which has bedeviled the town for years.

Woodland walks on the wane ‘due to lack of time and interest’


Number of people visiting forests and woodland in the UK has fallen significantly, official figures show.