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Blackdown Hills Transition Group

Could Beavers save Britain from flooding?

The notion of ‘Re-Wilding’ can raise strong opinions on both sides of the debate. Locally this currently focuses on the Beaver. There is however national interest (the information below is from the Guardian newspaper) in their potential to reduce ‘downstream’ flooding.
The experimental site in Devon is vivid proof of how beavers create a wildlife paradise, re-engineering small valleys with amphibian- and insect-friendly ponds. Scientific studies show that their dams remove pollutants from water – they are particularly effective at filtering out harmful phosphates – and reduce floodwater peaks. Enthusiasts proclaim these large herbivores could become 21st-century water engineers, protecting towns from flooding. But some farmers hate beavers because their dams can also flood productive land.
But it’s the beavers’ water works that have really struck those studying the Devon site. During heavy rain, the volume of water flow increases rapidly above the site, creating a dramatic spike in the graph. But when the floodwater is measured again below the site, there is a gentle curve. In other words, the beavers dramatically reduce the peak flow of floodwater on this stream.
So, it appears that Beavers are good for wildlife & they could reduce the flooding in river valleys after heavy rainfall. However, they can also flood farm land so would need to be managed. As home owners we don’t want to be flooded, but neither do we want to lose significant farm land. I wonder what next year will bring for this famous West Country resident?

- Tim Clewer, Blackdown Hills Transition Group

Repair Cafe to open in Hemyock on 24 March

Tricia Comrie writes: The Repair Cafe is a community event, which focuses on the possibility of getting things repaired rather than just chucking them away.  It's an opportunity for the sharing and passing on of skills because the idea of the Cafe is that people watch and learn while their item is being repaired, which in addition shows appreciation for  those with the relevant skills that are often overlooked.

Not only will people save money in not having, necessarily, to buy new, but most importantly, it means that less stuff goes to landfill.

Since we first started working on this project back in the Autumn, things have moved on, and we've decided (at least for the first few events) to focus on Hemyock, where the Repair Cafe will be held on a Saturday morning, every couple of months.

The first one will be on Saturday 24 March and thereafter on the fourth Saturday of May, July, September and November.  Watch out for announcements in the Parish Magazines, the BHTG Facebook page (to be launched very soon) and around the villages.

We have been very fortunate in having a number of volunteers come forward in most of the areas we hope to cover, but if you have any specific skill and would be happy to share it once in a while, we'd love to hear from you. 

In particular, we need more people who are qualified to repair small household electrical items, so if this is YOU, please get in touch!  Also, if anyone would care to offer their services on any of the mornings, I'm sure there will always be something for you to do.  In any case, you might just like to come along to find out more - or, indeed, bring something for repair - perhaps with a view to organising a Repair Cafe in the area in which you live sometime in the future.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to email or 'phone me on 01823 602908. 

Find the Repair Cafe on Facebook.