Carp in hand

Downpour leads to raining carp

The recent heavy rains have led to an increase in the number of carp in the River Fome in Dorset. Here's the reason why.

Rubbish dumped in the south

How rubbish is your area?

New figures released by the GMB union shows that council cleaners are dealing with 72,597 cases of fly-tipping in the South and South East.

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Helicopter to spray woodland in plan to eradicate caterpillar 'pests'

Oak Processionary Moth
The Oak Processionary Moth can cause a threat to Credit: Mark Townsend/Gristwood & Toms.

The Forestry Commission is planning to spray woodland near Pangbourne in West Berkshire to eradicate a pesky species of caterpillar. The Oak Processionary Moth (OPM) caterpillars can eat the leaves off entire trees, leaving the trees vulnerable to other pests and diseases.

A helicopter will spray the woodland twice over 7 to 14 days in May. This is the time of year when OPM caterpillars typically emerge from eggs in oak trees. As well as being a risk to trees the 'pests' can cause a painful rash in humans and animals. Eye and throat problems have also been reported.

The area to be sprayed includes Herridge's and Broom Copses and other trees nearby. The Forestry Commission, along with West Berkshire Council are reassuring the public that the spray which is a bacterial agent occurring naturally and widely in soil poses no risk to humans or animals.

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Trees help supermarket become 'lowest carbon branch'

Yateley Wood is helping to power Waitrose in Bracknell. Credit: Andrew Pate

The Minister for Energy and Climate Change, Gregory Barker MP, will open the new energy centre at Waitrose Bracknell today.

Mr Barker will be shown the latest 'green' technologies that make it the supermarket's lowest carbon branch and discuss how the sector can be more energy efficient.

The store now gets all its energy from locally grown wood, from plantations such as Yateley Wood (above), which is then chipped.

Could the humble blue tit save the conker?

It's that time of the year already - when playgrounds are filled with young people playing conkers. But the tradition could be under threat because of an alien moth invasion.

The leaf-mining moth is causing our horse chestnuts to produce smaller conkers. But experts now believe Blue Tits could hold the key to keeping the caterpillars under control. Mel Bloor explains.

County Council Environment spokesman 'disappointed' at Dartford toll rises

The Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Environment has issued a statement about plans to raise toll prices for the Dratford crossing.

Bryan Sweetland said: “Congestion at the Dartford Crossing and its approaches costs the UK economy some £40million every year and is now a serious hindrance to encouraging economic growth in North Kent.”

"I am concerned that toll charges at the Dartford Crossing are being increased without any improvement to the congestion problems. I am even more concerned that the introduction of ‘free-flow tolling’ has been delayed yet again and is not now planned until the autumn of 2014, when the original date given was late 2012. I would urge the DfT to do all they can to improve on the autumn 2014 date.

“The Government has made a firm commitment to look at the longer term capacity of the crossing and I welcome that.

"Their own statistics show that the crossing was at over capacity for more than two thirds of the year.

"The benefits of an additional Thames crossing would not only help alleviate the severe congestion currently faced by road users, it would also act as a catalyst to unlock much needed investment opportunities in the Thames Gateway region and help boost business and employment prospects in Dartford, Swanley and Gravesend.

“However, to put this into perspective, as things stand at the moment, my granddaughter who starts nursery school this week, is likely to be starting university before any additional crossing is built.

"Overall, local residents, businesses and road users will share my disappointment over this announcement and I call on the new Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin to address these very significant concerns as soon as possible."

– Bryan Sweetland, Kent County Council Cabinet Member for Environment, Highways and Waste

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Disease warning as dumped goldfish found in Kent

Around 50 goldfish were found in a stream beside the Great Stour Credit: Environment Agency

The Environment Agency is warning the public that ‘pet’ fish and non-native fish should not be placed into their local streams, rivers and lakes because they are breaking the law.

The reminder comes after fisheries officers were called to remove non-native fish found in a stream beside the Great Stour, Kent.

The fish, including at least 50 goldfish, were found by a Mid Kent Fisheries bailiff and reported to the Environment Agency. It is likely that the fish were put into the river from a garden pond.

When ornamental fish are released into rivers they can spread disease and parasites to other fish.

For information about non-native fish, see the Environment Agency’s website.

Southampton's rubbish row could be over

Rubbish pile in Southampton
Row between city council and refuse collectors left rubbish uncollected

A dispute which left rubbish rotting on Southampton's streets could soon be resolved.

Trade unions have agreed to end legal and industrial action against Southampton City Council after a deal was reached over pay and conditions. Union members will vote on the settlement in September.

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