Keeping Communities Sustainably Clean

CleanupUK is a charity whose main focus is on helping those who are most in need, usually in areas of deprivation, to combat the litter problem where they are. Through involvement in this activity, people feel their communities are safer, more welcoming and friendlier.

It`s work consists of running the Beautiful Birmingham Project and the Beautiful Boroughs Project.

When we want to relax and be uplifted and inspired we seek out beautiful places. Littered and uncared-for areas have the opposite effect on our spirits – they are depressing, stressful and demoralising. For the people living there this is everyday life and it is hard to muster the enthusiasm and energy to tackle alone what seems like an insurmountable problem.

The projects work with people living in these communities who want to form groups to keep their area clean and safe, thereby strengthening communities depleted by litter, poverty and disadvantage. CleanupUK plays a complementary role with the local authorities, stengthening communities through the simple act of picking up litter and encouraging social action.

Restore Our Planet has provided funding to help support the Beautiful Boroughs Project, launched in 2011, and currently being delivered in 12 of the most deprived and littered London boroughs: Barking & Dagenham, Camden, Enfield, Greenwich, Hackney, Haringey, Islington, Lewisham, Newham, Redbridge, Tower Hamlets and Waltham Forest.

CleanupUK also helps anyone wherever they live in the UK to form a litter-picking group to strengthen their community. This is achieved via the Litter Action website that was have set up in conjunction with the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE). You will find all that you need on the site to help you run your litter group more easily, start a new group or join a group near to where you live.

Farmland Bird Information Packs

Restore Our Planet funded the RSPB’s education and awareness raising campaign on birdlife’s dependence on sympathetic farming practices.

This included the production of 20,000 ‘Farmland Bird Information Packs’ produced by the RSPB. The packs provided useful tips and advice to farmers and others. Simple, low-cost modifications to farmland management practices can help threatened species such as corn bunting, lapwing, grey partridge, tree sparrow and linnet, as well as other farmland biodiversity.

The packs have been distributed to over 1,500 farmers who participate in the RSPB’s Volunteer and Farmer Alliance scheme, which further provides free surveys and advice to farmers.

Producer Membership Recruitment Campaign

The Soil Association have a target to increase the number of organic farmers in the UK to 35%. Restore Our Planet’s donation was to assist them in achieving this vision through increased publicity and support.

The Soil Association’s ‘Producer Membership Programme’ provides a range of support to organic producers. This includes a free technical helpline with up-to-date technical and marketing information, online access to a range of technical literature and services, reduced rates for all training, farm visit service, and local support from one of their new regional offices. Our support was enabled the Soil Association to review their services and to expand promotional materials. This has enabled the them to attract 4000 new producers to become licensees of their scheme and to increase the number of enquiries to their conversion service by 42%.

Our grant also enable the Soil Association to demonstrate the support they offer to all organic producers, which was an integral part of securing a regional presence in four regions of England.

Say NO to Heathrow Expansion

95% of businesses say there’s no gain from expanding Heathrow.

If they don’t want it, who does?

The latest polls show that only 4% of British companies want Heathrow expansion, but 37% want a new high-speed rail line to the North. So let’s stop using business as an excuse for expansion.

Operation Ocean Task Force – Albatross protection

Restore Our Planet are supporting the RSPB task force who protect the Albatross by educating the world’s fishermen regarding the use of longlines. All 21 species of albatross are threatened or near threatened with extinction, mainly because so many of them are caught on fishing long lines each year. Lines up to 80 miles long may contain 10,000 hooks baited with albatross’ favourite food, often squid. They seize the baits, become hooked and get dragged underwater where they drown.

It is estimated that 300,000 seabirds are killed in this way each year, 100,000 of which are albatrosses. Albatross do not start breeding until they are at least seven years old. Each species of albatross lays only one egg at a time some once every two years, with individuals known to live up to 80 years each death is a real tragedy. Support from Restore Our Planet has given a huge boost to the work of the RSPB/BirdLife International Albatross Task Force.

It has enabled RSPB to put in place Task Force Instructors in some of the key fishing ports in the southern hemisphere. These intrepid and dedicated staff are making a real difference by meeting with fishermen in ports and on boats and showing them the simple measures they can take to prevent albatrosses becoming caught and drowned on longline hooks.

For more information, visit and click on the Albatross Task Force link. This provides the latest updates from the Task Force who are keeping web diaries (or blogs) of their experiences.

Fight against Bird Hunting in Malta

The illegal hunting and trapping of birds is widespread across the Mediterranean.

Restore Our Planet have helped fund the work of the Hawk & Owl Trust with Birdlife Malta tackle the illegal killing of raptors over Malta where some 5,000 are killed every year. Hunters were monitored and arrests coordinated. A poster was also produced featuring raptors such as honey buzzards and marsh harriers migrating together with a report on how bird tourism could augment other visitors to Malta in the relevant months, if the hunting can be controlled.

In dealing with the issue of illegal trapping and hunting of birds Restore’s long term focus is on the RSPB’s campaign presently active in Cyprus and Malta. (For more detail see RSPB listing in Campaigns)

Developing a Low Carbon Future

The clean, efficient and renewable technologies that can heat our homes, power our vehicles and keep the lights on already exist. The global shift towards these clean alternatives has already begun but we need to work much harder if we are to meet our climate change targets required to protect our planet. For the last two years more was invested globally in clean energy production than fossil fuels and nuclear energy.

In 2011 it is expected that China will invest more in clean energy than fossil fuels. Currently Britain is lagging behind. Greenpeace plans to undertake a number of research projects that they have identified as crucially important in educating the public and decision-makers about how we become a low carbon society.

Specific activities within the project will include: commissioning of joint NGO policy report to show how UK incentives could be in the right place for sustainable biomass production; developing the terms of reference with Oxford University to prepare for researching a report on a strategy for the building stock; feeding in to the Energy market Reform process; a long term vision looking at a sustainable energy system for 2030/2050.

The overall objective of this project is to ensure that decision-makers in the UK make the right choices in planning how we use and produce energy in the future.

Get Serious About CO2

Friends of the Earth ( FoE ) is calling for local action to prevent dangerous climate change through their Get Serious About CO2 campaign which calls on local authorities to cut their carbon emissions.

Emissions from local activities such as powering homes and offices or travelling to work or school amount to a massive 80% of the UK`s total climate pollution. If we are to meet our national commitments in the world leading Climate Change Act we need to tackle climate change where we can get the best results, locally. FoE are calling for local councils to commit to cutting their emissions by 40% by 2020 and Government to introduce a nationwide system of local carbon budgets. At a local level they will work closely with their network of 230 grassroots volunteer groups to encourage their councils to create and lead strategies to reduce carbon emissions in homes, businesses an transport.

At national level FoE will provide decision makers with research demonstrating the benefits to local economies and people of cutting carbon emissions. Many councils and decision makers are already on board but more need to sign up to persuade the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change to introduce local carbon budgets for every council and to provide government support to help them reach targets.

The latest science tells us that carbon emissions need to fall immediately, and quickly, so that we avoid dangerous climate change. The alternative is that billions of the world`s poorest people will be left homeless and hungry and species and habitats will continue to be destroyed.

For more information about the campaign watch this short film (opens a new window)

Illegal hunting of migratory birds – Malta

In Malta, during the spring and autumn, many migrating and resident birds are illegally and indiscriminately shot both on land and at sea. Songbirds are also trapped to be caged as `pets’. Until 2004, Malta was outside the EU in regard to illegal shooting and trapping, and continued to disregard laws relating to the issue. After much hard work by many organisations, Malta finally accepted in March 2006 that it was in breach of EU law and made changes to its hunting legislation.

Undoubtedly, this was a step in the right direction, though hunting and trapping still takes place. (A recent assessment published in 2016 estimated that around 130,000 birds are still illegally killed on average each year.) Building on the `best practice` model developed in Cyprus and supported by Restore Our Planet in 2006-2008, the RSPB and BirdLife Malta initiated a major project to tackle this problem. The eight areas covered in the project were bird population monitoring; advocacy and lobbying; public awareness; law enforcement; surveillance; pan-Mediterranean co-operation; organisational development; public participation. Restore Our Planet agreed to help fund this project as a logical extension to the positive results achieved in Cyprus.

Illegal hunting of migratory birds – Cyprus

Restore Our Planet offered annual support for the RSPB’s campaign against the illegal trapping and hunting of birds in Europe from 2003-2008. This involved support for political advocacy work at a national and European level through the Bern Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats. In particular, it helped the RSPB to support its partner organisations in Cyprus to take action in partnership with the local authorities to monitor and crack down on the activities of illegal trappers.

This work resulted in over 500 prosecutions, a ten-fold increase in fines and a six-fold increase in the length of prison sentences. The campaign involved education projects and high-profile media activity in Cyprus, the UK and more widely, encouraging supporters to voice their protests to the relevant authorities. The success of this was shown in a 2005 opinion poll indicating that 88% of Cypriots believed the trapping of birds for commercial purposes was unacceptable. As a result of this campaign, illegal, inhumane trapping activity was reduced during 2003-2006 by 80%+ with more than 20 million birds saved from the trappers.

Eradication of Grey Squirrel from inappropriate areas of Europe

Distribution of the native British Red Squirrel (Sciurus vulagris L.Kerr) is now largely confined to Scotland and Ireland, although isolated populations persist in Southern England, in Wales just a few hundred remain and in Northern England it is found only where Grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) are not yet established. Despite efforts to protect it the Red squirrel is already outnumbered 66:1 by the Grey and may become extinct on mainland Britain in a few years – the current population is estimated at just 160,000. Within a few years of the arrival of the grey squirrel in the vicinity the smaller red squirrel disappears. This is due to a number of factors including competition for food, theft of food caches and disease. Only drastic measures will enable its survival on the British mainland and prevent its elimination in Europe.

The grey squirrel is the principle threat to the survival of the red squirrel in Britain. It has already: Driven out the native red squirrel from all but a few last outpost of the mainland; caused irreparable damage to broadleaf trees such as beech, oak and sycamore; raided bird’s nests to prey on eggs and fledglings, damaged orchards and gardens and poses a threat to the great forests of northern Italy, France and Switzerland. The grey squirrel was introduced to Britain from America and has no natural predators. It has successfully adapted to lowland conditions, is omnivorous, breeds strongly and is equally at home in urban parks and countryside.

Restore feel it is desirable that the red squirrel should be restored to British woods, that woodland song-birds and other wildlife should be protected and that our native trees should be saved from ruin. We help fund the European Squirrel Initiative (ESI) to pursue the creation of a common policy for the British Isles and the rest of Mainland Europe based on dealing with the grey squirrel as an alien species. This policy aims to contain the spread of the grey squirrel, and revitalise research programs into workable and acceptable removal methods and ways to assist re-establishment of the red squirrel.

Restore also looks to fund ESI’s efforts to work closely with national and EU authorities to develop coherent research policies for the whole of Europe and has helped finance a post-doctoral research assistant and the establishment of a web site for the Red Squirrel Trust. Further funding in 2006, 2007 and 2008 has gone towards the design of a research programme to develop and test Immuno-Contraception,the most effective method of controlling the grey squirrel population.

Green Belt protection – South West

On a number of occasions since 2002 Restore Our Planet funded campaigns designed to protect the countryside in the south west including the ongoing campaign fighting against the expansion of Bristol Airport.

Protecting vulnerable rural areas from excessive road development

CPRE work to ensure that the environmental impacts of potential road schemes receive due consideration in the planning process.

To this end Restore Our Planet financed a review of the Government’s ‘London to South West and South West Multi Modal Study’ (SWARMMS), which included a proposal to dual the A303/A30 corridor through many environmentally sensitive areas including the Blackdown Hills. Anyone motoring to the south west will be able to see the results of this campaign.

It was further specified that the research Restore Our Planet commissioned would be made openly available for use, in future reviews of road building schemes across the country.

Research causes of decline in woodland birds

The British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) has initiated a programme to research the decline of UK woodland birds. Volunteers are used at a large number of sites, however identification of woodland species is one of the most difficult aspects of ornithological fieldwork.Dense vegetation means that birds must often be identified by songs or call alone.

To this end Restore Our Planet has supported the BTO’s production of a CD containing the voices of all target species and those they are likely to be confused with. Volunteers will be armed with these in order to help them in the tricky identification process.