Butterflies

March is always a busy month in East Haven as residents prepare to open up the 'wee gallery' and organise their spring clean and garden activities. It also marks the first bee and butterfly walk of the year on the East Haven Sustrans transect which cuts through the community garden and up the coast towards Arbroath. Sustrans provided additional ID training for residents last year which has enabled us to identify more species and upload records to the biological data-base, irecord.

Anne and I also attended the annual Small Blue planning meeting on Wednesday in Dundee. The Small Blue is the UKs smallest butterfly and a protected species due it's declining numbers. The meeting brought together, Tayside Biodiversity Partnership, East of Scotland Butterfly Conservation, SNH, Curator of the McManus Galleries and volunteers. Healthy populations of the butterfly exist along the Angus coast and inland as far as Glamis and Friockheim. New plans are in place to increase the planting of Kidney Vetch which is the sole food plant of the Small Blue. In East Haven we will continue to do what we can to extend the food corridor up the coast and also survey and monitor numbers of the Small Blue at Barry Buddon.

Butterflies are an important indicator of the health and biodiversity of our environment so every action we take helps to conserve them for future generations. 

 

Trustees Meeting

A Trustees meeting was held on the 27th of February to which members who are closely involved in key projects were also invited. Our focus in 2019 is most definitely on the environment but we are also looking forward to working in the community gardens and the 'Wee Gallery'. Trustees meetings are important as they provide an opportunity to review the governance of the charity and ensure that assessments, reports and financial records are accurate and up-to-date. All the work we do in East Haven builds upon our charitable aims and on our sustainability strategy which links to national and global sustainable development goals. Why not take a look at our meeting minutes which we have posted on the meeting page? East Haven Together has a policy of openness and transparency across all areas and posting copies of meeting minutes enables everybody to be involved and understand more about the work of East Haven Together.

Scotland's first International Marine Conference

Scotland held its first International Marine Conference at Strathclyde University in Glasgow last week where East Haven and ACE presented a poster abstract of the work undertaken locally to contribute to clean and healthy seas. Representatives from more than 10 nations met to share information and collaborate on ideas and interventions to save our seas from pollution and the impact of climate change. Inspiring speakers contributed to debate and discussion about issues from reducing litter at source to interventions to remove it and reuse it. Our seas provide around 70% of our oxygen and it really is a race against time to save the marine environment from catastrophic pollution of all types. It is generally agreed that around 80% of marine litter comes from land based sources such as street litter, agricultural and industrial sources. A number of initiatives are taking place across the world to educate people and reduce the amount of non-reusable waste being produced. In Scotland, the plastic cotton bud ban will be implemented in summer 2019 and the Bottle Return Scheme is progressing through its various consultation phases. 

Around 20% of marine litter comes from the fishing industry itself and much time was spent exploring ways in which fishing gear can be prevented from entering the sea and quickly recovered and reused if it does. Fishing gear is, by its very nature, some of the most dangerous and deadly litter being purposefully designed to capture and kill marine life. New studies also highlight that 40% to 70% of micro plastics in our oceans can be traced back to ghost fishing gear. Sadly, almost all sea birds have now ingested micro-plastics and they have also entered the food chain. There is now a real urgency at both a global level and a local level to act quickly to save the the seas and ultimately the planet for future generations. The Conference provided an opportunity to hear first hand about the work being undertaken by scientists, researchers, engineers and innovators across the world to find solutions some of which are well advanced and will be used in the near future to progress the worldwide effort. As the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon said at the conference, Scotland is uniquely placed to help solve the global crisis. Not just because we have a strong history of living and working near the sea but because we CARE about it. This is demonstrated everyday across Angus as more and more people show their concern about street litter and help to reduce it before it reaches the sea. 

A key outcome of the conference was that the British Irish Council agreed three key areas where they could collaborate further to ensure progress on this issue: establishing a system to facilitate the recycling of end of life fishing gear; co-operative working to further reduce the loss of pre-production plastics across the supply chain; and improving educational materials and modules on marine litter for young people and the fishing industry. Minsters also agreed to register these actions as a joint voluntary pledge in the UN Communities of Ocean Action registry of voluntary commitments for the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal 14.

 

Source to Sea

East Haven has been working closely with other community groups on a project at Arbroath Harbour aimed at reducing the amount of litter and plastic floating into the sea. In Scotland, 80% of land litter becomes marine litter and no where is this more apparent than at the Harbour where plastics float down the Brothock burn into the sea and fast food packaging blows off the harbour front. Some of you will remember that East Haven has it's own Litter Prevention Action Plan so the one produced for the Harbour is simply on a much bigger scale. It involves, schools, local businesses, residents, community groups and all those with a stake in the Harbour. The aim is to tackle litter at source to prevent it flowing into the sea. For those with an interest, a copy of the plan can be downloaded below.

Arbroath Harbour Project

An Invitation

Last week I represented East Haven Together at Sustran’s national conference which was held in Dundee. There were over 200 delegates and we heard several inspiring speakers from all over the UK and Europe.  As you know, National Cycle Route 1 extends along the Angus coast and is relatively flat and accessible for people of all abilities. The section between Carnoustie and East Haven was installed in 2001 when East Haven residents donated a £40,000 community benefit to enable Sustrans and Angus Council to create a safe route for people moving between East Haven and Carnoustie. Sadly, one person had died on the road and several others had been injured due to a combination of the narrow road, blind bends and fast cars. Anne Bancroft one of our residents worked with local farmers to persuade them to release land in support the development. Despite this, many cyclists now choose to use the road instead of the path because they want to maintain momentum without having to stop to negotiate the chicanes. There are 16,000 chicanes along the network throughout the UK which in itself is almost 16,000 miles long. Sustrans would now like to remove or redesign many of the chicanes to persuade cyclists to remain on the paths. Since returning from the conference I have written to Angus Council to put pressure on them to review the chicanes on the Carnoustie East Haven stretch to see what can be done to make it easier for cyclists. I have also asked them to review signage at the bridge which disadvantages cyclists by asking them to dismount. The idea is that all users should respect each other on shared paths and all should go slow at the bridge and gave way to one another. I suppose this work is an example of the fact that we need to be open to change and to reviewing systems that could potentially be improved. Keep your eyes open for change in 2019!

Sustrans

The unseasonal weather we have experienced during December and January has tricked the poor plants into believing that Spring is here already with daffodils almost ready to burst into flower. The grass is growing so quickly that we even contemplated getting the mower out this week. However, as we are warned that it will get colder over the next few days, Andy decided that our time would be better spent servicing the mowers instead. In addition, people have been out and about on Eric's croft reorganising the shed and the benches we use for village barbecues. In the meantime, we are planning our first formal beach clean of the year which will take place on 9th February at 10am unless the Beast from the East decides to make an appearance. It was certainly a late winter last year so maybe 2019 will be no different. 

Unseasonal weather

We were out and about early this morning and surprised to see people in the picnic area sitting on benches or on the beach watching the sun come up. Maybe this has happened in previous years and we just haven't seen it but it seems that people were enjoying the dawn of the new year and contemplating what 2019 might hold. No doubt media reporting will quickly get back to the Brexit debate and other depressing issues affecting the UK and wider world. Most of us are not in a position to influence  the outcome of such decisions but we can influence and exert some control over small everyday things. There is a saying that, ‘The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.’ Some would say that the people of East Haven have moved a mountain  over the last five years. It literally began by moving small stones and progressed to a point where we not only moved a mountain but climbed to the top of it.  Our charity moto has become, ‘Every Action Counts - Just Do It and Make the Difference’. So what difference will East Haven be making in 2019?  Will we be walking back down the mountain or holding on at the top? Following consultation with residents during late summer it seems that we will be gathering more small stones to strengthen and add to the base of the mountain. Our focus will be on sustainability and we have a number of projects and priorities to help strengthen the community further and protect the coastal environment. As we speak, East Haven only has 79 adult residents so we are hoping that 2019 will see new families move into the village and enjoy everything the community has to offer. We will use our 2019 Blog to keep you updated about the things we are doing to try and ‘Make a Difference’ in our little part of the world. From everybody at East Haven Together, we wish you a very happy new year and one in which you start to move your own mountains. 

Move Mountains in 2019

We were out and about early this morning and surprised to see people in the picnic area sitting on benches or on the beach watching the sun come up. Maybe this has happened in previous years and we just haven't seen it but it seems that people were enjoying the dawn of the new year and contemplating what 2019 might hold. No doubt media reporting will quickly get back to the Brexit debate and other depressing issues affecting the UK and wider world. Most of us are not in a position to influence  the outcome of such decisions but we can influence and exert some control over small everyday things. There is a saying that, ‘The man who moves a mountain begins by carrying away small stones.’ Some would say that the people of East Haven have moved a mountain  over the last five years. It literally began by moving small stones and progressed to a point where we not only moved a mountain but climbed to the top of it.  Our charity moto has become, ‘Every Action Counts - Just Do It and Make the Difference’. So what difference will East Haven be making in 2019?  Will we be walking back down the mountain or holding on at the top? Following consultation with residents during late summer it seems that we will be gathering more small stones to strengthen and add to the base of the mountain. Our focus will be on sustainability and we have a number of projects and priorities to help strengthen the community further and protect the coastal environment. As we speak, East Haven only has 79 adult residents so we are hoping that 2019 will see new families move into the village and enjoy everything the community has to offer. We will use our 2019 Blog to keep you updated about the things we are doing to try and ‘Make a Difference’ in our little part of the world. From everybody at East Haven Together, we wish you a very happy new year and one in which you start to move your own mountains.