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By Lucy Goodchild van Hilten
A towering elm tree stands 30 meters (approximately 98 feet) tall, somewhere near the border between England and Scotland, defying the fate that so many of its cousins met when Dutch elm disease ravaged the species in the 1970s. One of relatively few elm trees left, it is a haven for wildlife. Look closely and you can see the erratic fluttering of a small brown butterfly, with a W-shaped white streak across its wing.
This butterfly is making history: It's crossed the border into Scotland, where it has settled happily in a native wych elm tree and been sighted in the country for the first time in 133 years. The white-letter hairstreak—Satyrium w-album—has been squeezed slowly out of its habitat over the last 40 years, but now it seems to be getting a helping hand from an unexpected source: climate change.
Lancashire resident Robert Dennett had won a temporary injunction last week to stop shale natural gas company Cuadrilla from fracking in a well near Blackpool in northwest England. At a hearing Thursday, his lawyers argued that Lancashire County Council had not adequately planned for an emergency at the site on Preston New Road. But on Friday, a high court judge ruled that the council's planning was adequate and that fracking could go ahead.
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Environmental activists were sentenced to prison Wednesday for their anti-fracking demonstrations in northwest England.
Roscoe Blevins, 26, and Richard Roberts, 36, were given 16 months in prison. Richard Loizou, 31, was given 15 months. The three were found guilty of public nuisance offense by a jury in August, The Guardian reported. A fourth protester, Julian Brock, 47, received a 12-month suspended custodial sentence. He pleaded guilty for the same offense at a separate hearing.
Now, major UK supermarket chain the Co-op is taking that one step further by phasing out plastic bags entirely and replacing them with compostable alternatives, becoming the first supermarket in the UK to do so, The Guardian reported.
Storm Ali, the first named storm of the UK storm season, killed two and sent several to the hospital as winds of more than 100 miles per hour walloped Ireland, Scotland and Northern England Wednesday, The Guardian reported.
More than 250,000 homes and businesses in Ireland lost power and 30,000 lost power in southwest Scotland.
The world's largest offshore wind farm opened in the Irish Sea on Thursday, covering an area of 145 square kilometers (55 square miles).
The 659-megawatt Walney Extension, located approximately 19 kilometers (12 miles) off the coast of Cumbria, England, consists of 87 turbines and is capable of generating enough renewable energy to power almost 600,000 UK homes.
Cuadrilla Resources—a UK-based energy company set to horizontally frack Britain for the first time after two earthquakes halted its initial drilling attempt in 2011—is giving cash payments to residents living near its shale gas exploration site at Preston New Road in Lancashire.
Cuadrilla said that households within one kilometer of the site will each receive approximately £2,070 ($2,700) and those within one to 1.5 kilometers will receive approximately £150 ($197) as part of its £100,000 community benefit payment for the well it is drilling.
By Paul Brown
With flood risks and damage from extreme events increasing across Europe, homeowners in areas of greatest risk are still not taking enough measures to protect themselves.
Researchers reported in the journal Risk Analysis their efforts to discover how to motivate people to keep themselves safe and protect their property from flood damage.
By Simon Evans
Last Saturday, two dead whales washed up on the coast of Suffolk, in eastern England, and a third was spotted floating at sea.
What happened next illustrates how news can spread and evolve into misinformation, when reported by journalists rushing to publish before confirming basic facts or sourcing their own quotes.