A deadly new virus is spreading through Britain’s forests – seemingly the same virus that killed millions of oak trees in California.  The virus, Phytophthora ramorum,  first indentified in imported shrubs in 2002, appears to have jumped species and is being considered a serious risk to all of the UK’s woodlands. Spores can be carried in the wind as well as carried on bike tracks and feet, with most outbreaks so far concentrated in Cornwall, South Wales and the coast of Northern Ireland.

Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s expose of the European Union’s fishing quota waste and the destructive fishing techniques such as purse seining, which are decimating tuna stocks, has already prompted change – thousands have signed up to the Fish Fight petition, and UK supermarket chain Tesco have said that they will swap to 100% pole and line caught tuna for their own brand of the tinned fish. Princes are now at the bottom of a Greenpeace league table for the worst environmental offenders for tuna fishing and even Princes have indicated that they will remove the (‘outrageous’) line that Princes is “fully committed to fishing methods that protect the marine environment and marine life” from their tins. EU fisheries commissioner Maria Damanaki has conceded that we ‘cannot afford to throw fish away – it is not sustainable” and  UK fisheries minister Richard Beynon MP has promised to fight to end fishing discards – dumping too small fish that have been caught but are already dead – at the next revision of the EU’s Common Fishing Policy. To sign up to the campaign go to www.fishfight.net

An interesting comment and solution to the UK Coalition government’s dreadful plans to sell of the UK’s state owned woodlands “We can transform our countryside. Put forests in the hands of people’ by Andy Wightman in the Observer (16 January). You can read it all at http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/jan/16/andy-wightman-woodlands-public-ownership