Eco and Environment

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Wildlife

The importance of bees

Ever wondered where all the food that you eat comes from? Well it might surprise you that a significant proportion is provided by bees one way or another.

If you look at the plate of food on your dinner table, bees have played their part either pollinating the many vegetables and fruits we eat directly or pollinating the food for the animals that we then consume. And that’s not all bees do for us – honey and wax are two other important products that come courtesy of bees.

But honey bees are disappearing globally at an alarming rate due to pesticides, parasites, disease and habitat loss. If these little insects that help provide so much of the food we eat were to vanish, what would we do without them?

Thorncliffe Ewloe are very proud of their Bee and Newt conservation, we currently have 1 active bee hive, home to approximately 30-40,000 bees, we soon to have second hive with plans for a further 4 – 6 in total.

The hives and newts are in a designated area at our Ewloe branch.

Newts

In the UK we have three species of newt, any of which may be associated with gardens. They are all amphibians with elongated bodies and tails.

Common newt (Lissotriton vulgaris)

Also known as the smooth newt due to its smooth skin. These are slender looking animals, with a pale brown to olive green colour and an orange belly. They are generally covered in black spots, although the intensity of the spots varies and is more obvious in males. The throats of both sexes are pale coloured with black spots. During the breeding season the male develops a prominent, wavy crest from head to tail.

Palmate newt (Triturus helveticus)

Very similar to common newts in most respects, the most obvious distinguishing feature is that the throats of palmate newts do not have spots. During the breeding season it is much easier to tell the males of the two species apart, as the palmate newts develop a much smaller crest, which is not jagged like that of the common newt.

Great crested newt (Triturus cristatus)

These are much larger and chunkier looking than either the common or palmate newts. They are also distinguished by their warty skin, and their dark colour, with even darker spots which often make them look almost black. The underside is yellow or orange, with black markings. During the breeding season males develop a large, jagged crest, giving the species its name.

Energy

Solar

Cut your carbon footprint. Solar electricity is green renewable energy and doesn’t release any harmful carbon dioxide or other pollutants. A typical home solar PV system could save around 1.5 to 2 tonnes of carbon per year.

Biomass

Biomass is one of renewable energy sources and refers to biological material derived from living organisms such as wood and waste. Biomass is not only used to generate electricity as it is also able to produce heat. Among the simplest examples of biomass are the forest residues such as dead trees and wood chips, which have shown very good potential as energy sources. Biomass also includes plant or animal matter used for production of fibers or chemicals. Biomass energy has very long history and has been used in primitive forms since the early days of mankind. Burning wood in a cave is also a form of biomass energy, a simple conversion of an organic material to heat. Put in even simpler words, a fire converts the organic wood into heat.

All Thorncliffe branches are fitted with Solar Panels and Biomass Boilers.

Pollution

Thorncliffe are making changes to their vehicle fleet

How Do Hybrid Vehicles Impact the Environment?

More and more, we are demanding a cleaner, greener, environment. Much of the destruction that has been done to the environment comes from transportation, due to the fact that a majority of the vehicles on the road today emit harmful pollutants and waste, such as nitrogen gas, carbon dioxide, and carbon monoxide. With more regulation in the automobile industry to reduce these emissions, companies have responded by developing more efficient vehicles, i.e. Hybrid vehicles. Although doing so will not have a significant impact until all vehicles on the road are hybrid, it still motivates people and other companies to follow suit.

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