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BBC Radio 4 - Costing the Earth

Costing the Earth

Fresh ideas from the sharpest minds working toward a cleaner, greener planet

Costing the Earth

  • Dry Me A River
    Whilst this Autumn’s heavy rainfall has caused some rivers in the north of England to burst their banks and flood neighbourhoods there are rivers in the south-east with barely a drop of water in them. Tom Heap asks what impact this is this having on aquatic ecosystems. He talks to water companies and environmental campaigner Feargal Sharkey to find out how flora and fauna are changing as a result of the shortage of water. It's a particular concern for chalk streams, which provide a unique wildlife habitat found in very few places in the world. Tom asks who's the blame - the water companies for taking water out of the rivers, the Environment Agency for giving them permission to do it, or us consumers for using more water per person than we ever have before? Producer: Emma Campbell

  • Iron Curtain Turns Green
    The Iron Curtain was an accidental wildlife haven. 30 years since the fall of the Berlin Wall, Tom Heap walks the borderlands to see how nature has continued to thrive. Before the fall of the wall naturalists in West Germany had noticed that some bird and mammal species favoured life in the deathzone with its lack of human disturbance. When the Soviet bloc crumbled they joined friends and colleagues in the East to declare a Greenbelt through Europe, from Trieste on the Adriatic to Lubeck on the Baltic. Against the odds their campaign has met with great success, creating new migration routes for some of Europe's biggest mammals whilst keeping developers away from most of the old border between East and West. Producer: Alasdair Cross

  • Plastic Gardens
    The last decade has seen a huge rise in the number of people opting for artificial turf in their gardens. Meanwhile businesses and corporations are making more use of plastic plants in both indoor and outdoor spaces. What effect does choosing fake over real plants have on the environment? Peter Gibbs investigates. Producer: Emma Campbell

  • Powering Britain
    Britain urgently needs a zero carbon source of reliable energy for our homes, industry and the new generation of electric vehicles. This summer's electricity blackouts suggest that we're a long way from achieving the goal. Tom Heap and a panel of power experts offer their solutions. Tom is joined by Jillian Ambrose, Energy Correspondent of The Guardian, the Chief Executive of the Committee on Climate Change, Chris Stark and CEO of power company Good Energy, Juliet Davenport. Producer: Alasdair Cross

  • Carbon Free Islands
    Orkney's strong winds and powerful tides have attracted renewable energy pioneers for decades. For much of the year the islands produce more energy than they can use. Turbines are shut down and green energy goes to waste. The UK government has spotted an opportunity, funding the REFLEX project which aims to use that excess energy to develop new ways to power a community. Tom Heap visits Orkney to see how hydrogen storage, huge batteries and electric ferries and cars can be lashed together with clever software to remove fossil fuels from an entire energy system. Producer: Alasdair Cross