Trust's pics are warning

One of the North-East's top photographers has contributed to a project to highlight the impact of climate change which will be unveiled in the region this weekend.

Simon Fraser

One of the North-East's top photographers has contributed to a project to highlight the impact of climate change which will be unveiled in the region this weekend.

The National Trust challenged 10 of the UK's leading photographers to capture the theme of climate change.

Over the past year they have visited the Trust's historic houses, gardens, countryside and coastline and have also talked to the people who care for these special places.

The result is a new photographic exhibition, EXPOSED: Climate Change in Britain's Backyard, which will go on show at Gibside near Rowlands Gill from Saturday, April 21.

The exhibition will remain at Gibside until Wednesday May 30, after which it will be on display at Holy Jesus Hospital in Newcastle and Wallington in Northumberland.

Northumberland-based photographer Simon Fraser visited Broomlee Lough near Hadrian's Wall, Cupola Bridge on the River Allen and the River Tweed for the project.

The Broomlee picture shows cattle at the lough.

"During last summer it was desert conditions. Nothing for the animals to eat, everything was burnt off.

"The cattle have always come here but if we continue to have hot summers like this one we will have to ask whether we can maintain native breeds," said Andrew Poad, Trust property manager at Broomlee Lough

"Even this far north, we may have to switch to southern European cattle."

On the Tweed Simon pictured algae blooms caused by the heat, which form a carpet on the surface and starve fish of oxygen, and on the Allen he captured the effects of low river flows.

Another of Simon's photographs illustrates how leaves are staying on trees for longer and in his particular image they sit side by side with icicles formed in a rare cold snap.

The exhibition features spring flowers emerging early, animals being spotted in unexpected places, antique treasures ruined by invading pests and severe storms posing sudden danger. The exhibition also explores how the Trust is adapting the way it works to combat the effects of the changing climate.

Trust wardens, gardeners, curators, entomologists, emergency planners, house managers and nature conservationists all have their own story to tell.

"These are 18th Century houses built to handle 18th Century weather patterns. The guttering just can't handle the sudden bursts of heavy rain we're now getting," said Sarah Staniforth, head of historic properties.

"Gardens are really suffering from the intense summer heat. We harvest about 11,000 gallons of rainwater during wetter seasons and we are looking to double this amount," added head gardener Ed Ikin.

Sarah Norcross-Robinson, East of England conservator said: "We're looking for new environmentally friendly ways of dealing with pests. We don't get the harsh frosts like we used to, so pests like silverfish, deathwatch beetle and clothes moths are thriving and causing damage to priceless wooden furniture, woollen antique clothing and valuable paintings."

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Green conference planned for Tyne

Environment Secretary David Miliband will be the keynote speaker at a conference aimed at showing how the North-East can lead the way in tackling climate change and fuel poverty.

The South Shields MP said: "I'm pleased to have the opportunity to support the work carried out in the North-East and the networks being developed to promote and develop energy efficient communities."

The Leading Energy Efficient Communities Regional Conference will take place on April 20 at The Customs House, South Shields and is being organised by National Energy Action (NEA), the North East Energy Saving Trust Advice Centre and the Association of North East Councils.

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