England’s Right to Grow movement got a boost, there was a big cancer breakthrough, and California signed the Delete Act, plus more
This week’s good news roundup
It’s a blindingly obvious solution to the cost of living crisis and the UK’s broken food system – let people grow produce on unused council land.
That’s what the English city of Hull has just done after it became the first to approve a ‘right to grow’ scheme. The move is a “severe outbreak of common sense”, according to Alex Robinson, CEO of the environmental charity Hubbub, a long-time supporter of the right to grow movement.
“Projects like this in Hull just make sense,” he told Positive News. “We should be making the most of all the land we have available. Regenerating neglected public spaces can bring communities together.”
Anna Route of Hull Food Partnership helped steer the project. “We are delighted to see this issue get true cross-party support,” she said. “We want to remove as many barriers to feeding people well as possible.”
Image: Filip Urban
Scientists have made a “tremendously exciting” breakthrough in treating prostate cancer, it was revealed this week.
One in eight men in the UK will be diagnosed with the disease, which can resist existing treatment. However, in a clinical trial, researchers showed that blocking the signals that prostate cancer use to hijack white blood cells can resensitise advanced tumours to treatment – shrinking them or halting their growth.
The research was led by the Institute of Cancer Research, London, which described it as a “major scientific advance”. The study’s findings were published in the journal Nature.
Lead researcher Prof Johann de Bono said: “This is tremendously exciting, and suggests we have an entirely new way to treat prostate cancer on the horizon.”
Image: Freddy Kearney
A ‘super’ nature reserve has been created in Somerset to boost wildlife in a region renowned for its biodiversity.
Covering 1,413 hectares – an area equivalent to around 2,600 football pitches – the reserve is home to wildflower meadows, woodlands and beauty spots such as Cheddar Gorge (pictured) and the Mendip Hills. It brings together 31 existing nature reserves (only two of which had national protected status), plus 400 hectares of new land.
The site will be managed primarily for conservation, and developers will be obliged to have “due regard” for the protected landscape. With England’s national parks criticised for doing a “shocking” job at protecting nature, a note of caution is required.
Nevertheless, conservationists have welcomed the news. Dr Dan Hoare of the charity Butterfly Conservation said: “Increasing the protection for our most precious sites, and ensuring we work together to make them bigger, better and more joined up, is crucial to recover species and restore the habitats they depend on.”
Image: Paul Underwood
Animals in Wales will be spared painful deaths in snares and glue traps after the government outlawed the devices on Tuesday.
Wales is the first nation in the UK to introduce such a ban. Rural affairs minister Lesley Griffiths said the use of snares and glue traps was “incompatible with what we want to achieve”.
Billie-Jade Thomas, senior public affairs manager at RSPCA Cymru, said: “Too often, our officers have dealt with animals in severe pain and misery at the hands of these devices, which are cruel, indiscriminate and totally unnecessary. We very much welcome the ban.”
Image: Vincent van Zalinge
Public libraries in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are preparing to open ‘warm hubs’ for people struggling to heat their homes this winter.
The initiative was introduced last year amid the sharp rise in energy costs. As well as offering free, heated spaces, libraries will host cultural activities, provide free hot drinks, and some will run advice sessions on topics like household budgeting.
“With temperatures dropping, and the price of essentials continuing to rise, it is a sad fact that many people will again be wondering how they will heat their homes this winter,” said Isobel Hunter, chief executive of the charity Libraries Connected. “Libraries will be there to offer a warm space and a warm welcome – not only to those who are struggling to pay their energy bills, but anyone who’s looking for company, conversation or advice.”
Image: Samantha Hentosh
Up to 184,000 tonnes of plastic pellets enter European ecosystems annually due to mishandling through supply chains, according to the European Commission, which this week pledged a crackdown.
Under the commission’s proposals, all operators handling pellets will be obliged to take precautionary measures to reduce leakage, a move the commission says could reduce pellet release by up to 74%.
The proposals are the first EU interventions designed to tackle microplastic pollution at source. They will now be discussed by the European Parliament and European Council.
Image: Sören Funk
Privacy campaigners are celebrating this week as California’s Delete Act edges closer to law.
The bill, signed by state governor Gavin Newson last week, means residents will be able to request their personal information be deleted by all data brokers in the state. A data broker is a company that collects online personal data and sells it to third parties.
Californians already have the right to get their data deleted, but currently must approach each data broker. The Delete Act would oblige brokers to register with the California Privacy Protection Agency (CPPA), which will establish an easy and free way for Californians to request all brokers to delete their data through a single page.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital rights group, described the law as a “significant win” for people. Unsurprisingly, advertisers opposed the law, which is due to come into effect in January 2026.
Image: Malte Helmhold
A decade ago, Redonda was rat-infested, goat-ridden and barren of vegetation, resulting in it slowly crumbling into the Caribbean Sea, where it smothered coral reefs. All told, an ecological disaster.
Today, this tiny isle is flourishing once more. Birds have returned, plants are blooming, and the outcrop is being held up as a rewilding success story.
Positive News reported on its remarkable turnaround this week. Read the full story here.
Image: Ed Marshall/Fauna & Flora
Main image: monkeybusinessimages/iStock
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