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  towards a sustainable future for our village

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LATEST NEWS

The wonder of hedgerows

International Dawn Chorus Day (2 May)

Pandemic & research proves need to re-think strategic planning for green spaces

Prince Philip (1921-2021) - A champion for the environment

2021 Big Garden Birdwatch results

Saltford Parish Council's new "Policy Overview" backed by Ward Councillors

SEG responds to Wessex Water's new access bridge & wetland habitat proposals

VE75 Oak trees plaque

Green affordable warmth grant extended

In praise of the humble Dandelion (& less grass mowing)

SEG is 10 years old!

New community carbon footprinting tool

WECA bid to government: Saltford Station

Planners asked for space for wildlife & nature

Help maintain safe access for Saltford's riverside areas


More news in our news archive >>


Current VOLUNTEER assistance sought by SEG >>




The wonder of hedgerows

May 2021

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If you have got a hedge of native species, and especially one that is 150+ years old, nurture it. Whatever you do, don't replace it with something else.

Hedges can originate in different ways. Some may be woodland hedges, formed out of woodland trees/shrubs left as remnants after woodland clearance. Some may originate from scrub growing on boundaries between cultivated fields or they may be planted with single or a mix of species, whilst some may be a combination of different origins.

Hedgerows are part of our cultural heritage and historical record, in addition to their great value to wildlife and the landscape. They are increasingly valued too for the major role they have in helping to prevent soil loss and reduce pollution, and for their potential to store carbon, regulate water supply and to reduce flooding.

Long-standing hedgerows have an important key role supporting and allowing the mobility of invertebrates as well as for supporting plants and fungi. They tend to support the greatest diversity of plants and animals so we need to value, protect and retain them.

Further information on hedgerows can be found from these links:-

This article is also published on our wildlife and gardening pages.

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International Dawn Chorus Day (2 May)

April 2021

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Spring is the best time of year for listening to bird song and the dawn chorus is a sound that heralds the approach of warmer summer days. In the colder air at dawn, bird song can carry a lot further than later in the day and with less competing human sounds like traffic it really can be an uplifting experience just listening to our tuneful local birdlife at dawn. Different birds start up at different times, with Robins and Blackbirds amongst the first to start singing.

You can join the RSPB online live at 5am - 9am on 2nd May for International Dawn Chorus Day - just follow this link: RSPB Dawn Chorus Day.

If you want help identifying different bird song visit the RSPB website from this link which takes you to their bird song identifier.

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Pandemic & research proves need to re-think strategic planning for green spaces

April 2021

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The following is based on an article from SEG for the May/June edition of Saltford Community Association News (SCAN). The photograph above shows a peaceful scene at The Shallows during lockdown, May 2020, before the visitor influx.

The COVID-19 lockdowns raised a greater awareness of the importance and value of the natural world and the open, green spaces where we live. The rural countryside that (still) surrounds Bath and rural villages like Saltford is critical not just for nature and the wildlife attracted to the Avon Valley, but for our own well-being too. An increase in home working and taking exercise locally that is likely to follow the COVID-19 pandemic will increase that awareness still further.

As the first lockdown eased in summer 2020 large influxes of visitors descended on riverside areas along the River Avon, including Saltford. Do we need more evidence that the new residential developments built on the east side of Bristol in recent years were not given an adequate provision of new green open spaces and public parks?

As SEG enters its second decade, COVID-19 and the growing use of riverside areas and the countryside for recreation has raised the importance for SEG to further develop the case for protecting the Green Belt and local wildlife habitat from development. This is at a time when many in the UK now recognise from the serious decline in wildlife that there is an "ecological emergency". Never has protection of the local Green Belt been more relevant than it is now.

Protecting the Green Belt from development to benefit wildlife and nature whilst providing green space for low environmental impact recreation is a key priority for SEG.

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As we reported in March (Planners asked for space for wildlife & nature), like other communities, Saltford is already paying the price of over-development in the wider area. This is not just from congestion on local roads but our community is losing access to its local green spaces to increasing visitor influxes whilst river and riverside wildlife and habitat also take a heavy toll.

The recent and ongoing construction of many more homes in the West of England without increasing green recreational space (i.e. large public parks) for the inhabitants of new housing means existing green spaces are inundated with visitors more often and wildlife increasingly "removed" from our environment.

Where are all the new and existing residents in the West of England supposed to relax and take outdoor exercise when they need a break from their homes? And, as Sir David Attenborough crucially once asked, "Can a growing human population leave space for wildlife?"

ONS report: How has lockdown changed our relationship with nature?

Using data from several sources looking at the impact of lockdown on exercise levels, usage of public green spaces and the link between nature and wellbeing, the Office of National Statistics (ONS) in a report* this month highlighted the importance of natural spaces for well-being during the pandemic. From its review of surveys and data on the role of nature and green spaces in the past year, ONS said changes in personal behaviour and corporate attitudes could mean that after the lockdown the UK will value and interact with nature on a much greater scale than before.

Looking at research data from Natural England, ONS reported that during the pandemic 41% of adults felt that visiting local green and natural spaces was even more important. 38% felt that nature/wildlife was more important than ever whilst 33% were visiting local green and natural spaces more than before the pandemic. ONS reported that the closer people were to their nearest park, the more likely they were to visit during lockdown.

Whether these changes in personal behaviour brought on by the lockdowns are temporary or a new way of life remains to be seen but it seems likely that such a raising of awareness of the importance of nature and green spaces for our physical and mental well-being will have a lasting effect after the significant challenges to people's personal values and lifestyles posed by the pandemic.

*NOTE: The ONS report (26.4.2021) "How has lockdown changed our relationship with nature?" can be found on the ONS website from this link: ONS report 26.4.2021.

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Prince Philip (1921-2021) - A champion for the environment

April 2021

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"The conservation of nature, the proper care for the human environment and a general concern for the long-term future of the whole of our planet are absolutely vital if future generations are to have a chance to enjoy their existence on this earth"
HRH Prince Philip

SEG members will be saddened to have learnt of the death of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, today (9th April). He was a champion of environmental causes, an environmentalist, long before wider acknowledgement of the threat from mankind to the natural world had become widely accepted and warned of the "greedy and senseless exploitation of nature."

The Duke of Edinburgh was the patron of many organisations, including WWF and the Duke of Edinburgh Award that "equips and empowers young people from all communities to build the skills, confidence, and resilience they need to make the most out of life". The Duke was the first President of WWF-UK from its foundation in 1961 to 1982, and President of WWF-International from 1981 to 1996 and then President Emeritus of WWF International.

Pavan Sukhdev, President of WWF International, said:

"The Duke of Edinburgh has been a tireless champion for the environmental cause and a passionate ambassador for conservation issues around the world for decades. His Royal Highness helped chart the course of WWF from its very beginning and has truly made enormous contributions to the organization.

"Across more than 50 years, His Royal Highness, Prince Philip's efforts on behalf of WWF have been inestimable - visiting WWF projects in over fifty countries on five continents, promoting conservation issues at the highest government and corporate levels, and helping with essential fundraising and awareness promotion.

"On behalf of all of us at WWF, I extend my sincere sympathies to Her Majesty the Queen, to the Royal Family and to the family of His Royal Highness, Prince Philip at this very sad time."

SEG respectfully shares and extends those sympathies.

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2021 Big Garden Birdwatch results

April 2021

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The results for the 2021 Big Garden Birdwatch held on the weekend of 29 - 31 January are now published by the RSPB. Do they match what was in your garden? The top ten most commonly observed birds across the UK were (change on 2020 position in brackets):-

   1. House Sparrow (=)
   2. Blue Tit (+1)
   3. Starling (-1)
   4. Blackbird (+1)
   5. Wood Pigeon (-1)
   6. Robin (+2)
   7. Great Tit (=)
   8. Goldfinch (-2)
   9. Magpie (+1)
   10. Long-tailed Tit (-1)

Top spot goes to the House Sparrow for the 18th year running! Blackbirds and Robins have also done well this year, both moving up the table and coming in at 4th and 6th place respectively.

While House Sparrows and Blue Tits may be the UK's most commonly sighted in this year's Birdwatch, data shows that numbers have in fact dropped dramatically since the Birdwatch began in 1979. Over the last 50 years, since 1970, 40 million birds have vanished from the UK's skies. And it's not just birds that are suffering according to the RSPB. The latest State of Nature 2019 report (link to report) found that around two-fifths of UK species are in decline including Turtle Doves, Red Squirrels and Water Voles.

The reasons behind these declines are complex. The State of Nature 2019 report states that "agricultural management, climate change, hydrological change, urbanisation, pollution, woodland management and invasive non-native species" are among the most significant of pressures acting upon terrestrial and freshwater wildlife. It also reports "At sea, climate change and fishing are having the most significant impact upon marine biodiversity."

More information on the results of the 2021 Birdwatch can be found on the RSPB website. You can also find more information on social media using the hashtag #BigGardenBirdWatch.

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Saltford Parish Council's new "Policy Overview" backed by Ward Councillors

April 2021

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At its monthly meeting on 6th April Saltford Parish Council updated its "Policy Overview" to guide the work of the Council; this was to reflect the urgency now widely accepted for meeting the twin challenges of climate change and the threat to nature and our ecosytems. The new policy unanimously adopted by the Council was as follows:-

   Saltford Parish Council endorses the need to respond to the climate and ecological emergencies. SPC's decisions and policies will take account of whether they are good for the climate, the ecology of Saltford and for residents. SPC is in favour of protecting the Green Belt around Saltford from development including from a road bypass (that would be infilled with housing); reopening the railway station on the existing site; Fairtrade; and that Saltford should continue to be an inclusive and caring community.

In response to the updated policy, Saltford Ward Councillors for B&NES Council, Cllr Duncan Hounsell and Cllr Alastair Singleton, said "As Ward Councillors for Saltford, we fully support Saltford Parish Council's principled stance in addressing the threats we all face through the Climate and Ecological Emergencies. We join SPC in putting these threats at the heart of all of our work."

For more about this focus by SPC on the environment including recent environmental actions and initiatives by SPC (some in partnership with B&NES Council), see SPC's website from this link: SPC's new policy overview.

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SEG responds to Wessex Water's new access bridge & wetland habitat proposals

April 2021

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Over Easter SEG submitted a pre-planning application response to Wessex Water on the company's proposals to build a new access route to the Saltford Water Recycling Centre, including the welcome proposals for wildlife habitat enhancements.

On environmental grounds, SEG strongly prefers the currently proposed route, from the A431 just east of Swineford, over alternative proposals involving lengthy road construction through Saltford's Green Belt to connect with the A4, particularly as those proposals keep Green Belt loss to a minimum.

SEG advised Wessex Water that it was delighted that the package will include wildlife habitat enhancement as this provides an excellent opportunity to benefit local wetland ecology through habitats no longer present in this part of the Avon floodplain. SEG sees this as a rare opportunity to make a major Net Gain to local biodiversity and therefore an appropriate response to B&NES Council's July 2020 declaration of an ecological emergency.

At this pre-planning stage, and after consultation with our wildlife advisor, who is in regular discussions with Wessex Water, SEG made two points at this stage. These relate to maximising the ability of existing and any newly constructed wetland habitat to attract multiple wetland bird species which at present occur in Saltford only as stragglers or not at all. The birds require specific attention additional to that for wetland plants and invertebrates in two ways :-

   Firstly, the need to ensure public access in that area does not have a negative effect on wildlife attracted to the habitat. If there is any further public access allowed into the field in question, this disturbance will reduce the use by waterbirds of the field and the wetland habitat created within it. Frequent public access, particularly with dogs, could even prevent any wetland bird species not already of regular occurrence here using the created habitat. It is therefore of particular importance that public access between the riverbank and the west end of the bridge follows either the existing public right of way round the field edge, or a new permissive path through the existing planted woodland in the north-west corner of the field.

   Secondly, the numbers and distribution of trees envisaged for the site. The more tree cover (particularly from tall species like poplars) around the existing and new wetland habitat, the less it will be used by waterbirds. Existing trees around the pools in the NE of the works are already so tall and broad of crown that few waterbird species now use these pools (significantly more species did so when these trees were still small saplings). To maximise wildlife gain, SEG hopes that (i) as many of the existing trees around the pools' margins can removed or at least pollarded; (ii) few if any trees will be planted in the bridge field outside the existing, currently spaced line of trees; and (iii) any trees that are planted will be of species relatively low-growing (to minimise reduction of use by shy wetland bird species), native and ecologically appropriate to the site. Alder and sallows seem the obvious choices.

SEG has offered to assist Wessex Water, after plans are finalised, in communicating to residents the expectations of the net gain for biodiversity and the agreed access/viewing opportunities for it.

An overview of Wessex Water's proposals for the new access bridge, biodiversity gain and environmental improvements can be found on the Wessex Water website from this link: Saltford Water Recycling Centre where comments on the proposals are also invited.

The submission by Wessex Water of a formal planning application to B&NES Council is expected to be made in May 2021.

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VE75 Oak trees plaque

March 2021

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The plaque marking the planting of two English Oak trees (last autumn - see photo below) to mark VE75 Day is now in place at Saltford Hall. The English Oak (Quercus robur) is a keystone species hosting hundreds of insect species, supplying many birds with an important food source. In autumn squirrels, badgers and deer feed on acorns. Great initiative by all those mentioned on the plaque and backed with species choice advice from SEG.

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Our website (wildlife page) lists tree species ecologically appropriate to Saltford so when you want to plant a tree that supports local wildlife you know where to look for species advice.

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Green affordable warmth grant extended

March 2021

B&NES Council has won additional funding from the government to expand its Green Home Grants Scheme and is now for the first time extending the scheme to houses with a D energy rating as well as those with an E,F or G rating.

Residents of qualifying properties, whose household's joint annual income is less than 30,000, can apply for a council Green Affordable Warmth Grant to upgrade their home with double glazing, insulation or low carbon-heating.

Improvements for homeowners will be fully funded with an average of 10,000 available, while renters and owner-occupiers may be eligible for upgrades with landlords receiving up to two-thirds of the cost, up to an average of 5,000, dependent on the work required.

The upgrade required for a property will be identified by a property retrofit assessment visit. Householders can find out more and apply for funding via the council's Energy At Home Service. The service offers free information on energy efficiency improvement and grants and loans available. Visit the website at www.energyathome.org.uk or call 0800 038 5680.

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In praise of the humble Dandelion (& less grass mowing)

March 2021

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This item includes information from our Wildlife and Gardening pages.

It may be in flower for most of the year, but the Dandelion's peak flowering time is from late March to May, when many bees and numerous other pollinators emerge from hibernation. Each flower's rich supply of nectar and pollen provides an easily available food source and lifesaver for pollinators in spring, and songbirds, such as Blackbirds, Goldfinches, and Sparrows feed on its seeds.

A sign that summer is on its way, can we learn to love the Dandelion for its beauty and the benefit it brings to wildlife? What better way to demonstrate our love and concern for wildlife by letting this underrated flower (not weed!) flourish in deliberately unmown areas of grass in our gardens.

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Ever thought about the wildlife benefits of NOT mowing your lawn? The RSPB advice is to give your grass mower a rest as mowing your lawn less, and letting parts of it grow long, saves you time and helps give nature a home. The grasses will set seed, wildflowers will be able to bloom, and the longer stems will create a sheltered microclimate - a mini jungle through which beetles and other small creatures can wander.

You'll see all sorts of insects roving through the long grass, pollinators coming to the flowers in the lawn, and hopefully sparrows and goldfinches coming to feed on the seeds whilst other wild birds will feed and thrive on the insects.

The RSPB advises that you can continue to give the mower a rest into autumn. But cutting it at the end of summer, say at the end of August, also mimics the hay meadows of past decades that made our countryside such a haven for wildlife.

If you are concerned about what the neighbours will think, don't worry as it will still look like you care for your garden if, for example, you create a neatly-edged block of longer grass in the middle of the lawn and continue to mow around it.

Your no-mow area can be any size or shape, however for best results try and make it at least a metre-squared. If you are able to locate your no-mow zone away from flowerbeds it is less likely that it will be invaded by garden plants.

Some further advice from the RSPB:

Create paths that look presentable. The trick is in mowing paths through the longer grass. They can be straight paths in a regular pattern, curving paths, or a mini-maze. Kids will love to run along them. There is extra wildlife incentive for mowing paths - there's evidence that creatures actually like using the short paths to move through the meadow, darting into the longer grass to get food.

Create a spring meadow. Leave your areas of long grass until July, and then mow through until the grass stops growing in late autumn.

and/or:

Create a summer meadow. Mow once in late March or early April and then leave it until September before mowing once or twice in the autumn.

On a warm day in summer, get down at ground level and look closely. See what flowering plants were in your lawn all along but never had the chance to flower, such as daisies, clovers and speedwells.

Remember, it is the less tidy areas of our gardens that allow wildlife to flourish whereas the over-tidy areas are virtually wildlife deserts - especially where non-native* flowers, trees and shrubs are grown as these provide little or no food or habitat for insects.

*NOTE: We give advice on our gardening and wildlife pages on the use of native plant species - our wildlife page includes a list of native tree species that are ecologically appropriate to Saltford.

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SEG is 10 years old!

March 2021

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In 2011 Prince William married Catherine (Kate) Middleton, US forces killed al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, an undersea earthquake off the Pacific coast of Japan leading to a tsunami triggered a crisis at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, Egyptian protests led to the downfall of President Hosni Muburak, rioting broke out in several English cities, the News of the World ceased publication, the 2011 census revealed London as the only region where the number of cars and vans was lower than the number of households, and Prince Philip was treated in hospital for a blocked coronary artery.

Meanwhile here in Saltford SEG was set up by a small group of volunteers as an action outcome from the Parish Plan questionnaire of autumn 2009 where many respondents had expressed concerns about pressures on the environment in our village.

It is no easy task to summarise all that SEG has achieved for Saltford in those 10 short years, recorded amongst over 850 news stories we have published in our website's news archive as well as on special feature pages. Some of our activities have of course been more successful than others, yet "nothing ventured, nothing gained".

Our first activity to get SEG going was our campaign to bring back Saltford station. The campaign's continued determination means that 10 years later, and with the support of B&NES Council and the West of England Combined Authority in the context of the MetroWest project, there is renewed hope that the 1970 closure will be reversed and once more Saltford will have its own station.

Involving young people has been another aspect of SEG's activities. This has included Saltford Scouts and Guides helping to clear invasive Himalayan Balsam from land by the river and also from the railway path habitat restoration project; that project has subsequently been transferred to Sustrans.

SEG's support for particularly worthwhile projects like Fairtrade status for Saltford (achieved in April 2013) and the creation of Saltford Wombles whose recent growth in popularity has resulted from the remarkable work of clearing so much visitor litter during the pandemic, have been successful due to the dedication of many unsung heroes, people who just get stuck in and get things done.

One of the biggest challenges in our first 10 years was the 2-year successful defence by the community that culminated in the 2013 Saltford Green Belt Inquiry outcome and the prevention not just of 99 houses being built in the Green Belt south of Manor Road, but the inevitable ribbon development around Saltford that would have followed. The community of Saltford proved that sustainable development has to mean what it says and communities must be listened to and their views taken into account in land use planning. We know the threat from unsustainable development hasn't gone away and we need to constantly maintain and update the planning case for defending Saltford's Green Belt.

Perhaps the best outcome from our History of Saltford project, not the sort of project normally associated with an environmental group, is the comprehensive online publication on our website that has revealed so much about our village and who lived, worked and passed through here - much that was little known by many residents.

Who knew that Admiral Kelly's remarkable naval career had included such an important role in helping to stop slavery in the 19th Century? Or that evidence of the Vikings, who captured Bath in 1013 and ruled England until 1042, has been found here in Saltford? Or that in 1815 Pedestrianism (race walking) came to Saltford when John Stokes from Bristol walked 1,000 miles in 20 days around a circular course in two fields behind the Crown Inn?

Both in our website news articles and in our behind-the-scenes advice to local decision and policy makers, our wildlife guidance from the viewpoint of supporting and enhancing our local ecology has been another activity that goes on quietly in the background.

What next?

Our membership survey in 2018 revealed that of SEG's activities, protecting the Green Belt interests members the most, followed by our History Project, then equally third the station campaign and wildlife habitat protection. The rural location (incl. countryside access and local walks), inhabitants (i.e. neighbours, other residents and friends) and sense of community are what our members like about Saltford.

Living in a community where we help each other has proven invaluable during the pandemic. As we adapt to the "new normal" after COVID-19 those survey findings will continue to guide our priorities and underline the importance of our more strategic 'behind the scenes' work on protecting the Green Belt and local wildlife habitat as many in the UK have finally woken up to the "ecological emergency".

SEG shall continue to maintain close and supportive links with organisations like Saltford Parish Council, Saltford Community Association, and Saltford Wombles.

Thank you to our 560+ members for your ongoing encouragement and support and to our website sponsors.

LINKS:-
Station Campaign
Fairtrade
Saltford Wombles
Saltford's Green Belt
History of Saltford project
Admiral Kelly
John Stokes' 1,000 mile walk in Saltford (1815)
Saltford Viking Buckle
Wildlife

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New community carbon footprinting tool

March 2021

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New research published online as an Impact tool for community carbon footprinting from Exeter University and the Bristol-based Centre for Sustainable Energy allows village (parish) wide carbon calculations, data downloads and, perhaps most interestingly, comparisons. This can be found at impact-tool.org.uk.

The figure for Saltford (17 March 2020) is shown as 14.3t CO2e* per-household territorial footprint p.a. (slightly higher than the national average of 13.9t CO2e). The comparison figure for Corston is 39.7t CO2e and for Newton St. Loe 27.1t CO2e - the main comparative reasons for those parishes being significantly higher than Saltford are their larger footprints for Road transport and Agriculture. Keynsham is 12.1t CO2e, the lower figure compared to Saltford is largely down to lower emissions from Housing and Waste Management. Note: The territorial approach to footprinting can create a skewing effect, for example where major infrastructure like a motorway is located within a particularly small community raising its footprint but outside that community's control.

*CO2e stands for "carbon dioxide equivalent" and is a standard unit of measurement in carbon accounting. It expresses the impact of a number of different gases collectively as a common unit.

Want to calculate your own carbon footprint? Our own personal lifestyle choices make up our carbon footprint and impact on the environment. The WWF 'Carbon Footprint Calculator' at footprint.wwf.org.uk/ enables you to calculate your personal carbon footprint using the answers you provide to a simple 5 minute questionnaire. The website calculates your carbon footprint as a result of your lifestyle choices and provides tips and ideas for how you can shrink your footprint.

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WECA bid to government: Saltford Station

March 2021

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Cllrs Chris Warren (SPC Chair & Station Campaign Leader), Neil Butters (joint Cabinet Member for Transport, B&NES Council, holding the bid) and Duncan Hounsell (Saltford Ward Cllr on B&NES Council), March 2021.

SEG's independent Saltford Station campaign is pleased to report that the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), that is responsible for strategic transport projects in this sub-region, has made a bid to the Department for Transport's "restoring your railway (RYR)" fund.

This is seeking 50,000 towards the cost of 70,000 to develop the business and feasibility case for opening a station at Saltford as part of the MetroWest project. MetroWest will provide half-hourly local train services across the Bristol-Bath sub-region. The Saltford station study will cover the areas required to establish whether the station is feasible, and if it is, what the next steps in its development should be. These areas include:

  • Assessing the effectiveness of a new station at addressing the congestion issues on the A4 corridor and at improving connectivity at Saltford.
  • Evaluating the capacity of the line for a new station given that services on the line have changed since the last study.
  • Determining the signalling infrastructure that would be required, and its cost. This was not done in previous studies.
  • Working alongside the project for a new station at St Anne's (funded by RYR) to evaluate the two points above to provide a holistic view of the rail corridor capacity.
  • Considering the effects on demand of the mass transit scenarios under consideration.
  • Updating costs, benefits and programme.

The WECA bid has been backed by local MP Jacob Rees-Mogg. The bid follows a vote of Bath and North East Somerset Council in October 2019 supporting the opening of a Saltford station. Cllr Dine Romero (Lib Dem), leader of B&NES Council, said "The (Saltford) project matches the aims of B&NES Council which supports this bid enthusiastically; I too strongly support this application by WECA."

Cllr Alastair Singleton, a Saltford ward councillor (Lib Dem), said "This is excellent news. This shows that the idea of a Saltford station is being taken very seriously by WECA."

The WECA bid is welcomed by Saltford Parish Council and the Saltford Station Campaign, who have been actively supporting the re-opening of Saltford Station for many years. Both Saltford Parish Council and the Saltford Station Campaign view the bid as a strong, positive step towards the re-opening of Saltford Station potentially at its former site. The Parish Council particularly welcomed the cross-party and cross-organisational support from WECA, B&NES, and Saltford's MP for developing the business and feasibility case for opening a station at Saltford as part of the Metro West project. The Saltford Station Campaign view this bid as a significant step towards making the re-opening of Saltford station a reality.

Cllr Neil Butters, joint B&NES cabinet member for Transport said "I would like to congratulate Saltford Parish Council, Cllrs Duncan Hounsell and Alastair Singleton, and the people of Saltford for their achievement so far. A re-opened Saltford station would take many cars off the road, reduce carbon emissions, and lead to a pleasant environment. This station project has my full support."

The WECA bid makes clear that the development of a station would take a minimum of 5 years if there was sufficient line capacity. If a Saltford station was dependent on signalling enhancements the minimum time for delivering the station would be ten years.

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Planners asked for space for wildlife & nature

March 2021

The Spatial Development Strategy (SDS) is a planning document for the area that the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) has to produce by law. It will set out the vision for how people will live, work and play in the West of England over the next 20 years and will help deliver the commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030. Local Plans including the new B&NES Local Plan are being prepared alongside the SDS.

As part of the SDS process, WECA asked people living and working in the West of England for their views about the future of the region, to ensure it is a greener, more connected place to live and work. The 'Future of the Region' survey was carried out in November and December 2020. A total of 1,329 individuals and organisations took part in the engagement and shared their views.

WECA found that the top themes repeated throughout the survey responses were:

  • The provision of quality homes that are affordable (relative to local incomes) is seen as a key priority for the region.
  • The importance of providing space for wildlife and nature is rated very highly by respondents. Access to nature and green space is also a key concern.
  • There are high levels of support for activity to address and prioritise responding to the climate emergency.
  • A high-quality sustainable transport network is viewed as key to delivering a successful spatial strategy.

Protecting the Green Belt from development to benefit wildlife and nature whilst providing green space for low environmental impact recreation is a key priority for SEG.

Like other communities, Saltford is already paying the price of over-development in the wider area. This is not just from congestion on local roads but our community is losing access to its local green spaces to increasing visitor influxes whilst river and riverside wildlife and habitat also take a heavy toll.

The construction of many more homes in the West of England without increasing green recreational space (i.e. large public parks) for the inhabitants of new housing means existing green spaces are inundated with visitors more often and wildlife increasingly "removed" from our environment.

Where are all the new and existing residents in the West of England supposed to relax and take outdoor exercise when they need a break from their homes? And, as Sir David Attenborough crucially once asked, "Can a growing human population leave space for wildlife?"

NOTE:
The full report on the results of 'The Future of the Region' survey can be found on the WECA website from this link (pdf).

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Help maintain safe access for Saltford's riverside areas

March 2021

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Saltford's residents will be aware of the long-standing road blockage issues arising from the parking of visitor's vehicles in Mead Lane and The Shallows which are mainly single carriageways and where the parking of cars and vans prevent larger vehicles including emergency vehicles from getting past whilst blocking access for residents needing to travel by car.

The temporary parking bans implemented since July/August 2020 have greatly alleviated the problems, but these now need to be made permanent (traffic cones have a habit of being removed or "misplaced"). On 4th March Saltford Parish Council submitted to B&NES Council its response to proposed Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) 20-014 that seeks to address these issues permanently.

If B&NES Council is to implement the proposed TRO then it is important that Saltford's residents respond to the TRO consultation by no later than 25 March and show their support for measures proposed.

SPC's response which sets out the safety reasons for the parking measures was as follows:-

   Saltford Parish Council strongly supports the proposed Traffic Regulation Order ((Various Roads, Keynsham and Saltford) (Prohibition and Restriction of Parking and Loading) (No Stopping on Entrance Markings) (Authorised and Designated Parking Places) (Variation No.14) Order 2021 reference 20-014 affecting The Shallows and Mead Lane in Saltford, and urges its swift implementation and enforcement for the benefit of the community and its visitors.

   The proposals are essential to address long-standing safety and access concerns along these roads which occur regularly during busy periods. In considering its response, Saltford Parish Council notes the concerns expressed to it from residents, visitors, the police and the Fire Brigade regarding safety and access - including the actions having had to be taken by the police to ensure safety and access including road closures. These concerns have since considerably alleviated from July/August 2020 following the implementation of the Temporary Traffic Orders by B&NES Council, which have proved highly successful.

   Additionally, the proposals will protect the amenity value of the Saltford riverbank for residents and visitors whilst also helping to reduce incidents of damage to the riverbank and breaking up of the roadside edge itself in Mead Lane from vehicles attempting to park partly on the riverbank; the riverbank's structure is not designed to accept vehicle parking.

   The residents parking scheme element is supported to maintain and improve parking access for residents without off road parking, viewed as required due to the high number of vehicle-using visitors to The Shallows.

   The Parish Council requests that the TRO proposals accommodate safety measures with regards to the layby on Mead Lane. Measures should be put in place to ensure that vehicles parking in the layby do not overhang or in any way obstruct the highway. This is for the prevention of accidents and to enhance safety for pedestrians and cyclists, due to there being no pavement and poor visibility on this bend.


The above response and details of how to make your own response (by 25 March) are at https://bit.ly/388LakI or you can go directly to the B&NES Council TRO page https://bit.ly/3e6o5mz to find out about the TRO and how to submit a response (by email to transportation@bathnes.gov.uk and quoting the correct reference).

Local residents that have been seriously affected by the issues described in SPC's response for many years now deserve your support to resolve matters.

If you want to help alleviate the problems please submit your supportive response sooner rather than later and by 25 March.

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Current areas of local volunteer assistance sought by SEG

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Whilst our partner organisations such as Saltford Wombles (for tackling litter) and the Fairtrade Group always welcome volunteer assistance, SEG sometimes has specific roles or posts that need filling. Here are the current vacancies:-

Website skills wanted!

Updated January 2021

Our website is a popular resource for our members and others which means that in addition to keeping it relevant we want to make sure it continues to function as it should.

If you live in or near Saltford, care about your local environment and have current knowledge of website design and might be interested in using your IT skills for a bit of IT volunteering to help us behind the scenes please get in touch with our Chairman by email to phil@philharding.net for a no-obligation chat on possible volunteer help.

Executive Committee: Want to help steer SEG?

Updated January 2021

SEG is seeking new Executive Committee members to help steer and develop SEG's future as we address the environmental concerns of our members at the local level. If you think you might like to get involved and join our Executive Committee (enthusiasm is more important than expertise!), please contact our Chairman, Phil Harding, for an informal non-committal chat.

The Executive Committee only meets 4 times a year (except during Covid-19 restrictions) and its working method is more about sharing ideas and getting things done in a friendly and productive atmosphere than being bogged down with time-consuming administration.

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Saltford Heritage Centre's next scheduled public opening will be announced here.

Special Features:

Geology, Saltford's

Green Belt Inquiry 2013

HISTORY OF SALTFORD

Saltford Wombles (tackling litter)


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Contact Us

All general, membership & urgent (e.g. Press) enquiries by email to our Chairman please.

HOW TO JOIN SEG: If you live, work or have a particular interest in Saltford & wish to join our email membership list please send an email to our Chairman. Please include your name, address & contact telephone number in your email application. NOTE: We provide information about membership including personal data protection by SEG on our "About Us page".

CONTACTS:

Chairman & Website Editor *(see editorial policy below):
Phil Harding
phil@philharding.net (07814--720763)

Secretary: Vacant Position

Treasurer: Andrew Stainer
andrew.stainer@outlook.com

SEG Green Belt Campaign: - contact our Chairman (contact details above)

Saltford Station Campaign: Chris Warren
cherokee1883@live.com

Saltford Fairtrade Group:
saltfordfairtrade@hotmail.co.uk

Saltford Heritage Centre
Curators: Phil Harding & Andrew Stainer (contact details above).

Saltford Wombles is independent of SEG but contact details can be found on our Less Waste page.


Cookies and Privacy Policy Statement

SEG respects the privacy of visitors to our website. We do not use cookies to collect personal or other data about visitors to our website; the only data we collect via our ISP's hosting service, and without the use of cookies, is the number of visits to each of our web pages but not who the individual visitors are.


*EDITORIAL POLICY including SEO, web design and marketing for www.saltfordenvironmentgroup.org.uk

As a general rule our editorial content is sourced locally in Saltford and NE Somerset or from reputable non-commercial organisations based in the UK.

Will Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), website design, "content providers" and other similar companies please note that this website has all the SEO ranking, social media links, and smartphone compatibility that it requires to meet its specific objectives and enquiry emails on this topic including link requests will not receive a reply to save your time and ours.

SEG is not a commercial enterprise therefore companies that produce bespoke marketing materials or sponsored editorial content should also note that marketing emails or requests for placing links to other websites will not receive a reply as it is our policy not to reply to marketing emails of this nature unless they are from a Saltford-based organisation seeking to assist SEG.


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We welcome support from local businesses to help cover our costs and keep membership free for our members. If your local business would like to support SEG (e.g. a logo + link on this page is very inexpensive), please contact our Chairman (see above for contact details).


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