Saltford Environment Group
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Potential for Saltford station as an additional stop being tested
After discussions and lobbying of B&NES Council the Saltford station campaign team learned on 1st December from B&NES Council's Divisional Director of Environmental Services that within the timetabling work for Metro West Phase 1 the potential for Saltford Station as an additional stop within this part of the GWR network is being tested.
We shall report on this again when we hear further news.
Fairtrade & Traidcraft together at Saltford Christmas Market
The Saltford Fairtrade Group had their annual stall again at this year's Saltford Christmas Market on 3rd December, this time working alongside a local representative (Lyndsey Wright) who had on display Fairtrade products from Traidcraft. Traidcraft is claimed to be the UK's leading fair trade organisation. Their mission is to fight poverty through trade. Established in 1979, Traidcraft's unique structure - a UK trading company and a development charity working together - enables them to build long-term relationships with producers, support people to trade out of poverty and work to bring about trade justice.
You can find out more about Traidcraft's work (and order their products) at www.traidcraft.co.uk or you can contact Lyndsey via her email email@example.com and she will also be delighted to tell you more about their products and other Fairtrade companies and how to order from them. In addition to the Traidcraft display the Saltford group continued to promote Fairtrade and ran a small raffle which contained a mix of products some kindly donated by the local Co-Operative store.
Finally, the group were grateful once again for the support received from the Village Hall and the Saltford Community Association who served Fairtrade tea, coffee and sugar at this and at all their events.
Standing room only at the Saltford bypass public meeting
Approx. 200 residents attended the public meeting at Saltford Golf Club on the evening of 1st December. This was arranged at short notice by Saltford Parish Council to give residents an opportunity to hear about the proposed bypass as illustrated in the West of England Joint Transport Study "Transport Vision" document which has a very short consultation period from 7th November to 19th December.
On the panel stating their position on a bypass and taking questions from residents were Cllr Tim Warren, Leader of B&NES Council; Cllr Tony Clarke, B&NES Cabinet Member for Transport; Cllr Francine Haeberling, Ward Councillor for Saltford (Cons); Cllr Chris Warren, Chairman of Saltford Parish Council; and Duncan Hounsell, representing B&NES and Saltford Liberal Democrats. The meeting was chaired by independent chairman and Saltford resident, Dick Bateman.
Cllrs Tim Warren and Tony Clarke were emphatic that the line on the map showing a bypass route south of Saltford was illustrative only and there were no plans for a bypass on any particular route around Saltford. It was being considered in only general terms at this stage as part of the mix of transport solutions to help alleviate the traffic congestion on the Bath-Bristol transport corridor as part of the Joint Transport Study which was intended to cover a 20 year period from 2016 to 2036.
The majority of questions from the floor expressed concerns at the potential impacts on Saltford and the potential for infill housing on the Green Belt from a bypass. The need for evidence based information on the different options or solutions before the community was asked to express a firm opinion was also emphasised by several residents.
A number of residents in the audience and the panel members from Saltford asked for the next published draft of the transport vision to not include any indicative line for a Saltford bypass. It was strongly felt that any indicative line showing a possible bypass would put an unnecessary long term housing and planning blight on a large part of Saltford.
Cllr Tim Warren promised to organise another public meeting in Saltford with the relevant transport officers present so that a more informed discussion could be held on the various transport options under consideration. He said that if the residents of Saltford do not want a bypass, then a Saltford bypass would not be built. He also said that the current B&NES administration had no intention to allow housing development on Saltford's Green Belt in the Joint Spatial Plan. Duncan Hounsell said the Liberal Democrats would seek to remove a Saltford orbital road from the proposed Transport Strategy when the opportunity arises should the proposal find its way into the final document.
The timing on any future public meeting, whether hosted by the Parish Council or B&NES Council, would be dependent on timing with the next draft Joint Transport Study "Transport Vision" document. In the meantime the Parish Council would decide its response to the current consultation at its meeting on 6th December.
The four west of England councils' (Bath & North East Somerset, Bristol City, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire) short consultation period on the Joint Spatial Plan and Joint Transport Study from 7 November to 19 December 2016 has been a cause for concern when the plans have such major implications. These plans set out a prospectus for sustainable growth to meet the area's housing and transport needs for the next 20 years. However there should be further opportunities to comment on future drafts of those plans.
Residents can see the plans and comment online at www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk.
Written responses can be sent to: West of England Joint Planning Consultation, Corporate Research & Consultation team, Civic Centre, High St, Kingswood, Bristol BS15 0DR.
We're never going to scare people into living more sustainably! We have to be able to demonstrate just how dynamic and aspirational such a world could be
Permaculture as a philosophy of working with, rather than against nature, originates from the late 1970s. Most of us have heard of permaculture, a word created originally from 'permanent agriculture' and now defined as 'permanent culture' but what does it mean in practice?
The Permaculture Association (link) describes permaculture as:
"living lightly on the planet, and making sure that we can sustain human activities for many generations to come, in harmony with nature. Permanence is not about everything staying the same. It's about stability, about deepening soils and cleaner water, thriving communities in self-reliant regions, biodiverse agriculture and social justice, peace and abundance."
The association says permaculture combines three key aspects:
1. an ethical framework
2. an understanding of how nature works, and
3. a design approach.
Here is an example from each of those aspects to help explain what this might mean from a practical viewpoint:-
By thinking carefully carefully about how and where they shop and what they buy, consumers can ensure their money has a positive social and environmental impact rather than a negative one. Buying local produce and choosing Fairtrade products where available is a typical approach to ethical shopping.
B&NES Local Food Map (link) can help you find your local food producers (for future reference we have a link to this from our links page), and our Fairtrade page explains what we as a community are doing in Saltford, a Fairtrade Village, to encourage Fairtrade and gives more information about this topic.
Plant choice is also important. The role of fruit and nut trees, for example, in offering early bee fodder is a good reason for their inclusion in wildlife corridors and green infrastructure for they are multiple providers of ecosystem services valuable to us all.
Here in Saltford choosing native varieties of trees, shrubs and plants suitable for North East Somerset is key. Our insect population eats and thrives on the foliage of native plants and trees whereas non-native plants provide little or no larval food at all. The crucial role of insects in our ecosystem ranges from helping to consume waste products including dead animals to being food for our wild bird population.
So, if you want to attract birds and encourage beneficial insects to your garden that are healthier for flowers whilst your population of harmful insects such as aphids, mealy bugs and cutworms gradually diminish, plant choice can be important. As a result of correct plant choice, you can also reduce or eliminate use of harmful pesticides that end up in the air and water supply and threaten important insects such as bees.
THE BUILT ENVIRONMENT:
Rethinking the future
It is a profound challenge, at the end of an era of cheap oil and materials to rethink and redesign how we produce and consume; to reshape how we live and work, or even to imagine the jobs that will be needed for transition
We know that we cannot go on producing more things, consuming more, creating more waste, and destroying the natural environment on this finite planet. Perhaps the time is now right for a "permaculture approach" to how we as a modern society move forward in a more sustainable way.
If this topic interests you there are several websites, training courses and publications about permaculture and its growing relevance that can easily be found via Google or other search engines.
B&NES parking survey
B&NES Council is asking local residents to complete a parking survey. The Council says that the results will help the Council review existing parking policies and practice as part of developing a long-term strategy for the management of parking within the B&NES area.
Cllr Anthony Clarke (Conservative, Lansdown), Cabinet Member for Transport, said: "This survey covers all aspects of parking policy, including on-street and off-street parking, as well as residential parking, and will help us in developing an approach that balances demand and availability of parking both now and in the future. The Council is keen to hear the views of residents, as well as visitors to our area, as we look to establish a balance between the social, economic, cultural and environmental needs of the whole community. I would therefore like to encourage residents to take a few moments to complete the online survey."
The online survey is now open and will run until 5pm Monday 19th December 2016 at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/parkingstrategy2016.
If you have any questions about this survey you can contact Parking Services by email to Parking@bathnes.gov.uk, or call 01225--477133/4.
IEA predicts rapid transfer to electric cars and cheaper renewable energy
As a result of major transformations in the global energy system that take place over the next decades, renewable energy sources and natural gas are the big winners in the race to meet energy demand growth until 2040, according to the latest edition of the World Energy Outlook, the International Energy Agency's flagship publication that was released on 16th November.
A rapid growth in the take up of electric vehicles, and significant reductions in the cost of renewable energy, especially solar PV (photo voltaic), are forecast for the coming decades. Coal consumption barely grows in the next 25 years, as demand in China starts to fall back thanks to efforts to fight air pollution and diversify the fuel mix.
The gas market is also changing, with the share of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) overtaking pipelines and growing to more than half of the global long-distance gas trade, up from a quarter in 2000.
Those are the key headlines. Here we provide just some of the detail from the IEA forecasts for electric vehicles and renewable energy.
Electric vehicles ready to move
The projected rise of electricity consumption in road transport is emblematic of the broader trend, as electric cars gain consumer appeal, more models appear on the market and the cost gap with conventional vehicles continues to narrow. The worldwide stock of electric cars reached 1.3 million in 2015, a near-doubling on 2014 levels. In the IEA's main scenario, this figure rises to more than 30 million by 2025 and exceeds 150 million in 2040, reducing 2040 oil demand by around 1.3 million barrels per day.
Although battery costs continue to fall, supportive policies - which are far from universal for the moment - are still critical to encourage more consumers to choose electric over conventional vehicles. If these policies, including tighter fuel-economy and emissions regulations as well as financial incentives, become stronger and more widespread, the effect is to have some 715 million electric cars on the road by 2040, displacing 6 million barrels per day of oil demand.
Renewables break free
The electricity sector is the focus of many pledges for the 2015 Paris Agreement (to limit global average temperature rise to "well below 2degC") ratified during October/November. Nearly 60% of all new power generation capacity to 2040 in the IEA's main scenario comes from renewables and, by 2040, the majority of renewables-based generation is competitive without any subsidies. Rapid deployment brings lower costs: solar PV is expected to see its average cost cut by a further 40-70% by 2040 and onshore wind by an additional 10-25%.
Subsidies per unit of new solar PV in China drop by three-quarters by 2025 and solar projects in India are competitive without any support well before 2030. Subsidies to renewables are around $150 billion today, some 80% of which are directed to the power sector, 18% to transport and around 1% to heat. With declining costs and an anticipated rise in end-user electricity prices, by the 2030s global subsidies to renewables are on a declining trend from a peak of $240 billion.
Renewables also gain ground in providing heat, the largest component of global energy service demand, meeting half of the growth to 2040. This is mainly in the form of bioenergy for industrial heat in emerging economies in Asia; and solar thermal applications for water heating, already an established choice in many countries, including China, South Africa, Israel and Turkey.
The World Energy Outlook report can be found on the IEA website www.iea.org.
Upcycling Group meeting, December (8th)
Our next meeting is on Thursday 8th December. With Christmas on the way we will be making our own festive wreaths using things we can find in the garden, hedgerows, or recycling boxes.
Decorations can be created from fruit and veg nets, pretty paper and pretty sweet wrappers etc. as well as natural finds (fir cones, berries, seed heads, etc.) and dried oranges etc., depending on where you will display your decoration. Do bring along any withies or bendy branches your can find to form the base circle and greenery to infill.
Let your imagination run riot, traditional or modern to decorate your wreath. We will have some metal bases as well as wire and greenery etc. to add to add to the mix that we all share. Enjoy a fun, relaxing evening with us on the run up to your Christmas.
Frances and Tina are looking forward to seeing you on December 8th, 7-9pm, at Signs of Saltford (works entrance) 559 Bath Road, Saltford. Call Frances Eggbeer on 07789--528834 if you would like to know more about SEG's free Upcycling Group.
Saltford Station questions and answers at the B&NES Cabinet meeting, 14th Nov
Two questions concerning Saltford station were asked by Councillor Neil Butters (Lib Dem) for the B&NES Cabinet meeting on 14th November. The answers from Cabinet member for Transport, Councillor Anthony Clarke (Cons), are shown here also:-
Q 12. I understand that the MetroWest Phase 1 GRIP 3 Timetable Analysis remit specification only proposes a sensitivity test for "inclusion of call at the proposed Saltford Station". Was it an officer or a Cabinet member who made the decision to exclude Saltford Station at the outset from the substantial study?
A.12.This was an officer decision taken at the MetroWest Phase 1 project board. I and the Leader have met with both GWR and the Saltford Parish Council to understand the technical challenges with this work. It is very frustrating that it is still not clear that a timetable is possible that would support a new station at Saltford. This difficulty has been discussed with the Parish Council on a number of occasions. A new station to serve the communities in and around Saltford is included within the Joint Transport Vision published by the West of England; this is something for which I have personally argued.
Q 13. Has any Cabinet member contacted GWR and/or Network Rail directly seeking progress of the timetable analysis in relation to Saltford?
A 13. As noted above I regularly meet with GWR and at the last six or so occasions I have specifically requested that time-tabling work should be undertaken. Officers have also requested the information.
1972 Saltford bypass route caused angry reaction
As our History of Saltford project has revealed, earlier proposals for a bypass that came to nothing caused anger at the time. The above article from the Bristol Evening Post (25 August 1972) was published two years after Saltford railway station closed and before the new housing development on the south side of the A4 in Saltford had been constructed. It shows that even then, proposals for a road bypass were proving controversial.
The plans came to nothing and in 1986 the former Midland Railway Mangotsfield and Bath Branch Line was reopened by Sustrans (founded by John Grimshaw) as the Bristol to Bath cycleway (National Cycle Network National Cycle Route 4).
Bypass proposed on Saltford's Green Belt!
The West of England Joint Transport Study (JTS) describes the Bath to Bristol corridor as having "a high travel demand across car, bus and rail modes". It also "experiences severe congestion throughout the day, and access to and from South Bristol affects people's access to job opportunities, and restricts inward investment and economic regeneration."
The JTS is proposing to introduce a Rapid Transit public transport corridor between Bath and Bristol, to complement improvements on the existing rail corridor, and provide for a "wider range of trip options". This is described as possibly "bus-based but the ambition is for a light rail (tram) solution along the A4 corridor... delivered as a package with highway investment including a Saltford Bypass (see blue line close to the southern edge of Saltford's housing boundary on the above map from the study document), Callington Road (A4174 in Brislington) Link and better links between the A4 and A37 roads".
The study claims the highway schemes would provide new routes for through traffic enabling existing roads to be better used for Rapid Transit, public transport and cycling. Movements between the A4 and A37 could be either improvements to existing roads, new highway or a combination of the two.
The JTS is also proposing further park and ride sites and better cycling facilities to serve both Bath and Bristol, a new road link between the A36 and A46 to the east of Bath (which would help tackle congestion in city centre), and possible further improvements on the A37 into Bristol from the south.
The case against a Saltford bypass
In line with SEG's previously declared policies on a bypass the case against a Saltford bypass as proposed in the JTS is considerable and is as follows:-
The Parish Council's view
At its 1st November meeting Saltford Parish Council agreed the following statement which will form part of its response to the JTS consultation:
Saltford Parish Council is opposed to a by-pass at Saltford, being detrimental to the Green Belt, the environment, local commerce, and the integrity of Saltford as a place. Saltford Parish Council notes the 2006 Greater Bristol Strategic Transport Study, which concluded that a by-pass at Saltford does not provide strategic benefits and does not represent value for money.
How to comment on the Joint Transport Study (and JSP)
Comments including objections to proposals in the West of England Joint Transport Study can be made online by 19th December via this external link to JTS >> or by post. Written comments on the JSP and JST can be sent to:
West of England Joint Planning Consultation
If you want to help SEG and others in Saltford prevent the unwelcome arrival of a bypass thereby turning our rural village into a town and destroying vast tracks of Green Belt land, make sure you submit your comments to the West of England Partnership before the 19th December deadline using planning based reasons (e.g. as given above) to support your objection.
On 27 January 2016 SEG submitted a policy paper 'Very special circumstances and the Green Belt' to the West of England Partnership as its response to the consultation for 'Issues and Options' in the West of England JSP. The Green Belt is a much valued designation the protection of which is increasingly vital. The paper covers these topics:-
You can download SEG's papers from our Green Belt page or here:
Watch out for Saltford Parish Council meetings where this subject will also be discussed.
Development strategies under review
B&NES Council is reviewing its Core Strategy and launched a consultation exercise on 7th November to seek views on the proposed content, scope and programme for the Core Strategy Review for the period 2016-2036. The Consultation runs from 7th November to 5pm on 19th December 2016. It will set the revised housing numbers for Bath & North East Somerset and an affordable housing target up to 2036.
Consultation on the Core Strategy Review Commencement Document is taking place at the same time as the West of England's consultation on the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) and the Joint Transport Study also launched on 7th November. The JSP sets the context for the B&NES Core Strategy review. Further details on the JSP consultation which closes on 19th December can be accessed on the West of England website: www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk.
SEG reported on the JSP consultation and our concerns (loss of green belt agricultural land, loss of wildlife and local landscape character, housing infill, more commuter traffic, etc.) over the re-emergence of proposals for a Saltford bypass in October (see our October newsletter for details).
Public engagement meetings/events for the JSP and Joint Transport Study are planned for each local authority area. For B&NES displays will be in:
Returning to the Core Strategy Review, this will allocate strategic sites at locations identified in the JSP and other "development opportunities" will be identified and allocated. B&NES Council will also take the opportunity to look again at other policy areas such as renewable energy targets and what infrastructure is needed to support additional development.
Comments on the Core Strategy Review Commencement Document can be made online at www.bathnes.gov.uk/corestrategyreview or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. B&NES have stated that it would be helpful if comments were focussed just on the proposed content, scope and programme for the Core Strategy review at this stage.
The Core Strategy Review Commencement Document can also be viewed at all libraries in the District and the main Council offices during normal opening hours.
Geophysics search for Roman dwelling completed!
In autumn 2015 Bath and Camerton Archaeological Society (BACAS) supported by volunteers from SEG carried out a geophysics survey for a significant section of the field on the south side of Saltford where a Roman coffin complete with the skeleton of a young man was found in 1948. In addition to the possible presence of some prehistoric roundhouses in the northern portion of the field, signs of what may be a Roman structure on higher ground to the southern end of the field were discovered.
On 1st November with kind permission of the farmer Adam Stratton the search restarted from where we left off and this was completed on 10th November. SEG is very grateful to our friends and colleagues from BACAS and SEG volunteers for the hard work and dedication in undertaking and completing this fascinating survey.
The above image is from the survey results at the end of day 2. On the right bottom (south) of the image can be seen what appears to be a very large building, approximately 60 metres x 70 metres. This is very close to where the Roman stone coffin complete with Roman skeleton was found in 1948 and in view of the Roman artefacts found at this location this could well be a Roman building.
To the left (west) of the building are two large ditches running east-west. These might be for retaining livestock, irrigation or some other purpose. We will publish further information when expert analysis from our colleagues at BACAS has been completed and the final survey report published on this website in the coming weeks.
For further information about Roman Saltford and last year's geophysics survey visit our Online Museum from this link: Online Museum. You will be able to see many fascinating Roman artefacts found in Saltford including a rare Roman gilded brooch complete with black gemstone found near the location where we are searching for the dwelling - the brooch is ear-marked for the new Heritage Centre.
FOOTNOTE: With the landowner's permission for each survey, the field has been the subject of several metal detection surveys in recent years and these have revealed some bronze Roman coins, and other small bronze items that can be found in our history project's Online Museum. Due to those surveys the discovery of further coins etc. of any particular new significance or value is not anticipated.
Don't miss out on the Saltford Calendar 2017
The production of an annual Saltford Calendar is a joint SEG/SCA initiative. "The Saltford Calendar 2017" is now available to purchase from SCA - with Christmas approaching fast it makes a great gift and celebration of our lovely village.
At just £6 each you can get your calendar(s) from the SCA office at Saltford Hall any morning Monday to Friday or at the Christmas Market on 3 December. Alternatively email email@example.com
All net proceeds will be split between SCA and SEG to help further their voluntary work supporting the local community.
Blue Plaque commemorating Admiral Kelly unveiled at Saltford House
On 1st October the MP for North East Somerset, Jacob Rees-Mogg, unveiled a Blue Plaque at Saltford House, High Street, Saltford commemorating Admiral Benedictus Marwood Kelly (naval officer, liberator of slaves, benefactor) who lived in Saltford from 1856 until 1867.
Jacob Rees-Mogg said "It is important that local communities celebrate and mark those who once lived amongst them and had made a contribution to important issues such as the abolition of slavery. I, therefore, very much welcome the work by Saltford Environment Group and Saltford Parish Council to celebrate Admiral Kelly and to revive his memory in his local community and further afield so that more people may learn about his remarkable life."
Chairman of Saltford Environment Group Phil Harding, who had carried out extensive research on Admiral Kelly, said: "We were astounded to discover what a remarkable life Admiral Kelly had lived, his contribution to help end slavery, and significant support for the education of children in the 19th Century. His lifetime of serving his country and helping those in greatest need can inspire others. We here in Saltford were delighted that Bath and North East Somerset Council gave planning permission for the Admiral's blue plaque to mark this former resident's important contribution to a better society."
Saltford Parish Council had sought and obtained planning permission for the plaque to be fixed to one of the Grade II Listed stone entrance gate posts at Saltford House. Saltford House was Admiral Kelly's home in Saltford from 1856 until 1867 when he died there. The web page dedicated to Admiral Kelly which carries full details of his remarkable life can be found on SEG's history project web site from this link: Admiral Benedictus Marwood Kelly
Older news stories from SEG
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"Think global, act local"