Saltford Environment Group
Recent News (click on links or scroll down this page)
You can find more news in our News Archive.
Saltford Fairtrade Group Coffee Morning, March 2nd
Frances Eggbeer - 9 Lawson Close, Saltford 10am - 12 noon
Part of Fairtrade Fortnight 2018: 26th February - 11th March
It's so easy to help 'open those doors' and support developing country farmers and communities, come along and enjoy a slice of home made cake and a cup of coffee and you've started. With a chance of winning some Fairtrade goodies and seeing the great range of Traidcraft gifts and produce it just gets better. A warm welcome awaits you on the 2nd where together we can help spread the Fairtrade message and be part of the caring Saltford Fairtrade village.
Help shape our future - Tell us what you think in 3 minutes
SEG members received an email from us on 10th February asking them to complete a simple online questionnaire to inform SEG's Executive Committee what members want from SEG; more of the same or to address other sustainability issues.
Over our first 7 years our activities have included tackling litter, greener transport including our ongoing Station campaign, resisting coal bed methane extraction/fracking at Keynsham, Fairtrade status for Saltford, defending the Green Belt, supporting wildlife habitat, raising awareness and providing advice on climate change issues, researching and promoting Saltford's history to gain a wider appreciation of Saltford's heritage, etc.
SEG's Executive Committee recognises that whilst continuing to address and respond to environmental and sustainability issues facing our community, to maintain members' interest and support we need to give them opportunity to tell us what they want from SEG.
If you are a member of SEG and haven't completed the online survey (it is just 7 questions of which 2 are optional) it would be greatly appreciated if you could do so as soon as possible and in any event by no later than 25 February.
If you can't now find the SEG email that contains the link to the online questionnaire, contact our Chairman Phil Harding and ask Phil to send you the email with the link again.
Thank you, we look forward to hearing your views.
Saltford Wombles : Spring Clean & dates for the diary
We are very grateful to our faithful street volunteer litter pickers for all their hard work over winter, keeping our streets clean, especially on those stormy recycling days. The village overall is looking good but with Spring coming we would like to restart the monthly litter picks for the common areas, like the cycle path, river, A4 and other hot spots.
Proposed details and dates for the monthly litter picks, weather permitting:
Sunday 25 February
If you have litter pickers and gloves, please do bring them but if not, we can provide them. We have bags provided by B&NES Council.
For more information including getting involved with Saltford Wombles, please contact Julie Sampson by email to: firstname.lastname@example.org or tel: 07807--671267.
Please don't feed bread to ducks and wild birds
The notice above about the harm associated with feeding bread to ducks is a timely reminder that we should also not feed bread to wild birds that visit our gardens. As we have highlighted on our wildlife page, the nutritional value of bread is relatively low (an 'empty filler'), uneaten bread can attract rats, and a bird that is on a diet of predominantly or only bread can suffer from serious vitamin deficiencies, or starve.
360 local school children visit the Heritage Centre
On 5th to 7th February 360 children from years 1 to 6 in 12 classes at Saltford School walked down to visit Saltford Heritage Centre accompanied by 60 teachers, teacher assistants, parents and student teachers. The children learned about life in Saltford going back to the Stone Age and Iron Age. As well as the numerous information display panels, the children saw Saltford artefacts from the Iron Age, Roman and Tudor periods.
The children completed work sheets prepared by their teachers and sketched some of the artefacts. This first school outing to the Heritage Centre also included a visit to St Mary's Church, Saltford's oldest building with its Anglo Saxon tower. The enthusiasm and positive response from the children and their teachers proved the visits to be very popular and a great success.
Saltford Environment Group and Saltford School are working closely together on local heritage and environmental issues. SEG's Chairman, Phil Harding, said "We want to inspire the next generation to value their heritage and to love and care for their environment. SEG was delighted by the way the children enjoyed their first school visit to the Heritage Centre, we hope many will return to show their parents and grandparents the displays when we are open to the public."
Headteacher Dawn Sage said "The children have thoroughly enjoyed the experience, they have been very interested in the artefacts and everything that the centre had to offer. This interest will continue in the work they will complete in the classroom."
The first public opening of the Heritage Centre in 2018 will be Saturday 31st March from 10am to 12 noon. Admission will be free and there will be an Easter Market where refreshments will also be available in the main hall. You can find out more about the Heritage Centre here: Saltford Heritage Centre.
Getting away from plastic
Did you know that 7% of plastic pollution on our beaches comes from our toilets?
If you watch City to Sea's 1:15 minute video on YouTube you can find out why and what you can do to help reduce this pollution from your own toilet: YouTube - Plastic Pollution from Toilets?
City to Sea, a Community Interest Company, was set up in Spring 2015 to reduce the amount of litter flowing from the Avon into the Bristol Channel, during Bristol's year as European Green Capital.
City to Sea is a collaboration of local organisations, practitioners, scientists, marine biologists and campaigners working initially on Bristol's response to ocean plastic pollution. They produce some effective and often humurous short videos and visual aids for their campaigns to highlight the dangers of plastic pollution and how we can reduce plastic in our lives through positive yet simple measure. For example you can reduce your use of plastic by refusing to use drinking straws, using your own flask or cup rather than disposable coffee cups, switching to reusable bottles instead of buying bottled water, and using reusable cloth shopping bags.
City to Sea's website is well worth a visit: www.citytosea.org.uk.
UK's Ecological Footprint in massive overshoot
The biocapacity of a nation represents the productivity of its ecological assets. Those assets include cropland, grazing land, forest land, fishing grounds, and built-up land. These areas, especially if left unharvested, can also absorb much of the waste we generate, especially our carbon emissions. The ecological footprint of a nation is the measure of how much area of biologically productive land and water that nation requires to produce all the resources its inhabitants consume and to absorb the waste they generate, using current technology and resource management practices.
Data from the Global Footprint Network shows that the UK has a biocapacity deficit of 298% (the United States with its much larger land mass but more consumption driven population has a deficit of 127%). Our ecological footprint is thus much larger than the ecological assets we have and means, in effect, that we as a nation take resources from other parts of the planet at the expense of the ecosystems, wildlife and people there.
This huge overshoot of consumption over resources highlights how over-populated the UK has become from an ecological viewpoint and the need to protect from development land that can either produce food or provide the necessary eco-system support (e.g. habitat for pollinating insects) that farmland needs to produce crops.
An interactive map using ecological footprint and biocapacity data for 2013 showing which nations, like the UK, USA and many European and North African countries, are in deficit and those that are in credit (and thus feeding us!) can be found on the Global Footprint Network's www.footprintnetwork.org website from this link: Ecological Wealth of Nations.
Station Campaign site meeting with B&NES Cabinet Member for Transport
On 31st January 2018 the B&NES Cabinet Member for Transport, Cllr Mark Shelford, met with Station Campaign Leader Chris Warren and SEG Chairman Phil Harding at the Saltford Station site to see the site itself and discuss progress on re-opening the station.
Cllr Mark Shelford said B&NES Council was fully in favour of re-opening railway stations like Saltford's where this is feasible but Network Rail had to confirm that space could be made for a half-hourly stop at Saltford in the rail timetable; such advice had not been provided. He agreed to write to Network Rail to ask if the rail timetable could accommodate a half-hourly stop and would do this as soon as the Station Campaign provides its documentary evidence received from Network Rail that provision at the site for a re-opened station had been made in its planning for the site.
Want to get more involved with SEG?
SEG is seeking new Executive Committee members as we start to plan how we develop our future activities that address the environmental concerns of our members. 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 chat (non-committal).
The Executive Committee only meets 4 times a year and its working method is more about getting things done in a friendly and productive atmosphere than being bogged down with time-consuming administration.
Moving away from plastic waste through the circular economy
Awareness of the 'planetary crisis' caused by the irreparable damage of plastic waste in our oceans has been greatly highlighted by the BBC Blue Planet II series presented and narrated by David Attenborough.
A 14 minute video on YouTube from The Economist about the circular economy looks at making waste (including plastic waste) a thing of the past and how new ideas for reusing or regenerating raw materials can pay dividends for business as well as the planet. You can view it from this link to YouTube >>.
The life cycle of a T-shirt
Consider the classic white T-shirt. Annually, we sell and buy 2 billion T-shirts globally, making it one of the most common garments in the world. But how and where is the average T-shirt made, and what is its environmental impact?
TEDEd (Technology, Entertainment and Design - Education) has published a thought-provoking short video about the humble T-shirt. TED is a non-profit organisation devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks on almost all topics from science to business to global issues and in more than 100 languages using the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world.
Click here to see the TEDEd video by Angel Chang that traces the life cycle of a T-shirt TEDEd: Life Cycle of a T-shirt by Angel Chang.
HMG planning policy to embrace principle of 'net environmental gain'?
In her speech on the environment on 11 January 2018, Prime Minister Theresa May said:
"In the United Kingdom, we are blessed with an abundance and variety of landscapes and habitats. These natural assets are of immense value. Our countryside and coastal waters are the means by which we sustain our existence in these islands."
"The natural environment is around us wherever we are, and getting closer to it is good for our physical and mental health and our emotional and spiritual wellbeing."
She also said, and this will be important as our community defends its Green Belt from inappropriate development, "To make more land available for the homes our country needs, while at the same time creating new habitats for wildlife, we will embed the principle of 'net environmental gain' for development, including housing and infrastructure."
SEG makes its response to emerging local planning policies
On 9th January SEG submitted its response to B&NES Council for the B&NES Local Plan 2016-2036 Issues & Options document and to the West of England Partnership on its proposed Joint Spatial Plan (JSP). Although Saltford's Green Belt is not identified for development in the JSP or the Local Plan, we are aware that developers are lobbying to build new developments on our Green Belt.
Summaries of our responses can be found on our Green Belt page. A particular point we made in both responses for not destroying the Green Belt in this area was as follows:-
81% of B&NES is farmland compared to the national average of 57% yet only 5% of B&NES is natural or semi-natural land (heathland, natural grassland etc.) compared to a national average of 35% (data source: Dr Alasdair Rae, University of Sheffield, using Co-ordination of Information on the Environment (Corine) land use codes, 2017). Farmland requires the eco-system support (e.g. habitat for pollinating insects) of surrounding Green Belt and natural/semi-natural land to function. It would be irresponsible not to protect B&NES' natural/semi-natural land that underpins the economy of the B&NES and wider West of England area and our future food security in a changing climate made more critical by unmanaged population growth.
WWI Centenary: Help with tracing your World War I ancestors
As part of the village activities for marking the end of World War I, Saltford Parish Council is working with Bath Record Office: Archives and Local Studies (BRO) to help Saltford families trace their ancestors who were involved with the 1914-1918 conflict. This can include those who served in the armed forces at that time but could include nursing or other civilian volunteers. Quite often such information has been lost or has not been passed down the family line as many of those that survived active service during WW1 did not discuss their experiences. The findings of the research will be shared at a public event in Saltford in November 2018 and in other ways.
If you live in Saltford and would like to be considered for this research funded by the Parish Council please apply to the Parish Clerk, Tricia Golinski, by email to email@example.com or telephone 01225 873300 for an application form by no later than the end of February.
Funding is limited and the successful applicants will be selected by the Parish Council with BRO. Those applications with the strongest links to Saltford at the time of WWI may be given preference, but if your ancestor has a particularly interesting story or the genealogists feel they have a good prospect for finding the missing information sought that will also be taken into consideration.
The WWI public event planned for the afternoon of 11 November at Saltford Hall is still in its early planning stages with discussions between the Parish Council, Saltford Environment Group (History Project) and Saltford Community Association currently ongoing. More information about the event will be published in the SCA newsletter SCAN closer to the event.
Environment Agency flood advice
With 5.2 million properties in England at risk of flooding the recent wet weather is a reminder for householders that live in a flood risk area that they need to "prepare, act, survive". The image above is from the Floods Destroy campaign at floodsdestroy.campaign.gov.uk where advice on flood prevention and preparedness measures can be found.
Older news stories from SEG
Our 'Newsletter' archive page features most of our past and recently published news stories (click on image):-
Current areas of local volunteer assistance sought by SEG
In addition to volunteer assistance with projects such as Saltford Wombles (tackling litter), Fairtrade Group, and our Railway path habitat restoration project we sometimes have specific roles or posts that need filling.
Here are the current vacancies:-
Want to help staff Saltford's Heritage Centre?
Saltford has a fascinating history as SEG's popular history project has proved. We are aiming to start opening our new and popular Heritage Centre (link) at least once a month for residents and visitors in the mornings. This will be from Easter/April to September and the openings (usually 10am to noon) will be advertised on our website and on facebook. We will also be having special openings for Saltford School children and other groups to visit as well as aiming to open jointly with Saltford Brass Mill for history related events (e.g. during Museums Week).
One of the centre's two curators will usually be present to oversee everything and if you would like to join our team of volunteer stewards that we can call on to staff the centre during openings and you would be able to manage 2 to 3 hour shifts please contact Phil Harding by email (firstname.lastname@example.org) giving your name, telephone, address and email and state if you would be able to manage weekends, weekdays or either. This stewardship role is for SEG members only.
First published December 2017
Future SEG website development - can you help?
Our website has become a very popular resource for our members and others, with over 2,000 unique visitors per month, typically opening over 5,000 pages. Using a relatively simple design and basic html approach, it has grown organically since 2011 into an extensive library of articles, themes, links etc.
Thinking of our ongoing ability to maintain and develop our website we are looking for someone who could give some time to support our Chairman Phil Harding with the html website in the short term, and potentially help us to transfer the site across to a new system such as WordPress in the future, as well as maintaining and developing our presence on social media. Do you have the relevant experience, interest and time to get involved? If so, please get in touch with our Secretary at email@example.com to talk further. You'll be at the heart of SEG's activities and a valued member of our team of volunteers.
First published March 2017
Opportunity to coordinate local habitat project
Just a reminder that Saltford Environment Group is looking for a new volunteer to be our railway path habitat restoration project coordinator as our existing coordinator, who did a great job getting things organised, has had to step down due to other commitments. This local project has seen some notable successes:
The area needs some concerted effort over the next 2-3 years to prevent the area from reverting back to scrub and trees: obscuring views and shading some of the rare sun-loving plants that have so recently returned. This work is likely to involve:
This is a great opportunity for someone with good organisational skills to help deliver a really exciting project: restoring a rare and beautiful habitat and bringing members of the community together through fun, practical activities.
No prior experience of wildlife conservation projects is required and there will be plenty of opportunities to learn more about the rare and beautiful plants and animals which would otherwise disappear from our area, to make new friends and learn new skills along the way. We are looking for someone with a can-do attitude and the enthusiasm to engage with volunteers and provide more of a social side to this worthwhile activity.
If this opportunity to manage and develop a small yet interesting and local outdoor project appeals to you, to express an interest please contact our Vice-Chairman Chris Warren (email firstname.lastname@example.org).
The project has its own webpage: link >>
First published February 2017
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Saltford Heritage Centre will next be open to the public: Easter Sat 31 March 10am - 12 noon.
"Think global, act local"