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Saltford Environment Group
  towards a sustainable future for our village

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Recent News (click on links or scroll down this page)

Corston History Weekend 21/22 April

Festival of Nature: Manor Road Community Woodland Bio Blitz (Sat 28 April)

April Wombles litter pick (Sun 22nd)

Saltford station campaign signs Railfuture's letter calling for a fund for rail reopenings

Wanted! Interesting photos of Saltford

WWI Centenary: The Great War Conversation

The parasitic Toothwort flowering in Saltford

SEG makes the case for 6th purpose of the Green Belt in national planning policy

House Martins, Swallows and Swifts over Saltford soon...

2018 Big Garden Birdwatch results: House Sparrow remains top

Air quality in Saltford still improving

Green & clean energy at Saltford Hall!

Refill your water bottle & avoid plastic waste

March Wombles litter pick (Sunday 25th)

SEG updates bypass policy paper to reflect West of England Joint Transport Study report

SEG membership survey results

Annual Saltford Dawn Chorus Walk, 22nd April

SEG objects to "Adventure Experience" golf facility etc. on the Green Belt

Draft revised National Planning Policy Framework consultation opens

The owners of the manor (area of land) of Saltford

You can find more news in our News Archive.

Current VOLUNTEER ASSISTANCE SOUGHT by SEG >>



Corston History Weekend 21/22 April

Corston

The recently formed Corston Local History Society will be holding a history weekend on 21/22 April, 10am-4pm. With displays including photographs, documents, maps, etc., the event will be held in Corston Village Hall and Corston Village Church. Tea, coffee and light lunches will be available.

The society is inviting people to bring along any interesting photographs/documents to be scanned.

Corston Local History Society's website is at corstonlocalhistorysociety.org.uk.

Note: Saltford Heritage Centre will next be open to the public on Wednesday 2 May, 8.30pm-9.30pm.

April 2018

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Festival of Nature: Manor Road Community Woodland Bio Blitz (Sat 28 April)

There will be a "Manor Road Community Woodland Bio Blitz" on Saturday 28th April from 10am to 12 noon. Under the guidance of Higgy, founder of the North Somerset Nature Net, as well as naturalists Sarah Pitt and Dave Parkinson, participants will explore 8 acres of organic farmland to find and identify as many different species of birds and bugs as they can. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the native creatures, big and small, living on our land.

The BioBlitz is part of the Bath and Bristol City Nature Challenge 2018. So, just like real scientists, everything found will be documented and passed on to local and national wildlife databases.

More details including how to register to participate and on other nature events associated with the Festival of Nature under the auspices of the Bristol Natural History Consortium can be found from this link www.bnhc.org.uk/festival-of-nature/events-and-hubs/.

April 2018

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April Wombles litter pick (Sun 22nd)

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Removing litter helps get plastic out of our environment

Our last litter pick was alongside the A4. We had a great turnout and 13 of us collected 16 bags of litter (!) from Pixash through to the Turnpike. The next one is on Sunday 22nd April, 2.30-4.30pm, meet at the Little Coffee Shop as our target areas will be the A4 field edges, Saltford Hill car park, the Riverside end of the Shallows and Manor Road from school to Grange Road.

Proposed further dates for the monthly litter picks, weather permitting:

Sunday 22 April (Little Coffee Shop)
Sunday 20 May
Sunday 24 June
Time : 2.30pm start till c.4.00pm to 4.30pm.
Meet: We usually start from either the car park of the Bird In Hand or by the Little Coffee Shop - this depends on area to be targeted but will be announced on our website before each litter pick.

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: juliebsampson@gmail.com or tel: 07807--671267.

April 2018

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Saltford station campaign signs Railfuture's letter calling for a fund for rail reopenings

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Saltford station campaign leader Chris Warren has today (10th April) signed Railfuture's open letter to DfT that welcomes the Government's pledge to grow the railways, which featured prominently in the recent "Strategic Vision for Rail".

The letter points out that many communities want to see a larger rail network and there is demand for new and reopened rail links across the country. It says that such investment can bring many benefits including better access to vital services and jobs, making new housing and other development more sustainable, and reduces pressure on the roads. But rail projects are difficult to deliver. Despite good will and a strong business case, many local authorities lack the skills and resources to take projects through a long and expensive development process.

To ensure that the Government can deliver on its commitment to grow the railways the letter calls on the Government to establish at the earliest opportunity a 'network development fund'. Administered by the Department for Transport, the fund would pay for project development for new and reopened stations and lines which reach an agreed standard with the best projects joining a pool of national projects to be taken to full development and implementation.

The letter etc. can be found from this link: www.railfuture.org.uk/article1781-Rail-reopening-fund.

April 2018

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Wanted! Interesting photos of Saltford

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Taylor family strolling along Mead Lane, 1964.

Wanted, interesting photos of Saltford's residents in the 1960s, 70s and 80s for SEG's popular online History of Saltford Project (here's one from the 1960s). Contact SEG's Chairman if you have any we can scan and publish. We are also interested in WWI memorabilia and local photographs from that period (see previous news story).

April 2018

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WWI Centenary: The Great War Conversation

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Plans for a Saltford village event at Saltford Hall with discussions between the Parish Council, Saltford Environment Group (History Project) and Saltford Community Association are gradually taking shape. The 'Great War' Conversation will be our public afternoon event where local history World War One research findings will be presented and refreshments provided by SCA. Local people will be invited to bring along memorabilia about the First World War.

As announced in January, 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. The end February deadline for applying for inclusion in this research has passed and research is now in the hands of BRO.

More information about the event will be published in the SCA newsletter SCAN closer to the event.

April 2018

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The parasitic Toothwort flowering in Saltford

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Most plants generate their food using the energy from sunlight, and this ability is unique to plants; no animals or fungi can make food. A number of plants are semi-parasitic, photosynthesising some of their own food but taking the rest from other plants; Mistletoe (Viscum album) is an example conspicuous in Saltford. A special few have lost all ability to make their own food, feeding like fungi. Also like fungi, they can be invisible above ground for 11 months of the year; but most fully parasitic plants flower and set seed, briefly, in the open air. Coming across such plants' anaemically pale above-ground parts can be an exciting moment.

The most notorious British fully parasitic plant is Ghost Orchid (Epipogium aphyllum), which can go for decades without being seen anywhere in the country.

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Toothwort growing in Saltford

More predictable in its appearance, but still a special find in most places, is Toothwort (Lathraea squamaria), a relative of foxgloves and toadflaxes. Toothwort is locally distributed in lowland Britain, being rather scarce in our area: the 2000 Flora of the Bristol region traced records from only 72 (of the approx. 1500) 1km squares in the former county of Avon.

Many years can pass between its appearances in Saltford. This year, 2018, for the second year running, several clumps have come up in Saltford Mead, in the large field beside the River Avon on the Saltford bank immediately upstream of Swineford Lock (i.e., the third field downstream from the Jolly Sailor). These plants can be viewed from the public footpath along the bank, growing under the row of trees planted in the mid 1980s. The spikes grow straight out of the ground up to about six to eight inches high; at this time of year (early spring) there is little other fresh vegetation at this height. This, combined with the spikes' denture-like appearance, renders them conspicuous.

There are no confusion species: the only close relative growing in Britain, the introduced Purple Toothwort (Lathraea clandestina), looks very different. Photographs of both can be found readily on the internet; search using the scientific name Lathraea to avoid confusion with the unrelated American plant Cut-leaved Toothwort (Cardamine concatenata), a close relative of various British species here called bittercresses.

Toothwort is most associated with Hazel (Corylus avellana). Surprisingly, although there are some Hazels in this strip of trees, the Toothwort clumps are not close to large Hazels. Either, they are tapping into the roots of other species, or Toothwort roots spread a long distance through the soil. Please do not attempt to find out; it is illegal to dig out Toothwort in England without the landowner's permission.

British Toothwort flowers remain at their gruesome best only briefly. Anyone wishing to view these plants should not delay a visit.

Article by Will Duckworth (first published in April 2017 but republished to report the 2nd year sighting of this plant in Saltford).

April 2018

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SEG makes the case for 6th purpose of the Green Belt in national planning policy

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Saltford Environment Group has submitted proposals to strengthen Green Belt protection on ecological grounds in Chapter 13 (Green Belt) of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in line with the statement by the Prime Minister in January 2018 concerning her Government's declared principle of "net environmental gain" for development.

SEG seeks a long overdue approach from planning policy that recognises the increasingly valuable role of the Green Belt in helping to underpin what little food security the UK still has by the addition of a sixth purpose in the NPPF for the Green Belt:-

   "to provide ecosystem, i.e. natural capital, support to farmland and the wider natural environment".

SEG has also proposed that the NPPF should rectify an anomaly that has arisen concerning permitted development in the Green Belt. This concerns change of use for existing working/operational buildings such as those used for stables and storage, a necessity for the management and function of the Green Belt, to domestic dwellings.

Such protection against this inappropriate change of use is given to National Parks and AONBs in the 2015 General Permitted Development Order but perversely not to the Green Belt yet the Green Belt is closer to where more people live and regularly experience the environmental assets that the Green Belt provides. SEG proposes an amendment to the NPPF so that the Green Belt gets the protection it needs from inappropriate permitted development; a democratic approach that would be consistent with local or neighbourhood plan led decision making.

SEG's response submitted on 6 April 2018 to the two questions posed by Government on the NPPF was as follows:-

Question 30 Do you agree with the proposed changes to enable greater use of brownfield land for housing in the Green Belt, and to provide for the other forms of development that are 'not inappropriate' in the Green Belt?

Only in exceptional circumstances where a genuine need, not desire, for affordable housing is identified at the location under consideration and where a net environmental gain can be provided (see answer to Q31). In such exceptional circumstances safeguards to protect the affordability of such housing should be implemented.

The last bullet point in paragraph 144(g) should be amended to read (new text in inverted commas):-

   where the development would re-use previously developed land and contribute to meeting an identified local affordable housing need, not cause substantial harm to the openness of the Green Belt "and a net environmental gain is provided in the local planning area".

Question 31 Do you have any other comments on the text of Chapter 13?

The five purposes of the Green Belt at paragraph 133 should be expanded to six by the inclusion of "to provide ecosystem, i.e. natural capital, support to farmland and/or the wider natural environment". This would be to take account of the increasing sustainable development requirements to protect, support and enhance the ecology of farmland and the nation's ecosystems and natural capital thus protecting both wildlife and food security. It would also reflect recent announcements from Government with regard to the 25 Year Environment Plan "A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment" with specific reference to "net environmental gain".

REASONING FOR THIS SIXTH PURPOSE:-

Non-agricultural "natural" land in the Green Belt provides valuable ecosystem support (e.g. habitat for pollinating insects) for neighbouring farmland that lacks the ecology to support itself for the successful long term sustainable growing of food crops and supporting wildlife more generally. Green Belt land thus has an often unrecognised yet very valuable purpose of contributing to the nation's food security against a background of climate change, the continuance of unmanaged and unsustainable population growth and growth in resource consumption. Those factors collectively reduce the UK's carrying capacity, primarily by reducing food security.

Data from the Global Footprint Network (https://www.footprintnetwork.org/) highlights the problem by revealing that the UK has a bio-capacity (that is the productivity of ecological assets) deficit of 298% (2013 data).

In launching the 25 Year Environment Plan (HMG) "A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment" in January 2018 the Prime Minister said "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."

PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT ANOMALY:

An anomaly has arisen with the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 that overrules Green Belt protection in the NPPF from inappropriate development. The 2015 Order applies to the Green Belt but not an AONB or National Parks. That omission reduces the perceived value of the Green Belt compared to AONB and National Parks yet the Green Belt is closer to where more people live and regularly experience the environmental assets they provide and the Green Belt helps underpin what little food security the UK still has.

For the Government to allow such a change of use of buildings whose purpose is storage/distribution/stables creates a weakening of the value afforded to the Green Belt. This is because that then changes the character of the Green Belt and the whole purpose of such buildings in the Green Belt originally was (and is) for the management and function of the Green Belt, not for someone to make an opportunistic large profit by turning such a working building into dwellings (that in most cases would not be affordable housing).

To rectify this anomaly and to take an approach consistent with local or neighbourhood plan led decision making, the NPPF should therefore include a statement (at paragraph 54) along the following lines:-

   "Except in exceptional circumstances the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 does not apply to change of use of existing buildings in the Green Belt from storage or distribution to dwellings as the function of those buildings is for the management and function of the Green Belt; a purpose of the Green Belt is not to provide land for dwellings."

The Government is consulting until 10 May on revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The Government's NPPF consultation can be found from this link: Draft Revised NPPF Consultation (gov.uk).

April 2018

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House Martins, Swallows and Swifts over Saltford soon...

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Following on from publishing the results of the 2018 Big Garden Birdwatch results (see previous news story), we thought that with such a damp and cool Easter we would raise your spirits by re-publishing a news item from 2014.

Even when our skies are grey, a sign of summer is when the Swallows, Swifts and House Martins can be seen flying their acrobatic displays overhead as they pluck flying insects and airborne spiders from the air. The House Martins are usually the first to be seen, in March/April, as they return here from their winter migration leaving again in September/October, soon followed by Swallows (seen from March/April to October) and then Swifts (usually seen from April to September).

They are welcome summer visitors to Britain, but can you readily identify the different species just from their shape when they are in flight? The larger Swifts have longer scythe-shaped wings and short tails, Swallows have long tail streamers, and House Martins have a more dumpy appearance and much shorter tails.

It is Swifts you can hear screaming overhead. Swifts appear to be all black, although close up they are dark brown. House Martins and Swallows both have white undersides with a glossy blue-black back but the Swallow has a distinctive red chin and throat.

The Sand Martin, also observed in Saltford, is similar in shape and can be confused with the House Martin but its white underside is divided by a dark breast band just below its head and it has a brown back. We created from RSPB images the illustration at the start of this item to help you identify and distinguish these amazing birds.

If you are interested in learning more about the birds that are regularly observed in Saltford, these are listed on the right hand side of our wildlife page and each bird species listed is a link to full details on the RSPB website.

April 2018

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2018 Big Garden Birdwatch results: House Sparrow remains top

Over 6.7 million birds were counted in the 2018 Big Garden Birdwatch held on the weekend of 27/29 January. The top ten most commonly observed birds across the UK were (change on 2017 position in brackets):-

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

Once again, House Sparrows came top of the annual Big Garden Birdwatch. These characteristically noisy and gregarious birds have managed to colonise most of the world, as they're equally happy in urban and suburban areas. However, although they are still abundant, they have suffered enormous declines.

Overall, there was an increase in sightings of smaller birds, such as Goldfinches, Long-tailed Tits and Coal Tits. Recorded sightings of Goldfinches rose by 11% from last year, and this sociable, brightly-coloured finch was seen in more than two-thirds of gardens. It was a good year for Greenfinches; RSPB reported a 5% rise in sightings, a great sign as they've decreased by 60% since the Birdwatch began in 1979. It appears this rise is due to good conditions during their breeding season in 2017.

There was a drop in the recorded sightings of blackbirds (down by 18%) and robins (down by 12%). RSPB think this may be because the mild winter meant there was more food available in the countryside, meaning they didn't need to rely on gardens for food. Also, unlike smaller birds such as goldfinches and greenfinches, blackbirds and robins didn't have such a good breeding season.

You can see the 2018 Big Garden Birdwatch results on the RSPB website from this link: Big Garden Birdwatch. If you are interested in learning more about the birds that are regularly observed in Saltford, these are listed on the right hand side of our wildlife page and each bird species listed is a link to full details on the RSPB website.

Information source: RSPB

April 2018

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Air quality in Saltford still improving

The provisional figures provided by B&NES Environmental Monitoring for Nitrogen Dioxide (measured in micrograms per cubic metre, g/m3) for the monitoring points on the A4 in Saltford for the year 2017 are as follows:-

  • Saltford - The Crown = 37 g/m3
    (Note: second half of year was even lower at 36 g/m3, was 43 g/m3 in 2015)
  • Saltford - 562 Bath Rd = 33 g/m3
    (was 39 g/m3 in 2015)

The objective is to reach a figure of 40 g/m3 or below. Saltford Library is no longer monitored as it has been below 40 g/m3 at this location for several years.

March 2018

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Green & clean energy at Saltford Hall!

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Top photo: PV panels in place 28.3.18. Bottom photo: installation underway 23.3.18

Over the last few months, Saltford Community Association has undertaken an extensive programme of energy efficiency measures. The first part of the programme involved the replacement of the ceiling in the Wansdyke building, with much improved thermal insulation, together with the replacement of all the windows by modern double-glazed units and the installation of LED lighting, so that future heating costs will be much less. The work was carried out by local contractors and was supported by grants from the Parish Council (including Community Infrastructure Levy payment), the B&NES Community Empowerment Fund, and the B&NES Ward Councillor's Initiative Fund.

More recently, with the help of a contribution from the Carbon Trust and interest-free loans from Saltford residents, the SCA has installed a large solar PV panel scheme (c.30kWp) on the south facing roof of Saltford Hall. The panels will generate electricity to cover the Hall's daytime usage, thus reducing electricity bills, and create income by feeding electricity back into the grid (providing income from the Feed-in Tariff and the Export Tariff). Furthermore, the panels and the Wansdyke Room improvements will reduce the Hall's environmental impact by lowering its carbon footprint. The net income will be used to offset the installation price and to contribute to the running costs of the Association.

SEG is delighted that these significant projects have come to fruition and would like to congratulate SCA on their completion; we know that a lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to make this happen. Our village is fortunate to have such leadership and foresight across the community for achieving this reduction in our environmental impact; the solar PV scheme is a lasting legacy that will benefit the community for many years to come. The fact that the applications from residents to provide interest free loans for the solar PV panels were over-subscribed shows that Saltford as a community really does care about the environment.

March 2018

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Refill your water bottle & avoid plastic waste

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According to the UK Charity WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) in the UK we use a staggering 36 million plastic bottles every day, that's 13 billion a year and enough to go around the world 31 times, but we recycle only 58% of them.

Forward-thinking businesses in Bath are being urged to sign up for a water bottle refill scheme and help cut down on the use of single-use plastic bottles. Refill is a national, practical tap water campaign that aims to make refilling your bottle as easy, convenient and cheap as possible by introducing refill points on every street. About 50 businesses in Bath have also signed up and stickers are appearing in their shops and cafes promoting the scheme which also uses an app to help you find the Refill Stations and collect reward points every time you refill.

B&NES Council is supporting the Refill scheme and its caf at the One Stop shop in Lewis House, in Manvers Street, is the first council venue to be added as a refill station. It would be great to see refill stations appearing in Saltford. There are now more than 1,600 Refill points across the UK - and the number is growing. For more information about the scheme and to find out about the app visit www.refill.org.uk.

You can find out more about plastics and plastic waste/recycling on the B&NES website from this link: B&NES - Plastics.

March 2018

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March Wombles litter pick (Sunday 25th)

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Just a reminder that this month's litter pick is on Sunday 25th March starting from outside the Little Coffee shop. We will meet at 2.30pm and will be targeting the Bath Road (A4). This really is a positive way we can help get plastic litter out of our local environment.

Proposed details and dates for the monthly litter picks, weather permitting:

Sunday 25 March (Little Coffee Shop)
Sunday 22 April
Sunday 20 May
Sunday 24 June
Time : 2.30pm start till c.4.00pm to 4.30pm.
Meet: We usually start from either the car park of the Bird In Hand or by the Little Coffee Shop - this depends on area to be targeted but will be announced on our website before each litter pick.

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: juliebsampson@gmail.com or tel: 07807--671267.

March 2018

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SEG updates bypass policy paper to reflect West of England Joint Transport Study report

We are aware from our recent membership survey (February 2018) that the threat to Saltford and its Green Belt posed by a potential road bypass is a matter of great concern. The West of England Transport Study Final Report by Atkins (October 2017) concluded that a southern route bypass "would cross difficult terrain, with steep slopes south east of the village. It would be necessary to create a significant cut in the hillside, with a relatively steep gradient and potential requirement for a climbing lane in the westbound direction. These issues would collectively result in landscape impacts, major earthworks and relatively high scheme costs."

We have therefore updated our policy discussion paper on a road bypass for Saltford (first published in 2013) to reflect those findings by Atkins and this can be found on our Green Belt page from this link: A road bypass for Saltford?.

March 2018

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SEG membership survey results

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A big thank you to members who took the time to complete our membership survey in February. Here we have summarised the results of the survey. This summary is also being made known to Saltford's elected representatives on the Parish Council, our B&NES Ward Councillors and our MP* so that they are aware of what a representative sample of Saltford's residents are concerned about and what they value here in Saltford.

*Note: Jacob Rees-Mogg replied on 11 April that it was helpful to know what issues most concerns his constituents, agreed with SEG members that the Green Belt around Saltford must be protected and said "Please rest assured I will do everything I can to ensure that this is the case."

What interests members the most

The responses from members revealed that of SEG's activities, protecting the Green Belt interests members the most, followed by our History Project (incl. Heritage Centre) , 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.

Key concerns now and for the future

Our members' main concerns about Saltford now are threats to the Green Belt from housing and/or a bypass*, traffic and related transport problems (parking, pollution, congestion), and lack/loss of retail facilities and Post Office (although the Saltford Community Association PO/Library rescue plan should overcome that loss).

Those were also the same concerns for the future including Saltford losing its rural nature and identity by merging with Keynsham and becoming a suburb of Bristol as a result of development.

   *Note: The threat of a bypass has receded; we shall report shortly on the findings from the West of England Joint Transport Study (October 2017) that has effectively ruled it out.

Future activities from SEG

In response to being asked what they want to hear more about from SEG, our members were largely pleased with what we do now - the message was very much "more of the same please". SEG's Executive Committee have already had a preliminary meeting to discuss the survey findings and will be holding further internal discussions over the coming weeks as we determine our priorities and plan how we can best deliver our aims and objectives. Members are of course welcome to contact SEG at any time (via our Chairman) to suggest activities SEG should consider or to volunteer to support any of our projects.

March 2018

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Annual Saltford Dawn Chorus Walk, 22nd April

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If you are able to get yourself up early, why not join our friends at the Keynsham and Saltford Branch of the Avon Wildlife Trust for a few hours listening to, and watching the birds get up after a night's roosting? This year's Dawn Chorus will be held on Sunday 22nd April 4.30am - 8.00am, starting at Saltford Shallows car park.

This really is a great way to learn how to identify from their songs the many birds that are found in Saltford. Songs of all common species will be pointed out and their identification features clarified. The walk will follow the railway path cycle track towards Bitton, and back again. Wrap up warm as it can be very cold that early. Binoculars and a bird identification guide will be helpful for once it gets light. Above all you need good ears to be able to pick out the 30+ different species the annual walk normally finds! A hot flask of your favourite beverage is recommended.

For further information and to confirm your attendance, contact Dave Sage on mobile 07899--716068 the week before the event.

March 2018

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SEG objects to "Adventure Experience" golf facility etc. on the Green Belt

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On 17 March SEG submitted a strong objection to B&NES Council concerning planning application 18/00515/FUL for the creation of an 18-hole "Adventure Experience golf facility" including car parking, ancillary theme props (dinosaurs!) and kiosk at the Glenavon Farm site by the A4 on the west side of Saltford on Saltford's Green Belt.

In summary, the main reasons for our objection were as follows:-

  • Such a development would be inappropriate and out of character in the Green Belt surrounding a rural and historic village like Saltford.
  • It would specifically undermine one of the purposes for the Green Belt in paragraph 80 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), that is "preserving the setting and special character of historic towns [and villages]".
  • The appearance of large plastic/fibreglass dinosaurs up to 4 metres high would be completely absurd in the same landscape vista as two of Saltford's most important ancient buildings in our Conservation Area, St Mary's Church (a Norman church with Anglo Saxon Tower), and Saltford Manor House constructed during the reign of Henry I in c.1148 and reputed to be England's longest continuously inhabited manor house.
  • Viewed from the Cotswold AONB and from public footpaths in the Green Belt on the north side of the Conservation Area such an appearance would be incongruous and would call into question whether the local community and its elected representatives respect and genuinely value the historic landscape that is our shared responsibility to protect.
  • The draft "Saltford Conservation Area Character Appraisal" due to be published in its final form by B&NES Council in 2018 refers to Saltford's "Important views of the historic core from the surrounding countryside".
  • Turning a rural farm by incremental development into other purposes, i.e. a Farm Shop was permitted but that is now a Kindle Stove Store, and then a dinosaur themed "adventure experience golf facility", would be an encroachment as it slowly closes the gap between Keynsham and Saltford and thus taken together with other developments planned at Keynsham East further helps to undermine the NPPF Green Belt purpose of "preventing neighbouring towns merging into one another."
  • SEG was also concerned about the close proximity of the proposed facility to residential properties on the Bath Road that would be adversely affected by visual intrusion out of keeping with the local area and from noise pollution from the roars emanating from the dinosaurs and increased traffic to and from the site on the A4 that is already heavily congested at peak and increasingly other times of the day. Access to the A4 to and from properties directly opposite the development would be seriously hindered on this very busy stretch of road between Bristol and Bath.

The apparent disregard shown for the local rural setting and the ecology of this particular site in the Green Belt was a matter of concern to SEG and we felt this had been highlighted by the recent removal, apparently without authorisation under the Hedgerow Regulations (1997), of the perimeter hedgerow on the south side of this site.

SEG members and other residents wishing to comment on this planning application (deadline is 19 March 2018) can follow this link and key 18/00515/FUL into the search box: B&NES Development Control.

March 2018

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Draft revised National Planning Policy Framework consultation opens

On 5 March 2018 the Government launched its consultation on the draft revised text of the National Planning Policy Framework. The deadline for comments is 10th May (2018). The consultation draft can be found from this link: www.gov.uk/...national-planning-policy-framework.

SEG will be looking at this to see how it might affect the level of protection afforded to Saltford's Green Belt and respond accordingly.

March 2018

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The owners of the manor (area of land) of Saltford

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Ever wondered who used to own Saltford's land before and after the Romans and Anglo Saxons? SEG's History Project research has now led to the production of a dedicated web page in our online record of Saltford's history about those past owners going back to the Iron Age which we have published in March. You can find it from this link: Owners of Saltford (History Project).

March 2018

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Older news stories from SEG

Our 'Newsletter' archive page features most of our past and recently published news stories (click on image):-

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Current areas of local volunteer assistance sought by SEG

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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 get more involved with SEG?

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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 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.

First published February 2018, updated April 2018

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Want to help staff Saltford's Heritage Centre?

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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 (phil@philharding.net) 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

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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 mail@deborahwilkes.co.uk 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

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Contact SEG

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You can contact Saltford Environment Group by email as follows:-


All general, membership & urgent (e.g. Press) enquiries 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*: Phil Harding phil@philharding.net (07814--720763)

Secretary: Vacant Position

Treasurer: Andrew Stainer andrew.stainer@btinternet.com

Saltford Station Campaign: Chris Warren cherokee1883@live.com

Saltford Fairtrade Group: saltfordfairtrade@hotmail.co.uk

Saltford Wombles: Julie Sampson juliebsampson@gmail.com (07807--671267)

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

* EDITORIAL POLICY INCLUDING SEO FOR THE www.saltfordenvironmentgroup.org.uk WEBSITE
Will Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), website design and other similar companies please note that this website has all the SEO ranking (1st), social media links, & smartphone compatibility that it requires to meet its specific objectives. We are not a commercial enterprise so please do not send marketing emails or requests for placing links to other websites which 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. 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.
 


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Do you care about the village of Saltford, its environment, wildlife and future as a thriving, more sustainable community? Then join us and also follow us on facebook. See our 'About us' page for how to join (membership is free!).

Facebook logo www.facebook.com/SaltfordEnvironmentGroup
- "like" us when you visit our page and you'll then get facebook notifications of our postings.

SUPPORT FROM BUSINESS:
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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For news archive click here:-

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Saltford Heritage Centre will next be open to the public on Wednesday 2 May, 8.30pm-9.30pm. We would like to thank Davies & Way who are sponsoring the Heritage Centre project.

Special Features:

   Fracking

   Geology, Saltford's

   Green Belt Inquiry 2013

   HISTORY OF SALTFORD

   Railway Path Habitat Project

   Saltford Wombles (tackling litter)


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"Think global, act local"