Saltford Environment Group
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Single use plastic straws & cotton buds banned!
The ban, originally intended to start last April but delayed due to COVID-19, which came into effect this month, makes it illegal for businesses to sell or supply single-use plastic straws, stirrers and cotton buds.
This is welcome news, especially to those who litter-pick in and around Saltford and have been alarmed at the amount of plastic and other waste carelessly discarded into our environment since lockdown without any thought of the consequences. We can hope further bans on single-use plastic items will follow and that the throw-away culture will be addressed too.
Saltford Parish Council's new website & logo
At the end of October Saltford Parish Council (SPC) launched its new look and easy to navigate website and a new logo (see above) which is a caricature that draws on key views and sights. SPC's website is designed to meet the latest accessibility requirements for official websites and can be viewed from this external link.
Planning White Paper : Local Democracy & Environmental Protection
Our Chairman, Phil Harding, has written to our local MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg, on behalf of SEG to lobby him about the Government's proposals for reforming planning. The main text of that letter (26.10.2020) was as follows :-
There are, as I am sure you are aware, many concerns that the Government's plans for reforming the planning system to speed up the delivery of new homes will remove local democracy and decision making from the planning system. Giving developers the ability to build more or less what they like where they like within only the broad parameters of a "Growth" or "Renewal" zone designation is a serious departure from the current system as local communities will have no say on the individual developments that take place in those zones.
This removal of democratic control and participation in the planning process to protect the Green Belt and other local green spaces will help to undermine the Government's recent commitment via the UN "Leaders' Pledge for Nature" to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 against the background of the WWF's report "Living Planet Report 2020". That showed that the world's population numbers of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles have fallen by 68% (i.e. over 2/3rds!) on average in less than 50 years, from 1970 to 2016. Wildlife is in freefall and this catastrophic decline shows no signs of slowing; land management including where we build new homes has to help reverse that decline, not contribute to an ever faster destruction of nature with dire consequences for us all.
Undeveloped land within and outside the Green Belt has a far higher real value to the economy and society than short term economic gain from its development. Our quality of life depends on such land not just for the open spaces for recreation it provides but the potential eco-system support for nature and biodiversity that in turn underpins our nation's food production and food security.
The UK is Europe's third most densely populated nation yet lacks any strategy to address the many problems for society and the natural environment that comes from that situation. The UK can therefore ill-afford to reduce its resilience to climate change and future food shortages by blighting the land that feeds us and enables the UK to trade in international food markets.
By removing decision making from local planning authorities, the proposals will also make delivery of much needed affordable homes more difficult than easier. More imaginative ways of providing new and affordable homes are necessary such as the re-development of retail spaces, and, for example, a housing association approach for delivering social housing that allows equity to be accrued during tenancy yet is affordable for meeting social housing needs. Furthermore, it is far too early to know if the fallout from COVID-19 will reduce demand for home ownership compared to other, more flexible, options for a modern workforce. Likewise, there may be a glut of unused over-provided student accommodation with the transfer to more online learning.
Handing over planning decisions to those with short-term economic interests rather than securing a sustainable future for the wider community will not ensure new housing connects to the appropriate services necessary for low impact lifestyles. To quote from the last Conservative election manifesto, we need "homes built where they are needed not determined by a one size fits all formula".
I hope you can use your influence to help ensure decisions on where and what houses are built remain the responsibility of democratically elected local planning authorities who consult and listen to their communities and that the Green Belt and other green spaces retain proper and full protection from development to enable a healthy future for everyone.
In the current climate of rising environmental awareness, made higher as people have spent more time observing nature during COVID-19, a Government will retain more support from implementing policies that protect and enhance our environment and nature than policies that hand over planning control to vested short-term interests that will do the opposite.
Green Homes Grants - complete work & apply by 31.3.2021
Homeowners and residential landlords can apply for a Green Homes Grant voucher towards the cost of installing energy efficient improvements to homes. Improvements could include insulating your home to reduce your energy use or installing low-carbon heating to lower the amount of carbon dioxide your home produces.
Vouchers will cover two-thirds of the cost of eligible improvements, up to a maximum government contribution of £5,000. If you, or someone in your household, receive certain benefits you may be eligible for a voucher covering 100% of the cost of the improvements. The maximum value of the voucher is £10,000.
You must redeem the voucher and ensure improvements are completed by 31 March 2021.
Further details from this link to the gov.uk website: green homes grant scheme from where you can also make enquiries about the scheme.
Mead Lane - B&NES Cabinet agrees to end moorings by December 2022
At its monthly meeting on the evening of 8th October B&NES Council's Cabinet decided the future of moorings in Mead Lane. Before taking its unanimous decision, the Cabinet received deputations from residents, Saltford Parish Council, Saltford Ward Councillor Duncan Hounsell and live-aboard boaters.
The Cabinet discussed the findings of the "Atkins riverbank mooring assessment report (28.9.2020)" and agreed a long-term aspiration to relocate moorings from Mead Lane with a target date of no later than 31.12.2022 whilst asking Officers to create a charging mechanism for moorings in Mead Lane from 1.3.2021. The Cabinet agreed to remove the 48-hour moorings at Mead Lane from 1.11.2020, on a permanent basis, so that this part of the riverbank can be reallocated as open space for other leisure purposes. It also agreed to no winter moorings from 1st November to end February on safety grounds.
Other specific actions agreed included to identify alternative sites for 14-day moorings along the watercourse before ending 14-day moorings in Mead Lane and to create a joint River Warden post with the Canal and River Trust (CRT).
Future decisions on Mead Lane/moorings were delegated to the Cabinet Member for Community Services, Cllr Paul Crossley, in consultation with the Director of Environment. The Cabinet Members for Transport and Director of Environment, in consultation with Avon and Somerset Police, would review the parking restrictions along Mead Lane.
The Atkins survey of the riverbank lacked a full condition survey of the rock armour below the water level so whilst Atkins found that the riverbank was stable at present (from only a visual surface inspection) it is not known how long it will hold throughout its full length. It is inevitable that the mooring of boats including narrow boats will gradually damage and reduce the lifespan of a rock armour stabilisation scheme designed and installed at a 45o angle.
As was acknowledged by Cllr Crossley at the meeting, the Mead Lane riverbank is very close to a narrow single-track road and to residential housing whilst the lane provides sole road access to Wessex Water's Sewage Treatment Works including Wessex Water's Scientific Services laboratory for testing drinking water and wastewater/effluent samples where 24/7 access is essential. Those factors together with the design aspects of the bio-engineered rock armour stabilisation scheme that protects the roadway and key utility service pipes including a pumped sewer main beneath the road, means that Mead Lane is unsuitable for moorings; B&NES Cabinet has by its mooring ban decision unanimously accepted that.
SEG supports B&NES Council's objective to identify alternative 14-day mooring sites for the live-aboard community along the watercourse before ending 14-day moorings in Mead Lane. However the 2+ year timescale does mean a prolonged period of risk to the riverbank's rock armour and stability and other factors that have made this such a contentious issue that has been difficult to resolve. The continuation of the parking ban should help keep the lane open at all times.
The effectiveness of the new River Warden will therefore be key to ensuring the temporary re-commencement of 14-day moorings from 1.3.2021 does not lead to the problems caused by a minority of boaters since moorings started to occur in Mead Lane from 2015 when boats first started to moor there and then became much more numerous from the B&NES 2017 mooring trial that served to attract more boat moorings at this location.
It is therefore to be hoped that rapid progress can be made in finding new and suitable moorings for boaters well before 31.12.2022, preferably in 2021, so that moorings can end in Mead Lane and the riverbank can revert to being an open space sooner rather than later - including as a Local Nature Reserve as SEG and others have called for - and the rock armour can be repaired and be the subject of a regular inspection, care and maintenance programme.
A positive outcome from all this can be more and better mooring provisions for the live-aboard community whilst Mead Lane riverbank reverts to being a public open space with excellent wildlife habitat enjoyed by the local community and visitors alike.
Government commits to protect the recovery of nature
Prime Minister Boris Johnson committed on 28 September to protect 30% of the UK's land by 2030. Existing National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty and other protected areas already comprise approximately 26% of land in England. An additional 4% - over 400,000 hectares, the size of the Lake District and South Downs national parks combined - will be protected to support the recovery of nature.
The announcement came as the Prime Minister was set to sign the Leaders Pledge for Nature at a virtual United Nations event on 28 September, committing to put nature and biodiversity on a road to recovery by 2030. Addressing the UN event, Boris Johnson said "We cannot afford dither and delay because biodiversity loss is happening today and it is happening at a frightening rate. Left unchecked, the consequences will be catastrophic for us all."
The Leaders' Pledge for Nature was to reverse biodiversity loss by 2030 for Sustainable Development and saw leaders pledging to undertake urgent actions over the next ten years as part of the UN Decade of Action to achieve Sustainable Development.
Earlier this month we reported on the WWF's report "Living Planet Report 2020" showing that the world's population numbers of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles have fallen by 68% (i.e. over 2/3rds!) on average in less than 50 years, from 1970 to 2016. Wildlife is in freefall and this catastrophic decline shows no signs of slowing. It can be only hoped that the PM's pledge to protect protected areas for nature can help us protect the Green Belt surrounding Saltford for nature and from development that compromises the ability of the Green Belt's future use for food production and/or supporting nature and biodiversity.
Time will tell how serious this pledge from the UK government is in practice.
World Textile Day West at Saltford Hall (3 Oct)
On Saturday 3 October Saltford Hall will once again host the annual return of World Textile Day West. As always there will be free admission to the exhibition of woven, printed and embroidered textiles from around the world. All are worldwide fair traded, purchased directly from the makers.
Please enjoy the day and do understand that there will be additional precautions to keep everyone safe:-
Doors open from 10 am till 4 pm and SCA will operate the Community Cafe alongside, selling bacon rolls and homemade cakes with tea/coffee.
COVID-19 - TRACK & TRACE
The Government has recently launched its new track & trace initiative via an App. To help slow down the spread of the virus in Saltford SCA are asking that you please download the NHS COVID-19 Track & Trace App on your phone. Then before you enter either Saltford Community PO & Library or Saltford Hall scan the QR codes at the entrance. Then SCA doesn't need to take your name and address for Track and Trace.
Saltford's air quality improving
B&NES Council has published its Annual Status Report on Air Quality (it can be seen from this external link).
The final 2019 data, i.e. before the COVID-19 pandemic, is showing that the nitrogen dioxide concentrations on the A4 in Saltford are remaining below 40 micrograms per cubic metre (µg/m3), with The Crown (DT075) at 30 µg/m3 and 562 Bath Road (DT077) at 26 µg/m3.
The provisional 2020 data for Jan-July (un-bias corrected) is: The Crown (DT075) at 24 µg/m3 and 562 Bath Road (DT077) at 23 µg/m3.
B&NES Council is currently drafting the final Air Quality Action Plan for Temple Cloud; once that has been completed B&NES will complete the report for revoking the Saltford AQMA which will then be taken to public consultation. Work is due to start on this in early 2021.
Help us live up to our Saltford Village Fairtrade Status
We may not have had coffee mornings and stalls throughout these difficult days but we have been supporting Fairtrade and Traidcraft and enjoying their tea, coffee, bananas and other products.
We have now also restarted our monthly Traidcraft on line shopping service again which has lots more Traidcraft products and gifts - visit www.traidcraftshop.co.uk to choose your items, email firstname.lastname@example.org with your order, or ring Kath on 01225 344066 if you have any queries. Fairtrade and Traidcraft also received £100 each from money raised by you at our last coffee morning.
Reduce, reuse and recycle - we are all trying to reduce our food waste and think more carefully about waste and resources in the clothing industry etc. and so are Traidcraft. As supporters of Fairtrade we would invite you to rummage around your jewellery boxes for those bits and pieces (one earring we keep, just because...) or something that 'needs fixing but never get around to doing it' and donate them to Traidcraft to be recycled. Foreign coinage, old UK bank notes (any age) and broken watches are also valuable to Traidcraft. Let us add to the £43,000 raised so far together.
When you've searched let us know by email email@example.com and we can arrange to send them off or we can send you a prepaid label to put on an A5 envelope for which we have a template. There are two good links to look at that explain the Traidcraft campaigns and aims:- Recycle for Traidcraft Exchange (link) and Fairtrade - because justice matters (link).
Thank you all for choosing Fairtrade.
Saltford Fairtrade Group
Keynsham furniture & bike giveaway event (4 Oct)
The waste team at B&NES Council is planning to hold a furniture and bike giveaway event on Sunday 4 October 1pm-4pm at the Old MOD building, Pixash Lane Keynsham.
There will be second-hand furniture and adult bicycles (for spares and repairs) available for the public to take away for free at this event. B&NES will promote the Dept for Transport's bike repair voucher scheme. Although the first batch of vouchers has been allocated, a further release of £50 repair vouchers is expected.
Other furniture items available include bedside tables, retro coffee tables, dressing tables, chest of drawers and pictures. All items have been brought to the Recycling Centres by residents and are in good enough condition for re-use.
B&NES Council is offering furniture items free of charge at this event to help clear the MOD ahead of demolition works, whilst they scope alternatives for further interim reuse.
B&NES Council has considered the health and safety of the public and staff in relation to COVID-19. For example to help maintain social distancing the number of people entering the building will be restricted to 15 at a time; children (persons under 18 years old) will not be allowed entry; masks must be worn; there will be no parking on site; and staff/volunteers cannot help with loading of items into vehicles.
DO NOT VISIT IF YOU OR ANYONE FROM YOUR HOUSEHOLD HAVE COVID-19 SYMPTOMS, ARE IN THE SHIELDING CATEGORY OR THOSE WHO ARE 14 DAY SELF ISOLATING.
I Love Local - I Love Saltford
September 2020 (updated 19th Oct)
The 'I Love Local' campaign from B&NES Council is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Reopening the High Streets Safely Fund and aims to reinforce public health messaging around social distancing and hand hygiene at the same time as encouraging people to shop locally by championing local shops and businesses.
Saltford Business Network (SBN), SCA and SEG are naturally keen to promote the 'I Love Local' campaign so that we here in Saltford use locally provided services and source locally produced products wherever possible. SBN is seeking to work with as many local businesses and organisations as possible to bring 'I Love Local' to the Saltford area.
On Thursday 24th September at 7pm SBN are hosting a ZOOM meeting to be led by Shannon D'Arcy and colleagues from the Business and Skills Team at B&NES. They will give attendees an outline on how their team can enable SBN and partners to bring 'I Love Local' to the Saltford area.
This will be a public meeting open to anyone interested. If you email SBN (email link) you will be sent joining instructions nearer the time.
There is more information about the campaign on the B&NES I Love Local (link) website.
UPDATE 19th OCT
Following the SBN ZOOM meeting on 24th September the development of the campaign in our area is being led by B&NES Business and Skills Team with our two Saltford Ward Councillors, Duncan Hounsell and Alastair Singleton. SBN will be working with them and other local groups to develop the campaign in the area.
Wildlife in catastrophic decline warns WWF
The alarming headline arising from the WWF's report "Living Planet Report 2020" published in September is that the world's population numbers of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles have fallen by 68% (i.e. over 2/3rds!) on average in less than 50 years, from 1970 to 2016. Wildlife is in freefall and this catastrophic decline shows no signs of slowing.
The following is quoted directly from WWF in the summary of its report:-
Humanity's destruction of nature is having catastrophic impacts not only on wildlife populations but also on human health and all aspects of our lives. While more food, energy and materials than ever before are being supplied to people in most parts of the world, the overexploitation of plants and animals is increasingly eroding nature's ability to provide them in the future.
The loss of biodiversity is not only an environmental issue but a development, economic, global security, ethical and moral one. It is also a self-preservation issue. Biodiversity plays a critical role in providing food, fibre, water, energy, medicines and other genetic materials; and is key to the regulation of our climate, water quality, pollution, pollination services, flood control and storm surges. In addition, nature underpins all dimensions of human health and contributes on non-material levels - inspiration and learning, physical and psychological experiences and shaping our identities -that are central in quality of life and cultural integrity.
Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in millions of years. The way we produce and consume food and energy, and the blatant disregard for the environment entrenched in our current economic model, has pushed the natural world to its limits. COVID-19 is a clear manifestation of our broken relationship with nature, and highlights the deep interconnection between the health of both people and the planet.
It is time we answer nature's SOS. Not just to secure the amazing diversity of life we love and have the moral duty to coexist with, but because ignoring it puts the future of nearly 8 billion people at stake.
The Bending the Curve Initiative [from WWF] used multiple state-of-the art models and scenarios to investigate whether we can reverse terrestrial biodiversity declines - and if so, how.
The Bending the Curve modelling tells us that, with transformational change, we can turn the tide of biodiversity loss. It is easy to talk about transformational change, but how will we, living in our complex, highly connected modern society, make it a reality? We know that it will take a global, collective effort; that increased conservation efforts are key, along with changes in how we produce and consume our food and energy. Citizens, governments and business leaders around the globe will need to be part of a movement for change with a scale, urgency and ambition never seen before.
WWF have invited thinkers and practitioners from a range of fields in many countries to share their views on how to bring about a healthy planet for people and nature.
Sir David Attenborough, who presents a BBC TV documentary on extinction later this month (BBC One, Sunday 13 September at 8pm) said :-
"Achieving a balance with the natural world so that we become stewards of our planet will require systemic shifts in how we produce food, create energy, manage our oceans and use materials. But above all it will require a change in perspective. A change from viewing nature as something that's optional or 'nice to have' to the single greatest ally we have in restoring balance to our world."
SEG RESPONSE (LOCAL WILDLIFE HABITAT)
A UN report in May 2019 said that 1 million species are threatened with extinction, many within decades, from the devastating impact of humans on nature. We continue to lobby for habitat protection in our local area and repeat the statement we made on our website after the UN report came out last year :-
Looking at how we can respond at the local level to this alarming report and with particular reference to land-use planning, the report illustrates how the modest objective of "Net Environmental Gain" in the planning system is nowhere near good enough when new housing developments are planned for the West of England and for Bath & North East Somerset. What we need is "Significant Ecological Gain".
Not only should the Green Belt surrounding villages and towns like Saltford and Keynsham be fully protected from development, but new developments should be planned in a way that enables a significant increase in the local ecological habitat to start to redress the ecological infrastructure losses incurred from the housing and other developments of recent decades.
We need to design nature back into our local area as we "think global, act local".
Nearly 600 say NO to more houses between Keynsham & Saltford
595 objections were submitted to B&NES Council to planning application 20/02673/OUT for c.213 dwellings and associated development etc. on Green Belt land safeguarded in the B&NES Core Strategy, i.e. land "safeguarded to meet longer term development needs".
In addition to a robust objection from SEG (reported by us on our website in August), Saltford Parish Council and Keynsham Town Council also submitted objections.
Significantly, the B&NES Council's own Planning Policy Officer objected as "the site is located outside the Housing Development Boundary and does not form an element of Policies K2, KE2, KE2a, KE2b, KE3a and KE4; it is therefore contrary to Policy KE1 and the site is safeguarded for development but the Local Plan has yet to be reviewed; local and national planning policy is clear that planning permission will be granted only when it is proposed for development following a review of the Local Plan and it is therefore contrary to Policy KE3b and the NPPF."
Furthermore, in the view of B&NES Council's Planning Policy Team "the benefits of the proposal would not outweigh the harm identified and so would not accord with the presumption in favour of sustainable development set out in Policy SD1 of the Core Strategy and the NPPF."
It is hard to imagine in what circumstances this totally inappropriate planning application would be permitted against so much local and strategic policy opposition. The decision from B&NES Council is scheduled to be made by 29 October.
Saltford Calendar 2021
The Saltford Calendar 2021 featuring some stunning photographs by local photographers is now available from Saltford Post Office* at £7 each.
As in previous years the calendar has been produced by Saltford Community Association and Saltford Environment Group. All net proceeds will be split between SCA, SEG and the Saltford Community Library and Post Office to help further their work supporting the community.
By purchasing your copy or copies (it makes a great gift!) you are helping support the community, including helping to keep the Post Office open, whilst celebrating the village and its rural setting.
*Saltford Post Office is open 9am - 1pm & 2pm - 5pm on Monday to Friday, closed on Thursday.
How porous is your front garden?
The heavy rainfall experienced in August and flash-flooding occurring around different parts of the UK reminds us of the need to be prepared for similar or more extreme episodes of weather arising from climate change. Surface flash-flooding is exacerbated by the extensive paving-over of open ground for roads, footpaths, driveways, and even paved gardens. In many cases localised flooding in relatively small areas can occur because drains cannot cope with the amount of rain water flowing to them.
As a result of the serious flooding in the UK in the summer of 2007, from 1st October 2008 amendments to permitted development rights affecting the paving over of front gardens came into effect.
From October 2008 householders have not required planning permission if a new or replacement driveway of any size uses permeable (or porous) surfacing, such as gravel, permeable concrete block paving or porous asphalt, or if the rainwater is directed to a lawn or border to drain naturally. However, if the surface to be covered is more than five square metres (5m2 is smaller than the footprint of a small car!) planning permission is needed for laying traditional, impermeable driveways that do not allow for the water to run to a permeable area.
Some may consider this a burdensome requirement of the planning system. Looking at it this from the perspective of homes positioned downhill (or downstream!) in the same road or local area, the risk of surface water entering those homes during flash floods has been increased by the collective effect of homes higher up the same road losing permeability for their front gardens as a result of hard-standing non-permeable surfaces rather than permeable driveways or planted areas of grass, shrubs and hedging etc.
The Government has issued "Guidance on the permeable surfacing of front gardens" (2008) and any competent builder engaged to construct or renew a front garden driveway should be aware of the need and reasons for adhering to these planning requirements. Ultimately, however, it is the landowner's responsibility to ensure that any new front garden driveway meets planning requirements.
Don't forget, you can check if you need planning permission - visit the B&NES Council website from this link: check if you need planning permission.
For more news stories from SEG visit our
Current areas of local volunteer assistance sought by SEG
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!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org for a no-obligation chat on possible volunteer help.
First published June 2018, updated January 2020
Executive Committee: Want to help steer SEG?
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 January 2020
Saltford Heritage Centre's next scheduled public opening will be announced here.
"Think global, act local"
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".
Chairman & Website Editor*: Phil Harding
Secretary: Vacant Position
Treasurer: Andrew Stainer
SEG Green Belt Campaign: - contact our Chairman (contact details above)
Saltford Station Campaign: Chris Warren
Saltford Fairtrade Group:
Saltford Heritage Centre
Saltford Wombles is independent of SEG but contact details can be found on our Less Waste page.
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