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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)

STOP PRESS! Decision on premature planning applications 18/01509/OUT for another 200 houses and 18/02899/OUT for another 80 houses on safeguarded Green Belt between Keynsham & Saltford delayed again - to 31st October for both applications! We have reported in our news coverage that SEG submitted strong planning objections to B&NES Council for both planning applications.

Green Belt must be protected say members at SEG's AGM

Saltford Calendar 2019 now available

Can we limit global warming to 1.5oC?

Upcycling Craft Group, 18th October

Tips for reducing plastic microfibres from clothing

Butterfly count 2018 results out

Saltford Wombles: Litter Pick Sunday 30 September

Saltford's Green Belt to be discussed at SEG's October AGM

World Textile Day comes to Saltford Hall, 6th Oct

Autumn Season: Wombles update

New 'Historic Maps of Saltford' display - Saltford Heritage Centre open 16th Sept (2.30 - 4.30pm)

Saltford Post Office opening date: 24th September

Consulation on B&NES Local Plan options delayed to winter

Sustrans to lead Railway Path Habitat Restoration Project

Archaeological Dig: Trial trench unearths Roman artefacts

The real value of wasps

Cigarette butts in the environment

B&NES Council confirms its opposition to the Government's proposals on fracking

SEG objects to premature planning application for another 80 houses between Keynsham and Saltford

Air quality improving

You can find more news in our News Archive.

Current VOLUNTEER ASSISTANCE SOUGHT by SEG >>



Green Belt must be protected say members at SEG's AGM

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The main theme for discussion at a packed AGM held on 8th October at the Riverside Inn was the threat to our Green Belt from developers in the forthcoming B&NES Local Plan and the West of England Joint Spatial Plan (JSP). SEG's existing Executive Committee was re-elected un-opposed.

Our Chairman Phil Harding in referring to the 2013 Saltford Green Belt Inquiry reminded members that a Green Belt designation is given and thus belongs to a local community to protect its surrounding land and setting. More than anyone else, it is local communities who live with and understand the real value of the "landscape functions" provided by their Green Belt and agricultural land. He said it should be for local people and their local planning authority to determine where new housing should be located - and this is the planning policy set out in the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) yet developers constantly challenge the local decision making process. It is the local community like ours that faces the real short, medium and long term disadvantages when developments such as those put forward by developers for the Local Plan and JSP are allowed to proceed.

The meeting lasted a full 90 minutes due to the detailed discussion between members and SEG's Executive Committee on how SEG can respond to the challenges posed by developers seeking to build on at least nine parcels of Green Belt land around Saltford and also on Green Belt land East of Keynsham. There was overwhelming support for a new campaign to defend the Green Belt surrounding Saltford.

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A larger version of the above map together with a short briefing note on the B&NES Local Plan and West of England Joint Spatial Plan process that was discussed at our 8th October AGM can be downloaded from the link below. Please note that the dates within the note are all subject to change.

Green Belt briefing for 08.10.2018 AGM (pdf)

If you want to help our Green Belt campaign but were unable to attend the AGM, don't worry. We will be seeking volunteers etc. when we contact members again once SEG's Executive Committee has prioritised the early actions arising from the meeting.

October 2018

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Saltford Calendar 2019 now available

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"The Saltford Calendar 2019" featuring some stunning photographs by local photographers is now available to purchase.

At just £6 each you can get your calendar(s) from the new Saltford Post Office or the SCA office at Saltford Hall any morning Monday to Friday. Alternatively email events@saltfordhall.co.uk.

The production of the annual Saltford Calendar is a joint SCA/SEG initiative. Net proceeds will be split between SCA and SEG to help further their voluntary work supporting our local community.

October 2018

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Can we limit global warming to 1.5oC?

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Limiting global warming to 1.5oC would require rapid, far reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said in a new assessment report "Global Warming of 1.5oC". With clear benefits to people and natural ecosystems, limiting global warming to 1.5oC compared to 2oC could go hand in hand with ensuring a more sustainable and equitable society, the IPCC said on 8th October.

The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5oC was approved by the IPCC on 6th October in Incheon, Republic of Korea. It will be a key scientific input into the Katowice Climate Change Conference in Poland in December, when governments review the Paris Agreement to tackle climate change.

"One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1oC of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes," said Panmao Zhai, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I.

The report highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5oC compared to 2oC, or more. For instance, by 2100, global sea level rise would be 10 cm lower with global warming of 1.5oC compared with 2oC. The likelihood of an Arctic Ocean free of sea ice in summer would be once per century with global warming of 1.5oC, compared with at least once per decade with 2oC. Coral reefs would decline by 70-90 percent with global warming of 1.5oC, whereas virtually all (> 99 percent) would be lost with 2oC.

"Every extra bit of warming matters, especially since warming of 1.5oC or higher increases the risk associated with long-lasting or irreversible changes, such as the loss of some ecosystems," said Hans-Otto Pörtner, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.

"The good news is that some of the kinds of actions that would be needed to limit global warming to 1.5oC are already underway around the world, but they would need to accelerate," said Valerie Masson-Delmotte, Co-Chair of Working Group I.

The report finds that limiting global warming to 1.5oC would require "rapid and far-reaching" transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching 'net zero' around 2050. This means that any remaining emissions would need to be balanced by removing CO2 from the air.

"Limiting warming to 1.5oC is possible within the laws of chemistry and physics but doing so would require unprecedented changes," said Jim Skea, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group III. Allowing the global temperature to temporarily exceed or 'overshoot' 1.5oC would mean a greater reliance on techniques that remove CO2 from the air to return global temperature to below 1.5oC by 2100. The effectiveness of such techniques are unproven at large scale and some may carry significant risks for sustainable development, the report notes.

Further information can be found on the IPCC website: www.ipcc.ch.

October 2018

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Upcycling Craft Group, 18th October

Have you wondered how we all seem to accrue an odd selection of redundant keys and what to do with them? What about creating your own bespoke jewellery with the Saltford Upcycling Craft Group?

We have all the items needed to make and finish your own jewellery (including keys). Do bring along any old nail varnish, beads, broken jewellery to repurpose in fact anything you can think of to decorate the keys (plus any 'accumulated' keys!); we all share. Everyone is welcome to join us for a fun, relaxed evening, no experience needed, we all learn together.

No need to book, just come along from 7-9pm on October 18th, at Signs of Saltford, 559 Bath Road. Tina and Frances are looking forward to seeing you. There is more about us on the "Less Waste" page of this website or on our Facebook page: Saltford's Make it Magic Group.

October 2018

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Tips for reducing plastic microfibres from clothing

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We all want clean seas and a clean food chain.

A microfibre is a plastic-based thread that is thinner than a human hair. Many clothing products shed microfibres during their lifetime. For example, they wash out of our synthetic clothes. Most of these tiny fibres derive from polyester. It is light, warm and has quick-drying properties thus making it perfect for clothing. Other common microfibres include nylon and acrylic. They're in our carpets, curtains and other household textiles, as well as our clothes. Microplastic pollution is cropping up all over the world including in extremities like the Arctic and Antarctic.

Huge volumes of these microfibres from synthetic fabrics are getting into aquatic animals from our washing machines via waste water treatment works. This is alarming as these tiny plastic-based microfibres have the potential to poison the food chain.

Here are 8 tips from Friends of the Earth (friendsoftheearth.uk) on how you can reduce the release of plastic microfibres from your clothing:-

1. Wash at low temperatures

A lower-temperature wash is less aggressive and therefore less likely to shake out plastic fibres.

2. Put your washing in a special bag

Use a Guppy Bag (a mesh type laundry bag) or Cora Ball (a microfibre catching laundry ball) in your washing machine. They may help to reduce or catch the microfibres that shed from your clothes during washing.

3. Fill the washing machine

A full washing machine reduces friction between items - in other words, they don't rub against each other as much.

4. Reduce spin speeds

Faster spins dry clothes quicker but they also shake them up more, risking more plastics shedding.

5. Air dry rather than tumble dry

Tumble drying is more aggressive than air drying - and could cause your clothes to shed more plastic. And don't leave the fluff from your tumble dryer outside for birds to use as nesting material as that is another way for plastic microfibres to get into the natural environment!

6. Use a front-loading washing machine

Tests show that top-loading washing machines probably release more plastic fibres.

7. Buy fewer fleeces

Polyester fleece could well be one of the biggest emitters of microfibres. Consider buying a woollen fleece instead.

8. Keep your clothes for longer

Your clothes are likely to shed more plastic in the first few washes - so frequently changing your wardrobe will probably increase the amount of plastic you're sending into the environment. Buy higher quality clothes that last.

October 2018

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Butterfly count 2018 results out

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The results for the big butterfly count for 2018 (20 July to 12 August) have been published. Given the long, hot sunny spell leading up to big butterfly count 2018, conditions that are ideal for butterflies, the organisers (Butterfly Conservation) expected record-breaking numbers of sightings, alongside the high levels of participation, over 100,000. Almost 1 million of the 19 target species (17 butterflies and two day-flying moths) were recorded during the official big butterfly count period.

Despite those impressive numbers, participants generally did not experience a butterfly bonanza. On average, just over 11 individuals of the target species were seen per 15-minute count, only slightly higher than the 2017 average (11.2 in 2018 compared with 10.9 in 2017), which was the lowest since big butterfly count began in 2010.

It was a good year for white butterflies; the total abundance of Small White, Large White and Green-veined White made up 55% of all the target species counted in the 2018 event. However the Small Tortoiseshell (see image above), which has lost three-quarters of its UK population since the 1970s, suffered its worst big butterfly count on record, worse even than in the wash-out summer of 2012. Small Tortoiseshell numbers were down by a third compared to the same period in 2017 across the UK as a whole. The causes of the ongoing long-term decline of this beautiful butterfly remain unclear.

The disappointing number of individuals seen by participants is probably not a fair reflection on the population levels of the UK's common butterflies and moths during the summer. The warm weather from April onwards led to many species starting their flight periods early in 2018 and, as a result, some of the abundant single-brooded species such as Meadow Brown, Ringlet, Six-spot Burnet and Marbled White were already past their peak in numbers by the time big butterfly count 2018 started.

In England the top 10 most abundant species were:-

1. Small White
2. Large White
3. Gatekeeper
4. Meadow Brown
5. Common Blue
6. Green-veined White
7. Peacock
8. Speckled Wood
9. Red Admiral
10. Comma

More information on the results can be found from this link (the source of this news item): https://www.bigbutterflycount.org/2018mainresults.

We have links to Butterfly Conservation's images and information on each of the 24 species observed in recent years in Saltford on our wildlife page.

September 2018

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Saltford Wombles: Litter Pick Sunday 30 September

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Our next monthly litter pick is on Sunday 30 September, 2 - 4 pm. Please note the earlier times owing to shorter days. The meeting point will be The Little Coffee Shop as the focus for our litter pick will be A4 and the Longwood Lane Woods.

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.

If you are coming: please email saltfordwombles@gmail.com to give us an idea of numbers. Thank you. Also, please let us know whether you have a car you would be happy to use to ferry a group to a start point.

As with any Saltford Wombles litter pick, everyone takes part at their own risk and it is essential that children are supervised at all times by a parent/carer.

September 2018

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Saltford's Green Belt to be discussed at SEG's October AGM

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The map above shows all Saltford Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) sites that are being considered/assessed in order to inform preparation of the B&NES Local Plan. Those 9 site are all on Saltford's Green Belt and were submitted to B&NES by developers/land owners following a call for sites in early 2017.

SEG members will shortly be receiving an invitation to our AGM on 8th October where we will discuss and engage with members on how together we can help the village protect its Green Belt in 2019, a crucial year for our village as the West of England Joint Spatial Plan and B&NES Local Plan reach important stages towards their completion and adoption.

We know that protection of the Green Belt matters to our members so look out for the invitation email that will be arriving soon. If you want to keep the Green Belt green we hope you will be able to attend.

BACKGROUND
We have previously reported that through the plan-making process B&NES Council is required by government to consider all 'reasonable alternatives' in meeting housing needs in its forthcoming Local Plan 2016-2036. The B&NES HEELA review feeds into the Local Plan process. HELAA will identify which of those sites would fit with being allocated for housing according to B&NES Council's assessment. The primary purpose of the Local Plan 2016-2036 is to identify and allocate sites to meet the housing and economic development requirements established by the West of England Joint Spatial Plan (JSP).

SEG takes the sustainable development view that there are no genuine 'exceptional circumstances' that could support a case for building on Saltford's Green Belt when taking account of ecological, environmental, transport, economic, social and employment factors. It is our strong wish that sites in Saltford's Green Belt are not identified for potential development in the draft Local Plan.

September 2018

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World Textile Day comes to Saltford Hall, 6th Oct

Bringing fair trade to a fair trade village

On 6th October, 10 am - 4.30 pm, there will be FREE admission at Saltford Hall in Wedmore Road to an exhibition of woven, printed and embroidered textiles from makers, workshops and villages around the world. More information can be found from this link worldtextileday.co.uk/venues/west-of-england.

September 2018

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Autumn Season: Wombles update

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Thank you to everyone for keeping the village so tidy across the summer and especially to those who joined in with Canoe Avon at the annual River Clean. On a sunny late July afternoon 11 volunteers from Wombles and Canoe Avon met up, the canoeists tackling the river whilst we Wombles covered the river banks. In 2 hours, we collected 13 bags of litter (some are pictured below) and some very unusual pieces of rubbish including a traffic cone, a flag, a bike wheel, a large, empty herbicide plastic container and a washing up bowl.

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Some of the Canoe Avon and Saltford Wombles volunteers

Monthly Litter pick dates

These will be on the last Sunday of each month from 2-4 pm. Please note the change in time to account for shorter days. Meeting places will vary depending on the hot spot area - details will be emailed to those on the Wombles mailing list and posted on this website beforehand. Dates are:

   Sunday 30 Sept

   Sunday 28 Oct

   Sunday 25 Nov

   No monthly pick in December

If you are coming please email saltfordwombles@gmail.com to give us an idea of numbers. As with any Saltford Wombles litter pick, everyone takes part at their own risk and it is essential that children are supervised at all times by a parent/guardian.

September 2018

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New 'Historic Maps of Saltford' display - Saltford Heritage Centre open 16th Sept (2.30 - 4.30pm)

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Saltford Heritage Centre will next be open to the public from 2.30pm to 4.30pm on the afternoon of Sunday 16th September as part of the B&NES Heritage Days initiative (6-16 Sept). Saltford Brassmill will also be open that day (10am - 4pm) so why not make it your local heritage day and visit both venues?

New! Historic Maps of Saltford

In addition to our displays describing Saltford's fascinating past and examples of local artefacts on show will be our new display of Historic Maps of Saltford from 1742 including the first OS map showing Saltford (1817) and the 1837 Tithe Map showing the original field names. We shall also have an internet linked display screen so that we can show visitors how to access our comprehensive online material.

Admission free. You can find out more about the Heritage Centre here: Saltford Heritage Centre.

September 2018

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Saltford Post Office opening date: 24th September

We have seen confirmation from the Post Office that Saltford Post Office will be re-opening on Monday 24th September at Saltford Library, 478a Bath Road, Saltford BS31 3DJ. Congratulations to all concerned at Saltford Community Association for their dedication and hard work in rescuing this important community facility.

August 2018

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Consulation on B&NES Local Plan options delayed to winter

We gave an update in June on the forthcoming B&NES Local Plan that could have a significant impact on Saltford's Green Belt as 9 sites have been put forward by developers/landowners in response to the HELAA (Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment) call for sites. It does not follow that B&NES Council will accept all, some or any of those as suitable sites for development, but it has to assess them. That assessment is to satisfy the HMG Inspector that the process has considered all "reasonable alternatives".

The Chair and Vice Chair of Saltford's Parish Council Planning Committee have been in discussions with planning policy staff at B&NES during August. SEG members will be aware that the Parish Council shares SEG's policy to protect from development the Green Belt surrounding Saltford.

There is some slippage on timing for the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP) consultation and B&NES Local Plan options consultation. These will now coincide during November/December and not September (for Local Plan options) as previously predicted.

As we reported in June, the B&NES website, Housing Land Supply page, lists and maps 9 sites on Saltford's Green Belt that have been submitted by developers/land owners. Saltford Parish Council (SPC) has made its case to B&NES regarding those 9 sites and the planning policy and related reasons why those sites are not suitable for development.

We have more background information on this topic on our Green Belt page.

August 2018

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Sustrans to lead Railway Path Habitat Restoration Project

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Crosswort growing on the railway habitat restoration project area.

We are pleased to report that Sustrans (link), as part of its Greenways initiative, is now leading on maintaining the previously opened area of our Railway Path Habitat Restoration Project, and, if person-power allows, perhaps even expanding it.

On Saturday 15 September from 10.30am - 12.30pm Sustrans will be holding a working party session on the SEG 'habitat bank'. This session will focus on removing brambles etc. by the roots, which have started to reinvade the opened area. If you would like to participate please bring a full-size garden fork or spade if you have them. Wear stout shoes, gardening glove are advised. Other activities will include removing regrowth shoots from woody stumps - so if you wish to help with that aspect please being secateurs. And do bring your own refreshments. If you wish to participate there is no need to register, just turn up on the day.

Andy Richman is co-ordinating this project for Sustrans. If you wish to volunteer with Sustrans visit: www.sustrans.org.uk/volunteer-sustrans.

August 2018

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Archaeological Dig: Trial trench unearths Roman artefacts

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SEG and BACAS (Bath and Counties Archaeological Society) have jointly completed a trial excavation at a site on the south side of Saltford where geophysical surveys had indicated the possible presence of a Roman building. Originally planned for October, the dig had to be brought forward to August and scaled back because access to the field was required earlier than anticipated in order to prepare the field for sowing the next crop. The change in the farmer's schedule was due to the summer heatwave.

A limited dig involving the excavation of one trial trench was carried out over 3 days from 13-15 August. This was undertaken by a small team of volunteers.

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The trial trench measured approximately 3 metres wide by 4 metres long. An uneven limestone floor was discovered below the top soil with a thin layer of soil between the limestone floor and the bedrock beneath, the bedrock being less than 1 metre below the surface. Immediately above and within the limestone floor top surface the following was found: two small bronze Roman coins, numerous pottery sherds dating mainly from the Roman period, hobnails and roofing nails and a variety of bones mostly from cattle and sheep, some of which had clearly been butchered (clean cut). A third Roman coin was later found in the spoil heap.

Those items and previous finds suggest that the site may have been used for various purposes including farming, livestock holding and/or meat processing, and possible light industry supporting agricultural and other activities. It is also possible that the site's use changed several times during the Roman occupation and that another area of this very large site was used as a dwelling.

It will take some time for the findings from the trench to be interpreted by the archaeological experts at BACAS and for the artefacts found to be identified and dated. We will announce and publish a copy of the BACAS report on our Online Museum when it is available.

SEG is very grateful to the team from BACAS and local volunteers for taking part in this trial dig which had to be organised hurriedly before we lost the August time window.

August 2018

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The real value of wasps

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Whilst many find wasps annoying and associate them mainly with the risk of being stung, it is important to regard them not simply as pests that can sting, but as an important part of our ecosystem (the community of animals and plants) and thus our economy.

Wasps as a group help protect farm crops by predating insects and, like bees, they are important pollinators. Wasps also play a valuable clean-up role by scavenging vast amounts of waste organic material as they gather protein to feed to their larvae. It is not clear whether, if all wasps were eliminated, that other parts of the ecosystem would expand to take over their roles. The well-established fact that pollinators, as a group, are under severe decline in England suggests a high risk that if the wasps disappeared, their pollination services would not be replaced in full by other means.

There are many species (about 9,000!) of wasp in the UK. The vast majority of these species are solitary, cannot sting people, and perform, in total, an amazing variety of ecosystem services. All these species cause no upset to us humans.

Many are strikingly beautiful (such as the iridescent ruby-tailed wasps Chrysis, a genus readily observable in Saltford) and many have remarkable natural history, often involving extraordinarily specific parasitic relationships with other insects. For example Cotesia glomerata develops inside the caterpillars of a cabbage white butterfly, the Large White; by killing up to 70% of the caterpillar population this wasp provides enormous economic benefit to cabbage-growers. This species is also common in Saltford.

Amongst the very few species of wasps in the UK that can be problematic for people, it is the familiar "social wasps" in particular the Common wasp (Vespula vulgaris) with its black and yellow stripes and the very similar, slightly larger, German wasp (Vespula germanica), that cause the most upset. These species occur almost throughout the UK. Their stings allow them to capture and immobilise their prey (e.g. aphids, caterpillars, flies and spiders) and they may also sting to defend their nest or themselves if they feel threatened - if you just ignore them they will often just fly off (unless you're consuming sugar-rich foods in which case they probably won't!) whereas flapping at them can provoke them and make a sting more likely.

But even these species perform valuable ecological services. The exact same species can readily be observed foraging at nectar-rich flowers, during which they pollinate these plants. This is especially so in late September to October, when insects which overwinter as adults (such as Vespula wasps) are foraging intensively to make provision for the winter.

That is a good way to move beyond seeing wasps as nothing more than a nuisance, but to come to value and appreciate their role in helping to maintain balance in the natural environment and supporting the productivity of many species of plants, including some that provide the food that we eat.

August 2018

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Cigarette butts in the environment

"Please discard your cigarette butts responsibly - stub it, bin it!"

A Keep Britain Tidy survey in 2014/15 found smoking related litter to be the most common littered items; cigarette butts being the most prevalent. Many do not realise that cigarette butts are made of non-biodegradable plastic (cellulose acetate - a type of plastic; some have added charcoal) and therefore persist in the environment when dropped/flicked away.

While ultraviolet rays from the sun will eventually break them into smaller pieces, the toxic material never disappears. The e-cigarettes now widely used by smokers may be a new source of environmental contamination, with the batteries and used nicotine cartridges being carelessly discarded.

Toxin-filled cigarette butts work their way into our waterways primarily through storm drains that empty into our rivers. Although the damage done to our bodies by cigarettes is well known, we still don't yet fully understand the health implications for our oceans, beyond that other forms of micro-plastics and microfibres pose a serious risk to marine organisms. A scientific study from San Diego State University (2011) suggests one smoked cigarette butt in a single litre of water is sufficient to kill both marine and freshwater fish.

Whilst more research is needed to assess the impact of butt consumption among wild animals, there are anecdotal reports of butt consumption by dogs, fish, turtles, birds, and other marine life. 5.5 trillion cigarettes are consumed globally every year. Of these, 4.95 trillion have filters, deposited somewhere in the environment.

As Keep Britain Tidy says, "cigarette butts are a unique type of litter - small, smelly, on fire and sadly commonplace on the ground. Even smokers don't like them much, and together these little butts add up to a very big problem."

Want to stop smoking? According to the NHS wherever you live in the UK, there is easy access to a free service proven to help you stop smoking. Here in Saltford our local pharmacy Day Lewis Pharmacy (497 Bath Rd) provides a stop smoking service including advice on vaping with a qualified adviser and can issue prescription vouchers for nicotine replacement therapy (e.g. nicotine patches and other products).

Information sources:
Keep Britain Tidy
www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3088407/
US-based "Cigarette Butt Pollution Project" (www.cigwaste.org/).

August 2018

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B&NES Council confirms its opposition to the Government's proposals on fracking

We reported in July the Government's proposals to streamline the planning process for fracking and reduce the ability of local communities to influence fracking applications. This is by treating non-hydraulic exploratory drilling as 'permitted development' as well as proposals to designate fracking projects as 'Nationally Significant Infrastructure Projects'.

We are pleased to report that the B&NES Council Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods and Development, Cllr Bob Goodman, confirmed to SEG in August in response to our seeking the Council's support for opposition to the Government's proposals that "the Leader of Bath and North East Somerset Council has written to the Secretary of State, Greg Clark to strongly object to the proposals".

August 2018

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SEG objects to premature planning application for another 80 houses between Keynsham and Saltford

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On 4th August SEG submitted a strong objection to B&NES Council concerning planning application 18/02899/OUT for up to 80 houses etc. on Green Belt land safeguarded in the B&NES Core Strategy, i.e. land "safeguarded to meet longer term development needs". This land is adjacent (south) to the site where 250 new houses are about to be built by the A4 and Wellsway School.

SEG's objection included the following:-

SEG strongly objects to this outline planning application for up to 80 dwellings on Green Belt land safeguarded in the B&NES Core Strategy, i.e. land "safeguarded to meet longer term development needs". The purpose of safeguarded land has been to consider it for development (i) AFTER the other developments identified in the Core Strategy have been completed, not before, and thus when infrastructure is already in place and found to be coping with existing and new demands placed on it, AND (ii) if a genuine demand for additional new housing remains after the other Core Strategy developments have been completed.

The revised NPPF (2018) requires 'exceptional circumstances' for releasing land from the Green Belt. Whilst in this case this is land that has already been released by B&NES Council from the Green Belt in the Core Strategy, that release was safeguarded for later development. No exceptional circumstances for releasing the land for development early have been given in the planning application.

To allow this to proceed before other developments that were allowed in the B&NES Core Strategy on Keynsham's Green Belt would put undue and additional pressure on transport infrastructure and public services. Those services and infrastructure already struggle or fail to cope with the existing housing density before the proposed Core Strategy developments have been built and supporting infrastructure for those developments put in place beforehand. Those transport problems affect people travelling to, from and through Saltford and increasingly grid lock local roads leading towards Keynsham Town Centre, Saltford's closest town.

SEG agrees with comments from the B&NES Senior Highways Development Control Engineer who referred to the fact that the Inspector for the B&NES Core Strategy was clear that the development here should only come forward after the Local Plan review and that traffic impacts of any scheme at this location need to be "properly assessed".

SEG also agrees with the Senior Highways Development Control Engineer's objection to this proposed development as "The existing road network in the vicinity of the site has insufficient capacity to accommodate the increase in traffic likely to be generated by the proposed development. The proposal is therefore considered to be contrary to Policies KE3b and ST7 of the Bath & North East Somerset Placemaking Plan, and contrary to paragraph 32 of the National Planning Policy Framework."

It is thus far too premature to even consider giving outline planning permission to this application and to permit this would overrule the whole purpose for safeguarding land in the Core Strategy for longer term development needs when those needs have not yet been assessed and the effects caused by existing plans for development of the Green Belt have not been experienced, assessed and remedied where found to be negative.

In addition to the above, SEG said that this development would be contrary to the principle of sustainable development and referred to the lack of natural or semi-natural land in B&NES that is required to provide ecosystem support for local farmland for food security, i.e. our local Green Belt should be protected from development. SEG also reminded B&NES of the principle of "net environmental gain" for housing and infrastructure development announced by the Prime Minister when launching the Government's 25 year plan for the environment in January 2018 and referred to the need for "net environmental gain" for new developments in the new National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) published recently in July 2018.

SEG members and others wishing to comment on this planning application (deadline is Monday 6th August 2018) can follow this link and key 18/02899/OUT into the search box: B&NES Development Control. If you encounter difficulties with the B&NES website you can email your objection/comments to development_management@bathnes.gov.uk but make sure you include the reference number for this planning application (18/02899/OUT).

The B&NES target decision date for this planning application is 31st (was 4th) October 2018. Saltford Parish Council will be considering its response to this planning application at its 4th September meeting. UPDATE: Saltford Parish Council agreed to submit a strong objection to this planning application at its 4th September meeting.

August 2018 (updated September 2018)

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Air quality improving

Wide-ranging work to improve air quality across Bath and North East Somerset has been outlined in an annual status report published on 1st August by B&NES Council which shows decreases in harmful levels of Nitrogen Dioxide (measured in micrograms per cubic metre, µg/m3) across the district. The detailed report says the average decrease in nitrogen dioxide across the district was 10 per cent in 2017 compared with eight per cent the previous year. In Saltford all the monitoring sites are below the objective of 40µg/m3.

That is encouraging news (that we reported in March) but SEG is naturally concerned that the additional 250 houses about to be built on former Green Belt land in Keynsham East (by the A4 before the Waitrose roundabout) allowed under the B&NES Core Strategy will further increase traffic congestion and thus air pollution on the A4 through Saltford.

The Saltford monitoring stations are The Crown and 562 Bath Road. Saltford Library is no longer monitored as it has been below 40 µg/m3 at this location for several years.

In Keynsham High Street there has been a 15% decrease in NO2 concentrations following the introduction of a trial one-way system. For Bath, the report details a series of actions already in place to improve air quality as part of the council's Clean Air Plan called Bath BreATHes 2021 as well as proposals for a charging Clean Air Zone in Bath. For further information about air quality in Bath go to www.bathnes.gov.uk/bath-breathes-2021 and for the B&NES Air Quality Report news announcement report on the B&NES website click this link to air quality annual report news where there is also a link to the Air Quality Action Plan for Saltford.

August 2018

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More and 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:-

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 phil@philharding.net for a no-obligation chat on possible volunteer help.

First published June 2018

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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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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: Joanne Pike saltfordwombles@gmail.com

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!).

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- "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's next scheduled public opening will be announced here. Want a private viewing? We can also open the Heritage Centre for 1-hour private viewings by small groups on request (see the Heritage Centre web page for details).

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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is generously supported by:
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"Think global, act local"