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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)

LATEST!

Saltford Parish Council Election 2nd May: SEG's "Saltford 20/20" team

B&NES Council Election 2nd May: Answers to Questions from SEG

Saltford Wombles: Litter Pick Sunday 28 April

OTHER NEWS

SEG objects to Green Belt loss between Saltford and Keynsham

2019 Big Garden Birdwatch results: House Sparrow remains top

Saltford Wombles founder gets deserved community award

Upcycling Craft Group to help decorate High Street for Saltford Festival

See the 11th C Viking Buckle at Saltford Heritage Centre, 30th March

Water shortages in England within 25 years

Annual Saltford Dawn Chorus Walk, 21st April

B&NES Council declares a climate emergency

Saltford Wombles: Litter Pick Sunday 24 March

Gender and Fairtrade

Government to mandate net gains for biodiversity on new developments

Saltford Upcycling Craft Group 21st March

SPC's Key Actions & Achievements 2015 - 2019


You can find more news in our News Archive.


Current VOLUNTEER assistance sought by SEG >>




Saltford Parish Council Election 2nd May: SEG's "Saltford 20/20" team

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A new dawn for Saltford?

The Local Election for Saltford Parish Council (SPC) will take place alongside the B&NES Council elections on Thursday 2nd May. There are 12 candidates standing for the 11 Councillor posts on SPC and SEG has put together a team of 10 candidates seeking 10 your 11 votes.

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Pictured above is the new Saltford 20/20 team, all SEG members and living in Saltford, who have put themselves forward to serve Saltford from 2nd May on Saltford Parish Council as independent cadidates. These include existing Parish Councillors Adrian Betts, Jon Godfrey, Phil Harding, Rob Taylor & Chris Warren.

The Saltford 20/20 team is in favour of protecting the Green Belt around the village from development including from fracking and a road bypass (that would be infilled with housing); reopening the railway station on the existing site; and that Saltford should continue to be a caring community that encourages Fairtrade and looks after the environment whilst aiming for a lighter ecological footprint that is more climate friendly for the benefit of future generations.

The Saltford 20/20 team are as follows:-

   Adrian Betts is passionate about Saltford and its precious Green Belt land. He is on Saltford Environment Group's Executive Group and has also served on Saltford Parish Council for more than five years. He has been a member of the Governing body of Saltford School.

   Marie Carder has lived in Saltford all her life and spent the last eleven years of her working life working for local companies. She is a strong supporter of the Library/Post Office and the Saltford Community Association and has volunteered on Saturdays for the past three years at the Library.

   Will Feay and his family have lived in Saltford for many generations. With such strong ties to the village he is passionate about the local community. Whilst he supports change, he is keen to ensure Saltford's unique charm is protected for future generations.

   Jon Godfrey has founded three technology recycling businesses and has lived and worked in Saltford for over 12 years. Jon holds pragmatic views on sustainable energy and has supported the Saltford Library & Post Office and helped introduce new technology to both the Parish Council and the Saltford Community Association.

   Gary Graveling has settled in Saltford with his young family and is concerned about the erosion of the invaluable green spaces and environmental corridors that surround Saltford. As an Environmental Consultant working with the construction industry, he understands the need to regenerate redundant brownfield sites ahead of the short-term opportunistic development of our irreplaceable Green Belt.

   Phil Harding helped set up Saltford Environment Group in 2011 & has chaired SEG since 2013 (including during the Saltford Green Belt Inquiry). SPC Vice Chair since May 2015 & Chair of Planning since May 2018. A former Senior Policy Adviser on sustainable development & climate change for Defra's South West regional office, Phil strongly advocates Green Belt protection.

   Adam Rees-Leonard has been living in Saltford for 6 years and has a young family. He is committed to promoting opportunities for young people, protecting Saltford's Green Belt and has an interest in old houses. Adam has held a number of committee positions, including current chair of the prestigious UKNEST Science & Technology government and industry work stream.

   Rob Taylor is a lifelong resident from a long standing Saltford family and has been elected as councillor onto the previous two Saltford Parish Councils. He is a member of the Saltford Station Campaign, a keen campaigner for the preservation of Saltford's character, and firmly against inappropriate development in the village and surrounding Green Belt.

   Sally Turner has lived in Saltford for 17 years with her three daughters who attended local schools. She owns Tiddlers nursery/chuckles and The Little Coffee Shop in Saltford. Sally values the location, beauty and community feel of the village. She wants this to continue with more opportunities for residents and a safe environment for young people.

   Chris Warren has lived in Saltford for over 20 years and appreciates what a beautiful place it is. He wants to retain the character of the village whilst ensuring any developments enhance and are sensitive to Saltford. As Chairman of SPC he and his fellow councillors have made SPC far more open and approachable. Getting our station back remains his high priority.

Remember, you have 11 votes - have your say and make your votes count on 2nd May!

Saltford 20/20 enquiries to SEG's Chairman Phil Harding.

April 2019

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B&NES Council Election 2nd May: Answers to Questions from SEG

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SEG has asked the candidates representing the main political parties competing for Saltford votes in the 2nd May B&NES Council local election six questions preceded by a short introductory statement as set out below. These were addressed to the candidates asking for their view and that of the party they represent should it control B&NES Council after the election.

INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT

Traffic congestion and resulting air pollution on the Bath Road (A4), likely to get worse with new housing being built in Keynsham East and North, is a growing concern for Saltford residents. It is widely acknowledged that a Saltford bypass would lead to significant infilling with new housing on the Green Belt and create even more car journeys when non-car solutions are required for commuting to reduce congestion at peak periods. Likewise the delay in making progress towards re-opening Saltford Station as part of Metro West despite a very favourable business case is regrettable.

The growing pressures on the natural environment and the land that sustains life from the interlinked problems associated with manmade climate change, plastics, poor waste management, consumerism, and unhindered population growth leading to habitat and wildlife species loss highlights the importance and benefits that we receive from the local green open spaces surrounding the area where we live including the Green Belt for rest, recreation and the ecological support such land can provide to farmland and thus towards our future food security.

Responses have been received from the candidates for Saltford from the Lib Dems (Duncan Hounsell & Alastair Singleton) and the Conservatives (Emma Dixon & Elizabeth Carter) and these are given below. We also approached the Labour Party and await news if it will be fielding a candidate for our ward.

OUR SIX QUESTIONS

   1. Do you and your party wish to see Saltford's Green Belt protected from future housing development and will you keep Saltford's Green Belt out of the forthcoming B&NES Local Plan 2016-2036?

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS PARTY RESPONSE:-

Maintaining protective green belt around Saltford and the other villages in this ward is a top priority for us. The National Policy Planning Framework (NPPF) states that development in green belt should only happen if exceptional circumstances outweigh the harm to green belt. The word "exceptional" must never be replaced by "convenient". The local plan will eventually be considered by the whole B&NES Council and then by an independent planning inspector who will determine if the plan is "sound". The Liberal Democrats will endeavour to keep Saltford's Green Belt out of the forthcoming Local Plan. The Liberal Democrats will aim to protect the distinctive character of our villages.

CONSERVATIVE PARTY RESPONSE:-

As residents of Saltford, we appreciate the importance of protecting the Green Belt that surrounds us. At a public meeting of Saltford Residents in 2016, Conservative leader Tim Warren said clearly 'that the current B&NES administration had no intention to allow housing development on Saltford's Green Belt'. We fully intend to continue to keep Saltford's Green Belt protected from future housing development.


   2. Do you and your party agree that the overwhelming majority of new homes in B&NES and the West of England should be built within our towns and cities and not on the Green Belt?

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS PARTY RESPONSE:-

Development should be planned and minimise the need for commuting. Housing development should take place within existing housing development boundaries as far as possible. If a village, like Corston, wanted small-scale housing development on its boundary for its own village needs, we will support that. If large-scale new housing has to be found in green belt because of exceptional circumstances we would prefer to create a completely new green village and not destroy the character of existing villages with inappropriate development.

CONSERVATIVE PARTY RESPONSE:-

Whilst we recognise the need for more housing within B&NES, and the West of England generally, we agree with Communities Secretary the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP that we should not be "building all over our Green Belt in order to hit those housing targets", rather we should be looking creatively at "how we use the existing built environment and indeed brown field sites that are there".


   3. Do you and your party support drilling or fracking for onshore gas in NE Somerset or should more effort be placed on cleaner, renewable energy sources?

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS PARTY RESPONSE:-

There is a cross-party consensus to oppose fracking in this area. Liberal Democrats support all forms of renewable energy such as the solar array at Saltford Hall. When elected, we will implement a clear carbon reduction plan for Bath and North East Somerset Council's own activity. We will use and adapt our planning policies to push low carbon developments throughout the district. We will strengthen carbon reduction policies in the Local Plan so that all new developments achieve zero carbon. We will also tackle the need for more energy efficient retrofitting. Liberal Democrats will enable residents and businesses to achieve low carbon in their own activities through education and information and will lead a shift in the way the community in B&NES thinks about climate change. We will work with partners in the business community to address urgent needs such as the elimination of single-use plastic. We will also work with schools and community groups to proactively promote carbon reduction. Our aim is that this area becomes one of the greenest areas in the country - carbon neutral by 2030.

CONSERVATIVE PARTY RESPONSE:-

We are fully supportive of the decision taken in the B&NES Conservative Council Group Motion passed in April 2013 which raised concerns relating to and opposed the use of unconventional gas extraction and geothermal exploitation within Bath and North East Somerset and neighbouring areas. This was later reaffirmed by the motion approved in September 2018 where Council Leader, Tim Warren wrote to Greg Clark, the Secretary of State suggesting that if permitted development rights were approved in B&NES, the Council would apply for them to be removed.


   4. The River Avon through Saltford is a Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI) yet there has been little or no effective enforcement in recent years to protect the riverbanks and the river's ecology from damage or over-stay moorings by a minority of boaters and members of the general public. How will you and your party protect the river and its ecology from over-stay moorings, irresponsible mooring practices including waste disposal and other inappropriate behaviour on Saltford's riverbanks?

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS PARTY RESPONSE:-

The river-bank and river is for all to enjoy and should not be dominated by the interests of one group. For years Mead Lane was not an official designated mooring point with facilities yet suffered from inconsiderate boat mooring nevertheless. A trial of a combination of 48 hour and the default maximum 14 day moorings has not worked well. Some boaters have stayed well beyond 14 days and there have been other issues. A key step is to ensure that the review of moorings along the river by the Canals and River Trust is completed as soon as possible. We will maintain a dialogue between Bath and North East Somerset Council, local residents in Saltford who live by the river, the Parish Council, and other stake-holders. Alastair Singleton and Duncan Hounsell believe there should be a 48 hour limit in Mead Lane, adequately monitored, or, failing that, no moorings allowed at all.

CONSERVATIVE PARTY RESPONSE:-

We will continue to build on the working relationships we have established, through meetings and engagement with local residents and other agencies, such as the Canal and River Trust, to find deliverable solutions to the multiple challenges presented by this, rightly popular, feature of Saltford.


   5. Do you and your party agree with and support Saltford Station being rebuilt on its original site and if so what will you and your party do to help bring forward the re-opening of our station without further delay?

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS PARTY RESPONSE:-

Liberal Democrats will continue to work towards a better public transport system, including a station at Saltford. The footprint of the original Saltford railway station is intact and is larger than at Keynsham station. It is in a good location to act as a transport hub with its connections to other forms of transport. Liberal Democrats, when last in power 2011-15, put Saltford station on the MetroWest rail project map, commissioned two reports from consultants, and conducted a public consultation in Saltford on the proposed station. We earmarked £250K in the 2015 budget to take the Saltford station project to the next stages of project development. That money was never spent by the Conservative administration at B&NES. Our first priority is to identify why there has been no apparent progress in the last four years. We will work with Network Rail and the train operating companies to make a station at Saltford a reality and not just an aspiration. A key step is to ensure that the new West of England Combined Authority (WECA) recognises Saltford station as affordable, achievable, and in line with its aims.

CONSERVATIVE PARTY RESPONSE:-

The Conservative administration of Bath & North East Somerset Council is working with the West of England Combined Authority and Network Rail on bringing back a train station to Saltford. We have asked Network Rail to look again at Saltford and anticipate they will report back to us in the coming months.


   6. Do you and your party agree that a possible bypass on or adjacent to Saltford's Green Belt is inappropriate and that proposals for a bypass within or around the parish of Saltford however vague should be kept out of the West of England Joint Spatial Plan to avoid a blight on the local housing market?

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS PARTY RESPONSE:-

Residents in Copse Road, Grange Road, Montague Road, Manor Road, Uplands Road and closes off were disturbed to see a diagram in the first draft of the West of England Joint Local Transport Plan (JLTP4) showing an indicative arc for an orbital road skirting Saltford to the south leaving the A4 near Copse Road and returning to the A4 between Saltford and Corston. This diagram has since been withdrawn but the text still refers to future consideration options for a by-pass. Recent studies by consultants Atkins contracted by the West of England Partnership concluded that "the (south Saltford) bypass would cross difficult terrain, with steep slopes south east of the village... These issues would collectively result in landscape impacts, major earthworks and relatively high scheme costs." This is not surprising as the same consultants came to the conclusion in the 2006 Greater Bristol Transport Study that this road would have no strategic benefit and be very costly.

In the past 50 years, no feasible route for a by-pass has ever been identified. The first officially adopted route identified by the Department of Transport in the 1970s went past Saltford's conservation area. This plan was dropped a few years later. Some houses were affected by "housing blight" in that period.

A LOCAL by-pass at Saltford would lead to the loss of green belt and agricultural land, have a negative environmental effect on the countryside, lead to housing in-fill, affect the viability of Saltford shops and businesses, raise noise and overall pollution levels, risk the community forest, increase overall traffic volumes, provide no strategic benefits, and give poor value for money.

Congestion on the A4 at peak times can be tackled in other ways - improved public transport, altering signage in the wider sub-region, tackling the school-run, reviewing the operation of the two sets of traffic lights in the centre of the village, ensuring lorries out of Southampton docks heading west take strategic routes away from Saltford. Liberal Democrats want traffic taken away from the A4 but that needs to be tackled at a regional level, not at a parochial level.

CONSERVATIVE PARTY RESPONSE:-

In 2016, in a survey carried out by us, a majority of respondents said they were unhappy at the suggestion of a possible by-pass on or adjacent to our Green Belt and were assured by Council Leader, Tim Warren, that if Saltford residents did not want a by-pass, then one would not be built. We will endeavour to ensure that the voices of local people continue to be heard and taken notice of in this way.


[END of Q & A]

We shall update this news item as appropriate.

April 2019

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Saltford Wombles: Litter Pick Sunday 28 April

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- seen on facebook...

Our next monthly litter pick is on Sunday 28 April, 2.00-4.00pm, meeting outside The Little Coffee Shop on Manor Road, for a post-Easter holiday tidy up.

If you have litter pickers, gloves and high viz vest please do bring them, but if not we can provide them. We have bags provided by B&NES Council. Please do let us know (see last paragraph) if you would like to come along, as we will need to ensure we bring enough equipment with us.

There will not be a litter pick in May, but we will have 2 in June before and after the Village Festival, so that the village is looking its absolute best : dates are Sunday 2nd June and Sunday 30th June. Details of time and meeting place will be emailed to all those registered with Saltford Wombles nearer the time.

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.

If you would like to attend the April litter pick, or would just like to find out more about the Saltford Wombles, please contact Barbara at the following email address: saltfordwombles@gmail.com.

April 2019

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SEG objects to Green Belt loss between Saltford and Keynsham

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NB. Image is for illustrative purposes only.

On 16th April SEG submitted an online planning objection to the planning application 19/01437/VAR Glenavon Farm, 331 Bath Road, Saltford BS31 3TJ - Variation of condition 18 for application 12/05167/FUL (Renovation, extension and conversion of existing farm buildings to a farm shop and cafe/restaurant with car parking and associated access arrangements).

SEG's planning objection was as follows:-

   Saltford Environment Group objects to the expansion of the site's (large) car park into the Green Belt. The incremental development of this site since the original planning permission in 2012 does not justify removal of a small piece of Green Belt land at the south eastern edge of the car park as shown in the application plans (red line boundary). The red line boundary has moved south east wards from the 2012 planning application’s red line in this application (variation) and this represents a small developmental addition in a very sensitive area of Saltford's Green Belt between Saltford and Keynsham.

   SEG considers the planning application (variation) to be contrary to the protection afforded to the Green Belt under NPPF (2018) paragraphs 134 (a) to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas; (b) to prevent neighbouring towns merging into one another; (c) to assist in safeguarding the countryside from encroachment; and (d) to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns. There are no special circumstances to justify loss or development of Green Belt land here where the openness of the Green Belt at this location provides the setting for Saltford as a rural historic village. The development of a parcel of the Green Belt for use as a car park at this location would therefore be contrary to the 2017 B&NES Placemaking Plan policy GB1: Visual Amenity of the Green Belt and policy GB2: Development in Green Belt Villages.

   Whilst it is not for the planning system to determine this, tree, hedging or wildflower planting of native species appropriate to NE Somerset would be an ecologically sensible use of this small piece of land.

SEG members and others wishing to comment on this planning application (deadline is Wednesday 1st May 2019) can follow this link and key 19/01437/VAR 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 (19/01437/VAR).

The target decision date for this application is 3rd June 2019. Saltford Parish Council will be considering its response this planning application at its next public meeting on 17th May.

April 2019

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2019 Big Garden Birdwatch results: House Sparrow remains top

Over 7.67 million birds were counted in the 2019 Big Garden Birdwatch held on the weekend of 26/28 January. The top ten most commonly observed birds across the UK were (change on 2018 position in brackets):-

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

Although the top of the list stayed stable, there were more shifts lower down. Bullfinches have climbed the rankings since the early 2000s, regularly reaching the top 25.

Another Finch species, the Brambling, moved from number 50 in 2018 to number 43. They are winter visitors and migrate here in large numbers if conditions here are more favourable than on the Continent or, when their favourite food - seeds of Beech trees - are in plentiful supply.

Sadly, it's bad news for Song Thrushes and Starlings. According to the RSPB both have declined by around 77% since the Big Garden Birdwatch began in 1979. The RSPB think the decline of Song Thrushes is down to loss of places where they prefer to live and breed.

But there is also good news: Coal Tits are up by nearly 245% since 1979, and Goldfinches, not even included in the first Birdwatch, have increased by around 70% since the early 2000s!

More information can be found on the RSPB website. You can also find more information on social media using the hashtag #BigGardenBirdWatch.

April 2019

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Saltford Wombles founder gets deserved community award

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The Saltford Parish Council Community Awards took place as part of the Annual SPC meeting on 2nd April, and the Parish Council gave awards to seven individuals or groups. Winners were given a certificate and £70 to donate to a local charity or organisation of their choice. Of particular interest to SEG this year was the award for our member Julie Sampson (seen pictured above) who founded Saltford Wombles.

Julie through a mix of her own personal enthusiasm and determination set up SEG's Saltford Wombles at the end of 2014 to tackle litter in Saltford. She obtained all the necessary equipment (litter picks, protective gloves, fluorescent tabards etc.) and organised very effective monthly litter picks.

Julie stepped down from organising Saltford Wombles in 2018 and handed over the group to a new organiser in fine form and it continues to prove very popular and effective in the village (Saltford Wombles is now organised by Barbara Turner). Saltford Wombles engages effectively with many members of the community and has included litter picks with Saltford School.

Julie has chosen to donate her £70 donation to the 'Green Team' at Saltford School, so that they can purchase their own litter pickers and hi-vis jackets for the children.

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Julie (on right) about to start a monthly litter pick in 2015.

SEG is naturally delighted that the work by Julie in getting Saltford Wombles up and running so effectively has been recognised by the community through this award.

The seven award winners were:-

  • Saltford Achievement Award - Julie Sampson
  • Saltford Achievement Award - Mary Stoate
  • Saltford Achievement Award - Catherine Singleton
  • Saltford Achievement Award - Kevin Reeves
  • Volunteer Team Award - Saltford Primary School Parent Teacher Association
  • Volunteer Team Award - Saltford Community Hub Library Volunteers
  • Business in the Community Award - Saltford Community Library and Post Office

SEG congratulates them all and thanks them for the work they do or have done for our community. More information about these awards can be found on the SPC website www.saltfordparishcouncil.gov.uk.

We publish details of our monthly litter picks on this website. Further information about Saltford Wombles can be found on our website on our Less Waste page >>

April 2019

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Upcycling Craft Group to help decorate High Street for Saltford Festival

At this month's meeting on Thursday 11th April we are going to help this year's Saltford Festival (June 8th - 16th) with bunting. The High Street can be a wonderful showcase of our village for visitors and we have a lovely spot to show off our upcycling skills by decorating one of our group member's garden wall on the High Street. We have a substantial length of cotton type ribbon to use as a starter but other ideas are always welcome. Bring along pinking scissors, odds and end of material etc. (old curtains, bedlinen, garden twine... you get the idea) or anything you think is suitable. Weather-proof material will be necessary just in case.

Recycling pre-loved things for the festival will be a great example of our upcycling activities.

We look forward to seeing you on 11th April at Signs of Saltford (work entrance), 7-9pm, 559 Bath Road, Saltford) - Note: this is a change of date from previous plans for our April meeting. If you would like join us or find out more about our group please text Frances Eggbeer on 07789---528834.

You can find more information about the Upcycling Craft Group on our Low Waste page >>

April 2019

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See the 11th C Viking Buckle at Saltford Heritage Centre, 30th March

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How did the 11th C bronze Viking Buckle get to Saltford?

Saltford's very rare bronze Viking Buckle will be displayed by SEG to the public for the first time at the Saltford Heritage Centre (1st floor, St Mary's Church Hall, Queen Sq, High St. Saltford) on Saturday 30th March from 9.30am to 12 noon - admission is free. Found in 2018, it has been described by the British Museum's finds officer for this area as being of "regional importance". It gives our first local evidence of the Viking's presence in this area.

Why not come and see this fascinating 11th Century artefact and information displays about its design and origins? Other important Saltford artefacts including the Saltford Carthaginian Coin (300-264 BC) will also be available to see. Refreshments including hot cross buns will be available on the ground floor at the church hall from St Mary's Easter Market.

More information about this remarkable artfect can be found on SEG's Online Museum and our 'History of Saltford Project' special feature page.

March 2019

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Water shortages in England within 25 years

No water, no life.
No blue, no green.
No ocean, no us...

Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, spoke to the Waterwise Conference on 19 March 2019. The following are extracts from his speech where he warned that England will not have enough water to meet demand within 25 years.

"The population of the UK is expected to rise from 67 million now to 75 million in 2050. All those extra people need houses and roads and energy and food and places to work, all of which will require more water.

"So: climate change plus growth = an existential threat. To our economy, environment, security, happiness, way of life. In the face of water scarcity, we must tackle both sides of the equation: reduce demand and increase supply."

"We can reduce demand by reducing leakage, by more water metering, sustainable drainage systems, insisting on new building regulations to drive greater water efficiency, and finding ways to cut down the amount of water we each use as individuals."

"And we can increase supply by a mix of methods, all of which we'll need to pursue. We will need to see more water transfers between regions from areas of water surplus to areas of deficit. There's scope to do much more here: currently only 4% of water supplies are transferred between individual water companies."

"We will need to build more desalination plants. Thames Water have an impressive one in Beckton, the first of its kind in the UK, which can provide up to 150 million litres of drinking water each day - enough for nearly one million people."

"And most controversially of all, we will need to build new reservoirs. Creating some of that new infrastructure will be challenging: we have not built a new reservoir in the UK for decades, largely because clearing all the planning and legal hurdles necessary is so difficult and local opposition so fierce."

He said the Environment Agency was "working with the government to set the right level of ambition for water efficiency. We are particularly interested in specific ideas on how we could get this country to Waterwise's ambitious target of 100 litres per person per day."

Sir James Bevan ended his speech by quoting from Sylvia Earle, the distinguished marine biologist, to sum up everything that's at stake here: "No water, no life. No blue, no green. No ocean, no us."

March 2019

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Annual Saltford Dawn Chorus Walk, 21st 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 (Easter) Sunday 21st 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 Bath, 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.

This event is free but an optional donation of £1 to support Avon Wildlife Trust funds is suggested.

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

March 2019

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B&NES Council declares a climate emergency

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On 14th March Bath & North East Somerset Council made a cross-party major decision to become the latest council to declare a climate emergency. As part of this they resolved to:

   "Sign up to the UK100 Pledge to provide the strategic community leadership needed to enable our communities to achieve 100% clean energy across all sectors in Bath & North East Somerset by 2030, as a logical step from the B&NES Environmental Sustainability Vision Motion passed unanimously by Council in July 2018, and as a way to enable carbon neutrality by 2030."

The motion also stated that:-

   "B&NES is well-placed to champion both rural and urban decarbonisation through renewable energy, energy efficiency, smart energy development, zero carbon homes, local & sustainable food, sustainable travel, carbon sequestration."

The original motion that was proposed can be found from this external link (pdf opens in new window). The final motion that was passed also included more emphasis on transport and an amendment proposed by the Labour Group to oppose the expansion of Bristol Airport.

The Lib Dem councillor Rob Appleyard, who had brought the motion jointly with Conservative councillor Mark Shelford, said: "This is an ambitious motion as it asks this council to change many ways of thinking, changing priorities. Climate consideration should be an accepted part of any conversation and behaviour, of any policy or decision. Climate change has the added challenge that we know we have to start achieving these changes from day one and working with partners and the greater community to achieve change."

Cllr Shelford said: "This subject is bigger than party politics. It's about the future of our children and grandchildren. The council will provide leadership so action is taken across the community to cut carbon emissions."

SEG naturally welcomes the commitment for 100% clean energy across all sectors by 2030 and will be watching with interest to see progress towards reaching the target.

March 2019

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Saltford Wombles: Litter Pick Sunday 24 March

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Our next monthly litter pick is on Sunday 24 March, 2.00-4.00pm.

If you are coming, please email Barbara on the same email address as before, saltfordwombles@gmail.com for the meeting points as the focus for our litter picks will vary depending on our numbers. Thank you.

If you have litter pickers, gloves and high viz vest, please do bring them, but if not we can provide them. We have bags provided by B&NES Council.

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.

March 2019

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Gender and Fairtrade

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'She deserves a living income', the theme of this year's Fairtrade Fortnight fitted in well when on International Women's Day our guest speaker Dr Roy Maconachie showed 40 of us his film entitled "Gender and Fairtrade - the stories of women cocoa farmers in Ghana".

What happens before the bar of chocolate you buy gets neatly wrapped? Are we paying a fair price for it? Does choosing Fairtrade Chocolate really made a difference to anyone? Roy's film, talk and question & answer session certainly gave us a great deal to think about. His research had to work around the sensitivities and culture barriers of the women he wanted to film, something that had not been recognised in the past but is now standard practice.

The women had been given video cameras to capture their daily lives giving them free reign to tell their stories, no questions, just realities. The women spoke their minds and showed the struggle of helping their husbands and attending to all the family needs before working their own cocoa trees.

One of Roy's aims was to generate wider lessons for Fairtrade policy and practice, particularly in relation to how cooperatives can do more to empower women and enable them to access greater benefits from Fairtrade. One of Roy's conclusions through his research was that although Fairtrade certification initiatives not initially designed to address gender inequality, or the specific concerns that women face in cocoa production, gender equity has now become one of the key principles of Fairtrade.

This has been borne out in the 2019 Fairtrade Fortnight theme 'She deserves a better wage'. Following a thoughtful, lively question and answer session we were left with fresh thoughts and ideas of the importance of sharing the Fairtrade ethos.

Credits:

FILM: -'Gender and Fairtrade: The stories of women cocoa farmers in Ghana'. A film by Dr Roy Maconachie, Centre for Development Studies, University of Bath.

PRESENTATION: 'How 'fair' is Fairtrade? Ethical cocoa production and gender in Ghana'. Public lecture and discussion by Dr Roy Maconachie, Centre for Development Studies, University of Bath, March 8th 2019, Saltford Hall, Saltford.

Click on the link to watch his fascinating film "Gender and Fairtrade - The stories of women cocoa farmers in Ghana": https://vimeo.com/154721350

March 2019

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Government to mandate net gains for biodiversity on new developments

In the Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond's Spring Statement to Parliament on 13 March 2019 the following statement was included:-

   "The Budget 2018 set out how the government is accelerating the shift to a clean economy, building on the Industrial Strategy, Clean Growth Strategy, and 25 Year Environment Plan. The Spring Statement builds on this commitment: - to ensure that wildlife isn't compromised in delivering necessary infrastructure and housing, the government will Mandate net gains for biodiversity on new developments in England to deliver an overall increase in biodiversity."

SEG will keep this in mind during discussions with B&NES Council over the B&NES Local Plan 2016-20136.

March 2019

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Saltford Upcycling Craft Group 21st March

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Who wouldn't want flowers all year round that don't cost the earth? Our next Upcycling Craft Group meeting will be making unique paper flowers. Old maps, book pages, used wrapping paper, brown wrapping paper and even toilet roll centres can be used.

Join us on March 21st at our free, friendly monthly meeting of the Saltford Upcycling Craft Group and create your very own flowers. No experience needed, we all learn together. We have all the things needed to make the flowers but share any things that are brought along. Please give us a call (to Frances on 07789--528834) if you would like to know more, or come along from 7-9 pm, everyone is welcome.

We meet at: Signs of Saltford (works entrance), 559 Bath Road, Saltford.

Tina and Frances look forward to seeing you all on 21st March.

March 2019

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SPC's Key Actions & Achievements 2015 - 2019

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Supporting PV panels on Saltford Hall was just one action from SPC

At the February 2019 meeting of Saltford Parish Council (SPC) the SPC Chair Cllr Chris Warren provided a summary of the Parish Council's key actions and achievements since it was elected in May 2015. He reminded the meeting that SPC had adopted the Saltford 20/20 5-point vision and policy for Saltford for how it would conduct its business until the next elections that are due this year on 2nd May.

That 5-point vision for Saltford was:

   1. Green Belt land surrounding the village protected from development, including fracking and a road bypass.

   2. Its own re-opened railway station on the existing site in place or already underway.

   3. A decreasing carbon footprint.

   4. A positive, healthy and caring community that encourages Fairtrade, and values and protects the local environment including its heritage.

   5. Is a good neighbour to surrounding villages, towns and cities.

That vision was produced in collaboration with Saltford Environment Group and a new Saltford 20/20 team will be putting themselves forward for the 2nd May local elections to SPC so watch this space for further information in due course.

Here are some examples of the achievements listed in the report (you can download the full report at the end of this news item):-

  • Supporting SCA with funding (£2000 financial contribution in 18/19), advancing the rescue of the new non-profit-making Saltford PO and Library, and agreeing in principle further financial support if required.
  • Blue Plaque for Admiral Kelly at Saltford House to mark his remarkable contribution to ending slavery.
  • New 'Lest We Forget' railings and 'Poppy' gates for the War Memorial, as Saltford's fitting tribute to commemorate the centenary of the end of World War 1.
  • SPC is responsible for the management and safety of St Mary's Churchyard (a closed churchyard). In addition to managing the annual grounds maintenance contract, Councillors carry out the annual headstone and memorial safety check, as well as commissioning and acting on tree surveys, walls and other aspects of the churchyard are cared for and maintained appropriately.
  • Taking ownership of the old BT telephone box by the Bird in Hand. It will soon be refurbished as a Wi-Fi hub.
  • Supporting St Mary's Church provide a venue for the new Saltford Heritage Centre.
  • Grant to Saltford Brass Mill to replace some of the 'starts' (oak struts that project from the wheel and support each blade) (Sept 16)
  • Grant to Saltford Brass Mill of £510 to install non-slip decking strips on the access footbridge for the safety of visitors (March 2017).
  • Organising and hosting the annual Saltford Neighbourhood Watch AGM. This is an open meeting for residents.
  • Supporting the Saltford Festival 2017 by giving a grant of £1000 to the Saltford Community Association (Jan 2017).
  • Lobbied since May 2015 for the re-opening of Saltford Railway station and kept residents informed about progress regarding this live project.
  • Responded to major public consultations in the interests of Saltford i.e. West of England Spatial Plan 'shaping a new blueprint for development which will determine where new homes and workplaces would be built over the course of the next generation' (Jan 16).
  • Responded to B&NES Local Plan Options Consultation (Jan 19), including lobbying B&NES Council on the protection of Saltford's Green Belt in the forthcoming Local Plan.
  • Made representations to central Government on Shale Gas Development (Fracking) Consultation (Jan 19).
  • Investigated and provided responses to B&NES for over 230 planning applications since May 2015.
  • Written to hundreds of households likely to be affected by planning consultations. Letters intend to raise awareness of planning applications and invite residents to speak at the meeting at which the planning consultation is being discussed.
  • Raised contraventions when required and supported residents when raising planning contraventions.
  • Contributing a page in every bi-monthly SCAN edition detailing SPC actions and news, as well as creating relevant articles in SCAN.
  • New Facebook and Twitter social media accounts, offering rapid access to news about local events and issues.
  • Updating the noticeboards by the shops in 2015 so that they could hold more SPC information as well as community information.
  • Councillors oversee SPC's Financial Assistance Grants. These included:
    -   Catalyst funding for a combination of new solar PV panels on Saltford Hall roof and support for extensive programme of energy efficiency measures for the hall.
    -   Keynsham and District Dial a Ride £500 towards two sets of heavy duty wheelchair restraints for the mini-bus.
    -   Grant of £1600 to Saltford District Guides towards installation of a new heating and hot water system for the guide hut
    -   Grant to Citizens Advice B&NES to fund the training of a volunteer based in Keynsham One Stop Shop to help advise local residents
    -   Grant to Saltford Football Club of £3407 (c. half the cost) towards the erection of a new barrier around the first team pitch. This improves safety for spectators and players, as well as meeting the requirements of the County League
    -   Grant to Saltford Community Association for the amount of £1114 to fund the provision of three wifi hotspots in Saltford (Saltford Hall, Saltford PO and Library, and the red ex-BT phone box on the High St / The Shallows).
  • Councillors have actively supported Mead Lane residents since 2015 regarding their concerns about the mooring trial and associated parking proposals.
  • Councillors regularly monitor, and fund any repairs or conservation work, required for SPC's assets. Assets include the War Memorial railings and gate, basketball goalpost, Fairtrade Village road signs, and the Youth Shelter.

You can download the web version of the full report here:- SPC 2015-2019 report (pdf opens in new window).

February 2019

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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) and the Fairtrade Group 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

SEG Green Belt Campaign: - contact our Chairman (contact details above)

Saltford Station Campaign: Chris Warren cherokee1883@live.com

Saltford Fairtrade Group: saltfordfairtrade@hotmail.co.uk

Saltford Wombles: Barbara Turner 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!).

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's next scheduled public opening will be the afternoon of Sunday 16th June, for the 2019 Saltford Festival "Old Village Day".
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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