Saltford Environment Group
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We now show the support news for Saltford in our News Archive (2020) - any new announcements will feature below.
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New Saltford Watch initiative
Helping the police keep Saltford and its visitors safe
SEG has been asked to bring to our members attention the formation during June 2020 of Saltford Watch. The following is the June 2020 public statement from Saltford Watch:-
Saltford Watch has been established to respond to the dangers facing Saltford, just like many other attractive riverside locations during these challenging times from large party activity by the river ignoring social distancing, the significant use of Nitrous Oxide canisters by young people which can prove fatal, and other inappropriate activity.
This urgently created Neighbourhood Watch initiative is simply collaboration between existing NHW members of different NHW groups from across the village. It has been carefully developed in just two weeks. This is a response to the urgent need to help the police keep safe our residents and those visitors who come to enjoy not spoil our village. The huge volumes of litter being left behind by a minority of visitors can also be deterred. The negative impact of that minority is disproportionate to the effect they are having. The intention is to save the police time on identifying culprits as the scheme is constantly fine-tuned and adjusted.
Saltford Watch is registered with the Avon & Somerset Police and has B&NES Council's endorsement of its village-wide NHW approach and the use of "We are watching you!" signs at litter, nitrous oxide, and dog fouling hot spots.
It is important to underline that residents and visitors should not feel that privacy is being threatened. There may be a few Wildlife Camera Traps that tend to be placed at different interesting locations for observing wildlife but may also record images of anti-social behaviour; these are generally installed on private property. Other than that, no new surveillance equipment over and above what already exists will be observing people as they go about their daily lives in Saltford. The "We are watching you!" signs are part of work to help the police deter and prevent crime in Saltford, rather than let it happen unrecorded and deal with the consequences later.
The "night vision eyes" approach of the signs have been tried and tested and found to be very effective for reducing dog fouling offences, for example, by local councils elsewhere working with the Keep Britain Tidy Group - see this link for further information.
Saltford Watch has its own means of researching social media, gathering information and forwarding important intelligence gathered to the police NHW team or B&NES Council. Some of the existing CCTV cameras in the village have already been updated and improved; these cover private and publicly owned property around Saltford. Saltford Watch is not installing any CCTV itself but after the problems of recent weeks some venues may be; that is for them.
Residents should continue to report incidents of crime to the police via 101 (or 999 during an actual emergency that threatens life and limb), or B&NES Council's excellent "Fix My Street" service for reporting fly-tipping and similar offences. For practical and security reasons Saltford Watch cannot accept direct correspondence or tip-offs from residents.
Saltford Watch is independent of any Saltford organisation (e.g. SCA, SPC, SEG, Saltford Wombles). This is a privately funded initiative, established by concerned residents who belong to existing Neighbourhood Watch groups. It uses no public funds, just small cash donations from residents to help with sign making costs etc.
Saltford Watch has the backing of the Avon & Somerset Police Beat Manager for the local area, who considers the co-ordination of NHWs across a village like Saltford to be an appropriate response to the current crisis. The B&NES Council Cabinet member with responsibilities for community safety and related matters also supports the project.
FURTHER NOTE FOR SALTFORD RESIDENTS
There are already "We are watching you!" signs as part of a trial by Saltford Watch at a few locations where problems have been experienced at an unspecified Saltford location (image overleaf). These signs will appear at problem areas where property has been vandalised during party raves etc. or other anti-social behaviour is occurring. If you see a member of Saltford Watch erecting such signs please do not draw attention to what they are doing. This is for everyone's safety and also that of our visitors. Saltford welcomes all visitors who show consideration to our wildlife habitats, open spaces, the river, woodland areas, public footpaths, private and public property and especially to residents, some of whom are self-isolating on health grounds.
Saltford's natural beauty as a riverside rural location with stunning flora and fauna attracts visitors in warm weather, so let's keep it attractive, healthy and safe for everyone. Thank you.
SALTFORD WATCH (est. June 2020)
SEG support grant to Saltford Wombles
Many in Saltford would agree that the volunteers of Saltford Wombles are doing a magnificent job picking and clearing the huge volumes of litter in and around our village on a daily basis during the Covid-19 crisis as the lockdown eases, particularly near the river that can attract many visitors.
The Wombles now have more volunteers than ever helping them with this important work. SEG has therefore made a support grant payment to Saltford Wombles of £150 for the purchase and issue of additional litter-picking equipment.
In addition to thanking the Wombles for their hard and enthusiastic work, SEG would also like to thank the excellent team from B&NES Council Waste Services who collect and remove the many bags of litter that the Wombles have amalgamated and placed at collection points ready for removal.
Most people don't drop litter!
Fortunately the overwhelming majority of visitors who come to enjoy Saltford, its natural environment and stunning landscapes take their litter home to recycle or use the litter bins that have been provided. It is only a minority whose littering (including the dropping or throwing of litter from vehicle windows) makes a disproportionate impact on our village and the wildlife habitats we seek to protect and enhance.
Saltford Environment Group welcomes visitors to our village, but not litter!
SEG thanks all the young people who care
We would like to thank all the young people who have expressed their concern and sorrow and helped to clear up the mess left by a minority of people in Saltford and other areas around the country.
You are amazing and have so many different talents that will benefit society and the natural environment that sustains life. Our shared future really is safe in your hands.
Anti-social behaviour in Saltford continues as lockdown eases
Saltford residents would like to thank the parents of the group of about 20 charming children who visited our village yesterday (2nd June) in the late afternoon ignoring any semblance of social distancing.
Not only did they attack a passing innocent cyclist, breaking his nose, and trespass in the back gardens of several residents, but when they returned to the shops before getting on the bus back towards Bristol, to buy their ice lollies and sugary drinks, they kicked and damaged a car door, smeared food waste over another car, and used foul expletives back at people who asked them to pick up their litter which they had dropped as they finished their snacks.
SEG has provided to the police some photographs of these children that were taken by shocked residents.
Their parents must be so proud of them(!) but do they know or even care what their children do when they are out with their mates?
SEG does of course acknowledge that this is a serious problem for numerous rural and coastal areas across the country, not just in Saltford. We have to stop this dangerous nonsense before more people are harmed.
We know the police do a fantastic job in very challenging circumstances, they are our local heroes, but they are struggling to cope at times which puts residents and visitors alike at serious risk. It is no wonder therefore that people are asking if they can have some badly needed support from the army./p>
This is not to declare some sort of martial law and policing by consent must be maintained as a principle. However there can be collaborative working to enable the police to spend more time in the front line preventing criminal behaviour as well as finding and charging those who think they are beyond the reach of the law and any semblance of public decency.
Let's hope the Government is listening and deploys the military in some practical and supportive way to enable the police to protect our rural villages and beauty spots more effectively from a significant minority who are using the easing of lockdown to cause unrestrained mayhem and criminal damage at will. Enough is enough!
Concerns for Saltford's safety & wildlife from lockdown mayhem
Will visitors to Saltford in cars during the easing of lockdown restrictions please consider the need for emergency vehicle access at all times, and will all visitors please take your rubbish (litter) home with you!
Many shy species of wildlife that are particularly sensitive to human activity, for example the Kingfisher photographed recently in Saltford by one of our members, are under severe threat from the mayhem currently descending on Saltford's riverside areas during the sunny weather as visitors flout lockdown social distancing laws and bring and leave behind huge volumes of litter.
The lack of public toilet facilities is adding to the problem as some visitors choose to use the fields, roadside verges and riverbank as a public loo.
With key residential side roads blocked for hours on end, including the narrow High Street (only space for single file traffic in most places), The Shallows, Beech Road and Norman Road during peak visiting times (sunny afternoons and in particular at weekends) there are real concerns from residents that emergency services will be delayed from assisting residents and visitors needing their assistance. Some of Saltford's residents are key workers (e.g. NHS Doctors) who when on-call are at risk of finding their vehicles blockaded in their homes.
The magnificent volunteers, Saltford Wombles, assisted by landowners and others have litter picked and collected huge volumes of litter, filling well over 300 full size bin bags in May alone. Alarmingly, 4,000 nitrous oxide canisters (known as "Hippy Crack" but potentially very dangerous* for the person inhaling the gas via a balloon) in one early morning clearance (Sunday 31st) from the day/night before alone!
* Nitrous oxide can be fatal for the inhaler: There were 8 deaths in England and Wales in 2016 from nitrous oxide abuse; in extreme cases the gas can cause nerve damage, sudden unconsciousness and paranoia.
Contacting the Police and B&NES Council
Saltford Parish Council (SPC) has been in contact with the police who have responded immediately and positively to SPC's request for a greater police presence in Saltford's riverside and conservation areas. The Beat Manager has confirmed that the number of regular patrols will be stepped up, and that the entire team has been informed of the extra vigilance required in this area. SPC reminds residents to contact the police if required (101 if urgent, 999 if an emergency). SPC also asks residents to continue to use the www.fixmystreet.com website to report excessive littering, overflowing bins and dog fouling.
Developers trying again for another 200 houses between Keynsham and Saltford!
Members may have seen coverage in The Week In (online, 20 May 2020) that Mactaggart and Mickel Homes Ltd are looking again at trying to get planning permission to build 200 homes on 25 acres of safeguarded Green Belt land between Saltford and Keynsham next to Crest Nicholson's new Hygge Park development after their failed attempt in 2019. SEG and Saltford Parish Council (SPC) submitted robust objections to those proposals that so clearly ignored any informed knowledge of what sustainable development actually is and means.
There were more than 300 objection comments to the application last time and B&NES Council refused planning permission having decided that the site was not currently allocated for development and that the existing road network didn't have the capacity to accommodate the increased traffic likely to be generated from such a development. This went to Appeal and an Appeal Inquiry was scheduled for August 2019. After SPC and SEG had submitted their evidence to the Inquiry, the developer withdrew its appeal.
It seemed likely at the time that the developer was waiting to see the implications arising from the West of England Joint Spatial Plan after the Government's Inspectors cancelled continuation of the examination hearings on 1.8.2019. But we now live in a very different reality.
In SEG's view national plans for economic recovery after the COVID-19 crisis are highly unlikely to support the case for building homes in the wrong place, especially while we will not know the medium-long term affects on the UK's housing market until things become much clearer after the Covid-19 lockdown. Attempts to bring forward housing and related developments where they are not appropriate are extremely likely to be strongly resisted by local communities such as ours.
At the time of the appeal withdrawal in August 2019 SEG commented:-
"The local community understands better than anyone what the consequences are of poorly conceived and wrongly located new housing developments. What a welcome change it would make if developers sought to work with the local planning authority rather than against, the effect of which is to disrupt local plans. This latest appeal against a planning application refusal, a refusal that had been strongly supported by the local community, highlights the flaws in our planning system."
"For developers to try at will to influence where and when new housing developments are built regardless of sustainable development principles and the wishes of the local community and their local planning authority does not contribute to good planning and ignores the Government's declared policy that new developments should be genuinely plan-led, i.e. not developer-led."
Our 550+ members should be assured that SEG is monitoring developments, our Green Belt Campaign Team is on standby, and SEG is waiting to see if the developer submits another planning application to build houses where the local community most definitely does not want them.
SEG is aware that many residents in Keynsham feel as strongly as Saltford residents about this issue and we hope that both Keynsham Town Council and B&NES Council will respond accordingly in resisting this attempt to leap-frog the local planning process.
Oldest image of Saltford Brass Mill & The Shallows
With permission of the Saltford Brass Mill Project, an interesting black and white photograph of an early 19th Century painting of Saltford Brass Mill has been published this month by SEG on our Online Museum (SEG's History of Saltford project). The picture surfaced from the Joan Day archives. Joan Day conducted extensive research into the Bristol Brass Industry and published a number of papers on the subject in the 1960s, 70s and 80s.
Pre-dating the building of the Great Western Railway through Saltford and the opening of Saltford station (opened in 1840), this is the oldest known depiction of the Brass Mill and The Shallows including the old Ferry Cottages, now Willow Cottages, that can be seen on the right hand side of the image. Also depicted near the centre of the image is the ferry that took people across the river when making their way on foot from Saltford to Kelston.
A larger image of the painting can be viewed in our Online Museum from this link: 19th Century.
B&NES opposes Bristol Airport application for year-round slots
An application by Bristol Airport to increase the number of night flights that take off and land at the airport year-round has been objected to by B&NES Council according to their press release of 15th May.
The airport is currently allowed 3,000 night flights in summer and 1,000 in winter and has applied to increase this to 4,000 throughout the year from Summer 2021, but the council says the disadvantages outweigh the benefits and will have a negative effect on Bath and North East Somerset residents living in towns near the airport.
In a response to a Department for Transport consultation on the application Councillor Sarah Warren, cabinet member for Climate Emergency, expresses concerns over increased traffic in surrounding villages and points to an increase in carbon emissions that would be felt locally as well as worldwide.
In March 2019 the council opposed the expansion of Bristol Airport on the grounds that it was incompatible with its climate emergency declaration to make Bath and North East Somerset carbon-neutral by 2030.
Councillor Sarah Warren said:
"Even before coronavirus, increased awareness of the climate emergency looked set to influence travel behaviour and now the pandemic's impact has made the future of the airline industry uncertain. Therefore it seems highly unlikely that passenger increases projected by Bristol Airport to reach 12 million passengers per year will be met in 2020 or in the future."
"We do not believe that Bristol Airport should be permitted to increase its slot allocation on a year-round basis but should remain with its current summer and winter scheduling."
"The disadvantages of more night flights would primarily be borne by Bath and North East Somerset and North Somerset residents living in villages and towns close to the airport who would experience more airport traffic. The other major issue is the increase in pollution and carbon emissions. Approval of this application would lead to the airport having a wider impact on our environment that outweighs any economic benefits."
Councillor Warren also pointed to the likely worsening of existing parking problems in towns and villages on the airport bus route including Newbridge, Bath, Corston and Keynsham.
The Department for Transport's consultation can be viewed from this link: DTp - Bristol Airport. Replies must be submitted to DTp by Friday 26 June 2020.
"For in the true nature of things, if we rightly consider, every green tree is far more glorious than if it were made of gold and silver"
The lockdown exercise walks around the village footpaths that many residents have been taking since 23rd March has helped remind us of the role trees have not just in providing essential food and habitat for wildlife, but also in making Saltford such an attractive rural village. Our native trees contribute to our sense of well-being just as much as the wild flowers, wild birds, fields, hills and the river.
With this in mind and in particular the threat to our trees and the habitat they provide whether from wood poachers (see earlier news story) or from disease such as Ash dieback or Sooty Bark Disease, we have updated the tree section on our website's wildlife page to assist you in finding the information that might interest you. The tree section includes some special feature items including an important new item published this month on Sooty Bark Disease and how, in particular, it affects Sycamore trees here in Saltford:-
You can find this information and much more about the wildlife we can all support and enjoy in Saltford on our wildlife page >>
Saltford Golf Course re-opens Weds 13th May
The Chairman of Saltford Golf Club has asked SEG's Chairman to advise SEG members who are Saltford residents of the following information:-
Dear Saltford Resident
As many of you are will be aware, since the lockdown started on 23rd March, Saltford Golf Club has been closed. During that time many local residents have taken the opportunity to use the golf course as a place to exercise in line with the government guidelines. I hope that those of you that did, were able to enjoy the peace and tranquillity of the course and also to take in the beauty of the environment and the stunning scenery.
The club was happy to be able to provide this facility to our local community during these difficult and testing times. I would like to thank you all for treating the golf course with respect, our team of greenstaff have reported no significant problems during this time.
However, I am happy to report that the club will be reopening for golf on Wednesday 13th May. Therefore, the course will no longer be available for people to walk over. Quite apart from the land being private, there is a significant safety issue and we would ask that you refrain from entering the course from that date.
On behalf of the whole golf club, thanks for your support and cooperation. I wish you and your families good health as we continue to find our way through these difficult and unprecedented times.
Best wishes, Keith Taylor, Chairman, Saltford Golf Club
Police warn wood poacher stealing wood from Saltford's Longwood!
SEG and Saltford Golf Club working together have assisted the police in identifying the man cutting and stealing considerable quantities of wood from Longwood in the early hours over several days during the Covid-19 lockdown. He has received a visit and appropriate warning from the Avon & Somerset Police.
Longwood is a long-standing wood of high ecological value to our local wildlife and this total disregard for Saltford's natural heritage is unacceptable to Saltford's residents and SEG's membership.
If anyone notices unauthorised removal of trees or tree branches from Longwood or other wooded areas of Saltford they are advised to inform the police at the earliest opportunity and if possible provide photographs of the culprits and/or their vehicle(s) if it is safe to do so. The Golf Club has decided not to prosecute the offender on this occasion but a repeat offence would make this a different matter.
SEG and Saltford Golf Club are very grateful to the local police for successfully responding to our concerns and dealing with this matter during these challenging times.
WARNING: Giant Hogweed is back
The highly toxic Giant Hogweed plant has been found again by SEG in a public area of Saltford and this has been reported to B&NES Council for prompt attention.
This is on the grass verge of the railway path between Saltford and Bitton (on the right hand side shortly after the old bridge over the path when walking towards Bitton); anyone taking their daily lockdown exercise on the path should be extra careful to avoid touching the plants on the verges of the path. Whatever you do, DON'T TOUCH THIS PLANT - see our wildlife page where we have information about the hazards associated with this plant and images etc. to help you identify it (link).
Hedgehogs in Saltford
The photograph above shows a very healthy looking hedgehog. This was taken in a Saltford residential road by our Chairman whilst out on an early morning dawn chorus exercise walk on 30th April (as permitted under the Covid-19 lockdown requirements).
Nationally it is recognised that the lockdown has helped the hedgehog population greatly with less road casualties due to the reduction in traffic. This also helps make the case for trying to keeping our own vehicle speeds down to within the 20 mph limit when driving on Saltford's residential roads.
Hedgehogs do a great job eating garden slugs so don't forget to leave small gaps under your fences to allow them access and exit; they need a large area to roam to get the food they need. Anyone wanting to know more about Hedgehogs should visit www.hedgehogstreet.org. There are lots of tips and ideas for making your garden more insect and hedgehog friendly - something to involve and enthuse children in perhaps during the lockdown.
More and older news stories from SEG
Our 'Newsletter' archive page features most of our past and recently published news stories (click on image):-
Current areas of local volunteer assistance sought by SEG
Here are the current vacancies:-
Website skills wanted!
Our website is a popular resource for our members and others which means that in addition to keeping it relevant we want to make sure it continues to function as it should.
If you live in or near Saltford, care about your local environment and have current knowledge of website design and might be interested in using your IT skills for a bit of IT volunteering to help us behind the scenes please get in touch with our Chairman by email to firstname.lastname@example.org for a no-obligation chat on possible volunteer help.
First published June 2018, updated January 2020
Executive Committee: Want to help steer SEG?
SEG is seeking new Executive Committee members to help steer and develop SEG's future as we address the environmental concerns of our members at the local level. If you think you might like to get involved and join our Executive Committee (enthusiasm is more important than expertise!), please contact our Chairman, Phil Harding, for an informal non-committal chat.
The Executive Committee only meets 4 times a year and its working method is more about sharing ideas and getting things done in a friendly and productive atmosphere than being bogged down with time-consuming administration.
First published February 2018, updated January 2020
Saltford Weather Station
Saltford Heritage Centre's next scheduled public opening will be announced here.
"Think global, act local"
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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".
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Secretary: Vacant Position
SEG Green Belt Campaign: - contact our Chairman (contact details above)
Saltford Station Campaign: Chris Warren
Saltford Fairtrade Group:
Saltford Wombles: Barbara Turner
Saltford Heritage Centre
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