Saltford Environment Group
Recent News (click on links or scroll down this page)
You can find more news in our News Archive.
Saltford School needs your green fingers
Do you have GREEN Fingers?
If the answer is yes to any of those questions then Saltford School's GREEN TEAM needs YOU!! They are desperately seeking a team of volunteers who will either support and guide their new, enthusiastic Green Team during assembly times/lunch times or will potter happily by themselves to help maintain the school's Secret Garden. It could be by planting new shrubs, cutting overgrown plants or just giving a general spruce.
Any time that you can spare would be greatly appreciated. If you, grandparents, relatives, volunteer groups, businesses or anybody could help please contact Mr Jenkins or Mrs Newark via the school office Tel: 01225 872185 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The big butterfly count (14 July to 6 August)
The big butterfly count is a nationwide survey aimed at helping us assess the health of our environment. It was launched in 2010 and has rapidly become the world's biggest survey of butterflies. Over 36,000 people took part in 2016, counting almost 400,000 individual butterflies and day-flying moths across the UK.
This year's big butterfly count is from 14 July to 6 August and could be something to also get younger members of the family engaged in over the summer holidays. There's even a free smartphone app for the big butterfly count so that you can carry out and submit your count all in one go while out and about watching butterflies. Details at www.bigbutterflycount.org.
B&NES Council's Placemaking Plan adopted - Saltford's Green Belt safe but for how long?
The Placemaking Plan was formally adopted by the Full B&NES Council on 13th July 2017. The Placemaking Plan complements the strategic framework in the adopted Core Strategy by setting out detailed development and design principles for identified and allocated development sites, as well as a range of policies for managing development and protecting valued assets across Bath and North East Somerset.
The Council is in the initial stages of reviewing the Core Strategy which will then formally incorporate the Placemaking Plan to form a single Local Plan. This review is being undertaken alongside the emerging Joint Spatial Plan which covers the four West of England Unitary Authority areas. The Joint Spatial Plan will provide the strategic planning context for the new Bath and North East Somerset Local Plan to 2036.
The following extract from the plan (Volume 5. Rural Areas) refers to Saltford and shows that "there are currently no exceptional circumstances to change the Green Belt boundary to enable housing to come forward":-
133. Saltford village meets the criteria of a Policy RA1 settlement. Housing development can come forward within the housing development boundary (HDB). However, opportunities outside the HDB are limited and will be considered in the context of Green Belt policy. There are currently no exceptional circumstances to change the Green Belt boundary to enable housing to come forward.
134. There are no site allocations in Saltford. Any potential site would be considered on its individual merits against national and local planning policy.
However, consideration of the options for a Saltford bypass is included as part of a review of the A4 corridor where in paragraph 582 of Volume 1 (District-wide Strategy and Policies) the plan states that "the Council will also review the A4 corridor and, in particular, consider how best to improve the environment within Saltford and improve journey times and reliability between Bristol and Bath. This will include the options for a bypass of the village".
In paragraph 607 the "Council recognises the need for further studies to assess the A4 Saltford bypass, and an east of Bath link designed to remove through traffic."
The following extract, also from Volume 1, deals with re-opening a railway station at Saltford:-
Rail Station at Saltford
612. The opportunity for re-opening a station at Saltford has arisen from work undertaken by the West of England on the MetroWest Project. This will provide an additional train service between Bath and Bristol each hour (in both directions) and the potential for an additional station as well.
613. A public consultation on the three potential options for the proposed station was completed in 2013 and the results considered by Cabinet in 2014 when it was agreed that, before deciding to progress to the next stage of Network Rail's Governance for Railway Investment Projects (GRIP) process, further work should be undertaken to see if there were a location for a station which would have additional parking and better access from the A4. In addition confirmation that the new rail timetable could accommodate the station at Saltford is still needed. No timescale has currently been set for the delivery of the project; however progress is dependent on the successful completion of Phase 1 of the MetroWest project which is due for completion in 2019.
614. The next step will be to consider and identify a preferred option/site for the new station, which will require an estimated 200 parking spaces in order to be viable. However, it may need to be addressed as part of any future Local Plan review.
SEG's position on the Green Belt and re-opening our station
SEG will, alongside Saltford Parish Council, continue to lobby to protect our Green Belt from development and remains convinced that the existing station site offers the best option* for a re-opened station at Saltford whereas other options, e.g. to the west of Saltford, would entail a significant loss of Green Belt land, increase not reduce local traffic as commuters drive rather than walk to the station, and threaten the existing station at Keynsham which is ideally located for the new housing at Somerdale.
*In January 2016 Saltford Parish Council at its monthly meeting noted "that while alternatives need to be considered as part of the Department for Transport's TAG (Transport Analysis Guidance) process and also to fulfil a past resolution of B&NES Council, there remains a consensus that the existing site is the preferred site option." That position has not changed.
NOTE: The Placemaking Plan can be viewed at all the public libraries in B&NES including the mobile library and on the Council's website at www.bathnes.gov.uk/placemakingplan.
Saltford Primary School receives Active Travel Award
Saltford Church of England Primary School has become the first in the B&NES area to achieve a Modeshift STARS Silver Award.
The School has introduced a number of measures to encourage cycling, walking and other forms of sustainable travel. These include free active travel breakfasts for those who walk, scoot or cycle to school; 'active ambassadors' to represent pupils and develop ideas to improve travel to school and poster competitions. New bike racks and scooter pods have been installed along with bikeability training for year 5 and 6 pupils.
Modeshift STARS is a national scheme which recognises and encourages schools to increase levels of sustainable and active travel to improve the health and well-being of children and young people.
Melissa Brook, has been leading on School Travel Plan work at Saltford Primary School, with support from School Travel Plan Officer at B&NES Council, Hannah Brittain.
Melissa was delighted at the school's achievement. She said: "Working with the Council's School Travel Plan Officer has been a huge support to me and has helped us to implement lots of new initiatives at our school and record the evidence for these activities on the Modeshift STARS website. This has enabled us to achieve a Silver Award this year, for which we are truly thankful. To be the first school in B&NES to achieve this Silver Award made the recognition even more special. We are now planning to go for Gold! Indeed work is already underway!"
This is great news for Saltford - our school deserves our support and congratulations with this achievement. Encouraging more of our children to walk or scoot/cycle to school can improve their health whilst also helping to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution in the village.
Massive increase in homes approved for green belt
A total of 425,000 homes are now due to be built on the green belt, a jump of 54 per cent since March 2016, the biggest year-on-year increase in building proposed in the green belt for two decades.
An analysis of local authority and city regional plans by the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) reveals that more than 70 per cent of the homes are unaffordable to the people who need them.
The CPRE warned that government funds are handsomely rewarding the development of green belt land that ministers promised to protect without delivering the much-needed affordable homes the cash was designed to encourage.
CPRE director of campaigns and policy Tom Fyans said "Green belt is being lost at an ever faster rate, yet the type of housing being built now or in the future will do very little to address the affordable housing crisis faced by many families and young people."
"We must not be the generation that sells off our precious green belt in the mistaken belief it will help improve the affordability of housing. The only ones set to benefit from future green belt development will be landowners and the big house builders, not communities in need of decent, affordable housing."
Source: Huw Morris, The Planner, www.planningportal.co.uk (3.7.2017)
Proposed enhancement of Keynsham Leisure Centre
Saltford residents seeking local leisure centre/sports facilities will wish to be aware that B&NES Council is holding a series of information sessions where they can find out more about the plans to refurbish Keynsham Leisure Centre at a cost of £10M.
The proposed enhancement of Keynsham Leisure Centre includes:
The information sessions will take place at Keynsham Leisure Centre on: Wednesday 12 July, 2pm - 4pm; Thursday 13 July, 5pm - 7pm; and Friday 14 July, 9.30am - 11.30am.
The refurbishment is expected to get underway this autumn with work carried out in phases so that the centre can remain open wherever possible with completion by early 2019.
2nd August is 2017's Earth Overshoot Day
The "Blue Marble" full Earth image photographed by the Apollo 17 space mission (7.12.1972). Released during a surge of interest in environmental issues, this was the first complete image ever seen of our planet and was widely seen as a depiction of Earth's frailty, vulnerability, and humanity's need to live within the planet's 'carrying capacity'.
Earth Overshoot Day this year is calculated to be Wednesday 2nd August. Earth Overshoot Day is the day on which humanity's resource consumption for the year exceeds the Earth's capacity to regenerate those resources that year. The day creeps up the calendar year after year, as our global Ecological Footprint expands further beyond what the planet can renew and the world's human population continues to grow unhindered.
Just as a bank statement tracks income against expenditures, Global Footprint Network measures a (growing) population's demand for and ecosystems' supply of resources and services. These calculations then serve as the foundation for calculating Earth Overshoot Day.
Each city, state or nation's Ecological Footprint can be compared to its biocapacity. If a population's demand for ecological assets exceeds the supply, that region runs an ecological deficit. A region in ecological deficit meets demand by importing, liquidating its own ecological assets (such as overfishing), and/or emitting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
At the global level, ecological deficit and overshoot are the same, since there is no net import of resources to the planet.
We maintain this deficit by liquidating stocks of ecological resources and accumulating waste, primarily carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Earth Overshoot Day is hosted and calculated by Global Footprint Network, an international think tank that coordinates research, develops methodological standards and provides decision-makers with a menu of tools to help the human economy operate within Earth's ecological limits.
The concept of Earth Overshoot Day was first conceived by Andrew Simms of the UK think tank New Economics Foundation, which partnered with Global Footprint Network in 2006 to launch the first global Earth Overshoot Day campaign. At that time, Earth Overshoot Day fell in October. WWF, the world's largest conservation organisation, has participated in Earth Overshoot Day since 2007.
Further information can be found from www.overshootday.org (the information source for this article).
Extreme heat and the need for Parliament to do more on climate change
According to the United Kingdom Climate Impacts Programme (UKCIP) at the University of Oxford, more people die as a result of extreme heat than from flood events, yet heatwaves rarely make the headlines. Excess mortality figures are often overlooked as they are not reported until sometime after the event. Furthermore, the latest report from the Committee on Climate Change highlights that progress on improving the UK's resilience to climate risks is stalling as a result of the lack of action from Parliament.
The government is urged to strengthen adaptation action, with a focus on flood risks, risks to the natural environment and the risks to human health from increasing temperatures and heatwaves.
The Committee on Climate Change reported to Parliament in June that the UK's transition to a resilient, low-carbon economy is in danger of being derailed by a lack of Government action on climate change. That inaction is making it difficult for businesses and the UK public to grasp the opportunities of the transition. CCC Chairman, Lord Deben, said:
"The impact of climate change on our lives and those of our children is clearer than ever. The UK has shown global leadership on climate change, but progress will stall at home without urgent further action. New plans, for a new Parliament, are needed as a matter of urgency to meet our legal commitments, grasp the opportunities offered by the global low-carbon transition, and protect people, businesses and the environment from the impacts of a changing climate."
Information on how you can make your home or business more resilient to a changing climate is on our Climate Change page.
July Break for the Upcycling Craft Group
Just to say that we will be taking a break in July and our next meeting will be on August 17th. Meanwhile dig out those old T shirts, any size any colour, you know the ones that don't fit because we all have our new summer figures (not) because we are making dog toys. If you don't have a dog they will make nice presents for the pooch of a friend or perhaps go to good homes via the PDSA or a dog rescue centre etc. We all know that dogs like entertainment and these will fit the bill nicely and may even stop a few chewed chair legs...
We hope you are enjoying the sunshine and we look forward to catching up with everyone in August. Keep crafting.
Frances and Tina
Water Space Project wins Royal Town Planning Institute award
We reported in April that the B&NES Draft Water Space Study that included proposals affecting Saltford was open for consultation until 22nd May 2017.
The Water Space Project was the overall winner at this year's Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) South West Regional Awards for Planning Excellence, the ceremony took place at the Assembly Rooms in Bath on Wednesday June 7. The project was also recognised as one of the top 8 projects nationally in planning for the natural environment.
In its formal response during May Saltford Parish Council welcomed publication of the B&NES Water Space Study draft report and made several comments on the report's proposals affecting Saltford. For example the proposed café kiosk and canoe hire station in The Shallows was thought by the Parish Council to be inappropriate as these would place an additional and potentially detrimental burden on this attractive peaceful location where space is limited.
The Parish Council also felt that formalised mooring points in Mead Lane would radically change the appearance of the lane and detract from its role and appearance as a rural lane and North East Somerset riverside beauty spot enjoyed by a large and diverse range of stakeholders; detailed comments on the proposals were also made (e.g. the need for adequate spacing to provide a sufficient fire break between each moored boat). Progress on implementing the Traffic Regulation Order (TRO) to restrict overnight parking in Mead Lane was requested without further delay.
Support was given for a small slipway in The Shallows but that it should be in the location currently used by kayak and canoe users for entering and leaving the river. The Parish Council repeated its previous request that local canoe clubs/associations be consulted on the slipway design prior to construction.
For the proposed the Wessex Water Bridge, for linking the sewage treatment works across the river to the A431, the Parish Council reserved its formal position on this high cost scheme until it is brought forward as a serious project and in the context of a formal consultation in connection with a planning application.
More information about the Water Space Project can be found at www.waterspacebath.org.uk.
Waitrose and its customers support SEG
This tranquil river scene reminds us why Saltford is worth looking after. Many thanks from SEG's Executive Committee to everyone who donated their green token to SEG's 'Community Matters' box when shopping at Waitrose in Keynsham during May. Our grateful thanks are due to Waitrose too; on 29th June they handed over to our Chairman a cheque for £350 which will be very useful for supporting our work in the local community.
B&NES feasibility study for a 'Bath tram'
B&NES Council is to undertake a preliminary study looking at the feasibility and potential of introducing some form of light rail 'tram' system in Bath. The decision to carry out the study comes in response to suggestions from the public, made over the past year, for a review to take place looking at the possible use of trams or a light rail system in the city.
Improving the area's transport network is one of the Council's top priorities, and whilst the introduction of a tram system does not currently form part of the Council's formally adopted Transport Strategy, the authority has said it keeps an open mind to suggestions to improve transport that could be taken forward in future.
As a result, this short scoping study will look at the feasibility of using a light rail system as a sustainable form of transport in the city.
The feasibility study will be completed within this financial year (2017/18).
Footnote from our history project:
Saltford Calendar 2018 now available
"The Saltford Calendar 2018" featuring some stunning photographs submitted to the photographic competition for the Saltford Festival 2017 is now available to purchase.
At just £6 each you can get your calendar(s) from Saltford Post Office or the SCA office at Saltford Hall any morning Monday to Friday. Alternatively email email@example.com.
The production of an 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.
Toxic Giant Hogweed warning and reminder
Members may recall that Giant Hogweed was discovered by SEG's wildlife adviser in 2014 by the side of the railway path between Saltford and Bitton.
This particular clump has taken several attempts by B&NES to eradicate it but it is proving stubborn as it makes a re-appearance each year including in 2017 (we have reported this to B&NES) although it is a weaker plant than before as a result of repeated attempts to poison its root system.
Last year a resident discovered three massive Giant Hogweed plants growing in her garden after using locally sourced mulch that contained the plant's seeds. This highly toxic non-native plant has to be treated with care and removed by specialists.
As we have warned in previous news items, contact with its sap or its bristles can cause severe skin burns depending on individual sensitivity. It can sensitize skin to ultra-violet light (sunlight), leading to severe blisters, pigmentation and long-lasting scars; hospitalisation may be necessary. Affected skin may remain sensitive for several years. A minute amount of sap in the eye can lead to temporary or even permanent blindness.
If you find Giant Hogweed growing in Saltford, please advise B&NES Council (Council Connect on 01225 39 40 41) as soon as possible - and let SEG know too. For your own safety DO NOT TOUCH or attempt to remove it yourself. When removed, under the Environmental Protection Act (1990) Giant Hogweed is classified as controlled waste. Anyone working amongst Giant Hogweed should wear protective clothing that covers the whole body including gloves, hood and face visor.
More on Giant Hogweed can be found on our wildlife page.
SEG membership reaches 500!
During June and the Saltford Festival, our membership reached the 500 mark. A small percentage of our membership is from outside the village, but nevertheless over 10% of Saltford's 4,100 inhabitants are members of SEG.
The above image is of our poster that we displayed on our stall during the Saltford Festival's 'Old Village Day' (Sunday 11th June).
The history of railways at Saltford
On 12th June the leader of SEG's Saltford Station campaign Chris Warren gave an interesting and well-received talk on the history of railways at Saltford. Chris's talk was part of the Saltford Festival (10-18 June) that includes lunchtime talks on a range of topics for each weekday of the festival.
You can download the text of his talk here: The history of railways at Saltford by Chris Warren (pdf).
Saltford Heritage Centre opens for Saltford Festival
Saltford's new Heritage Centre was open on the first floor (upstairs) of the Church Hall for the Saltford Festival 2017 on the afternoon of Saturday 10th and Sunday 11th June. The Bath Record Office roadshow was also in attendance for the 10th June showing old OS maps of Saltford, seal presses, and informative displays on the BRO's Saltford records whilst also giving an opportunity for residents to discuss historical research with a BRO archivist.
History was a key theme for the festival. The first opening of the Heritage Centre was preceded by a joint presentation by local resident and SEG's history team member Dick Bateman and Saltford Drama Club in St Mary's Church on "Life in 19th Century Saltford". On Monday 12th June SEG's Saltford Station campaign Chris Warren gave an interesting and well-received talk on "The History of Railways at Saltford" in the main hall at St Mary's Church Hall.
2017 is notable as being the 150th anniversary of the death of Admiral Benedictus Marwood Kelly, Saltford's famous resident. For the "Old Village Day" on Sunday June 11th, Saltford Drama Club member Kelvin Buck dressed up as Admiral Kelly and stood by the Admiral's Blue Plaque in front of Saltford House answering questions about the Admiral's life and directing festival goers to the Heritage Centre and other festival activities.
Some 250+ people visited the Heritage Centre over the two days and the overwhelming reaction to the information displays and Saltford artefacts from the Roman, Medieval, Tudor and later periods was very positive. Old Church and School records were also made available for visitors to see for the launch.
The Heritage Centre is a joint project from SEG and the Parochial Church Council. Now that it has had its first opening consideration will be given by SEG and the PCC as to how this community based project can be developed in a cost-effective manner in a way that is both beneficial and of great interest to local residents. For example, and subject to support from volunteers, the Heritage Centre could be opened for special community events whilst elements of its mobile and flexible display could support relevant events at other venues in Saltford.
Further information on our website can be found from these links:-
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
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:-
Future SEG website development - can you help?
Our website has become a very popular resource for our members and others, with over 2,000 unique visitors per month, typically opening over 5,000 pages. Using a relatively simple design and basic html approach, it has grown organically since 2011 into an extensive library of articles, themes, links etc.
Thinking of our ongoing ability to maintain and develop our website we are looking for someone who could give some time to support our Chairman Phil Harding with the html website in the short term, and potentially help us to transfer the site across to a new system such as WordPress in the future, as well as maintaining and developing our presence on social media. Do you have the relevant experience, interest and time to get involved? If so, please get in touch with our Secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org to talk further. You'll be at the heart of SEG's activities and a valued member of our team of volunteers.
First published March 2017
Opportunity to coordinate local habitat project
Just a reminder that Saltford Environment Group is looking for a new volunteer to be our railway path habitat restoration project coordinator as our existing coordinator, who did a great job getting things organised, has had to step down due to other commitments. This local project has seen some notable successes:
The area needs some concerted effort over the next 2-3 years to prevent the area from reverting back to scrub and trees: obscuring views and shading some of the rare sun-loving plants that have so recently returned. This work is likely to involve:
This is a great opportunity for someone with good organisational skills to help deliver a really exciting project: restoring a rare and beautiful habitat and bringing members of the community together through fun, practical activities.
No prior experience of wildlife conservation projects is required and there will be plenty of opportunities to learn more about the rare and beautiful plants and animals which would otherwise disappear from our area, to make new friends and learn new skills along the way. We are looking for someone with a can-do attitude and the enthusiasm to engage with volunteers and provide more of a social side to this worthwhile activity.
If this opportunity to manage and develop a small yet interesting and local outdoor project appeals to you, to express an interest please contact our Vice-Chairman Chris Warren (email email@example.com).
The project has its own webpage: link >>
First published February 2017
SUPPORT FROM BUSINESS:
For news archive click here:-
"Think global, act local"