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Saltford Environment Group
  towards a sustainable future for our village


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Help us live up to our Saltford Village Fairtrade Status

Keynsham furniture & bike giveaway event (4 Oct)

I Love Local - I Love Saltford (zoom event 24 Sep)

Wildlife in catastrophic decline warns WWF

Nearly 600 say NO to more houses between Keynsham & Saltford

Saltford Calendar 2021

How porous is your front garden?

Countryside Code & visitors to Saltford

SEG against more congestion on A4

SEG rejects plans for 200+ houses...

B&NES declares 'Ecological Emergency'

More news in our news archive >>

Current VOLUNTEER assistance sought by SEG >>

Help us live up to our Saltford Village Fairtrade Status

We may not have had coffee mornings and stalls throughout these difficult days but we have been supporting Fairtrade and Traidcraft and enjoying their tea, coffee, bananas and other products.

We have now also restarted our monthly Traidcraft on line shopping service again which has lots more Traidcraft products and gifts - visit www.traidcraftshop.co.uk to choose your items, email kath.mcarthy@hotmail.co.uk with your order, or ring Kath on 01225 344066 if you have any queries. Fairtrade and Traidcraft also received 100 each from money raised by you at our last coffee morning.

Reduce, reuse and recycle - we are all trying to reduce our food waste and think more carefully about waste and resources in the clothing industry etc. and so are Traidcraft. As supporters of Fairtrade we would invite you to rummage around your jewellery boxes for those bits and pieces (one earring we keep, just because...) or something that 'needs fixing but never get around to doing it' and donate them to Traidcraft to be recycled. Foreign coinage, old UK bank notes (any age) and broken watches are also valuable to Traidcraft. Let us add to the 43,000 raised so far together.

When you've searched let us know by email saltfordfairtrade@hotmail.co.uk and we can arrange to send them off or we can send you a prepaid label to put on an A5 envelope for which we have a template. There are two good links to look at that explain the Traidcraft campaigns and aims:- Recycle for Traidcraft Exchange (link) and Fairtrade - because justice matters (link).

Thank you all for choosing Fairtrade.

Saltford Fairtrade Group

September 2020

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Keynsham furniture & bike giveaway event (4 Oct)

The waste team at B&NES Council is planning to hold a furniture and bike giveaway event on Sunday 4 October 1pm-4pm at the Old MOD building, Pixash Lane Keynsham.

There will be second-hand furniture and adult bicycles (for spares and repairs) available for the public to take away for free at this event. B&NES will promote the Dept for Transport's bike repair voucher scheme. Although the first batch of vouchers has been allocated, a further release of 50 repair vouchers is expected.

Other furniture items available include bedside tables, retro coffee tables, dressing tables, chest of drawers and pictures. All items have been brought to the Recycling Centres by residents and are in good enough condition for re-use.

B&NES Council is offering furniture items free of charge at this event to help clear the MOD ahead of demolition works, whilst they scope alternatives for further interim reuse.

B&NES Council has considered the health and safety of the public and staff in relation to COVID-19. For example to help maintain social distancing the number of people entering the building will be restricted to 15 at a time; children (persons under 18 years old) will not be allowed entry; masks must be worn; there will be no parking on site; and staff/volunteers cannot help with loading of items into vehicles.


September 2020

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I Love Local - I Love Saltford (zoom event 24 Sep)


The 'I Love Local' campaign from B&NES Council is funded by the European Regional Development Fund through the Reopening the High Streets Safely Fund and aims to reinforce public health messaging around social distancing and hand hygiene at the same time as encouraging people to shop locally by championing local shops and businesses.

Saltford Business Network (SBN), SCA and SEG are naturally keen to promote the 'I Love Local' campaign so that we here in Saltford use locally provided services and source locally produced products wherever possible. SBN is seeking to work with as many local businesses and organisations as possible to bring 'I Love Local' to the Saltford area.

On Thursday 24th September at 7pm SBN are hosting a ZOOM meeting to be led by Shannon D'Arcy and colleagues from the Business and Skills Team at B&NES. They will give attendees an outline on how their team can enable SBN and partners to bring 'I Love Local' to the Saltford area.

This will be a public meeting open to anyone interested. If you email SBN (email link) you will be sent joining instructions nearer the time.

There is more information about the campaign on the B&NES I Love Local (link) website.

September 2020

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Wildlife in catastrophic decline warns WWF

The alarming headline arising from the WWF's report "Living Planet Report 2020" published in September is that the world's population numbers of mammals, birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles have fallen by 68% (i.e. over 2/3rds!) on average in less than 50 years, from 1970 to 2016. Wildlife is in freefall and this catastrophic decline shows no signs of slowing.

The following is quoted directly from WWF in the summary of its report:-

   Humanity's destruction of nature is having catastrophic impacts not only on wildlife populations but also on human health and all aspects of our lives. While more food, energy and materials than ever before are being supplied to people in most parts of the world, the overexploitation of plants and animals is increasingly eroding nature's ability to provide them in the future.

   The loss of biodiversity is not only an environmental issue but a development, economic, global security, ethical and moral one. It is also a self-preservation issue. Biodiversity plays a critical role in providing food, fibre, water, energy, medicines and other genetic materials; and is key to the regulation of our climate, water quality, pollution, pollination services, flood control and storm surges. In addition, nature underpins all dimensions of human health and contributes on non-material levels - inspiration and learning, physical and psychological experiences and shaping our identities -that are central in quality of life and cultural integrity.

   Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in millions of years. The way we produce and consume food and energy, and the blatant disregard for the environment entrenched in our current economic model, has pushed the natural world to its limits. COVID-19 is a clear manifestation of our broken relationship with nature, and highlights the deep interconnection between the health of both people and the planet.

   It is time we answer nature's SOS. Not just to secure the amazing diversity of life we love and have the moral duty to coexist with, but because ignoring it puts the future of nearly 8 billion people at stake.

   The Bending the Curve Initiative [from WWF] used multiple state-of-the art models and scenarios to investigate whether we can reverse terrestrial biodiversity declines - and if so, how.

   The Bending the Curve modelling tells us that, with transformational change, we can turn the tide of biodiversity loss. It is easy to talk about transformational change, but how will we, living in our complex, highly connected modern society, make it a reality? We know that it will take a global, collective effort; that increased conservation efforts are key, along with changes in how we produce and consume our food and energy. Citizens, governments and business leaders around the globe will need to be part of a movement for change with a scale, urgency and ambition never seen before.

   WWF have invited thinkers and practitioners from a range of fields in many countries to share their views on how to bring about a healthy planet for people and nature.

Sir David Attenborough, who presents a BBC TV documentary on extinction later this month (BBC One, Sunday 13 September at 8pm) said :-

"Achieving a balance with the natural world so that we become stewards of our planet will require systemic shifts in how we produce food, create energy, manage our oceans and use materials. But above all it will require a change in perspective. A change from viewing nature as something that's optional or 'nice to have' to the single greatest ally we have in restoring balance to our world."


A UN report in May 2019 said that 1 million species are threatened with extinction, many within decades, from the devastating impact of humans on nature. We continue to lobby for habitat protection in our local area and repeat the statement we made on our website after the UN report came out last year :-

Looking at how we can respond at the local level to this alarming report and with particular reference to land-use planning, the report illustrates how the modest objective of "Net Environmental Gain" in the planning system is nowhere near good enough when new housing developments are planned for the West of England and for Bath & North East Somerset. What we need is "Significant Ecological Gain".

Not only should the Green Belt surrounding villages and towns like Saltford and Keynsham be fully protected from development, but new developments should be planned in a way that enables a significant increase in the local ecological habitat to start to redress the ecological infrastructure losses incurred from the housing and other developments of recent decades.

We need to design nature back into our local area as we "think global, act local".

"Living Planet Report 2020" is published by the WWF at livingplanet.panda.org (link to English language version).

September 2020

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Nearly 600 say NO to more houses between Keynsham & Saltford


595 objections were submitted to B&NES Council to planning application 20/02673/OUT for c.213 dwellings and associated development etc. on Green Belt land safeguarded in the B&NES Core Strategy, i.e. land "safeguarded to meet longer term development needs".

In addition to a robust objection from SEG (reported by us on our website in August), Saltford Parish Council and Keynsham Town Council also submitted objections.

Significantly, the B&NES Council's own Planning Policy Officer objected as "the site is located outside the Housing Development Boundary and does not form an element of Policies K2, KE2, KE2a, KE2b, KE3a and KE4; it is therefore contrary to Policy KE1 and the site is safeguarded for development but the Local Plan has yet to be reviewed; local and national planning policy is clear that planning permission will be granted only when it is proposed for development following a review of the Local Plan and it is therefore contrary to Policy KE3b and the NPPF."

Furthermore, in the view of B&NES Council's Planning Policy Team "the benefits of the proposal would not outweigh the harm identified and so would not accord with the presumption in favour of sustainable development set out in Policy SD1 of the Core Strategy and the NPPF."

It is hard to imagine in what circumstances this totally inappropriate planning application would be permitted against so much local and strategic policy opposition. The decision from B&NES Council is scheduled to be made by 29 October.

September 2020

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Saltford Calendar 2021


The Saltford Calendar 2021 featuring some stunning photographs by local photographers is now available from Saltford Post Office* at 7 each.

As in previous years the calendar has been produced by Saltford Community Association and Saltford Environment Group. All net proceeds will be split between SCA, SEG and the Saltford Community Library and Post Office to help further their work supporting the community.

By purchasing your copy or copies (it makes a great gift!) you are helping support the community, including helping to keep the Post Office open, whilst celebrating the village and its rural setting.

*Saltford Post Office is open 9am - 1pm & 2pm - 5pm on Monday to Friday, closed on Thursday.

September 2020

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How porous is your front garden?

The heavy rainfall experienced in August and flash-flooding occurring around different parts of the UK reminds us of the need to be prepared for similar or more extreme episodes of weather arising from climate change. Surface flash-flooding is exacerbated by the extensive paving-over of open ground for roads, footpaths, driveways, and even paved gardens. In many cases localised flooding in relatively small areas can occur because drains cannot cope with the amount of rain water flowing to them.

As a result of the serious flooding in the UK in the summer of 2007, from 1st October 2008 amendments to permitted development rights affecting the paving over of front gardens came into effect.

From October 2008 householders have not required planning permission if a new or replacement driveway of any size uses permeable (or porous) surfacing, such as gravel, permeable concrete block paving or porous asphalt, or if the rainwater is directed to a lawn or border to drain naturally. However, if the surface to be covered is more than five square metres (5m2 is smaller than the footprint of a small car!) planning permission is needed for laying traditional, impermeable driveways that do not allow for the water to run to a permeable area.

Some may consider this a burdensome requirement of the planning system. Looking at it this from the perspective of homes positioned downhill (or downstream!) in the same road or local area, the risk of surface water entering those homes during flash floods has been increased by the collective effect of homes higher up the same road losing permeability for their front gardens as a result of hard-standing non-permeable surfaces rather than permeable driveways or planted areas of grass, shrubs and hedging etc.

The Government has issued "Guidance on the permeable surfacing of front gardens" (2008) and any competent builder engaged to construct or renew a front garden driveway should be aware of the need and reasons for adhering to these planning requirements. Ultimately, however, it is the landowner's responsibility to ensure that any new front garden driveway meets planning requirements.

Don't forget, you can check if you need planning permission - visit the B&NES Council website from this link: check if you need planning permission.

September 2020

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Countryside Code & visitors to Saltford


Saltford welcomes visitors who come to enjoy our green spaces and riverside location and keep to the Countryside Code. Please show respect, protect the environment and enjoy your visit safely.

Thank you.

August 2020

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SEG against more congestion on A4

NOTE: See also SEG's planning objection for another 200+ more houses nearby in the news story reported immediately before this story.

On 5 August SEG submitted objection comments to B&NES Council concerning planning application 20/02479/OUT (Parcel 1991, Bath Road, Keynsham). This is an outline application for up to 5,950sqm of flexible use commercial development with primary access onto the A4 Bath Road submitted by Places for People Strategic Land. It is part of plans covered by the B&NES 2014 Core Strategy and is on former Green Belt land.

SEG's objection comment was as follows:

Saltford Environment Group shares the concerns of Saltford Parish Council and Keynsham Town Council over the impact these proposals will have on access to and from the A4. The transport planning element of the draft Local Plan if adopted would provide additional road infrastructure to relieve pressure on the A4 yet these proposals for Parcel 1991 do not appear to take account of that but would make the A4 more dangerous for pedestrians including school students and cyclists whilst contributing to traffic congestion and thereby air and noise pollution in a residential area. That congestion has a knock-on effect for surrounding communities including Saltford.

Any further new development between Keynsham and Saltford should be preceded, not followed, by new transport infrastructure to prevent further congestion and gridlock at peak periods as economic activity recovers after COVID-19 when more local car journeys may be a consequence of increased home working and possibly less use of public transport.

SEG also considers the removal of the refuge island on the A4 and layby, the only layby between Keynsham and Saltford, to significantly reduce safety for road users and pedestrians and asks that such plans be rejected.

The concerns expressed by B&NES Council's Landscape Team on 28.2.2020 should be addressed. The need to mitigate the development's landscape and visual impact, compensatory tree planting provision, enhancement of green infrastructure and the retention and strengthening of existing boundary vegetation are a necessary requirement of B&NES Council's declaration in July 2020 of an 'Ecological Emergency' and the corresponding commitment to planning that was made with that declaration. The loss of agricultural land or land that can be re-purposed to provide wildlife habitat that in turn provides ecological support to farmland should be minimised wherever possible. It therefore follows that previously developed land should be considered and developed for commercial use before green field or (former) Green Belt land whilst new commercial development should only proceed if it continues to be required as a result of changes to economic activity subsequent to the aftermath of COVID-19.


Those wishing to comment on this planning application (deadline is 20 Aug 2020) can follow this link and key 20/02479/OUT into the B&NES Development Control web page search box: LINK. If you encounter difficulties with the B&NES website you can email your objection/comments to: [email link] but make sure you include the reference number for this planning application (20/02479/OUT).

On the evening of 4th August Saltford Parish Council (SPC) agreed its response, also an objection, to this planning application.

August 2020

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SEG rejects plans for 200+ houses between Keynsham & Saltford!


On 4 August SEG submitted a robust objection to B&NES Council concerning planning application 20/02673/OUT for c.213 dwellings and associated development etc. on Green Belt land safeguarded in the B&NES Core Strategy, i.e. land "safeguarded to meet longer term development needs".

SEG's objection said:-

SEG strongly objects to this outline planning application for 213 houses etc. on Green Belt land safeguarded in the B&NES Core Strategy, i.e. land "safeguarded to meet longer term development needs". The purpose of safeguarded land has been to consider it for development (i) AFTER the other developments identified in the Core Strategy have been completed, not before, and thus when infrastructure is already in place and found to be coping with existing and new demands placed on it, AND (ii) if a genuine demand for additional new housing remains after the other Core Strategy developments have been completed.

SEG notes that this is the second attempt by Mactaggart And Mickel Homes Ltd to attempt to circumvent local plans by building c.200 homes at this location, the previous application 18/010509/OUT having correctly been refused by B&NES Council followed by an initial appeal by Mactaggart And Mickel Homes Ltd that it subsequently withdrew.

Government planning policy (NPPF 2018, para. 15) makes it clear that the planning system is to "be genuinely plan-led" and those local plans are created to meet local needs identified by local authorities as "strategic policy-making authorities" on behalf of the local communities they represent. It thus follows that:

   (a) it is not appropriate for developers to attempt to decide where or when houses should be built by applying pressure through lobbying, constant challenging and other means to the plan making process or when making planning applications that fall outside the plans, requirements, limitations or restrictions of a local plan - even if the local plan is going through a revision or update, and

   (b) developers do not have a strategic policy making role other than to say where they can build houses when invited to do so.

Saltford Environment Group therefore asks B&NES Council to continue to strongly resist this unwelcome attempt to undermine local plans.

SEG refers to the objection comments it made to 18/010509/OUT which still apply since the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic. It is far too early to determine how demand for new housing or travel patterns will change after COVID-19. These changes may include (a) the Government's relaxation of planning rules to encourage the conversion of office and retail buildings in city centres to housing thus reducing the pressure on green field sites whilst rejuvenating city centres that have lost retail outlets; and (b) increased or reduced use of public transport or private vehicles including for additional local journeys by those working from home. Our concerns expressed in 2018 therefore continue to apply.

SEG also requests that any new development between Keynsham and Saltford must be preceded, not followed, by new transport infrastructure to prevent further congestion and gridlock at peak periods as economic activity recovers.

SEG welcomes and supports B&NES Council's declaration of an Ecological Emergency on 28 July 2020. The declaration by B&NES Council referred specifically to "the loss of habitats and the connectivity of habitats; the decline in pollinators that are crucial to food supply and a decline in the health and quality of soil" and included the commitment to "resist the destruction of habitats through planning policy and development management". SEG's Sustainable Development statement (below) for the original 2018 version of this planning application, 18/010509/OUT, illustrates how refusing this premature planning application would be appropriate and in line with B&NES Council's new commitment to respond to the Ecological Emergency and "protect our wildlife and habitats, enabling residents to benefit from a green, nature rich environment".

For ease of reference those comments in 2018 that still apply were as follows:-

To allow this to proceed before other developments that were very regrettably allowed in the B&NES Core Strategy on Keynsham's Green Belt would put undue and additional pressure on transport infrastructure and public services. Those services and infrastructure already struggle or fail to cope with the existing housing density before the proposed Core Strategy developments have been built and supporting infrastructure for those developments put in place beforehand.

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


SEG has in other submissions concerning the Local Plan to B&NES Council made its concerns known that development on Green Belt land in B&NES would be contrary to the principle of sustainable development. 81% of B&NES is farmland compared to the national average of 57% yet only 5% of B&NES is natural or semi-natural land (heathland, natural grassland etc.) compared to a national average of 35% (data source: Dr Alasdair Rae, University of Sheffield, using Co-ordination of Information on the Environment (Corine) land use codes, 2017). That is already a huge deficit. Farmland requires the eco-system support (e.g. habitat for pollinating insects) of surrounding Green Belt and natural/semi-natural land to function. It would be irresponsible not to protect B&NES' natural/semi-natural land that underpins the economy of the B&NES and wider West of England area and our future food security in a changing climate made more critical by unmanaged population growth.

The principle of net environment gain for housing and infrastructure development was announced by the Prime Minister when launching the Government's 25 year plan for the environment in January 2018. It follows that only in exceptional circumstances where a genuine need, not desire, for affordable housing is identified at the location under consideration AND where a net environmental gain can be provided, should development on the Green Belt be considered. In such exceptional circumstances safeguards to protect the affordability of such housing should also be implemented otherwise the housing built will not support local employment or remain affordable; it is affordable rather than unaffordable housing that is needed due to failed policies that have created that need.


SEG members and others wishing to comment on this planning application (deadline is 4 Sept 2020) can follow this link and key 20/02673/OUT into the B&NES Development Control web page search box: LINK. If you encounter difficulties with the B&NES website you can email your objection/comments to: [email link] but make sure you include the reference number for this planning application (20/02673/OUT).

Make sure you include in your objection your own personal planning reasons for why you do not want this development to be permitted, for example:

  • the traffic congestion you already experience (incl. effect on air quality);
  • COVID-19 makes current traffic data unreliable;
  • protection of local green spaces is important for quality of life - especially with more home-working during and after COVID-19;
  • this land was safeguarded for future use IF after the existing planned developments had been completed a review by B&NES Council found further development in this area was needed or appropriate;
  • etc.

August 2020

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B&NES declares 'Ecological Emergency'

At the end of July B&NES Council declared an Ecological Emergency in response to the escalating threat to wildlife and ecosystems.

The declaration recognises the essential role nature plays in society and the economy and provides a statement of intent to protect our wildlife and habitats, enabling residents to benefit from a green, nature rich environment.

It builds on the council's declaration of a Climate Emergency last March and recognises that the two threats, caused by the over-exploitation of the earth's resources and poor land management, are having a devastating impact on the planet and our wellbeing.

Councillor Sarah Warren, joint cabinet member for Climate Emergency, said: "I'm delighted the council unanimously backed the motion to declare an Ecological Emergency. It is a sobering thought that 15% of the UK's wildlife is now at risk of extinction. This is largely a result of a critical decline in biodiversity: the loss of habitats and the connectivity of habitats; the decline in pollinators that are crucial to food supply and a decline in the health and quality of soil. We must address these issues. We're already making a difference, for example through the promotion of grassland habitat diversity and additional tree planting, but there's much more work to do."

In declaring an Ecological Emergency, the council has made a number of commitments, including:

  • working with partners locally and regionally to drive coordinated leadership and collaborative action
  • resisting the destruction of habitats through planning policy and development management
  • reviewing the Bath and North East Somerset Green Infrastructure Strategy
  • identifying appropriate areas for habitat restoration
  • continuing to collaborate with communities, businesses and other organisations, existing networks and partnerships, schools, colleges and universities, to improve ecological literacy and encourage greater biodiversity, tree-planting and management.

Information source: B&NES Council media release 28.7.2020

August 2020

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Current areas of local volunteer assistance sought by SEG


Whilst our partner organisations such as Saltford Wombles (for tackling litter) and the Fairtrade Group always welcome volunteer assistance, SEG sometimes has specific roles or posts that need filling. Here are the current vacancies:-

Website skills wanted!

Our website is a popular resource for our members and others which means that in addition to keeping it relevant we want to make sure it continues to function as it should.

If you live in or near Saltford, care about your local environment and have current knowledge of website design and might be interested in using your IT skills for a bit of IT volunteering to help us behind the scenes please get in touch with our Chairman by email to phil@philharding.net 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


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Contact Us

All general, membership & urgent (e.g. Press) enquiries by email to our Chairman please.

HOW TO JOIN SEG: If you live, work or have a particular interest in Saltford & wish to join our email membership list please send an email to our Chairman. Please include your name, address & contact telephone number in your email application. NOTE: We provide information about membership including personal data protection by SEG on our "About Us page".


Chairman & Website Editor*: Phil Harding
phil@philharding.net (07814--720763)

Secretary: Vacant Position

Treasurer: Andrew Stainer

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

Saltford Station Campaign: Chris Warren

Saltford Fairtrade Group:

Saltford Heritage Centre
Curators: Phil Harding & Andrew Stainer (contact details above).

Saltford Wombles is independent of SEG but contact details can be found on our Less Waste page.

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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. The same applies to companies that produce bespoke marketing materials. 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.

Do you care about the village of Saltford, its environment, wildlife and future as a thriving, more sustainable community? Then join us and also follow us on facebook. See our 'About us' page for how to join (membership is free!).

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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).