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  towards a sustainable future for our village

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SEG Home > Green Belt (Saltford)


Green Belt


SEG's Green Belt Campaign

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Key news of activities associated with SEG's continuous campaign to protect Saltford's Green Belt from development can be found on this page. Campaign news will feature regularly on our home page.

As a reference source we have published at the end of this page in our Campaign Archive some of SEG's written evidence, articles and other lobbying material etc. from our campaign. See also our special Green Belt Inquiry (2013) Archive Page.

Green Belt: The Six Core Principles for Saltford

Saltford Environment Group's Committee agreed the following policy statement incorporating six core principles on 15th January 2013.

We are of the opinion that the Green Belt land around Saltford should not be developed because:

  • It is important to retain and sustain a sense of community for villages like Saltford. The creation of additional housing on Green Belt land around Saltford would set an unwelcome precedent leading to an urban sprawl merging Bristol with Bath, the destruction of the setting and special character of the area, and loss of community cohesion. This would seriously diminish the quality of life for the wider community, as well as the residents of Saltford.
  • Traffic congestion requires sustainable solutions, not simply creating more roads that increase overall road traffic with higher carbon and other polluting emissions whilst creating traffic problems elsewhere.
  • The protection of our 'natural capital', the natural environment and the biodiversity of wildlife that it supports, is essential for the health and well-being of present and future generations. It is important to retain and enhance attractive landscapes near where people live.
  • Green Belt and agricultural land should be retained and protected for potential future food production purposes should that become necessary against a background of extreme weather due to climate change creating food shortages in the future.
  • The existing services and infrastructure struggle to cope with heavy rainfall; further development would make matters worse.
  • Central and Local Government have a duty of care to take a more long term and strategic approach by first identifying the future 'carrying capacity' of the UK and local regions. This must be done against a background of world population growth that is creating an ever growing demand for food whilst the increasing episodes of extreme weather in the UK and worldwide due to climate change will reduce the UK's ability to feed itself or rely on imported food.

For these reasons we cannot accept development on our Green Belt as a matter of principle.

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Saltford's Green Belt

The housing development area of Saltford is surrounded by Green Belt and the Cotswold Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) on the eastern bank (Bath side) of the River Avon towards Kelston and the Round Hill. Saltford is also surrounded by the Community Forest of Avon area (N, W and S sides of the village).

The Parish Plan (2010) describes the local purpose and views about our Green Belt as follows:

   "Saltford lies within the Bristol/Bath Green Belt which is how it has managed to keep its countryside setting, and there is a clear view amongst residents that this Green Belt surrounding the village should continue to be protected from erosion through housing development."

93% of respondents to the Parish Plan questionnaire circulated in September 2009 thought it was important to preserve the Green Belt around Saltford. This demonstrates that a key reason why people choose to live in Saltford is for the quality of the local natural environment and countryside. The habitat it provides for local wildlife is also important and highly valued by residents.

If we wish Saltford to retain the character and size of a rural village (Saltford is classified as an 'R.1. Rural Settlement' in the B&NES Local Plan 2007), then the protection of our Green Belt is essential.

Against the background of a rising population and climate change it is also increasingly important that, for the ability of the local area to produce food for current and future generations, we protect viable agricultural land and natural/semi-natural land within the Green Belt. Farmland requires the ecosystem support (e.g. habitat for pollinating insects) of surrounding Green Belt and natural/semi-natural land to function.

The Green Belt has a valuable role in providing food and habitat for our wildlife and thus protecting the biodiversity that is so important for a healthy environment that in turn is essential for our quality of life whether we live in Saltford itself or in neighbouring towns and cities where recreational access to the countryside is equally important.

In view of all these factors, SEG's Committee has produced it's own set of core principles for how we respond to plans for any future proposals to develop on our green belt.

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Local Plan

The Local Plan (or Development Plan) in Bath & North East Somerset primarily comprises the Core Strategy (adopted in 2014) and the Placemaking Plan (adopted in 2017), both of which cover a plan period up to 2029. B&NES Council is required to review the Local Plan every five years in order to determine whether it remains fit for purpose or whether all or part of it needs to be updated.

SEG supports the Green Belt in B&NES Local Plan Partial Update consultation response

February 2021

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A full review of the B&NES Local Plan will be undertaken alongside the WECA Spatial Development Strategy (SDS) which is scheduled for publication in 2023. In the interim B&NES is undertaking a Partial Update of the Local Plan to address a number of urgent issues, e.g. a climate emergency and an ecological emergency has been declared by B&NES.

SEG submitted detailed comments to B&NES Council on its Local Plan Partial Update (LPPU) consultation on 4th February 2021. SEG's response was similar to the Saltford Parish Council response agreed at its February meeting. The consultation ends on 18th February and more information can be found from this external link.

In addition to commenting on a proposals concerning infill boundaries for Green Belt villages, SEG submitted comments on the proposals for further development of land at north and east Keynsham. SEG agreed with SPC that this area is at risk of over-development taking account of the demands on transport and other services and the loss of green spaces around and within Keynsham as a whole arising from the recent developments authorised by the Core Strategy/Local Plan.

In its response SEG reminded B&NES Council that if the two safeguarded sites at east Keynsham are to be developed, such development should be in response to genuine need, not demand, for new housing that cannot be satisfied from use of vacant buildings (e.g., the repurposing of retail and offices) and underused previously developed land outside the Green Belt, i.e. in accordance with planning policy announcements in 2020 from B&NES Council, the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and the Ministry of Housing Communities & Local Government.

SEG also submitted comments on the Housing & Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) 2021 update for Saltford and referred to the planning reasons for not developing the 9 Saltford sites in Saltford's Green Belt that were assessed in 2018 for the 2019 HELAA (see map below) that all still remain valid.

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Finally, SEG referred to B&NES Council's obligation and responsibility to protect the Green Belt for the potential eco-system support for nature and biodiversity it can provide helping to underpin food production and food security, whilst open green space has recreational and quality of life value for local communities, a value heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Taking those factors into account, the combined environmental, societal and economic value of the Green Belt far outweighs any short-term economic gain from its development, development that would be contrary to sustainable development principles and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

The text of SEG's full response can be viewed here:-

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OLDER LOCAL PLAN NEWS ITEMS (for reference)


SEG submits its response to B&NES Local Plan Options

December 2018

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On 11th December 2018 SEG submitted to B&NES Council its response to the B&NES Local Plan Options consultation. We have reported previously concerning the similar response on 4th December from Saltford Parish Council produced jointly with SEG - that can be seen at the end of this news item.

Key points in SEG's detailed response included the following:-

  • SEG has supported the request from SPC for (i) discussions with B&NES before there is any serious consideration of putting any parcel of Saltford's Green Belt into the draft Local Plan for development, and (ii) SPC's request for consultation from B&NES Council on the layout plans for the relocated Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park in the proposed North Keynsham Garden Community Strategic Development Location (SDL).
  • SEG reminded B&NES Council that in March 2014 the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government refused planning permission for 99 new dwellings south of Manor Road for the National Planning Policy Framework reasons that we repeated. Like SPC, SEG made the point that there is no evidence or reason to suggest that the situation had changed to make that or other sites or portions of Green Belt sites in Saltford including any that are adjacent to Keynsham, acceptable or suitable for development.
  • Taking a constructive approach, SEG offered to provide some level of professional pro bono advice to support the ecological design of the relocated Avon Valley Adventure and Wildlife Park in the proposed North Keynsham SDL. In addition to other recommendations we asked, for example, that the relocated park be planted only with native species ecologically appropriate to NE Somerset.
  • SEG made the case that Keynsham, like Saltford, should retain its own Green Belt buffer in the Local Plan.
  • SEG, like SPC, did not agree with the proposed removal of safeguarded status for the two former Green Belt sites at Keynsham East as part of the North Keynsham SDL. SEG recommended that if the North Keynsham SDL is adopted it should be carefully developed using an incremental approach with the two safeguarded East Keynsham sites developed last, if at all, in response to need, not demand, for new housing. That approach can help ensure transport and other infrastructure is coping satisfactorily with new developments added in increments before additional and relatively significant volumes of new houses are built.

A website version of SEG's response can be downloaded here: SEG LP Options response 11.12.2018 (pdf opens in new window).

The Saltford Parish Council agreed response can be downloaded here: SPC LP Options response 4.12.2018 (pdf opens in new window).

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The map above shows all 9 of the Saltford Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) sites that were considered/assessed in order to inform preparation of the B&NES Local Plan Options for development. Those 9 site are all on Saltford's Green Belt and were submitted to B&NES by developers/land owners following a call for sites in early 2017. Our campaign's objective is to make sure those sites stay out of the Local Plan, as they are unsuitable on planning and sustainable development grounds for development, and to protect from development the Green Belt surrounding Saltford.

You can download SEG's HELAA response in November 2017 here:-

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

Green Belt briefing for 08.10.2018 AGM (pdf)

The dedicated B&NES Local Plan web page can be found from this link: B&NES Local Planning Policy.

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HELAA: SEG makes case to B&NES that our Green Belt is not appropriate for development

January 2018

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B&NES Council is carrying out a Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) review and SEG submitted its response to the B&NES report on 9th November 2017. HELAA is required in order to identify and assess land that could be considered for allocation in the Local Plan (previously known as the Core Strategy Review) that will cover the period 2016-2036. The primary purpose of the Local Plan 2016-2036 is to identify and allocate sites to meet the housing and economic development requirements established by the West of England Joint Spatial Plan (JSP).

The council undertook a call for sites (CFS) between January and March 2017 requesting land to be identified and submitted to the council for assessment through the HELAA process. Anyone could submit land for consideration, but part of the assessment relates to the availability of the land and therefore land normally needs to be owned by someone who is willing to develop it or to sell the land to a third party who is willing to do so. Apart from availability, it was stated that the assessment would consider both the suitability and the achievability of land.

As SEG predicted, developers have identified Green Belt land on the south and west side of Saltford that they would like to build on. SEG and the Parish Council have responded accordingly, SEG on 9th November, and both responses were strongly against such development for a range of planning and sustainable development reasons including traffic congestion, new developments should be close to the sources of employment to reduce the need to travel for commuting and that it is unsustainable to build on the Green Belt which would be contrary also to national planning policy (known as NPPF).

Furthermore at the public meeting held at Saltford Golf Club on 1 December 2016 the Leader of B&NES Council, Tim Warren, said that the "current B&NES administration had no intention to allow housing development on Saltford's Green Belt in the Joint Spatial Plan".

On 9th January 2018 SEG submitted its response to B&NES to the B&NES Local Plan 2016-2036 Issues & Options document.

SEG said it supported and was in full agreement with the response from Saltford Parish Council that was agreed by the full Parish Council on 2 January 2018. The response underlined and gave reasons for protecting the Green Belt and raised concerns over transport issues and stated that it was essential that appropriate and necessary transport infrastructure changes are made to reduce vehicles use on the A4 before any additional housing is planned for the area that would in effect place more vehicles on the A4 through Saltford or on other pinch points on the A4 route between Bristol and Bath.

In addition to comments on affordable housing, the protection of archaeological sites and the importance of the rural villages close to Bath, SEG added a further explanation behind why the Green Belt needs protection as follows:-

   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). Farmland requires the ecosystem 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.

Updated January 2018

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Placemaking Plan(s)

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Saltford's High Street in autumn. Photograph SEG.

1. Saltford Placemaking Plan

Saltford's Placemaking Plan was produced by a Working Group appointed by the Parish Council and published on the Parish Council website in December (2013). The community was consulted on its contents between 23 November and 6 December 2013.

The purpose of this plan is to complement the strategic planning framework provided in Bath & North East Somerset Council's Core Strategy. It provides an updated and refreshed planning policy framework for managing development in the Parish of Saltford. The plan breaks Saltford down into 7 distinct character zones: Green Belt, Conservation Area, housing settlements (north and south of the A4), river Avon frontage, A4 corridor and the two large satellite sites within the Green Belt.

The following are extracts from the Green Belt character assessment (Chapter 6):

   The Cotswold AONB ridge and the distinctive local landmark of Kelston Round Hill (also known as Kelston Tump) together with Saltford's Green Belt and the river Avon provides a rural setting for the village. Despite Saltford's proximity to the cities of Bath and Bristol and the neighbouring town of Keynsham, this landscape gives Saltford its own distinctive character complementing and preserving both the setting of Saltford's Conservation Area with its historical buildings and the newer housing developments within the village.

   The openness of Saltford's Green Belt also provides a sense of permanence to the countryside surrounding the village, provides separation whilst keeping in check urban sprawl from Keynsham, Bristol and Bath, and helps to safeguard the adjacent countryside including the Cotswold AONB from encroachment.

   It is also a very important green infrastructure asset for Saltford and the wider community of Bath & North East Somerset. It provides ecosystems that support agriculture and wildlife together with an element of flood protection for the village from the river Avon and from surface water flooding arising from extreme rainfall events.

   In addition to sports facilities offered by Saltford Golf Club and the sports ground by Saltford Hall, the Bristol and Bath Railway Path together with Saltford's extensive network of public footpaths provide the community and many visitors from neighbouring urban areas with a healthy environment much of which is considered locally to be of outstanding scenic value. This also enables leisure activities such as walking and cycling that are important for healthy lifestyles and a general sense of well-being.

   93% of households that responded to the Saltford Parish Plan questionnaire in 2009 specifically said that they wanted Saltford's Green Belt to be protected. This clearly expressed view is reflected in the 2010 Saltford Parish Plan's objective to "prevent development that will encroach upon the Green Belt around Saltford".


2. B&NES Placemaking Plan

The B&NES Placemaking Plan is an important document as combined with the Core Strategy (adopted in 2014) these form the B&NES Local Plan.

You can view the B&NES Placemaking Plan that was adopted in July 2017 on the B&NES Council website from this link: B&NES Placemaking Plan web page.

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A road bypass for Saltford?

The loss of Green Belt land from construction and the infill development that would inevitably follow, is just one of several reasons why a discussion paper produced for Saltford Environment Group's Committee says that at the present time the case has not been made for a bypass as a suitable solution for peak time traffic congestion in Saltford. The discussion paper looks at the potential adverse effects our village might face if a bypass was to be built, creating more environmental, social and economic problems than it would solve.

The threat to our Green Belt and agricultural land from a bypass would be considerable as shown by the rejected proposals by B&NES Planners in January 2013 for a southern route bypass containing an infill of 5,000+ houses in the context of the draft Core Strategy. Furthermore the West of England Transport Study Final Report by Atkins (October 2017) concluded that a southern route bypass "would cross difficult terrain, with steep slopes south east of the village. It would be necessary to create a significant cut in the hillside, with a relatively steep gradient and potential requirement for a climbing lane in the westbound direction. These issues would collectively result in landscape impacts, major earthworks and relatively high scheme costs."

The policy discussion paper on a road bypass for Saltford (first published 9.1.13) is a 'living document' that we shall review and update periodically. It can be downloaded here:

Standing room only at the Saltford bypass public meeting (1.12.2016)

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Some of the bypass meeting audience on 1st December 2016.

On the evening of 1st December 2016 c.200 residents attended a public meeting at Saltford Golf Club. This was arranged at short notice by Saltford Parish Council to give residents an opportunity to hear about the proposed bypass as illustrated in the West of England Joint Transport Study "Transport Vision" document which has a very short consultation period from 7th November to 19th December.

On the panel stating their position on a bypass and taking questions from residents were Cllr Tim Warren, Leader of B&NES Council; Cllr Tony Clarke, B&NES Cabinet Member for Transport; Cllr Francine Haeberling, Ward Councillor for Saltford (Cons); Cllr Chris Warren, Chairman of Saltford Parish Council; and Duncan Hounsell, representing B&NES and Saltford Liberal Democrats. The meeting was chaired by independent chairman and Saltford resident, Dick Bateman.

Cllrs Tim Warren and Tony Clarke were emphatic that the line on the map showing a bypass route south of Saltford was illustrative only and there were no plans for a bypass on any particular route around Saltford. It was being considered in only general terms at this stage as part of the mix of transport solutions to help alleviate the traffic congestion on the Bath-Bristol transport corridor as part of the Joint Transport Study which was intended to cover a 20 year period from 2016 to 2036.

The majority of questions from the floor expressed concerns at the potential impacts on Saltford and the potential for infill housing on the Green Belt from a bypass. The need for evidence based information on the different options or solutions before the community was asked to express a firm opinion was also emphasised by several residents.

A number of residents in the audience and the panel members from Saltford asked for the next published draft of the transport vision to not include any indicative line for a Saltford bypass. It was strongly felt that any indicative line showing a possible bypass would put an unnecessary long term housing and planning blight on a large part of Saltford.

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Food Security and the Green Belt:
Who feeds Saltford, B&NES and the UK?

The food system must become sustainable...
It is essential that policy-makers address
all areas at the same time

'The Future of Food and Farming: Challenges
and choices for global sustainability'

Foresight (2011)

The summer of 2018 shared with 2006, 2003 and 1976 was the hottest UK summer on record with temperatures in England for 2018 breaking all records according to the Met Office. But extreme fluctuations in our weather should not be unexpected and these can have drastic affects on food supplies and food prices. For example 2012 was a year of extremes for the UK's weather with 78 days of flooding and 95 days officially in drought. Likewise 2007 which also saw some of the most severe flooding in recent memory also started the year with hosepipe bans.

The persistent wet weather during 2012 (after the drought of 2011) resulted in total rainfall for the UK of 1330.7 mm, which is just 6.6 mm short of the record set in 2000. 2012 was the wettest year on record for England. The effect of drought followed by floods on UK food production was significant.

Defra figures show that the UK's imports of cereals and cereal preparations rose by 318M or 12.5% in 2012 (Dec '11 - Nov '12) following England's drought conditions in 2011. According to the NFU, in 2012 the UK's wheat production was down to the levels of the early 1980s. But in 1980 there were a lot less mouths to feed with a UK population, at 56M, 7M lower than in 2011 (63M).

The 2012 droughts in the US, as we had floods here in the UK, pushed up the price of wheat and maize, and led to the world's poor eating less. For England and Wales, the 2013/14 winter was the wettest since 1766 resulting, for example, in prolonged flooding on the Somerset levels affecting a significant area of agricultural land.

Clearly, extreme weather, fluctuating between prolonged periods of wet weather, heat waves and drought, arising from climate change makes a direct impact on the carrying capacity of the UK and can and will have a drastic effect on food supplies and food prices, i.e. food security.

Rather than waiting for a food supply crisis to occur in the UK before taking action when it may be too late, we should plan ahead now. You can download SEG's Food Security Information Sheet lower down this page.

We need to protect our agricultural land and make sure we provide sufficient headroom to take account of unmanaged population growth raising the demand for food whilst climate change induced extreme weather reduces our agricultural land's capacity to produce food. It is reasonable to accept that the UK will always have to import some food but imports are likely to become less reliable or affordable.

Saltford including the housing development area is approximately 5.5 km2, just over 2 square miles, or 1,400 acres. Taking account of the existing developed land within the housing development boundary (approx. 1.1 km2, or 270 acres), we have around 1,100 acres left.

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If we assume approximately 1 acre of agricultural land is required to feed one person (this is affected by diet and food production methods) then Saltford's population of 4,073 (2011 census) requires 4,073 acres, i.e. a footprint some 3 times larger than Saltford and its green belt.

On behalf of SEG Phil Harding wrote to B&NES Council on 30th January 2013 highlighting the need to protect our Green Belt agricultural land against unsuitable development. The letter referred to SEG's 'Six Core Principles' of why we cannot accept further development on our Green Belt, and asked:

  1. What plans B&NES Council has for producing a resilient food plan; and
     
  2. that B&NES Council will resist any attempts by central Government to impose housing numbers in the B&NES Core Strategy that would require development on Green Belt land that could be used for food production purposes (and wildlife habitat that in itself supports food production) should the future need arise.

You can download the text of the letter here:

In its reply to the 30.1.2013 letter, B&NES Council has said that a resilient food plan may form part of the strategic approach to local food and that sustainable development is central to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).

SEG's response is that sustainable development, the purpose of the NPPF, by its very definition has to take a holistic approach. Food security and local food production is by implication a key aspect of land use planning. We feel that a resilient food plan should be part of B&NES's strategic approach to local, sustainable food.

The following two stage approach for taking the Core Strategy forward was suggested to B&NES Council by SEG on 18.2.2013:

  1. permit housing development on brown field sites (that have good access to public transport and places of employment only) in the short-medium term, and
     
  2. all green belt and agricultural land will be protected from housing or other development until and not before a green belt review and food resilience plan has been completed with full consultation.*
     * subject to advice and detailed guidance from central Government on the UK's food resilience, future carrying capacity and the role that B&NES has within a national food strategy addressing sustainable food production that is secure, healthy and low carbon.

"Keeping land permanently open" is a purpose of Green Belt. Food is an "ecosystem service" and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF - 2018) states (para. 118) that planning policies and decisions should recognise that undeveloped land can be used for food production.

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). Farmland requires the ecosystem 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 UK's Food Supply: Who feeds the UK?

If we consider the importance of green belt agricultural land for feeding the UK as a whole, we might question the wisdom and resilience of a proportional increase in our reliance on imported food in recent years to feed us. Is this sustainable in the face of increasing incidences of extreme weather events, due to climate change, and a rising world population?

The UK's overall self-sufficiency in food during World War II increased from a historic low of about one-third at the beginning to around two-thirds by the end. The UK's highest period of self-sufficiency during the 20th century was in the 1980s (60 - 70%). The UK's food self-sufficiency in food has declined since the 1980s. These official figures from Defra reveal the situation for recent years:-

   1. ORIGINS OF FOOD CONSUMED IN UK : % OF IMPORTED FOOD

   2017   50%
   2014   46%
   2010   50.6%

   2. UK FOOD PRODUCTION TO SUPPLY RATIO (ALL FOOD)
   - the "self-sufficiency" ratio - includes food exported that
   could otherwise be consumed, feed, seeds and livestock

   2017   60%
   2014   62%
   2010   61%

Based on the farm-gate value of unprocessed food in 2017, the UK supplied just under half (50%) of the food consumed in the UK. The leading foreign supplier of food consumed in the UK were countries from the EU (30%). Africa, Asia, North and South America each provided a 4% share of the food consumed in the UK.

The three largest value imported commodity groups (at 2017 prices) were fruit & vegetables, meat and beverages

Total UK cereal production has fluctuated, with significant dips in 2001, 2007, 2012 and 2013, linked to adverse weather conditions in those years. There was an 5% rise in 2017 compared to 2016 reflecting the above average yields recorded in 2015.

Successive spikes in the price of agricultural commodities since 2007 have led to higher retail food prices. They have not returned to the low price levels of pre-2007.

Low income households are affected disproportionately when food prices rise as they spend a greater proportion of their income on food.

Note. Source of UK food supply data is published as National Statistics from www.gov.uk: Food Statistics Pocketbook (annual publication, Defra)

RELEVANT FACTS THAT AFFECT OUR FOOD SECURITY

UK population in recent decades/years (Source: Census etc, rounded):
1901 = 38M; 1931 = 46M; 1941 = 48M; 1951 = 50M; 1971 = 56M; 1981 = 56M; 1991 = 58M; 2,001 = 59M; 2011 = 63M.

UK population density (approx):
674 per square mile. Land area of UK is 241,000 km2, 93,000 sq miles, or 60M acres* (approx).

The world's population is growing by 1.08% per annum which is 149 net additions every minute or 2.5 every second (2015 est.).
CIA World Factbook (2015)

It took until the early 1800s for the world population to reach one billion. Now we add a billion every 12-15 years.
United Nations (2017)

Agricultural land lost to land degradation (worldwide):
Estimated at 12M hectares* p.a. (23 hectares/minute!); enough to produce up to 20M tonnes of grain.
United Nations (2012)

Climate change will depress agricultural yields by 15-50% in most countries by 2050.
United Nations (2012)

*1 hectare = 2.47 acres. I acre = approx. 1 football/soccer pitch.

Links to sources of UK population and food security data/information:

  • Population Matters (membership charity that addresses population size and environmental sustainability): www.populationmatters.org
  • Global Food Security (Global Food Security programme from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Swindon, UK): www.foodsecurity.ac.uk

Resources from SEG

You can download SEG's Food Security Information Sheet (2013) here:-

SEG's Gardenshare Document (tenancy agreement):
Want to grow local food in Saltford? Need help growing vegetables in your garden? Our tenancy agreement template is a useful document to help garden owners share their gardens with gardeners for mutual benefit and has been adapted for anyone in Saltford to use:

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Policies and Government statements that protect (or help protect) the Green Belt/Environment

B&NES

The following planning policy documents provide policies at the B&NES area level on the Green Belt (they are undergoing revision to fit with the West of England Joint Spatial Plan):-

  • B&NES Local Plan (2007)*: link to pdf.
    *(most of this was superseded by the new Core Strategy on 10.7.2014. A new B&NES Local Plan is undergoing preparation in 2018-20.)

National Government Planning Policy (NPPF)

  • National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF)** (Revised July 2018): link to pdf (Chapter 13 = "Protecting Green Belt land")
    **NOTE: The planningportal.gov.uk (external link) provides a useful means of finding relevant planning policies under the NPPF.

In NPPF (2018), the Green Belt serves 5 purposes (Chapter 13, para. 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;

   (d) to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns; and

   (e) to assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land.

GOVERNMENT STATEMENTS ON (PROTECTING) THE GREEN BELT (most recent 1st):-

We have reproduced recent policy statements from Government Ministers concerning protection of the Green Belt.

16.12.2020: "Generational opportunity for the repurposing of offices and retail as housing"

Following proposals from HM Government earlier in December to tackle the housing shortage in urban areas by enabling commercial premises to be converted into new homes through a fast-track planning permission process, on 16 December the Ministry of Housing Communities & Local Government (MHCLG) announced plans for an updated method to help councils to enable the delivery of 300,000 homes a year by the mid-2020s, while prioritising brownfield sites and urban areas.

According to MHCLG, under the proposals "cities will be encouraged to plan for more family homes - which are the right size and type for families to live in - and to make the most of vacant buildings and underused land to protect green spaces." The plans "will encourage more homes to be built in England's 20 largest cities and urban centres, boosting local economies by supporting jobs in the building sector, and revitalising high streets with the footfall new residents bring."

Housing Secretary Rt Hon Robert Jenrick MP said "The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated and magnified patterns that already existed, creating a generational opportunity for the repurposing of offices and retail as housing and for urban renewal. We want this to be an opportunity for a new trajectory for our major cities - one which helps to forge a new country beyond Covid - which is more beautiful, healthier, more prosperous, more neighbourly and where more people have the security and dignity of a home of their own."

13.3.2019: 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."

12.1.2019: "Don't build over the Green Belt to hit housing targets"

On 12th January 2019 during the BBC Radio 4 programme "Any Questions", the Communities Secretary the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP said the following:-

   "We want to see up to 300,000 homes built a year by the mid-2020s... I think that we can actually maximise the space, for example in places like our High Streets, actually ensuring that we're getting building over our shops where that's possible, seeing that we use some of the vacant spaces..."

In response to the question from Jonathan Dimbleby, the programme's Chairman, "Have you not in fact made it easier for developers to build on green field sites because of the alleged shortage that they claim there is, the planning laws have been eased have they not?" he replied, after making the point that the Government had created a plan led system where councils are able to set their local plans working with local communities:-

   "On the Green Belt, absolutely that needs to be protected, that needs to be safeguarded. I am not one who is advocating that we should be, effectively, building all over our Green Belt in order to hit those housing targets. I think we can do this creatively, how we use the existing built environment and indeed brown field sites that are there, and actually the protections that are around Green Belt have been upheld and strengthened through our planning guidance to ensure that is the focus."

3.12.2018: ultimate decision is for the local planning authority

Replying to letter sent by Chair of Saltford Parish Council's Planning Committee (& Chair of SEG) Phil Harding to the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government via NE Somerset MP Jacob Rees-Mogg concerning the role of developers and the decision making process for where new housing should be located, Jake Berry MP, the Minister for Local Growth at MHCLG made the following statement in his reply of 3rd December 2018:-

   "Allocation of land for development will ultimately be made by the local planning authority, following public consultation on the options available. The technical assessment provides information on the range of sites which are available to meet need, but it is for the local planning authority to determine which of those sites are the most suitable to meet those needs."

24.7.2018: launch of the revised NPPF (2018)

Extract from announcement of new NPPF (2018) by The Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP, Secretary of State at the Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government.

Whilst giving councils real flexibility to make the most of their existing brownfield land, the revised framework makes sure they exhaust all other reasonable options for development before looking to alter a Green Belt boundary.

The government has more explicitly outlined the protection of the Green Belt in England, explaining the high expectations and considerable evidence that would be needed to alter any boundary.

11.1.2018: 25 Year Environment Plan (HMG) "A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment"

Page 25, para.2. (Housing and planning): About 12% of land in the United Kingdom is designated as Green Belt land, and we remain committed to protecting it. The Green Belt plays an important role in preventing urban sprawl through the planning process.

11.1.2018: Principle of 'net environmental gain' from PM Theresa May

In her speech on the environment on 11 January 2018 (available at this link to gov.uk, Prime Minister Theresa May said:

"In the United Kingdom, we are blessed with an abundance and variety of landscapes and habitats. These natural assets are of immense value. Our countryside and coastal waters are the means by which we sustain our existence in these islands."

"The natural environment is around us wherever we are, and getting closer to it is good for our physical and mental health and our emotional and spiritual wellbeing."

"To make more land available for the homes our country needs, while at the same time creating new habitats for wildlife, we will embed the principle of 'net environmental gain' for development, including housing and infrastructure."

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CAMPAIGN ARCHIVE

SEG has been actively campaigning to protect the local Green Belt since SEG's inception in 2011. Here we publish some of the written evidence and other lobbying material etc. from our campaign as a reference source.


JUNE 2019
On 14 June 2019 SEG submitted its statement to the West of England Joint Spatial Plan Public Examination of the North Keynsham Strategic Development Location (SDL). You can read the submission here:


DECEMBER 2018
You can read the text of the article "Why the Green Belt in B&NES is so important" by our Chairman Phil Harding in the 5th December 2018 edition of The Week In here:


FEBRUARY 2016
To see comments submitted to DCLG by SEG on HMG's consultation on national planning policy, click here:


JANUARY 2016
On 27 January 2016 SEG submitted a policy paper 'Very special circumstances and the Green Belt' to the West of England Partnership as its response to the consultation for 'Issues and Options' in the West of England Joint Spatial Plan (JSP). You can download SEG's paper here:


AUGUST 2013
Saltford Green Belt Inquiry: The successful 2 year defence from 2012 to 2014 by the community of Saltford against an attempt by the developer Crest Nicholson to build on Saltford's Green Belt south of Manor Road including the August 2013 4-day Inquiry is recorded here:


JANUARY 2013
In response to local press reports that residents in Bath and NE Somerset were concerned over possible housing developments on the Green Belt in the forthcoming draft Core Strategy, SEG wrote to "The Week In" and this appeared in the 24.1.2013 edition; the text can be downloaded here:


photograph
Green Belt fields by Manor Road - the subject of a failed
planning application from developers (2012-14).
Photograph Phil Harding 2013.


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On this page:-

<< SEG's Green Belt Campaign

<< Saltford's Green Belt

<< Local Plan

<< Placemaking Plan(s)

<< A road bypass for Saltford?

<< Food Security and the Green Belt

<< Policies and Government statements

<< Campaign Archive

SEE ALSO:-

>> Saltford (Manor Road) Green Belt Inquiry (August 2013) (new page)



Don't blight the land
that feeds you



We have lost sight of the dependence
we have on nature in economics

Tony Juniper


In every walk with nature,
you receive far more
than you seek...



KEEP
GREEN
BELT
GREEN


The future will be green,
or not at all

Jonathon Porritt


When we heal the earth,
we heal ourselves

David Orr


Man's heart away from nature
becomes hard

Standing Bear



Anyone who believes in indefinite
growth on a physically finite planet
is either mad or an economist

Sir David Attenborough


The British countryside is threatened
by people and interests who really
do not care for it

Simon Jenkins, Chair, National Trust
(2013)


"...this Green Belt surrounding the village should continue to be protected..."
Saltford Parish Plan (2010)



Food security:
Why destroy green belt
land before you know if you
are going to need it in
the future?

SEG



Our global food system...
does not meet the basic
needs of the world's
rising population...
demand is growing at the same
time as availability of key
resources, including water
and productive land, decreases

Forum for the Future



Food security:
I think we'd be very foolish to
expect that we can just import
everything from somewhere
else and imagine that that's
going to last for ever
and ever and ever

HRH Prince Charles



We haven't got a plan so
nothing can go wrong!

Spike Milligan



There must be a better way to make
the things we want, a way that
doesn't spoil the sky, or
the rain or the land

Paul McCartney



A fine landscape is
like a piece of music;
it must be taken
at the right tempo

Paul Scott Mowrer



Most wonderful landscapes are the
product of many years of farming.
By buying the products of that
farming we can all do our part
to sustain our beautiful scenery

'Eat the view' by Richard Wakeford



What should land be
used for and how?



Destroying green belt agricultural land for immediate economic gain is like burning your children's inheritance to cook a single meal
PH (2013)



Land really is the best art
Andy Warhol



Everything has beauty,
but not everyone sees it

Confucius


Quotes sourced from
philharding.net/quotes-corner/





"Think global, act local"