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Saltford Environment Group
  towards a sustainable future for our village

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  SEG Home > News List > 2018 News Archive


2018 News Archive

The latest stories are on our home page.

As this is an archive some older links may no longer connect due to changes in web page URL addresses etc.

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Ducks over Saltford

An early story in 2018 was news from the Government that planning policy would embrace the principle of 'net environmental gain'. Let's hope this can help us in protecting our Green Belt.

Click on each story link or scroll down the page (most recent appears first):-

Online Map Room with old maps of Saltford

Saltford Heritage Centre open 2nd May (8.30pm)

Corston History Weekend 21/22 April

Festival of Nature: Manor Road Community Woodland Bio Blitz (Sat 28 April)

April Wombles litter pick (Sun 22nd)

Saltford station campaign signs Railfuture's letter calling for a fund for rail reopenings

Wanted! Interesting photos of Saltford

WWI Centenary: The Great War Conversation

The parasitic Toothwort flowering in Saltford

SEG makes the case for 6th purpose of the Green Belt in national planning policy

House Martins, Swallows and Swifts over Saltford soon...

2018 Big Garden Birdwatch results: House Sparrow remains top

Air quality in Saltford still improving

Green & clean energy at Saltford Hall!

Refill your water bottle & avoid plastic waste

March Wombles litter pick (Sunday 25th)

SEG updates bypass policy paper to reflect West of England Joint Transport Study report

SEG membership survey results

Annual Saltford Dawn Chorus Walk, 22nd April

SEG objects to "Adventure Experience" golf facility etc. on the Green Belt

Draft revised National Planning Policy Framework consultation opens

The owners of the manor (area of land) of Saltford

Saltford Fairtrade Group Coffee Morning, March 2nd

Help shape our future - Tell us what you think in 3 minutes

Saltford Wombles : Spring Clean & dates for the diary

Please don't feed bread to ducks and wild birds

360 local school children visit the Heritage Centre

Getting away from plastic

UK's Ecological Footprint in massive overshoot

Station Campaign site meeting with B&NES Cabinet Member for Transport

Want to get more involved with SEG?

Moving away from plastic waste through the circular economy

The life cycle of a T-shirt

HMG planning policy to embrace principle of 'net environmental gain'?

SEG makes its response to emerging local planning policies

WWI Centenary: Help with tracing your World War I ancestors

Environment Agency flood advice

News stories start here (most recent appears first):-


Online Map Room with old maps of Saltford

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1817 map (extract)
Photograph Phil Harding. Courtesy of Bath Record Office (April 2018).

If you like old maps you'll love SEG's Online Map Room that is part of our History of Saltford project where you can download several old maps including the 1837 Tithe Map annotated with modern street names. Click here to visit: Online Map Room.

April 2018

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Saltford Heritage Centre open 2nd May (8.30pm)

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Saltford Heritage Centre will next be open to the public for an hour from 8.30pm to 9.30pm on the evening of Wednesday 2nd May (after it has been open for a private viewing by Saltford Guides).

Admission will be free. You can find out more about the Heritage Centre here: Saltford Heritage Centre.

We would like to thank Davies & Way who are our new sponsors of the Heritage Centre project.

April 2018

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Corston History Weekend 21/22 April

Corston

The recently formed Corston Local History Society will be holding a history weekend on 21/22 April, 10am-4pm. With displays including photographs, documents, maps, etc., the event will be held in Corston Village Hall and Corston Village Church. Tea, coffee and light lunches will be available.

The society is inviting people to bring along any interesting photographs/documents to be scanned.

Corston Local History Society's website is at corstonlocalhistorysociety.org.uk.

Note: Saltford Heritage Centre will next be open to the public on Wednesday 2 May, 8.30pm-9.30pm.

April 2018

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Festival of Nature: Manor Road Community Woodland Bio Blitz (Sat 28 April)

There will be a "Manor Road Community Woodland Bio Blitz" on Saturday 28th April from 10am to 12 noon. Under the guidance of Higgy, founder of the North Somerset Nature Net, as well as naturalists Sarah Pitt and Dave Parkinson, participants will explore 8 acres of organic farmland to find and identify as many different species of birds and bugs as they can. This is a great opportunity to learn more about the native creatures, big and small, living on our land.

The BioBlitz is part of the Bath and Bristol City Nature Challenge 2018. So, just like real scientists, everything found will be documented and passed on to local and national wildlife databases.

More details including how to register to participate and on other nature events associated with the Festival of Nature under the auspices of the Bristol Natural History Consortium can be found from this link www.bnhc.org.uk/festival-of-nature/events-and-hubs/.

April 2018

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April Wombles litter pick (Sun 22nd)

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Removing litter helps get plastic out of our environment

Our last litter pick was alongside the A4. We had a great turnout and 13 of us collected 16 bags of litter (!) from Pixash through to the Turnpike. The next one is on Sunday 22nd April, 2.30-4.30pm, meet at the Little Coffee Shop as our target areas will be the A4 field edges, Saltford Hill car park, the Riverside end of the Shallows and Manor Road from school to Grange Road.

Proposed further dates for the monthly litter picks, weather permitting:

Sunday 22 April (Little Coffee Shop)
Sunday 20 May
Sunday 24 June
Time : 2.30pm start till c.4.00pm to 4.30pm.
Meet: We usually start from either the car park of the Bird In Hand or by the Little Coffee Shop - this depends on area to be targeted but will be announced on our website before each litter pick.

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

For more information including getting involved with Saltford Wombles, please contact Joanne Pike by email to: saltfordwombles@gmail.com.

April 2018

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Saltford station campaign signs Railfuture's letter calling for a fund for rail reopenings

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Saltford station campaign leader Chris Warren has today (10th April) signed Railfuture's open letter to DfT that welcomes the Government's pledge to grow the railways, which featured prominently in the recent "Strategic Vision for Rail".

The letter points out that many communities want to see a larger rail network and there is demand for new and reopened rail links across the country. It says that such investment can bring many benefits including better access to vital services and jobs, making new housing and other development more sustainable, and reduces pressure on the roads. But rail projects are difficult to deliver. Despite good will and a strong business case, many local authorities lack the skills and resources to take projects through a long and expensive development process.

To ensure that the Government can deliver on its commitment to grow the railways the letter calls on the Government to establish at the earliest opportunity a 'network development fund'. Administered by the Department for Transport, the fund would pay for project development for new and reopened stations and lines which reach an agreed standard with the best projects joining a pool of national projects to be taken to full development and implementation.

The letter etc. can be found from this link: www.railfuture.org.uk/article1781-Rail-reopening-fund.

April 2018

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Wanted! Interesting photos of Saltford

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Taylor family strolling along Mead Lane, 1964.

Wanted, interesting photos of Saltford's residents in the 1960s, 70s and 80s for SEG's popular online History of Saltford Project (here's one from the 1960s). Contact SEG's Chairman if you have any we can scan and publish. We are also interested in WWI memorabilia and local photographs from that period (see previous news story).

April 2018

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WWI Centenary: The Great War Conversation

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Plans for a Saltford village event at Saltford Hall with discussions between the Parish Council, Saltford Environment Group (History Project) and Saltford Community Association are gradually taking shape. The 'Great War' Conversation will be our public afternoon event where local history World War One research findings will be presented and refreshments provided by SCA. Local people will be invited to bring along memorabilia about the First World War.

As announced in January, Saltford Parish Council is working with Bath Record Office: Archives and Local Studies (BRO) to help Saltford families trace their ancestors who were involved with the 1914-1918 conflict. The end February deadline for applying for inclusion in this research has passed and research is now in the hands of BRO.

More information about the event will be published in the SCA newsletter SCAN closer to the event.

April 2018

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The parasitic Toothwort flowering in Saltford

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Most plants generate their food using the energy from sunlight, and this ability is unique to plants; no animals or fungi can make food. A number of plants are semi-parasitic, photosynthesising some of their own food but taking the rest from other plants; Mistletoe (Viscum album) is an example conspicuous in Saltford. A special few have lost all ability to make their own food, feeding like fungi. Also like fungi, they can be invisible above ground for 11 months of the year; but most fully parasitic plants flower and set seed, briefly, in the open air. Coming across such plants' anaemically pale above-ground parts can be an exciting moment.

The most notorious British fully parasitic plant is Ghost Orchid (Epipogium aphyllum), which can go for decades without being seen anywhere in the country.

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Toothwort growing in Saltford

More predictable in its appearance, but still a special find in most places, is Toothwort (Lathraea squamaria), a relative of foxgloves and toadflaxes. Toothwort is locally distributed in lowland Britain, being rather scarce in our area: the 2000 Flora of the Bristol region traced records from only 72 (of the approx. 1500) 1km squares in the former county of Avon.

Many years can pass between its appearances in Saltford. This year, 2018, for the second year running, several clumps have come up in Saltford Mead, in the large field beside the River Avon on the Saltford bank immediately upstream of Swineford Lock (i.e., the third field downstream from the Jolly Sailor). These plants can be viewed from the public footpath along the bank, growing under the row of trees planted in the mid 1980s. The spikes grow straight out of the ground up to about six to eight inches high; at this time of year (early spring) there is little other fresh vegetation at this height. This, combined with the spikes' denture-like appearance, renders them conspicuous.

There are no confusion species: the only close relative growing in Britain, the introduced Purple Toothwort (Lathraea clandestina), looks very different. Photographs of both can be found readily on the internet; search using the scientific name Lathraea to avoid confusion with the unrelated American plant Cut-leaved Toothwort (Cardamine concatenata), a close relative of various British species here called bittercresses.

Toothwort is most associated with Hazel (Corylus avellana). Surprisingly, although there are some Hazels in this strip of trees, the Toothwort clumps are not close to large Hazels. Either, they are tapping into the roots of other species, or Toothwort roots spread a long distance through the soil. Please do not attempt to find out; it is illegal to dig out Toothwort in England without the landowner's permission.

British Toothwort flowers remain at their gruesome best only briefly. Anyone wishing to view these plants should not delay a visit.

Article by Will Duckworth (first published in April 2017 but republished to report the 2nd year sighting of this plant in Saltford).

April 2018

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SEG makes the case for 6th purpose of the Green Belt in national planning policy

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Saltford Environment Group has submitted proposals to strengthen Green Belt protection on ecological grounds in Chapter 13 (Green Belt) of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in line with the statement by the Prime Minister in January 2018 concerning her Government's declared principle of "net environmental gain" for development.

SEG seeks a long overdue approach from planning policy that recognises the increasingly valuable role of the Green Belt in helping to underpin what little food security the UK still has by the addition of a sixth purpose in the NPPF for the Green Belt:-

   "to provide ecosystem, i.e. natural capital, support to farmland and the wider natural environment".

SEG has also proposed that the NPPF should rectify an anomaly that has arisen concerning permitted development in the Green Belt. This concerns change of use for existing working/operational buildings such as those used for stables and storage, a necessity for the management and function of the Green Belt, to domestic dwellings.

Such protection against this inappropriate change of use is given to National Parks and AONBs in the 2015 General Permitted Development Order but perversely not to the Green Belt yet the Green Belt is closer to where more people live and regularly experience the environmental assets that the Green Belt provides. SEG proposes an amendment to the NPPF so that the Green Belt gets the protection it needs from inappropriate permitted development; a democratic approach that would be consistent with local or neighbourhood plan led decision making.

SEG's response submitted on 6 April 2018 to the two questions posed by Government on the NPPF was as follows:-

Question 30 Do you agree with the proposed changes to enable greater use of brownfield land for housing in the Green Belt, and to provide for the other forms of development that are 'not inappropriate' in the Green Belt?

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 (see answer to Q31). In such exceptional circumstances safeguards to protect the affordability of such housing should be implemented.

The last bullet point in paragraph 144(g) should be amended to read (new text in inverted commas):-

   where the development would re-use previously developed land and contribute to meeting an identified local affordable housing need, not cause substantial harm to the openness of the Green Belt "and a net environmental gain is provided in the local planning area".

Question 31 Do you have any other comments on the text of Chapter 13?

The five purposes of the Green Belt at paragraph 133 should be expanded to six by the inclusion of "to provide ecosystem, i.e. natural capital, support to farmland and/or the wider natural environment". This would be to take account of the increasing sustainable development requirements to protect, support and enhance the ecology of farmland and the nation's ecosystems and natural capital thus protecting both wildlife and food security. It would also reflect recent announcements from Government with regard to the 25 Year Environment Plan "A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment" with specific reference to "net environmental gain".

REASONING FOR THIS SIXTH PURPOSE:-

Non-agricultural "natural" land in the Green Belt provides valuable ecosystem support (e.g. habitat for pollinating insects) for neighbouring farmland that lacks the ecology to support itself for the successful long term sustainable growing of food crops and supporting wildlife more generally. Green Belt land thus has an often unrecognised yet very valuable purpose of contributing to the nation's food security against a background of climate change, the continuance of unmanaged and unsustainable population growth and growth in resource consumption. Those factors collectively reduce the UK's carrying capacity, primarily by reducing food security.

Data from the Global Footprint Network (https://www.footprintnetwork.org/) highlights the problem by revealing that the UK has a bio-capacity (that is the productivity of ecological assets) deficit of 298% (2013 data).

In launching the 25 Year Environment Plan (HMG) "A Green Future: Our 25 Year Plan to Improve the Environment" in January 2018 the Prime Minister said "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."

PERMITTED DEVELOPMENT ANOMALY:

An anomaly has arisen with the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 that overrules Green Belt protection in the NPPF from inappropriate development. The 2015 Order applies to the Green Belt but not an AONB or National Parks. That omission reduces the perceived value of the Green Belt compared to AONB and National Parks yet the Green Belt is closer to where more people live and regularly experience the environmental assets they provide and the Green Belt helps underpin what little food security the UK still has.

For the Government to allow such a change of use of buildings whose purpose is storage/distribution/stables creates a weakening of the value afforded to the Green Belt. This is because that then changes the character of the Green Belt and the whole purpose of such buildings in the Green Belt originally was (and is) for the management and function of the Green Belt, not for someone to make an opportunistic large profit by turning such a working building into dwellings (that in most cases would not be affordable housing).

To rectify this anomaly and to take an approach consistent with local or neighbourhood plan led decision making, the NPPF should therefore include a statement (at paragraph 54) along the following lines:-

   "Except in exceptional circumstances the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (England) Order 2015 does not apply to change of use of existing buildings in the Green Belt from storage or distribution to dwellings as the function of those buildings is for the management and function of the Green Belt; a purpose of the Green Belt is not to provide land for dwellings."

The Government is consulting until 10 May on revisions to the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). The Government's NPPF consultation can be found from this link: Draft Revised NPPF Consultation (gov.uk).

FOOTNOTE

On 5th May SEG's Chairman Phil Harding wrote to Jacob Rees-Mogg MP setting out our case above. As he is known to have a strong wish to protect the Green Belt in his constituency, Jacob Rees-Mogg was asked on behalf of SEG's 500+ members to make his own representation to Ministers at DCLG and Defra asking them to seriously consider SEG's two requests for taking this opportunity of the NPPF review to help protect the nation's food security, our natural environment, and the quality of life for everyone that comes from the countryside surrounding our towns and villages by providing better and more appropriate protection for the Green Belt as proposed by SEG. On 12 May Jacob Rees-Mogg replied saying he had made representations on our behalf to the Rt. Hon. James Brokenshire, Secretary of State for Housing, Communities and Local Government.

April 2018 (updated May 2018)

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House Martins, Swallows and Swifts over Saltford soon...

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Following on from publishing the results of the 2018 Big Garden Birdwatch results (see previous news story), we thought that with such a damp and cool Easter we would raise your spirits by re-publishing a news item from 2014.

Even when our skies are grey, a sign of summer is when the Swallows, Swifts and House Martins can be seen flying their acrobatic displays overhead as they pluck flying insects and airborne spiders from the air. The House Martins are usually the first to be seen, in March/April, as they return here from their winter migration leaving again in September/October, soon followed by Swallows (seen from March/April to October) and then Swifts (usually seen from April to September).

They are welcome summer visitors to Britain, but can you readily identify the different species just from their shape when they are in flight? The larger Swifts have longer scythe-shaped wings and short tails, Swallows have long tail streamers, and House Martins have a more dumpy appearance and much shorter tails.

It is Swifts you can hear screaming overhead. Swifts appear to be all black, although close up they are dark brown. House Martins and Swallows both have white undersides with a glossy blue-black back but the Swallow has a distinctive red chin and throat.

The Sand Martin, also observed in Saltford, is similar in shape and can be confused with the House Martin but its white underside is divided by a dark breast band just below its head and it has a brown back. We created from RSPB images the illustration at the start of this item to help you identify and distinguish these amazing birds.

If you are interested in learning more about the birds that are regularly observed in Saltford, these are listed on the right hand side of our wildlife page and each bird species listed is a link to full details on the RSPB website.

April 2018

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2018 Big Garden Birdwatch results: House Sparrow remains top

Over 6.7 million birds were counted in the 2018 Big Garden Birdwatch held on the weekend of 27/29 January. The top ten most commonly observed birds across the UK were (change on 2017 position in brackets):-

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

Once again, House Sparrows came top of the annual Big Garden Birdwatch. These characteristically noisy and gregarious birds have managed to colonise most of the world, as they're equally happy in urban and suburban areas. However, although they are still abundant, they have suffered enormous declines.

Overall, there was an increase in sightings of smaller birds, such as Goldfinches, Long-tailed Tits and Coal Tits. Recorded sightings of Goldfinches rose by 11% from last year, and this sociable, brightly-coloured finch was seen in more than two-thirds of gardens. It was a good year for Greenfinches; RSPB reported a 5% rise in sightings, a great sign as they've decreased by 60% since the Birdwatch began in 1979. It appears this rise is due to good conditions during their breeding season in 2017.

There was a drop in the recorded sightings of blackbirds (down by 18%) and robins (down by 12%). RSPB think this may be because the mild winter meant there was more food available in the countryside, meaning they didn't need to rely on gardens for food. Also, unlike smaller birds such as goldfinches and greenfinches, blackbirds and robins didn't have such a good breeding season.

You can see the 2018 Big Garden Birdwatch results on the RSPB website from this link: Big Garden Birdwatch. If you are interested in learning more about the birds that are regularly observed in Saltford, these are listed on the right hand side of our wildlife page and each bird species listed is a link to full details on the RSPB website.

Information source: RSPB

April 2018

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Air quality in Saltford still improving

The provisional figures provided by B&NES Environmental Monitoring for Nitrogen Dioxide (measured in micrograms per cubic metre, g/m3) for the monitoring points on the A4 in Saltford for the year 2017 are as follows:-

  • Saltford - The Crown = 37 g/m3
    (Note: second half of year was even lower at 36 g/m3, was 43 g/m3 in 2015)
  • Saltford - 562 Bath Rd = 33 g/m3
    (was 39 g/m3 in 2015)

The objective is to reach a figure of 40 g/m3 or below. Saltford Library is no longer monitored as it has been below 40 g/m3 at this location for several years.

March 2018

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Green & clean energy at Saltford Hall!

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Top photo: PV panels in place 28.3.18. Bottom photo: installation underway 23.3.18

Over the last few months, Saltford Community Association has undertaken an extensive programme of energy efficiency measures. The first part of the programme involved the replacement of the ceiling in the Wansdyke building, with much improved thermal insulation, together with the replacement of all the windows by modern double-glazed units and the installation of LED lighting, so that future heating costs will be much less. The work was carried out by local contractors and was supported by grants from the Parish Council (including Community Infrastructure Levy payment), the B&NES Community Empowerment Fund, and the B&NES Ward Councillor's Initiative Fund.

More recently, with the help of a contribution from the Carbon Trust and interest-free loans from Saltford residents, the SCA has installed a large solar PV panel scheme (c.30kWp) on the south facing roof of Saltford Hall. The panels will generate electricity to cover the Hall's daytime usage, thus reducing electricity bills, and create income by feeding electricity back into the grid (providing income from the Feed-in Tariff and the Export Tariff). Furthermore, the panels and the Wansdyke Room improvements will reduce the Hall's environmental impact by lowering its carbon footprint. The net income will be used to offset the installation price and to contribute to the running costs of the Association.

SEG is delighted that these significant projects have come to fruition and would like to congratulate SCA on their completion; we know that a lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to make this happen. Our village is fortunate to have such leadership and foresight across the community for achieving this reduction in our environmental impact; the solar PV scheme is a lasting legacy that will benefit the community for many years to come. The fact that the applications from residents to provide interest free loans for the solar PV panels were over-subscribed shows that Saltford as a community really does care about the environment.

March 2018

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Refill your water bottle & avoid plastic waste

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According to the UK Charity WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) in the UK we use a staggering 36 million plastic bottles every day, that's 13 billion a year and enough to go around the world 31 times, but we recycle only 58% of them.

Forward-thinking businesses in Bath are being urged to sign up for a water bottle refill scheme and help cut down on the use of single-use plastic bottles. Refill is a national, practical tap water campaign that aims to make refilling your bottle as easy, convenient and cheap as possible by introducing refill points on every street. About 50 businesses in Bath have also signed up and stickers are appearing in their shops and cafes promoting the scheme which also uses an app to help you find the Refill Stations and collect reward points every time you refill.

B&NES Council is supporting the Refill scheme and its caf at the One Stop shop in Lewis House, in Manvers Street, is the first council venue to be added as a refill station. It would be great to see refill stations appearing in Saltford. There are now more than 1,600 Refill points across the UK - and the number is growing. For more information about the scheme and to find out about the app visit www.refill.org.uk.

You can find out more about plastics and plastic waste/recycling on the B&NES website from this link: B&NES - Plastics.

March 2018

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March Wombles litter pick (Sunday 25th)

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Just a reminder that this month's litter pick is on Sunday 25th March starting from outside the Little Coffee shop. We will meet at 2.30pm and will be targeting the Bath Road (A4). This really is a positive way we can help get plastic litter out of our local environment.

Proposed details and dates for the monthly litter picks, weather permitting:

Sunday 25 March (Little Coffee Shop)
Sunday 22 April
Sunday 20 May
Sunday 24 June
Time : 2.30pm start till c.4.00pm to 4.30pm.
Meet: We usually start from either the car park of the Bird In Hand or by the Little Coffee Shop - this depends on area to be targeted but will be announced on our website before each litter pick.

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

For more information including getting involved with Saltford Wombles, please contact Julie Sampson by email to: juliebsampson@gmail.com or tel: 07807--671267.

March 2018

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SEG updates bypass policy paper to reflect West of England Joint Transport Study report

We are aware from our recent membership survey (February 2018) that the threat to Saltford and its Green Belt posed by a potential road bypass is a matter of great concern. 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."

We have therefore updated our policy discussion paper on a road bypass for Saltford (first published in 2013) to reflect those findings by Atkins and this can be found on our Green Belt page from this link: A road bypass for Saltford?.

March 2018

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SEG membership survey results

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A big thank you to members who took the time to complete our membership survey in February. Here we have summarised the results of the survey. This summary is also being made known to Saltford's elected representatives on the Parish Council, our B&NES Ward Councillors and our MP* so that they are aware of what a representative sample of Saltford's residents are concerned about and what they value here in Saltford.

*Note: Jacob Rees-Mogg replied on 11 April that it was helpful to know what issues most concerns his constituents, agreed with SEG members that the Green Belt around Saltford must be protected and said "Please rest assured I will do everything I can to ensure that this is the case."

What interests members the most

The responses from members revealed that of SEG's activities, protecting the Green Belt interests members the most, followed by our History Project (incl. Heritage Centre) , then equally third the station campaign and wildlife habitat protection. The rural location (incl. countryside access and local walks), inhabitants (i.e. neighbours, other residents and friends) and sense of community are what our members like about Saltford.

Key concerns now and for the future

Our members' main concerns about Saltford now are threats to the Green Belt from housing and/or a bypass*, traffic and related transport problems (parking, pollution, congestion), and lack/loss of retail facilities and Post Office (although the Saltford Community Association PO/Library rescue plan should overcome that loss).

Those were also the same concerns for the future including Saltford losing its rural nature and identity by merging with Keynsham and becoming a suburb of Bristol as a result of development.

   *Note: The threat of a bypass has receded; we shall report shortly on the findings from the West of England Joint Transport Study (October 2017) that has effectively ruled it out.

Future activities from SEG

In response to being asked what they want to hear more about from SEG, our members were largely pleased with what we do now - the message was very much "more of the same please". SEG's Executive Committee have already had a preliminary meeting to discuss the survey findings and will be holding further internal discussions over the coming weeks as we determine our priorities and plan how we can best deliver our aims and objectives. Members are of course welcome to contact SEG at any time (via our Chairman) to suggest activities SEG should consider or to volunteer to support any of our projects.

March 2018

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Annual Saltford Dawn Chorus Walk, 22nd April

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If you are able to get yourself up early, why not join our friends at the Keynsham and Saltford Branch of the Avon Wildlife Trust for a few hours listening to, and watching the birds get up after a night's roosting? This year's Dawn Chorus will be held on Sunday 22nd April 4.30am - 8.00am, starting at Saltford Shallows car park.

This really is a great way to learn how to identify from their songs the many birds that are found in Saltford. Songs of all common species will be pointed out and their identification features clarified. The walk will follow the railway path cycle track towards Bitton, and back again. Wrap up warm as it can be very cold that early. Binoculars and a bird identification guide will be helpful for once it gets light. Above all you need good ears to be able to pick out the 30+ different species the annual walk normally finds! A hot flask of your favourite beverage is recommended.

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

March 2018

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SEG objects to "Adventure Experience" golf facility etc. on the Green Belt

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On 17 March SEG submitted a strong objection to B&NES Council concerning planning application 18/00515/FUL for the creation of an 18-hole "Adventure Experience golf facility" including car parking, ancillary theme props (dinosaurs!) and kiosk at the Glenavon Farm site by the A4 on the west side of Saltford on Saltford's Green Belt.

In summary, the main reasons for our objection were as follows:-

  • Such a development would be inappropriate and out of character in the Green Belt surrounding a rural and historic village like Saltford.
  • It would specifically undermine one of the purposes for the Green Belt in paragraph 80 of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF), that is "preserving the setting and special character of historic towns [and villages]".
  • The appearance of large plastic/fibreglass dinosaurs up to 4 metres high would be completely absurd in the same landscape vista as two of Saltford's most important ancient buildings in our Conservation Area, St Mary's Church (a Norman church with Anglo Saxon Tower), and Saltford Manor House constructed during the reign of Henry I in c.1148 and reputed to be England's longest continuously inhabited manor house.
  • Viewed from the Cotswold AONB and from public footpaths in the Green Belt on the north side of the Conservation Area such an appearance would be incongruous and would call into question whether the local community and its elected representatives respect and genuinely value the historic landscape that is our shared responsibility to protect.
  • The draft "Saltford Conservation Area Character Appraisal" due to be published in its final form by B&NES Council in 2018 refers to Saltford's "Important views of the historic core from the surrounding countryside".
  • Turning a rural farm by incremental development into other purposes, i.e. a Farm Shop was permitted but that is now a Kindle Stove Store, and then a dinosaur themed "adventure experience golf facility", would be an encroachment as it slowly closes the gap between Keynsham and Saltford and thus taken together with other developments planned at Keynsham East further helps to undermine the NPPF Green Belt purpose of "preventing neighbouring towns merging into one another."
  • SEG was also concerned about the close proximity of the proposed facility to residential properties on the Bath Road that would be adversely affected by visual intrusion out of keeping with the local area and from noise pollution from the roars emanating from the dinosaurs and increased traffic to and from the site on the A4 that is already heavily congested at peak and increasingly other times of the day. Access to the A4 to and from properties directly opposite the development would be seriously hindered on this very busy stretch of road between Bristol and Bath.

The apparent disregard shown for the local rural setting and the ecology of this particular site in the Green Belt was a matter of concern to SEG and we felt this had been highlighted by the recent removal, apparently without authorisation under the Hedgerow Regulations (1997), of the perimeter hedgerow on the south side of this site.

SEG members and other residents wishing to comment on this planning application (deadline is 19 March 2018) can follow this link and key 18/00515/FUL into the search box: B&NES Development Control.

March 2018

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Draft revised National Planning Policy Framework consultation opens

On 5 March 2018 the Government launched its consultation on the draft revised text of the National Planning Policy Framework. The deadline for comments is 10th May (2018). The consultation draft can be found from this link: www.gov.uk/...national-planning-policy-framework.

SEG will be looking at this to see how it might affect the level of protection afforded to Saltford's Green Belt and respond accordingly.

March 2018

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The owners of the manor (area of land) of Saltford

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Ever wondered who used to own Saltford's land before and after the Romans and Anglo Saxons? SEG's History Project research has now led to the production of a dedicated web page in our online record of Saltford's history about those past owners going back to the Iron Age which we have published in March. You can find it from this link: Owners of Saltford (History Project).

March 2018

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Saltford Fairtrade Group Coffee Morning, March 2nd

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Frances Eggbeer - 9 Lawson Close, Saltford 10am - 12 noon
'Fairtrade Opens Doors...Come on in...'

Part of Fairtrade Fortnight 2018: 26th February - 11th March

It's so easy to help 'open those doors' and support developing country farmers and communities, come along and enjoy a slice of home made cake and a cup of coffee and you've started. With a chance of winning some Fairtrade goodies and seeing the great range of Traidcraft gifts and produce it just gets better. A warm welcome awaits you on the 2nd where together we can help spread the Fairtrade message and be part of the caring Saltford Fairtrade village.

February 2018

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Help shape our future - Tell us what you think in 3 minutes

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SEG members received an email from us on 10th February asking them to complete a simple online questionnaire to inform SEG's Executive Committee what members want from SEG; more of the same or to address other sustainability issues.

Over our first 7 years our activities have included tackling litter, greener transport including our ongoing Station campaign, resisting coal bed methane extraction/fracking at Keynsham, Fairtrade status for Saltford, defending the Green Belt, supporting wildlife habitat, raising awareness and providing advice on climate change issues, researching and promoting Saltford's history to gain a wider appreciation of Saltford's heritage, etc.

SEG's Executive Committee recognises that whilst continuing to address and respond to environmental and sustainability issues facing our community, to maintain members' interest and support we need to give them opportunity to tell us what they want from SEG.

If you are a member of SEG and haven't completed the online survey (it is just 7 questions of which 2 are optional) it would be greatly appreciated if you could do so as soon as possible and in any event by no later than 25 February.

If you can't now find the SEG email that contains the link to the online questionnaire, contact our Chairman Phil Harding and ask Phil to send you the email with the link again.

Thank you, we look forward to hearing your views.

February 2018

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Saltford Wombles : Spring Clean & dates for the diary

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We are very grateful to our faithful street volunteer litter pickers for all their hard work over winter, keeping our streets clean, especially on those stormy recycling days. The village overall is looking good but with Spring coming we would like to restart the monthly litter picks for the common areas, like the cycle path, river, A4 and other hot spots.

Proposed details and dates for the monthly litter picks, weather permitting:

Sunday 25 February (Bird in Hand)
Sunday 25 March (Little Coffee Shop)
Sunday 22 April
Sunday 20 May
Sunday 24 June
Time : 2.30-4.30pm
Meet: Car park of the Bird In Hand or by the Little Coffee Shop

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

For more information including getting involved with Saltford Wombles, please contact Julie Sampson by email to: juliebsampson@gmail.com or tel: 07807--671267.

February 2018

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Please don't feed bread to ducks and wild birds

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(Seen on Facebook)

The notice above about the harm associated with feeding bread to ducks is a timely reminder that we should also not feed bread to wild birds that visit our gardens. As we have highlighted on our wildlife page, the nutritional value of bread is relatively low (an 'empty filler'), uneaten bread can attract rats, and a bird that is on a diet of predominantly or only bread can suffer from serious vitamin deficiencies, or starve.

February 2018

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360 local school children visit the Heritage Centre

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On 5th to 7th February 360 children from years 1 to 6 in 12 classes at Saltford School walked down to visit Saltford Heritage Centre accompanied by 60 teachers, teacher assistants, parents and student teachers. The children learned about life in Saltford going back to the Stone Age and Iron Age. As well as the numerous information display panels, the children saw Saltford artefacts from the Iron Age, Roman and Tudor periods.

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The children completed work sheets prepared by their teachers and sketched some of the artefacts. This first school outing to the Heritage Centre also included a visit to St Mary's Church, Saltford's oldest building with its Anglo Saxon tower. The enthusiasm and positive response from the children and their teachers proved the visits to be very popular and a great success.

Saltford Environment Group and Saltford School are working closely together on local heritage and environmental issues. SEG's Chairman, Phil Harding, said "We want to inspire the next generation to value their heritage and to love and care for their environment. SEG was delighted by the way the children enjoyed their first school visit to the Heritage Centre, we hope many will return to show their parents and grandparents the displays when we are open to the public."

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Headteacher Dawn Sage said "The children have thoroughly enjoyed the experience, they have been very interested in the artefacts and everything that the centre had to offer. This interest will continue in the work they will complete in the classroom."

The first public opening of the Heritage Centre in 2018 will be Saturday 31st March from 10am to 12 noon. Admission will be free and there will be an Easter Market where refreshments will also be available in the main hall. You can find out more about the Heritage Centre here: Saltford Heritage Centre.

February 2018

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Getting away from plastic

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Yuk!

Did you know that 7% of plastic pollution on our beaches comes from our toilets?

If you watch City to Sea's 1:15 minute video on YouTube you can find out why and what you can do to help reduce this pollution from your own toilet: YouTube - Plastic Pollution from Toilets?

City to Sea, a Community Interest Company, was set up in Spring 2015 to reduce the amount of litter flowing from the Avon into the Bristol Channel, during Bristol's year as European Green Capital.

City to Sea is a collaboration of local organisations, practitioners, scientists, marine biologists and campaigners working initially on Bristol's response to ocean plastic pollution. They produce some effective and often humurous short videos and visual aids for their campaigns to highlight the dangers of plastic pollution and how we can reduce plastic in our lives through positive yet simple measure. For example you can reduce your use of plastic by refusing to use drinking straws, using your own flask or cup rather than disposable coffee cups, switching to reusable bottles instead of buying bottled water, and using reusable cloth shopping bags.

City to Sea's website is well worth a visit: www.citytosea.org.uk.

NOTE
Periodically we will highlight a website or YouTube video that our members might find interesting, helpful or inspiring. These links do not necessarily represent an official endorsement from SEG of the content of those websites or videos.

February 2018

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UK's Ecological Footprint in massive overshoot

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The biocapacity of a nation represents the productivity of its ecological assets. Those assets include cropland, grazing land, forest land, fishing grounds, and built-up land. These areas, especially if left unharvested, can also absorb much of the waste we generate, especially our carbon emissions. The ecological footprint of a nation is the measure of how much area of biologically productive land and water that nation requires to produce all the resources its inhabitants consume and to absorb the waste they generate, using current technology and resource management practices.

Data from the Global Footprint Network shows that the UK has a biocapacity deficit of 298% (the United States with its much larger land mass but more consumption driven population has a deficit of 127%). Our ecological footprint is thus much larger than the ecological assets we have and means, in effect, that we as a nation take resources from other parts of the planet at the expense of the ecosystems, wildlife and people there.

This huge overshoot of consumption over resources highlights how over-populated the UK has become from an ecological viewpoint and the need to protect from development land that can either produce food or provide the necessary eco-system support (e.g. habitat for pollinating insects) that farmland needs to produce crops.

An interactive map using ecological footprint and biocapacity data for 2013 showing which nations, like the UK, USA and many European and North African countries, are in deficit and those that are in credit (and thus feeding us!) can be found on the Global Footprint Network's www.footprintnetwork.org website from this link: Ecological Wealth of Nations.

February 2018

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Station Campaign site meeting with B&NES Cabinet Member for Transport

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On 31st January 2018 the B&NES Cabinet Member for Transport, Cllr Mark Shelford, met with Station Campaign Leader Chris Warren and SEG Chairman Phil Harding at the Saltford Station site to see the site itself and discuss progress on re-opening the station.

Cllr Mark Shelford said B&NES Council was fully in favour of re-opening railway stations like Saltford's where this is feasible but Network Rail had to confirm that space could be made for a half-hourly stop at Saltford in the rail timetable; such advice had not been provided. He agreed to write to Network Rail to ask if the rail timetable could accommodate a half-hourly stop and would do this as soon as the Station Campaign provides its documentary evidence received from Network Rail that provision at the site for a re-opened station had been made in its planning for the site.

February 2018

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Want to get more involved with SEG?

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SEG is seeking new Executive Committee members to help steer and develop SEG's future as we address the environmental concerns of our members at the local level. If you think you might like to get involved and join our Executive Committee (enthusiasm is more important than expertise!), please contact our Chairman, Phil Harding, for an informal non-committal chat.

The Executive Committee only meets 4 times a year and its working method is more about sharing ideas and getting things done in a friendly and productive atmosphere than being bogged down with time-consuming administration.

February 2018 (updated April 2018)

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Moving away from plastic waste through the circular economy

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Awareness of the 'planetary crisis' caused by the irreparable damage of plastic waste in our oceans has been greatly highlighted by the BBC Blue Planet II series presented and narrated by David Attenborough.

A 14 minute video on YouTube from The Economist about the circular economy looks at making waste (including plastic waste) a thing of the past and how new ideas for reusing or regenerating raw materials can pay dividends for business as well as the planet. You can view it from this link to YouTube >>.

February 2018

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The life cycle of a T-shirt

Consider the classic white T-shirt. Annually, we sell and buy 2 billion T-shirts globally, making it one of the most common garments in the world. But how and where is the average T-shirt made, and what is its environmental impact?

TEDEd (Technology, Entertainment and Design - Education) has published a thought-provoking short video about the humble T-shirt. TED is a non-profit organisation devoted to spreading ideas, usually in the form of short, powerful talks on almost all topics from science to business to global issues and in more than 100 languages using the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and, ultimately, the world.

Click here to see the TEDEd video by Angel Chang that traces the life cycle of a T-shirt TEDEd: Life Cycle of a T-shirt by Angel Chang.

January 2018

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HMG planning policy to embrace principle of 'net environmental gain'?

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Ducks over Saltford

In her speech on the environment on 11 January 2018, 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."

She also said, and this will be important as our community defends its Green Belt from inappropriate development, "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."

January 2018

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SEG makes its response to emerging local planning policies

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On 9th January SEG submitted its response to B&NES Council for the B&NES Local Plan 2016-2036 Issues & Options document and to the West of England Partnership on its proposed Joint Spatial Plan (JSP). Although Saltford's Green Belt is not identified for development in the JSP or the Local Plan, we are aware that developers are lobbying to build new developments on our Green Belt.

Summaries of our responses can be found on our Green Belt page. A particular point we made in both responses for not destroying the Green Belt in this area was 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 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.

January 2018

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WWI Centenary: Help with tracing your World War I ancestors

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As part of the village activities for marking the end of World War I, Saltford Parish Council is working with Bath Record Office: Archives and Local Studies (BRO) to help Saltford families trace their ancestors who were involved with the 1914-1918 conflict. This can include those who served in the armed forces at that time but could include nursing or other civilian volunteers. Quite often such information has been lost or has not been passed down the family line as many of those that survived active service during WW1 did not discuss their experiences. The findings of the research will be shared at a public event in Saltford in November 2018 and in other ways.

If you live in Saltford and would like to be considered for this research funded by the Parish Council please apply to the Parish Clerk, Tricia Golinski, by email to clerk@saltfordparishcouncil.gov.uk or telephone 01225 873300 for an application form by no later than the end of February.

Funding is limited and the successful applicants will be selected by the Parish Council with BRO. Those applications with the strongest links to Saltford at the time of WWI may be given preference, but if your ancestor has a particularly interesting story or the genealogists feel they have a good prospect for finding the missing information sought that will also be taken into consideration.

The WWI public event planned for the afternoon of 11 November at Saltford Hall is still in its early planning stages with discussions between the Parish Council, Saltford Environment Group (History Project) and Saltford Community Association currently ongoing. More information about the event will be published in the SCA newsletter SCAN closer to the event.

January 2018

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Environment Agency flood advice

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With 5.2 million properties in England at risk of flooding the recent wet weather is a reminder for householders that live in a flood risk area that they need to "prepare, act, survive". The image above is from the Floods Destroy campaign at floodsdestroy.campaign.gov.uk where advice on flood prevention and preparedness measures can be found.

January 2018

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Saltford Environment Group
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Editorial policy

SEG as an independent, non-profit making body takes a politically neutral stance. We are committed to the highest editorial and ethical standards in the provision of all the content and related services for our website.


The Editor is Phil Harding (SEG Chairman) and Phil can be contacted via our home page.