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  SEG Home > News List > 2019 News Archive


2019 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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An early story in 2019 was about the threat to insects that are heading for extinction leading to a collapse of nature's ecosystems.

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

May 2019

Saltford Wombles: Litter Pick Sunday 2 June (Festival preparations)

Report from the 2018 archaeological dig in Saltford published

SEG calls for "Significant Ecological Gain" in the planning system after alarming UN report

Election Results for Saltford (2nd May election): SEG's Saltford 20/20 team all elected

SEG objects to housing development in the Green Belt at Avon Farm

April 2019

Why voting for the Green Belt on 2nd May is so important (Parish and B&NES Council Elections)

Saltford Parish Council Election 2nd May: SEG's "Saltford 20/20" team

B&NES Council Election 2nd May: Answers to Questions from SEG

Saltford Wombles: Litter Pick Sunday 28 April

SEG objects to Green Belt loss between Saltford and Keynsham

2019 Big Garden Birdwatch results: House Sparrow remains top

Saltford Wombles founder gets deserved community award

Upcycling Craft Group to help decorate High Street for Saltford Festival

March 2019

See the 11th C Viking Buckle at Saltford Heritage Centre, 30th March

Water shortages in England within 25 years

Annual Saltford Dawn Chorus Walk, 21st April

B&NES Council declares a climate emergency

Saltford Wombles: Litter Pick Sunday 24 March

Gender and Fairtrade

Government to mandate net gains for biodiversity on new developments

Saltford Upcycling Craft Group 21st March

Febuary 2019

SPC's Key Actions & Achievements 2015 - 2019

Saltford Wombles: Litter Pick Sunday 24th February

Insects heading for extinction leading to a collapse of nature's ecosystems

SPC and SEG seek inclusion of Saltford Station in West of England Transport Plan

Bronze Viking Buckle found in Saltford!

Saltford Wombles: Change in Chief Womble and Dates for your Diary

SEG pleased that 'time-wasting' planning application for 200 homes between Keynsham & Saltford is turned down by B&NES Council

Behaviour on the railway path: Sustrans survey

Saltford Parish Council responds to West of England Mayor re. Saltford Station

Gender & Fairtrade - 'Stories of Women & Cocoa Farmers in Ghana', 8th March

Saltford Upcycling Craft Group 21st February

January 2019

Council awards litter enforcement contract to 3GS

Saltford Wombles: Litter Pick Sunday 27 January

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

Big Garden Birdwatch 26 - 28 January


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


May 2019

Saltford Wombles: Litter Pick Sunday 2 June (Festival preparations)

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A litter-free High Street during the 2017 Saltford Festival

Our next monthly litter pick is on Sunday 2 June, 2.00-4.00pm, meeting outside The Little Coffee Shop on Manor Road. This will be our big clean up before the Festival so that the village is looking its absolute best for villagers and visitors alike. The pick focus will be on areas in the village hosting Festival events. Please do come along.

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

As with any Saltford Wombles litter pick, everyone takes part at their own risk and it is essential that children are supervised at all times by a parent/carer.

If you would like to attend this litter pick, or would just like to find out more about the Saltford Wombles, please contact Barbara at the following email address: saltfordwombles@gmail.com

May 2019

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Report from the 2018 archaeological dig in Saltford published

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The "Archaeological Field Evaluation and Post-Excavation Assessment" report from the August 2018 dig by volunteers from the Bath and Counties Archaeological Society (BACAS) and SEG has been published this month.

As the report states, finds range in date from the Bronze Age to modern times. The finds comprised: bones (some butchered), ceramic building material, charcoal and coal fragments, daub or burnt clay, flint, Roman coins, pieces of glass, iron and lead, sherds of pottery, stone objects, and slag or clinker.

A specific area of the field was targeted for the excavation as the geophysical survey suggested that there might be Romano-British structures in that location. Numerous artefacts of varying types mostly from the Romano-British period were recovered. Also ceramic building material and Pennant sandstone tiles were found, but no evidence of a building was seen. However, the recovered finds do suggest there is a structure, probably a working farm with workshops, yards etc. in the very near vicinity to the position of the 2018 excavated trench. The full report can be downloaded from our Online Museum Roman Saltford Section (buildings).

SEG is very grateful to the landowner, Adam Stratton, for allowing access to the field, to BACAS for supervising and carrying out the dig and also writing up the report after analysing the finds, and of course to all the volunteers that took part in the dig. We are currently considering the next steps in this fascinating project.

May 2019

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SEG calls for "Significant Ecological Gain" in the planning system after alarming UN report

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The devastating impact of humans on the natural world that sustains us is made strikingly clear in a compelling UN report released on 6th May 2019. The global assessment of nature took 3 years to make and draws on 15,000 reference materials, and has been compiled by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES).

The rate of species extinctions is accelerating, with grave impacts on people around the world now likely. The Report finds that around 1 million animal and plant species are now threatened with extinction, many within decades. Nature is declining globally at rates never seen before in human history.

Here are just some of the headline findings from the assessment:-

  • Biodiversity - the diversity within species, between species and of ecosystems - is declining faster than at any time in human history.
  • 75% of the land surface is significantly altered, 66% of the ocean area is experiencing increasing cumulative impacts, and over 85% of wetlands (area) has been lost.
  • Globally, local varieties and breeds of domesticated plants and animals are disappearing. This loss of diversity, including genetic diversity, poses a serious risk to global food security by undermining the resilience of many agricultural systems to threats such as pests, pathogens and climate change.
  • Marine plastic pollution in particular has increased tenfold since 1980, affecting at least 267 species, including 86% of marine turtles, 44% of seabirds and 43% of marine mammals. This can affect humans through food chains.
  • In the past 50 years, the human population has doubled, the global economy has grown nearly 4-fold and global trade has grown 10-fold, together driving up the demands for energy and materials.
  • Economic incentives generally have favoured expanding economic activity, and often environmental harm, over conservation or restoration.
  • Areas of the world projected to experience significant negative effects from global changes in climate, biodiversity, ecosystem functions and nature's contributions to people are also home to large concentrations of indigenous peoples and many of the world's poorest communities.
  • Climate change is projected to become increasingly important as a direct driver of changes in nature and its contributions to people in the next decades.
  • Nature can be conserved, restored and used sustainably while simultaneously meeting other global societal goals through urgent and concerted efforts fostering transformative change.

"The overwhelming evidence of the IPBES Global Assessment, from a wide range of different fields of knowledge, presents an ominous picture," said IPBES Chair, Sir Robert Watson. "The health of ecosystems on which we and all other species depend is deteriorating more rapidly than ever. We are eroding the very foundations of our economies, livelihoods, food security, health and quality of life worldwide."

"The Report also tells us that it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global," he said. "Through 'transformative change', nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably - this is also key to meeting most other global goals. By transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganisation across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values."

Never has it been more important to protect the Green Belt

Looking at how we can respond at the local level to this alarming report and with particular reference to land-use planning, the report illustrates how the modest objective of "Net Environmental Gain" in the planning system is nowhere near good enough when new housing developments are planned for the West of England and for Bath & North East Somerset. What we need is "Significant Ecological Gain". Not only should the Green Belt surrounding villages and towns like Saltford and Keynsham, be fully protected from development but new developments should be planned in a way that enables a significant increase in the local ecological habitat to start to redress the ecological infrastructure losses incurred from the housing and other developments of recent decades.

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

Link: The UN's IPBES website can be found here: www.ipbes.net.

May 2019

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Election Results for Saltford (2nd May election):SEG's Saltford 20/20 team all elected

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The 2nd May Saltford Parish Council election results were counted today (3rd May).

All ten candidates fielded by SEG for the "Saltford 20/20" team were elected together with Duncan Hounsell (standing as an Independent for the SPC election). A huge THANK YOU! to everyone who voted for our candidates.

The results were (votes cast):

SALTFORD 20/20 team (all elected)

- Adrian Betts 710
- Marie Carder 870
- Will Feay 611
- Jon Godfrey 729
- Gary Graveling 648
- Phil Harding 947
- Adam Rees-Leonard 590
- Rob Taylor 762
- Sally Turner 912
- Chris Warren 857

OTHER CANDIDATES

- Duncan 1074 (elected)
- Robert King 570 (not elected)

There were 29 spoilt ballot papers.

SEG would like to thank the outgoing SPC Councillors who stood down at the election, Ben Eve, Kyle Rice, James Macnaughton, Liz Macnaughton and Farida Wilson for their support and service to the community during their term of office.

B&NES Council Results

In the B&NES Council local election also on 2nd May there was a 42.7% for the newly expanded Saltford ward. The Lib Dems took control from the Conservatives of B&NES Council and they also took the two Saltford Ward seats.

The Saltford ward results were as follows:-

- Duncan Stuart Hounsell (Liberal Dems) 1124 Elected
- Alastair Graham Singleton (Liberal Dems) 944 Elected
- Emma Clare Dixon (Conservative Party) 775 Not elected
- Elizabeth Mary Alice Carter (Conservative Party) 724 Not elected
- Antony Stuart Dobson (Green Party) 241 Not elected
- John Anthony Bull (Labour Party) 139 Not elected

Congratulations from SEG to Duncan Hounsell and Alastair Singleton and thank you to the two outgoing Ward Councillors Francine Haeberling and Emma Dixon for their public service for Saltford on B&NES Council.

SEG looks forward to working closely with the newly elected B&NES Council so that the issues that really matter to Saltford and its local environment can be best served in a spirit of co-operation, partnership and trust.

May 2019

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SEG objects to housing development in the Green Belt at Avon Farm

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Image depicts a nearby area of the Green Belt.

On 1st May SEG submitted to the B&NES Council's Senior Planning & Enforcement Officer a planning objection for each of the two planning applications for a Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing Use at Avon Farm:-

19/01731/CLEU Avon Farm Avon Lane BS31 3ET - Use of "The Dove Cote" as a separate dwelling (Use class C3) (Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing Use). Mr Clive Franklin. and

19/01732/CLEU Unregistered Dwelling 1 Avon Farm Avon Lane Saltford - Use of "The Garden Room" as a separate dwelling (Use class C3) (Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing Use). Mr Clive Franklin.

SEG's planning objections were as follows:-

19/01731/CLEU (The Dove Cote) - OBJECTION

   SEG is concerned that the applicant is creating the equivalent of an AirBnB holiday park business at Avon Farm. This is a highly inappropriate development in the Green Belt outside Saltford's housing boundary. Such a development in a sensitive and hitherto quiet area of Saltford's Green Belt that is served by a narrow single track country lane used by cyclists entering and leaving the popular Bristol-Bath SUSTRANS cycle path and walkers including young families sets an unwelcome precedent that is contrary to the provisions for protecting the Green Belt in Chapter 13 of NPPF (2018).

   The application claims that the Dove Cote has been in continuous occupation as a self-contained dwelling for four or more years, however SEG is aware that following the submission of alleged planning contravention evidence by Saltford residents and your own investigations, this is not the case.

   You are aware from your own investigations that this building was in use until at least May 2016 as an office in association with Cash4Cars; there was no planning permission granted for that use. At Annex A to this objection letter can be found photographs of the first 3 pages from the rightmove.com website of the advertisement of the Dove Cote for use as commercial offices including internal photographs of the office layout dated September 2016.

   This and the other outstanding alleged planning contraventions at Avon Farm where several dwellings have been created in an apparent concealed manner are a matter for concern and show a disregard for planning law as it affects Saltford's Green Belt and is therefore of grave concern to SEG whose membership of 530+ places protection of the Green Belt from inappropriate development as a high priority for Saltford.

   Before granting a Certificate of Lawfulness of Existing Use B&NES Council should first satisfy itself that this property has been inhabited continuously as a domestic dwelling (e.g. Council Tax/Electoral Roll records and evidence to the contrary as supplied by residents and also SEG in this response) and without concealment of such use. SEG's comments on the planning application 19/01732/CLEU (below) are pertinent to that issue of concealment and are a matter of concern to SEG.

19/01732/CLEU (Garden View) - OBJECTION

Similar comments as for 19/01731/CLEU (above) were made and also the following:-

   The application supporting document claims that Garden View has been in continuous occupation as a self-contained dwelling since 2013. Whilst it is difficult to prove the validity or otherwise of the claim of continual domestic use, what is of relevance is whether there has been a deliberate concealment of this change of use since 2013. When B&NES Council visited this site in 2016 to investigate the change of use to offices of the Dove Cote it is pertinent to question whether the use as a domestic dwelling of the Garden View was concealed from the officer during that site visit.

   The use as a dwelling of Garden View and other outstanding alleged planning contraventions at Avon Farm where several dwellings have been created in an apparent concealed manner are a matter of grave concern to SEG whose membership of 530+ places protection of the Green Belt from inappropriate development as a high priority for Saltford.

SEG members and others wishing to comment on this planning application (deadline is Wednesday 15th May 2019), especially those with evidence that these properties have not been in continual use since 2013 as domestic dwellings, can follow this link and key 19/01731/CLEU or 19/01732/CLEU into the search box: B&NES Development Control.

If you encounter difficulties with the B&NES website you can email your objection/comments to development_management@bathnes.gov.uk but make sure you include the reference number for these CLEU applications (i.e. 19/01731/CLEU or 19/01732/CLEU).

The target decision date for both these CLEU applications is 12th June 2019. Saltford Parish Council will be considering its response this planning application at its next public meeting on 17th May.

NOTE: B&NES Council cannot accept anonymous comments for any application; if residents wish to provide representations/evidence but do not want to do it on a personal level B&NES advise that they can do this through the Parish Council who could collate all the evidence/responses.

May 2019

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April 2019

Why voting for the Green Belt on 2nd May is so important (Parish and B&NES Council Elections)

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We have published on our website information about SEG's "Saltford 20/20" team and what it stands for in the 2nd May local elections and also answers to questions we have put to the main party candidates standing for B&NES Council election (also on 2nd May).

The following stark statistics remind us why we need a Parish Council and B&NES Council that values the Green Belt and that will protect it from development which should be restricted to brownfield city sites:-

   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)

"Natural" or "semi-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.

The populations of the UK's most endangered creatures have fallen by two-thirds since 1970 and one in 10 wildlife species face extinction. Agriculture, climate change and urbanisation have all been named as reasons for the decline. That is according to the State of Nature Report 2016, a yearly scientific report compiled by more than 50 conservation organisations, analyses how wildlife is faring in the UK.

The abundance of wildlife has fallen so far that the loss of biodiversity means the UK is one of the most depleted countries in the world, according to the Biodiversity Intactness Index that is based on a global database of local biodiversity surveys combined with high resolution global land-use data.

Our nation's food security relies on a healthy natural environment, both at home and abroad - we import around 40% of the food we consume (Defra) yet we cannot continue indefinitely to rely on such a high level of imports against a background of climate change and a growing world population. If our agricultural land is to be able to function for growing food it needs the ecosystem support of surrounding natural or semi-natural land to provide, for example, habitat for pollinating insects.

When planning for all our futures, it makes no sense for B&NES to lose anymore of its precious Green Belt to development.

On Thursday 2nd May the residents of Saltford have an opportunity to elect Councillors to the Parish Council and B&NES Council who will stand up for the Green Belt and work tirelessly to protect it.

Make your votes count!

April 2019

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Saltford Parish Council Election 2nd May: SEG's "Saltford 20/20" team

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A new dawn for Saltford?

The Local Election for Saltford Parish Council (SPC) will take place alongside the B&NES Council elections on Thursday 2nd May. There are 12 candidates standing for the 11 Councillor posts on SPC and SEG has put together a team of 10 candidates seeking 10 your 11 votes.

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Pictured above is the new Saltford 20/20 team, all SEG members and living in Saltford, who have put themselves forward to serve Saltford from 2nd May on Saltford Parish Council as independent cadidates. These include existing Parish Councillors Adrian Betts, Jon Godfrey, Phil Harding, Rob Taylor & Chris Warren.

The Saltford 20/20 team is in favour of protecting the Green Belt around the village from development including from fracking and a road bypass (that would be infilled with housing); reopening the railway station on the existing site; and that Saltford should continue to be a caring community that encourages Fairtrade and looks after the environment whilst aiming for a lighter ecological footprint that is more climate friendly for the benefit of future generations.

The Saltford 20/20 team are as follows:-

   Adrian Betts is passionate about Saltford and its precious Green Belt land. He is on Saltford Environment Group's Executive Group and has also served on Saltford Parish Council for more than five years. He has been a member of the Governing body of Saltford School.

   Marie Carder has lived in Saltford all her life and spent the last eleven years of her working life working for local companies. She is a strong supporter of the Library/Post Office and the Saltford Community Association and has volunteered on Saturdays for the past three years at the Library.

   Will Feay and his family have lived in Saltford for many generations. With such strong ties to the village he is passionate about the local community. Whilst he supports change, he is keen to ensure Saltford's unique charm is protected for future generations.

   Jon Godfrey has founded three technology recycling businesses and has lived and worked in Saltford for over 12 years. Jon holds pragmatic views on sustainable energy and has supported the Saltford Library & Post Office and helped introduce new technology to both the Parish Council and the Saltford Community Association.

   Gary Graveling has settled in Saltford with his young family and is concerned about the erosion of the invaluable green spaces and environmental corridors that surround Saltford. As an Environmental Consultant working with the construction industry, he understands the need to regenerate redundant brownfield sites ahead of the short-term opportunistic development of our irreplaceable Green Belt.

   Phil Harding helped set up Saltford Environment Group in 2011 & has chaired SEG since 2013 (including during the Saltford Green Belt Inquiry). SPC Vice Chair since May 2015 & Chair of Planning since May 2018. A former Senior Policy Adviser on sustainable development & climate change for Defra's South West regional office, Phil strongly advocates Green Belt protection.

   Adam Rees-Leonard has been living in Saltford for 6 years and has a young family. He is committed to promoting opportunities for young people, protecting Saltford's Green Belt and has an interest in old houses. Adam has held a number of committee positions, including current chair of the prestigious UKNEST Science & Technology government and industry work stream.

   Rob Taylor is a lifelong resident from a long standing Saltford family and has been elected as councillor onto the previous two Saltford Parish Councils. He is a member of the Saltford Station Campaign, a keen campaigner for the preservation of Saltford's character, and firmly against inappropriate development in the village and surrounding Green Belt.

   Sally Turner has lived in Saltford for 17 years with her three daughters who attended local schools. She owns Tiddlers nursery/chuckles and The Little Coffee Shop in Saltford. Sally values the location, beauty and community feel of the village. She wants this to continue with more opportunities for residents and a safe environment for young people.

   Chris Warren has lived in Saltford for over 20 years and appreciates what a beautiful place it is. He wants to retain the character of the village whilst ensuring any developments enhance and are sensitive to Saltford. As Chairman of SPC he and his fellow councillors have made SPC far more open and approachable. Getting our station back remains his high priority.

Remember, you have 11 votes - have your say and make your votes count on 2nd May!

Saltford 20/20 enquiries to SEG's Chairman Phil Harding.

April 2019

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B&NES Council Election 2nd May: Answers to Questions from SEG

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SEG has asked the candidates representing the main political parties competing for Saltford votes in the 2nd May B&NES Council local election six questions preceded by a short introductory statement as set out below. These were addressed to the candidates asking for their view and that of the party they represent should it control B&NES Council after the election.

INTRODUCTORY STATEMENT

Traffic congestion and resulting air pollution on the Bath Road (A4), likely to get worse with new housing being built in Keynsham East and North, is a growing concern for Saltford residents. It is widely acknowledged that a Saltford bypass would lead to significant infilling with new housing on the Green Belt and create even more car journeys when non-car solutions are required for commuting to reduce congestion at peak periods. Likewise the delay in making progress towards re-opening Saltford Station as part of Metro West despite a very favourable business case is regrettable.

The growing pressures on the natural environment and the land that sustains life from the interlinked problems associated with manmade climate change, plastics, poor waste management, consumerism, and unhindered population growth leading to habitat and wildlife species loss highlights the importance and benefits that we receive from the local green open spaces surrounding the area where we live including the Green Belt for rest, recreation and the ecological support such land can provide to farmland and thus towards our future food security.

Responses have been received from the candidates for Saltford from the Lib Dems (Duncan Hounsell & Alastair Singleton) and the Conservatives (Emma Dixon & Elizabeth Carter) and these are given below. We also approached the Labour Party and await news if it will be fielding a candidate for our ward.

OUR SIX QUESTIONS

   1. Do you and your party wish to see Saltford's Green Belt protected from future housing development and will you keep Saltford's Green Belt out of the forthcoming B&NES Local Plan 2016-2036?

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS PARTY RESPONSE:-

Maintaining protective green belt around Saltford and the other villages in this ward is a top priority for us. The National Policy Planning Framework (NPPF) states that development in green belt should only happen if exceptional circumstances outweigh the harm to green belt. The word "exceptional" must never be replaced by "convenient". The local plan will eventually be considered by the whole B&NES Council and then by an independent planning inspector who will determine if the plan is "sound". The Liberal Democrats will endeavour to keep Saltford's Green Belt out of the forthcoming Local Plan. The Liberal Democrats will aim to protect the distinctive character of our villages.

CONSERVATIVE PARTY RESPONSE:-

As residents of Saltford, we appreciate the importance of protecting the Green Belt that surrounds us. At a public meeting of Saltford Residents in 2016, Conservative leader Tim Warren said clearly 'that the current B&NES administration had no intention to allow housing development on Saltford's Green Belt'. We fully intend to continue to keep Saltford's Green Belt protected from future housing development.


   2. Do you and your party agree that the overwhelming majority of new homes in B&NES and the West of England should be built within our towns and cities and not on the Green Belt?

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS PARTY RESPONSE:-

Development should be planned and minimise the need for commuting. Housing development should take place within existing housing development boundaries as far as possible. If a village, like Corston, wanted small-scale housing development on its boundary for its own village needs, we will support that. If large-scale new housing has to be found in green belt because of exceptional circumstances we would prefer to create a completely new green village and not destroy the character of existing villages with inappropriate development.

CONSERVATIVE PARTY RESPONSE:-

Whilst we recognise the need for more housing within B&NES, and the West of England generally, we agree with Communities Secretary the Rt Hon James Brokenshire MP that we should not be "building all over our Green Belt in order to hit those housing targets", rather we should be looking creatively at "how we use the existing built environment and indeed brown field sites that are there".


   3. Do you and your party support drilling or fracking for onshore gas in NE Somerset or should more effort be placed on cleaner, renewable energy sources?

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS PARTY RESPONSE:-

There is a cross-party consensus to oppose fracking in this area. Liberal Democrats support all forms of renewable energy such as the solar array at Saltford Hall. When elected, we will implement a clear carbon reduction plan for Bath and North East Somerset Council's own activity. We will use and adapt our planning policies to push low carbon developments throughout the district. We will strengthen carbon reduction policies in the Local Plan so that all new developments achieve zero carbon. We will also tackle the need for more energy efficient retrofitting. Liberal Democrats will enable residents and businesses to achieve low carbon in their own activities through education and information and will lead a shift in the way the community in B&NES thinks about climate change. We will work with partners in the business community to address urgent needs such as the elimination of single-use plastic. We will also work with schools and community groups to proactively promote carbon reduction. Our aim is that this area becomes one of the greenest areas in the country - carbon neutral by 2030.

CONSERVATIVE PARTY RESPONSE:-

We are fully supportive of the decision taken in the B&NES Conservative Council Group Motion passed in April 2013 which raised concerns relating to and opposed the use of unconventional gas extraction and geothermal exploitation within Bath and North East Somerset and neighbouring areas. This was later reaffirmed by the motion approved in September 2018 where Council Leader, Tim Warren wrote to Greg Clark, the Secretary of State suggesting that if permitted development rights were approved in B&NES, the Council would apply for them to be removed.


   4. The River Avon through Saltford is a Site of Nature Conservation Importance (SNCI) yet there has been little or no effective enforcement in recent years to protect the riverbanks and the river's ecology from damage or over-stay moorings by a minority of boaters and members of the general public. How will you and your party protect the river and its ecology from over-stay moorings, irresponsible mooring practices including waste disposal and other inappropriate behaviour on Saltford's riverbanks?

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS PARTY RESPONSE:-

The river-bank and river is for all to enjoy and should not be dominated by the interests of one group. For years Mead Lane was not an official designated mooring point with facilities yet suffered from inconsiderate boat mooring nevertheless. A trial of a combination of 48 hour and the default maximum 14 day moorings has not worked well. Some boaters have stayed well beyond 14 days and there have been other issues. A key step is to ensure that the review of moorings along the river by the Canals and River Trust is completed as soon as possible. We will maintain a dialogue between Bath and North East Somerset Council, local residents in Saltford who live by the river, the Parish Council, and other stake-holders. Alastair Singleton and Duncan Hounsell believe there should be a 48 hour limit in Mead Lane, adequately monitored, or, failing that, no moorings allowed at all.

CONSERVATIVE PARTY RESPONSE:-

We will continue to build on the working relationships we have established, through meetings and engagement with local residents and other agencies, such as the Canal and River Trust, to find deliverable solutions to the multiple challenges presented by this, rightly popular, feature of Saltford.


   5. Do you and your party agree with and support Saltford Station being rebuilt on its original site and if so what will you and your party do to help bring forward the re-opening of our station without further delay?

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS PARTY RESPONSE:-

Liberal Democrats will continue to work towards a better public transport system, including a station at Saltford. The footprint of the original Saltford railway station is intact and is larger than at Keynsham station. It is in a good location to act as a transport hub with its connections to other forms of transport. Liberal Democrats, when last in power 2011-15, put Saltford station on the MetroWest rail project map, commissioned two reports from consultants, and conducted a public consultation in Saltford on the proposed station. We earmarked £250K in the 2015 budget to take the Saltford station project to the next stages of project development. That money was never spent by the Conservative administration at B&NES. Our first priority is to identify why there has been no apparent progress in the last four years. We will work with Network Rail and the train operating companies to make a station at Saltford a reality and not just an aspiration. A key step is to ensure that the new West of England Combined Authority (WECA) recognises Saltford station as affordable, achievable, and in line with its aims.

CONSERVATIVE PARTY RESPONSE:-

The Conservative administration of Bath & North East Somerset Council is working with the West of England Combined Authority and Network Rail on bringing back a train station to Saltford. We have asked Network Rail to look again at Saltford and anticipate they will report back to us in the coming months.


   6. Do you and your party agree that a possible bypass on or adjacent to Saltford's Green Belt is inappropriate and that proposals for a bypass within or around the parish of Saltford however vague should be kept out of the West of England Joint Spatial Plan to avoid a blight on the local housing market?

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS PARTY RESPONSE:-

Residents in Copse Road, Grange Road, Montague Road, Manor Road, Uplands Road and closes off were disturbed to see a diagram in the first draft of the West of England Joint Local Transport Plan (JLTP4) showing an indicative arc for an orbital road skirting Saltford to the south leaving the A4 near Copse Road and returning to the A4 between Saltford and Corston. This diagram has since been withdrawn but the text still refers to future consideration options for a by-pass. Recent studies by consultants Atkins contracted by the West of England Partnership concluded that "the (south Saltford) bypass would cross difficult terrain, with steep slopes south east of the village... These issues would collectively result in landscape impacts, major earthworks and relatively high scheme costs." This is not surprising as the same consultants came to the conclusion in the 2006 Greater Bristol Transport Study that this road would have no strategic benefit and be very costly.

In the past 50 years, no feasible route for a by-pass has ever been identified. The first officially adopted route identified by the Department of Transport in the 1970s went past Saltford's conservation area. This plan was dropped a few years later. Some houses were affected by "housing blight" in that period.

A LOCAL by-pass at Saltford would lead to the loss of green belt and agricultural land, have a negative environmental effect on the countryside, lead to housing in-fill, affect the viability of Saltford shops and businesses, raise noise and overall pollution levels, risk the community forest, increase overall traffic volumes, provide no strategic benefits, and give poor value for money.

Congestion on the A4 at peak times can be tackled in other ways - improved public transport, altering signage in the wider sub-region, tackling the school-run, reviewing the operation of the two sets of traffic lights in the centre of the village, ensuring lorries out of Southampton docks heading west take strategic routes away from Saltford. Liberal Democrats want traffic taken away from the A4 but that needs to be tackled at a regional level, not at a parochial level.

CONSERVATIVE PARTY RESPONSE:-

In 2016, in a survey carried out by us, a majority of respondents said they were unhappy at the suggestion of a possible by-pass on or adjacent to our Green Belt and were assured by Council Leader, Tim Warren, that if Saltford residents did not want a by-pass, then one would not be built. We will endeavour to ensure that the voices of local people continue to be heard and taken notice of in this way.


[END of Q & A]

We shall update this news item as appropriate.

April 2019

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Saltford Wombles: Litter Pick Sunday 28 April

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- seen on facebook...

Our next monthly litter pick is on Sunday 28 April, 2.00-4.00pm, meeting outside The Little Coffee Shop on Manor Road, for a post-Easter holiday tidy up.

If you have litter pickers, gloves and high viz vest please do bring them, but if not we can provide them. We have bags provided by B&NES Council. Please do let us know (see last paragraph) if you would like to come along, as we will need to ensure we bring enough equipment with us.

There will not be a litter pick in May, but we will have 2 in June before and after the Village Festival, so that the village is looking its absolute best : dates are Sunday 2nd June and Sunday 30th June. Details of time and meeting place will be emailed to all those registered with Saltford Wombles nearer the time.

As with any Saltford Wombles litter pick, everyone takes part at their own risk and it is essential that children are supervised at all times by a parent/carer.

If you would like to attend the April litter pick, or would just like to find out more about the Saltford Wombles, please contact Barbara at the following email address: saltfordwombles@gmail.com.

April 2019

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SEG objects to Green Belt loss between Saltford and Keynsham

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NB. Image is for illustrative purposes only.

On 16th April SEG submitted an online planning objection to the planning application 19/01437/VAR Glenavon Farm, 331 Bath Road, Saltford BS31 3TJ - Variation of condition 18 for application 12/05167/FUL (Renovation, extension and conversion of existing farm buildings to a farm shop and cafe/restaurant with car parking and associated access arrangements).

SEG's planning objection was as follows:-

   Saltford Environment Group objects to the expansion of the site's (large) car park into the Green Belt. The incremental development of this site since the original planning permission in 2012 does not justify removal of a small piece of Green Belt land at the south eastern edge of the car park as shown in the application plans (red line boundary). The red line boundary has moved south east wards from the 2012 planning application's red line in this application (variation) and this represents a small developmental addition in a very sensitive area of Saltford's Green Belt between Saltford and Keynsham.

   SEG considers the planning application (variation) to be contrary to the protection afforded to the Green Belt under NPPF (2018) paragraphs 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; and (d) to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns. There are no special circumstances to justify loss or development of Green Belt land here where the openness of the Green Belt at this location provides the setting for Saltford as a rural historic village. The development of a parcel of the Green Belt for use as a car park at this location would therefore be contrary to the 2017 B&NES Placemaking Plan policy GB1: Visual Amenity of the Green Belt and policy GB2: Development in Green Belt Villages.

   Whilst it is not for the planning system to determine this, tree, hedging or wildflower planting of native species appropriate to NE Somerset would be an ecologically sensible use of this small piece of land.

SEG members and others wishing to comment on this planning application (deadline is Wednesday 1st May 2019) can follow this link and key 19/01437/VAR into the search box: B&NES Development Control. If you encounter difficulties with the B&NES website you can email your objection/comments to development_management@bathnes.gov.uk but make sure you include the reference number for this planning application (19/01437/VAR).

The target decision date for this application is 3rd June 2019. Saltford Parish Council will be considering its response this planning application at its next public meeting on 17th May.

April 2019

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2019 Big Garden Birdwatch results: House Sparrow remains top

Over 7.67 million birds were counted in the 2019 Big Garden Birdwatch held on the weekend of 26/28 January. The top ten most commonly observed birds across the UK were (change on 2018 position in brackets):-

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

Although the top of the list stayed stable, there were more shifts lower down. Bullfinches have climbed the rankings since the early 2000s, regularly reaching the top 25.

Another Finch species, the Brambling, moved from number 50 in 2018 to number 43. They are winter visitors and migrate here in large numbers if conditions here are more favourable than on the Continent or, when their favourite food - seeds of Beech trees - are in plentiful supply.

Sadly, it's bad news for Song Thrushes and Starlings. According to the RSPB both have declined by around 77% since the Big Garden Birdwatch began in 1979. The RSPB think the decline of Song Thrushes is down to loss of places where they prefer to live and breed.

But there is also good news: Coal Tits are up by nearly 245% since 1979, and Goldfinches, not even included in the first Birdwatch, have increased by around 70% since the early 2000s!

More information can be found on the RSPB website. You can also find more information on social media using the hashtag #BigGardenBirdWatch.

April 2019

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Saltford Wombles founder gets deserved community award

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The Saltford Parish Council Community Awards took place as part of the Annual SPC meeting on 2nd April, and the Parish Council gave awards to seven individuals or groups. Winners were given a certificate and £70 to donate to a local charity or organisation of their choice. Of particular interest to SEG this year was the award for our member Julie Sampson (seen pictured above) who founded Saltford Wombles.

Julie through a mix of her own personal enthusiasm and determination set up SEG's Saltford Wombles at the end of 2014 to tackle litter in Saltford. She obtained all the necessary equipment (litter picks, protective gloves, fluorescent tabards etc.) and organised very effective monthly litter picks.

Julie stepped down from organising Saltford Wombles in 2018 and handed over the group to a new organiser in fine form and it continues to prove very popular and effective in the village (Saltford Wombles is now organised by Barbara Turner). Saltford Wombles engages effectively with many members of the community and has included litter picks with Saltford School.

Julie has chosen to donate her £70 donation to the 'Green Team' at Saltford School, so that they can purchase their own litter pickers and hi-vis jackets for the children.

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Julie (on right) about to start a monthly litter pick in 2015.

SEG is naturally delighted that the work by Julie in getting Saltford Wombles up and running so effectively has been recognised by the community through this award.

The seven award winners were:-

  • Saltford Achievement Award - Julie Sampson
  • Saltford Achievement Award - Mary Stoate
  • Saltford Achievement Award - Catherine Singleton
  • Saltford Achievement Award - Kevin Reeves
  • Volunteer Team Award - Saltford Primary School Parent Teacher Association
  • Volunteer Team Award - Saltford Community Hub Library Volunteers
  • Business in the Community Award - Saltford Community Library and Post Office

SEG congratulates them all and thanks them for the work they do or have done for our community. More information about these awards can be found on the SPC website www.saltfordparishcouncil.gov.uk.

We publish details of our monthly litter picks on this website. Further information about Saltford Wombles can be found on our website on our Less Waste page >>

April 2019

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Upcycling Craft Group to help decorate High Street for Saltford Festival

At this month's meeting on Thursday 11th April we are going to help this year's Saltford Festival (June 8th - 16th) with bunting. The High Street can be a wonderful showcase of our village for visitors and we have a lovely spot to show off our upcycling skills by decorating one of our group member's garden wall on the High Street. We have a substantial length of cotton type ribbon to use as a starter but other ideas are always welcome. Bring along pinking scissors, odds and end of material etc. (old curtains, bedlinen, garden twine... you get the idea) or anything you think is suitable. Weather-proof material will be necessary just in case.

Recycling pre-loved things for the festival will be a great example of our upcycling activities.

We look forward to seeing you on 11th April at Signs of Saltford (work entrance), 7-9pm, 559 Bath Road, Saltford) - Note: this is a change of date from previous plans for our April meeting. If you would like join us or find out more about our group please text Frances Eggbeer on 07789---528834.

You can find more information about the Upcycling Craft Group on our Low Waste page >>

April 2019

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March 2019

See the 11th C Viking Buckle at Saltford Heritage Centre, 30th March

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How did the 11th C bronze Viking Buckle get to Saltford?

Saltford's very rare bronze Viking Buckle will be displayed by SEG to the public for the first time at the Saltford Heritage Centre (1st floor, St Mary's Church Hall, Queen Sq, High St. Saltford) on Saturday 30th March from 9.30am to 12 noon - admission is free. Found in 2018, it has been described by the British Museum's finds officer for this area as being of "regional importance". It gives our first local evidence of the Viking's presence in this area.

Why not come and see this fascinating 11th Century artefact and information displays about its design and origins? Other important Saltford artefacts including the Saltford Carthaginian Coin (300-264 BC) will also be available to see. Refreshments including hot cross buns will be available on the ground floor at the church hall from St Mary's Easter Market.

More information about this remarkable artfect can be found on SEG's Online Museum and our 'History of Saltford Project' special feature page.

March 2019

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Water shortages in England within 25 years

No water, no life.
No blue, no green.
No ocean, no us...

Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive of the Environment Agency, spoke to the Waterwise Conference on 19 March 2019. The following are extracts from his speech where he warned that England will not have enough water to meet demand within 25 years.

"The population of the UK is expected to rise from 67 million now to 75 million in 2050. All those extra people need houses and roads and energy and food and places to work, all of which will require more water.

"So: climate change plus growth = an existential threat. To our economy, environment, security, happiness, way of life. In the face of water scarcity, we must tackle both sides of the equation: reduce demand and increase supply."

"We can reduce demand by reducing leakage, by more water metering, sustainable drainage systems, insisting on new building regulations to drive greater water efficiency, and finding ways to cut down the amount of water we each use as individuals."

"And we can increase supply by a mix of methods, all of which we'll need to pursue. We will need to see more water transfers between regions from areas of water surplus to areas of deficit. There's scope to do much more here: currently only 4% of water supplies are transferred between individual water companies."

"We will need to build more desalination plants. Thames Water have an impressive one in Beckton, the first of its kind in the UK, which can provide up to 150 million litres of drinking water each day - enough for nearly one million people."

"And most controversially of all, we will need to build new reservoirs. Creating some of that new infrastructure will be challenging: we have not built a new reservoir in the UK for decades, largely because clearing all the planning and legal hurdles necessary is so difficult and local opposition so fierce."

He said the Environment Agency was "working with the government to set the right level of ambition for water efficiency. We are particularly interested in specific ideas on how we could get this country to Waterwise's ambitious target of 100 litres per person per day."

Sir James Bevan ended his speech by quoting from Sylvia Earle, the distinguished marine biologist, to sum up everything that's at stake here: "No water, no life. No blue, no green. No ocean, no us."

March 2019

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Annual Saltford Dawn Chorus Walk, 21st 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 (Easter) Sunday 21st 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 Bath, 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.

This event is free but an optional donation of £1 to support Avon Wildlife Trust funds is suggested.

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

March 2019

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B&NES Council declares a climate emergency

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On 14th March Bath & North East Somerset Council made a cross-party major decision to become the latest council to declare a climate emergency. As part of this they resolved to:

   "Sign up to the UK100 Pledge to provide the strategic community leadership needed to enable our communities to achieve 100% clean energy across all sectors in Bath & North East Somerset by 2030, as a logical step from the B&NES Environmental Sustainability Vision Motion passed unanimously by Council in July 2018, and as a way to enable carbon neutrality by 2030."

The motion also stated that:-

   "B&NES is well-placed to champion both rural and urban decarbonisation through renewable energy, energy efficiency, smart energy development, zero carbon homes, local & sustainable food, sustainable travel, carbon sequestration."

The original motion that was proposed can be found from this external link (pdf opens in new window). The final motion that was passed also included more emphasis on transport and an amendment proposed by the Labour Group to oppose the expansion of Bristol Airport.

The Lib Dem councillor Rob Appleyard, who had brought the motion jointly with Conservative councillor Mark Shelford, said: "This is an ambitious motion as it asks this council to change many ways of thinking, changing priorities. Climate consideration should be an accepted part of any conversation and behaviour, of any policy or decision. Climate change has the added challenge that we know we have to start achieving these changes from day one and working with partners and the greater community to achieve change."

Cllr Shelford said: "This subject is bigger than party politics. It's about the future of our children and grandchildren. The council will provide leadership so action is taken across the community to cut carbon emissions."

SEG naturally welcomes the commitment for 100% clean energy across all sectors by 2030 and will be watching with interest to see progress towards reaching the target.

March 2019

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Saltford Wombles: Litter Pick Sunday 24 March

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Our next monthly litter pick is on Sunday 24 March, 2.00-4.00pm.

If you are coming, please email Barbara on the same email address as before, saltfordwombles@gmail.com for the meeting points as the focus for our litter picks will vary depending on our numbers. Thank you.

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

Also, please let us know whether you have a car you would be happy to use to ferry a group to a start point.

As with any Saltford Wombles litter pick, everyone takes part at their own risk and it is essential that children are supervised at all times by a parent/carer.

March 2019

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Gender and Fairtrade

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'She deserves a living income', the theme of this year's Fairtrade Fortnight fitted in well when on International Women's Day our guest speaker Dr Roy Maconachie showed 40 of us his film entitled "Gender and Fairtrade - the stories of women cocoa farmers in Ghana".

What happens before the bar of chocolate you buy gets neatly wrapped? Are we paying a fair price for it? Does choosing Fairtrade Chocolate really made a difference to anyone? Roy's film, talk and question & answer session certainly gave us a great deal to think about. His research had to work around the sensitivities and culture barriers of the women he wanted to film, something that had not been recognised in the past but is now standard practice.

The women had been given video cameras to capture their daily lives giving them free reign to tell their stories, no questions, just realities. The women spoke their minds and showed the struggle of helping their husbands and attending to all the family needs before working their own cocoa trees.

One of Roy's aims was to generate wider lessons for Fairtrade policy and practice, particularly in relation to how cooperatives can do more to empower women and enable them to access greater benefits from Fairtrade. One of Roy's conclusions through his research was that although Fairtrade certification initiatives not initially designed to address gender inequality, or the specific concerns that women face in cocoa production, gender equity has now become one of the key principles of Fairtrade.

This has been borne out in the 2019 Fairtrade Fortnight theme 'She deserves a better wage'. Following a thoughtful, lively question and answer session we were left with fresh thoughts and ideas of the importance of sharing the Fairtrade ethos.

Credits:

FILM: -'Gender and Fairtrade: The stories of women cocoa farmers in Ghana'. A film by Dr Roy Maconachie, Centre for Development Studies, University of Bath.

PRESENTATION: 'How 'fair' is Fairtrade? Ethical cocoa production and gender in Ghana'. Public lecture and discussion by Dr Roy Maconachie, Centre for Development Studies, University of Bath, March 8th 2019, Saltford Hall, Saltford.

Click on the link to watch his fascinating film "Gender and Fairtrade - The stories of women cocoa farmers in Ghana": https://vimeo.com/154721350

March 2019

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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."

SEG will keep this in mind during discussions with B&NES Council over the B&NES Local Plan 2016-20136.

March 2019

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Saltford Upcycling Craft Group 21st March

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Who wouldn't want flowers all year round that don't cost the earth? Our next Upcycling Craft Group meeting will be making unique paper flowers. Old maps, book pages, used wrapping paper, brown wrapping paper and even toilet roll centres can be used.

Join us on March 21st at our free, friendly monthly meeting of the Saltford Upcycling Craft Group and create your very own flowers. No experience needed, we all learn together. We have all the things needed to make the flowers but share any things that are brought along. Please give us a call (to Frances on 07789--528834) if you would like to know more, or come along from 7-9 pm, everyone is welcome.

We meet at: Signs of Saltford (works entrance), 559 Bath Road, Saltford.

Tina and Frances look forward to seeing you all on 21st March.

March 2019

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Febuary 2019

SPC's Key Actions & Achievements 2015 - 2019

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Supporting PV panels on Saltford Hall was just one action from SPC

At the February 2019 meeting of Saltford Parish Council (SPC) the SPC Chair Cllr Chris Warren provided a summary of the Parish Council's key actions and achievements since it was elected in May 2015. He reminded the meeting that SPC had adopted the Saltford 20/20 5-point vision and policy for Saltford for how it would conduct its business until the next elections that are due this year on 2nd May.

That 5-point vision for Saltford was:

   1. Green Belt land surrounding the village protected from development, including fracking and a road bypass.

   2. Its own re-opened railway station on the existing site in place or already underway.

   3. A decreasing carbon footprint.

   4. A positive, healthy and caring community that encourages Fairtrade, and values and protects the local environment including its heritage.

   5. Is a good neighbour to surrounding villages, towns and cities.

That vision was produced in collaboration with Saltford Environment Group and a new Saltford 20/20 team will be putting themselves forward for the 2nd May local elections to SPC so watch this space for further information in due course.

Here are some examples of the achievements listed in the report (you can download the full report at the end of this news item):-

  • Supporting SCA with funding (£2000 financial contribution in 18/19), advancing the rescue of the new non-profit-making Saltford PO and Library, and agreeing in principle further financial support if required.
  • Blue Plaque for Admiral Kelly at Saltford House to mark his remarkable contribution to ending slavery.
  • New 'Lest We Forget' railings and 'Poppy' gates for the War Memorial, as Saltford's fitting tribute to commemorate the centenary of the end of World War 1.
  • SPC is responsible for the management and safety of St Mary's Churchyard (a closed churchyard). In addition to managing the annual grounds maintenance contract, Councillors carry out the annual headstone and memorial safety check, as well as commissioning and acting on tree surveys, walls and other aspects of the churchyard are cared for and maintained appropriately.
  • Taking ownership of the old BT telephone box by the Bird in Hand. It will soon be refurbished as a Wi-Fi hub.
  • Supporting St Mary's Church provide a venue for the new Saltford Heritage Centre.
  • Grant to Saltford Brass Mill to replace some of the 'starts' (oak struts that project from the wheel and support each blade) (Sept 16)
  • Grant to Saltford Brass Mill of £510 to install non-slip decking strips on the access footbridge for the safety of visitors (March 2017).
  • Organising and hosting the annual Saltford Neighbourhood Watch AGM. This is an open meeting for residents.
  • Supporting the Saltford Festival 2017 by giving a grant of £1000 to the Saltford Community Association (Jan 2017).
  • Lobbied since May 2015 for the re-opening of Saltford Railway station and kept residents informed about progress regarding this live project.
  • Responded to major public consultations in the interests of Saltford i.e. West of England Spatial Plan 'shaping a new blueprint for development which will determine where new homes and workplaces would be built over the course of the next generation' (Jan 16).
  • Responded to B&NES Local Plan Options Consultation (Jan 19), including lobbying B&NES Council on the protection of Saltford's Green Belt in the forthcoming Local Plan.
  • Made representations to central Government on Shale Gas Development (Fracking) Consultation (Jan 19).
  • Investigated and provided responses to B&NES for over 230 planning applications since May 2015.
  • Written to hundreds of households likely to be affected by planning consultations. Letters intend to raise awareness of planning applications and invite residents to speak at the meeting at which the planning consultation is being discussed.
  • Raised contraventions when required and supported residents when raising planning contraventions.
  • Contributing a page in every bi-monthly SCAN edition detailing SPC actions and news, as well as creating relevant articles in SCAN.
  • New Facebook and Twitter social media accounts, offering rapid access to news about local events and issues.
  • Updating the noticeboards by the shops in 2015 so that they could hold more SPC information as well as community information.
  • Councillors oversee SPC's Financial Assistance Grants. These included:
    -   Catalyst funding for a combination of new solar PV panels on Saltford Hall roof and support for extensive programme of energy efficiency measures for the hall.
    -   Keynsham and District Dial a Ride £500 towards two sets of heavy duty wheelchair restraints for the mini-bus.
    -   Grant of £1600 to Saltford District Guides towards installation of a new heating and hot water system for the guide hut
    -   Grant to Citizens Advice B&NES to fund the training of a volunteer based in Keynsham One Stop Shop to help advise local residents
    -   Grant to Saltford Football Club of £3407 (c. half the cost) towards the erection of a new barrier around the first team pitch. This improves safety for spectators and players, as well as meeting the requirements of the County League
    -   Grant to Saltford Community Association for the amount of £1114 to fund the provision of three wifi hotspots in Saltford (Saltford Hall, Saltford PO and Library, and the red ex-BT phone box on the High St / The Shallows).
  • Councillors have actively supported Mead Lane residents since 2015 regarding their concerns about the mooring trial and associated parking proposals.
  • Councillors regularly monitor, and fund any repairs or conservation work, required for SPC's assets. Assets include the War Memorial railings and gate, basketball goalpost, Fairtrade Village road signs, and the Youth Shelter.

You can download the web version of the full report here:- SPC 2015-2019 report (pdf opens in new window).

February 2019

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Saltford Wombles: Litter Pick Sunday 24th February

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Our next monthly litter pick is on Sunday 24th February, 2.00-4.00pm.

If you are coming, please email Barbara on the same email address as before, saltfordwombles@gmail.com, for the meeting points as the focus for our litter picks will vary depending on our numbers. Thank you.

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

Also, please let us know whether you have a car you would be happy to use to ferry a group to a start point.

As with any Saltford Wombles litter pick, everyone takes part at their own risk and it is essential that children are supervised at all times by a parent/carer.

February 2019

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Insects heading for extinction leading to a collapse of nature's ecosystems

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The world's insects are heading towards extinction at an alarming rate and this will lead to a "catastrophic collapse of nature's ecosystems" - according to the first global scientific review.

Over 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.

Insect population collapses have recently been reported in Germany and Puerto Rico, but the review strongly indicates that the crisis is global. The researchers conclude in their peer-reviewed scientific paper that the insect trends confirm that the sixth major extinction event is profoundly impacting on life forms on our planet. Unless we change our ways of producing food "insects as a whole will go down the path of extinction in a few decades, the repercussions this will have for the planet's ecosystems are catastrophic to say the least."

The analysis "Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers" by Francisco Sánchez-Bayo and Kris A.G. Wyckhuys is published in the journal Biological Conservation. Habitat loss by conversion to intensive agriculture is the main driver of the declines whilst agro-chemical pollutants, invasive species and climate change are additional causes.

The planet is at the start of a sixth mass extinction in its history, a 'biological annihilation' with huge losses already reported in larger animals that are much easier to study. But insects are the most varied and abundant animals outweighing humanity by a factor of x17. Insects are essential for the proper functioning of all ecosystems, the researchers say, as food for other creatures, pollinators and recyclers of nutrients.

This alarming analysis of the health of insects underlines why we at the local level need to protect or local Green Belt that helps provide essential insect habitat. If you live in or near Saltford or visit Saltford regularly and have not yet joined SEG to show your support for our Green Belt Campaign now is the time to do so.

February 2019

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SPC and SEG seek inclusion of Saltford Station in West of England Transport Plan

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Pictured here are Saltford Parish Councillors Cllr Duncan Hounsell, Cllr Adrian Betts, Cllr Phil Harding (also Chair of SEG), and Cllr Chris Warren (also Leader of SEG's Station Campaign) at the launch of the West of England's Joint Local Transport Plan (JTLP) 4th consultation at Somerdale Pavilion on Monday 11th February. During the morning's consultation event they pushed the case for re-opening Saltford Station on the existing site as part of the JLTP.

The draft plan and consultation questionnaire can be found at www.travelwest.info/JLTP. The consultation closes on 20th March.

February 2019

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Bronze Viking Buckle found in Saltford!

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In the later part of 2018 a rare bronze Viking Buckle in the ringerike style, a Scandinavian animal style from the late 10th Century & 11th Century, was discovered here in Saltford. This has been authenticated and described by the British Museum as "a find of note", very rare for this area, and designated as a find of "regional importance".

The Saltford Viking Buckle is described in detail on our Online Museum and also on a special feature page.

SEG plans to display this remarkable find at the Saltford Heritage Centre in the future.

February 2019

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Saltford Wombles: Change in Chief Womble and Dates for your Diary

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Seen on facebook...

Firstly, we would like to say 'Thank you very much' to Jo for leading our Wombles group for the last year and organising us all so well. January saw our first pick of 2019, where we had a very good clean up of the roads in to and around the village. Jo, yet again, did a sterling job of organising this and we had a very good haul of 15 bags of litter to show for our efforts, and a full, unopened, tube of Colgate toothpaste!

After having got 2019 off to a very successful start, Jo has decided to give somebody else the chance to be 'Chief Womble' (co-ordinator) and so, is passing the title on to Barbara, who has very kindly volunteered to take up the reins and look after us. We wish Jo and Barbara every success in the year ahead.

Following on from a very successful start to the year, our next litter pick is on Sunday 24 February, 2-4pm.

Thereafter, we propose to continue monthly litter picks on Sunday afternoons on the following dates:

  • Sunday 24 March (as part of the Great British Spring Clean)
  • Sunday 28 April (post Easter holiday tidy up)
  • No litter pick in May, instead we will meet on...
  • Sunday 2 June (so that we can have a good clean up before the Saltford Village Festival)
  • Sunday 30 June (the aftermath)

As before, if you are coming, please email Barbara on the same email address, saltfordwombles@gmail.com, for the meeting points, as the focus for our litter picks will vary depending on our numbers. More details will be posted before each meet.

If you are new to the village and would like to meet a lovely bunch of local, like minded people, please also get in touch. Thank you and happy wombling!

February 2019

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SEG pleased that 'time-wasting' planning application for 200 homes between Keynsham & Saltford is turned down by B&NES Council

The article below is from the February 2019 edition of Keynsham Voice.

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February 2019

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Behaviour on the railway path: Sustrans survey

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Sustrans is working with local Communities and the Councils of Bath and North East Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Bristol City Council to explore ways in which behaviour on the Bristol and Bath Railway Path (BBRP), that is routed through Saltford, could be improved. To this end they are carrying out an online survey which should take less than 5 minutes to complete.

If you would like to complete the survey you can do so from this link (external site).

February 2019

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Saltford Parish Council responds to West of England Mayor re. Saltford Station

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We reported in November (2018) that Saltford Parish Council had sent a public letter (that can be downloaded here as a pdf) to a wide range of recipients including B&NES Council Leaders, our MP, First Great Western, Network Rail, West of England Combined Authority (WECA), and the local media expressing its frustration at the lack of information and misinformation from B&NES Council and WECA concerning the future re-opening of Saltford Station.

A response to SPC's letter was received from Cllr Tim Bowles, West of England Mayor, in January 2019. Cllr Bowles stated that following his and Cllr Tim Warren's (Leader of B&NES Council) discussions, their intervention had ensured that a new railway station at Saltford will feature in a map of transport improvements in the Joint Local Transport Plan. The Joint Local Transport Plan will be open for public consultation in January 2019.

To read Saltford Parish Council's comprehensive response of 29.1.2019 to Cllr Tim Bowles's letter, which has been copied to over 20 relevant people and organisations, download it here (pdf). The reply includes how SPC will respond to the Joint Local Transport Plan (referred to as JLTP4 in the letter) as well as the actions and information requested by SPC following the close of the consultation. Parish Councillors will discuss further actions to achieve the re-opening of Saltford Railway Station at the next SPC meeting on 5th February.

February 2019

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Gender & Fairtrade - 'Stories of Women & Cocoa Farmers in Ghana', 8th March

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There will be a talk and short film at Saltford Hall on Friday 8th March 2019 @ 7.30 pm.

This will be given by Dr Roy Maconachie, Reader in International Development, at the University of Bath.

This is a free event hosted by Saltford Fairtrade Group as part of Fairtrade Fortnight. Hear how buying Fairtrade products can improve the lives of cocoa farming communities. Refreshments available.

Email for further information: saltfordfairtrade@hotmail.co.uk

February 2019

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Saltford Upcycling Craft Group 21st February

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Hi happy crafters, we hope you all like eggs! Caroline has chosen this month's craft evening theme, eggshell mosaics. Do start collecting eggshells, making sure that they are clean and dry. The egg shells can be coloured with acrylic paint once they have been separated from the membrane. Leave the pieces quite big as they can be gently crushed when they are stuck down or broken down according to the space and your design.

We will have a supply of eggshells and the glue but do bring along any eggshells you have saved. A frame may be a bit ambitious but a card design may be more achievable in an evening and will give us a flavour of the possibilities on how to use this craft skill.

Tina and Frances look forward to seeing you all on 21st February, 7-9pm. We meet at Signs of Saltford (workshop entrance), 559 Bath Road, Saltford.

Please contact Frances Eggbeer if you would like to come along to our free, friendly evening or know more about our craft group (07789--528834). You can find more information about the Upcycling Craft Group on our Low Waste page >>

February 2019

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January 2019

Council awards litter enforcement contract to 3GS

News from B&NES Council on tackling litter:-

Specialist officers are set to help tackle litter on the streets of Bath and North East Somerset following the award of a new Environmental Crime and Enforcement contract to company 3GS.

From March 1st (2019) litter and dog fouling enforcement officers will work across Bath and North East Somerset and will issue Fixed Penalty Notices to people who deliberately litter streets, parks and public places.

The uniformed officers will also prioritise education and prevention to help people understand that littering is a criminal offence and will not be accepted in Bath and North East Somerset.

Under the 12-month agreement, which is at zero cost to the council, 3GS enforcement officers will work from 7am to 7pm seven days a week. It is operating a fixed fee model, which limits what 3GS can earn from the enforcement contract. Any funds received above cost will be passed on to the council or used by 3GS for education and promotional purposes.

January 2019

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Saltford Wombles: Litter Pick Sunday 27 January

Our first monthly litter pick for this year is on Sunday 27th, 2 - 4 pm.If you are coming, please email Jo on saltfordwombles@gmail.com for the meeting points as the focus for our litter picks will vary depending on our numbers. Thank you.

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.

Also, please let us know whether you have a car you would be happy to use to ferry a group to a start point.

As with any Saltford Wombles litter pick, everyone takes part at their own risk and it is essential that children are supervised at all times by a parent/carer.

January 2019

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Government Minister: "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."

January 2019

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Big Garden Birdwatch 26 - 28 January

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The RSPB's annual Big Garden Birdwatch will be from 26 to 28 January 2019. It's a great chance to sit back, relax and watch birds and other wildlife for an hour - and to encourage younger members of your family to develop an interest in the local wildlife. By taking part, you'll find out all about the fascinating wildlife that flutters, crawls and hops in your garden or local area. And with a simple hour of mindful watching, you could have an hour to yourself, too.

Details including a free pack can be found on the RSPB website from this link:- RSPB Birdwatch. You can also find more information on social media using the hashtag #BigGardenBirdWatch.

January 2019

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