Saltford Environment Group
2020 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.
An early story in 2020 was about the community's defence of the riverbank in Mead Lane from heavy boat moorings that were inadvertently damaging the bio-engineered stabilisation of the riverbank and in turn putting at risk vital infrastructure.
Click on each story link or scroll down the page (most recent appears first):-
News stories start here (most recent appears first):-
Keynsham environment exhibition, 14 Mar
Keynsham is holding an Environment & Climate Change Showcase, on Saturday 14th March 10am - 2pm at The Space above Keynsham Library. The showcase exhibition will enable you to find out what is happening in Keynsham to combat climate change and what you can do to look after the planet.
More information, e.g. if you want to exhibit at the event, is available by email from email@example.com
Hurricane Dennis & climate resilience
The arrival of heavy rainstorms and high winds from Hurricane Dennis this month reminds us of the need to make our community more resilient to the effects of climate change - see the flooded highway at Mead Lane above.
SEG's Climate Change page describes some actions we can take to make our homes, gardens, business premises and business activities more resilient and less vulnerable to climate change and extreme weather (from heatwaves to extreme rainfall events). We provide an extensive range of guidance, tips and advice as well as sources of other online information and advice.
Saltford Wombles : Sunday 23 Feb
Our next group litter pick is on Sunday 23rd February, 2.00-4.00pm, meeting outside The Little Coffee Shop on Manor Road. 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 (young children will be allocated an age appropriate area of your choice to litter pick).
If you would like to attend this litter pick, or find out more about the Saltford Wombles, please contact Barbara at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stories of Fairtrade, Bath Library 3 Mar
'Heading for Extinction' talk 26 Feb
Dr Paul Reid-Bowen (Bath Spa Uni) and Jess Johannesson are coming to speak at Keynsham Baptist Church, Keynsham High Street on 26th February. This will be an opportunity to hear the latest climate science on where our planet is heading, discuss some of the current psychology around climate change, and solutions offered through the study of social movements.
It will be an opportunity to hear more about the scientists' view that the planet is in ecological crisis and Extinction Rebellion's approach to the situation and the sixth mass extinction event this planet is in the midst of experiencing. They believe we may have entered a period of abrupt climate breakdown.
Whatever your views you are invited to come and hear more about this. Everyone is welcome and there will be plenty of time to ask questions and discuss afterwards.
Bus, Walking & Cycling Consultations
Local people are being encouraged to give their views on new plans to substantially improve walking and cycling in the West of England. The West of England Combined Authority (WECA) is running consultations on a regional Bus Strategy and a Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan (LCWIP) between 3 February and 15 March 2020.
The Local Cycling and Walking Infrastructure Plan outlines £400m of infrastructure projects that could dramatically improve cycling and walking across the region and help to make active travel the preferred choice for shorter trips.
WECA together with Bristol City Council, B&NES Council, North Somerset Council and South Gloucestershire Council, is also simultaneously consulting on its Bus Strategy which outlines how the West of England authorities intend to double bus patronage by 2036. Both consultations can be accessed via this external link: travelwest transport consultations >>.
Saltford's air quality improving!
B&NES Council has informed Saltford Parish Council that due to the air quality monitored* on the Bath Road (A4) in Saltford having improved since an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) was established in Saltford in 2013, it is likely that the AQMA will be revoked later this year (2020).
*Monitored near (i) the Crown PH and (ii) the Library/PO.
The provisional 2019 data (un-bias corrected) is showing that the nitrogen dioxide concentrations are remaining below 40 µg/m3, with The Crown (DT075) at 33 µg/m3 and Bath Road (DT077) at 29 µg/m3. The final data will be available later in the year when the results have been fully confirmed.
As the results are remaining below 40 µg/m3 the Annual Status Report is likely to recommend removing the AQMA in Saltford.
Parish Council resolution on Mead Lane (4 Feb)
At its meeting on the evening of 4th February Saltford Parish Council discussed the B&NES Cabinet decision concerning the need to ban moorings in Mead Lane to protect the stability of the riverbank and passed the following resolution:-
Saltford Parish Council welcomes the B&NES Cabinet decision on 16th January to remove moorings at Mead Lane by 7th February and to undertake a structural survey of the river bank to enable repairs to the bio-engineered rock armour stabilisation scheme as soon as possible to protect vital infrastructure.
SPC also welcomes the Council's decision to request that officers undertake further analysis of residential mooring arrangements along the river, to include arrangements for boaters and their families. SPC recommends that B&NES Council investigates with key agencies including the Canal and River Trust and the Environment Agency how best to support, manage, and enforce the use of moorings on the River Avon to make the river safer for all users including the live-aboard community whilst protecting the river as an important Site of Nature Conservation Interest (SNCI).
SPC asks B&NES Council to install without further delay effective physical measures to protect the riverbank and the highway edge itself from vehicle damage. If necessary temporary measures should be taken before the riverbank stabilisation scheme is repaired.
On completion of the stabilisation scheme repairs, SPC asks B&NES Council to take forward the proposal for designating Mead Lane riverbank as a Local Nature Reserve to protect the vegetation that underpins the stabilisation scheme whilst providing public amenity benefits - leisure, recreation and education.
B&NES Council is asked to recommence senior officer dialogue with SPC and to discuss with the local community its implementation plans for the above measures and actions.
SPC also discussed the possibility of the local community under the auspices of SEG setting up a group to take an active interest in looking after the flora and fauna of the riverbank(s), e.g. "Friends of Saltford Riverbank" or similar. SEG will investigate and discuss this with residents soon; in the meantime the priority is for the riverbank to be surveyed and repaired by B&NES Council.
On 10th February SEG's Chairman hand-delivered to B&NES Council at The Guildhall, Bath photocopies of the original options design, plans and environmental reports for the 2005 Mead Lane riverbank stabilisation works. Digital copies were also supplied to SPC for its records.
Fairtrade Coffee morning 28 Feb
To celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight there will be a Fairtade coffee morning at Saltford Hall in Wedmore Road on Friday 28th February from 10.30am-12.30pm.
The theme this year follows on from 2019, 'She deserves a fair wage', but our Fairtrade group has learnt so much more about how Fairtrade is trying to tackle the ever present climate change issue and other important factors to make Fairtrade farming more sustainable.
By enjoying Fairtrade products and hearing how the Fairtrade Foundation are making valuable inroads to help Fairtrade farmers we would like to arm everyone with practical helpful facts to take away and help spread the Fairtrade ethos with us. No coffee morning would be complete without home made cakes and we look forward to sharing a warm welcome to everyone.
AFTER THE EVENT
The Saltford Fairtrade Group would like to say a big thank you to everyone who supported our campaign during Fairtrade Fortnight. Our stall at Saltford Hall was designed to pass on information about the Fairtrade Foundation that most people wouldn't know about. Aspects such as sustainable farming and adaptation to crops to cope with climate change. Cakes, cakes and more cakes, well it was a coffee morning after all.
Thank you to everyone who joined us. Friends bought friends and made new friends and all shared the Fairtrade ethos. A special thanks goes to the SCA who let us set up our stall and donated the tea, coffee and sugar for the coffee morning. All this adds up to a caring Fairtrade village and we are delighted to announce that we have been awarded Fairtrade Village status during Fairtrade Fortnight.
We would also like to thank Tesco and Waitrose for their kind contribution towards our Fairtrade Fortnight coffee morning.
February 2020 (updated March 2020)
Archaeology Store Guided Tours 20th Feb
B&NES Council's Heritage Services team is putting on Guided Tours of the B&NES Archaeology Store in Pixash Lane, Keynsham on Thurs 20th February 2020 at 11am & 2pm. The Roman mosaics and other finds from Keynsham are kept there; this is a rare opportunity to see them.
Joint Local Transport Plan - Saltford
The draft Joint Local Transport Plan 4 (JLTP4) - led by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA), working with B&NES, Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire councils - was launched on 28th January. The plan looks at transport up to 2036. It sets out how WECA "aims to achieve a well-connected sustainable transport network that works for residents, businesses and visitors across the region; a network that offers greater, realistic travel choices and makes walking, cycling and public transport the natural way to travel."
The plan includes an intention to consider a new rail station at Saltford and to "undertake further work to assess options to provide bus priority on the approaches to Saltford before a decision on a Saltford Bypass is made". A road bypass has been strongly resisted by SEG and the Parish Council.
The relevant extracts from JLTP4 concerning Saltford are as follows:-
During the life of JLTP4 and the Strategic Rail Programme, we will consider extending services beyond Henbury and new stations at Charfield, St Annes Park, Saltford, Ashton Gate and Constable Road, and new links to Thornbury, Pilning and Bristol Airport. We will also work with planning colleagues to review the need to safeguard disused rail lines where they could have a future role to play.
MAJOR SCHEME DETAILS - Early investment schemes under development
E4. Passenger Rail Service and Capacity Improvements, Station Upgrades and New Stations Package
New railway stations at the following locations: Constable Road, Bristol; Ashton Gate, Bristol; St Annes, Brislington, Bristol; Saltford, Bath & North East Somerset. Stations to be delivered with associated infrastructure: passenger waiting facilities, bus stops, cycle stands, car parking, real-time information and be fully Equality Act compliant. Westerleigh junction upgrade.
The A4 corridor, which runs through Saltford, is one of the busiest routes in the region. The JTS notes that bus priority on the approaches to Saltford would improve bus journey times and punctuality through the village and benefit longer distance journeys along the A4 corridor between Bath and Bristol.
A bypass for Saltford has been considered previously to reduce congestion through the village and enable road space reallocation to public transport. We will undertake further work to assess options to provide bus priority on the approaches to Saltford before a decision on a Saltford Bypass is made. Consideration will be given to the potential conversion of bus priority measures in future to accommodate other forms of mass transit, such as light rail.
Wildlife at Saltford Brass Mill
Bethany Sewell, a photography student at Falmouth University, has used Saltford Brass Mill for the basis of a coursework project. The project involved making a photographic record of the wildlife in and around the mill and producing a magazine article which discusses the relationship between conservation of the mill and the conservation of wildlife. The article also looks at the fascinating history of our famous mill. Bethany has kindly given SEG permission to publish her article in our online history project Document Library.
You can find Bethany's article from this link to our Document Library:- 'Marina Magic' by Bethany Sewell (2019)
Saltford Wombles: 26th Jan
Our first group litter pick is on Sunday 26th January, 2.00-4.00pm, meeting outside The Little Coffee Shop on Manor Road. 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. (Young children will be allocated an age appropriate area of your choice to litter pick).
If you would like to attend this litter pick, or find out more about the Saltford Wombles, please contact Barbara at the following email address: email@example.com.
Mead Lane moorings ban
At its meeting on the evening of 16th January the B&NES Cabinet took the unanimous decision to urgently remove all moorings from Mead Lane in 21 days' time - this gives time to enable 14 days' notice to be given to those presently moored there.
The Council agreed with SEG, SPC our Ward Councillors and residents that Mead Lane was not suitable for moorings due to the 2005 riverbank stabilisation works that were not designed for mooring boats which cause damage to the bio-engineered scheme comprising rock armour secured with riverbank vegetation. The riverbank protects vital infrastructure from river erosion so a structural survey will be undertaken to inform the decision on repairs and the long term use of the riverbank.
In the discussion before the vote was taken Councillors agreed the Council would need to work quickly and carefully; the longer they leave it the bigger the repair bill.
The Cabinet also agreed that officers should undertake further analysis of residential mooring arrangements along the river to include arrangements for boaters and their families. SEG greatly welcomes the decision on moorings in Mead Lane and recognises the urgent need to improve facilities for the mooring of boats on the river that provide safe and appropriate moorings for the live-aboard community and other boat users whilst protecting the natural environment.
You can read the joint deputation from SEG and Saltford Parish Council given at the meeting to the Cabinet by SEG's Chair Phil Harding in the previous news item. A representative of Mead Lane Neighbourhood Watch and Ward Councillor Duncan Hounsell also addressed the Cabinet pressing the case for a mooring ban for the same reasons given by SPC and SEG.
SEG is grateful to Ward Councillor Duncan Hounsell for his strong support and also to the B&NES Cabinet for its full support for the case made by SEG, SPC and the community for protecting Mead Lane's riverbank. We hope it can now return to being a public space once more, preferably as a Local Nature Reserve or similar, after the repairs have been completed but those repairs must be a priority.
Immediate mooring ban in Mead Lane sought
On 16th January Saltford Parish Council (SPC) and SEG will be asking B&NES Cabinet for an immediate mooring ban to protect the stability of the riverbank from further damage and the key infrastructure it protects and other related measures including structural repairs to the riverbank and the creation of a Local Nature Reserve to protect the vegetation that underpins the riverbank's bio-engineered stability.
A report by Council officers put to B&NES Cabinet for its 16th January meeting recommends commissioning a range of response options concerning the future of moorings at Mead Lane including a structural survey to establish the condition of the riverbank and if it is suitable for moorings to continue and if so for what time durations (48 hours and 14 days, just 14 days, or leave the existing arrangements in place). In October last year a consultation was held by B&NES Council using the independent consultants Lemon Gazelle - this involved a series of events with residents, boaters, and stakeholders that generated a total of 1,251 responses.
In a joint deputation from SPC and SEG to the Cabinet, SPC's Chair of Planning and SEG Chairman Phil Harding will say:-
In October he had received and quickly submitted to B&NES Council technical design information concerning the 2005 bio-engineered stabilisation of the riverbank in Mead Lane. The scheme, rock armour secured with riverbank vegetation, was installed to "protect the highway from becoming dangerous". Loss of part of the highway was then predicted by Halcrow to occur within 5-10 years if no action was taken. The scheme was not designed to take boat moorings including narrow boats that typically weigh 20+ tonnes. SEG also took professional advice from a Bath-based coastal and inland civil engineering consultancy who agreed that Mead Lane's bio-engineered riverbank is not suitable for boat moorings which damage the scheme.
Mead Lane provides the only road access to Wessex Water's Sewage Treatment Works as well as to residential properties and businesses; 24/7 access is imperative. The lane has beneath it a pumped sewer main and other buried services. Wessex Water were therefore alerted to the danger posed to their facilities; they share SEG's concerns and have made representations to the Council.
During December a brief survey by SEG including a geologist concluded that rock armour is missing in several places. On 20th December a trench dug by Wales and West to repair a fractured gas main filled with water as the river rose on the other side of the roadway to near flood level; river water was rising beneath the roadway across its full width. The integrity of the scheme that originally had a 40-50 year design lifespan has clearly been compromised by a "fix and forget" approach to asset management.
Moorings commenced a few years after the 2005 works straightened the riverbank. The 2017 and 2018 mooring trial by effect advertised Mead Lane as a free mooring thus attracting a growing number of boats causing ever more damage. The longer B&NES Council delay a mooring ban the more extensive and expensive the repairs; this increasing waste of public funds and risk to infrastructure needs to stop. As the B&NES Cabinet's background report recognises, climate change is creating more extreme weather including heavy rainfall events. The resultant increase in river flow accelerates the erosion of riverbank stabilisation schemes like Mead Lane's.
Saltford Parish Council and Saltford Environment Group implore B&NES Cabinet to agree to implement an immediate mooring ban to protect the stability of the riverbank from further damage and the key infrastructure it protects.
They also ask B&NES Cabinet to:-
(i) install effective physical measures to protect the riverbank and the highway edge from vehicles;
(ii) instigate an urgent structural survey of the riverbank with a view to repairing the rock armour before the end of the summer and autumn floods put the undefended highway at further risk;
(iii) designate Mead Lane riverbank as a flood defence asset that protects important infrastructure requiring care and maintenance; and
(iv) to take forward the proposal for designating Mead Lane riverbank as a Local Nature Reserve to protect the vegetation that underpins the riverbank's bio-engineered stability whilst providing public amenity benefits - leisure, recreation and education. This has strong local support.
B&NES Council should discuss with the Parish Council and residents implementation plans for those works.
The Lemon Gazelle report highlights the wider social and environmental issues associated with boat moorings on the River Avon, a Site of Nature Conservation Interest. As a separate case to Mead Lane, B&NES Council can use the Lemon Gazelle report to inform an investigation with key agencies on how best to support, manage, and enforce the use of moorings on the River Avon. The objective would be to make the river safer for all users including the live-aboard community whilst protecting this important Site of Nature Conservation Interest, a key ecological asset.
SEG letter to B&NES Council re. 2005 stabilisation works
SEG's letter of 20.10.2019 to B&NES Council containing technical design information on the 2005 stabilisation works can be downloaded here:-
The Case for a Local Nature Reserve at Mead Lane
You can download SEG's September 2019 paper on the case for a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) at Mead Lane from the link below.
Please note this paper was written before SEG knew about the nature of the 2005 riverbank stabilisation works but the vegetation associated with an LNR at Mead Lane and protection from vehicle damage could be part of the repairs to the riverbank stabilisation scheme:-
Our 2009 News Archive includes further news stories (October & November) on this long running issue.
Energy at Home advice
B&NES Council's Energy at Home advice service will be at the locations listed below to give residents advice about how to save energy through heating and insulation improvements, answering questions about smart meters as well as information on lowering fuel bills by switching energy suppliers. Residents can simply drop in, no pre-booking is necessary.
Further information on the Energy at Home Service is available from: www.energyathome.org.uk.
Saltford station - latest
An audience of 50 residents and others interested in re-opening Saltford station including the B&NES Council Cabinet member for Transport, Cllr Neil Butters, attended the talk on Saltford station by Saltford Parish Council Cllrs Chris Warren and Duncan Hounsell on Sunday 5th January at Saltford Hall. Chris Warren gave a talk on the history of Saltford's railways and Duncan Hounsell described SPC's actions to achieve the re-opening of Saltford Station, and the latest updates about making this a reality for the future.
Duncan Hounsell quoted from the latest position of WECA (West of England Combined Authority) on the re-opening Saltford Railway Station:-
"Saltford is included as a potential new station in the West of England's draft Joint Local Transport Plan 4 (JLTP4) 2019 to 2036 because WECA recognises it has a role to play in tackling existing and future transport challenges particularly around Bath. As with all our new station proposals, they must be feasible, deliverable and demonstrate a good business case with funding identified and secured. The current costs for Charfield station (which is comparable to Saltford with requirements for two platforms, accessible footbridge, shelters and access routes) are put at between £14m and £20m.
"There are major network capacity issues on the railway line between Bath and Bristol and finding the capacity to stop trains at a new station is going to be challenging. The Greater Bristol Area Rail Feasibility Study (GBARFS) commissioned by the Department for Transport and WECA looked at future services and stations and the infrastructure/capacity required to deliver them. The study found that the new infrastructure required to deliver enhanced MetroWest services on the line to Bath Spa could provide the additional capacity required to enable additional stops at Saltford. It also suggested that it may be possible to introduce a skip-stop pattern (i.e. miss out stops at Keynsham or Oldfield Park) to facilitate a stop at Saltford. This would, however, create an irregular service pattern at each of the stations.
"The findings of GBARFS will now be used to draw up a 10 Year Delivery Plan and 25 Year Strategic Outline Business Case with Network Rail for rail investment in the West of England. Saltford will be part of this work as a possible future station site. In terms of station location previous work has focused on the previous station site. As part of the work on the 10 Year Delivery Plan and 25 Year Strategic Outline Business Case we may need to consider other possible locations for Saltford."
The text of Duncan Hounsell's talk can be downloaded from this link:-
The text of a similar talk by Chris Warren during the Saltford Festival in June 2017 is published on this website and can be downloaded from this link:-
Wombles 2020: Dates for the diary
Thank you to everyone for keeping the village tidy over these wet, cold and windy winter months.
Our next group litter picks will be on :-
Sunday 26th January
Sunday 23rd February
Sunday 29th March (as part of the Great British Spring Clean)
Sunday 26th April
Meeting places (and times) will vary depending on the litter hot spots, but will be advised beforehand.
For more details about the Wombles, or to join in a group pick, please contact Barbara at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Birdwatch 25 - 27 Jan
The RSPB's annual Big Garden Birdwatch will be from 25 to 27 January 2020. 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 access to the RSPB's 'Big Garden Extra' 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.
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The Editor is Phil Harding (SEG Chairman) and Phil can be contacted via our home page.