Saltford Environment Group
2021 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 2021 was about residents' access to the parkland at Saltford Golf Club for recreational walks during lockdown.
Click on each story link or scroll down the page (most recent appears first):-
News stories start here (most recent appears first):-
Environmental Audit Committee & "Growing back better"
Describing the COVID-19 crisis as a symptom of a growing ecological emergency, the crisis must be treated as a wake-up call states the Environmental Audit Committee in its report to Government "Growing back better: putting nature and net zero at the heart of the economic recovery" published on 17.2.2021. The committee report made the following two fundamental points:-
The EAC report can be found from this link >>
Riverbank tree management
Those who have seen the trees along the Kelston side of Saltford's riverbank being cut back during February may be interested to know that this is essential maintenance of the riverbank trees carried out by the landowner (Park Farm, Kelston) with a Forestry Commission licence to do so.
If trees growing close to the riverbank edge are left to grow too large then the tree and root ball, or large branches, can fall into the water and block navigation. Removing semi-submerged trees can be dangerous in a fast-flowing river whereas coppicing trees before they fall is more appropriate. To minimise disruption to wildlife, this is best done outside the bird nesting season. The trees will grow back at a lower level.
SEG's wildlife adviser confirms that this is also good for the ecology of the riverbank. With no wild ungulates or live floodplain to do the job, active management like this is essential to maintain niche diversity for a whole mass of invertebrates, plants and fungi.
WECA railway funding bid
B&NES Council Cabinet Member Cllr Neil Butters, announced at the B&NES Council full council meeting on Thursday 21st January, that the West of England Combined Authority is expected to submit a bid to the Department of Transport's 'Restoring Your Railway' fund. Saltford Parish Council has responded by writing to WECA and our local MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg, expressing support for this grant bid.
Jacob Rees-Mogg, who is known for his continuing support for re-opening Saltford Station, replied to SPC stating that he would be delighted to support the WECA bid.
WECA has confirmed that it will be submitting a bid to the DfT's 'Restoring Your Railway' fund for Saltford station by the DfT deadline of 5 March 2021.
Most people don't do this
A massive thank you from SEG to Saltford Wombles and other like-minded members of the community who are doing a magnificent job with individual litter picks to safely remove the scourge of litter from our village and the surrounding area. This includes the help from young people working towards their individual Duke of Edinburgh Award.
Most people don't drop litter, but the few who do make a disproportionate mess. We can all see what an unattractive problem litter is and we know about the consequences of a heavily littered environment. Litter can be hazardous to wildlife with potentially disastrous consequences for us all as plastic waste eventually breaks down into tiny toxic microplastics that can accumulate contaminants before entering our food chain.
We can all do our bit where we live to clear or pick litter thereby helping to reduce the impact of selfish lazy people who deliberately drop litter instead of taking it home for disposal or recycling. Litter attracts litter: a litter-free village, town or countryside makes litter dropping stand out as a perverse thing to do!
By putting aside some time once a week/month to quietly get on with clearing litter, anyone can help make a difference wherever they live - a worthwhile and satisfying lockdown activity to combine with exercise walks.
Information about Saltford Wombles can be found on our Less Waste page.
Saltford Golf Club - public access ends
Saltford Golf Club have asked us to pass on this information about the ending of public access with immediate effect:
Dear Saltford Residents
Due to the adverse weather conditions and heavy footfall, our Greens Maintenance Team will be repairing the damage and preparing the course in readiness for members to resume playing golf at the beginning of March.
Therefore please be advised that in the interest of safety and with immediate effect, Saltford Golf Club is suspending all public access to walkers on the course.
We hope that you have enjoyed the beauty of our golf course during these difficult and unprecedented times.
Saltford Golf Club Chairman
It was very kind of the golf club to allow local residents access during the current lockdown. SEG hopes residents will respect the closure of access now so that ground staff can repair the course ready for its re-opening for golf.
SEG supports the Green Belt in B&NES Local Plan Partial Update consultation response
A full review of the B&NES Local Plan will be undertaken alongside the WECA Spatial Development Strategy (SDS) which is scheduled for publication in 2023. In the interim B&NES is undertaking a Partial Update of the Local Plan to address a number of urgent issues, e.g. a climate emergency and an ecological emergency has been declared by B&NES.
SEG submitted detailed comments to B&NES Council on its Local Plan Partial Update (LPPU) consultation on 4th February. SEG's response was similar to the Saltford Parish Council response agreed at its February meeting. The consultation ends on 18th February and more information can be found from this external link.
In addition to commenting on a proposals concerning infill boundaries for Green Belt villages, SEG submitted comments on the proposals for further development of land at north and east Keynsham. SEG agreed with SPC that this area is at risk of over-development taking account of the demands on transport and other services and the loss of green spaces around and within Keynsham as a whole arising from the recent developments authorised by the Core Strategy/Local Plan.
In its response SEG reminded B&NES Council that if the two safeguarded sites at east Keynsham are to be developed, such development should be in response to genuine need, not demand, for new housing that cannot be satisfied from use of vacant buildings (e.g., the repurposing of retail and offices) and underused previously developed land outside the Green Belt, i.e. in accordance with planning policy announcements in 2020 from B&NES Council, the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and the Ministry of Housing Communities & Local Government.
SEG also submitted comments on the Housing & Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) 2021 update for Saltford and referred to the planning reasons for not developing the 9 Saltford sites in Saltford's Green Belt that were assessed in 2018 for the 2019 HELAA (see map below) that all still remain valid.
Finally, SEG referred to B&NES Council's obligation and responsibility to protect the Green Belt for the potential eco-system support for nature and biodiversity it can provide helping to underpin food production and food security, whilst open green space has recreational and quality of life value for local communities, a value heightened by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Taking those factors into account, the combined environmental, societal and economic value of the Green Belt far outweighs any short-term economic gain from its development, development that would be contrary to sustainable development principles and the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF).
The text of SEG's full response can be viewed here:-
Climate change is a global emergency say 64% in UN poll
The largest global public opinion survey, with 1.2 million respondents from 50 countries with over half the world's population, held by the UN Development Programme in conjunction with the University of Oxford has revealed that nearly 2/3rds, 64%, of the world's population believe climate change to be a global emergency.
The survey results were released on 27 January. Although the survey was conducted during the COVID-19 crisis, there was still widespread recognition of climate change as a global emergency in every country surveyed.
Policies had wide-ranging support, with the most popular being conserving forests and land (54% public support), more solar, wind and renewable power (53%), adopting climate-friendly farming techniques (52%) and investing more in green businesses and jobs (50%). Of particular relevance to governments, the Peoples' Climate Vote reveals that there are many opportunities for governments to address climate change with the backing of their people.
Looking at the views of different age groups, younger people (under 18) were more likely to say climate change is an emergency than older people. Nevertheless, other age groups were not far behind, with 65% of those aged 18-35, 66% aged 36-59 and 58% of those over 60, illustrating how widely held this view has become.
The most profound socio-demographic driver of belief in the climate emergency and climate action is a person's educational background with consistently very high levels of demand for climate action among people with post-secondary education in all countries.
Newly elected US President Joe Biden who aims to take the US back into the Paris Climate Agreement*, should be reassured to see that 65% of those in the US taking part in the survey viewed climate change as an emergency. The 26th UN Climate Change Conference (COP 26) is scheduled to take place in November 2021, in Glasgow, and to be co-hosted by the UK with Italy. *The Paris Climate Agreement is a global framework to avoid dangerous climate change by limiting global warming to well below 2degC and pursuing efforts to limit it to 1.5degC.
At the local level, SEG members may recall that B&NES Council declared a (cross-party) Climate Emergency in March 2019. As part of this the Council 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... and to enable carbon neutrality by 2030." B&NES Council also declared an Ecological Emergency in July 2020 in response to the escalating threat to wildlife and ecosystems.
Help inform transport plans for Bath & surrounding area
A major transport consultation and invitations for expressions of interest on liveable neighbourhoods were launched by B&NES Council on 15 January as part of the council's next steps to tackle congestion, improve health and support more walking and cycling in Bath and North East Somerset.
At the same time all ward councillors are being invited to put forward expressions of interest for liveable neighbourhoods, residents' parking zones and electric vehicle parking within their respective wards.
People are being encouraged to have their say on the city's transport system over the next decade, by taking part in the six-week consultation on the Bath Transport Delivery Action Plan. This will affect Saltford residents who travel into or around Bath as well as affecting Saltford as a village through the development of transport links and options in the wider area surrounding Bath.
The aim of Bath Transport Delivery Action Plan will identify deliverable transport solutions and be developed over time providing the opportunity to create better connected, healthier and more sustainable communities to live and work in. It will focus on three key areas:
For more information on the Transport Delivery Action Plan and to take part in the online consultation visit this external link >>. All responses must be received by Monday 1 March.
Saltford Golf Club during lockdown 3
January 2021 (+ February update)
Saltford Golf Club have asked us to pass on this information about public access:
Once again Saltford's golf course is closed, and there are many people already taking the opportunity to use the course as a place to exercise. As before the club is happy to allow local people to do this, we all need to escape during these difficult times.
However at this time of year the course is wet, muddy and slippy in places so we would ask people to keep to pathways, or the perimeter of the course, keep well away from the putting greens and other areas that have been cordoned off by string and stake 'barriers', and avoid walking on steep slopes.
Please keep dogs under control and clean up after them, and take your dog waste and other rubbish home with you. Please do not use the club's waste bins as we only have a skeleton staff working and they do not have time to go around disposing of your rubbish.
The car park is no longer accessible, so please do not drive to the club as you will not be able to get in.
This is very kind and helpful of the golf club to allow local residents access during the latest, third, lockdown. SEG hopes residents will continue to respect and protect the course as requested.
Update February 2021
On 5th February Saltford Golf Club asked SEG to provide this further information/reminder for residents due to damage being done to the course:-
It is with regret that our Greens Staff have reported selfish and irresponsible acts of behaviour which has damaged the course.
Please may we remind you that the area is very wet and slippery so it would be appreciated if you would stay on the pathways, or the perimeter of the course, keeping well away from the putting greens, bunkers, streams, ponds and other areas that have been cordoned off by stake barriers and string. Keep your dogs under control and clean up after them taking your dog waste and other rubbish home with you. Do not use the clubs waste bins.
We have also received complaints from the residents of Golf Club Lane that vehicles have been inconsiderately parked. Please do not park near to the entrance of the club as this needs to be accessible to emergency vehicles at all times.
SEG hopes that the Golf Club's very reasonable requests can be met; it is a very kind gesture that the club provides access during the difficulties presented by the lockdown - this helpful provision should not be abused by a minority of residents. Thanks!
SPC objects to Bristol Airport expansion
Bristol Airport is appealing North Somerset Council's decision to refuse planning permission for the latest stage of its extension plans. At its monthly (zoom) meeting on 5th January, Saltford Parish Council (SPC) agreed the following response that has been submitted:
"OBJECT: In response to North Somerset Council's Planning consultation Saltford Parish Council objects to Bristol Airport's Planning Appeal that would expand the number of aircraft flights over Saltford on route to or from Bristol Airport with resulting negative implications for noise and air pollution already experienced by residents. Further increases in carbon emissions associated with a growth in aircraft use of Bristol Airport and the expansion proposals would hinder progress in addressing the climate emergency declared by North Somerset Council (February 2019) and the West of England Combined Authority (July 2019) as well as national Government targets (June 2019) for a net zero carbon economy by 2050."
The deadline for submissions (reference 20/P/2896/APPCON) to North Somerset Council was 6th January.
Big Garden Birdwatch 29 - 31 Jan
Enjoy an hour with nature and discover the wildlife on your doorstep. The RSPB's annual Big Garden Birdwatch will be from 29 to 31 January 2021.
Taking part is easy and this is 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, balcony or local area. And with a simple hour of mindful watching, you could have an hour to yourself, too.
Full details including resources and ideas including tips on making your garden an attractive place for birds to stop for a snack 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.
© Saltford Environment Group
SEG as an independent, non-profit making body takes a politically neutral stance. We are committed to the highest editorial and ethical standards in the provision of all the content and related services for our website.
The Editor is Phil Harding (SEG Chairman) and Phil can be contacted via our home page.