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Saltford Environment Group
  towards a sustainable future for our village

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 Don't blight the land
 that feeds you


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LATEST NEWS

World Bee Day (20th May)

Request for B&NES Council's premature planning decision to be called-in

Disappointment as B&NES permits 213 more homes between Keynsham and Saltford

SPC's new evidence for Local Plan Partial Update's Public Examination

Saltford plants community orchard and wildlife area to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

Saltford Councillors meet with WECA and B&NES officials at station site

Sir David Attenborough declared UN "Champion of the Earth"

2022 Big Garden Birdwatch results

IPCC: The next few years are critical

Walking through Saltford's Geological Past - now at Saltford Library

Energy prices shooting up - some quick tips to save energy & money

Great River Avon Pick - Saltford

Defending the Green Belt when planning policy falls short

SPC seeks station support funding from WoE Mayor

SPC raises issue of unfair bus fares

Annual Saltford Dawn Chorus Walk, 24th April

UN Treaty to end plastic pollution is coming!

Green fields and wildlife habitats are not luxuries, but essential


More news in our news archive >>


Current VOLUNTEER assistance sought by SEG >>




World Bee Day (20th May)

May 2022

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20th May is "World Bee Day", an initiative proposed by Slovenia and adopted unanimously by the United Nations Member States in 2017.

In the UK we are losing bees at an alarming rate. Worldwide, many beekeepers take the view that, at the current rate of bee loss, there may now only be very limited time to find a cause and solution to this problem. Insects pollinate, but by far the most effective pollinator is the honey bee.

Fewer bees mean less pollination, less honey and fewer plants. The consequences are damaging our food industry that depends on the health and survival of our bees and threatens to make the food we eat more expensive. Bees underpin food security, sustainable agriculture, and biodiversity, and they significantly contribute to the preservation of a healthy natural environment.

We can make Saltford a haven for pollinators including bees if we all do our bit and adopt some or most of the five actions from the UK's National Pollinator Strategy in the way we manage our gardens and public areas. These are:-

  1. Grow more nectar- and pollen-rich flowers, shrubs and trees.
  2. Leave patches of land to grow wild.
  3. Cut grass less often.
  4. Avoid disturbing or destroying nesting or hibernating insects.
  5. Think carefully about whether to use pesticides.

More information about bees and what you can do to help them can be found on our wildlife page from this link >>

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Request for B&NES Council's premature planning decision to be called-in

May 2022

Following B&NES Council's Planning Committee approval for the outline planning application for the construction of 213 dwellings etc. at Withies Green, Keynsham - see previous news story - on 9th May SEG submitted new evidence to the B&NES Local Plan Partial Update Public Examination.

The evidence explains how B&NES Council has contravened three National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) policies and its own existing Local Plan. SEG's evidence makes the case that B&NES should not pre-empt the Public Examination and contravene the NPPF or remove a parcel of non-safeguarded parcel of Green Belt land as part of an expanded development at Withies Green (known as KE3C in the Local Plan proposals) without the Local Plan review and before the Public Examination of that review has even commenced.

SEG has concluded that B&NES Council has undermined confidence and trust in its own Local Plan and set a dangerous precedent that will be exploited by developers and others that want to develop parcels of land including Green Belt land that are otherwise afforded protection by Local Plan and NPPF policies. B&NES Council's actions in pre-empting and undermining the Public Examination could easily create an unwelcome precedent that other Local Planning Authorities might follow.

Therefore, SEG has asked the Inspector to either recommend that B&NES submits its planning consent decision to the Secretary of State for determination, or that he asks the Secretary of State to call in the decision as a matter of urgency, again for the Secretary of State to determine.

SEG sees this action as essential to protect the Green Belt and the integrity of the B&NES Local Plan.

Even if the additional parcel of Green Belt land included in the overall development is used for recreational purposes, normally an acceptable use of Green Belt land, to change its use and add a parcel of Green Belt to a development this way so as to allow a development to proceed before and without a public consultation in a Local Plan's Public Examination of its review (i.e. update), is unsafe.

It has not been tested if all or some of that "change of use" would be acceptable to the Town Council and B&NES Council in a stand-alone planning application (i.e. without the new housing development).

Outline plans change during construction of the development and to allow a developer to take control of Green Belt land as it develops adjoining land already removed from the Green Belt ahead of the existing Local Plan's timescale, is a further worrying aspect of this case.

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Disappointment as B&NES permits 213 more homes between Keynsham and Saltford

May 2022

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213 houses coming here on this "safeguarded" Green Belt land soon...

Despite nearly 600 objections including robust objections from Saltford Parish Council and Keynsham Town Council, representing the two most directly affected Town/Parish council areas, and from SEG, on 4th May B&NES Council's Planning Committee approved the outline planning application 20/02673/OUT from Mactaggart and Mickel Homes Ltd for the construction of 213 dwellings etc. at Withies Green, Keynsham to the east of Hygge Park (opposite Pixash Lane).

That was by majority decision of 6 Councillors on the Committee voting for and 4 voting against. That decision pre-empts the Local Plan Partial Update Public Examination in June (see previous news story) for which the Inspector in the pre-examination papers has queried the justification for the proposed allocation of this land for development in the Local Plan now. The democratic process allowing local Parish and Town Councils or others to make the case to the Public Examination for preventing such early development before any genuine need to develop it has been proven, has been undermined.

This will be frustrating and very disappointing for the residents of Keynsham, Saltford and the surrounding area as they face the prospect of even more traffic congestion and the loss of more of the area's highly valued local green space that was supposed to be safeguarded against development until at least 2029 in the existing Local Plan.

This highly regrettable outcome is a consequence of a short-sighted and disconnected approach to land use planning resulting from central Government housing targets and planning policies that do not give local planning authorities sufficient headroom to protect the Green Belt and similar green field areas from development.

Few will deny that new homes are required and especially affordable homes for a growing population, but they must be built in appropriate locations and represent genuine sustainable development. The report from CPRE "Recycling our land: the state of brownfield report, 2021" on the state of brown field land in England found that this previously developed land could accommodate over 1.3 million new homes - with a West of England total of 19,994 (not including B&NES).

The construction of many new homes in the West of England including at Keynsham East in recent years has occurred without an increase in green recreational space through the provision of new large public parks to cater for the newly accommodated inhabitants. This already means existing green spaces are inundated with visitors on sunny weekends and Bank Holidays. Local communities are losing access to their local green spaces to increasing visitor influxes whilst riverside wildlife and wildlife habitat takes a heavy toll.

Green fields including the Green Belt and our existing and potential wildlife habitats should not be seen as luxuries but as essential if we are to protect the ecosystems that underpin and protect our food security and everyone's quality of life and mental health in the UK.

As the urgent need to improve food security in the UK is highlighted by a combination of climate change and the recent and ongoing international events significantly reducing the world's food supply, now is not the time to be reducing our options. New housing or mixed-use developments in the Green Belt permanently destroys the potential future use of that land for wildlife recovery in response to the ecological emergency and for food production or food production ecosystem support.

Don't blight the land that feeds you!

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SPC's new evidence for Local Plan Partial Update's Public Examination

May 2022

The B&NES Local Plan Partial Update (LPPU), as submitted to the Secretary of State on 17th December 2021, will be examined for its compliance with statutory requirements and on its soundness by an independent Inspector appointed by the Planning Inspectorate at a Public Examination starting on 21 June. The Inspector will only consider written representations to the Public Examination that contain new evidence to representations already submitted to B&NES Council when B&NES Council consulted on the draft LPPU in 2021 (and will be available to the Inspector).

The B&NES Local Plan, comprising the Core Strategy and Placemaking Plan, provides the strategic planning framework to guide development in B&NES area until 2029.

Saltford Parish Council agreed at its 3rd May meeting new evidence to submit to the Inspector concerning the proposed additional housing developments of 280 dwellings at Keynsham East. The new evidence agreed for submission after the meeting was, in summary, as follows:-

   B&NES Council publicised in January 2022 data revealing that B&NES is far exceeding the housing delivery targets set in its Local Plan to deliver new homes for residents.

   In the three years 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-1 new homes totalling 3,100 including 700 affordable homes were built across the district representing a delivery rate of almost double at 184% of the target of 1,688 set in the Local Plan.

   Despite this success rate in building new homes, B&NES Council is nevertheless proposing to bring forward the building of 280 new homes on safeguarded Green Belt land between Saltford and Keynsham through policy changes in the Local Plan (deleting policy KE3B to bring forward policies KE3C and KE3D) despite the existing harm arising from recent new Local Plan housing developments in Keynsham as described in SPC's original representation of 5.10.2021 (which SEG reported on in October 2021 and endorsed in its own submission to B&NES Council).

   If those unsound policies (KE3C and KE3D) are permitted to proceed, despite B&NES Council's high success rate in building new homes, that will contribute further to severe road congestion in the Keynsham area due to insufficient transport infrastructure whilst losing valuable green space and its potential use for ecological recovery.

   The high proportion of Green Belt and AONB in Bath and NE Somerset puts a responsibility on B&NES Council to protect that land from development and set lower housing delivery targets than the standard method allowed by Government in such situations unless there are fully justified very special circumstances; Saltford Parish Council has seen no evidence that lower targets have been set.

   B&NES has provided no justification or sound evidence of the very special circumstances required (NPPF 2021 para. 140 and 147) to permit the new development proposed for safeguarded Green Belt land (KE3C and KE3D) within the plan period to 2029, i.e. for bringing those developments forward by deleting policy KE3B.

   Those housing developments are unnecessary, do not contribute to sustainable development (i.e., are contrary to the Government's National Planning Policy Framework 2021 paragraphs 8b, 8c, and 143a) and will exacerbate the harm to the local community in and around Keynsham arising from the existing delivered Local Plan developments at Keynsham as described in SPC's original representation.

For ease of reference, SPC's original representation of 5.10.2021 (that SEG endorsed for its consultation response and can be found in our 2021 newsletter archive) was attached as an annex to SPC's submission of the above new evidence. It covered:-

  • housing land supply: the lack of green space (i.e. non-provision of new public parks) to cater for the residents of the new housing in the existing Local Plan resulting in harm to remaining local Green Belt and wildlife habitats;
  • Transport: namely traffic congestion and a consultation request for Saltford Station site options; and
  • Biodiversity net gain: higher targets, use of local knowledge, and implementation timing.

LPPU's public examination information can be found on the B&NES website from this link >>. The deadline for submission of new evidence is 6th June.

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Saltford plants community orchard and wildlife area to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

May 2022

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Some of the newly planted Saltford Community Orchard trees (May 2022)

SEG is delighted to announce the beginnings of a small community orchard and wildlife area in Saltford to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee that hopefully can be enjoyed by the community for many decades into the future.

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Aimee helping make her dream become a reality as the first trees are planted (30 April 2022) and during an initial Beebomb spreading session with local friends (7 May 2020)

In October 2021 8-year-old local schoolgirl Aimee Phillips made a suggestion to SEG, the Parish Council and others for a small community orchard in Saltford to be established on the sports field. SEG looked into this and approached Saltford Sports Club to see if the location Aimee had identified would work in practice. There were practical reasons to avoid the area suggested by Aimee but her suggestion was excellent in principle and merited further consideration.

Saltford Sports Club was already wanting to take part in the Parish Council's wildflower project "All you seed is love". After discussions with SEG, the south-facing northeast corner of the sports field was identified as a suitable location to create a community orchard along the lines of a traditional orchard (*see footnote for description) with a wildflower area at its south-facing border, seeded by Beebombs provided by Saltford Parish Council. The retention of mature trees and some scrub will provide complimentary natural habitat and food sources for invertebrates and other wildlife.

Plans were developed jointly by SEG and the sports club to create a Saltford Community Orchard and Wildlife area, and to be planted this year to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee. Permission to proceed was obtained from the landowner, B&NES Council, that is also willing to provide further wildflower seeds and considers this as a worthy contribution to its objective for supporting pollinating insects and its "Let's Get Bees Buzzing" campaign.

During April Sports Club volunteers cleared back scrub and removed turf using a digger provided by Podium Renovations Ltd. This has created the best environment for wildflowers to flourish. On 30th April 6 apple trees were planted and more trees will be planted in the autumn. The first batch of Beebombs were spread by local children on 7th May; other local children will be involved by the Sports Club in spreading more. SEG has been pleased to provide sponsorship support for the project.

As the project develops and matures, Saltford Sports Club and SEG with the help of volunteers from the village, will maintain the community orchard and wildlife area for the benefit of Saltford's local community and wildlife. A small footpath through the orchard will be maintained to link with the existing footpath on the eastern flank of the sports field and an oak bench will be installed by the Sports Club.

*WHAT IS A TRADITONAL ORCHARD?
Traditional orchards are a long-established and widely distributed habitat and make a significant contribution to biodiversity - they are described by the UK Biodiversity Action Plan as "hot spots for biodiversity". The minimum size of a traditional orchard is defined as five trees with spacing between each tree larger and managed in a low intensity way. That contrasts with orchards managed intensively for fruit production through the input of pesticides and inorganic fertilisers and consisting of short-lived, high-density, dwarf or bush fruit trees. Traditional orchards are a composite habitat (similar to wood-pasture and parkland), defined by their structure rather than vegetation type, which can include trees, scrub, grassland, ponds, walls, hedgerows and hedgerow trees.

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Saltford Councillors meet with WECA and B&NES officials at station site

April 2022

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SPC and Ward Councillors (Cllrs Chris Warren, Phil Harding, Jon Godfrey and Duncan Hounsell) met with transport officials from the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and B&NES Council on 22 April at the station site to summarise the case for re-opening the station on the existing site and to discuss the SPC request for WECA to fund the 70K feasibility study.

WECA's David Jarman advised the meeting that any decision on a feasibility study for Saltford would need to await the outcome of the current Greater Bristol Strategic Rail Study involving Network Rail and GWR; the study report would include new station options and was due around the end of May when a copy would be supplied to B&NES Council.

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Sir David Attenborough declared UN "Champion of the Earth"

April 2022

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Congratulations to legendary wildlife filmmaker and zoologist Sir David Attenborough who has been given the UN Environment Programme's most illustrious title, Champion of the Earth. This Lifetime Achievement award was made in celebration of "Earth Day" on Friday 22nd April. The title was granted in recognition of his "outsized impact on the global environmental movement and his devotion to broadcasting the natural world."

Accepting the award, Sir David said the world must take action now to protect nature and the planet. He said that environmental success stories should give us hope that change is possible, "we know what the problems are and we know how to solve them. All we lack is unified action."

Sir David has been particularly articulate in communicating the need for world leaders and all of us to take action to protect nature and the ecosystems on which we all depend. Here are just six examples of statements from Sir David that he made in recent years:-

   I started making television programmes in the 1950s. There are now three times as many people living in the world as there were then. Three times as many! They all need places to live and roads for their cars and hospitals and schools and places to grow food. Where is that going to come from? In the most part, it is going to come from the natural world, so the natural world is steadily being impoverished. The situation is becoming more and more dreadful and still our population continues to increase. It's about time that the human population of the world came to its senses and saw what we are doing - and did something about it (2018)

   We use plastic with total abandon without any care or concern about where it's going to go and what it might do

   All our environmental problems become easier to solve with fewer people and harder, and ultimately impossible to solve, with ever more people

   In times of crisis the natural world is a source of joy and solace. It produces the comfort that can come from nothing else

   We pay little value on nature even though it is our essential life support system

   Cherish the natural world because you're part of it and you depend on it

First held on April 22, 1970, "Earth Day" is an annual event on April 22 to demonstrate support for environmental protection. It is an annual reminder to protect the environment, restore damaged ecosystems and live a more sustainable life.

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2022 Big Garden Birdwatch results

April 2022

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The results for the 2022 Big Garden Birdwatch held on the weekend of 28 - 30 January are now published by the RSPB. Do they match what was in your garden? The top ten most commonly observed birds across the UK were (change on last year's position in brackets):-

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

Top spot goes to the House Sparrow for the 19th year running! However, the RSPB say it's vital we continue to look out for sparrows as there are far fewer around now, down 57.9% since the first Birdwatch in 1979. The population has declined so much that they are on the UK Red List for birds - any further declines would be devastating.

697,735 people counted 11,556,046 birds this year. The Long-tailed Tit has dropped off the top 10 list, replaced by the Chaffinch that has gained a place from 11th in 2021 but nevertheless its numbers have declined by 68.3% since 1979. As our winters become milder due to climate change, more are over-wintering in the UK instead of flying to southern Europe and North Africa for winter. Blackbirds were spotted in 85% of gardens making them the most commonly recorded birds.

Over the last 50 years, since 1970, 40 million birds have vanished from the UK's skies. And it's not just birds that are suffering according to the RSPB. The (latest) State of Nature 2019 report (link to report) found that around two-fifths of UK species are in decline including Turtle Doves, Red Squirrels and Water Voles.

The reasons behind these declines are complex. The State of Nature 2019 report stated that "agricultural management, climate change, hydrological change, urbanisation, pollution, woodland management and invasive non-native species" were among the most significant of pressures acting upon terrestrial and freshwater wildlife. It also reported "At sea, climate change and fishing are having the most significant impact upon marine biodiversity."

More information on the results of the 2022 Birdwatch can be found on the RSPB website. You can also find more information on social media using the hashtag #BigGardenBirdWatch.

A full list of the 102 birds that are presently of regular occurrence in Saltford with ID links to the RSPB website for each species can be found on our Wildlife page >>

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IPCC: The next few years are critical

April 2022

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In 2010-2019 average annual global greenhouse gas emissions were at their highest levels in human history, but the rate of growth has slowed. Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, limiting global warming to 1.5 deg C is beyond reach. However, there is increasing evidence of climate action, said scientists in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released on 4th April. The evidence shows that the time for action is now.

In the scenarios assessed by IPPC in its Working Group III contribution "Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of climate change" to the Sixth Assessment Report (Note: Working Group III deals with mitigation), limiting global warming to around 1.5 deg C requires global greenhouse gas emissions to peak before 2025 at the latest, and be reduced by 43% by 2030; at the same time methane would also need to be reduced by about a third. Even if we do this, it is almost inevitable that we will temporarily exceed this temperature threshold but could return to below it by the end of the century.

"We are at a crossroads. The decisions we make now can secure a liveable future. We have the tools and know-how required to limit warming," said IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee. "I am encouraged by climate action being taken in many countries. There are policies, regulations and market instruments that are proving effective. If these are scaled up and applied more widely and equitably, they can support deep emissions reductions and stimulate innovation."

The report states that limiting global warming will require major transitions in the energy sector. This will involve a substantial reduction in fossil fuel use, widespread electrification, improved energy efficiency, and use of alternative fuels (such as hydrogen).

"Having the right policies, infrastructure and technology in place to enable changes to our lifestyles and behaviour can result in a 40-70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This offers significant untapped potential," said IPCC Working Group III Co-Chair Priyadarshi Shukla. "The evidence also shows that these lifestyle changes can improve our health and wellbeing."

You can find information about the UN IPCC Working Group III report "Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of climate change" on the IPCC website www.ipcc.ch.

The timing of this IPCC report is critical as mainland Europe considers reverting to carbon-rich coal and increasing oil and gas imports from non-Russian producers as a response to the devastating war in Ukraine and turmoil in the international energy market. There is growing and widespread political acceptance that cheap, sustainable renewable energy* is the only means to powering modern economies that are free from Russian fossil fuel imports. Curbing demand through energy efficiency and low carbon lifestyles has to be part of the equation if we are to avoid dangerous climate change.

   *According to the World Energy Forum (October 2021, before the war in Ukraine massively increased fossil fuel prices), renewable energy prices have fallen far more quickly than the industry anticipated and are fast becoming cheaper than fossil fuels. A rapid transition to emissions-free 'green' energy could save many trillions of dollars in energy costs and help combat climate change.

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Walking through Saltford's Geological Past - now at Saltford Library

April 2022

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The circular geology trail fully illustrated walking guide produced in 2021 for Saltford so that residents and visitors can explore the local geology for themselves is proving highly popular. The full colour printed version is now available at just 1 a copy from Saltford Community Library & Shop - visit this link for opening times etc.

A pdf version can be downloaded from SEG's Walks of Saltford page (History of Saltford project).

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Energy prices shooting up - some quick tips to save energy & money

March 2022

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Tomorrow (1st April) the gas and electricity unit prices we pay in the home shoot up (so it might be worth taking meter readings today, 31st March, to help you avoid paying the higher rate for your winter consumption). If you want to reduce your home energy consumption (and costs) our energy page has links to sources of impartial advice, grants etc.

Here are some quick energy savings tips from our energy page:-

Turn it down!
- turning your heating thermostat down by just one degree C can save 8-10% on your annual heating bill (wear a jumper if you're cold!)

Turn it off!
- turn your lights, appliances and chargers off when you're not using them

Boil what you need!
- only boil the amount of water you need for each cuppa to save money and time

Walk (or cycle) more, drive less!
- saves you money and improves your health

Avoid packaging!
- unnecessary packaging wastes energy and money - and creates more waste

Stop those drips!
- a dripping tap wastes at least 5,500 litres of water a year (enough to fill a paddling pool every week for the whole summer), so fix that washer

Shorter, sharper showers!
- spending less time in the shower saves water, energy and money

Launder it all!
- always try to use a full load in a washing machine

Cook with care!
- use correct pan size for your food and the hob

Don't put hot food in the fridge!
- let it cool down first

Defrost food in the fridge!
- plan ahead and this will enable you to utilise the cooling effect of the defrosting food

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Great River Avon Pick - Saltford

March 2022

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Members from Saltford Wombles getting ready to litter pick on the morning of Saturday 26th March for the Great River Avon Pick (@AvonRiverPick organised by B&NES Council) on the Saltford stretch of the river. Local Womble groups litter-picked along the River Avon and Kennet & Avon Canal. This annual litter pick shows there is #noplaceforlitter.

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Defending the Green Belt when planning policy falls short

March 2022

When defending the Green Belt from inappropriate development, the Planning Inspectors' decision in February to overturn North Somerset Council's rejection of the 20% expansion of Bristol Airport reminds us of this unfortunate fact:-

National planning policy has not caught up yet with other national policies and objectives; the climate and ecological emergencies and the related issue of food security demand a longer-term approach to land use planning than national planning policies currently provide.

Until planning law and guidance is amended to comply with those long-term environmental commitments and objectives, Planning Officers in Local Planning Authorities and Planning Inspectors will find themselves with no alternative than to follow out-dated planning law and guidance as it stands rather than meeting longer term objectives. "If they do anything else, at present they will be overturned in the Courts" - to quote from a recent online article by David Worskett, Chair of CPRE Avon and Bristol, concerning the Bristol Airport case (link to article at end of this item).

If we are to be effective, those of us seeking to defend the Green Belt will need to continue to develop and explain our case based on the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) despite its inadequacies. SEG's case for a "new" purpose of the Green Belt that should be added to the NPPF, "to provide ecosystem, i.e. natural capital, support to farmland and/or the wider natural environment", is more valid than ever, and is in line with other Government policy statements and commitments that specifically seek to protect ecology.

Fortunately the NPPF purposes of the Green Belt to check the unrestricted sprawl of large built-up areas; preventing neighbouring towns merging into one another; safeguarding the countryside from encroachment; to preserve the setting and special character of historic towns; and to assist in urban regeneration, by encouraging the recycling of derelict and other urban land apply, in the main, to the Green Belt around Saltford and Keynsham.

Green fields including the Green Belt and our existing and potential wildlife habitats are not a luxury but are essential if we are to protect the ecosystems that underpin and protect our food security and everyone's quality of life in the UK.

NOTE:
The online article by David Worskett "Bristol Airport: What really went wrong" can be found on the CPRE website from this link >>

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SPC seeks station support funding from WoE Mayor

March 2022

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At its 1st March meeting Saltford Parish Council (SPC) resolved to write to West of England Mayor Dan Norris to ask the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) to fund the 70k required to enable the proposed feasibility study to go ahead as soon as possible. The letter was sent on 13th March.

Benefits of a re-opened Saltford station include:

  • Helping address the significant road congestion concerns along the A4 Bristol-Bath corridor
  • Complement MetroBus+
  • Encourage commuter traffic onto sustainable public transport
  • Assist in futureproofing against extreme congestion in the years ahead
  • Contribute to carbon reduction and achieving Net Zero

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SPC raises issue of unfair bus fares

March 2022

At its 1st March meeting Saltford Parish Council (SPC) resolved to contact First Bus with regards to its unreasonable fares for Saltford's residents, requesting that the company removes Saltford from its 'West of England' fare zone and instead extends both the Bristol travel zone and Bath travel zone to overlap in Saltford. A previous unsuccessful approach to First Bus to resolve this issue was made by SPC in 2019.

SPC Chair Cllr Chris Warren met with Jacob Rees-Mogg MP on 11th March who agreed to raise this matter with First West of England directors at his forthcoming planned meeting with them.

On 13th March Cllr Chris Warren wrote on behalf of SPC to First Bus' Managing Director Doug Claringbold making the point that Saltford's residents experience the pollution, traffic and noise that arises from First Bus using the Bristol-Bath corridor without experiencing the benefits of Saltford being included in the Bristol Zone, Bath Zone or both.

The letter requested that First Bus includes Saltford as a point where both zones meet, or alternatively that that First West of England treat the Bristol-Bath corridor as one zone and price according to a single zone or based on distance. The 'significant revenue implications' as referred to previously by First Bus of such action would be more than made up by an uptake of users in Saltford once fare pricing to our nearby cities is less of a financial barrier.

The letter stated that SPC stood by its previous statement that Saltford is being singled out and being treated as a means of revenue for First Bus without proper and fair consideration. SPC asked that fare zones be reviewed so that Saltford residents can benefit from cost-effective travel to its nearby cities of Bristol and Bath.

SEG strongly supports SPC's request that Saltford be treated more fairly so that residents have a cost-effective, low carbon public transport alternative to the car for travelling into Bath and Bristol.

Click here to see the full text of the SPC letter to First Bus (on SPC's website).

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Annual Saltford Dawn Chorus Walk, 24th April

March 2022

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After a break due to the Covid pandemic, the annual Dawn Chorus Walk in Saltford is returning this year.

The Keynsham Branch of the Avon Wildlife Trust will be listening to, and watching, the birds get up after a night's roosting for this year's Dawn Chorus Walk on Sunday 24th April 4.30am - 8.00am, starting at Saltford Shallows car park.

This 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 be along part of the railway path cycle track (and back). 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.

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UN Treaty to end plastic pollution is coming!

March 2022

Almost 200 UN member countries have agreed to commence negotiations for an international agreement to act on the "plastic crisis" by developing an over-arching framework to reduce plastic waste across the planet. World leaders have until 2024 to agree the plastic pollution treaty; the treaty will include legally binding commitments and how implementation will be financed.

There is a widespread and growing awareness that discarded plastic is polluting habitats including our soils, rivers and oceans*, harming wildlife and contaminating the food chain with as yet unforeseen consequences for human health from the latter. *(8 million tonnes of plastic is dumped in the sea every year according to Sir David Attenborough in Blue Planet 2).

WWF has described this decision as one of the world's most ambitious environmental actions since the 1989 Montreal Protocol that successfully phased out ozone-depleting substances. As our plastic consumption is set to skyrocket, it's clear that urgent action is needed. Even banning avoidable single use plastic cups and cutlery could make the real difference we need to protect the planet, according to WWF.

Let's hope the new Treaty, when agreed, is effective. It needs to be.

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Green fields and wildlife habitats are not luxuries, but essential

March 2022

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Human-induced climate change is causing dangerous and widespread disruption in nature and affecting the lives of billions of people around the world, despite efforts to reduce the risks. People and ecosystems least able to cope are being hardest hit, said scientists in the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published on 28 February.

The report states that to avoid mounting loss of life, biodiversity and infrastructure, ambitious, accelerated action is required to adapt to climate change, at the same time as making rapid, deep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. So far, progress on adaptation is uneven and there are increasing gaps between action taken and what is needed to deal with the increasing risks.

Hoesung Lee, the IPCC Chair, in announcing the report said "This report recognises the interdependence of climate, biodiversity and people and integrates natural, social and economic sciences more strongly than earlier IPCC assessments. It emphasizes the urgency of immediate and more ambitious action to address climate risks. Half measures are no longer an option."

This latest report from the IPCC reminds us here in Saltford that in addition to the need to urgently respond to the challenges posed by climate change and the ecological emergency, green fields including the Green Belt and our existing and potential wildlife habitats should not be seen as luxuries but essential if we are to protect the ecosystems that underpin and protect our food security and everyone's quality of life in the UK.

Link: The IPPC website can be found here: www.ipcc.ch.

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Current areas of local volunteer assistance sought by SEG

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Whilst our partner organisations such as Saltford Wombles (for tackling litter) and the Fairtrade Group always welcome volunteer assistance, SEG sometimes has specific roles or posts that need filling. Here are the current vacancies:-

Website skills wanted!

Updated January 2021

Our website is a popular resource for our members and others which means that in addition to keeping it relevant we want to make sure it continues to function as it should.

If you live in or near Saltford, care about your local environment and have current knowledge of website design and might be interested in using your IT skills for a bit of IT volunteering to help us behind the scenes please get in touch with our Chairman by email to phil@philharding.net for a no-obligation chat on possible volunteer help.

Executive Committee: Want to help steer SEG?

Updated January 2021

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

The Executive Committee only meets 4 times a year (except during Covid-19 restrictions) and its working method is more about sharing ideas and getting things done in a friendly and productive atmosphere than being bogged down with time-consuming administration.

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Saltford
Weather Station


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Saltford Heritage Centre's next scheduled public opening is 1.30pm-3.30pm Thursday 7th July (as part of the Saltford Festival)

Special Features:

Geology, Saltford's

Green Belt Inquiry 2013

HISTORY OF SALTFORD

Station Campaign

Wombles, Saltford (tackling litter)


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is generously supported by:
(click on logos for link to sponsor)


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Tel: 0117 944 4949


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Tel: 01225 873335


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Tel: 01225 873513









"Don't blight the land
that feeds you"


"Think global, act local"


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Contact Us

All general, membership & urgent (e.g. Press) enquiries by email to our Chairman please from whom SEG's postal address, if required, can be obtained on authenticated* request *(to avoid junk mailing etc.).

HOW TO JOIN SEG: If you live, work or have a particular interest in Saltford & wish to join our email membership list please send an email to our Chairman. Please include your name, address & contact telephone number in your email application. NOTE: We provide information about membership including our simple code of conduct for members and personal data protection by SEG on our "About Us page".

CONTACTS:

Chairman: Phil Harding
phil@philharding.net (07814--720763)

Website Editor is Phil Harding but see website editorial/contact info. below BEFORE contacting SEG about this website

Secretary: Karen O'Brien
KarenOBSEG@outlook.com

Treasurer: Andrew Stainer
andrew.stainer@outlook.com

SEG Green Belt Campaign: - contact our Chairman (contact details above)

Saltford Station Campaign: Chris Warren
cherokee1883@live.com

Saltford Fairtrade Group:
saltfordfairtrade@hotmail.co.uk

Saltford Heritage Centre
Curators: Phil Harding & Andrew Stainer (contact details above).

Saltford Wombles is independent of SEG but contact details can be found on our Less Waste page.


Cookies and Privacy Policy Statement

SEG respects the privacy of visitors to our website. We do not use cookies to collect personal or other data about visitors to our website; the only data we collect via our ISP's hosting service, and without the use of cookies, is the number of visits to each of our web pages but not who the individual visitors are.


*EDITORIAL POLICY including SEO, web design and marketing for www.saltfordenvironmentgroup.org.uk

As a general rule our editorial content is sourced locally in Saltford and NE Somerset or from reputable non-commercial organisations based in the UK.

Will Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), website design, "content providers" and other similar companies please note that this website has all the SEO ranking, social media links, and smartphone compatibility that it requires to meet its specific objectives and enquiry emails on this topic including link requests will not receive a reply to save your time and ours.

SEG is not a commercial enterprise therefore companies that produce bespoke marketing materials or sponsored editorial content should also note that marketing emails or requests for placing links to other websites will not receive a reply as it is our policy not to reply to marketing emails of this nature unless they are from a Saltford-based organisation seeking to assist SEG.


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Do you care about the village of Saltford, its environment, wildlife and future as a thriving, more sustainable community? Then join us and also follow us on facebook. See our 'About us' page for how to join (membership is free!).

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SUPPORT FROM BUSINESS:
We welcome support from local businesses to help cover our costs and keep membership free for our members. If your local business would like to support SEG (e.g. a logo + link on this page is very inexpensive), please contact our Chairman (see above for contact details).


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