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  towards a sustainable future for our village

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 Don't blight the land
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LATEST NEWS

New development hindering food security

28th July was Earth Overshoot Day

Secretary of State stops inappropriate planning consent for 213 houses on "safeguarded" Green Belt!

Big Butterfly Count (15 Jul - 7 Aug)

Kingfisher Lodge supporting wildlife in Saltford

EA warns "No nature, no us"

River and green space safety this summer - SPC requests support

Saltford Festival 2nd-10th July

Opposition to controversial planning consent grows

Keynsham Recycling Hub - construction underway

Looking after our insects

World Bee Day (20th May)

Request for B&NES Council's premature planning decision to be called-in (UPDATED 21st May)

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


More news in our news archive >>


Current VOLUNTEER assistance sought by SEG >>




New development hindering food security

August 2022

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In July 2022, CPRE, the countryside charity, published a report "Building on our food security" which reveals from research that since 2010 almost 14,500* hectares of England's Best and Most Versatile (BMV) agricultural land been lost to development since 2010 - that's enough land to grow 250,000 tonnes of vegetables a year! Not only that, but 60% of prime farmland left is at risk of flooding from climate change.

* Note: Of the 1,414 hectares of BMV agricultural land (Grade 1, 2 and identified Grade 3a land) lost to development in England during that period, 1,316 hectares was lost in the South West. 1 hectare = 2.471 acres (c.2 acres = a full size football pitch incl. the immediate surrounding land).

CPRE concludes in its detailed report, "it is vital that we maintain as much of our domestic food production as possible. As recent events have shown, the food security of the country increasingly hangs in the balance."

SEG agrees with CPRE. Unless the UK has a land use strategy that protects prime farmland (including Green Belt land that is or can be used in the future to grow food or provide ecological support for agricultural land) our food security is not being safeguarded. Already the UK is incapable of feeding itself without relying on other countries to grow, produce and export food to the UK.

This unsafe situation will worsen still further if we fail to protect not just BMV land but our Green Belt land too. We should not cut off our options by losing our countryside to development.

The CPRE report can be found on the CPRE website from this link:- Building on our food security.

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28th July was Earth Overshoot Day

August 2022

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The "Blue Marble" - the first full Earth image photographed by the Apollo 17 space mission (7.12.1972). This was widely seen as a depiction of Earth's frailty, vulnerability, and humanity's need to live within the planet's 'carrying capacity'.

Earth Overshoot Day marks the date when humanity's demand for ecological resources and services in a given year exceeds what Earth can regenerate in that year. We maintain this deficit by liquidating stocks of ecological resources and accumulating waste, primarily carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Earth Overshoot Day is hosted and calculated by Global Footprint Network (www.footprintnetwork.org), an international think tank that coordinates research, develops methodological standards and provides decision-makers with a menu of tools to help the human economy operate within Earth's ecological limits.

28th July was 2022's "Earth Overshoot Day". It gets earlier every year as the world's population grows along with the growth in consumption of non-renewable resources, natural or semi-natural land lost to development, and pollution. In 2021 it was 29th July and the only time it has fallen later rather than earlier compared to the previous year was in 2020, when COVID-19 lockdowns led to drastically reduced economic activity and delayed Earth Overshoot Day by 24 days.

However, the later date in 2020 was not a success or victory. It resulted from a significant cost of human pain and suffering which is not what living sustainability, within the Earth's carrying capacity, is about.

Living within the means of our planet is not out of reach. Plenty of solutions exist in four major areas for improving sustainability: population, food, cities, and energy - taken together the date can be delayed later each year (to #movethedate).

Further information can be found from www.overshootday.org - the SOLUTIONS page describes how Earth Overshoot Day can be delayed.

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Secretary of State stops inappropriate planning consent for 213 houses on "safeguarded" Green Belt!

July 2022

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The land under threat...

SEG has discovered today (19th July) the welcome news that on 4th July the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities wrote to B&NES Council and stated that in exercise of his powers under Article 31 of the Town and Country Planning (Development Management Procedure) (England) Order 2015, the Secretary of State directs B&NES Council not to grant permission on application 20/02673/OUT (213 houses etc. at Withies Green, Keynsham) without specific authorisation.

This Article 31 direction was made by the Minister of State for Housing, Stuart Andrew MP, and was issued to enable the Secretary of State to consider whether he should direct under Section 77 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990 that the application should be referred to him for determination.

SEG members will be aware that SEG, Saltford Parish Council and Keynsham Town Council made strong representations to our local MP, Rt Hon Jacob Rees-Mogg MP, who at their request then made representations on their behalf to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, asking that the planning decision be called-in (see our May news story "Request for B&NES Council's premature planning decision to be called-in" and the June news story "Opposition to controversial planning consent grows" for background).

Whilst SEG greatly welcomes this news, we are aware that the final decision on this highly inappropriate planning consent that went against the overwhelming wishes of the local communities affected and their elected representatives, has yet to be made by the Secretary of State. The case against planning consent is so strong that we remain hopeful common sense will prevail, democracy in local planning will be restored, and that this inappropriate planning consent will finally be over-ruled by the Secretary of State.

Note: The "Called-in planning applications: procedural guide" on gov.uk can be found from this link: Called-in planning applications: procedural guide.

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Big Butterfly Count (15 Jul - 7 Aug)

July 2022

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Speckled Wood, Painted Lady and Peacock. Elizabeth Cooksey

The Big Butterfly Count is a UK-wide survey aimed at helping us assess the health of our environment simply by counting the amount and type of butterflies (and some day-flying moths) we see.

Sir David Attenborough is President of the charity Butterfly Conservation that runs this important annual count, and Chris Packham and Nick Baker are joint Vice Presidents.

This year's big butterfly count is from 15 July to 7 August and could be something to also get younger members of the family engaged in over the summer holidays. Participants choose a place to spot butterflies and moths. Watch for 15 minutes. Then record which species they see.

There's even a free smartphone app for the big butterfly count (and/or a butterfly ID chart to download) so that you can carry out and submit your count all in one go while out and about watching butterflies. Details at www.bigbutterflycount.org.

SEG's wildlife page has photographs of all 25 butterflies that occur and have been observed in Saltford in recent years - see wildlife page - butterflies.

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Kingfisher Lodge supporting wildlife in Saltford

July 2022

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Kingfisher Lodge Care Home in Saltford has approached SEG for ecological advice on how to make the lodge gardens more wildlife friendly for the enjoyment of some of Saltford's oldest and most vulnerable residents. A site visit was made by a SEG representative on 14th July to meet with the home's general manager Katrina, head of maintenance Iggy, and Customer Relationship manager Michael from Barchester Healthcare, to discuss and look at options.

SPC had agreed beforehand to donate Beebombs to Kingfisher Lodge from its "All you seed is love" wildlife project, supported by SEG and our B&NES Ward Councillors, that helps our pollinating insects through the planting of wildflowers. SPC wants to ensure that "All you seed is love" is inclusive; this positive request from Kingfisher Lodge helps that aim.

During the site visit an area was identified where a small wildflower meadow will be created so that residents will be able to enjoy nature at close hand in the future. Other actions, e.g. nest boxes, native tree planting, and wildlife areas such as log piles, are on the agenda for the home as well as the use of Fairtade products in recognition of Saltford's Fairtrade status.

SEG is delighted that the management of the care home has pro-actively asked for advice and guidance on how to make the gardens more wildlife friendly. We look forward to seeing progress at Kingfisher Lodge in the future.

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EA warns "No nature, no us"

July 2022

In launching a major new Environment Agency report, "Working with Nature", on the state of nature in England, Sir James Bevan, Chief Executive, Environment Agency, on 12 July quoted from Rachel Carson's famous book Silent Spring:-

"There was once a town in the heart of America where all life seemed to live in harmony with its surroundings. Then a strange blight crept over the area. Everywhere was a shadow of death. It was a spring without voices. On the mornings that had once throbbed with the dawn chorus of robins, doves, jays, wrens, and scores of other bird voices there was now no sound; only silence lay over the fields and woods and marsh. No witchcraft, no enemy action had silenced the rebirth of new life in this stricken world. The people had done it themselves."

"Those are the opening lines of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring, the 1962 book that sparked the modern environmental movement. Sixty years on we are closer than ever to that silent spring happening. Since we humans and everything we cherish depends on nature, we have the strongest possible interest in avoiding that outcome."

He said that the loss of meadows (97% decrease since the 1930s), wetlands, and woods meant that the decline in those precious habitats has had its inevitable consequence: an equally shocking decline in the plants and animals that depend on them. Since 1970, 41% of our species have decreased in abundance and 15% of all our native species in the island of Britain are now threatened with extinction.

The position is even worse for the mammals, birds, butterflies and moths designated as priority species - those about which we have the greatest concern. They have declined in abundance overall by 61% since 1970.

It's no better for our mammals: several species have undergone drastic reductions in population sizes. Hedgehog numbers have fallen by approximately 66% since 1995 and water voles have done even worse, falling by 78%. Overall, a quarter of mammals in England are now threatened with extinction.

Sir James Bevan also stressed that nature is indivisible and interdependent. Nature provides us with a host of things we depend upon, such as clean water, clean air and food. No nature, no food. It's vital in providing resilience to climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide, regulating local climatic conditions and providing flood protection. No nature, no climate shield. And as humans we depend on green and blue spaces for our own health and well-being. No nature, no us.

The "Working with Nature" report discusses the importance of nature in providing ecosystem services and presents recent and historical trends in biodiversity. It outlines some of the main pressures affecting England's habitats, wildlife and ecosystems: land use; climate change; pollution; invasive non-native species; and hydrological change.

The Environment Agency has worked closely with the Forestry Commission and Natural England in producing the report. It focuses on the opportunity we have to work with nature to tackle the climate and biodiversity crises in England, but refers to the UK or Great Britain where information for England is unavailable.

The report concludes that the consequences of allowing the decline in nature to continue will be grave, threatening the provision of essential ecosystem services such as pollination and water filtration. Since these services underpin our ability to survive and thrive on this planet, it should be viewed as an existential risk.

LINK TO REPORT

"Working with Nature" can be found on the gov.uk website from this link.

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River and green space safety this summer - SPC requests support

June 2022

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Visitors who keep to the Countryside Code and leave no trace of their visit are welcome in Saltford.

Saltford Parish Council (SPC) is aware that the number of visitors coming to Saltford - especially those visiting Saltford's old village, river side areas and nearby green spaces during periods of good weather - has caused issues that are of concern to many.

SPC has approached B&NES Council, Avon Fire & Rescue, and the Keynsham Beat Team for support during the busy summer months.

The Avon Fire and Rescue team at Hicks Gate have informed SPC that they plan to visit Saltford's river side areas to engage with river users about water safety. The Hicks Gate team will also have a stall at the open morning of the Saltford Festival, which is being held at Saltford Hall on Saturday 2nd July, 10am-1pm. Do take this opportunity to discuss your river safety concerns with them then.

You can read more about SPC's requests for support in their Summer 2022 E-Newsletter from this link.

Residents are encouraged to continue to raise issues as appropriate with B&NES Council or other agencies as appropriate, please refer to SPC's very useful Report It page which signposts to areas that B&NES Council and other agencies are responsible for. Topics covered range from Anti-social behaviour, Dog Fouling, and Flytipping to Graffitti, Noise Nuisance and Parking Enforcement.

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Saltford Festival 2nd-10th July

June 2022

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The Festival will include the 1st public display of the 3,000-3,500 year old copper alloy spearhead found in Saltford!

The popular biennial Saltford Festival is returning after a 3 year wait and over a year in the planning. A huge variety of events has been organised for the Festival's 9 days from 2nd to 10th July by Saltford Community Association and many volunteers from across the community.

The programme of Festival events has been delivered to households throughout Saltford. It can also be downloaded from the Saltford Festival website.

The Saltford Heritage Centre will be open on the afternoon of Thursday 7th July from 1.30pm to 3.30pm to coincide with the lunchtime talk by SEG's Andrew Stainer at 12.00-13.00 at Saltford Hall on "The Story of Saltford in 20 Objects" where he will take his audience through over 4,000 years of Saltford's history in just under an hour! Saltford Heritage Centre is on the 1st floor of St Mary's Church Hall, Queen Square, High Street, Saltford BS31 3EL.

The opening of the Saltford Heritage Centre will give residents their first opportunity to see the remarkable 3,000-3,500 year old Bronze Age copper alloy socketed spearhead, the oldest metal object found in Saltford, found on the north side of the village before the pandemic. There will also be on display the Saltford Viking Buckle - another rare and fascinating artefact.

It has been decided by the organisers to uncouple the Old Village Day from the Festival. Traditionally it has always been part of the Festival however, it is now felt they can make it a bigger and better spectacle by affording it more dedicated time. It will now be held on alternate years to the Festival, with the first one planned for 2023.

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Opposition to controversial planning consent grows

June 2022

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The safeguarded Green Belt fields under threat

At its monthly meeting on 7th May, Saltford Parish Council agreed to submit new supplementary evidence concerning the Withies Green planning consent as a further representation to the B&NES Local Plan Partial Update (LPPU) Public Examination that commences on 21st June.

The decision made by B&NES Council's Planning Committee on 4th May to give outline planning consent for 213 houses at Withies Green, Keynsham (application 20/02673/OUT) was despite significant opposition from the local community, Keynsham Town Council, and Saltford Parish Council.

SPC also agreed that it should write to Jacob Rees-Mogg MP urgently asking him to intervene by asking the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities to call in for his determination this controversial planning decision and provide to the Secretary of State its LPPU Public Examination representation evidence that supports in detail the case for the call-in. That evidence is available from this link to SPC's website.

SPC was of the view that irrespective of the strong opposition from residents, SPC and KTC, the planning decision contravened NPPF (2021) and the existing B&NES Local Plan whilst undermining the forthcoming Local Plan Partial Update (LPPU) Public Examination concerning the development of this otherwise safeguarded land. This was for the planning policy reasons given in its supplementary representation to the LPPU Public Examination.

The Parish Council felt that public confidence in democracy and the planning process in B&NES for protecting Green Belt and green field land had been seriously undermined.

Keynsham Town Council had made a similar request, as had SEG (as we reported in May). On 1st June, Jacob Rees-Mogg replied to KTC that he had made representations to Michael Gove Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities in respect of KTC's request that the planning decision be called in.

We remain hopeful that common sense will prevail, democracy in local planning will be restored, and this inappropriate planning decision will be over-turned.

Don't blight the land that feeds you!

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Keynsham Recycling Hub - construction underway

May 2022

B&NES Council has confirmed that contractors have been on site carrying out clearance and preparing for the main construction works which have now started and are due to run until the expected completion date in late 2023.

When complete, the four-hectare site will include a modern recycling centre, a reuse shop for people to donate items for reuse and resale, an MOT centre and an education centre. It will also include an operational hub, providing a central depot for refuse and recycling collection vehicles. The Keynsham Recycling Hub project will also include on-site renewable energy generation.

The existing Reuse and Recycling Centre will remain open as usual during construction.

For future reference, you can find up-to-date information on the project from this link:- Keynsham Recycling Hub.

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Looking after our insects

May 2022

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A Saltford wildflower meadow

Insects are crucial for all life on Earth. Without insects, food chains collapse and ecosystems fail, threatening the existence of all other species, including us humans. So getting involved in protecting them and helping to boost their numbers could not be more important.

We just have to learn to live as part of nature, not apart from it. And the first step is to start looking after the insects, the little creatures that make our shared world go round... Insects are essential for life as we know it. As they become more scarce, our world will slowly grind to a halt, for it cannot function without them. - Professor David Goulson, Silent Earth: Averting the Insect Apocalypse (2022).

Comprising two-thirds of all life on Earth, with a great many species yet to be identified by science, insects do so much for us humans, other wildlife and the environment.

  • Insects pollinate plants, including a large number of our food crops.
  • They serve as the base of the food web, eaten by everything from birds to mammals to fish.
  • They also provide food for human consumption. Millions of people around the world consider them a source of food, as they are packed full of protein, vitamins and minerals.
  • They break down and decompose organic matter, which involves turning dead plants and animals into healthy, fertile soil. This also helps with water purification, and keeps the environment free of harmful waste.

We can all take action for insects at the local level. See our previous news article on World Bee Day for some suggestions; here are some more:-

  • Create a deadwood habitat. Insects and other invertebrates need dead wood, and use it in many different ways. Deadwood habitats don't have to be more complicated than stacking a few logs. Alternatively, a pile of stones or rocks creates a great habitat for insects.
  • In autumn, leave leaf litter on the soil rather than raking it up as it provides vital habitat and food for insects and other invertebrates like worms. For example, butterfly and moth caterpillars spend the winter in leaf litter, pupating there before emerging in the spring. (Leaves also form a natural mulch that suppresses weeds and fertilizes the soil).
  • Buy home-grown native plants rather than plants from abroad for your garden or home. Our insect population eats and thrives on the foliage of native plants and trees whereas non-native plants provide little or no larval food at all. This also helps to prevent invasive species reaching your garden and the countryside.
  • Support your Local Council on action it takes to manage spaces in your locality for insects and other wildlife.

B&NES Council's "Let's Get Buzzing" action including reduced grass mowing schedules on Council owned land to 1 or 2 cuts per year to protect wildlife habitats and biodiversity is a good example of activity we should welcome. Likewise Saltford Parish Council's wildflower project "All you seed is love" is another example of local community action helping our bees and other pollinating insects.

Partial source of text/information for this article: Insect Populations Matter (external web page, 2022).

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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.

UPDATE 21.5.2022

In response to receiving on 9th May a copy of SEG's evidence to the B&NES Local Plan Partial Update Public Examination in respect of the outline planning consent granted for 213 houses at Withies Green, Keynsham, NE Somerset MP Jacob Rees-Mogg has confirmed back to SEG's Chairman that he has made representations on SEG's behalf to Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, in respect of SEG's request that the planning decision be called-in.

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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.

Note: See also the next related news story Request for B&NES Council's premature planning decision to be called-in.

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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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 Heritage Centre's next scheduled public opening is 2.30pm-4.30pm Sunday 18th Sept (as part of the Heritage Open Days initiative)

Special Features:

Geology, Saltford's

Green Belt Inquiry 2013

HISTORY OF SALTFORD

Station Campaign

Wombles, Saltford (tackling litter)


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Tel: 0117 944 4949


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Tel: 01225 873335


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"Don't blight the land
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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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