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Saltford Environment Group
  towards a sustainable future for our village

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A frosty morning walk along the railway path in Saltford. SEG.

Recent Headlines (click on links or scroll down this page)

Sparrows losing out to loft insulation

From T shirt to scarf on 15th February

Fracking: Infrastructure Bill watered down

Environmental Audit Committee calls for halt to fracking

Reopening of closed permissive paths to south and west of the village

Waitrose to support SEG but only with YOUR help

'Seedy Sunday', Keynsham, to be held in November

Saltford Weather Station

Election 2015: Greener Britain

Cross-party support for Saltford station

New Chairman at Saltford Parish Council

45th anniversary of station closure

SEG currently has a vacancy for a Treasurer. Might this position suit you? Click here for details.

You can find lots more news further down the page or on our theme pages.


News

Sparrows losing out to loft insulation

As we insulate our lofts and fill in potential nesting spaces for Sparrows we may be contributing to a decline in their numbers, according to a recent report from the British Trust for Ornithology. BTO reported that house sparrow numbers had dropped by 70% since the 1960s and Sparrows in urban and suburban areas were faring worst, the report found, whilst the number of Starlings, for example, that also nest in holes and roof spaces had also fallen by about 50% over the last 40 years.

Paul Stancliffe, a spokesman for the BTO, said: "As people are becoming more aware and better at insulating their lofts they are inadvertently taking away little nooks and crannies which have historically been used by the Sparrow to nest."

Other reasons for the decline could include reduced winter food availability, but BTO claim that loft insulation was clearly a factor as people looked to save money on energy bills and reduce their carbon emissions. BTO's suggested solution is for homeowners to put up a nest box with a 32mm entrance hole to provide an alternative nesting space where possible.

The distribution of House Sparrows in Saltford has contracted markedly from the 1970s. Our wildlife adviser, Will Duckworth, says that his garden was lacking in Sparrows until he installed a nest box in 2013. It was occupied immediately and three broods were raised giving him a garden full of Sparrows all summer. An easy and spectacular result!

The RSPB give advice on where to site a nest box for small birds online from this link: Nest box advice - RSPB website.

BTO also report evidence that House Sparrows are doing better in less tidy areas than in places where people may have tidied up all the rough areas so that there isn't so much long grass and seed for seed-eating species. Gardeners can still have tidy looking gardens whilst setting aside areas for wildflowers and longer grasses to provide food for birds.

Interested in Saltford's wildlife? Visit our wildlife page >>

January 2015

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From T shirt to scarf on 15th February

Bring an old cotton jersey T shirt and take away a new fashionable scarf at our fun, free "Make it Magic" UPCYCLING workshop on 15th February, 7-9 pm, at Signs of Saltford, 559 Bath Road, Saltford (works entrance, on The Shallows).

If you like relaxing with a cup of tea or coffee with people who enjoy creative UPCYCLING (reuse of discarded objects or material in such a way to create an object of higher value or quality than the original) then Tina Curtis and Frances Eggbeer would love to meet you at one of our workshops. We have all the items you need to get started but you are welcome to bring along your own T shirt to work on. To find out more ring Frances on 01225---872833.

January 2015

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Fracking: Infrastructure Bill watered down

Changes accepted by Government Ministers in the House of Commons on 26th January during the Infrastructure Bill's report stage and third reading mean fracking in National Parks, Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONBs), Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs), and in areas where drinking water is collected will not be permitted. The Green Belt as such was not listed as having that additional protection from fracking also (this means communities defending their Green Belt from fracking will continue to rely on existing "protection" afforded by the National Planning Policy Framework).

A Labour amendment (New Clause 19) was added to the Bill that imposed 13 tests to be met before fracking could proceed including the completion of an environmental assessment, independent inspection of the integrity of wells, substances used must receive approval from the Environment Agency (see also next paragraph), and the need to notify residents in an affected area on an individual basis.

A legislative clause proposed by the Government that sought to change the trespass law and introduce a new right to use deep-level land, which would allow fracking companies to drill beneath people's homes and land without their permission and to leave any substance or infrastructure in the land was removed.

The Infrastructure Bill has now completed all its stages in the House of Commons and will return to the House of Lords for consideration of amendments. Progress of the Bill can be found here: http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2014-15/infrastructure.html.

Our Fracking page has further details on this controversial topic but see previous story (below) also.

January 2015

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Environmental Audit Committee calls for halt to fracking

The Government's planned shale gas revolution is running into increasing opposition and difficulties with only 11 new exploratory wells for shale gas and oil due to be drilled in 2015 before the impact of plunging oil prices has fully begun to make shale gas even less economically attractive.

The cross-party Environmental Audit Committee of the House of Commons reported on 26th January that "shale fracking should be put on hold in the UK because it is incompatible with our climate change targets and could pose significant localised environmental risks to public health."

Joan Walley MP, chair of the Committee, said:

   "Ultimately fracking cannot be compatible with our long-term commitments to cut climate changing emissions unless full-scale carbon capture and storage technology is rolled out rapidly, which currently looks unlikely. There are also huge uncertainties around the impact that fracking could have on water supplies, air quality and public health."

   "We cannot allow Britain's national parks and areas of outstanding natural beauty to be developed into oil and gas fields. Even if a national moratorium on shale drilling in the UK is not accepted there should be an outright ban on fracking in such special sites. The Government is trying to rush through changes to the trespass laws that would allow companies to frack under people's homes without permission. This is profoundly undemocratic and Parliament should protect the rights of citizens by throwing these changes out when they are debated later today [26.1.2015]."

This is a very live topic at the moment. Our Fracking page has further details on this controversial topic.

January 2015

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Reopening of closed permissive paths to south and west of the village

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The permissive paths are shown on map in green, public footpaths in purple.

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Local walkers mark the re-opening of the permissive paths with farmer Adam Stratton, 30.11.2014.

As we reported in November, these permissive paths were opened for the enjoyment of everyone on 30th November. The Saltford Community Association (SCA) signed a legal agreement allowing over 4.5km of the permissive paths to re-open to walkers and riders. This was only possible as a result of Eveleighs Estate Agents coming forward with a generous 3,000 donation to fund the first year of the arrangement.

In order for this agreement to remain in place next and each subsequent year, the SCA needs specific donations to raise 3,000 to compensate the farmer for loss of arable land and to pay for the maintenance of the paths and associated insurance and legal costs.

Without regular, annual donations from residents to cover the costs the SCA will not be able to keep these paths open and it is highly likely that once closed they will remain closed for ever as the land will be planted with crops.

In the last edition of SCAN a donation envelope was enclosed and the SCA is delighted to report that they have already raised (including Gift Aid) 1,500 towards keeping the paths open for another year. This is a great start and half way towards this year's target.

If you wish to donate and don't have your envelope from the last SCAN newsletter, then please either pick one up from the foyer of Saltford Hall or go to the SCA website where a specific section can be found from this link: www.saltfordhall.co.uk. This page provides a link to a downloadable Gift Aid form and details of how to make a donation including via Paypal. In order to ensure SCA can keep this amenity open for the community SCA ask that walkers consider 25 or more and horse riders 50 or more.

January 2015

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Waitrose to support SEG but only with YOUR help

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Waitrose in Keynsham has accepted our application for their "Community Matters" monthly support scheme. One of the three token donation boxes by the exit door will bear our name from 1st February so you know where to place your token when you shop there.

Each month 1,000 is donated by Waitrose to be shared between 3 good causes and the money is split by the number of tokens donated by shoppers. We shall be competing with two Keynsham based charities, Keynsham Caterpillars, which involves children in environmental activities, and Horseworld. This means we need as many Saltford folk as possible to support SEG by collecting and placing their tokens in our box during February to make sure we get our third of the funds.

We shall report the outcome as soon as we know it after February. SEG is very grateful to the staff at Waitrose Keynsham for this useful support and for all the shoppers who put their tokens in the SEG Donation Box.

January 2015

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'Seedy Sunday', Keynsham, to be held in November

The Transition Keynsham gardeners' seed swap that was planned to be held in Keynsham on 15th February will now be held in November to enable them to make the most of summer gardening events they have planned.

If all goes to plan you will be able to bring along your own seeds (in a labelled envelope) and swap seeds or make a donation if you have no seeds to swap but want to have seeds at the seed swap. We shall publish further information on our website as plans for the event develop.

January 2015

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Saltford Weather Station

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Our new Climate Change page features a unique "Saltford Weather Station" giving the constantly updated local 5-day weather forecast, live Environment Agency flood alerts for the South West (i.e. including Saltford) and the latest river level in Saltford.

Check it out from this link: climate change >>

January 2015

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Election 2015: Greener Britain

"To us, the biggest current challenge to achieving a greener Britain is the hesitant approach of political leaders."

That quote is from the report 'Greener Britain - Practical proposals for party manifestos from the environment and conservation sector' from the Green Alliance. The report sets out seven goals for the 2015-2020 Parliament for a better environment and the way we live in Britain. The proposals include making an ambitious 2015 global climate change deal a key foreign policy priority; new policies to protect our oceans; more powers to allow communities to shape their local environment; better support for home energy efficiency; and improvements to resource management for a more resilient economy.

The report says a Greener Britain would:

  • be more influential internationally,
  • support our natural world to recover,
  • have stronger communities, and
  • have a more resilient economy.

The report's authors are the Campaign for Better Transport, Friends of the Earth, Greenpeace, Green Alliance, RSPB, The Wildlife Trusts, and WWF. You can download the report from this link: http://www.greenalliance.org.uk/greenerbritain2014.php.

With campaigning for the 2015 General Election on 7th May now underway, questions we can pose to those who seek to govern us can relate to how green, and therefore secure, Britain's future will be under their party's leadership. SEG as an organisation is politically neutral but shall aim to keep our members informed of the 'Greener Britain' debate during the election campaign.

January 2015

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Cross-party support for Saltford station

With the 2015 General Election now only a few months away, it is important to remind our supporters that the station campaign is politically neutral and we enjoy support from all three main political parties for the objective to re-open the station on the existing site.

The support we have received (in alphabetical order by political party) is shown here:-

Conservative

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Jacob Rees-Mogg MP with Chris Warren at Saltford station site (January 2015)

The petition was delivered by campaign members to our local MP, Jacob Rees-Mogg, at the House of Commons on 19th April 2012. He then formally presented our petition to the House of Commons that evening at 6.38pm; and in his statement to the House he urged "the Government to take all possible steps to ensure that Saltford station is re-opened".

Jacob has also told the campaign that he was happy to make any representations on the campaign's behalf. On 6th January 2015 he said: "I support the efforts of the Saltford Environment Group who have been championing the reopening of Saltford station for a number of years. There are numerous benefits for the local community in reopening the station, including the possibility of reducing the cost of the commute to Bristol or Bath, simplifying logistics for local businesses and reducing traffic on the roads."

In May 2012 B&NES Councillor Mathew Blankely (Cons) told Radio Bristol's Steve Yabsley "how proud we all are in Saltford" of Saltford Environment Group's "outstanding work... the campaign has gone from strength to strength."

On 8th November 2014 the leader of the Conservative Group of B&NES Councillors, Cllr Tim Warren, made the following statement to the station campaign:

   'We are fully supportive of opening a train station for Saltford and the surrounding community. However, whatever location is decided upon, the concerns of residents over traffic, access and parking issues will need to be addressed. As a party, we are committed to reducing traffic congestion.'

Labour

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Chris Warren (L) and Todd Foreman (R) at the station site (December 2014)

Todd Foreman, Labour Parliamentary Candidate for North East Somerset, met Chris Warren, Duncan Hounsell and Phil Harding of our Saltford Station Campaign during the summer to hear the case for the reopening of Saltford Railway Station and to see the Bath Hill site.

Todd, on hearing the news in November 2014 that B&NES Council was proposing to fund stages 3 and 4 of Network Rail's GRIP (Governance for Railway Investment Projects) process, said:

   "I support reopening the train station at Saltford. Having visited the site, I have seen first hand how opening a station in Saltford is feasible and makes good sense. Many residents in and around Saltford commute to Bath or Bristol, so opening the station in Saltford will give residents more options to use public transportation."

Some Saltford commuters currently have to drive to Keynsham station to use the train service from there and some of our residents collect/deliver rail passengers at Keynsham. Todd said: "A station in Saltford would also be good news for Keynsham, as it should relieve some of the pressure on traffic and parking around Keynsham's train station."

Liberal Democrats

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Wera Hobhouse and station campaigner Duncan Hounsell at the station site (September 2014)

Wera Hobhouse, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for the North East Somerset Constituency, has given her full backing to the campaign to reopen Saltford railway station as part of MetroWest. Wera said:

   "Improving public transport and making sure that people have easy access to it, is a key ambition for Liberal Democrats in Saltford. To reopen the railway station and incorporate Saltford into a new improved link between Bristol and Bath is a fantastic plan. This project is gathering more and more support and it has my full backing!"

On 4th November Cllr David Bellotti, B&NES Lib Dem Cabinet Member for Community Resources, at the B&NES Budget Fair meeting in Bath said that the Council was "very committed to Saltford station" and announced 250,000 in the proposed Lib Dem budget for 2015/16 to take the reopening of Saltford station forward to Network Rail's GRIP (Governance for Railway Investment Projects) stages 3 and 4.


For more information on SEG's station campaign, visit our station page >>.

January 2015

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New Chairman at Saltford Parish Council

At its monthly meeting on Tuesday 6th January the Parish Council elected a new Chaiman, Cllr Adrian Betts, to lead it up until the local elections in May. Cllr Duncan Hounsell had stood down as Chairman as he will be standing for election to B&NES Council in May and did not wish any conflict of interest to arise during the election campaign period.

January 2015

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45th anniversary of station closure

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The original station at Saltford in Edwardian times. SEG

Saltford railway station was closed 45 years ago on 5th January 1970 after 130 years service to the local community. SEG is seeking to reverse that ill-judged and short-sighted mistake. You can see how we're working to reopen the station on our station campaign page >>

January 2015

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Preparing Saltford for climate change

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Widely regarded by many as probably the last chance to save the world from dangerous climate change, 192 nations will be meeting in Paris later this year at COP21, the 21st Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), to agree a global treaty on commitments to make huge cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and give the world a chance of limiting global warming to 2°C.

But, even if the international community manages to limit the average global surface temperature increase to the goal of no more than 2°C above the pre-industrial average through cutting greenhouse gas emissions, it is already accepted by the scientific community that such an increase will lead to impacts on society and wildlife and increasing incidents of extreme weather events that we are already experiencing. This means we need to prepare for climate change and adapt to the inevitable changes.

What do you need to do at home or in your business to adapt and become more resilient to extreme weather events?

How does a changing climate impact on YOU?

Can your business benefit from changing markets?

SEG is now providing some answers for local householders and business owners.

We have added a new page on the subject of climate change to this website (see links on top and right hand side of this page). Featuring news and information on how we can become more resilient to climate change and extreme weather it also includes live flood alerts from the Environment Agency.

In responding to this initiative, Climate SouthWest, an independent partnership hosted by the Environment Agency focused on helping the SW region to prepare and adapt to the changing climate, said:

   "Climate SouthWest hugely welcomes Saltford Environment Group's new website page dedicated to tackling climate change. Empowering communities to take the lead in making their homes, businesses and surroundings resilient to a changing climate will be absolutely critical in the decades to come. We hope that their example will spur on other areas to undertake similar initiatives and put climate change adaptation into their own hands."

B&NES Council also supports this new service. Councillor David Martin, Member Champion for Energy and Climate Change, said:

   "Climate change is a very real threat in Bath & North East Somerset, as it is nationally and internationally. Saltford Environment Group are helping their community to prepare for the possible negative impacts of climate change with their helpful web page about what residents and businesses can do locally."

Do check out the new page from this link: climate change >>

January 2015

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Jurassic Saltford 200M years ago

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Plesiosaur Julian Balsdon & SEG 2014

This evocative artistic impression of Plesiosaurs when Saltford was a shallow sea some 200 million years ago has been produced by SEG member and local artist Julian Balsdon for our geology page. These streamlined air breathing predators were reptiles and became extinct, with the dinosaurs, about 60 million years ago.

December 2014

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Saltford Santa Dash 2014 photos

Here are just a few photographs from this year's Saltford Santa Dash held on Sunday 7th December 2014. Well done to everyone who ran or walked, marshalled and organised this annual fun run event.

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Claverton Road

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Beech Road

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Norman Road

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Norman Road

This event was organised in support of two charities each of which will receive 50% of donated funds: CLIC Sargent and The Ellen Macarthur Cancer Trust. Details at: saltfordsantadash.webs.com.

December 2014

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SEG addresses B&NES Cabinet on Saltford station before it votes to take project forward

Chris Warren (Station Campaign Leader) and Phil Harding (SEG Chairman) addressed the B&NES Cabinet on 3rd December. They made the following key points:-

Station has cross-party support

SEG's station campaign is grateful for the support received from B&NES Council, the Cabinet and from all three main political parties for the shared ambition to re-open the station on the existing site. SEG welcomes the inclusion of 250,000 in the Council's 2015/16 budget for taking the station forward to Network Rail's project design stages GRIP 3 and 4.

Existing site is the best option

SEG remained convinced that reopening the station on its existing site was the best option. SEG was aware of proposals to site the station further west, to a remote location close to the Keynsham boundary and Keynsham station. Two stops, so close together was almost operationally impossible, which could mean a combined Keynsham and Saltford station.

Such an option would therefore require closure of Keynsham station. A road from the A4 would need to be built to give access plus a large car park would also be required, all on Green Belt land. It would generate thousands of unnecessary car journeys from both directions, would lead to a time consuming campaign against the closure of Keynsham station, the second time it would have faced this threat, and would be counter to the key objective of transferring commuters from road to rail. But, in addition to its existing users, Keynsham station was ideally located for the new housing development of 700 dwellings at Somerdale.

A new station west of the existing site would require new access roads, a significant loss of Green Belt land and incur higher construction costs including the considerable disruption to the railway in order to blast and excavate the rock cutting to allow construction of platforms. The Green Belt "gap" between Keynsham and Saltford would also be put under much greater threat of development.

Parking and safe access

Reservations concerning reopening the station at its existing site were primarily to do with parking and safe access from the A4 without causing congestion. Those issues could be mitigated through careful design by highways experts. The station site was sufficiently large for over 140 car parking spaces while surveys of potential local users showed that the overwhelming majority of residents would walk rather than drive to the station.

Good communications provide better outcomes

B&NES Cabinet was asked to maintain momentum by not letting the next stage of design and feasibility work be delayed by the Council elections in May and that the Council and its consultants work closely with Saltford's community on the designs and proposals for the station and car parking before final decisions were made.

A positive transport facility fit for the 21st Century

We share a common desire to deliver a new station that would be welcomed as a positive transport facility fit for the 21st Century benefiting Saltford, Metro West and the wider community.

Cabinet votes to take the project forward

During the Cabinet's subsequent discussion of this agenda item, the leader of the Council, Cllr Paul Crossley, reminded the meeting that all 65 B&NES Councillors supported the opening of Saltford station. The Cabinet voted unanimously to take the project forward; this excellent decision is welcomed by the Station Campaign.

For more information on SEG's station campaign, visit our station page >>.

December 2014

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Deputy Prime Minister and Saltford station

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The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg took time on his whistle-stop tour of the area on 27th November to hear about the progress of the campaign to re-open Saltford station as part of the vision of the Metro West Rail project.

The funds to enable phases 1 and 2 of the Metro West project to go ahead are coming mainly from the Government's 1bn City Deal for Bristol announced by the Deputy Prime Minister in July 2012. The Deputy Prime Minister is pictured here at the Guildhall in Bath with Saltford residents Farida Wilson and Duncan Hounsell.

For more information on SEG's station campaign, visit our station page >>.

November 2014

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National Bird Vote

imageThe deadline for voting in part one of the national vote to find Britain's favourite bird was 30th November. We shall publish the shortlist of 6 candidates for the final vote (in Spring 2015) as soon as we know it, but the top 6 runners on 29th November were:
1 Robin,
2 Kingfisher (Editor's choice - Kingfishers are observed in Saltford and would make a great national bird),
3 Barn Owl,
4 Blue Tit,
5 Wren and
6 Blackbird.

In the 1960s the Robin was voted Britain's favourite bird. David Lindo, aka 'The Urban Birder', feels it is time to find out if the Robin is still our favourite bird.

imageThe vote is in two parts; firstly to find the top 6 running (flying) candidates and then the voting will re-open to find the overall winner. Anyone can participate and the whole family can be involved to see whose choice is the final winner.

The National Bird Vote website is: www.votenationalbird.com.

We list the 100 birds most regularly observed in Saltford on our wildlife page >>.

November 2014

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New Lower Jurassic rock exposure on the Railway Path - clearance completed

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Conservation Volunteers clean the exposure of Lower Jurassic rocks
in Saltford. "Storm" the dog stands guard (15.11.2014).

We are pleased to report that the clearance to create a permanent rock exposure on the former railway line was completed by hand by community volunteers (Conservation Volunteers - Avon Branch) in November. The plan is to install an illustrated information sign during 2015. This project on the Railway Path at Saltford (Grid Ref: 687678) received the go-ahead following a successful funding application to the Geologists Association.

The site is located between the Avon Lane gated access and the Avon Lane footbridge (if joining the railway path at the 'Bird in Hand', turn left towards Bitton and the exposure can be seen after a short distance on the right hand side).

For further information on this project and also on Saltford's jurassic past including numerous photographs and images, see our new feature page on Saltford's Geology >>

November 2014

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B&NES Council Cabinet back Saltford station with 2015/16 budget proposals

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Phil Harding and Duncan Hounsell of SEG's station campaign with Cllr David Bellotti (4.11.2014)

On 4th November Cllr David Bellotti, B&NES Lib Dem Cabinet Member for Community Resources, at the B&NES Budget Fair meeting in Bath said that the Council was "very committed to Saltford station" and announced 250,000 in the proposed Lib Dem budget for 2015/16 to take the re-opening of Saltford station forward to Network Rail's GRIP (Guide to Railway Investment Projects) stages 3 and 4. These stages involve much more detailed work on costs, design and finance. The first 4 GRIP stages are about planning and the final 4 are concerned with implementation.

This strong backing from the B&NES Cabinet is an important milestone in our long and popular campaign to reopen the station. The 2015/16 Budget will be voted upon by the full Council on 17th February 2015 and once approved work on GRIP stages 3 and 4 can proceed in the new financial year.

We anticipate cross-party support for this aspect of the 2015/16 Budget. On 8th November the leader of the Conservative Group of B&NES Councillors, Cllr Tim Warren, made the following statement to the station campaign:

   'We are fully supportive of opening a train station for Saltford and the surrounding community. However, whatever location is decided upon, the concerns of residents over traffic, access and parking issues will need to be addressed. As a party, we are committed to reducing traffic congestion.'

For more information on our station campaign, visit our station page >>.

November 2014

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Great British Bee Count 2014 results are out

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Photograph Elizabeth Cooksey

The results from this year's first ever Great British Bee Count have been published. Thousands of people took part from all over the country to count over 830,000 bees; a great leap towards monitoring all the species of UK bee. This year, 1 in 4 of us saw at least three types of bee in our gardens and the Yellow and Black Bumblebee (Bombus Terrestis) was in the top spot with over 85% of participants seeing them over the summer. The Honey Bee (Apis Mellifera) took 2nd place and Tree Bumblebee (Bombus Hypnorum) 3rd.

Allotments were the best places to find bees whilst roadsides could be a lot better. Less mowing and more wildflowers could help nature thrive on road verges. Gardens took third place; perhaps by growing more plants that are rich in pollen and nectar, and leaving patches of land to grow wild, they might go up the rankings in future years.

Further information and the results can be seen from this link: www.greatbritishbeecount.co.uk/results.php.

October 2014

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Fracking in Somerset?

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Somerset PEDL map July 2014. Reproduced courtesy of www.frackfreesomerset.org

We understand that UK Methane have renewed their PEDL (Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence) 227 for a further year. PEDL 227 covers Ston Easton and adjacent areas of the Mendips. However the other three PEDLs in Somerset (225, 226 and 228 - including Saltford) have been relinquished but can be purchased by other companies in the latest, 14th, licensing round (licensing closing date 28th October 2014).

Frack Free Somerset is organising an 'Autumn of Awareness and Action' with public events from 7th to 27th November in the PEDL 227 area. See the FFS website for details: http://www.frackfreesomerset.org/upcoming-events/.

We shall monitor the situation and publish information on the PEDL area that covers Saltford, PEDL 228, when further information becomes available to us. Our Fracking page has further details on this controversial topic.

October 2014

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Grants and finance for home energy saving improvements

With the arrival of autumn our attention returns to the cost of heating our homes (we have energy saving tips and advice on our energy page). If you own or privately rent your home (in B&NES) you could get a generous grant to make some energy saving home improvements which will make your home smarter, warmer and cheaper to run.

The B&NES Energy at Home scheme provides grants as follows:

  • Up to 7,000 for solid wall insulation (internal or external or a mixture of the two) or a package of energy saving improvements that includes solid wall insulation.
  • Up to 3,000 for a single or package of energy saving improvements e.g. boiler upgrade, loft insulation, cavity wall insulation, secondary glazing and many more.

You can apply for both types of funding but only to a maximum of 7,000 per property. In all circumstances you will have to fund the Green Deal element of the installation cost (e.g. through Green Deal finance, an alternative loan or savings). For some homes (when combined with the Green Deal loan) this will cover the total costs but not for all homes. The grant must be claimed and your chosen energy saving improvement(s) installed by 31 March 2015.

For further details visit www.cse.org.uk/advice/energyathome or ring freephone 0800 038 5680.

NOTE: The B&NES Energy at Home scheme is a brought to you by B&NES Council in partnership with the Centre for Sustainable Energy and Darren Evans Assessment Ltd. If you are approached directly by any other companies, offering energy saving or heating services, you are advised to check that they are part of the B&NES Energy at Home Scheme by calling freephone 0800 038 5680 before agreeing to the company visiting you.

October 2014

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Making the most of our river

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Kingfishers can be seen on the River Avon in Saltford

Spring, summer, autumn or winter, our local river in Saltford hosts a wide variety of wildlife and provides a haven for relaxation away from the pressures of modern living and somewhere to observe our natural world.

The Canal & River Trust, the charity entrusted with the care of 2,000 miles of waterways in England and Wales, has produced a small free guide to help people spot wildlife by rivers and canals. The guide, through photos and illustrations, enables users to learn more about the fascinating array of animals found on our waterways. There are also tips and hints for spotting creatures such as kingfishers and otters (both are observed in Saltford), as well as some pages to jot down your notes.

If you or your family want to obtain a copy of the guide visit the Trust's website page for placing your order at: https://canalandrivertrust.form-fill.com/2014/october/freeguide.html.

October 2014

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Parish Council asks B&NES to continue to support our station

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Just some of the residents at the station site in August asking B&NES Council to re-open our station.

During the autumn B&NES Council will be considering the latest report from the consultants CM2Hill exploring the feasibility of the station; B&NES Council Cabinet will discuss the report at their December meeting. The next stage of taking the project forward will include more detailed work on costs, technical issues, and design for re-introducing this important piece of transport infrastructure.

With just one abstention, on 7th October Saltford Parish Council supported a motion expressing its wish that B&NES considers the Higher Level Output Assessment report and takes the station project to stage 3 of Network Rail's GRIP (Guide to Railway Investment Projects) process for railway development. This reflected the Parish Council's resolution overwhelmingly passed in September 2011 supporting the station campaign and asking B&NES to act as "promoter" of the new station in negotiations with Network Rail which B&NES subsequently agreed to do in April 2012.

For more information about our highly popular station campaign, visit our station page.

October 2014

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Vacancy for Treasurer at SEG

We have an important vacancy to fill, that of Treasurer. Click here for details.

October 2014

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Jurassic Saltford now online

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Lower Jurassic Blue Lias rock exposure, Mead Lane.

SEG has published a new feature page on Saltford's Geology on our website. This highlights and provides a showcase for Saltford's wonderful geological features. With support from local geologists (and members of SEG) Simon Carpenter and Dick Stabbins, this page will continue to be developed as an educational and fascinating resource for residents and anyone else interested in why Saltford is such an important geological location with its abundance of Lower Jurassic rocks that contain well-preserved fossils.

An accessible circular geology trail is planned for Saltford so that residents and visitors can explore the local geology for themselves. We shall publish details on the new page when the trail is ready.

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Plesiosaur - the swimming speed of these massive long-necked marine reptiles that once inhabited the shallow, sometimes muddy, sea that occupied the site of Saltford in the Lower Jurassic period has been estimated at over 8 km/h, faster than an Olympic champion, but too
slow to catch a mackerel, salmon or seal.

To view the new page click here: Saltford's Geology >> (for future reference there is a link on the right hand side of our home page).

October 2014

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New Saltford Green Belt Inquiry Archive

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View to Kelston Roundhill from Manor Road fields. Photograph Phil Harding

To help other communities defend their Green Belt from speculative development and to provide a record for our own members, SEG has created a special archive page. This records and documents the successful 2 year defence by the community of Saltford, from 2012 until the Saltford Green Belt Inquiry determination in 2014, against an attempt by the developer Crest Nicholson to build on Saltford's Green Belt. This can be found from our Green Belt page or from this direct link.

September 2014

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UN Climate Summit - from Saltford to Bristol to New York

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"What if we are wrong about climate change and create a better world for nothing..?"
- message promoted by SEG members at the Bristol climate march, 21.9.2014

To quote from the UN Climate Summit website: "Climate change is not a far-off problem. It is happening now and is having very real consequences on people's lives. Climate change is disrupting national economies, costing us dearly today and even more tomorrow. But there is a growing recognition that affordable, scalable solutions are available now that will enable us all to leapfrog to cleaner, more resilient economies." UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has invited world leaders, from government, finance, business, and civil society to galvanize and catalyze climate action.

Over 2,000 solidarity events in over 160 countries made the weekend of 20/21 September the largest non-party political climate march in history to tell world leaders meeting at the UN summit on climate change in New York on 23rd September that "There is no planet B" and that there is strong public support for real and immediate action to address the climate crisis.

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Bristol climate event marchers at College Green - photograph by Holly Templer
If you can make out the SEG members in the crowd, your eyesight is excellent!

For the South West, a march was held in Bristol on the afternoon of Sunday 21st September from Castle Park through the Broadmead shopping centre and ending at College Green where a petition was presented to Molly Scott Cato, the Green Party MEP for the South West. Over 2,000 participated in the Bristol march including members of SEG. Bristol march organiser Holly Templer said: "Bristol residents are taking part to highlight the level of public support for a global deal that will avert climate catastrophe and unleash a new 100% clean future. The People's Climate March is snowballing into a massive international call for leaders to do more to stop runaway climate change."

Many different organisations were involved including Avaaz, 38 degrees, 350.org, WWF, Christian Aid, and Oxfam. The website for the People's Climate March is: peoplesclimate.org.

US President Obama responded to the climate marches saying: "Our citizens keep marching. We cannot pretend we do not hear them."

The UN Climate Summit 2014 is recognised as an important opportunity to build political momentum towards a global climate deal in Paris in 2015. World leaders and leading figures from business and civil society will come together to bring announcements and actions that will reduce emissions, strengthen climate resilience, and mobilize political will for a meaningful legal agreement in 2015. The summit website is www.un.org/climatechange/summit/.

September 2014

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Parking on roads from the A4

signSaltford Parish Council is asking B&NES Council, as the highways authority, to consult all Saltford residents about possible parking restrictions on roads from the A4 to reduce or prevent all day on-street car parking.

We hope B&NES Council will respond to this request and that as many residents as possible will participate in a consultation on this topic so that a work-able solution can be found to this issue.

September 2014

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Saltford Station - What if..?

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To help the village focus on the many potential benefits of getting our station back we have published some "What if?" questions on our station campaign page. For example: "What if visitors had the option to arrive in Saltford by train?" or "What if motoring and bus travel becomes much more expensive and we haven't got a local option to travel by train?"

To see more "What ifs?" check out our station page >>.

September 2014

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New 'Saltford Wombles' group

SEG is pleased to announce that we are setting up a Saltford Wombles group. So, if you hate litter and waste and want to get involved in helping make Saltford a cleaner, litter-free village, do get in touch with Julie Sampson so that Julie can advise you of the emerging plans for this new group. Encouraging residents to be more proactive on picking up litter and targeted litter picks for problem areas are just some of the things Saltford Wombles will be doing. All ages welcome.

Other towns and villages have their own Wombles (e.g. Keynsham Wombles) that have proved to be fun ways of helping the community look after its own environment effectively and keep litter down to a minimum.

Interested in getting involved? Please contact Julie by email to: julie.sampson@barkingmad.uk.com or tel: 01225--874603.

More information about Saltford Wombles appears on our Less Waste page >>.

September 2014

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Free driver awareness training for safer roads

Avon and Somerset Police are offering free 2 hour driver awareness training sessions in the local area (Keynsham and Bath) to help improve driving awareness amongst drivers. Over 95% of all collisions on the road are caused by human error and one third of all serious crashes involve people aged 17-24, whilst the result of a collision can be life-changing for all involved.

Most of us do not engage in any form of driver training after passing our test, but instead, we engage in a lifetime of guided discovery as we hone our driving skills. However, how do we know whether we are driving as safely and as fuel efficiently as we could?

These new and potentially life-saving sessions are available to all drivers; to see the dates on offer and to book a place visit www.roadsmart.org.

August 2014

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Contact SEG

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 You can contact Saltford Environment Group by email as follows:-


 General enquiries*: info@saltfordenvironmentgroup.org.uk

 Chairman & Website Editor: Phil Harding phil@philharding.net

 Saltford Station Campaign: Chris Warren cherokee1883@live.com

 Saltford Fairtrade Group: saltfordfairtrade@hotmail.co.uk

 Saltford Wombles: julie.sampson@barkingmad.uk.com (or tel: 01225--874603)


 Urgent enquiries: We prefer most initial contact to be by email but if you have
 an urgent enquiry the mobile number of our Chairman, Phil Harding, is:
 07814--720--763.

 *Press Enquiries requiring prompt attention should be made by email to
 both the General Enquiries and the Chairman's email addresses above.

 NOTE: Will Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) and other similar companies please
 note that this website has all the SEO ranking (1st), social media links, & smartphone
 compatibility that it requires to meet its specific objectives. We are not a commercial
 enterprise so please do not send marketing emails which will not receive a reply.
 


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Want to show you care about the village of Saltford, its environment, wildlife and future as a thriving, more sustainable community?

Please show your support for SEG and "like" our website on Facebook by clicking on the "like" link below.

Why don't you join us? We welcome new members (membership is free!) - see our 'About us' page for details.

Thank you! :-)

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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A winter's morning, Saltford. Phil Harding 2014


Special Feature Pages:


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is generously supported by:


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www.crowngaragesaltford.co.uk
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www.iteam.co.uk
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www.johnblakearchitect.co.uk
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www.birdinhandsaltford.co.uk
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