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Saltford Environment Group
  towards a sustainable future for our village

Winter walk.

Christmas Greetings
from Saltford Environment Group


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

Keeping up with the Paris climate summit

Station Campaign and Parish Council addresses B&NES Scrutiny Panel (16 Nov)

West of England Joint Transport Study (9 Nov - 29 Jan)

Last chance to discuss Saltford Air Quality Action Plan (24 Nov)

Our renewable energy future (& Paris climate summit)

Saltford Station Campaign scoops national award

Discovering Roman Saltford

Have your say on parking in Saltford

Rail electrification & Saltford - briefing event 15 Dec & further info.

Fairtrade for Saltford Steering Group

Relax into the festive season (make your own garlands with us on 20th Nov)

Let's keep Saltford 'clean and tidy' together

Our local geology: Rock clearance day, 20th November

Bank of England Governor speaks out on financial risks caused by climate change

Planting tree species ecologically appropriate to Saltford

Saltford's history and the mystery of the Piltdown Man hoax

Could you be our volunteer Auditor?

Countdown to COP21 Paris climate change summit

Saltford Weather Station

Plastic bag charging can be your catalyst to start making a difference

Saltford Santa Dash, 6th December

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


SEG's Newsletter page carries past and recently published news stories; click here to see: Newsletters >>

Keeping up with the Paris climate summit


At the UN climate summit (COP21) in Paris from 30th November to 11th December leaders and negotiators from 195 nations are seeking to reach an international agreement to prevent catastrophic climate change.

To help you to follow and keep up with key announcements and developments at the Paris summit here are some useful links:-

This quote from Professor Nicholas Stern, Chair of Economics and Government at the LSE, illustrates the importance of this summit for making real progress:

   "Already we are seeing the impact of climate change growing around the world, with more heatwaves, more record rainfall events and more intense droughts. There are signs that the major land-based ice sheets on Greenland and west Antarctica may be becoming unstable. Together they hold enough water to raise global sea levels by about 13 metres. The climate warning signals are all around us...

   ...Together, governments must send a clear signal from Paris to the entire world that over the next 20 years we can and will start along a path that offers us, our children and future generations real hope."

November 2015

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Station Campaign and Parish Council addresses B&NES Scrutiny Panel (16 Nov)

On 16th November Chris Warren for the Station Campaign and Duncan Hounsell as Chair of the Parish Council spoke in public time to B&NES Council's cross-party Communities, Transport and Environment Policy Development and Scrutiny Panel to inform them about Saltford Station and to seek their assistance in their scrutiny role.

They asked that there be no unnecessary delay or insufficient pressure from B&NES Council on the half-hourly timetable question and that consultants be commissioned to take the project forward to GRIP stages 3 and even 4. They made the point that this not only about providing Saltford's commuters a gateway to the half-hourly Metro West services, but also playing a part in reducing road traffic into Bath and contributing to the economic development of this area.

The democratic mandate given in the Parliamentary, Council and Parish Council elections last May to reopen the station was highlighted and also the point that B&NES urgently required solutions to its chronic transport problems, especially with Bath's new Enterprise Zone and the riverside development nearing completion. Without alternatives to the private car, Bath was close to becoming stifled by traffic and its detrimental effect on air quality leading to public health issues.

November 2015

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West of England Joint Transport Study (9 Nov - 29 Jan)

The West of England's four local authorities (including B&NES) have launched a public consultation as part of the Joint Transport Study, which will inform high level strategy and the delivery of major transport schemes throughout the area until 2036.

B&NES Council, Bristol City Council, North Somerset Council and South Gloucestershire Council are preparing the study in parallel with the West of England's Joint Spatial Plan, which is looking at how to meet the need for housing and employment space up to 2036.

The Joint Transport Study will be completed by the end of 2016. At this early stage they would like the views of people who live, work and travel in the West of England about the objectives of the study; what the existing transport issues are in our area; and what schemes they would like considered by the study. These are sought by 29 January 2016.

The study provides you with a chance to tell the four local authorities how you think transport should be provided in the West of England over the next 20 years. You can view the Joint Transport Study including a summary and make comments using an online survey from this link: Joint Transport Study.

November 2015

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Last chance to discuss Saltford Air Quality Action Plan (24 Nov)

If you missed the Saltford event for the Saltford Air Quality Action Plan held by B&NES on 14th October there's another opportunity in Keynsham on Tuesday 24th November between 2pm and 6pm - in the area next to the Community Room on the First Floor of the library. This is a final chance to meet officers to discuss the air quality actions for both Saltford and Keynsham before the consultation closes on 4th December.

Nitrogen dioxide from road traffic in Saltford is the only pollutant that exceeds the government's National Air Quality Objectives as an annual average. As a result an Air Quality Management Area (AQMA) has been declared and B&NES is seeking feedback on the measures it is proposing to include in the Action Plan for Saltford. The Saltford Air Quality Management Area includes the building facades on either side of the A4 road and extends east along the Bath Road from its junction with Beech Road until 150 metres south of the Glen.

Actions proposed in the plan include: tree planting on the A4 to deflect and collect pollutants; advice to land owners on planting that protects from air pollution; electric vehicle charge points for each new property across the district; Community Air Quality Group; Electric Zone - signed entrance to AQMA encouraging switch into electric mode for hybrids; secure cycle storage at each new property; lobby government for incentivising uptake of non-diesel cars; and continue feasibility work for reopening of a station at Saltford.

You can view the action plan and submit your own comments online from this link: www.bathnes.gov.uk/consultations/saltford-air-quality-action-plan

After the consultation period a report will be produced and the final Action Plan developed.

November 2015

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Our renewable energy future (& Paris climate summit)

The International Energy Agency's 2015 edition of its flagship annual report, World Energy Outlook, was published on 10th November. Whilst observing clear signs that the energy transition to renewables is underway, the IEA warned that strong direction was needed from the COP21 Paris climate summit (30th November to 11th December 2015). Renewables contributed almost half of the world's new power generation capacity in 2014 and have already become the second-largest source of electricity (after coal). Renewables are set to become the leading source of new energy supply from now to 2040.

The IEA advises that the lower oil prices currently experienced is the moment to reinforce the world's capacity to deal with future energy security threats and not mistakenly relax our attention to energy security. The oil market is in unfamiliar territory: facing a well-supplied market and lower prices, producers have cut operating costs and investment plans.

The IEA predicts the following global trends:

  • The single largest energy demand growth story of recent decades is near its end; coal use in China reaches a plateau, close to today's levels, as China's economy rebalances and industrial coal demand falls.
  • Broad-based growth in global natural gas demand (up 47%) is led by China and the Middle East. By 2040, oil and coal collectively relinquish 9% of the global energy mix, with renewables growing by five percentage points and gas and nuclear each growing by two.
  • The report sees the share of renewable energy in global power generation rising to over 26% by 2020 from 22% in 2013 - a remarkable shift in a very limited period of time. By 2020, the amount of global electricity generation coming from renewable energy will be higher than today's combined electricity demand of China, India and Brazil.
  • In the IEA's New Policies Scenario more than 60% of power generation capacity investment from 2015-2040 is likely to go to renewables, led by China, the European Union, the United States and India.
  • The world's appetite for electricity lifts demand by more than 70% by 2040, and there is a concerted effort to reduce the environmental consequences of power generation.

The IEA website is at www.iea.org.

For keeping up with the discussions and decisions made during the COP21 climate summit in Paris, the Guardian newspaper website provides comprehensive coverage which you can access from this link: News and comment from the Guardian.


Oil-rich countries are choosing renewables

Some welcome news from the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena): oil-rich countries are choosing renewables as a means to create jobs, increase GDP and improve livelihoods whilst also reducing carbon emissions. Perhaps the UK and other Governments could learn from this approach as delegates gather for the COP21 climate summit in Paris.

According to Irena (www.irena.org), as reported on the Guardian website on 19th November, dramatically falling solar photovoltaic costs, and forward-thinking commitments by regional governments, are changing the economic equation in favour of solar power. A solar photovoltaic tender in Dubai earlier this year resulted in a record-low price of $0.06 per kilowatt hour - cheaper than domestically produced gas generation. Jordan's recent tender outcome locked in power prices of between $0.06-0.08.

For oil-producing nations that use a substantial share of the gas or oil they produce for power generation, solar is increasingly the quickest, lowest-risk investment to add export capacity and revenue while satisfying their own rapid growth in demand for electricity.

This shift is causing huge development and investment across the oil-producing region. For example Morocco is building the world's largest concentrated solar power plant, which will provide half the country's energy by 2020. The UAE is building what could eventually be one of the world's largest solar photovoltaic plants. Additional projects are in progress in Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

November 2015

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Saltford Station Campaign scoops national award

(Left to right:) Christian Wolmar, President of Railfuture, Chris Warren, Saltford Station Campaign Leader, and Cllr Duncan Hounsell, Chairman of Saltford Parish Council, 7 November 2015.

Saltford Station Campaign has received a national award at the Railfuture conference "Rail Resurgence in the West of England" held at the Mercure Hotel, Redcliff Hill, Bristol, on 7th November. Railfuture is the leading national pro-rail campaigning organisation. The campaign received the Oliver Lovell Award (in memory of the Cotswold Line Promotion Group founder who died in 2013) for "Best New Group" and this was presented to Chris Warren of the Saltford Station Campaign by Christian Wolmar, President of Railfuture.

Chris Warren said "I was absolutely delighted to receive this award on behalf of the Saltford Station Campaign. To be recognised by Railfuture is just reward for all our hard work. This award gives the campaign a further boost. I ask the new B&NES Council to take the re-opening of the station to the next stage of project development without undue delay."

Cllr Duncan Hounsell, Chair of Saltford Parish Council, said "I congratulate the Saltford Station campaigners on this national award. The Parish Council fully supports the re-opening of Saltford Station which would give villagers a gateway to the half-hourly services of the Metro West rail project."

Judges' comments: "Campaign shows a sound knowledge of the rail industry and grasp of technical detail, good engagement with stakeholders' buy-in, cross-party support, a strong environmental message, and a good chance of success."

To see the Saltford Station Campaign web pages on SEG's website click here: link >>

November 2015

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Discovering Roman Saltford

A twin probe resistance meter in use during the geophysics survey in Saltford, 28 October 2015.

Due to the variety of Roman artefacts (bronze coins, pottery sherds, roof tile fragments, etc.) found in the field on the south side of Saltford where a Roman coffin was found in 1948 and other archaeological and geological factors, there is good reason to believe that evidence of a Roman villa or farmhouse is there waiting to be found.

Between 27 October and 4 November 2015 Bath and Camerton Archaeological Society (BACAS) supported by volunteers from SEG carried out a geophysics survey for a significant section of the field.

The survey data has been downloaded onto a computer and, subject to detailed expert analysis, it appears that the survey team may have identified some roundhouses (possible evidence of roundhouses was found by BACAS on the northern edge of the golf club grounds in 2013) and, more importantly for our Roman searches, the apparent corner of a building.

These results are certainly exciting for SEG's History of Saltford project as we gradually piece together previously unknown aspects of Saltford's ancient past.

When the expert analysis has been completed and the survey findings report produced we shall publish further information. In the meantime SEG wishes to thank and pay tribute to BACAS and all the volunteers involved who worked so patiently and supportively on the 4 day survey; their efforts were not wasted! We are also grateful to the farmer, Adam Stratton, for giving permission for this work to be carried out on his land.

Details of the Roman coffin discovery in 1948 with photographs can be found on our Online Museum (link).

Footnote 1: Equipment used for the geophysics survey

Two types of geophysics equipment were used over numerous grids marked out by volunteers, a magnetometer and a resistance meter (x2 to save time). The magnetometer measures anomalies in the Earth's magnetic field whereas the twin probe resistance meter works by injecting a small electrical current into the ground and calculating the resistance to it that is affected by buried stone walls etc. The resistance readings complement the magnetometer readings which detect minute magnet field anomalies that can be made by buried archaeology.

Footnote 2: Metal detection surveys

With the landowner's permission for each survey, the field has been the subject of several metal detection surveys in recent years and these have revealed some bronze Roman coins, and other small bronze items that can be found in our history project's Online Museum. Due to those surveys the discovery of further coins etc. of any particular new significance or value is not anticipated.

November 2015

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Have your say on parking in Saltford

Parking in and around Saltford generates much discussion and debate among residents. Saltford Parish Council has decided to conduct a "conversation" with residents of Saltford, local businesses, and commuters to Saltford to seek information, views, and suggested solutions to parking issues in and around Saltford. The objective is for the Parish Council to be in a position to put forward a set of constructive proposals in spring 2016 to B&NES Council and other bodies for possible action. Highways and on-street parking are the responsibility of B&NES Council.

The Parish Council recognises that people do need to park, that no householder can claim the right to sole access to the parking space outside their home, and that problems should not be simply moved from one street or part of a street to another. The Parish Council has no predetermined view on parking issues other than a desire to improve road safety and find workable solutions to parking issues.

Practical suggestions for potential solutions to the issues experienced in Saltford from encouraging less car use and the provision and control of short/long term parking to changing parking behaviour are sought by the Parish Council between now and the end of February 2016.

More details including how to submit your views can be found on the Parish Council website at www.saltfordparishcouncil.gov.uk.

November 2015

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Rail electrification & Saltford - briefing event 15 Dec & further information

Network Rail say that the recently confirmed government funding for the Great Western Main Line heralds the biggest investment in the railway since it was built by Brunel. They claim this will mean a more reliable service, more seats and better station facilities.

Network Rail will be holding a Saltford event to give stakeholders/lineside neighbours a briefing on the planned work that Network Rail will be undertaking on the Great Western railway between Keynsham and Bath next Easter (02/04/16 - 11/04/16). The event will be on Tuesday 15 December 17.30 - 19.30 at St Mary's Church Hall.

The Network Rail website with more information concerning this work is at www.networkrail.co.uk/great-western-route-modernisation/.

November 2015

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Fairtrade for Saltford Steering Group

The Saltford Fairtrade Group has gone from strength to strength gaining our first Fairtrade Village status renewal this year and organising the Fairtrade refreshments served at the Saltford Festival, but there is no time to rest on our laurels. We are always looking for new ideas of spreading the Fairtrade ethos of better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world.

Supporting and encouraging new and local Fairtrade supporters is also a major priority for us. If you think that this is something worthwhile and would enjoy helping us we are looking for new steering group members to join us.

We are a small friendly group who meet in members' homes every couple of months to plan events and visits, all served up with Fairtrade refreshments.

You can contact us by email to saltfordfairtrade@hotmail.co.uk or ring Frances Eggbeer on 07789--528834. Our next meeting is on 10th November where you would be warmly welcomed when we will be planning our Christmas Market stall.

Find our more about of activities on our SEG web page (link).

October 2015

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Relax into the festive season (make your own garlands with us on 20th Nov)

November's Saltford Upcycling Group session has changed days this month, but it's sure to bring a smile to your face. Using natural materials that you can find in your garden or the hedgerows we will be creating Christmas garlands. These can be decorated using fir cones, beech nuts and berries etc. or we can create something unique using things you may throw away or recycle.

Join us for a free, fun evening on Friday 20th November, 7-9pm at Signs of Saltford (workshop entrance), 559 Bath Road, Saltford. If you would like to bring along some flexible branches to make the foundation of your garland or any decorations you can forage please do so, but we will also have some for you to use on the evening.

Take a look at our web page (link) to see the lovely things we made last year and get inspired. You can also ring Frances Eggbeer on 07789--528834 for more information. Tina and Frances are looking forward to meeting you.

October 2015

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Let's keep Saltford 'clean and tidy' together


We hope you have noticed that the amount of litter spoiling Saltford is considerably less than it has been in the past. The existence of litter can attract more litter but the efforts by Saltford Wombles and others who share a common desire to keep Saltford clean and tidy does make a real difference. A big "thank you" to everyone who takes the trouble to pick up litter.

If the overwhelming majority of us living in Saltford see it as our individual responsibility to take ownership of the road we live in and neighbouring footpaths by clearing any litter we find, the job is done. Just spending 5-10 minutes each week to check for and clear litter or simply removing it when we see it can make all the difference. The feel good factor from removing rubbish on our streets provides its own reward!

Saltford Wombles will continue to target public areas with organised litter-picks and can lend litter-picking tools to anyone wishing to have a short blitz to clear an area - it's amazing how much ground one or two people can cover in just an hour. Involving our children can help them see and learn why dropping litter is so anti-social and thoughtless whilst instilling a sense of responsibility to help keep their local area clean.

The effect of litter is disproportionate to the small minority of people who drop it - but a shared determination by the community to keep Saltford clean will benefit us all.

If you want to borrow a litter-picking tool contact our Wombles leader Julie Sampson on tel: 07807--671--267 or by email: juliebsampson@gmail.com

There will be no organised litter-picks over the winter months as the weather is so unpredictable, but do contact Julie if you want to borrow a litter-picking tool for clearing litter in a part of Saltford that is a cause of concern to you.

For more information about Saltford Wombles on our "Less Waste" page click here >>

October 2015

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Our local geology: Rock clearance day, 20th November

Local geologist Simon Carpenter is organising a rock clearance day on Friday 20 November to clean up a late Triassic/White Lias site close to the Railway Path on the Saltford/Kelston border at ST 691668 (if you travel along the Railway Path towards Bath from the Bird in Hand it is on the left hand side almost opposite the Riverside Inn). The site will eventually be part of a new geology trail around Saltford and help is required.

The rock outcrop occurs along the rim of the cutting and Simon needs a team to help clear ivy and vegetation covering the current rock face as well as removing a substantial talus (broken rock debris) slope that covers and obscures the lower part of the exposure. It should be possible to complete this work in one day.

The session will be on Friday 20 November, meeting at 10.30am, to finish by 4.30pm.

If you are interested (volunteer days can be real fun, especially if the weather is nice), please ring or email Simon to register your interest: 01373--474086 and/or simonccarpenter@gmail.com

You will need to bring a spade, thick work gloves, secateurs and or loppers - some extra tools will be available if you don't have any of your own. Bring packed lunch or there is the Bird in Hand pub a short distance away. Bring lots to drink and warm clothing, if it's cold.

Simon is one of the authors for our Geology page.

October 2015

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Bank of England Governor speaks out on financial risks caused by climate change


As COP21, the 21st Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) to be held in Paris from 30th November to 11th December 2015 draws near, Mark Carney, the Governor of the Bank of England, spoke on the topic "Breaking the tragedy of the horizon - climate change and financial stability" at Lloyd's of London on 29 September 2015.

He said that there was a growing international consensus that climate change is unequivocal. While there is always room for scientific disagreement about climate change (as there is with any scientific issue), he said that he had found that insurers were amongst the most determined advocates for tackling it sooner rather than later.

Key points he made included:

We don't need an army of actuaries to tell us that the catastrophic impacts of climate change will be felt beyond the traditional horizons of most actors - imposing a cost on future generations that the current generation has no direct incentive to fix.

The horizon for monetary policy extends out to 2-3 years. For financial stability it is a bit longer, but typically only to the outer boundaries of the credit cycle - about a decade.

In other words, once climate change becomes a defining issue for financial stability, it may already be too late.

He summarised and concluded his speech by saying:

Our societies face a series of profound environmental and social challenges.

The combination of the weight of scientific evidence and the dynamics of the financial system suggest that, in the fullness of time, climate change will threaten financial resilience and longer-term prosperity.

While there is still time to act, the window of opportunity is finite and shrinking.

Others will need to learn from Lloyd's example in combining data, technology and expert judgment to measure and manage risks.

The December meetings in Paris will work towards plans to curb carbon emissions and encourage the funding of new technologies.

We will need the market to work alongside in order to maximise their impact.

With better information as a foundation, we can build a virtuous circle of better understanding of tomorrow's risks, better pricing for investors, better decisions by policymakers, and a smoother transition to a lower-carbon economy.

By managing what gets measured, we can break the Tragedy of the Horizon.

The full text of Mark Carney's speech can be found on the Bank of England website from this external link.

For keeping up with the discussions and decisions made during COP21, probably one of the most comprehensive web pages is on the Guardian newspaper website which you can access from this link: News and comment from the Guardian.

October 2015

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Planting tree species ecologically appropriate to Saltford

He that plants trees loves others besides himself
English proverb

When choosing trees to plant in our gardens and other areas of land in Saltford, there are some important considerations. For the long term health of the tree and to ensure the tree supports our local ecosystem (i.e. especially invertebrates many of which are undergoing widespread and complete loss in southern England and which are also important natural food for birds), it is helpful to choose native species that are appropriate for the soil and weather conditions for this part of NE Somerset.

A tree may be described as native to Britain, but that does not follow that it would be suitable for Saltford. For example trees suitable for low nutrient soils such as are often found in upland, acid areas, e.g. Rowan and Silver Birch, do not naturally occur in Saltford's lowland, calcareous high-nutrient soil.

The main trees to avoid are invasive non-natives with no close relatives, for example Horse Chestnut, Tree of Heaven (an especially rampant invasive that outcompetes native species - sometimes known as Tree of Hell by conservationists), and Bastard Acacia. They are chemically so different to our native trees that few native insects are able to feed on their foliage.

Here we have listed native trees ecologically appropriate to Saltford (this list is not exhaustive but captures the majority of such trees). The scientific names are given to make sure the appropriate British species is chosen rather than a potentially unsuitable continental species:-

Alder, Common (Alnus glutinosa)
Ash, Common (Fraxinus excelsior)
Black Poplar (Populus nigra, subspecies betulifolia)
Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa)
Crab Apple (Malus sylvestris)
Dogwood, Common (Cornus sanguinea)
Elder, Common (Sambucus nigra)
Elm, English (Ulmus procera)
Elm, Wych (Ulmus glabra)
Guelder-rose (Viburnum opulus)
Hawthorn, Common (Crataegus monogyna)
Hazel, Common (Corylus avellana)
Holly (Ilex aquifolium)
Lime, Small-leaved (Tilia cordata)
Maple, Field (Acer campestre)
Oak, English or Pedunculate Oak (Quercus robur)
Purging Buckhorn (Rhamnus cathartica)
Spindle (Euonymus europaeus)
Wayfaring Tree (Viburnum lantana)
Wild Cherry (Prunus avium)
Wild Privet (Ligustrum vulgare)
Wild Service Tree (Sorbus torminalis)
Willow, Crack (Salix fragilis)
Willows, pussy or sallows (three species: Salix caprea, Salix cinerea, and the hybrid between them, Salix x reichardtii)
Yew, Common (Taxus baccata)

Furthermore edible apple, pear, cherry and plum trees are close enough relatives of wild species to be of great direct value to invertebrates.

Projected climate change (e.g. hotter, drier summers, wetter winters and weather extremes) are likely to make conditions less suitable for some species in the decades ahead, so risks of later tree loss can be reduced by mixed planting of species which also can help maximise resilience to pests and diseases and provide greater wildlife benefits.

[Note. This is published on our Wildlife page (under Trees) so that the article and list can be found again.]

October 2015

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Saltford's history and the mystery of the Piltdown Man hoax

It is fascinating what we find including links to national and world events as we research Saltford's past, but this is as surprising and amusing as it gets. We just had to share this with members.

The zoologist and archaeologist who studied and described the condition of the Roman skeleton (that of a 20 year old man) found in a stone coffin in Saltford in 1948 were Martin A C Hinton (1883-1961) and his wife. The wife in question was most probably Hinton's second wife, Dr Dina Portway Dobson a 'distinguished archaeologist', who he married in 1949 the year of his retirement to Wrington, Somerset; his first wife Jane had died in 1948. The description of Saltford's Roman skeleton was provided by "Mr and Mrs Martin A. C. Hinton" and published in 1950 in an official report of the find for the Somerset Archaeological Society.

Martin A C Hinton, however, is one of the suspects for the infamous paleoanthropological hoax, Piltdown Man, that was perpetrated in 1908-1912 but did not come to light as a forgery until some 40 years later in the 1950s. The link to Hinton as a possible perpetrator was not made until after his death.

Piltdown Man was a composite of an altered human skull and ape jawbone planted, and subsequently 'discovered', at a dig in Piltdown, Sussex, in 1908-12 and presented as a missing link between man and ape. A trunk belonging to Hinton left in storage at the Natural History Museum and found in 1970 contained animal bones and teeth carved and stained in a manner similar to the Piltdown finds. This was some 9 years after Hinton's death and subsequently raised questions about his involvement in the deception.

One theory concerning Hinton's involvement is as follows (source: http://www.britannica.com/topic/Piltdown-man#ref374472):-

In 1996, two decades after a trunk marked with the initials M.A.C.H. had been discovered in storage at the British Museum (Natural History), bones found in the trunk were analysed. The British paleontologists Brian Gardiner and Andrew Currant found that they had been stained in the exact same way as the Piltdown fossils. The trunk apparently had belonged to Martin A.C. Hinton, who became keeper of zoology at the British Museum (Natural History) in 1936. Hinton, who in 1912 at the time of the original discovery was working as a volunteer at the museum, may have treated and planted the Piltdown bones as a hoax in order to ensnare and embarrass Arthur Smith Woodward. Woodward was keeper of the British Museum's paleontology department and it was he who announced the find at a meeting of the Geological Society of London in 1912. Apparently Woodward had rebuffed Hinton's request for a weekly wage. It is presumed that Hinton used the bones in the steamer trunk for practice before treating the bones used in the actual hoax.

The Piltdown hoax is infamous for the attention paid to the issue of human evolution, and the length of time (40 years) that elapsed from its original discovery to its full exposure as a forgery. The identity of the Piltdown forger remains unknown, but suspects have included Martin A. C. Hinton, Charles Dawson, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Arthur Keith, Horace de Vere Cole and even Arthur Conan Doyle.

SEG is not claiming that Martin A C Hinton was a perpetrator of the hoax but is reproducing information already in the public domain concerning his possible involvement in this mystery. An article in the New Scientist (2.7.1981) by L. Harrison Matthews stated that Hinton during discussions with Dina Dobson and BBC producers in Bristol in c.1953 did say that he knew that the forgery had been done by someone in the British Museum (Natural History) but that he could not reveal the name as the man was still alive. Martin Hinton and Dina Dobson took this secret to their graves.

A photograph of the Roman skeleton found in Saltford in 1948 and that was studied by Martin Hinton can be seen along with Hinton's description of the skeleton in our history project's Online Museum (in the Roman Saltford section).

Information sources:
New Scientist, 2.7.1981

October 2015

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Could you be our volunteer Auditor?

Saltford Environment Group is looking for a volunteer to audit our annual accounts. Although this is not a legal requirement, we would like a qualified person to review our accounts on an annual basis for the sake of good order.

We currently have a modest annual income of approx. 1000 and around 50 transactions in a typical year.

If you are an active or retired accountant and are able to help us with this, please contact the Treasurer, Andrew Stainer, at andrew.stainer@btinternet.com.

September 2015

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Countdown to COP21 Paris climate change summit


From 30 November to 11 December 2015 COP21, the 21st Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), will be taking place in Paris when 192 nations will be meeting to produce a global agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

If you want further information or to follow progress on this important conference that will affect all our futures, you may find the following web links helpful:

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 adapt to those changes and SEG seeks to help Saltford meet that challenge by providing advice and guidance for householders and local businesses on our climate change page >>

September 2015

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Saltford Weather Station


With the mellowness of autumn upon us, this is a reminder, especially for our newer members who may not be aware of this, that our climate change page includes an online Saltford weather station.

This can be useful for picking up the 5-day local weather forecast at a glance, check for flood warnings, and see the rising or falling river level in Saltford.

September 2015

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Plastic bag charging can be your catalyst to start making a difference

With all waste or pollution,
someone somewhere pays for it...

With the introduction in October of a law to require retailers to charge 5p for single-use plastic bags, this is a timely reminder of the need to reduce the waste we generate as well as making a move to greater use of re-usable shopping bags.

According to the Government, in 2013, supermarkets gave out over 8 billion single-use carrier bags across the UK. That is nearly 130 bags per person. This equates to about 57,000 tonnes of single-use carrier bags in total over the year.

100,000 dolphins, whales, seals and turtles are killed every
year by plastic bags being dumped into the oceans

- Sea Change by Richard Girling (2007)

Discarded plastic bags are a very visible form of littering and can cause injury to wildlife. With large amounts of litter including that made from plastic entering the sea each year, the mass of plastic debris in the world's oceans, including the microscopic breakdown products from plastics, is steadily increasing - often with fatal consequences for countless sea creatures. Toxic chemicals are absorbed by plastic and these pollutants accumulate in the food chain, resulting in an even higher concentration of pollutants inside fish, including those consumed by humans (www.theoceancleanup.com, 2015).

Plastic bags are used on average for 20 minutes before being
thrown out. But they will take up to 1,000 years to rot away

- SD Scene (2013)

The effect of plastic bags on the environment goes beyond littering and their effect on wildlife. They consume resources, including oil, in their creation. Even when disposed of responsibly, plastic bags can last for long periods of time in landfill sites.

If you hate seeing litter in Saltford, in addition to regularly clearing it from the pavement areas outside your own home and, being a good neighbour, your neighbour's home, you can also engage with the litter picks organised by Saltford Wombles (or borrow a litter picking tool) and really make a difference. It is a satisfying use of time to remove litter from Saltford's public areas.

Our Less Waste page provides tips and ideas for reducing the waste in our homes and businesses and how to get involved with Saltford Wombles.

September 2015

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Saltford Santa Dash, 6th December

Participants in the 2014 Santa Dash in Claverton Road

It seems too early to be thinking about Christmas activities, but you may wish to be aware of (and start training for?) this year's Saltford Santa Dash that will be held on Sunday 6th December. It will start from and finish at Saltford Sports and Social Club Sports field in Wedmore Road BS31 1BY. As previously the Mini Santa Run around the sports field, about 1 mile, will start at 10am and then at 11am the adults' 5 mile run through the lanes to Keynsham and back will commence.

This year any profit from this community event will be shared between Time2Share and The Carers Centre. Further details including contacts and registration at http://saltfordsantadash.webs.com.

September 2015

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Saltford station latest

Extract from Network Rail's overview site plan for Saltford station site re. signalling infrastructure (May 2014).

Representatives of SEG's Saltford Station Campaign, Chris Warren (Campaign Chair), Phil Harding (SEG Chair) and Rob Taylor (Campaign team member), had a constructive first meeting with the new Conservative administration at B&NES on 1 September to discuss the next steps in taking forward the ambition to reopen Saltford railway station. Present from B&NES Council were Cllr Tim Warren (Leader of the Council), Cllr Tony Clarke (Cabinet member for Transport), and Peter Dawson (Group Manager Transport & Planning Policy). Matthew Barnes from First Great Western was also present.

SEG underlined the democratic wish of Saltford for re-opening our station, expressed most recently in the Saltford Parish Council (76% turnout) and B&NES Council elections (May 2015) where all 11 elected Parish Councillors and the two elected ward Councillors for B&NES had taken a pro Saltford station stance as a priority issue in their election campaigns.

The meeting agreed that a decision was required from Network Rail to show that timetable provision of a half-hourly peak time service stopping at Saltford could be made within the existing and proposed long distance InterCity services. That information should be known by Christmas 2015 in the context of the current MetroWest feasibility work and discussions. A half-hourly service at peak times was required for making the financial case for reopening Saltford station; once this is known then B&NES Council would be in a position to proceed with GRIP (Governance for Railway Investment Projects) stages 3 and 4.

The notion of an alternative site for the station in the Green Belt was discussed. SEG reminded the meeting that (a) the elected Conservative B&NES Councillors and Saltford Parish Councillors were against Green Belt development, and (b) the GRIP process would ensure the optimum site was chosen. SEG also showed Network Rail's schematic plan for the signalling infrastructure work at the station site which included provision for the construction of the station (see plan above).

Since the meeting with B&NES Council on 1st September Network Rail, in response to an approach by Saltford Parish Council, has said that the responsibility rests with B&NES Council as a member of the West of England Partnership for seeking inclusion of Saltford in the timetable development for MetroWest. The Parish Council and SEG have asked B&NES Council at Official and Member level to pursue this so that work on GRIP 3 and 4 can proceed without further delay.

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

September 2015

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Appreciating moss


In our modern everyday lives the value of moss is not immediately obvious. Here in Saltford, close inspection of almost any handful of moss will reveal an important ecological role - that of providing shelter and humidity, a microhabitat, for a wide diversity of invertebrates. It is its position at the base of the ecological food chain that underlines the value of the moss that we see in and around Saltford.

According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), there are over 600 species of moss in the UK (and over 10,000 worldwide). Mosses can form large, coarse, loose, green or yellowish-green tufts, densely matted tufts, or compact green cushions. We have more moss occurring in Britain compared to other similar latitudes, for example the rest of Europe and Asia, as our humid climate provides the right growing conditions thus making our wildlife and habitat so special.

Mosses can be the first to recolonise bare areas of ground recently cleared. In damp conditions, moss is like a sponge, providing semi-aquatic conditions for a whole variety of other tiny creatures, as well as a wonderfully damp nursery that allows the germination of tree seedlings and other flowering plants. When it dries out, some species of moss can be a popular nest material for a large variety of the wild birds that visit and inhabit our gardens.

But moss also has an aesthetic role by helping to keep our landscapes lush and green and on closer examination, many mosses are stunningly beautiful. Perhaps before we rush to clear moss away from our gardens we should hesitate, appreciate moss for what it is, marvel at its natural beauty and allow it space to carry out its essential role in the cycle of life.

Further reading (on the web)

The Moss Grower's Handbook by Michael Fletcher, recommended by the RHS: http://rbg-web2.rbge.org.uk/bbs/resources/fletcher.pdf (pdf on external website)

The British Bryological Society website is full of information on bryophytes (mosses, liverworts and hornworts): www.britishbryologicalsociety.org.uk

September 2015

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Organic September

The Soil Association has come up with 30 simple and affordable small organic changes you can make throughout September to the food and drink that you consume. To help you on your way, they will be sharing on their website a whole host of special offers and exclusive discounts from some of the biggest organic brands and they've also teamed up with some of the UK's best chefs to inspire you with ideas of what you can make using your fresh, seasonal organic produce.

There are lots of ways you can get involved in Organic September, for example:

  • Take advantage of the Soil Association's exclusive offers promotions and get your favourite organic products for even less.
  • Visit your local farm shop (Newton Farm Foods), independent retailer or supermarket and stock up on organic.
  • Find out more about the many events going on throughout the month.
  • Try out some delicious organic recipes which are brought to you by some of the UK's top chefs.
  • Tell the Soil Association what your small changes are for a chance to win some organic prizes including a Sawday's organic holiday!
  • Share your organic tips, recipes and photos with others on social media using the hashtag #OrganicSeptember

For more information including on events that are being organised, visit: www.soilassociation.org/organicseptember

August 2015

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Saltford's History six months on

St Mary's Church, Saltford, Somerset, depicted in 1789 by Samuel Hieronymus Grimm
- from our "Online Museum" where a larger version can be viewed.

We launched SEG's History of Saltford Project six months ago, so it's a good time to give you an update. We'd like to thank everyone who has given us photos, information, ideas and artefacts to photograph - please keep them coming!

We've built up a fabulous resource on the website - do take a look at what we've gathered so far. This includes:

  • a timeline from 300 BC to the present day that shows what was happening in Saltford alongside events in the wider world;
  • the publicity launch of the Saltford Carthaginian Coin (one of the oldest coins found in Britain, dating from 300-264 BC) got our History Project off to a sparkling start - we hope you had the chance to see it on display at the Saltford Festival in June;
  • photographs of numerous other artefacts, from stone and bronze axes to Roman pottery fragments, and several ancient coins of foreign origin (e.g. Roman, Spanish and German) can be seen on the website;
  • a wealth of evidence of human activity in Saltford, including the Anglo Saxon burial site and Bronze or Iron Age round houses. Our evidence goes back at least 4,000 years in time;
  • an Online Museum to showcase the life and past times of Saltford with the project containing over 300 images and photographs of people, places and archaeological finds - including our famous Carthaginian coin;
  • articles on different aspects of Saltford, for example on St Mary's Church, Saltford Manor, and even an article on the fatal danger posed by Saltford's water supply in the late 19th century;
  • a statistical analysis of the 1861 Census;
  • aerial videos of Saltford so that we record history in the making.

What next?

The scope for widening and deepening our research is endless - so, whatever you're interested in, as long as it's connected with Saltford we'd love to hear from you. We welcome your old photographs, maps, stories or even theories about how Saltford came to be as it is today. Much of what we are publishing fits with the school curriculum so we're keen to work with our local schools to help bring history to life.

With the kind permission of landowners, survey work on trying to locate further evidence of Roman settlement in Saltford has already commenced.

Bath Spa University's School of Humanities and Cultural Industries has allocated to SEG three students as project placements who have volunteered to help research different aspects of Saltford's history. We hope this will be the start of a long and fruitful relationship with our local University, schools and the wider community.

At SEG we believe that only by valuing our history and origins can we gain a better understanding of the importance that we as a community should take care of the land and people that support us all. By combining a love of our village and its history with the modern media approach of our web-based resource, we can reach out to a wide audience with all the fascinating material that we capture and share.

You can visit the project's web pages from this link >>

SEG's History Project Production Team

August 2015

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B&NES Energy at Home and the end of the Green Deal

The recent government announcements in July about the closing of the Green Deal finance company and the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund have fortunately not affected the Bath & North East Somerset Energy at Home scheme's ability to help residents. The Energy at Home scheme is still able to offer free, expert home energy advice, and generous grants to help fund energy saving home improvements, including up to 6,000 for solid wall insulation, and up to 2,000 for other measures. Extra help is available for those on a low income or in receipt of qualifying benefits.

If you were hoping to use Green Deal Finance, or use the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund, then the following changes have taken affect:

  • The Green Deal Finance Company, which administers the scheme, is now not accepting any new loan applications.
  • Applications for loans made before 3.30pm on Thursday 23 July will be processed as normal, so long as there are no large errors in them which may change the application.
  • Existing Green Deal loans are NOT affected and will continue to be repaid as normal.
  • Applications for cash from the Green Deal Home Improvement Fund - which is separate and not administered by the Green Deal Finance Company - will close on 30th Sept 2015 or when the remaining 4m funding runs out, whichever is sooner.
  • The Energy Company Obligations (ECO) scheme, which was launched alongside the Green Deal and gives grants to low-income households and people living in older properties, will continue to run until Mar 2017 - its future after that is under review.

For more information about the changes, or to get free expert energy advice, please contact the Energy at Home Advice Service:
Freephone 0800 038 5680
Monday - Friday 9am-6pm & Saturday 9am-12pm
or email advice@energyathome.org.uk
or find out more on the website www.energyathome.org.uk
Twitter: @MyEnergyAtHome

August 2015

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Grow some of Saltford's natural heritage in your garden - Free offer to members

photograph Members may recall that SEG distributed over 700 Bath Asparagus seeds to several of our members in 2013. After a poor growing season last year for this particular nationally scarce plant (also known as the 'Spiked Star of Bethlehem', Ornithogalum pyrenaicum), we are pleased to be able to offer some free seeds again to our members, subject to demand.

These seeds have been sourced from the only two clumps of Bath Asparagus growing wild in Saltford using the Wild Flower Society's Code of Conduct based on the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Our seed stock of this plant is genuine "Saltford" Bath Asparagus not Bath, Keynsham or Kelston sourced Bath Asparagus.

If you wish to know more about this attractive and nationally rare edible* plant that was thought by some to have been brought to Bath by the Romans (between AD 43 until c. 410), see our wildlife feature item from this link where we also give advice on how to grow this plant from seed. It is highly recommended that you read that advice to maximise the chances of a successful planting in your garden.

*(Editor's note: It may have been a delicacy for the Romans, but I wouldn't eat this plant! - however it looks attractive growing amongst long grasses or in wooded areas.)

The seeds are available on a first-come-first-served basis, so if you are interested please contact our Chairman, Phil Harding, by email (phil@philharding.net) with the subject heading "Bath Asparagus Seeds" and please include in your email request your address and your telephone number.

You do need to be a patient gardener to grow this plant as it takes 4 to 5 years to reach flowering maturity so make sure you read our cultivation advice before seeking free seeds - you also need to be confident that you have a spare corner of your garden that can be left undisturbed for the coming years.

August 2015

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No onshore gas exploration in the Saltford-Keynsham area for now

The 1st tranche of the 14th landward oil and gas licensing awards was announced by the Government on 18th August. 27 blocks were announced, with another 132 requiring further environmental assessment under the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010. In the West Country there are four blocks out for environmental assessment to the SE of Bath and seven on the North Somerset coast between Weston-super-Mare and Minehead, but none in the area between Bristol and Bath.

Map image from Oil and Gas Authority, 2015

In particular the blocks that were offered for our immediate area (ST 55, 56, 65, 66, 75 and 76) were not awarded. The map above shows the blocks concerned (blocks marked green require environmental assessment and those marked beige are current licensed blocks).

For reasons of commercial confidentiality the Government does not reveal which blocks were applied for but not awarded. There is no reason to believe that blocks in our area were applied for in the 14th licensing round although we cannot be certain. In December 2012 UK Methane relinquished its licence for the block covering their previous plans for Coal Bed Methane test drilling at Hicks Gate, Keynsham.

Whilst this will be welcomed by most in Saltford and Keynsham, the announcement will be seen as bad news in the 27 new licensed areas (that cover about 1,000 square miles) as well as in the 132 licence areas that are subject to environmental assessments which span about 5,000 square miles. Areas of natural beauty, including the North York Moors and the Peak District, have been licensed for drilling. As have swathes of land near Lincoln, Nottingham and Sheffield. The response from Greenpeace to the Government's announcement has been to say that "the consequences could be devastating... extracting gas from rocks beneath our towns and countryside will put water supplies, and delicate wildlife protection zones, at risk. And drilling for more fossil fuels will keep us hooked on dirty energy for years to come, accelerating climate change even more."

Further information on oil and gas licensing rounds can be found at https://www.gov.uk/oil-and-gas-licensing-rounds or for information on onshore gas exploration and local campaigning visit our feature page on Fracking >>

August 2015

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Great British Bee Count results are out

Photograph Elizabeth Cooksey

"If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe then man
would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more
pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man"

Albert Einstein

The results of the 2015 Great British Bee Count undertaken in May of this year have been published by Friends of the Earth. This annual survey helps raise awareness of the importance of our bee population and the more we as a nation learn about bees and report sightings, the more we can do to protect them.

With 104,280 bees counted, the key findings were as follows:

  • Almost half reported seeing a white-tailed bumblebee. This group includes the garden & buff-tailed species (49%)
  • Honey bees were a close second, seen in gardens and public spaces across the country (48.6%)
  • The count was in May - so lots of participants saw the early bumblebee. A sign that spring has sprung (25%)
  • Female red-tailed bumblebees took fourth. One of the UK's largest bumblebees (20%)
  • A UK resident since 2001, tree bumblebee numbers have rocketed. They often nest in bird boxes (19%)
  • Favourite food: Cotoneaster was four times more attractive to bees than any other plant during May. Be careful when choosing a variety to plant though, as some are very invasive.
  • Bee habitats: School grounds were more popular than parks and gardens for bees with an average of 11 bees seen per count, showing that schools are doing great work to improve habitats.

More information about the Great British Bee Count can be found from this external link: www.foe.co.uk/page/great-british-bee-count-2015-results.

We give tips on making our gardens more bee-friendly on our wildlife page >>

August 2015

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Open for business, even in severe weather?

River Avon in Saltford breaking its banks after prolonged rainfall, November 2012.

Two-thirds of small businesses have been hit by the negative impacts of severe weather in the past three years, says a new report from the Federation of Small Business (FSB) published in July. 'Severe weather - a more resilient small business community' also shows that many small businesses need further support if they are to be resilient to severe weather. Recommendations from the FSB include encouraging small businesses to develop their own resilience plans, and calling on the government to take steps to ensure affordable flood insurance.

According to the report:

  • the financial cost of these severe weather events over this period was, on average, just under 7,000 for each affected business;
  • disruptions to people (customers and staff) and logistics (supply chain, utilities and transport) are the most frequently occurring problems for small businesses during severe weather events;
  • only 25 per cent of microbusinesses (those with fewer than 10 employees) have a resilience plan in place that specifically includes severe weather;
  • small businesses with previous experience of severe weather are more motivated to prepare resilience plans;
  • 93 per cent of small businesses believe severe weather poses a risk to some part of their business.

SEG provides useful tips and links to key sources of resilience advice and guidance including management tools for Saltford's businesses and householders on our climate change page >>

The FSB report can be downloaded from this link: http://www.fsb.org.uk/frontpage/assets/fsb-severe-weather-report-final.pdf (300kb pdf from external site, opens in new window).

August 2015

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Cycling with a purpose

1920s cyclists in Saltford (near the Bird in Hand). Photograph from our "Online Museum".

An account by Paul Goddard on how he got himself motivated to get cycling

I've recently got back from a 92 mile bike ride in preparation for cycling from Land's End to John O Groats early in September. What relevance has this got with the SEG cycling section I hear you ask? The answer is purpose. Let me explain.

23 years ago I bought a mountain bike and then spent the next 16 years looking for an excuse to ride it. Then the tyres deflated and the bits that should move didn't. The excuses went on. In 2008 I had to move jobs from Glasgow to Bournemouth. I was faced with a dilemma; my new place of work was only 4 miles away. Too far to walk, not on a bus route and by the time I'd fired the diesel car up and driven to work Terry Wogan wouldn't have finished waffling and still not played a record.

Enter the bike. Now I had a purpose to use the bike not an excuse not to. Once I'd replaced the perished tyres and squirted oil in the right places I was off, a cycling commuter. I still use that bike once a week to cycle to Keynsham Leisure Centre.

After I'd got my cycling legs I bought a racing bike and entered a triathlon. Now I had a new purpose, to complete a race. This is now my commuting bike, 13 miles to Filton along the old railway path. It is also the same bike that will make the 969 mile journey in September.

So to wrap up, do you have a cycling purpose? The recently resurfaced cycle path between Saltford and The Avon Valley Railway station is fantastically smooth, away from the road and has lovely scenery. It's also only 2.5 Miles from the Bird in Hand, whilst Warmley is 5 Miles from the Bird in Hand. Both have a cafe. Or you could go the other way. Bath is only 5 miles away and like the rest of the cycle path it's flat. Bath has the added attractions of more cafes - see the common thread here?

Don't think of excuses, think of a purpose, and enjoy your coffee at the half way point!

August 2015

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The Big Butterfly Count

Ringlet, Small Tortoiseshell and Speckled Wood photographed by Elizabeth Cooksey and Phil Harding

The big butterfly count is a nationwide survey run by the charity Butterfly Conservation and is aimed at helping us assess the health of our environment. It was launched in 2010 and has rapidly become the world's biggest survey of butterflies. Over 44,000 people took part in 2014, counting almost 560,000 individual butterflies and day-flying moths across the UK.

Butterflies react very quickly to change in their environment which makes them excellent biodiversity indicators. Butterfly declines are an early warning for other wildlife losses. That is why counting butterflies can be described as taking the pulse of nature.

If your children are looking for something to do in the school holidays this is one way of engaging them with the natural world. All they need do is simply count butterflies and moths for 15 minutes during bright (preferably sunny) weather during the big butterfly count (17th July - 9th August).

You can submit separate records for different dates at the same place, and for different places that you visit. Remember that your count is useful even if you do not see any butterflies or moths. You have until the end of August to submit your count record which should have been made between 17th July and 9th August.

To find out how to participate, visit www.bigbutterflycount.org. You will be able to download a handy identification chart to help you work out which butterflies you have seen.

You can send in your sightings online at www.bigbutterflycount.org or by using the FREE big butterfly count smartphone apps available for iOS and Android.

July 2015

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Green Deal funding ends

On 23rd July the government announced it was to cease funding of the Green Deal, the scheme that offers cashbacks, cheap loans and incentives on such things as double-glazing, insulation and boilers. The Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) said it had taken the decision to protect taxpayers, citing low take-up, poor value for money and concerns about industry standards. However, no replacement scheme or policy was announced. Critics of the Green Deal have expressed concerns of the complexity of the scheme and frustration at the stop-go approach from Government to improving energy efficiency in the domestic sector.

SEG will aim to keep members informed of any new schemes giving energy efficiency support.

In the meantime, for free and impartial energy advice you can ring the B&NES Council and the Centre for Sustainable Energy (CSE) "Energy at Home Advice Service" on freephone 0800 038 5680 or visit www.energyathome.org.uk. Energy advice is also available from the Energy Saving Trust's easy to navigate website at www.energysavingtrust.org.uk or from their telephone helpline 0300 123 1234 (national rate call).

July 2015

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Discovering more about SEG's History of Saltford project

The oldest photograph of Saltford in our "Online Museum" taken in 1880.
Photograph by Mr Stock, courtesy of Clevedon Civic Society & Woodspring Museum.

On the 23rd of July our Chairman Phil Harding and Dick Bateman from our history project production team gave an illustrated presentation in Bath to a well attended gathering at the Bath Royal Literary and Science Institute (BRLSI) about the Saltford Carthaginian Coin and how SEG is researching and publishing Saltford's fascinating history online.

Phil is willing to come and speak to local schools and groups who would like to see and hear how SEG's innovative approach to publishing our history online is really putting Saltford on the map as it reveals new information about our past. Contact Phil if this would be of interest to your school or group.

July 2015

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Hummingbird Hawk-Moths in Saltford

Hummingbird Hawk-Moth. Photographs courtesy of Shirley Goodlife

photographTwo members of SEG have seen the Hummingbird Hawk-Moth in their gardens on the south side of Saltford this summer. This fascinating day-flying moth is worth keeping a watch for during warm sunny days.

Native to North Africa and southern Europe, the Hummingbird Hawk-Moth (Macroglossum stellatarum) is increasingly common in southern England. This remarkable day-flying moth is named from its appearance that is very similar to a hummingbird as it hovers, probing flowers for nectar with its long proboscis. It is smaller than any hummingbird and yet it emits an audible hum from its fast beating wings.

The Hummingbird Hawk-Moth drinks the nectar from flowers, such as Red Valerian, Honeysuckle, and Buddleia, and can be seen hovering and probing nectar-rich flowers in sunny locations. The caterpillar feeds on various species of bedstraw; the female adults lay eggs on the buds or flowers of these plants. Hummingbird Hawk-Moths cannot normally survive British winters although increasingly they are managing to do so; they migrate to and from southern Europe and North Africa in autumn and spring.

July 2015

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Watering the birds

Water is the driving force of all nature
Leonardo da Vinci

A bird bath in your garden, whether a ready-made purchased one or homemade provides a great service to garden birds from the much needed water they need to drink or to help them keep their feathers in good condition.

According to the RSPB, ideally bird baths should have shallow sloping sides (so avoid steep sided bowls and dishes), be no more than 10cm deep and be as wide as possible, and at least 30cms across. Remember that birds are vulnerable while they're drinking or bathing, so have a think about where to place it. Think of it as a "puddle on a stick". It is ideal to put it about a couple of metres from any bushes where a predator might lurk, but not too far out in the open. Check that the inside of the bird bath is not too smooth (slippery). If it is the birds might slip into the water so put some pebbles or rocks in the water to give them a better grip.

Birds most need us to give them water when the weather is very hot or very cold. You'll need to keep the bird bath well topped-up in summer and ice-free in winter. In frosty weather, you should never use salt or de-icer. Pour in warm (not hot) water, or gently knock the ice out and replace with fresh water from the tap.

Observing the birds in our gardens and around Saltford can provide a great source of relaxation and a welcome diversion from the stresses of modern life. A bird bath also provides great entertainment for children and adults alike as we start to recognise our regular visitors and new ones too.

Encouraging children to keep a record of the different birds they see helps them learn to identify and value our wildlife. For information on the species of birds that are regularly observed in Saltford see our wildlife page >>

July 2015

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A cleaner, solar powered future?

The sunlight that hits the earth in an hour contains enough energy to run the global economy for a year
Sustainable Business magazine

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA) the role of renewable sources of energy (solar, wind, geothermal, hydropower, bioenergy and ocean power) in the global power mix continues to increase rapidly as renewables maintain the lead as the fastest-growing power source. As global renewable electricity generation expands in absolute terms, it is expected to surpass that from natural gas and double that from nuclear power by next year (2016), becoming the second most important global electricity source, after coal.

Globally, renewable generation is estimated to rise to 25% of gross power generation in 2018, up from 20% in 2011. The IEA expects solar to become the biggest single source of energy by 2050 and the dramatic falls in cost of solar PV means that the sector in 2014 was around five years ahead of where the IEA had previously thought it would be.

The IEA's 2014 report "Technology Roadmap - Solar Photovoltaic Energy" envisioned that up to 16% of global electricity will be from solar PV by 2050. For bulk power on the grid, PV electricity can already be price competitive at times of peak demand, especially in areas where peak electricity is provided by burning oil products.

A more rapid move towards solar energy has many benefits, especially as improved energy storage technologies are developed. As the IEA points out, solar energy is widely available throughout the world and can contribute to reduced dependence on energy imports. As it entails no fuel price risk or constraints, it also improves security of supply. Solar power enhances energy diversity and hedges against price volatility of fossil fuels (oil and gas), thus stabilising the cost of electricity generation in the longer term.

Once PV panels have been manufactured, solar PV entails no greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions during operation and does not emit other pollutants (such as oxides of sulphur and nitrogen); additionally, it consumes no or little water. As local air pollution and extensive use of fresh water for cooling of thermal power plants are becoming serious concerns in hot or dry regions, these benefits of solar PV become increasingly important.

The faster than expected advancement in the efficiency of renewable energy technologies such as solar PV, has meant renewables are projected to generate more electricity than the UK Government had previously projected. This has in part led to the Government's announcement on 22 July that it planned to reduce or end support for renewable energy. Whether this puts at risk investor confidence and future investments that might otherwise have further accelerated the downward cost of solar PV electricity production remains to be seen.

July 2015

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Can we do more to involve our youngest residents?

The thank you card from Saltford School that had many nice comments inside.

SEG was invited in the summer to address and discuss with three classes of 8 and 9 year old boys and girls the subjects of protecting the Green Belt and reopening the local railway station. Our Chairman, Phil Harding, by way of introduction gave a few examples of SEG's activities within the community and then gave an illustrated presentation (including videos) followed by a Q & A session.

The way the children engaged and responded with interest and enthusiasm was encouraging. It is reassuring to know that many of our youngest members of the community really do care and have an interest in the natural world around them and are increasingly aware of the impact our actions and personal choices make; this is something we can encourage and develop within our community.

The pupils at Saltford School are a real credit to their parents, teachers and Saltford. SEG shall seek further opportunities to work more closely with the teaching staff. Our History of Saltford project is just one example of how we can engage with all generations, litter picking through Saltford Wombles is another way we can all help keep Saltford clean, and the assistance from Saltford Beavers, Scouts and Guides on some of our habitat work gives our young people an opportunity to participate collectively in wildlife enhancing project work.

As the Chinese proverb says:

"Tell me and I will forget.
Show me and I may remember.
Involve me and I will remember"

July 2015

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Fairtrade: Big Things from Little Acorns

Fairtrade refreshments at Saltford Manor during the Saltford Festival.

At the Fairtrade Group's request Saltford Community Association agreed that the 2015 Saltford Festival would be Fairtrade Friendly. The Fairtrade logo was printed on all of the promotional literature and posters which reached a wide audience both inside and outside of Saltford, and that was just the start.

Chris Essex and his team supplied and delivered Fairtrade tea, coffee and sugar to every SCA affiliated venue that served refreshments. The Fairtrade Group donated tea, coffee and sugar to the Guides' and Brownies' open evening events. We are proud to say that Fairtrade products were used at every event at Saltford Hall (who have been Fairtrade Friendly for some time now), The Saltford Golf Club, The Saltford Rowing Club, and Eastover Farm. Following the Festival our hope will be that these venues will continue to support Fairtrade.

All of this was made easier by the wonderful support of our local shops. The chocolate treats on the Fairtrade stalls during the Festival were kindly donated by Tesco. The Saltford Co-op have a worthy record of supporting Fairtrade and this year worked together with the SCA and helped keep the coffee cups full, the tea brewing and the wine flowing throughout the Festival. The Bird in Hand and The Jolly Sailor sweetened your tea and coffee using Fairtrade sugar and so the Fairtrade Friendly Saltford message spread.

The Saltford Festival will live in our memories and the 'festival buzz' is still with us leaving a great legacy of local togetherness. Please remember that when you buy a bunch of bananas, some castor sugar or any Fairtrade produce you will be supporting emerging country farmers to achieve fair prices for their produce and give them the means to support their families and villages in a way of their choosing. You don't have to go far to buy Fairtrade produce either, it's all in our local shops.

A big thank you to Saltford Community Association and the village of Saltford for making Saltford a truly Fairtrade Friendly Village. There is more information about Fairtrade on our Fairtrade page >>

Saltford Fairtrade Group

July 2015

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Saltford's Greater Dodder


The Greater Dodder (Cuscuta europaea) is a nationally scarce plant, found in only a few riverbanks and wetland areas in southern and central England. It can be found in Saltford - the photographs (July 2015) are of Greater Dodder found growing wild in Saltford. Flowering in July-September, the plant contains no chlorophyll; instead it absorbs food through haustoria (rootlike organs) that penetrate the tissue of a host plant, typically nettles but including Himalayan Balsam, and may kill the host.


The dodder's seed germinates, forming an anchoring root, and then sends up a slender stem that grows in a spiral fashion until it reaches a host plant. It then twines around the stem of the host plant and throws out haustoria, which penetrate it. Water is drawn through the haustoria from the host plant's stem and xylem (tissue in vascular plants that transports water and nutrients), and nutrients are drawn from its phloem (living tissue). Meanwhile, the root of the dodder rots away after stem contact has been made with a host plant.

As the dodder grows, it sends out new haustoria and establishes itself very firmly on the host plant. After growing in a few spirals around one host shoot, the dodder finds its way to another, and it continues to twine and branch until it resembles a fine, densely tangled web of thin stems enveloping the host plant.

This article was first published on our wildlife page in July 2015.

July 2015

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When drinking Saltford's water could be fatal...

We never know the worth of water
till the well is dry
- Thomas Fuller

The hot summer weather reminds us of the value of our excellent water supply here in Saltford. But this was far from the case in the late 19th Century when it was not just a serious issue of public health for the local inhabitants but proved fatal for some.

SEG's popular history project has published the full text of local press articles from 1886 and 1893. These give a fascinating insight into how public affairs were conducted in Saltford in the 1880s and 90s. They also show just how dangerous the local water supply had become due to contamination from raw sewage leading "to some 30 cases of sickness" from "a population of 421" and at least 6 cases ended in death.

The account of the public "vestry meeting", a meeting of ratepayers, held on 19 May 1893 in Saltford School makes interesting reading. The meeting almost descended into farce as attendees argued over who should be allowed to attend the meeting.

You can read the press articles from this link: Saltford's Water Supply in the late 19th Century.

July 2015

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Older news stories from SEG

'The SEG Newsletter' page carries some of our past and recently published news stories.

Click here to see >>

Contact SEG


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

 All general, membership & urgent (e.g. Press) enquiries to our Chairman please.

 HOW TO JOIN SEG: If you live, work or have a particular interest in Saltford
 and wish to join our email membership list please send an email to our Chairman.
 Please include your name, address and contact telephone number in your
 email application.


 Chairman & Website Editor: Phil Harding phil@philharding.net (07814--720--763)

 Secretary & Website Deputy Editor: Debbie Wilkes mail@deborahwilkes.co.uk

 Saltford Station Campaign: Chris Warren cherokee1883@live.com

 Saltford Fairtrade Group: saltfordfairtrade@hotmail.co.uk

 Saltford Wombles: juliebsampson@gmail.com (or tel: 07807--671--267)

 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?

Our facebook page is at https://www.facebook.com/SaltfordEnvironmentGroup - please "like" us when you visit our page and you'll then get facebook notifications of our postings.

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

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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