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Saltford Environment Group
  towards a sustainable future for our village

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Weir at Kelston Lock, Saltford SEG

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

The big butterfly count (15 July to 7 August)

Protecting Saltford's Green Belt: Joint Spatial Plan update

Businesses can bridge UK electricity capacity gap by 2020 says new report

New Giant Hogweed warning for Saltford's gardeners

A Saltford Heritage Centre?

Waitrose and its customers supports SEG

SEG supports school fair with "Slow Cycle" challenge

SEG's history project reveals fascinating new insights into Saltford's past

Saltford Upcycling Craft Group in the summer

Living without electricity

SCA and SEG to produce Saltford 2017 calendar - want to contribute your photographs?

Tree beekeeping

Summer Wombling

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


News

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


The big butterfly count (15 July to 7 August)

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Marbled White, Comma and Common Blue. Elizabeth Cooksey

The big butterfly count is a nationwide survey 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 52,000 people took part in 2015, counting over 580,000 individual butterflies and day-flying moths across the UK.

This year's big butterfly count is from 15 July to 7 August and could be something to also get younger members of the family engaged in over the summer holidays. Details at www.bigbutterflycount.org.

July 2016

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Protecting Saltford's Green Belt: Joint Spatial Plan update

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The Draft Joint Spatial Plan was due to be considered by B&NES Council's Planning, Housing and Communities Board (PHCB) on 29th July but this has been delayed until September when it will also go out for public consultation. SEG and the Parish Council are jointly monitoring this closely as we are anxious to ensure Saltford's Green Belt is kept out of the JSP.

Background

The West of England's Joint Spatial Plan and Transport Study (www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk) will

   "set out a prospectus for sustainable growth that will help the area (Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset) meet its housing and transport needs for the next 20 years."

Estimates state that the area needs at least 85,000 new homes by 2036, that is 29,000 more than the number already planned in Core Strategies, as well as the transport and other infrastructure needed to support that level of growth.

In B&NES, the B&NES Core Strategy (2014-2029) that was agreed in July 2014 after lengthy negotiations and public consultation is undergoing an early review in tandem with the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP). Once agreed the JSP (2016-2036) will in effect override the B&NES Core Strategy for determining the location and size of new housing developments in B&NES until 2036.

July 2016

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Businesses can bridge UK electricity capacity gap by 2020 says new report

Manufacturing sites, hospitals and retail stores could provide the equivalent electricity supply of 6 new power stations and address the UK's electricity capacity concerns, says a new report from the Association for Decentralised Energy (ADE) during July.

The new report says that up to 16% of the UK's peak electricity requirement, or 9.8 gigawatts, could be provided by businesses through flexing their electricity demand and making better use of onsite generation.

One part of the solution is to engage energy users to manage their energy use and onsite generation to help the electricity system in return for payments, known as demand side response. By turning down demand instead of increasing supply, and by employing more local, efficient generation, demand-side response reduces emissions and helps the UK meet its carbon targets.

This potential for demand-side response would represent a nearly 10-fold increase and shows the scale of support that business energy customers could provide to help fill the gap in keeping the nation's electricity supply and demand in balance.

As old power stations shut down and new renewable generation like wind and solar are not always available (until better electricity storage technologies are developed) the ability for the nation's electricity supply industry to keep the lights on by 2020 is a cause for concern, but the report shows there are solutions.

The full from ADE report can be downloaded here: Bringing Energy Together - ADE report (external link to pdf, opens in new window)

July 2016

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New Giant Hogweed warning for Saltford's gardeners

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A resident recently discovered three massive Giant Hogweed plants growing in her garden after using locally sourced mulch that contained the plant's seeds. This highly toxic non-native plant has to be treated with care and removed by specialists.

As we have warned in previous news items, contact with its sap or its bristles can cause severe skin burns depending on individual sensitivity. It can sensitize skin to ultra-violet light (sunlight), leading to severe blisters, pigmentation and long-lasting scars; hospitalisation may be necessary. Affected skin may remain sensitive for several years. A minute amount of sap in the eye can lead to temporary or even permanent blindness.

If you find Giant Hogweed growing in Saltford, please advise both the Parish Council and B&NES Council (Council Connect on 01225 39 40 41) as soon as possible - and let SEG know too. For your own safety DO NOT TOUCH or attempt to remove it yourself. When removed, under the Environmental Protection Act (1990) Giant Hogweed is classified as controlled waste. Anyone working amongst Giant Hogweed should wear protective clothing that covers the whole body including gloves, hood and face visor.

More on Giant Hogweed can be found on our wildlife page.

July 2016

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A Saltford Heritage Centre?

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The Church Hall, then Queen's School, in early 1900s (top)
and St Mary's Church Hall as it is today, 2016 (bottom)

Members may recall that when our history project reached its first anniversary in March we said that we were investigating the options for displaying some of Saltford's historic artefacts either in Saltford, our first choice, or elsewhere.

Discussions are underway between SEG and St Mary's Church PCC on a possible joint collaboration to create a new Saltford Heritage Centre within the church hall on the first floor. This would be part of a refresh and update of the facilities at the hall in Queen Square.

With its location at the centre of Saltford's Conservation Area, close proximity to Saltford's oldest built structure (the Anglo Saxon tower of St Mary's church, about 1,000 years old) and St Mary's desire to increase its involvement within the wider community, this has the potential to provide Saltford with a useful showcase of its fascinating heritage.

This is all very much at an early stage. If you want to know more or wish to provide your own ideas do speak to SEG's Chairman, Phil Harding, or to the Rector, Rev. Daile Wilshire.

July 2016

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Waitrose and its customers supports SEG

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Many thanks from SEG's Executive Committee to everyone who donated their green token to SEG's 'Community Matters' box when shopping at Waitrose in Keynsham during May. Our grateful thanks are due to Waitrose too; on 6th July they handed over to our Chairman a cheque for 360 which is a very useful boost to our funds.

July 2016

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SEG supports school fair with "Slow Cycle" challenge

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On Saturday 2nd July SEG supported this year's Saltford School PTA Summer Fair with a Slow Cycle challenge. Our Slow Cycle challenge is where you have to cycle a 25 metre stretch as slowly as possible without putting your feet down, so it's all about balance and control.

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2016 Slow Cycle Challenge winners receive their trophies
from SEG Chairman Phil Harding and SEG's 'Slow
Cycle Challenge' organiser Paul Goddard
(L to R: Ben Scott, Phil Harding, Benny Hodgson, Paul Goddard)

Senior winner was Ben Scott with a remarkable time of 5 minutes and 5 seconds, and junior winner (11 and under) was Benny Hodgson with a time of 44 seconds. A special mention for Ava Gregory in the junior section who after 3 attempts managed a super time of 36 seconds and was the slowest girl.

July 2016

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SEG's history project reveals fascinating new insights into Saltford's past

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What happened on a coach just like this in 1891?

New material researched, discovered, transcribed and posted onto the history project web pages in June provide a fascinating series of glimpses of Saltford in the 18th, 19th and 20th Centuries. These include the following:-

(NOTE after clicking on the links you will need to select the featured link on each page you arrive at)

18th Century

19th Century

  • The Church Rambler: St Mary's in 1876.
    This serious yet unintentionally amusing account of church life and Saltford village in 1876 is a real gem. You can download the account from the St Mary's Church page of the history project here:
    St Mary's in 1876.
  • 1886: Angling at Saltford and Kelston.
    Read about the fish caught, the attractiveness of the fishing and the fish caught on the Online Museum here:
    Angling at Saltford and Kelston, 1886.
  • 1891 "Adventures in a train"
    On a winter's night in January 1891 a prisoner, Edward Skinner, was taken off the Bath to Bristol train at Saltford station and handed over to the Station Master Mr Murrow, the relief station inspector that evening. He escaped and was recaptured by two Saltford men, farmer John James Ollis and Isaac Shepherd. The account given in the Bristol Mercury of the court case that followed makes a great read, just like a mystery play, and is amusing at times. It also reveals a lot about the lifestyle in Bath and Saltford in the 1890s. You can download it from the Online Museum here:
    Adventures in a train (1891).

20th Century

  • Saltford School Pupils 1932.
    A photograph of Headmistress Miss Hockey and her 66 pupils with the names of all but a few shown includes many familiar surnames and relatives of many residents living in Saltford today. If you and/or your family has been living in Saltford since the 1930s this is well worth a look and if you recognise any of the pupils which we have been unable to name, do contact us. The photograph is on the 20th Century page of the Online Museum - scroll down to see from this link:
    Select "People" then scroll down to: Saltford School Pupils 1932.
  • St Mary's Church magazine, 1975
    This gives a fascinating insight into church and village life in the mid-1970s when Saltford was served by a butchers shop on the Bath Road, a food store as well as a fresh fruit and vegetable shop in the High Street, and the Post Office also sold toys, cigarettes, tobacco and confectionary. Rev Stephen Wells was our Rector and Audrey Guthrie was running the Young Wives group and the Sunday School. You can download the magazine from the St Mary's Church page of the history project or the Miscellaneous section of the Online Museum where you can also download the Saltford Cricket Club v Somerset CCC Programme, 9th July 1995 here:
    Online Museum: 20C - Miscellaneous.

June 2016

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Saltford Upcycling Craft Group in the summer

The Saltford Upcycling Craft Group will be taking a summer break in July, but we will be back on August 18th (7-9pm). We are looking forward to catching up with everyone at our next meeting when we will be learning how to quill using old magazines. All you need is your creativity and enthusiasm, we have have all the equipment you will need. Join us at Signs of Saltford (works entrance) 559 Bath Road, Saltford.

Do ring Frances Eggbeer on 07789--528834 if you would like to find out more about us or come along on the night. Tina and Frances will be there to make you welcome.

June 2016

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Living without electricity

Do you and your family, including elderly vulnerable relatives, take the constant availability of electricity supplies for granted?

Extreme weather events arising from climate change can cut electricity supplies that have many consequences. Storm Desmond in December 2015 flooded a local substation, leaving 61,000 properties and over 100,000 people in Lancashire and Cumbria without electricity for over 24 hours. The resulting cascade of failures provided a rare insight into the many impacts of a major storm.

The loss of power quickly affected many other services that we all take for granted. Life had reverted to a pre-electronics era.

Most mobile phone coverage and text messaging was lost within an hour; this meant that Lancaster University, for example, had no way of communicating with its 7,000 students about what to do. Internet, television, and DAB radio were all knocked out. During the floods and the loss of the electricity supply, local radio was the best way of finding out what was going on.

The first challenge for many people was to find a battery or wind-up radio capable of receiving the FM band, as the local DAB radio transmitter was off-air. The second challenge was to find suitable batteries. The third was to decide which of the dozen or so FM channels available in Lancaster was most likely to include local news.

On a traditional radio, of the sort you find in the attic, there is no digital display of channel name and normally the only way to look up frequencies is to use the internet. It is perhaps ironic that, in a society with huge commitment to digital infrastructure, the most reliable source of news was a commercial station using technology that would have been familiar to the engineers on the 1960s Radio Caroline pirate radio ship.

Electronic tills and most ATM machines stopped working, which along with non-functioning freezers, meant that many shops could not do business. By 4pm, there were still many people wanting to buy groceries but, to comply with Sunday trading regulations, the supermarket closed.

Gas-fired central heating did not work because control systems and pumps need electricity. Homes with all-electric cooking were unable to heat food. High-rise buildings lost power for their lifts and upper floors lost water supplies. No traffic lights were working and garages could not sell fuel as pumps are driven by electricity.

The railway line was working as it is powered from outside the affected area but the station was closed at 4pm for safety reasons as there was no platform lighting. The local hospital, which has back-up diesel generators, was able to function as normal but vulnerable people in their homes and homeless people on the street were more seriously affected.

The situation was probably helped by the timing of the power cut (10.45pm on Saturday) and by the mild and sunny weather the following day that gave people time to plan what to do. Had it occurred during the working week, after parents had dropped off their children at school and gone to work, the situation would have been more stressful.

The failure of the power supply in Lancaster was an important reminder that things will occasionally go wrong and we need to regularly review our own contingency plans at home and at our place of work for such events. Perhaps something to contemplate over the summer before the autumn/winter months arrive...

Information source: Royal Academy of Engineering report "Living without electricity - One city's experience of coping with loss of power" (May 2016).

June 2016

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SCA and SEG to produce Saltford 2017 calendar - want to contribute your photographs?

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SEG and Saltford Community Association (SCA) have agreed to produce the 2017 calendar of Saltford as a joint venture. SCA produced the 2016 calendar at last year's Saltford Festival; the new venture is to seek to produce a 2017 calendar celebrating what's great about Saltford whilst utilising the photographic skills of our residents, from the youngest to the oldest.

Net profits from the sale of the calendar will benefit SCA and SEG funds. If this proves successful we hope to make this a regular annual feature timed for the festival and/or for the Christmas season.

SEG uses a lot of photographs for its website and will make available suitable stock photographs for the calendar. Members of SEG who are handy with a digital camera and who wish to support this project should get in touch with our Chairman, Phil Harding, so that we can establish a Saltford photographer's list.

We shall be asking for contributions to the calendar in due course (photographs for the 2017 calendar required by the end of September) but if you have any now that you think would be suitable do send them to Phil.

Photographs need to be landscape in shape with the same proportions (ratio) of a 6" x 4" photograph (we can crop if necessary) for the calendar although we do also use portrait shape photographs for website use. They should be submitted as jpeg files and the resolution should be 300 pixels per inch or higher - if you're not sure, don't worry just send them in or contact Phil.

Great shots taken in all seasons (this year or in past years) of interesting views, attractive buildings and local landscapes are what we seek. All photographs published on SEG's or SCA's website or the Saltford calendar will name the photographer (unless the photographer wishes to remain anonymous) and the copyright will rest with SEG and/or SCA.

So, get taking those photographs in and around Saltford and build up your own portfolio. If your son or daughter is interested in photographic art or likes photographing the local landscape, wildlife and interesting buildings, do encourage them to get involved.

You're never too young or too old to be a published photographer!

June 2016

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Tree beekeeping

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Tree beekeeping is an ancient form of beekeeping where Zeidler (Tree Beekeepers) create cavities inside living trees and then manage the hive for hundreds of years, passing it from one generation of Zeidler to the next.

Historically, the Zeidler never introduced a swarm to a hive, instead they would make the hive as attractive as possible for the bees, respecting their natural preference for warm cavities high in trees, away from interference and the cold of the ground. Many modern forests are too barren and devoid of places for bees to nest, forage or collect food.

A movement to restore the craft of the Zeidler is rapidly taking hold across Europe, but the task of the new Zeidler is to not only entice the bees to the many new tree hive cavities, but to also find habitats where the owners cherish the earth and foster its renewal. The Natural Beekeeping Trust recently created the first "Zeidler" tree hive at Pertwood Organic Farm in Wiltshire; you can see their short video about it at www.youtube.com/watch?v=vSpQm4Oj7Ns.

June 2016

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Summer Wombling

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Lily showing litter is not wanted in Saltford, especially by the river.

Saltford Wombles will be taking their customary break from organised litter-picks during the summer but SEG members wishing to sort out a litter problem near where they live or regularly walk can borrow litter pickers, gloves, high viz jackets and bin bags from Julie Sampson. You can contact Julie by email to: juliebsampson@gmail.com or tel: 01225--874603 or 07807--671--267.

If you're wishing to encourage your children to take a more active pride in Saltford and do something for the local community, why not organise a family litter pick and see how much litter you can collect in an hour or two?

May 2016

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Don't mess with Saltford's Admiral Kelly!

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The bust of Admiral Benedictus Marwood Kelly (photographed at Mount Kelly)

During May our Chairman visited Mount Kelly (formerly Kelly College) in Tavistock to photograph the portrait of Admiral Benedictus Kelly hanging high up on the wall of the school library, at Kelly Church (Devon) to photograph Admiral Kelly's grave and commemorative window, and then called next door on Kelly House where he met the current (31st) Squire of Kelly House, Warin Kelly.

This was a highly productive fact-finding tour, revealing further fascinating information about Admiral Kelly. If you visit our history project page dedicated to Admiral Kelly you will find as you peruse the page:-

  • an account of how he went ashore from HMS Pheasant at Dutch Accra (Ghana) in 1820, demanded the release of captive slaves and, when this was refused, returned to his ship which then proceeded to bombard the town. The bombardment continued for two hours until a message was sent agreeing that the slaves (totalling 50) would be handed over. This raises the known tally of slaves he rescued to over 350 and shows that he was not someone slave traders should mess with(!);
  • a new and imposing photograph of Admiral Kelly, taken in the 1850s (our oldest photograph of a Saltford resident). The close resemblance to his portrait painted 20 years earlier in Florence is easy to see whilst his top hat is great to see and was doubtless worn around Saltford;
  • photographs of his grave (the churchyard was so overgrown it was difficult to find - the grass was cleared away from the plaque for the photo!) and of the commemorative stained glass window he funded and that that was moved in 1900 from the front to the rear of the church;
  • Kelly's links with Brunel as steam replaced sail for sea travel. As one of its first Directors Kelly helped establish the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company for transporting Her Majesty's mail. Brunel's SS Great Western built at Bristol in 1838 was the first ship to cross the Atlantic by steam power, directly led to the creation of the Royal Mail Steam Packet Company, and Brunel's SS Great Western was subsequently purchased by that company;
  • an unexpected link (for art lovers) between Admiral Kelly and JMW Turner's famous and stunning 1838 painting of "The Fighting HMS Temeraire". HMS Temeraire fought magnificently in the 1805 Battle of Trafalgar and saved the stricken HMS Victory from certain destruction; our Admiral Kelly at age 19 served on HMS Temeraire as a Midshipman the year before. In 2005 Turner's evocative oil painting was voted the nation's greatest painting in a poll organised by BBC Radio 4's Today programme. We have a photograph of the painting on Admiral Kelly's page; and
  • an 1878 drawing of the hugely impressive Kelly College and its surroundings by the architect Chas F Hansom.

There are also other new aspects to Admiral Kelly's life published in his feature page during May. This continues to grow into a significant tribute to our humanitarian hero as we continue our research into his life as a philanthropist here in Saltford and his remarkable life before then.

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Admiral Kelly's grave,
Parish Church of St Mary, Kelly, Devon PL16 0HH.

You can visit Admiral Kelly's page in our History Project via this link: Admiral Kelly.

May 2016

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Annual river clean held in May

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The annual 'river clean' gets underway in The Shallows

A big 'thank you' from SEG and our Wombles to the canoe and kayaking clubs including Canoe Avon, Avon Outdoor Activity Club and the Cheeky Friday Paddle Club who got together to clean our river on Sunday 15th May.

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One of our young Wombles, Lily, helping to clear the riverbank during the river clean

The annual 'river clean' has now become an annual event and this activity to clear the litter and other debris that accumulates shows that many of our river users really do care about the environment here in Saltford.

May 2016

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Tick advice

Whilst out and about enjoying Saltford's wildlife it is important to be aware of ticks, the bloodsucking, disease-carrying arachnids, that are on the rise in the UK due to milder winters. Residents and visitors to Saltford will need to be careful when walking in long grass or wooded areas where deer may have been present. Ticks may even appear in your garden as has already happened to one resident in Saltford this spring.

Tick bites can go unnoticed although with most people they itch within hours of the tick biting and the tick can remain feeding on your blood for several days before dropping off. The longer the tick is in place, the higher the risk of it passing on Lyme disease, a very dangerous bacterial infection that is spread to humans by infected ticks.

The advice from the NHS is that if you do find a tick on your or your child's skin, remove it by gently gripping it as close to the skin as possible, preferably using fine-toothed tweezers, and pull steadily away from the skin (don't twist or jerk the tick; this can cause the mouth-parts to break off and remain in the skin).

Never use a lit cigarette end, a match head or essential oils to force the tick out. It is important to be aware that using incorrect methods (twisting the tick, using chemicals or a lit cigarette) may cause the tick to spasm and vomit back into your skin and bloodstream, greatly increasing the risk of infection.

We provide further advice on this topic including the advice from the NHS on signs to look out for concerning Lyme Disease if you have been bitten by a tick on our wildlife page.

May 2016

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Saltford Parish Council elects new Chairman

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Chris Warren, Chairman of Saltford Parish Council for 2016/17

At its monthly meeting on 3rd May, the first anniversary meeting since the Parish Council took office after the Parish Council elections in May 2015, Councillor Chris Warren was unanimously elected to serve as Chairman of Saltford Parish Council for 2016/17.

Chris Warren, who many SEG members will know as leader of our Saltford station campaign, replaced Councillor Duncan Hounsell who had decided to stand down from holding the position. The Parish Council thanked Duncan Hounsell for all his work and guidance in steering the new Parish Council through its first year. At the meeting Councillor Phil Harding was unanimously re-elected as Vice Chairman of the Council for a second year.

May 2016

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British public says renewables offer huge economic benefits - and wants more

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There are jobs, money and survival in renewable
energy. Our only safe future is sun power

Dave Hampton

New official Government statistics published by the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) show that the British public believes that renewable energy provides tangible economic benefits - and they want clean energy projects built in their area.

The Public Attitudes Tracking from DECC shows that 70% of people see clear economic benefits to the UK from renewable energy. The survey also showed that 56% would be happy with a large-scale project in their local area.

Hugh McNeal, Chief Executive of renewable energy trade association RenewableUK, said: "It's great that the British public sees how renewable energy is helping to grow the UK economy. Renewables are delivering investment and jobs throughout our country".

These surveys of public attitudes are carried out annually (since 2012). Support for renewable energy has been consistently high since 2012 at around 75-80%. This pattern has continued in 2016 with 81% expressing support for the use of renewables with support lowest amongst those aged 65+ (74%).

Opposition to renewables was very low at 4%, with only 2% strongly opposed.

For 2016 an additional question was asked about people's opinion on three statements about renewable energy. Nearly eight in ten agreed that renewable energy developments should provide direct benefits to the communities in which they are located (77%), whilst seven in ten (70%) agreed that renewable industries and developments provide economic benefits to the UK.

Just over half said they would be happy to have a large scale renewable development in their own area (56%).

The DECC Public Attitudes Tracking survey (wave 17) can be found at www.gov.uk/government/statistics/public-attitudes-tracking-survey-wave-17.

May 2016

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Publishing Saltford's History Online presentation

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The Crown Inn, 1789

Chairman of Saltford Environment Group, Phil Harding, gave an illustrated talk on "Publishing Saltford's History Online" to the "Friends of Saltford Library" group on Friday 6th May. Phil took the group through SEG's popular history project, revealing hitherto unknown but fascinating aspects of Saltford's illustrious past.

If your local group would like a similar talk, contact Phil.

May 2016

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Giant Hogweed warning

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Giant Hogweed - early season prior to the production of flowers (top photo)
& (below) the bristles that can severely burn you if they puncture your skin

With the arrival of the spring growing season, the highly toxic and invasive alien Giant Hogweed is growing again in the same two areas of Saltford where it has appeared since at least 2014. This is where SEG has discovered and reported it for treatment each year - along the side of the railway cycle path towards Bitton and by the riverbank in The Shallows.

As we are discovering, it can take several years to finally eradicate the plant. The objective is to kill it each time it re-appears before it maims or blinds anyone who touches it and before it produces and spreads seed.

SEG has taken rapid action and had a site meeting with the Team Leader for Parks and Trees at B&NES (on 29th April) - the plant will be injected with an appropriate poison by B&NES staff wearing protective clothing.

We have pictures and information about this plant on our wildlife page including how to report its discovery. However, we wish to remind you that if you see it growing elsewhere in Saltford please also let SEG know (inform our Chairman) so that we can monitor it each year and, for your own safety, DO NOT TOUCH or attempt to remove it yourself.

When removed this plant is so dangerous that under the Environmental Protection Act (1990) it is classified as controlled waste. Anyone working amongst Giant Hogweed should wear protective clothing that covers the whole body including gloves, hood and face visor.

As before we do not publicly announce or highlight the precise location of this plant to avoid the risk of older children using it as a play weapon without realising that the sap from this plant can permanently blind or cause severe skin burns and scarring. If you have a need to know where it is, contact our Chairman by email and supply your telephone number.

May 2016

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Railway habitat project making great strides

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Crosswort growing on the railway habitat restoration project area.

Our project to regenerate the habitat beside a stretch of the cycle path, along the old LMS railway line, has made a great start this spring. The plan is to recreate a habitat similar to that in the 1960s when railway gangers used to maintain the embankment slopes. At that time there were very long lengths of rough grassland, rich in herbs, wild flowers and the insects associated with them.

Having cleared a section of trees a couple of years ago there are now splendid views to the west over the river. Sunlight now reaches the bank allowing grasses to flourish. Already some flowering plants are returning; there is a large area of ground ivy and several patches of crosswort (which isn't found any where else on Saltford).

However, the sunlight enjoyed by walkers, cyclists and flowering plants is also enabling nettles and brambles to grow strongly, which could smother the target species. This is where volunteers come in. So far this spring we have been out several times, using a brush cutter to trim a large area at the top of the bank and hand pulling unwanted plants from around the ground ivy and crosswort patches.

We are looking for more volunteers to help cut back the vigorous growth of nettles and brambles. Our next session will be on Saturday 21st May at 4pm. If you would like to join us please contact the project coordinator Odette McCarthy via our Chairman.

April 2016

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Green Belt Latest:
Parish & Town Councils discuss Joint Spatial Plan

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JSP map showing Bristol's "projected" Housing Market Area (in yellow)

B&NES Council held its second Joint Spatial Plan Working Group meeting on Saturday 23rd April for Parish and Town Councils in the Keynsham, Saltford and Chew Valley area of B&NES. Saltford Parish Councillors Adrian Betts and Phil Harding attended the meeting. For background information on the Joint Spatial Plan and its implications for housing numbers see below.

The purpose of the meeting was to give representatives from Parish and Town Councils the opportunity to discuss and identify constraints and issues and then look at aspirations and opportunities.

The conclusion reached by the Parish and Town Councillors present was that after brownfield site development had been completed and if there remained a genuine need for additional new housing in the Bristol Housing Market Area, then the Joint Spatial Plan should look at a new settlement (e.g. in South Gloucestershire) properly designed with sustainable development principles - i.e. a "Garden City/Town". Furthermore, there was a need for Bristol to show that it was doing everything it could do to solve its own housing issues.

The timing and content of the 350+ objections submitted against the proposed 250 houses on the Green Belt at Keynsham East during April (see earlier story) was fortuitous as B&NES can be in no doubt of the very real concerns and depth of feeling against further unsuitable and unsustainable development in this area.

The Joint Spatial Plan meeting on 23rd April was separate from discussions that unitary councils in the West of England (e.g. B&NES) are having with developers.

The draft Joint Spatial Plan should emerge by the end of May or in early June; the Working Group will meet again then to provide initial feedback on the early draft. It is then we will know if developers have been successful in persuading B&NES to identify Green Belt land for housing development with the attendant risk that speculative planning applications from developers will follow.

The current Joint Spatial Plan timetable, as we previously reported, is:

  • June 2016
    Draft Plan
  • June 2016 - Spring 2017
    Consultation
  • Spring 2017
    Pre-submission Plan
  • Summer 2017
    Submission to HM Government
  • Summer/Autumn 2017
    Examination by Government Inspector
  • Winter 2017
    Report by Government Inspector
  • Early 2018
    Adoption

Background

A huge volume of work and lobbying went into agreeing the housing plans in the B&NES Core Strategy adopted in July 2014. The Core Strategy set out the plans to cover housing needs in B&NES from 2014-2029 and did not identify Saltford's Green Belt for development.

However, a new plan is now being drawn up to replace the housing plans in the B&NES Core Strategy. This is the West of England Joint Spatial Plan covering the 20-year period 2016-2036. Once again the community shall need to make the case to keep the Green Belt safe from inappropriate development.

The Joint Spatial Plan is likely to seek an additional 29,000 new homes over and above existing plans by 2036 across the whole of the West of England, i.e. Bristol, N Somerset, B&NES and S Gloucs.

SEG publishes on our Green Belt page the evidence we submit and other relevant information about the Joint Spatial Plan and its potential impact on the Green Belt whilst we will update our home page (News) with the latest Joint Spatial Plan news affecting Saltford.

April 2016

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20th Century Saltford (and photographs wanted)

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Reproduced by kind permission of Historic England

Above is an aerial photograph taken in the late 1960s of Saltford viewed from the north-east side of the village. St Mary's church is on the right where a small field can be seen between the churchyard and High Street cottages and the closed LMS railway is bottom left (this became the Sustrans cycleway). A much larger version of this photograph can be viewed in our Online Museum.

We have made some interesting additions and changes to our history project's popular Online Museum during April, partly as a result of a visit to the Somerset Heritage Centre in Taunton.

The 20th Century was a time of great change, probably more than at any other time in human history, and Saltford saw many changes too. To make it easier to see and follow how Saltford develped and changed, we have re-structured the 20th Century page of the history project's Online Museum by grouping photographs and images by subject headings (e.g. People, River, Buildings, etc.).

During April we have obtained and published 8 new aerial photographs of Saltford making a total of 13 aerial photographs dating from 1936 to 2000 in the 20th Century page. Most can be enlarged and show just what Saltford was like when open fields preceded many of today's houses and tree cover (including Elm trees) was different than from today.

The Online Museum 20th Century page can be visited from this link. Do check out other pages of our Online Museum too - another addition in April, for example, was an evocative description of Saltford published in 1791(!) when several apple orchards existed between the Turnpike road (A4) and the river.

Photographs Wanted

Do you have any photographs of street parties in Saltford from the 70s (e.g. the 1977 Silver Jubilee), 80s or 90s for the Online Museum? If so we can scan and return them to you - please contact our Chairman Phil Harding.

April 2016

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Give your mower a rest (& wildlife a chance)

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Ever thought about the wildlife benefits of NOT mowing your lawn? The RSPB advice is to give your grass mower a rest as mowing your lawn less, and letting parts of it grow long, saves you time and helps give nature a home. The grasses will set seed, wildflowers will be able to bloom, and the longer stems will create a sheltered microclimate - a mini jungle through which beetles and other small creatures can wander.

You'll see all sorts of insects roving through the long grass, pollinators coming to the flowers in the lawn, and hopefully sparrows and goldfinches coming to feed on the seeds whilst other wild birds will feed and thrive on the insects.

The RSPB advises that you can continue to give the mower a rest into autumn. But cutting it at the end of summer, say at the end of August, also mimics the hay meadows of past decades that made our countryside such a haven for wildlife.

If you are concerned about what the neighbours will think, don't worry as it will still look like you care for your garden if, for example, you create a neatly-edged block of longer grass in the middle of the lawn and continue to mow around it.

Your no-mow area can be any size or shape, however for best results try and make it at least a metre-squared. If you are able to locate your no-mow zone away from flowerbeds it is less likely that it will be invaded by garden plants.

Some further advice from the RSPB:

Create paths that look presentable. The trick is in mowing paths through the longer grass. They can be straight paths in a regular pattern, curving paths, or a mini-maze. Kids will love to run along them. There is extra wildlife incentive for mowing paths - there's evidence that creatures actually like using the short paths to move through the meadow, darting into the longer grass to get food.

Create a spring meadow. Leave your areas of long grass until July, and then mow through until the grass stops growing in late autumn.

and/or:

Create a summer meadow. Mow once in late March or early April and then leave it until September before mowing once or twice in the autumn.

On a warm day in summer, get down at ground level and look closely. See what flowering plants were in your lawn all along but never had the chance to flower, such as daisies, clovers and speedwells.

Remember, it is the less tidy areas of our gardens that allow wildlife to flourish whereas the over-tidy areas are virtually wildlife deserts - especially where non-native flowers, trees and shrubs are grown as these provide little or no food or habitat for insects (both our gardening and wildlife pages advise on the use of native plant species).

April 2016

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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

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 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 & contact telephone number
in your email application.


 CONTACTS:

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

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

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- "like" us when you visit our page and you'll then get facebook notifications of our postings.

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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