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Saltford Environment Group
  towards a sustainable future for our village

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The 'Saltford Straight' looks great in the early morning light...

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

See the BBC Points West launch of the Saltford Carthaginian Coin on our website

Fracking in our local area and our General Election Parliamentary Candidates

Canoe Avon help clean up our river

Annual Saltford Dawn Chorus Walk, 26th April (reminder)

Toxic Giant Hogweed reappears in Saltford

The Great British Bee Count, 1st - 31st May

B&NES Council Elections on 7th May: Questions from SEG

Launch of the Saltford Carthaginian Coin (300 - 264 BC)

Free horse manure for Saltford's gardeners

Saltford Brass Mill will re-open on Saturday 9th May

Saltford Wombles: April litter pick to be undertaken by Canoe Avon

Waitrose green token collection for Saltford Scouts during April

Waitrose "Community Matters" support for SEG

Saltford's lost and found artefact was 'Before Cleopatra'

Local actor from Poldark to help tell story of what was lost in Saltford 2,300 years ago...

The History of Saltford goes live!

The 2015 Big Garden Birdwatch results are out

Saltford Upcycling Craft Group workshop, 16th April

Saltford Festival 13 - 21 June

Pictures of solar eclipse over Saltford, 20th March

Want to be trained to become an Otter surveyor?

Election 2015: Nine Meals from Anarchy

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


News

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


See the BBC Points West launch of the Saltford Carthaginian Coin on our website

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BBC Points West reporter Ali Vowles is pictured above with SEG's Phil Harding launching the 'Saltford Carthaginian Coin' to the general public at Saltford Brass Mill on 13th April 2015.

If you missed the launch on BBC TV of the Saltford Carthaginian Coin on 13th April, or wish to see it again, the video is now on SEG's new YouTube channel and can be seen on the Saltford Carthaginian Coin web page >>.

Or you can view it here:-

April 2015

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Fracking in our local area and our General Election Parliamentary Candidates

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Members will be aware that SEG, along with other campaign groups and individuals, has been campaigning against fracking in our area. In December 2012 UK Methane withdrew its planning application to drill at Hicks Gate, Keynsham and last year relinquished its PEDL (Petroleum Exploration and Development Licence) 228 that included Saltford and Keynsham.

There has been little public information on progress with the 14th PEDL licensing round that closed on 28th October 2014. SEG has therefore approached DECC and the Oil and Gas Authority (OGA) for news on our area and whether another operator has sought to purchase the license when it was made available for purchase in the 14th round. The response from OGA was that during the 14th Round, 95 applications were received from 47 company groupings. These applications were for 295 blocks and sub-blocks out of the total area available for applications. However, applications made in the 14th Round were currently under assessment and remained confidential for reasons of "Round competitiveness and commercial sensitivity". Therefore, they are currently unable to identify individual applicants under the 14th Round or to confirm whether or not new application(s) for the area of PEDL 228 have been received or are being considered.

Information on blocks that are to be relicensed under the 14th Round will be published on the gov.uk website at https://www.gov.uk/oil-and-gas-licensing-rounds, following the conclusion of the awarding process. No timing was given.

In responding to that reply SEG reminded OGA that B&NES Council has made it clear on several occasions that it has no intention of granting planning permission for onshore drilling/fracking in its area, partly in connection with the hot springs for the Roman Baths, and the local community is strongly against this, as UK Methane discovered. Furthermore all three Parliamentary candidates for the main parties (Conservative, Labour and the Liberal Democrats) are against fracking in North East Somerset.

More information on this topic can be found on our Fracking page >>

April 2015

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Canoe Avon help clean up our river

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Dionne and Jane (top picture) and other Canoe Avon members are pictured here about to commence the river litter pick, 18 April 2015, starting from the Avon County Rowing Club.

SEG would like to commend and thank the team members of Canoe Avon who undertook an extensive litter pick along the river banks both on land and from the water on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th April.

It is great to see such community spirit from users of Saltford's excellent sport and leisure facilities help to keep our village and its surrounding natural environment clean and healthy. We understand Canoe Avon plan to undertake more river litter picks, in support of Saltford Wombles, in the future.

April 2015

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Annual Saltford Dawn Chorus Walk, 26th April (reminder)

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River Avon view at sunrise during the 2013 Dawn Chorus Walk. © Phil Harding

If you are able to get yourself up early, why not join the Keynsham and Saltford Branch of the Avon Wildlife Trust for a few hours listening to, and watching the birds get up after a night's roosting? This year's Dawn Chorus will be held on Sunday 26th April 4.30am - 8.00am, starting at Saltford Shallows car park.

This really is a great way to learn how to identify from their songs the many birds that are found in Saltford. Songs of all common species will be pointed out and their identification features clarified. The walk will follow the railway path cycle track towards Bath, and back again. Wrap up warm as it can be very cold that early. Binoculars and a bird identification guide will be helpful for once it gets light. Above all you need good ears to be able to pick out the 30+ different species the annual walk normally finds! A hot flask of your favourite beverage is recommended.

For further information and to confirm your attendance, contact Dave Sage on mobile 0789---9716068 the week before the event.

First published March 2015, re-published April 2015

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Toxic Giant Hogweed reappears in Saltford

This is a HEALTH WARNING for users of the Bristol to Bath railway (cycle) path.

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Giant Hogweed - view of stem containing many bristles.
Photograph © Phil Harding.

Saltford Environment Group's wildlife adviser discovered the highly toxic Giant Hogweed on the verge of the cycle path recently and reported it immediately to B&NES Council. The sap from this plant can blind you permanently if rubbed into the eyes and the bristles on its stem and under its leaves can cause long term skin damage causing nasty and scarring burns when skin is exposed to sunlight for several years thereafter.

This was found in the same location last year and dealt with by B&NES Council and it has now been dealt with again. We shall keep a close watch on the area concerned and are asking B&NES to assist us in finding a permanent solution.

Please tell your children to stay off the grass verges and keep your dog on a lead when using the Bristol to Bath cycle path, particularly between Saltford and Bitton.

For further information about Giant Hogweed and what to do if you discover it, visit our wildlife page >>

April 2015

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The Great British Bee Count, 1st - 31st May

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Photograph © Elizabeth Cooksey

It's an early bee count this year. Different bees fly at different times. This year 'The Great British Bee Count' will be looking at bees that appear earlier in the year. So on Friday 1st May get ready to download the new bee spotting app and let Friends of the Earth who organise the annual count know what bees you see.

The Great British Bee Count will run for the whole month of May. Details from this link: FoE - The Great British Bee Count (external site). See also Advice on getting ready for the Great British Bee Count (external site).

April 2015

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B&NES Council Elections on 7th May: Questions from SEG

SEG has asked the prospective Local Councillors for the Saltford Ward on B&NES Council in the forthcoming election on 7th May six questions on behalf of our members as follows:-

1. Do you support a bypass? If yes, what route would it take?
2. Do you wish to see Saltford's Green Belt protected from future development?
3. Do you support fracking in Somerset?
4. Do you agree with and support Saltford Station being rebuilt on its original site?
5. How would you encourage sustainability in Saltford?
6. How would you address the acute problem of affordable homes in Saltford for future generations?

The answers we received are set out below (in alphabetical order by party) - scroll down the page or click on the links.

Click here for Conservative Party answers

Click here for Green Party answers

Click here for Lib Dem answers

Conservative Party

1. Do you support a bypass? If yes, what route would it take?

We accept that, at the moment, there is no prospect of a bypass being built in the immediate future - i.e. the next four years or so - so it isn't something we are proposing in this election. However, long-term we believe that it may become a necessity to reduce the congestion and pollution levels in the village, unless we are able to reduce the traffic through the village and the pollution levels through other means. There would obviously be many issues to resolve if a by-pass were to be built - such as finding an acceptable route, but given that 70% of residents support the idea in principle, we believe it would be irresponsible to rule-out the prospect completely, which is one of the reasons we continue to object to the prospect of new houses being built on Greenbelt by Broadmead roundabout. The Conservative manifesto states that the possibility of a Saltford bypass should remain within the West of England's joint transport plan as a long-term possibility.

2. Do you wish to see Saltford's Green Belt protected from future development?

We are totally opposed to any development in the greenbelt around Saltford, which is why I and other local Conservative Councillors voted against the Core Strategy plan for a further several hundred houses to built in the gap between Keynsham East and Saltford. We believe we have a strong track-record on this issue, working with Jacob Rees-Mogg to protect the greenbelt land at Manor Road.

3. Do you support fracking in Somerset?

No. We do not believe that sensitive areas like AONB and Greenbelt - or places with such a proximity to Bath's hot springs - are right for fracking, so we do not support it in our area.

4. Do you agree with and support Saltford Station being rebuilt on its original site?

Yes definitely. We are pleased that it seems a consensus has now been reached on this issue - i.e. that the original site is the most desirable location for a Saltford Station, but that local concerns over parking and access must be addressed, and that if they cannot be satisfactorily addressed then we need to ensure alternative locations are there as a back-up plan to ensure the station becomes a reality. This is the position the Council has signed-up to, and a commitment to the MetroWest project is in the Conservative manifesto.

5. How would you encourage sustainability in Saltford?

We want to see better and more affordable public transport links both bus and rail, as well as continuing to develop safer cycle routes. 'Supporting Sustainable Transport' is the first chapter in the Conservatives' 'Getting B&NES Moving' transport manifesto, which can be read in full at www.bathnes-conservatives.com/transport. Beyond transport, the Conservative manifesto for B&NES commits to providing incentives to increase recycling rates, reaffirming the Council's target of sending zero waste to landfill and addressing the causes and effects of climate change in the area - such as supporting better home insulation and renewable energy to make homes more energy efficient.

6. How would you address the acute problem of affordable homes in Saltford for future generations?
This is a much more difficult problem to address in a few words, but there are so-called brownfield sites within the housing boundary and these should be looked at with the view to maximising the use of space. Overall, affordable housing has to be looked at as a B&NES-wide issue, with maximum use of brownfield sites, like Somerdale, and ensuring developers stick to their obligations to provide 30-40% affordable housing within developments.

Councillor Francine Haeberling (14.4.2015 by email to SEG on behalf of Francine Haeberling and Emma Dixon)

Green Party

1. Do you support a bypass? If yes, what route would it take?

The Green Party will alleviate the pressure put on Saltford by the A4 by supporting the reopening of the railway station on the edge of town. We will renationalise the railways and peg fares so they are affordable. We'll integrate all public transport - rail, bus and cycle networks - to make those options more attractive. We'll also encourage Bristol and Bath to discourage vehicles from entering the cities, particularly at peak times.

It's been proven that more roads just encourage more cars - a bypass may make very little difference to Saltford's traffic problem. Encouraging people to step out of their cars and use world class and affordable public transport would, we think, be a better option.

2. Do you wish to see Saltford's Green Belt protected from future development?

Yes. It's important that Saltford retains its unique character and its community identity, separate from Keynsham and Bath. We recognise there are pressures on housing in Saltford though, and our housing policy would help alleviate them.

3. Do you support fracking in Somerset?

No - the Green Party is the only political party in England to commit to a ban on fracking. If we want to protect the planet for future generations those fossil fuels need to stay in the ground. Instead, we'll invest in the renewables sector and in providing a free nationwide retrofit insulation programme.

4. Do you agree with and support Saltford Station being rebuilt on its original site?

Yes. In addition we pledge to renationalise the rail network and make sure fares are affordable. We'll work with our regional partners to make sure Saltford and Keynsham are well connected to regional (especially the Greater Bristol Metro) and intercity services.

5. How would you encourage sustainability in Saltford?

We've only got one planet and we need to live within its boundaries. We'll increase recycling rates nationally; we'll ban food waste and organic materials going in to landfill. Any social housing built in Saltford will be of high sustainability standards and incorporate green spaces. We'll protect land and water - including Saltford's green belt and the river Avon. We'll help people save energy and money by retrofitting homes, and we'll encourage use of public transport, building pedestrian and cycling infrastructure. And importantly, we will ban fracking.

6. How would you address the acute problem of affordable homes in Saltford for future generations?

The Green Party wants to protect the green belt around Saltford, and we're committed to ensuring that new homes are built on brownfield sites where possible. We prefer to see housing developments that serve the needs of the community rather than national development companies.

We will respond to Saltford's housing needs by providing Council or housing association-run affordable homes. We'll change the Council tax bands with empty homes being charged more. We'll make sure private rents are affordable too, by regulating private landlords.

We'll encourage brownfield development by removing VAT on renovations so local builders and communities can bring disused buildings back into use rather than building on green spaces.

Across England we're committed to building 500,000 social rented homes, to ending the bedroom tax, and putting a stop to mass council house sales and the Right to Buy at a discounted price scheme.

Liz Barling (15.4.2015 by email to SEG).

Liberal Democrats

1. Do you support a bypass? If yes, what route would it take?

Duncan Hounsell:
No. There are no local credible routes anymore. A route from Broadmead roundabout is ruled out now because there will be a new housing estate built there under the B&NES Core Strategy (the blueprint for the next 15 years) which has been signed off by an independent inspector. I would oppose a road being built at the back of Grange Road, Montague Road and Manor Road hugging Saltford tightly to the south. There is the danger of cramming in new housing estates and the loss of valuable green belt land. Finally, a by-pass for Saltford was considered in 2006 by the four local authorities and rejected as an option because of the very high costs (almost £100 million in today's money) and lack of strategic value to the region. The Lib Dem B&NES councillors unanimously opposed a planning option for Saltford of 5000 houses plus a by-pass.

Farida Wilson:
No, because realistically and for financial reasons coupled with strong local opposition, it is never going to happen. It is much better to divert any funding to improve the current state of the A4. Further, I would not like the local businesses to suffer as a result of a by-pass.

2. Do you wish to see Saltford's Green Belt protected from future development?

Duncan Hounsell:
Yes. The overriding wish of Saltford's residents is to maintain the protective green belt that surrounds Saltford. The main purpose is to stop urban sprawl and keep Saltford as a separate community. The Lib Dem B&NES councillors unanimously opposed a planning option for Saltford of 5000 houses plus a by-pass.

Farida Wilson:
Yes. The majority of Saltford residents want the protective green belt to be maintained and retain the 'community' and 'village' atmosphere.

3. Do you support fracking in Somerset?

Duncan Hounsell:
No. It is simply not worth any risk to the hot springs in Bath, a World Heritage city. Even if "fracking" could be made safer, why would one bother? The effort and investment should go into renewable energy sources.

Farida Wilson:
No. I oppose Fracking in Somerset due to the possible impact on the hot springs and the immediate surroundings of Bath, which is a World Heritage City and visited by many tourists. Moreover, there is insufficient knowledge about the process and the possible practical effects of fracking on the local environment.

4. Do you agree with and support Saltford Station being rebuilt on it's original site?

Duncan Hounsell:
Yes, if concerns over parking and access can be overcome. The traditional site is surprisingly large with room for 144 vehicles, more than enough for current passenger demand. The site is within walking and cycling distance for the whole village. Saltford station will help not only Saltford's hard-pressed commuters but also our young people who will be able to look for work or study much further afield. The larger network will take thousands of journeys away from the A4. The Lib Dem run B&NES Council has put £250K into the budget to take the station project forwards.

Farida Wilson:
Yes. The Lib Dem run B&NES Council has put £250K into the budget to take the Saltford Station project forwards. The station will benefit Saltford residents especially younger and future generations as travel will be easier and faster between the two cities and further afield. The greatest concern that I have (especially as a resident on the A4 Bath Road) is about suitable access to the station from off the main A4 and the 'parking' situation in the residential side streets.

5. How would you encourage sustainability in Saltford?

Duncan Hounsell:
Sustainability is about avoiding using up natural resources. The Lib Dem run B&NES Council has an outstanding record in recycling and we all value the weekly waste and recycling services. Less than a third of waste in B&NES now goes to landfill. Efficient LED street-lighting has also been installed in many of Saltford's roads. The frequent bus service and a re-opened railway station will provide us with more sustainable transport options for the future. The Lib Dem run B&NES Council has extended and improved the cycle network in this area.

Farida Wilson:
I would encourage sustainability in Saltford by raising awareness at every suitable opportunity. Education is the key to this, and we need to realise that we cannot use up all the natural resources. The Lib Dem run B&NES Council already has an outstanding record in recycling and their rates are now back amongst the best in the country. My message is that we need to respect our environment and pass on the legacy to the future generations. The Saltford Environment Group website is a great source of information and advice.

6. How would you address the acute problem of affordable homes in Saltford for future generations?

Duncan Hounsell:
The important principle is that the local council should decide where homes and affordable homes go and not developers. Homes need to be built where there are jobs and where there are good transport links. Saltford is a large village of over 4,000 people. There are few sites left for potential house building including affordable housing within the housing development boundary. This is why Saltford has not been ear-marked for major future housing development by the Lib Dem run B&NES Council. Nevertheless, I would want to work with Curo and other interested organisations to see what additional affordable housing may be possible in Saltford. With the right level of investment, there are some existing small plots of land that could be used.

Farida Wilson:
This is the responsibility of the local authority, the planning department and Curo. My own personal view is that suitable plots of land need to be identified and if affordable housing can be built to blend in with the village, I am all for it.

(Sent by email to SEG 11.4.2015. Published and promoted by W.Hobhouse on behalf of Duncan Hounsell and Farida Wilson (Liberal Democrats), all at 31 James St West, Bath, BA1 2BT, and by T.Gordon on behalf of the Liberal Democrats, all at 8-10 Great George Street, London SW1P 3AE.)

April 2015

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Launch of the Saltford Carthaginian Coin (300 - 264 BC)

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"the earliest tangible evidence for contact
between the Mediterranean and Saltford"

British Museum, London WC1
(6th March 2015)

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BBC Points West reporter Ali Vowles is pictured above with SEG's Phil Harding launching the 'Saltford Carthaginian Coin' to the general public at Saltford Brass Mill on 13th April 2015.

In November 2012 the river Avon in Saltford was in flood and burst its banks flooding nearby roads and lanes. In the silt that was deposited by the flood waters was found a Carthaginian Coin. This has been authenticated by the British Museum and in 2015 the finder, who wishes to remain anonymous, asked Saltford Environment Group's Chairman to bring this fascinating find into public knowledge as part of our "History of Saltford" project.

This Iron Age copper coin dated at between 300 BC and 264 BC and struck in the Western Mediterranean (probably Sardinia or Carthage) is possibly the oldest dateable evidence of human activity found in Saltford and, we understand, the West of England. It is one of the oldest coins found in Britain and suggests early links between the Mediterranean and the Bristol Channel and/or River Avon in the Iron Age.

We are working in partnership with B&NES Council to produce an exhibition about the coin and to display the coin itself at the Saltford Festival in June of this year (details to follow closer to the fesitval).

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BBC Points West reporter Ali Vowles telling her TV audience about the Saltford Carthaginian Coin,
13th April 2015, by a Willow Tree ("Leah's Tree") on the banks of the river Avon in Saltford.

So that anyone and everyone with access to the internet can learn about the Saltford Carthaginian Coin, we have created a dedicated series of web pages about the coin which make fascinating reading. These are:

   1. The Saltford Carthaginian Coin (home page) >>

See the British Museum authentication for the coin and learn about where it came from including information about Tanit (the Punic and Phoenician goddess depicted on the coin), the Punics and the Phoenecians.

   2. TIMELINE (from 300 BC to the modern age) >>

Key and interesting historical national and worldwide events from when the coin was struck in the western Mediterranean to its discovery in 2012 with Saltford events highlighted throughout the coin's lifespan of 2,300+ years. This makes an invaluable teaching and learning aid, bringing ancient and modern history to life for local inhabitants of all age groups.

   3. Leah & the coin >>

We take you back in time to Saltford in c.300 BC and suggest through a Celtic Maiden, Leah, various propositions of just how that coin might have got into the river Avon at Saltford only to be washed up 2,300 years later during a flood.

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Did Celtic girl Leah throw the coin into the river 2,300 years ago..?

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Local actor Ed Browing (pictured above) who appears in the hit new BBC 1 TV series 'Poldark' helps to tell the story of the lost and found coin. Interestingly, the copper dug from Cornwall's copper mines at the time of the Poldark story would have been sent to Saltford Brass Mill as a raw material for smelting etc.

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Our coin is so old that it is not just BC (Before Christ) but 'Before Cleopatra!'

Background to SEG's 'History of Saltford' project

As part of its purpose to champion all that's great about Saltford for a better and more sustainable future, SEG decided in early 2015 to research and record the History of Saltford on our website (link to HOS home page). 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.

This is a significant project. We shall be recording Saltford's history from the Iron Age to the modern day and make it available for all to see on our website. We are already uncovering fascinating facts about life in Saltford in past centuries. This is an iterative process, slowly growing and developing in content as we research and discover information.

Never before has the history of a village like Saltford been published in this way; the project's web pages are purposefully designed to allow us to produce magazine articles at short notice and even a book on aspects of the project or even the whole story of Saltford.

Backed by the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute (BRLSI), B&NES Council, and Bath Spa University, this is an evidence based project; where knowledge of our past is only theoretical or based on rumour and is not factual, we shall make that clear.

April 2015

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Free horse manure for Saltford's gardeners

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Vegetables etc. grow well with horse manure!

If you need horse manure for your garden, the keeper of horses between Keynsham and Saltford would love you to help yourself to her ever growing supply.

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Directions: Turn into Manor Road lane (the right turn at the top of Grange Road), go past Eastover Farm and when you reach the 'T' junction turn right (i.e. stay on Manor Road). Just to the left of the field gate on the second bend in the road is a huge heap of horse manure from which you can freely help yourself (the boot of the Audi car in the photograph is pointing towards the location of the manure heap). You will be doing the horse owner and your vegetables and roses etc. a big favour.

This has not been scientifically proven, but the Editor has noticed that the neighbours' cats who like to use his garden as a toilet whenever possible, avoid freshly spread horse manure.

April 2015

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Saltford Brass Mill will re-open on Saturday 9th May

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Our ancient monument that gives such a fascinating glimpse of Saltford's industrial heritage, Saltford Brass Mill, will re-open on Saturday 9th May following a £50,000 conservation programme which has caused the mill to be closed to visitors for the past two years.

The mill will be open on the 9th and 10th of May, from 10:00 until 16:00, to coincide with National Mills Weekend.

Thereafter, the mill will be open on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month until October.

Special visits by interested groups can be arranged by emailing enquiries@brassmill.com or contacting Brian Cooper on 01225--872954. Link to website: Saltford Brass Mill

April 2015

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Saltford Wombles: April litter pick to be undertaken by Canoe Avon

Due to Easter, the April litter pick was to have been arranged for Saturday 11th April however the Canoe Avon group are kindly carrying out a litter pick along the river from 12noon on Saturday and Sunday 18th and 19th April starting from The Saltford Rowing Centre (BS31 3JS).

April 2015

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Waitrose green token collection for Saltford Scouts during April

To parents and friends of Saltford Scouts: Waitrose in Keynsham now have "Saltford Scouts" as one of the 3 charities for their "Community Matters" green token donation scheme this month (April). After the cost of their hut extension the group needs to raise funds for their next project.

We can all help when we shop in Waitrose. Remember to ask for your token when you shop at Waitrose and pop it in the "Saltford Scout" box. The more tokens they get by the end of April, the larger the share of the £1,000 they will receive.

April 2015

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Waitrose "Community Matters" support for SEG

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A young SEG supporter donating her token into our box in Waitrose on 25th February. © SEG

We are pleased to announce that we have been advised by Waitrose in Keynsham that the result of their "Community Matters" monthly support scheme in February has resulted in a grand total of £390 for SEG.

Each month £1,000 is donated by Waitrose to be shared between 3 good causes and the money is split by the number of tokens donated by shoppers. We are very grateful to the staff at Waitrose Keynsham for this useful support and for all the shoppers who put their tokens in the SEG Donation Box.

Thank you everyone! - this means a lot to the team behind SEG as we work on your behalf to make Saltford an even better place to live and work.

March 2015

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Saltford's lost and found artefact was 'Before Cleopatra'

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Elizabeth Taylor had nothing on our Jaye pictured here as Cleopatra. The lost and found artefact is so old that it is not just BC (Before Christ) but 'Before Cleopatra!'

SEG shall be launching details of this soon as part of our new "History of Saltford" project and will include a fascinating timeline (including Cleopatra!) to show what has happened in the world and to Saltford during the lifetime of the artefact.

March 2015

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Local actor from Poldark to help tell story of what was lost in Saltford 2,300 years ago...

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What did this young Celtic girl lose in Saltford 2,300 years ago? Well, it has been found recently and is one of the oldest artefacts of its kind ever found in Britain!

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Local actor Ed Browing (pictured above) who appears in the hit new BBC 1 TV series 'Poldark' will be helping to tell the story of the lost and found artefact on our website when it goes live.

SEG shall be launching details of this soon as part of our new "History of Saltford" project (see previous story) so watch this space (and BBC TV...).

March 2015

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The History of Saltford goes live!

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Saltford shown on a 1610 map of Somersetshire created by
John Speede during the reign of Elizabeth I

As part of its purpose to champion all that's great about Saltford for a better and more sustainable future, SEG decided in early 2015 to research and record the history of Saltford on our website. 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.

This is a significant project. We shall be recording Saltford's history from the Iron Age to the modern day and make it available for all to see on our website. We are already uncovering fascinating facts about life in Saltford in past centuries. This is an iterative process, slowly growing and developing in content as we research and discover information.

Never before has the history of a village like Saltford been published in this way; the project's web pages are purposefully designed to allow us to produce magazine articles at short notice and even a book on aspects of the project or even the whole story of Saltford.

Backed by the Bath Royal Literary and Scientific Institute and B&NES Council, this is an evidence based project; where knowledge of our past is only theoretical or based on rumour and is not factual, we shall make that clear.

To whet your appetite if you visit the "work in progress" history project pages from this link 'The History of Saltford' you will be able to see the Domesday Book entry for Saltford including its translation into English and an explanation of what it all means, and online photographs of the 13th Century medieval wall paintings inside Saltford Manor. These are the oldest in England and have never before been published together in such detail on the internet.

We also have some spectacular photographs of St Mary's Church including the modern yet wonderful stained glass window of the tower; normally only the choir and the organist are privileged to see this window in all its glory!

Our statistical analysis of the 1861 census makes fascinating reading. For example in 1861 the most popular male forenames were William and George (both back in fashion at present) and for females the most popular names were Elizabeth and Sarah; classic biblical names that never seem to go out of fashion.

If you have any historical information or you are able to lend us old photographs of Saltford, sketches, old maps, historic documents, very old coins or jewellery that you have found in Saltford etc. (the older the better) we shall certainly want to talk to you.

The project's production team are full of ideas for developing this project, from interviewing our long-standing residents to taking aerial photographs after periods of drought to try and locate the two Roman villas that were almost certainly within our parish boundary.

You can contact the project's Production Team by email to SEG's Chairman, Phil Harding, who is leading the project - see Phil's contact details below. Please state "SEG History Project" in the email subject heading. Alternatively you can contact Phil on 07814--720763. However, it might be better for you to wait for us to announce progress with the project on our website and in future editions of SCAN when we will also make specific requests for information.

March 2015

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The 2015 Big Garden Birdwatch results are out

Over 585,000 took part in this year's Big Garden Birdwatch weekend and according to the RSPB the results show an increase in most of the top 20 birds compared with 2014.

The top ten most commonly observed birds were:-

   1. House sparrow
   2. Starling
   3. Blackbird
   4. Blue Tit
   5. Wood Pigeon
   6. Chaffinch
   7. Robin
   8. Great Tit
   9. Goldfinch
   10. Collared Dove

You can see detailed information about the 2015 Big Garden Birdwatch results on the RSPB website from this link: RSPB - Birdwatch.

March 2015

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Saltford Upcycling Craft Group workshop, 16th April

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With spring here and summer around the corner, you can change your jewellery whenever you like without costing the earth.

Create your own unique fashion jewellery for spring. At April's workshop we will be fashioning paper beads (see image above), which can be made into your own unique earrings, bracelets and necklaces. If you have any pretty coloured paper bags, wrapping paper or magazines bring them along, but don't worry we have a good supply.

Our workshops are friendly, fun and free where everyone is welcome and no experience needed. No need to book to join us on April 16th between 7-9pm. You can find us at Signs of Saltford (workshop entrance) - Tina Curtis - 559 Bath Road, Saltford.

If you would like to know more about upcycling and our group please ring Frances on 01225---872833.

March 2015

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Saltford Festival 13 - 21 June

Saltford Festival is planned for 9 days from Saturday June 13th to Sunday June 21st 2015. This village wide, biennial event has helped to raise money for the Community as well as for other charities whilst providing opportunities for groups and individuals, to come together and to share the amazing diversity of talent and interests in the Saltford area. It allows participation by every age group.

You can find the festival programme from this link: Saltford Festival (external site).

March 2015

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Pictures of solar eclipse over Saltford, 20th March

In case you missed it, here's the solar eclipse over Saltford on Friday 20th March:

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Should you find the eclipse photograph a bit dull, here it is in abstract...

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March 2015

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Want to be trained to become an Otter surveyor?

The recently formed Greater Bristol Otter Group are mainly covering Bristol at the moment but wish to extend surveys into other Unitary Authorities as they recruit more surveyors. With this in mind they are offering free training sessions and plan to run another training session in May.

If you are interested in becoming involved please contact them by email to bristol.ottersurveygroup@gmail.com. If you do have training and become involved please let SEG know and share your survey findings with us. Evidence of otters along our river here in Saltford is regularly found.

March 2015

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Election 2015: Nine Meals from Anarchy

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Food security, an issue affected by climate change, population growth and unsustainable consumption of finite fossil fuels, is one topic you might like to raise with those who seek to represent us in the General Election when they ask for your support.

B&NES Council launched its "Local Food Strategy 2014-2017" at a seminar in Farrington Gurney on 10th March. The strategy covers issues such as health and wellbeing; economy and jobs; local food production; provision of and access to good food; and environmental sustainability and food security.

With regard to the food security, the New Economics Foundation (NEF) produced in 2008 a report "Nine Meals from Anarchy" and this was referred to during the presentations at the local food strategy launch. It makes a sobering read. This is an extract from that report:

   "Imagine that the the petrol stations ran dry. The trucks would stop rolling. The supermarket shelves would be bare within three days. We would be nine meals away from anarchy. Based on a mid-range IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) scenario for global warming, recent work by the UK's Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research modelling the future of global drought patterns delivers terrifying implications for the food chain and human survival. The proportion of the Earth's land surface prone to extreme drought has trebled from just 1 per cent to 3 per cent, in less than a decade.
   But it projects that this trend will continue until extreme drought affects no less than 30 per cent of the globe by 2090. We will, of course, be in big trouble well before then.
   Drought is projected to affect the great grain-growing areas of Europe, North America and Russia, as well as the Middle East and Central Asia, North Africa and southern Africa, Amazonia/Brazil, and Central America. If people cannot grow food to eat they will migrate. If they migrate, there will be more competition for resources, and there will be conflict.
   Energy use, diet, transport and climate change are linked in many ways both as cause and consequence. Analogous to what has happened in finance, just as unrealistic fossil-fuel use has leveraged many into unsustainable lifestyles (whilst marginalising many others). The sudden withdrawal of first oil, and then natural gas due to rising prices and restricted availability could trigger 'de-leveraging' with dramatic consequences."

As an island nation, Britain needs to learn from the experiences of other island nations in surviving catastrophic losses of food and/or energy supplies. The NEF report gives examples and makes the interesting point that island communities had to respect their environmental limits, which are more obvious on small islands, and evolve "resilient local economies that helped them cope with extreme and unpredictable weather. These were, of necessity, based on reciprocity, sharing and co-operation, and not unlimited growth, fed by individualistic, beggar-thy-neighbour competition."

The B&NES Local Food Strategy 2014-2017 can be downloaded from this link: www.bathnes.gov.uk... (pdf on external site).

The NEF report "Nine Meals from Anarchy" can be found from this link: www.neweconomics.org/publications/entry/nine-meals-from-anarchy.

March 2015

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20mph speed limit for Saltford residential roads from 30th March

imageWe understand that the installation of 20mph speed limit signs in Saltford has been scheduled to commence on Monday 30th March. Initial works will include erection of posts, followed by fixing of signs and then road marking roundel placement.

During this period there may be some ambiguity with any existing 30mph signs and road markings, which may cause confusion for a short period, but we understand that enforcement will not be carried by the Police until all works are complete and necessary checks have been undertaken.

March 2015

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SEG is on facebook!

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We now have our own facebook page. If you are on facebook please do join us by "liking" our page and encourage your facebook friends to do the same.

Our facebook page can be found from this link: https://www.facebook.com/SaltfordEnvironmentGroup.

March 2015

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National Bird Campaign awaits YOUR vote!

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Kingfishers can be seen on the River Avon in Saltford

Never mind about the forthcoming General Election, the birds of Britain want to know which bird you would choose to be our national bird.

Last year, 70,000 voted in the first round of the Vote National Bird Campaign. A list of 60 iconic British species was whittled down to a shortlist of the 10 most popular birds. The time has now come to vote for the bird that will become the nation's avian symbol.

The 10 birds awaiting your vote are:

  Hen Harrier
  Red Kite
  Blackbird
  Robin
  Blue Tit
  Wren
  Mute Swan
  Puffin
  Barn Owl
  Kingfisher

Could the majestic Hen Harrier knock the hot favourite Robin off its perch? Or should the Kingfisher, often observed in Saltford on our river and sometimes in our gardens, become the national bird in readiness for the succession to the throne by 'King Charles III' and then 'King William V'?!

To vote visit this website: www.votenationalbird.com. The online voting will close at midnight May 7th 2015 - the date of the General Election.

March 2015

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William got his mother for Mother's Day a fabulous "I love Saltford" mug!

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15th March was Mother's Day and William pictured here got his mother a unique gift, one of the new "I love Saltford" mugs from SEG.

These are available at just £5 each to help raise funds for SEG to help keep us working for your community. Available from "Saltford Flowers By Design" at Saltford Post Office, 493 Bath Road and the Bird in Hand pub, these dishwasher-proof mugs show you care about Saltford and make an ideal gift or addition to your own collection of mugs.

If you find they are temporarily out of stock you can place your order and new supplies will become available within a short timescale.

March 2015

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Saltford Wombles - monthly sessions

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Getting ready to 'womble' at the station site, 7 March 2015

Saltford Wombles held a succesful 'Litter Pick' on Saturday 7th March starting at the station site and working round The Shallows to the Riverside. 23 bin bags of rubbish were collected together with an assortment of plastic pipes, tyres, tangled wire fencing etc. The session ended with a cup of coffee courtesy of the Riverside Restaurant.

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"It's great to be a Saltford Womble"

Saltford Wombles are now planning to have a litter pick on the first Saturday of the month starting at 9.30am and ending with coffee at 11am. Each session will be announced here so that you will know the assembly/starting point. Due to Easter, the April litter pick was to have been arranged for Saturday 11th April however the Canoe Avon group are kindly carrying out a litter pick along the river from 12noon on Saturday and Sunday 18th and 19th April starting from The Saltford Rowing Centre (BS31 3JS).

If you want to litter pick in between these monthly sessions, the following areas are in need of attention:-

  Manor Road leading into Hurn Lane;
  the railway path from the Bird in Hand towards Bitton;
  the river bank (Kelston side) from Bird in Hand towards weir at Riverside; and
  the A4 from Grange Road to the Verona Coffee Shop.

If Julie Sampson could have some volunteers to help that would be hugely appreciated. Julie is pretty flexible on days and perhaps mid-week might suit some people and an hour or two on each would see a big and rapid improvement.

If you have spotted a litter problem area in Saltford or if you are interested in getting involved with Saltford Wombles, please contact Julie by email to: julie.sampson@barkingmad.uk.com or tel: 01225--874603. Saltford Wombles will provide, gloves, litter picks, black bags and high viz jackets.

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so I don't drop litter and help keep Saltford tidy...

March2015

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New 'I Love Saltford' mugs from SEG

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"I love Saltford" © Saltford Environment Group 2015

SEG's new "I love Saltford" mugs are available at just £5 each to help raise funds for SEG to help keep us working for your community. Available from "Saltford Flowers By Design" at Saltford Post Office, 493 Bath Road, these dishwasher-proof mugs show you care about Saltford and make an ideal gift or addition to your own collection of mugs.

The mugs are proving to be very popular and in high demand so we are arranging constant re-supply to "Saltford Flowers By Design". If you find they are temporarily out of stock you can place your order and new supplies will become available within a short timescale.

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Cheers!

February 2015

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Steam train (Black Five 44932) passing through Saltford Tunnel

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Photograph © Jon Godfrey 2014.

This evocative photograph was taken in 2014 by SEG member Jon Godfrey and shows Steam Locomotive Black Five 44932 emerging from Saltford Tunnel westbound towards Bristol. When the rail electrification infrastructure has been put in place (we understand this might be 2016/17 but this depends on project progress) this view will look completely different once the electrification of the line is completed and the overhead lines and their associated gantries etc. are part of the scenery.

We have featured the photograph on our Station Campaign special "Historic Archive & photo gallery of Saltford Station's past"; accessed from this link: Historic Archive >>.

February 2015

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Fairtrade Fortnight, 23 February - 8 March

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During Fairtrade Fortnight do:

  • look out for Fairtrade products and offers
  • ask in your local cafés, pubs and restaurants for Fairtrade tea, coffee and sugar + wine and beer!
  • try and use as many Fairtrade products as possible in your cooking and baking, and
  • if holding an event, coffee morning, or even a meeting try to supply Fairtrade refreshments.

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Fairtrade refreshments were served on 23rd February at the Three villages charity grand coffee morning at Saltford Hall to mark the beginning of fairtrade fortnight. Pictured above are Saltford Fairtrade Group members Gill Self and Frances Eggbeer handing over fairtrade roses, coffee and hot chocolate donated by the Co-op for the raffle.

To find out more about what it means to be a 'Fairtrade Village' or how you, your shop, school, business, community group or club can get involved then please contact our local Fairtrade Group by email to saltfordfairtrade@hotmail.co.uk.

Information about Saltford's Fairtrade Village status can be found on this website, on our Fairtrade page >>.

February 2015

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The importance of healthy soils

healthy soils for a healthy life

2015 has been declared the International Year of Soils (IYS) by the UN General Assembly. The IYS aims to be a platform for raising awareness of the importance of soils for food security and essential eco-system functions. It is estimated 95% of our food we eat is directly or indirectly produced on our soils.

Four interesting facts about soil from the Soil Association:-

  1. Just 15% of our land globally is suitable for growing food, our food production depends on healthy soil and so good quality, healthy soil is essential if we are to feed a growing global population.
  2. More carbon is stored in soils than in the atmosphere and vegetation put together! If we save our soils we can keep carbon stored underground where it contributes to good food production not climate change. Soils can store 10 times more carbon than forests.
  3. It takes 100 years for just one centimetre of soil to form, we don't have time in our lifetime to replenish lost soils, for our own food security we need to take better care of the soil we have. Soil erosion is a major problem in the UK; when there is heavy rain and you see brown water on the roads and in our rivers, that's soil being lost from fields.
  4. There can be as many micro-organisms in one teaspoon of soil as there are people on the planet! Healthy soil should be teeming with life. Organic farms have been shown to have significantly more organic matter in their soils than non-organic farms.

More information can be found on the UN website for IYS at: www.fao.org/soils-2015/en/.

February 2015

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B&NES Council votes to fund next steps for Saltford station

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On 17th February the full B&NES Council took the vote for the 2015/16 budget as recommended by the Lib Dem Cabinet and this was passed. The good news for our campaign to reopen Saltford station is that the £250,000 within the budget for taking the station forward to Network Rail's project design stages GRIP 3 and 4 (£100,000 in 2015/16 and a further £150,000 in 2016/17) has thus been approved.

For further information about SEG's station campaign visit the station page >>.

February 2015

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Managing change towards improved environmental performance

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We have a special free offer for SEG members who want to help improve the environmental performance of the organisation they work for. Our Chairman Phil Harding co-wrote and produced the hugely successful guide "Resource Efficiency and Corporate Responsibility - Managing Change" that is used by business schools worldwide and has endorsements from the UK Environment Agency, the US Environmental Protection Agency, training consultants and managers from small and large companies.

Recognised for its original and effective approach to the whole subject of change management in the context of improving resource efficiency and environmental performance, it is useful for assisting just about any change management process. It shows how senior management can carry staff with them and, looking through the other end of the telescope, how middle and junior managers can be more effective in influencing senior managers. If your employer manages change badly this could be just the guide to show the Directors how things could be so much better.

Popular in the UK, Europe, North America and Asia, this ground breaking guide is no longer in print but can be downloaded from the internet. With over 300,000 copies issued worldwide in electronic and printed format, its fresh approach when first launched in 2004 of highlighting "worst practice" and its simple but effective "Change Management Matrix" (a useful management diagnostic tool to assist compliance with ISO14001 - the international standard for environmental management systems) means that it still downloads from the internet at 70 copies per day but Phil has some printed paperback copies available for members of SEG.

Available on a first-come-first-served basis if you would like a copy of the managing change guide drop an email to Phil (phil@philharding.net) and include your address in the email. Alternatively you can download a pdf version at www.oursouthwest.com/SusBus/mggchange.html.

Phil can post a copy to interested managers but will require postage stamps to the value of £1.24 to be sent to him beforehand - if you would like to receive a printed copy in the post contact Phil by email.

February 2015

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Speed camera in Saltford switched back on

imageSpeed cameras across Avon and Somerset started to be switched back on from Wednesday February 11 when the first was re-activated on the A4 at Bath Road Hill in Saltford. It marks the beginning of a road safety project that will see a total of 29 static cameras become operational again for the first time since 2011. They were switched off when Government funding was withdrawn for the joint local authority and police Safety Camera Partnership.

Avon and Somerset Police's Road Safety Superintendent Richard Corrigan said:

   "Our message is loud and clear - drivers should assume that all roadside fixed cameras are now operational and to drive accordingly. Drivers who choose to exceed the speed limit can expect to be caught and prosecuted if you [sic] exceed the legal speed limit."

20mph speed limit for Saltford's residential roads

imageThe expected month for installation of 20mph speed signs on Saltford's residential roads is March.

In the initial informal consultation in Saltford carried out by B&NES Council, 68% of respondents agreed with the 20mph proposal, 27% were against, and 3% had no opinion.
 

February 2015

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Seven Reasons Cheap Oil Can't Stop Renewables Now

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

Sustainable Business magazine (May 2009)

Bloomberg Business published at the end of January seven reasons why "humanity's transition to cleaner energy won't be side tracked by cheap oil". Here's a summary:-

1. The Sun Doesn't Compete With Oil
Oil is for cars; renewables are for electricity. The two don't really compete. Oil is just too expensive to power the grid, even with prices well below $50 a barrel. Instead, solar competes with coal, natural gas, hydro, and nuclear power. Solar, the newest to the mix, makes up less than 1 percent of the electricity market today but will be the world's biggest single source by 2050, according to the International Energy Agency.

2. Electricity Prices Are Still Going Up
The real threat to renewables isn't cheap oil; it's cheap electricity. In the US, abundant natural gas has made power production exceedingly inexpensive but fuel isn't the only component of the electricity bill. Consumers also pay to get the electricity from power plant to home. In recent years, those costs have soared. Annual investments in the US grid increased fourfold since 1980, to $27 billion in 2010, according to a report by Deutsche Bank. That's driving bills higher and making rooftop solar attractive.

3. Solar Prices Are Still Going Down
Solar is a technology, not a fuel. As time passes, the efficiency of solar power increases and prices fall. Prices are falling so fast that solar will soon undercut even the cheapest fossil fuels, coal and natural gas. In the few places oil and solar compete directly, oil doesn't stand a chance. Case in point: Oil-rich Dubai just tripled its solar target for the year 2030, to 15 percent of the country's total power capacity. Dubai's government-owned utility recently awarded a $330 million contract for a solar plant that will sell some of the cheapest electricity in the world.

4. Sales of Plug-Ins Are Doing Just Fine, Actually
Conventional wisdom says cheap oil is an existential threat to electric vehicles. It has been true in the past, notably when Congress retreated from funding EV research in the 1980s as oil prices tanked. Things are different now, and global sales of plug--ins rose by about a third last year, according to BNEF. Electric vehicles are moving like a Tesla: quietly, but with great acceleration. Two years from now, Chevrolet and Tesla plan to release the first affordable mass-market plug-ins with a range of 200+ miles per charge. At that point, the price of fuel might be a real consideration for car buyers, and at that point it's more likely to tip the scales toward EVs, not away from them.

5. Pump Prices Haven't Dropped as Much as Oil Prices
There are a couple of interesting reasons why. Firstly, a number of countries, including India and Indonesia, have used the price drop as cover to cut gasoline subsidies that were weighing down their budgets. Secondly, countries that include China have pocketed the savings from cheaper oil by increasing gasoline taxes to make up the difference.

Fossil-fuel subsidies outpace renewable-energy subsidies by a factor of 6 to 1. Reducing the subsidy gap is one of the cheapest ways to increase fuel efficiency and speed up the switch to cleaner energy. We can expect similar moves as the rising toll of climate change pushes governments to take action.

6. Oil Prices Won't Stay This Low Forever
The history of oil prices follows a golden rule: What goes down must come up. Oil may never return to $100 a barrel, according to billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud. Even so, few experts foresee oil remaining at its current lows for more than a year or two. Unlike oil, the price of renewables is predictable and always going down. Solar power will be as cheap as, or cheaper than, electricity from the grid in as much as 80 percent of global markets by the end of 2017, according to Deutsche Bank's Shah.

7. Global Investment in Clean Energy Keeps Flowing
The biggest question for renewables and the oil plunge is: How much does perception shape reality? Shares of solar and wind companies have been pulled down with oil prices. It seems unlikely that this will reduce direct investments in energy projects as there are too many forces pulling in the opposite direction. Global investment in clean energy increased 16 percent last year, to $310 billion, according to data compiled by BNEF. The US and China, the world's biggest emitters, reached a historic deal in November to rein in greenhouse gases.

National policies to reduce carbon pollution would speed up the adoption of clean energy. Even in their absence, the global energy shift away from fossil fuels has begun...

With acknowledgement to: www.bloomberg.com (9.2.2015)

February 2015

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Saltford Wombles tackle litter along the The Shallows, 7th Feb

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Some of the Saltford Wombles team plus 4-legged helpers at The Bird in Hand, 7th Feb 2015.
© Phil Harding

A small and willing team from SEG's Saltford Wombles held a Saturday morning litter-pick on 7th February and collected over 10 bin bags of litter along The Shallows, Railway Path and river. The Bird in Hand kindly provided hot cups of coffee at the end of the morning's session.

If you want to get involved with future litter picks or wish to advise the Wombles of a particular area of Saltford where litter needs attention, contact Julie Sampson by email to julie.sampson@barkingmad.uk.com or telephone: 01225--874603.

February 2015

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Sparrows losing out to loft insulation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 2015

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Fracking: Infrastructure Bill watered down

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

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

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

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

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

January 2015

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Environmental Audit Committee calls for halt to fracking

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

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

Joan Walley MP, chair of the Committee, said:

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

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

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

January 2015

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 2015

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

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

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

January 2015

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Saltford Weather Station

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

Check it out from this link: climate change >>

January 2015

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Election 2015: Greener Britain

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

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

The report says a Greener Britain would:

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

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

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

January 2015

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Cross-party support for Saltford station

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

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

Conservative

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

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

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

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

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

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

Labour

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

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

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

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

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

Liberal Democrats

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

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

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

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


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

January 2015

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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.


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

 Saltford Station Campaign: Chris Warren cherokee1883@live.com

 Saltford Fairtrade Group: saltfordfairtrade@hotmail.co.uk

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

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