Saltford Environment Group
Saltford Weir © Phil Harding
Recent Headlines (click on links or scroll down this page)
You can find lots more news further down the page or on our theme pages.
SEG's Newsletter page carries past and recently published news stories; click here to see: Newsletters >>
History of Saltford - new SEG project!
Coming to this website soon: SEG's new research project recording the history of Saltford in words and images from pre-Roman times to the 20th Century. We even have the 1086 Domesday Book entry for Saltford and have translated it from Medieval Latin.
Watch this space for the launch of this exciting opportunity to learn more about the village and its origins.
New 'I Love Saltford' mugs from SEG - a unique Mother's Day gift?
Sunday 15th March is Mother's Day and SEG's new "I love Saltford" mugs provide a unique and useful gift.
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, these dishwasher-proof mugs show you care about Saltford and make an ideal gift or addition to your own collection of mugs.
Why not drop in at the Post Office and get a mug for your mother and/or anyone else including yourself?
Please note. The mugs are proving to be very popular and in high demand. 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.
Steam train (Black Five 44932) passing through Saltford Tunnel
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 >>.
Fairtrade Fortnight, 23 February - 8 March
During Fairtrade Fortnight do:
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information about Saltford's Fairtrade Village status can be found on this website, on our Fairtrade page >>.
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:-
More information can be found on the UN website for IYS at: www.fao.org/soils-2015/en/.
Saltford Wombles - volunteers required for litter pick 7th March & for other sessions
There are areas around the village where urgent clean-up is needed. Therefore our Wombles leader, Julie Sampson, is arranging a 'Litter Pick' on Saturday 7th March at 9.30am starting at the station site (bottom of Bath Hill). We aim to tackle the current car park area of the station site and then work our way onwards towards the Riverside and the Shallows. We aim to have coffee at the Riverside at the end of the litter pick. It should not take more than 2 hours of your time and any time you can give would be much appreciated.
Also other areas need attention:-
Manor Road leading into Hurn Lane;
If Julie 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.
Saltford Wombles will provide, gloves, litter picks, black bags and high viz jackets. You can contact Julie Sampson on 01225--874603 or 07807--671267.
B&NES Council votes to fund next steps for Saltford station
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 >>.
Managing change towards improved environmental performance
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 (email@example.com) 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.
Speed camera in Saltford switched back on
Speed 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
The 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.
Seven Reasons Cheap Oil Can't Stop Renewables Now
"The sunlight that hits the earth in an hour
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
2. Electricity Prices Are Still Going Up
3. Solar Prices Are Still Going Down
4. Sales of Plug-Ins Are Doing Just Fine, Actually
5. Pump Prices Haven't Dropped as Much as Oil Prices
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
7. Global Investment in Clean Energy Keeps Flowing
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)
Saltford Wombles tackle litter along the The Shallows, 7th Feb
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone: 01225--874603.
We need YOU to help Waitrose support SEG
Waitrose in Keynsham has accepted our application for their "Community Matters" monthly support scheme. One of the three token donation boxes by the exit door bears our name during February so you know where to place your token when you shop there.
Each month £1,000 is donated by Waitrose to be shared between 3 good causes and the money is split by the number of tokens donated by shoppers. We are competing with two Keynsham based charities: Keynsham Light Opera Group and Keynsham in Bloom Community Group. This means we need as many Saltford folk as possible to support SEG by collecting and placing their tokens in our box during February to make sure we get our third of the funds.
We shall report the outcome as soon as we know it after February. SEG is very grateful to the staff at Waitrose Keynsham for this useful support and for all the shoppers who put their tokens in the SEG Donation Box. Thank you!
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 >>
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.
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.
Reopening of closed permissive paths to south and west of the village
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.
'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.
Saltford Weather Station
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 >>
Election 2015: Greener Britain
"To us, the biggest current challenge to achieving a greener Britain is the hesitant approach of political leaders."
That quote is from the report 'Greener Britain - Practical proposals for party manifestos from the environment and conservation sector' from the Green Alliance. The report sets out seven goals for the 2015-2020 Parliament for a better environment and the way we live in Britain. The proposals include making an ambitious 2015 global climate change deal a key foreign policy priority; new policies to protect our oceans; more powers to allow communities to shape their local environment; better support for home energy efficiency; and improvements to resource management for a more resilient economy.
The report says a Greener Britain would:
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.
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:-
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.'
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."
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 >>.
45th anniversary of station closure
Saltford railway station was closed 45 years ago on 5th January 1970 after 130 years service to the local community. SEG is seeking to reverse that ill-judged and short-sighted mistake. You can see how we're working to reopen the station on our station campaign page >>
Preparing Saltford for climate change
Widely regarded by many as probably the last chance to save the world from dangerous climate change, 192 nations will be meeting in Paris later this year at COP21, the 21st Conference of Parties to the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change), to agree a global treaty on commitments to make huge cuts in greenhouse gas emissions and give the world a chance of limiting global warming to 2°C.
But, even if the international community manages to limit the average global surface temperature increase to the goal of no more than 2°C above the pre-industrial average through cutting greenhouse gas emissions, it is already accepted by the scientific community that such an increase will lead to impacts on society and wildlife and increasing incidents of extreme weather events that we are already experiencing. This means we need to prepare for climate change and adapt to the inevitable changes.
What do you need to do at home or in your business to adapt and become more resilient to extreme weather events?
How does a changing climate impact on YOU?
Can your business benefit from changing markets?
SEG is now providing some answers for local householders and business owners.
We have added a new page on the subject of climate change to this website (see links on top and right hand side of this page). Featuring news and information on how we can become more resilient to climate change and extreme weather it also includes live flood alerts from the Environment Agency.
In responding to this initiative, Climate SouthWest, an independent partnership hosted by the Environment Agency focused on helping the SW region to prepare and adapt to the changing climate, said:
"Climate SouthWest hugely welcomes Saltford Environment Group's new website page dedicated to tackling climate change. Empowering communities to take the lead in making their homes, businesses and surroundings resilient to a changing climate will be absolutely critical in the decades to come. We hope that their example will spur on other areas to undertake similar initiatives and put climate change adaptation into their own hands."
B&NES Council also supports this new service. Councillor David Martin, Member Champion for Energy and Climate Change, said:
"Climate change is a very real threat in Bath & North East Somerset, as it is nationally and internationally. Saltford Environment Group are helping their community to prepare for the possible negative impacts of climate change with their helpful web page about what residents and businesses can do locally."
Do check out the new page from this link: climate change >>
Jurassic Saltford 200M years ago
This evocative artistic impression of Plesiosaurs when Saltford was a shallow sea some 200 million years ago has been produced by SEG member and local artist Julian Balsdon for our geology page. These streamlined air breathing predators were reptiles and became extinct, with the dinosaurs, about 60 million years ago.
Older news stories from SEG
'The SEG Newsletter' page carries some of our past and recently published news stories.
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