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Saltford Environment Group
  towards a sustainable future for our village

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Cow Parsley decorates the cycle path through Saltford at this time of year

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

Saltford Upcycling Craft Group - June activities

Saltford on video

New Parish Council votes unanimously to back the re-opening of Saltford station

Call to defend nature

Saltford's new Parish Council elects leadership team and adopts 'Saltford 2020' vision

Can you readily identify the Swifts and Swallows over Saltford?

Railway path habitat restoration project progress and situation report

7th May election results for Saltford (B&NES and Parish Council)

Saltford Festival programme - see and learn about the Saltford Carthaginian Coin!

Beware of Ticks

"I love Saltford" mugs also available from Saltford Convenience store

Waitrose "Community Matters" scheme in May includes Saltford Festival

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

Toxic Giant Hogweed reappears in Saltford

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

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 >>


Saltford Upcycling Craft Group - June activities

The Saltford UPCYCLING Craft Group will not be having a workshop on June 18th as this will be during the Saltford Festival. They will be displaying some of the unique picture frames, jewellery and scarves they have crafted on the 13th and 14th June on the SEG stalls at Saltford Hall and the Old Village Day.

Do come along, take a look and say hello to Tina and Frances. The Festival week is a lovely way to find out what Saltford has to offer and make new friends. Tina and Frances hope you like what you see and will join them on July 16th, Signs of Saltford, between 7-9pm (no need to book).

More about the free, fun workshops can be obtained by telephoning Frances on 01225--872833 or see what they have been making on SEG's waste page >>

May 2015

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Saltford on video

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SEG's History of Saltford project now has a new "Videos about Saltford" page which includes two aerial videos taken in May 2015.

If you live in Saltford and want to spot your home/garden make sure you watch the video(s) in "Full screen" mode and select HD (1080P) in "Settings": Videos about Saltford >>

May 2015

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New Parish Council votes unanimously to back the re-opening of Saltford station

On Tuesday 19th May the newly elected Saltford Parish Council voted unanimously on the following motion:-

"Saltford Parish Council supports the principle of re-opening Saltford Station whilst mindful to address any concerns. Saltford Parish Council welcomes the fact that £250,000 has been included in the budgets of B&NES Council in order to take the project development forward to Network Rail's GRIP stages 3 and 4. Saltford Parish Council asks that B&NES Council commission this development work at the earliest opportunity. Saltford Parish Council's preferred site is the existing site. This Council does not wish to place any constraints on this development work but asks that it is consulted about options before final decisions about Saltford Station are eventually made."

For further information about SEG's popular campaign to re-open Saltford station see our Station campaign page >>

May 2015

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Call to defend nature

The EU Nature Directives have provided the highest level of protection to vulnerable habitats and species for the past 30 years - but according to the RSPB they are now under threat.

To quote from the RSPB "European leaders are considering rolling back decades of progress by revising the Directives in the mistaken belief that weaker protection for wildlife is good for business. In reality, this would be bad for business, and a disaster for wildlife. We urgently need you to add your voice to thousands of others defend nature. Without a massive demonstration of public support for the Directives, it will be very hard to prevent them being weakened."

The RSPB are asking us, our friends and family to respond to the European Commission's consultation on the Birds and Habitats Directive. If you want to do so and/or find out more visit this link to the RSPB website: RSPB - Defend nature. The closing date for comments is 24 July.

May 2015

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Saltford's new Parish Council elects leadership team and adopts 'Saltford 2020' vision

On Tuesday 19th May at its first meeting after the 7th May election the Parish Council elected the following post holders:

   Chairman: Duncan Hounsell
   Vice Chairman: Phil Harding
   Planning Committee Chairman: Adrian Betts
   Planning Committee Vice Chairman: Phil Harding

The new Parish Council voted unanimously to adopt the "Saltford 2020" five point vision to guide its work through its 4-year term of office.

The vision for Saltford in 2020 is for a village that has:-

  • Green Belt surrounding the village protected from development including from fracking and a road bypass;
  • its own reopened railway station on the existing site in place or already well underway;
  • a decreasing carbon footprint;
  • a positive, healthy and caring community that also encourages Fairtrade, and values and protects the local environment including its heritage; and
  • is a good neighbour to surrounding villages, towns and cities.

May 2015

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Can you readily identify the Swifts and Swallows over Saltford?

A fabulous sign of summer is when the Swallows, Swifts and House Martins are seen flying their acrobatic displays overhead as they pluck flying insects and airborne spiders from the air.

They are welcome summer visitors to Britain, but can you readily identify the different species just from their shape when they are in flight? Swifts are larger and have longer scythe-shaped wings and short tails, Swallows have long tail streamers, and House Martins have a more dumpy appearance and much shorter tails (see the illustration below).

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It is Swifts (Apodidae family and not related to Swallows and Martins) that you can hear screaming overhead. Swifts appear to be all black, although close up they are dark brown. House Martins and Swallows (Hirundinidae family) both have white undersides with a glossy blue-black back but the Swallow has a distinctive red chin and throat.

The Sand Martin (Hirundinidae family), are also observed in Saltford, is similar in shape and can be confused with the House Martin but its white underside is divided by a dark breast band just below its head and it has a brown back.

To help you identify birds you have seen in Saltford, the bird identifier on the RSPB website is worth a visit: Bird identifier - RSPB - we have a permanent link to this as well as links to all the birds regularly observed in Saltford on our wildlife page >>

May 2015

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Railway path habitat restoration project progress and situation report

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Crosswort growing on the railway habitat restoration project area.

In winter 2013/2014 SEG cleared several decades' growth of woody scrub along a short section of the railway path embankment (the former LMS railway-line) to allow a reversion to the flower-rich rough grassland which, up to the late 1970s, dominated much of the line's embankment and cutting sides.

In summer 2014, we focussed on weeding out Himalayan Balsam, a highly invasive, prolifically seeding, patch-forming annual from the Himalaya, and of minimal value to wildlife in the UK. This had arrived on the slope in the 1980s, from seed washed down the river and moved - slowly, given its mode of seed dispersal - uphill such that by 2014 it was well positioned to carpet the newly cleared areas, which it duly did. Balsam-pulling was supplemented with a few cuts by strimmer to control coarse perennials such as Common Nettle and Goosegrass, and manual topping of woody regrowth, notably of brambles, wild roses and Common Hawthorn.

Apart from the balsam, these named plants are of high or even outstanding (nettles, brambles) wildlife interest; but, being strong competitors, they now dominate many large patches and strips in and around Saltford, whereas a whole host of less competitive grassland plants - and their associated insects - are now gone or almost gone from Saltford.

In mid May 2015, several successes and challenges have become evident. Among the early successes, several large patches of Crosswort (pictured above) are obvious. This yellow-flowered bedstraw was formerly abundant in Saltford, but had been close to local total destruction and loss.

Large areas of the patch are dominated by Ground-ivy; this is not related to Ivy, the evergreen vine, but is a relative of mint (but lacking strong aromatic oils). It remains common in Saltford, but such large patches are of high value because it is one of the first spring plants to bloom that produces copious nectar; on warm, calm, sunny days in late March the bank was full of nectar loving insects at the Ground-ivy. There is also a good growth of Garlic Mustard, the main food-plant of the Orange-tip butterfly. Several other showy native wild-flowers, such as Red Campion and Cow Parsley, give the bank a very different look from the otherwise scrub-dominated rest.

But these flowers are amidst several unwanted species which, if left to themselves would, in combination, reverse the gains. A few Himalayan Balsam seedlings are coming up, from the few plants which were missed during last year's uprooting. Many of the woody stumps are still sprouting regrowth, particularly bramble, Dogwood and Hawthorn. Nettles and Cleavers both seeded profusely in 2014 (when there were an insufficient number of total cuts) and will soon outcompete the weaker competitors. A worrying number of Buddleja seedlings are establishing, evidently from seeds blown over from the large populations in the town (notably the former railway station) to the south west.

Fortunately, there is no sign of the alien Giant Hogweed; this serious hazard to human health has recently appeared nearby on the line, from seeds scattered (whether unintentionally or intentionally is not known) by persons unknown in 2013.

Thus, activities during the 2015 growing season will focus on:

  • (i) preventing establishment of the non-native Balsam and buddleja (hand pulling);
  • (ii) monthly topping (by petrol strimmer) of Nettles, Cleavers and other coarse common perennials that are already abundant in Saltford, to starve their roots and thus kill the plants; and
  • (iii) uprooting or sprout-picking the woody stumps, again to starve the roots.

SEG particularly thanks the dozen or so people who broke the back of the Balsam infestation last year and also Saltford Girl Guides who assisted in May 2014 and May 2015.

Anyone who wishes to help in the tasks for 2015 is invited to contact our Chairman by email (see 'Contact SEG' for email address) expressing your interest and you will be added to the list of volunteers who will be contacted when sessions are arranged.

More information about this project can be found on the Railway Path Habitat Restoration Project page >>

IMPORTANT - PLEASE NOTE:

Any work by SEG members and other individuals on this project is done so at entirely their own risk; by participating in this project volunteers waive all or any claim against SEG for direct or indirect loss, damage or injury. Children may participate but must be supervised by an adult; SEG cannot be held responsible for children assisting with the project. Tools should be used with great caution taking account of other volunteers and also of railway path users.

May 2015

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7th May election results for Saltford (B&NES and Parish Council)

Results for B&NES Council Saltford Ward:

Elected - Francine Haeberling (CON) 1262
Elected - Emma Dixon (CON) 1222
Duncan Hounsell (LD) 850
Farida Wilson (LD) 514
Liz Barling (Green) 358
Tim House (UKIP) 355
Nik Sas (Labour) 332

Results for Saltford Parish Council:

Below are the results from the count held in Bath on the afternoon and early evening of 11th May. The turnout for the Parish Council election was very high at 76.4%.

Elected:

Kyle Thomas Rice* 1,244 (9%)
Duncan Hounsell 1,198 (9%)
Phil Harding* 997 (8%)
Jon Godfrey* 932 (7%)
Liz Macnaughton* 889 (7%)
James Macnaughton* 878 (7%)
Robert Taylor* 876 (7%)
Adrian Kenneth Betts* 849 (6%)
Christopher John Warren* 844 (6%)
Farida Wilson 764 (6%)
Benjamin Stewart Eve* 734 (6%)

Not Elected:

Harvey Nicholas Haeberling 731 (6%)
Reginald Frank Williams 708 (5%)
Claire Suzanne Waters* 698 (5%)
Jill Williams 631 (5%)
Robert Mark King 305 (2%)

* Saltford 2020

The ten candidates marked * stood as independent candidates using the shared vision, 'Saltford 2020', as their guiding principle for serving the community on Saltford Parish Council if elected.

Saltford 2020 is a 5 point vision for Saltford in 2020 as a village that has

  • Green Belt surrounding the village protected from development including from fracking and a road bypass (see Note1);
  • its own reopened railway station on the existing site in place or already well underway (see Note2);
  • a decreasing carbon footprint (see Note 3);
  • a positive, healthy and caring community that also encourages Fairtrade and values and protects the local environment including its heritage; and
  • is a good neighbour to surrounding villages, towns and cities.

NOTES

1. We remain convinced at the present time that a road bypass for Saltford would be the incorrect solution for peak time traffic congestion as it would put local businesses at risk from loss of passing trade and would thereafter result in significant housing infill and loss of the Green Belt as predicted by local planners during Core Strategy consultations. Traffic congestion requires sustainable solutions, not simply creating more roads that increase overall road traffic with higher carbon and other polluting emissions whilst creating traffic problems elsewhere.

2. We appreciate that there are concerns over parking and safe access to the station site. For those reasons SEG has maintained a consistent stance asking B&NES Council and its consultants to work closely with Saltford's community on the designs and proposals for the station and car parking before final decisions are made.

3. Whilst reducing energy consumption and thus carbon emissions is a personal choice, there is much we can do as a community to encourage each other to save energy and save money whilst helping to protect the environment from dangerous climate change.

May 2015

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Saltford Festival programme - see and learn about the Saltford Carthaginian Coin!

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

British Museum, London WC1
(6th March 2015)

Yes, they've done it again. The brilliant team at Saltford Community Association (SCA) has organised an extensive 8 days of activities for the Saltford Festival that will run from 13th to 21st June.

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.

SEG, in partnership with B&NES Council and the Roman Baths exhibition team, will be providing an exhibition all about the Saltford Carthaginian Coin, one of the oldest coins found in Britain, on the mornings of both Saturdays (13th and 20th) in Saltford Hall - from 10am. SEG will also be exhibiting in the High Street on the Old Village day (Sunday 14th from midday) so you can come and meet some of the team behind SEG that champions on your behalf a better future for our village.

There's lots to see and do during the festival. You can find the festival programme from this link: Saltford Festival (external site).

May 2015

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Beware of Ticks

Our wildlife adviser has already been bitten twice by ticks this year so it is timely that we should remind you of the need to be careful. The following advice is from our wildlife page.

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

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

According to the NHS (www.nhs.uk/Conditions/Lyme-disease/Pages/Introduction.aspx) the earliest and most common symptom of Lyme disease is a pink or red circular rash that develops around the area of the bite, 3 to 30 days after someone is bitten. The rash is often described as looking like a bull's-eye on a dart board. You may also experience flu-like symptoms, such as tiredness, headaches and muscle or joint pain. Those who think they might have symptoms of Lyme disease should go to their GP without delay; prompt treatment can prevent complications.

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

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

Saltford Veterinary Surgery (478B Bath Road - near the Library - Tel: 01225--872002) sells an inexpensive device for removing ticks from your pets (or from yourself or your child) that you could keep in your First Aid kit - see photograph of the tool(s) for small and large ticks.

May 2015

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"I love Saltford" mugs also available from Saltford Convenience store

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"I love Saltford" © Saltford Environment Group 2015

In addition to the Bird in Hand pub and Saltford Flowers, you can now purchase our "I love Saltford" mugs at just £5 each from Saltford Convenience Store, 504 Bath Road, in Saltford.

May 2015

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Waitrose "Community Matters" scheme in May includes Saltford Festival

This month (May) the local Waitrose store in Keynsham is supporting the Saltford Festival, so whilst shopping there please drop your green token into the festival collection box by the exit door to support our friends at SCA put on yet another brilliant festival in June.

May 2015

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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 SEG History of Saltford 'Videos about Saltford' web page >>.

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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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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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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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)

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

 Saltford Station Campaign: Chris Warren cherokee1883@live.com

 Saltford Fairtrade Group: saltfordfairtrade@hotmail.co.uk

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

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


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

Please show your support for SEG and "like" both our website and our Facebook page (see below).

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

Thank you! :-)

SUPPORT FROM BUSINESS: We welcome support from local businesses to help cover our costs and keep membership free for our members. If your local business would like to support SEG (e.g. a logo + link on this page is very inexpensive), please contact our Chairman (see above for contact details).


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

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Footpath by the "Saltford Straight" (river Avon)


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