Saltford Environment Group
© Jon Godfrey
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Create delicate Autumn Leaf Bowls at Upcycling Group, 20 Oct
How to keep the lovely colours of Autumn alive. October brings out beautiful colours in the leaves and we shall be using them to make a delicate bowl. There are a couple of methods of making these and we are using a bowl to mould our leaves on. You will need to bring along the following items - a bowl or basin plastic or glass would be suitable, (the pictures give you some idea of the shape) it shouldn't get spoilt, but perhaps the best bone china or cut glass is best left at home.
We will be using the outside of the bowl/basin and it would make it easier to have something to stand your upside down bowl on. We will not be able to complete the bowl on the evening as the leaves will need to dry completely before removing the bowl. Using different sized leaves from one tree looks attractive but bring along your choice. Bear in mind that the leaves will be overlapped and allow for this. We have all the other things you will need to make your bowl.
Frances and Tina are looking forward to seeing you on October 20th, 7-9pm, at Signs of Saltford (works entrance) 559 Bath Road, Saltford. Call Frances Eggbeer on 07789--528834 if you would like to know more about SEG's Upcycling Group.
Litter: Saltford Wombles to trial the allocation of street volunteers
Litter picks organised by Saltford Wombles clear huge volumes of litter in targeted areas but what happens in between the organised litter picks? Many SEG members and other residents pick up litter outside their homes (but many do not) or carry plastic bags to collect litter when out walking on regular school runs or walking the dog and this all helps. Yet nevertheless litter dropped accumulates quite quickly so Saltford Wombles are trialling a new approach to supplement the monthly litter-picks.
This is the allocation of streets to volunteers (individuals or families) who will regularly check for and clear litter on a street or street route such as a route that they regularly walk (we will update the list as more volunteers join the scheme):-
If your street or a street that you regularly walk along is not included and you would like to take responsibility for keeping it litter free, contact Julie Sampson (see below). Alternatively if you want to volunteer for a road that is already covered that's fine - the more the merrier and the cleaner your street remains for longer!
This is a shared responsibility we all have to keep our village clean from the scourge of litter. If you are covering a large stretch of street, we can lend you a litter picker. Some of our regular Wombles team find it helpful to carry plastic a bag in their pocket.
If you see a street volunteer picking up litter in your street give them an encouraging "hello" - and when you see litter, help us all by picking it up.
The next Saltford Wombles' litter-pick will be on Saturday 8th October (meet 9.30am at The Little Coffee Shop, Manor Road). If you haven't taken part in a litter-pick before, why not come along and see how satisfying it is to clear the litter that spoils our village?
Saltford Heritage Centre: Have your say!
Help us to create the Saltford Heritage Centre you want
On 22nd September after several meetings with SEG the Parochial Church Council agreed in principle for the Heritage Centre to be located within St. Mary's Church Hall. The development and planning for the centre is in its early stages. As such we are keen to hear the views of the Saltford community regarding what they would like to see from this volunteer run community resource.
We would appreciate it if you would take the time to complete the short online survey at https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/RWPN5JQ (it will take approx. 2 minutes) to help us steer and develop the project. We want to ensure that what is delivered is relevant and accessible. Thank you for your time!
The purpose of a new Saltford Heritage Centre will be to undertake the stewardship of Saltford's history by actively collecting, preserving and interpreting documents and artefacts, and by promoting our heritage. It will provide a useful educational resource and occasionally host history events organised by third parties. It will also incorporate a pop-up-heritage display to take to local events.
Heritage Centre web page
We now have a dedicated web page within SEG's online History Project for the proposed Saltford Heritage Centre where we will post updates as we develop our plans.
To see the new page click here: Heritage Centre.
The human response to climate change
The human response to climate change is an interesting aspect of psychology that has exercised the minds of many working in the field of climate science.
A blog from Scientific American by Margaret Hetherman suggests society could be working through the recognised stages of grief - denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and then acceptance. Here we have reproduced some of the key points in the blog.
The deterioration of our planet - our only home - is bound to produce a wide range of emotions in different individuals. Mourning is personal, but as a species, could it be that we are making our way through the stages of grief?
Psychiatrist and climate activist Dr Lise Van Susteren points out that the stages of grief was a response to people who hear devastating news and feel personally very involved, extremely vulnerable and know that the diagnosis is essentially inescapable.
However she maintains that this is not where most people are with climate. "It takes a long time for some people to lay down the sense within that something is true." She describes "a collective anxiety that is insidious, even if we haven't managed to connect all the dots." Society is divided between those who focus on immediate needs, including jobs and reliable energy sources, and those concerned about sustainability for future generations.
"There isn't the slightest shred of doubt in my mind, that everyone on some level is anxious, deeply anxious, about climate change," the forensic psychiatrist says. She attributes her belief to decades of experience with people who have difficulty knowing what they are feeling on a deeper level, and she understands that anxiety comes from many headwaters.
Dr James E Hansen, climatologist and former Director of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies in Manhattan considers timescale. "The problem is that the inertia of the system is not our friend, it has caused the effects to appear only slowly. That has been the fundamental difficulty. It looks like something in the far future."
That, he says, was the point in writing his book, Storms of my Grandchildren. It also inspires his participation as guardian for future generations in a current landmark federal climate change lawsuit against the US government for failing to protect children's constitutional rights to life, liberty, and property - a case that Dr. Van Susteren has collaborated on as well.
"These children are going to be around late in this century, so even though the large effects are not so soon, we can now see that they are going to occur if we don't rapidly phase down emissions," states Dr Hansen. "And I think some of them - mainly the sea level issue - is [coming] sooner than has been assumed by many."
Dr Hansen believes people are moving in the direction of accepting that climate is changing and that humans are at least a factor if not the dominant factor.
But there is also the matter of our wiring. "Denial is something that allows us sometimes to get through the day," says Dr Van Susteren. "And in some cases that's really good, that's adaptive, but in other cases it's going to kill you... and this one's going to kill you."
The full blog can be read here: blogs.scientificamerican...climate-change/
Make your home warm and efficient for winter
Wasting energy costs the earth
With the arrival of autumn and the prospect of colder days ahead it pays to make sure your home is as well insulated as it can be before the weather turns cold. The Energy at Home scheme from B&NES Council in association with the Centre for Sustainable Energy aims to help residents improve the energy performance of their homes. This is by providing
You can contact the Energy at Home scheme by Freephone to 0800 038 5680 or visit www.energyathome.org.uk for details.
Helping our dragonflies
We often see dragonflies visiting our gardens here in Saltford as in most parts of rural England. Pictured here is a male Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea) basking in the autumn afternoon sun on a runner bean leaf in Saltford. This is a very common and large dragonfly usually seen individually. The female of the species is brown with bright green markings in the same pattern as the male. The female's colour scheme is shared by the freshly emerged immature male.
The aerobatic skills displayed of these strong flying insects put almost all birds to shame (only some hummingbirds can match dragonflies' manoeuvrability). Dragonflies can fly at over 20mph and hover as they hunt, defend territories and chase mates on the wing.
Dragonflies are insects in the suborder Anisoptera (meaning "unequal-winged") and in the UK there are about 30 regularly recorded species (versus about 20 of the generally smaller damselflies of the suborder Zygoptera). Hind wings are usually shorter and broader than forewings. These creatures are usually large and can often be found flying well away from water. The eyes are very large and usually touch each other in the centre.
Dragonflies are predators, both in their aquatic larval stage (as nymphs) and as adults. Several years of their lives are spent as nymphs living in fresh water; the adults may be on the wing for just a few days or weeks, and only rarely for more than a few months.
Sadly some evidence suggests dragonfly numbers are declining due to loss of their wetland habitats. You can help stem this loss by creating your own dragonfly habitat simply by digging a garden pond. Dragonflies spend most of their lives underwater in their larval form. Therefore ponds and other water bodies (standing or flowing) are essential for these stunning insects to complete their life cycle. Most importantly, don't put any goldfish, carp or similar fish in the pond or densities of large water plants and small-animal (i.e. dragonfly prey) will be too low for many if any larvae to live through to adulthood.
It is believed dragonflies have been around for 300 million years but with many ponds having been filled in, dragonflies need our help. By digging a pond you will be replacing a habitat that has been lost, and - providing that no hoovering cyprinids are introduced - supporting a whole host of other, less dramatic, animals which have declined dramatically with pond loss.
Submerged plants provide habitats for the developing larvae and have wider environmental benefits, notably put oxygen into the water. Emerging and marginal vegetation provide perching, roosting and egg-laying sites for the adults and emergence sites for larvae. Many species lay eggs into floating plants.
Used in traditional medicine in Japan and China, and eaten in Indonesia, these wonderful creatures are often represented in human culture on artefacts such as pottery, rock paintings, and Art Nouveau jewellery. But they are also a valuable part of our ecosystem and deserve our protection.
Information sources for this article:
Focus on polystyrene and waste
Don't throw anything away.
A call to action in a public letter to London Mayor Sadiq Khan on ending the use of polystyrene came in August from top chefs Ed Baines (the founder of Soho seafood restaurant Randall & Aubin's), Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Theo Randall, Mark Hix and food critic William Sitwell.
This comes amid global pressure to address the huge environmental and health problems linked to the use of polystyrene packaging. Packaging made from polystyrene never biodegrades, pollutes waterways, and is manufactured from harmful chemicals like styrene that have been linked to cancer.
When the material pollutes waterways and oceans, it is ingested by fish, hence this makes the issue a particular concern to chefs like Ed Baines and his seafood restaurant.
Polystyrene is extremely difficult and expensive to recycle, which means that millions of tonnes of the material end up in landfill sites every year.
Recyclable, paper-based alternatives to polystyrene such as solid board packaging have increasingly been adopted by chefs and suppliers throughout the UK and Europe seeking to improve their environmental performance, in anticipation of similar legislation to that seen in the US.
Sadiq Khan's mayoral election manifesto emphasised his commitment to reducing London's waste footprint, and outlined his promises to get the city on track to hit the target of 65% recycled waste by 2030. We are doing much better here in B&NES but there is no room to be complacent.
According to data from B&NES Council, in 2015-16, over 45,000 tonnes of Bath & North East Somerset residents waste was reused and recycled. All the material collected for reuse and recycling is sent for recycling within the UK where possible, however, due to demand or market availability, it is sometimes necessary to export some materials overseas. The percentage of materials exported for recycling and reuse for B&NES in 2015-16 was 0.50%.
In total B&NES exported just over 17% of the 45,000 tonnes diverted away from landfill. The majority of this exported waste has been removed from residents' weekly bin waste at a facility in Avonmouth. 24,350 tonnes of waste was sent to this facility in 2015-16, and after all the recyclable and compostable waste has been taken out, the rest is exported for use in energy recovery.
In 2005 B&NES Council agreed the Waste Strategy, Towards Zero Waste 2020. 'Zero waste' means that instead of throwing things away in the bin, where they get sent to landfill, we look to reduce, reuse, repair, recycle and compost what we use so that ultimately we do not end up throwing anything away in the bin.
The B&NES total recycling and recovery rate in both 2014/15 and 2015/16 was 81%. This is a marked improvement on 2012/13 when it was 57% but the challenge to us all is to reduce the amount of waste we each create in the first place.
What we call 'economic growth' is in fact a growth in waste and a decline in the health of natural habitat
Information sources for this article:
Brass Mill open for national heritage weekend (10/11 Sept)
Saltford Brass Mill will be open for the National Heritage Open Days on the weekend of 10/11 September from 10am to 4pm. The Brass Mill is the only surviving building, still with a furnace and working water wheel, remaining from a group of 18th Century mills making copper and brass goods in the Avon Valley between Bristol and Bath.
If you haven't visited the Brass Mill in the Shallows before or recently, this is highly recommended. The Brass Mill is a fascinating part of Saltford's heritage and the volunteer project team who maintain and look after it do a magnificent job. Much time and money has been spent on the mill in recent years to repair and restore it after flood damage.
SEG will have a stand at the mill for the heritage weekend describing our history project and what SEG is doing for the community.
Saltford calendar 2017 is coming soon
As announced previously in our July newsletter SEG and Saltford Community Association are working together to produce a Saltford calendar each year. Plans for the 2017 calendar are now well advanced and we hope to have this available for sale (from SCA) in October - it will make a great Christmas present and also a keepsake showcasing what makes Saltford such a beautiful place to live.
If you have a great photo of Saltford and haven't submitted it yet there are just a few days left to send it to SEG's Chairman Phil Harding.
The photograph needs to be landscape shape (i.e. the same proportions as a 6" x 4" photograph) and high resolution, preferably at least 300 dpi - unfortunately most smartphones or bridge cameras cannot produce the required picture quality for printing to a high standard of definition. Photographs of lower resolution might still be useable for SEG's website as these are compressed to a lower resolution to enable rapid download time so if in doubt send it in.
Great shots taken in all seasons (this year or in past years) of interesting views, attractive buildings and local landscapes are what we seek. All photographs published on SEG's or SCA's website or the Saltford calendar will name the photographer (unless the photographer wishes to remain anonymous) and the copyright will rest with SEG and/or SCA.
So, get taking those photographs in and around Saltford and build up your own portfolio. If your son or daughter is interested in photographic art or likes photographing the local landscape, wildlife and interesting buildings, do encourage them to get involved. We may even be able to hire out at modest cost (to benefit SEG's funds) a Nikon Digital SLR if your son or daughter is interested in getting started in photographic art and supporting the annual calendar - contact Phil for details.
You're never too young or too old to be a published photographer!
Discovering Roman Saltford - next stage in the hunt for the Roman dwelling
Many members will recall the successful geophysics survey of the Roman coffin field in Saltford by Bath and Camerton Archaeological Society (BACAS) supported by volunteers from SEG in autumn 2015 and the discovery of the apparent corner of a building in our search for the Roman farmhouse of villa. We are now preparing to continue the geophysics survey on the south side of Saltford possibly this October and will need the assistance of volunteers from our membership to help mark the grid lines for the survey equipment.
The search has reached an exciting stage as we are hopeful that on this forthcoming survey we can identify the full extent of the dwelling. We will need to undertake the survey at just a few days' notice as we need to fit in with the harvesting of the crop in the field, the weather and the availability of BACAS geophysics equipment and operator(s). We therefore need to expand our team of 14 able-bodied survey volunteers to ensure we have enough people to help.
If you would like to go on the list and be a potential part of this exciting project please contact our Chairman, Phil Harding. When we are ready to survey an email will be sent to our volunteers list at short notice asking for availability on the few days we expect to undertake the survey during daylight hours.
For further information about Roman Saltford and last year's geophysics survey visit our Online Museum from this link: Online Museum. You will be able to see many fascinating Roman artefacts found in Saltford including a rare Roman gilded brooch complete with black gemstone found near the location where we are searching for the dwelling. Many remarkable Roman artefacts have been added in recent months and much is ear-marked for the new Heritage Centre.
Concrete: friend or foe?
We can constantly make new things but we can't make a new world - Kentaro Matsuura
Concrete is the most widely used material in the world after water. With 4.6 billion tonnes produced annually (2015 data) or over 1/2 tonne produced per person living on the planet per year, the world is slowly becoming covered in it.
Concrete is a versatile construction material that can be formed into any shape. It has strength and durability and is a composite material made from cement, aggregate (both coarse and fine), water and invariably an admixture - an admixture is one of several chemicals used to modify the properties of hardened concrete that helps ensures the quality of concrete during mixing, transporting, placing, and curing that can also reduce its cost.
Its basic ingredients date back to the ancient Egyptians, and the earliest large-scale users of concrete technology were the Romans, with concrete being widely used in the Roman Empire. The Colosseum in Rome, for example, was built largely of concrete, and the concrete dome of the Pantheon that stands in the business district of Rome and was built 18 Centuries ago, is the world's largest unreinforced concrete dome.
After the Roman Empire collapsed, use of concrete became rare until the technology was redeveloped in the mid-18th century. Today, concrete is the most widely used man-made material (measured by tonnage) and large concrete structures such as dams and multi-storey car parks are usually made with reinforced concrete (where steel bars are embedded to provide tensile strength).
But concrete manufacture is very energy intensive and accounts for around 5% of global anthropogenic (manmade) emissions of carbon dioxide and affects a wide range of sustainability issues, including climate change, emissions to air and water, natural resource depletion and worker health and safety (e.g. dermatitis, alkaline skin burns and lung disease from dust inhalation).
For those reasons emphasis worldwide has been increasingly placed on recycling. Rather than sending concrete debris to landfill, recycling of the recovered concrete from demolition sites is increasing due to improved environmental awareness, governmental laws and economic benefits. Recycled concrete can be made into blocks or it can be crushed and reused as aggregate.
Whereas wood is regarded as the most naturally renewable mainstream building material, concrete may never be seen as a green building material. However with more care and attention by its manufacturers, users, and re-users its ecological footprint can be reduced.
Information sources used for this article:
NOTE: SEG members wishing to research and write short, informative, evidence-based articles on topical environmental/sustainability issues for our website and newsletters are invited to contact our Chairman and website editor, Phil Harding.
Protecting Saltford's Green Belt: Joint Spatial Plan update
Councillor Adrian Betts, Saltford Parish Council's Planning Committee Chairman, Councillor Phil Harding, Saltford Parish Council's Vice Chairman (and SEG's Chairman), and Councillor Francine Haeberling, Saltford Ward Councillor (Cons) met with Liz Richardson, B&NES Cabinet Member for Homes & Planning, and senior B&NES Council planning officers on 19th August. This was to receive and discuss an update from B&NES on progress for the West of England Joint Spatial Plan.
The key news from that meeting as it affects Saltford is as follows:-
HOUSING MARKET AREA (HMA)
The Parish Council has lobbied strongly for ensuring Saltford is part of the B&NES HMA, not in the Bristol HMA, as backed up by 2011 census travel to work data. The data and underlying case was explained again by Adrian and Phil at the meeting and whilst relieved to hear of the change, Phil and Adrian will not feel confident about this until it is put in writing by B&NES.
TIMING FOR JOINT SPATIAL PLAN
SALTFORD'S GREEN BELT
(i) Background and (ii) Policy paper submission by SEG
The West of England's Joint Spatial Plan and Transport Study (www.jointplanningwofe.org.uk) will
"set out a prospectus for sustainable growth that will help the area (Bristol, North Somerset, South Gloucestershire and Bath & North East Somerset) meet its housing and transport needs for the next 20 years."
Estimates state that the area needs at least 85,000 new homes by 2036, that is 29,000 more than the number already planned in Core Strategies, as well as the transport and other infrastructure needed to support that level of growth.
In B&NES, the B&NES Core Strategy (2014-2029) that was agreed in July 2014 after lengthy negotiations and public consultation is undergoing an early review in tandem with the Joint Spatial Plan (JSP). Once agreed the JSP (2016-2036) will in effect override the B&NES Core Strategy for determining the location and size of new housing developments in B&NES until 2036. The B&NES Core Strategy is being reviewed simultaneously so that its timespan will be extended to match that of the JSP.
Policy paper submission by SEG
On 27 January 2016 SEG submitted a policy paper 'Very special circumstances and the Green Belt' to the West of England Partnership as its response to the consultation for 'Issues and Options' in the West of England JSP. The Green Belt is a much valued designation the protection of which is increasingly vital. The paper covers these topics:-
You can download SEG's paper from our Green Belt page or here:
British Food Fortnight, 17th Sept to 2nd Oct
Now in its 14th year, British Food Fortnight is the biggest annual national celebration of British food and drink, with communities across the country flying the flag for home grown. Taking place from 17th September to 2nd October, B&NES Council is championing our own fresh and fabulous local produce by co-ordinating a lively programme of celebrations and activities throughout the area and launching an online Local Food Directory.
To find more updates about what events are going on in our area for British Food Fortnight, such as the 'Great Bath Feast' visit the B&NES Council webpage.
Saltford Santa Dash, 4th December
The fourth Saltford Santa Dash will be held on Sunday 4th December starting at Saltford Sports Club. There will be 2 separate runs, a 1 mile dash for under 12s starting at 10am and at 11am the 5 mile dash on roads around Saltford and into Keynsham and back.
The Saltford Santa Dash has raised several thousands of pounds for good causes since it started in 2013. Registration for participants from 1 September and details at www.saltfordsantadash.webs.com.
Globally 2015 was the warmest year on record as upward trend continues
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) of the US Government in its "State of the Climate" report for 2015 outlines the many climate records broken during the year, with records still tumbling through the first half of 2016.
It is looks increasingly likely that the aim of the Paris Agreement, of keeping global warming to below 1.5 degrees, signed in December 2015 by 195 countries, will be unachievable. 2015 saw the toppling of several symbolic mileposts: notably, it was 1.0 deg C warmer than preindustrial times, and the Mauna Loa observatory in Hawaii recorded its first annual mean carbon dioxide concentration greater than 400 parts per million (ppm). A continuing trend in raised ocean temperatures has also been observed.
For those interested in the technical details and data, the "State of the Climate in 2015" report can be found on the American Meteorology Society website from this external link >>.
Station Campaign questions B&NES Council's commitment to station
In an article in the 4th of August edition of local newspaper The Week In Saltford Station Campaign leader Chris Warren says he has been overwhelmed at the support from the majority of the community in Saltford to the campaign to reopen Saltford station but raises his concern that support has not been forthcoming in action, rather than words, from B&NES Council. Of particular concern is the omission of Saltford from the MetroWest timetable studies.
The campaign will be stepping up its efforts to encourage B&NES Council to match the support given to re-opening the station by our local MP Jacob Rees-Mogg. Two representatives met with B&NES Council Leader Tim Warren on 10th August where an assurance was given that B&NES Council would pursue investigations for timetable space for a half-hourly stop at Saltford in the context of the new MetroWest service.
The article can be found on page 20 of The Week In (issue no. 434, 4.8.2016) from this link: The Week In, Issue 434 (pdf on external site).
Older news stories from SEG
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