Saltford Environment Group
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You can find more news in our News Archive.
Current VOLUNTEER assistance sought by SEG >>
Wildlife at Saltford Brass Mill
Bethany Sewell, a photography student at Falmouth University, has used Saltford Brass Mill for the basis of a coursework project. The project involved making a photographic record of the wildlife in and around the mill and producing a magazine article which discusses the relationship between conservation of the mill and the conservation of wildlife. The article also looks at the fascinating history of our famous mill. Bethany has kindly given SEG permission to publish her article in our online history project Document Library.
You can find Bethany's article from this link to our Document Library:- 'Marina Magic' by Bethany Sewell (2019)
Saltford Wombles: Litter Pick Sunday 26th January
Our first group litter pick is on Sunday 26th January, 2.00-4.00pm, meeting outside The Little Coffee Shop on Manor Road. Please do come along.
If you have litter pickers, gloves and high viz vest please do bring them, but if not we can provide them. We have bags provided by B&NES Council.
As with any Saltford Wombles litter pick, everyone takes part at their own risk and it is essential that children are supervised at all times by a parent/carer. (Young children will be allocated an age appropriate area of your choice to litter pick).
If you would like to attend this litter pick, or find out more about the Saltford Wombles, please contact Barbara at the following email address: email@example.com.
B&NES Cabinet makes unanimous decision to ban moorings in Mead Lane without delay
At its meeting on the evening of 16th January the B&NES Cabinet took the unanimous decision to remove all moorings from Mead Lane in 21 days' time - this gives time to enable 14 days' notice to be given to those presently moored there.
The Council agreed with SEG, SPC our Ward Councillors and residents that Mead Lane was not suitable for moorings due to the 2005 riverbank stabilisation works that were not designed for mooring boats which cause damage to the bio-engineered scheme comprising rock armour secured with riverbank vegetation. The riverbank protects vital infrastructure from river erosion so a structural survey will be undertaken to inform the decision on repairs and the long term use of the riverbank.
In the discussion before the vote was taken Councillors agreed the Council would need to work quickly and carefully; the longer they leave it the bigger the repair bill.
The Cabinet also agreed that officers should undertake further analysis of residential mooring arrangements along the river to include arrangements for boaters and their families. SEG greatly welcomes the decision on moorings in Mead Lane and recognises the urgent need to improve facilities for the mooring of boats on the river that provide safe and appropriate moorings for the live-aboard community and other boat users whilst protecting the natural environment.
You can read the joint deputation from SEG and Saltford Parish Council given at the meeting to the Cabinet by SEG's Chair Phil Harding in the previous news item. A representative of Mead Lane Neighbourhood Watch and Ward Councillor Duncan Hounsell also addressed the Cabinet pressing the case for a mooring ban for the same reasons given by SPC and SEG.
SEG is grateful to Ward Councillor Duncan Hounsell for his strong support and also to the B&NES Cabinet for its full support for the case made by SEG, SPC and the community for protecting Mead Lane's riverbank. We hope it can now return to being a public space once more, preferably as a Local Nature Reserve or similar, after the repairs have been completed but those repairs must be a priority.
B&NES Cabinet asked for immediate mooring ban and other measures in Mead Lane
On 16th January Saltford Parish Council (SPC) and SEG will be asking B&NES Cabinet for an immediate mooring ban to protect the stability of the riverbank from further damage and the key infrastructure it protects and other related measures including structural repairs to the riverbank and the creation of a Local Nature Reserve to protect the vegetation that underpins the riverbank's bio-engineered stability.
A report by Council officers put to B&NES Cabinet for its 16th January meeting recommends commissioning a range of response options concerning the future of moorings at Mead Lane including a structural survey to establish the condition of the riverbank and if it is suitable for moorings to continue and if so for what time durations (48 hours and 14 days, just 14 days, or leave the existing arrangements in place). In October last year a consultation was held by B&NES Council using the independent consultants Lemon Gazelle - this involved a series of events with residents, boaters, and stakeholders that generated a total of 1,251 responses.
In a joint deputation from SPC and SEG to the Cabinet, SPC's Chair of Planning and SEG Chairman Phil Harding will say:-
In October he had received and quickly submitted to B&NES Council technical design information concerning the 2005 bio-engineered stabilisation of the riverbank in Mead Lane. The scheme, rock armour secured with riverbank vegetation, was installed to "protect the highway from becoming dangerous". Loss of part of the highway was then predicted by Halcrow to occur within 5-10 years if no action was taken. The scheme was not designed to take boat moorings including narrow boats that typically weigh 20+ tonnes. SEG also took professional advice from a Bath-based coastal and inland civil engineering consultancy who agreed that Mead Lane's bio-engineered riverbank is not suitable for boat moorings which damage the scheme.
Mead Lane provides the only road access to Wessex Water's Sewage Treatment Works as well as to residential properties and businesses; 24/7 access is imperative. The lane has beneath it a pumped sewer main and other buried services. Wessex Water were therefore alerted to the danger posed to their facilities; they share SEG's concerns and have made representations to the Council.
During December a brief survey by SEG including a geologist concluded that rock armour is missing in several places. On 20th December a trench dug by Wales and West to repair a fractured gas main filled with water as the river rose on the other side of the roadway to near flood level; river water was rising beneath the roadway across its full width. The integrity of the scheme that originally had a 40-50 year design lifespan has clearly been compromised by a "fix and forget" approach to asset management.
Moorings commenced a few years after the 2005 works straightened the riverbank. The 2017 and 2018 mooring trial by effect advertised Mead Lane as a free mooring thus attracting a growing number of boats causing ever more damage. The longer B&NES Council delay a mooring ban the more extensive and expensive the repairs; this increasing waste of public funds and risk to infrastructure needs to stop. As the B&NES Cabinet's background report recognises, climate change is creating more extreme weather including heavy rainfall events. The resultant increase in river flow accelerates the erosion of riverbank stabilisation schemes like Mead Lane's.
Saltford Parish Council and Saltford Environment Group implore B&NES Cabinet to agree to implement an immediate mooring ban to protect the stability of the riverbank from further damage and the key infrastructure it protects.
They also ask B&NES Cabinet to:-
(i) install effective physical measures to protect the riverbank and the highway edge from vehicles;
(ii) instigate an urgent structural survey of the riverbank with a view to repairing the rock armour before the end of the summer and autumn floods put the undefended highway at further risk;
(iii) designate Mead Lane riverbank as a flood defence asset that protects important infrastructure requiring care and maintenance; and
(iv) to take forward the proposal for designating Mead Lane riverbank as a Local Nature Reserve to protect the vegetation that underpins the riverbank's bio-engineered stability whilst providing public amenity benefits - leisure, recreation and education. This has strong local support.
B&NES Council should discuss with the Parish Council and residents implementation plans for those works.
The Lemon Gazelle report highlights the wider social and environmental issues associated with boat moorings on the River Avon, a Site of Nature Conservation Interest. As a separate case to Mead Lane, B&NES Council can use the Lemon Gazelle report to inform an investigation with key agencies on how best to support, manage, and enforce the use of moorings on the River Avon. The objective would be to make the river safer for all users including the live-aboard community whilst protecting this important Site of Nature Conservation Interest, a key ecological asset.
SEG letter to B&NES Council re. 2005 stabilisation works
SEG's letter of 20.10.2019 to B&NES Council containing technical design information on the 2005 stabilisation works can be downloaded here:-
The Case for a Local Nature Reserve at Mead Lane
You can download SEG's September 2019 paper on the case for a Local Nature Reserve (LNR) at Mead Lane from the link below.
Please note this paper was written before SEG knew about the nature of the 2005 riverbank stabilisation works but the vegetation associated with an LNR at Mead Lane and protection from vehicle damage could be part of the repairs to the riverbank stabilisation scheme:-
Our 2009 News Archive includes further news stories (October & November) on this long running issue.
Energy at Home advice service drop-in sessions
B&NES Council's Energy at Home advice service will be at the locations listed below to give residents advice about how to save energy through heating and insulation improvements, answering questions about smart meters as well as information on lowering fuel bills by switching energy suppliers. Residents can simply drop in, no pre-booking is necessary.
Further information on the Energy at Home Service is available from: www.energyathome.org.uk.
Saltford station - latest situation from WECA etc. given at public presentation
An audience of 50 residents and others interested in re-opening Saltford station including the B&NES Council Cabinet member for Transport, Cllr Neil Butters, attended the talk on Saltford station by Saltford Parish Council Cllrs Chris Warren and Duncan Hounsell on Sunday 5th January at Saltford Hall. Chris Warren gave a talk on the history of Saltford's railways and Duncan Hounsell described SPC's actions to achieve the re-opening of Saltford Station, and the latest updates about making this a reality for the future.
Duncan Hounsell quoted from the latest position of WECA (West of England Combined Authority) on the re-opening Saltford Railway Station:-
"Saltford is included as a potential new station in the West of England's draft Joint Local Transport Plan 4 (JLTP4) 2019 to 2036 because WECA recognises it has a role to play in tackling existing and future transport challenges particularly around Bath. As with all our new station proposals, they must be feasible, deliverable and demonstrate a good business case with funding identified and secured. The current costs for Charfield station (which is comparable to Saltford with requirements for two platforms, accessible footbridge, shelters and access routes) are put at between £14m and £20m.
"There are major network capacity issues on the railway line between Bath and Bristol and finding the capacity to stop trains at a new station is going to be challenging. The Greater Bristol Area Rail Feasibility Study (GBARFS) commissioned by the Department for Transport and WECA looked at future services and stations and the infrastructure/capacity required to deliver them. The study found that the new infrastructure required to deliver enhanced MetroWest services on the line to Bath Spa could provide the additional capacity required to enable additional stops at Saltford. It also suggested that it may be possible to introduce a skip-stop pattern (i.e. miss out stops at Keynsham or Oldfield Park) to facilitate a stop at Saltford. This would, however, create an irregular service pattern at each of the stations.
"The findings of GBARFS will now be used to draw up a 10 Year Delivery Plan and 25 Year Strategic Outline Business Case with Network Rail for rail investment in the West of England. Saltford will be part of this work as a possible future station site. In terms of station location previous work has focused on the previous station site. As part of the work on the 10 Year Delivery Plan and 25 Year Strategic Outline Business Case we may need to consider other possible locations for Saltford."
The text of Duncan Hounsell's talk can be downloaded from this link:-
The text of a similar talk by Chris Warren during the Saltford Festival in June 2017 is published on this website and can be downloaded from this link:-
Wombles 2020: Dates for the diary
Thank you to everyone for keeping the village tidy over these wet, cold and windy winter months.
Our next group litter picks will be on :-
Sunday 26th January
Sunday 23rd February
Sunday 29th March (as part of the Great British Spring Clean)
Sunday 26th April
Meeting places (and times) will vary depending on the litter hot spots, but will be advised beforehand.
For more details about the Wombles, or to join in a group pick, please contact Barbara at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Big Garden Birdwatch 25 - 27 January
The RSPB's annual Big Garden Birdwatch will be from 25 to 27 January 2020. It's a great chance to sit back, relax and watch birds and other wildlife for an hour - and to encourage younger members of your family to develop an interest in the local wildlife. By taking part, you'll find out all about the fascinating wildlife that flutters, crawls and hops in your garden or local area. And with a simple hour of mindful watching, you could have an hour to yourself, too.
Details including access to the RSPB's 'Big Garden Extra' can be found on the RSPB website from this link:- RSPB Birdwatch. You can also find more information on social media using the hashtag #BigGardenBirdWatch.
Wombles 'End of Year Report'
What a year! Thank you to everyone, monthly pickers, street pickers, bag maintainers etc. who has helped keep our beautiful village tidy and protect the river, seas, hedgerow and wildlife from our debris.
We've had a record 11 monthly picks this year, with an increased number of volunteers to 16 per pick and many more families now involved, especially after such a successful Saltford Festival. We even have 2 regular dog litter pickers who are particularly good at finding tennis balls. We collected 142 bags of litter, which is still huge but less on average per pick than last year. Great that we have collected so much, a shame there is so much to collect. This is without including the great work of our street pickers.
Most of the litter continues to be bottles, cans, nitrous oxide cannisters, takeaways, dog poo bags and wind blown items from unlidded recycling bins. Some of the more unusual items have included more clothes and car number plates: you'd really think you'd notice if you lost your shorts!
Putting out and collecting litter bags at key hot spots around the village, e.g. the playing fields and woods, is also proving to be very popular. Thank you to our bag maintainers and to everyone for using them. There is clearly a desire to be tidy and not drop litter, this makes it easier.
There is no formal litter pick in December. We resume from 2-4pm on Sunday 26 January 2020.
In the meantime, please do keep Wombling, collecting litter on your travels wherever they may take you over these winter months.
For more information about Saltford Wombles , please contact Barbara on email@example.com.
Happy litter picking!
Getting ready for Christmas the Fairtrade way with the Saltford Fairtrade Group
We bet you wouldn't think that the kitchen gloves, bars of soap, kitchen towels and spices on the Saltford Fairtrade stall at the Saltford Christmas Fair this year (30th November) were all Fairtrade? Along with the array of lovely colourful Tradecraft goodies it made the perfect way get everyone's Christmas preparations started.
Thank you everyone for buying Fairtrade, where you know that the producers always reap the benefits of their labour to better their lives and that of their families and cooperatives. Think Christmas, think Fairtrade.
Saltford's Railways: Past, Present and Future - Free talk!
To mark 50 years to the day of the closure of Saltford Station, Saltford Parish Council has organised a free illustrated talk by Cllrs Chris Warren and Duncan Hounsell.
Attendees will be able to find out about the history of Saltford's railways, SPC's actions to achieve the re-opening of Saltford Station, and the latest updates about making this a reality for the future.
All are welcome, there is no need to book. The talk starts at 2pm on Sunday 5th January 2020, in Saltford Hall.
UK in ecological overshoot
An ecological deficit occurs when the Ecological Footprint of a population exceeds the biocapacity of the area available to that population.
The UK could only support around 21M people from its own internal biomass, but the UK population is 65M. The difference is made up by taking resources from other parts of the planet at the expense of the ecosystems, wildlife and people there and yet the climate emergency will increasingly make it difficult for the UK to depend on other nations to feed and support us.
In common with many other places on the planet, the UK is in massive ecological overshoot and needs to drastically reduce population and per-head consumption in order to be sustainable.
The Global Footprint Network, that advances the science of sustainability website at data.footprintnetwork.org provides further information on this topic.
More and older news stories from SEG
Our 'Newsletter' archive page features most of our past and recently published news stories (click on image):-
Current areas of local volunteer assistance sought by SEG
Here are the current vacancies:-
Website skills wanted!
Our website is a popular resource for our members and others which means that in addition to keeping it relevant we want to make sure it continues to function as it should.
If you live in or near Saltford, care about your local environment and have current knowledge of website design and might be interested in using your IT skills for a bit of IT volunteering to help us behind the scenes please get in touch with our Chairman by email to firstname.lastname@example.org for a no-obligation chat on possible volunteer help.
First published June 2018
Want to get more involved with SEG?
SEG is seeking new Executive Committee members to help steer and develop SEG's future as we address the environmental concerns of our members at the local level. If you think you might like to get involved and join our Executive Committee (enthusiasm is more important than expertise!), please contact our Chairman, Phil Harding, for an informal non-committal chat.
The Executive Committee only meets 4 times a year and its working method is more about sharing ideas and getting things done in a friendly and productive atmosphere than being bogged down with time-consuming administration.
First published February 2018, updated April 2018
SUPPORT FROM BUSINESS:
'Saltford Weather Station'
Saltford Heritage Centre's next scheduled public opening will be announced here.
"Think global, act local"