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Saltford Environment Group
  towards a sustainable future for our village

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  SEG Home > News List > 2023 News Archive


2023 News Archive

The latest stories are on our home page.

As this is an archive some older links may no longer connect due to changes in web page URL addresses etc.

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An important start to 2023 for Saltford was Saltford Parish Council's formal bid to B&NES Council for a landscape designation for "Saltford South" via the consultation process for the next B&NES Local Plan (2022-2042). SEG fully supports this approach and the case made for securing Saltford's valuable landscape for nature and for existing and future generations.

Click on each story link or scroll down the page (most recent appears first):-

November 2023

Fairtrade Group at Christmas Market (2nd Dec)

Community carbon calculator - Saltford

Next B&NES Local Plan: Consultation Timetable (updated 4.1.2024)

Next B&NES Local Plan: HELAA map for Saltford

Can the Government's new Environmental Principles Policy Statement help protect our Green Belt?

October 2023

New Reuse Shop at Keynsham recycling centre

Saltford Fairtrade Coffee Morning, 13th October

State of Nature report

September 2023

Securing Saltford's past

Solar Together Bath & North East Somerset

SPC responds to WECA's "congestion raising" proposals for the A4 - UPDATE: Petition launched!

Saltford4Nature seeking to improve Saltford's public areas

Saltford Calendar 2024

Local Nature Recovery Strategy for the West of England - SPC responds

New 'Saltford South' landscape walk from SEG

Remarkable 1960 aerial photograph of Saltford

August 2023

A4 Bath to Bristol proposals from WECA - More or less traffic congestion?

West of England Local Nature Recovery Strategy - Have Your Say

Saltford Repair Cafe

July 2023

"Long-term plan" for housing - Government reaffirms importance of Green Belt

Big Butterfly Count (14 Jul - 6 Aug)

SPC meets B&NES re. landscape designation bid for Saltford South

June 2023

Orchids in Saltford

Let it bloom June

May 2023

New SPC renews policy to protect Saltford's Green Belt and local ecology

Election Results for Saltford Ward (4th May B&NES Council Local election)

April 2023

New Wessex Water access bridge in Saltford to commence construction this summer

2023 Big Garden Birdwatch results

B&NES Council Election 4th May: Answers to 6 key questions from SEG

SPC Election uncontested! New team ready to serve Saltford

Annual Saltford Dawn Chorus Walk, 23rd April

March 2023

Final part of IPCC report states how the planet stands on climate change crisis

Photography & Advice for Drone Operators

SPC and B&NES Council protecting Saltford's green spaces

February 2023

Endangered bird species regularly observed in Saltford South

A "safer cleaner river for users and wildlife" sought by SPC

Fairtrade Fortnight - Coffee Morning 10th Mar 2023

January 2023

Government's "Environmental Improvement Plan 2023" and Saltford South landscape designation

New consensus on the future of farming (& food)

Important landscape designation for Saltford South to be sought by SPC

Big Garden Birdwatch 27 - 29 Jan


News stories start here (most recent appears first):-


Fairtrade Group at Christmas Market (2nd Dec)

November 2023

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Saltford Fairtrade Group will once again have a stall at the Christmas Market on Saturday 2nd December 2023, there will be a range of Fairtrade products and gifts that could make the perfect present or stocking filler! By supporting Fairtrade you are making a difference by ensuring better prices and improved working conditions for farmers and their communities in the developing world.

Don't forget there are plenty of local shops that stock Fairtrade products and we are grateful for donations received from our local Tesco and the Keynsham branch of Waitrose. Please visit us at the Christmas Market for a friendly chat and enjoy a cup of Fairtrade tea or coffee in the excellent Saltford Hall cafe. We hope to see you there. New members always welcome.

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Community carbon calculator - Saltford

November 2023

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An online digital visualisation tool from the Centre for Sustainable Energy in Bristol and backed by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy that can help communities to understand their carbon footprint can be found at impact-tool.org.uk from this link >>

Whilst the accuracy of such data should always be treated with caution, it can provide a useful indication for where improvements could be made. It currently shows that on average Saltford's households have a larger annual carbon footprint, at 21 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent, than the average household for Great Britain (15.7 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent) and in the B&NES area (16.1 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent). Consumption of goods and services, and travel are identified as the areas where Saltford's level of CO2 emissions are mostly above the average GB level.

The data and graphic illustration for Saltford can be found from this link >>

A community carbon calculator like this can guide policy makers on where to target efforts to reduce emissions and raise awareness amongst the general public so that they can think more carefully about the choices they make.

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Next B&NES Local Plan: Consultation Timetable

November 2023 (last updated 4th January)

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The key dates for the consultations etc. for the forthcoming new B&NES Local Plan for development (2022-2042) are as follows :-

  • Draft Local Plan Options Paper goes live (online) on c.24th January as a paper for the B&NES Cabinet to discuss and adopt/change on 1st February. UPDATE: Those are the latest dates known as of 4th Jan 2024.
  • Ward Councillors to hold a public meeting 26th January, 7pm at Saltford Hall.
  • Public Consultation on Options for the draft Local Plan scheduled for (Updated 4.1.2024) 12th February - 25th March. This will be the chance to comment on options for development, potential approaches and for a review of current planning policies.
    IMPORTANT: This is where the community can show its support for SPC's request (backed by SEG) for a landscape designation for Saltford South.
  • Public Consultation on the Draft Local Plan summer to autumn 2024.
  • Public Examination (by a Government Planning Inspector appointed by the Secretary of State) of the draft Local Plan end of 2024/early 2025.
  • Final adoption of the new Local Plan by the end of 2025.

These timings are subject to change and, of course, the next General Election. SEG will keep members updated on progress and advice on how to submit an effective response to proposals that affect Saltford, in particular for the February-March 2024 consultation.

FURTHER INFORMATION

The main B&NES web page about the draft Local Plan is at this link.

The B&NES Local Plan timetable (subject to adjustment when/if slippage occurs) is at this link.

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Next B&NES Local Plan: HELAA map for Saltford

November 2023

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B&NES HELAA Map for Saltford as at 13.11.2023. HELAA sites are shaded blue.

At SEG's AGM on 13th November, members discussed the forthcoming new B&NES Local Plan for development covering the 20-year period 2022 to 2042 and how SEG can help the community resist any proposals to develop the local Green Belt.

Public consultations on proposals for development in the draft Local Plan are due to commence in early 2024.

Before then, members present were encouraged to look at the parcels of land in Saltford's Green Belt that will be assessed by B&NES as part of the Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA) - see the above map.

HELAA is a technical assessment process of the suitability, availability and achievability of land for development. The HELAA process does not affect the planning status of any land which is assessed. In order to produce a sound Local Plan, B&NES Council has to assess potential sites for future housing and economic development; those that are considered to have the potential for development and not hindered by planning constraints are then put into the draft Local Plan following a consultation process.

The HELAA map for Saltford and the surrounding area can be found on the B&NES Council website from this link:- HELAA map (zoom the web page map to home in on Saltford).

It is important to note that B&NES Council will short-list all the sites across the B&NES area before choosing which ones go in the draft Local Plan.

For further information from B&NES Council on the "5-year Housing Land Supply and Housing and Economic Land Availability Assessment (HELAA)" process click on this link.

SEG will be publishing more information on the consultations for the Local Plan here on our website as details emerge including for a public meeting to be arranged by our Ward Councillors in late January.

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Can the Government's new Environmental Principles Policy Statement help protect our Green Belt?

November 2023

Ministers and government departments have a new legal duty to "have due regard" to the Environmental Principles Policy Statement (EPPS) and therefore an obligation to consider the impact their policies will have on the environment that came into effect on 1st November 2023. The Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) will now scrutinise and monitor the implementation of this obligation across Government.

The OEP will scrutinise and monitor the implementation of the EPPS across Government and intends to report to Parliament after the summer of 2024.

The EPPS covers five environmental principles set out in law that are:-

  • the integration principle (that environmental protection be integrated into the making of policies);
  • the prevention principle;
  • the precautionary principle;
  • the rectification of environmental damage at source principle; and
  • the polluter pays principle.

For the purpose of this policy statement, the EPPS (and as defined in the Environment Act 2021 section 45), "environmental protection" means:-

  • (a) protection of the natural environment from the effects of human activity
  • (b) protection of people from the effects of human activity on the natural environment
  • (c) maintenance, restoration or enhancement of the natural environment
  • (d) monitoring, assessing, considering or reporting on anything in paragraphs (a) to (c).

SEG COMMENT

Although this policy is aimed at central Government it is intended to guide policy decisions and policy making, and specifically "national policy statements, strategies and frameworks" (as described in the "Policy making" section of the EPPS).

In defending Saltford's Green Belt, SEG shall be reminding B&NES Council, and others, that the Green Belt is protected by the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) and the implementation of planning policy requirements including policy frameworks such as the Government's NPPF is, by default, now subject to the Environmental Principles Policy Statement (EPSS) that is a "statutory document" under the Environment Act 2021.

The EPPS is intended to influence national policies including national planning policies, and thus the interpretation of sustainable development and environmental objectives of the NPPF, and not each individual planning decision. However, planning decisions have to be made in accordance with planning policies and in particular the adopted Local Plan that in turn is a requirement of the NPPF which now has to be compliant with the EPPS.

RELEVANT LINKS

The Office for Environmental Protection (OEP) press release on the EPPS can be found from this link.

The EPPS web page on gov.uk can be found from this link.

SEG keeps a record of policies and Government statements that affect the Green Belt on our Green Belt page.

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New Reuse Shop at Keynsham recycling centre

October 2023

The new reuse and recycling shop was opened by B&NES Council on the ground floor of the Keynsham Recycling Hub (at Worlds End Lane, just off Pixash Lane, BS31 1TW) on 25th October.

The new reuse shop will offer low-cost quality preloved items that have been donated by local residents using the recycling centre. Donations currently on display include crockery, garden tools, bedside and dining tables, and adult and children's bikes.

The reuse shop will open to B&NES residents on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9am to 1pm and Saturday 9.30am to 3pm, although the opening times may vary to ensure there is no impact on queueing times for residents wanting to use the recycling centre.

The council has partnered with Bath Share and Repair to fully check, PAT test and sell small household electrical items, such as lamps, kettles and toasters on site.

Garden waste that has been collected for composting on site and through the fortnightly green bin service will also be available for purchase from the shop as a peat-free soil conditioner.

Residents wishing to donate preloved items at Keynsham Recycling Centre can drop them in the signposted area to the left outside the Reuse Shop entrance.

More information about the Reuse Shop can be found on the council website.

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Saltford Fairtrade Coffee Morning, 13th October

October 2023

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Fairtrade
COFFEE MORNING

Friday October 13th from 11.00 am - 12.30pm
Avon Room, SALTFORD HALL

(Free Entry - Donations welcome)

A warm welcome awaits you, with Fairtrade coffee, tea, cake and a raffle. Chat to Saltford's Fairtrade Group about Fairtrade and discover how by buying products with the Fairtrade logo help ensure better prices and improved working conditions for farmers and their communities in the developing world.

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www.fairtrade.org.uk

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State of Nature report

October 2023

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The State of Nature Report 2023 for the UK published in September reveals the ongoing decline in our nation's flora and fauna.

The UK, like most other countries worldwide, has experienced a significant loss of biodiversity. The trends in nature presented in the report cover, at most, 50 years, but these follow on from major changes to the UK's nature over previous centuries.

Some headline statistics from the report:-

  • Across the UK species studied have declined on average by 19% since 1970;
  • Nearly one in six species (19%) are threatened with extinction from Great Britain;
  • Invertebrates such as insects, spiders and millipedes have been found, on average, in 13% fewer places now than in 1970;
  • Pollinators such as bees, hoverflies and moths, have decreased by 18% on average, whilst predatory insects, like the 2-spot Ladybird which help control crop pests, have declined by more than a third (34%);
  • Since 1970 more than half of our flowering plants, mosses and their relatives have been lost from areas where they used to thrive;
  • Farmland birds have suffered particularly strong declines of on average 58%;
  • Only one in seven (14%) of the UK's important habitats for wildlife were found to be in good condition.

Changes in the way we manage our land for farming, and climate change were the biggest causes of wildlife decline on our land, rivers and lakes.

Yet again this important report highlights that the UK is one of the most nature depleted places on the planet. But it offers hope, showing that when we take action to protect and restore nature, it works. We have never had a better understanding of the State of Nature and what is needed to fix it.

The full report can be found on this website: stateofnature.org.uk.

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Securing Saltford's past

September 2023

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SEG is delighted to announce that SEG and Saltford Community Association have agreed to work together in partnership to secure for the community the long term future of SEG's History of Saltford project that was first launched in 2015.

As well as a significant amount of online published digital information and images including our Online Museum, the project includes approximately 3,000 items comprising digital images, digital documents, printed documents/papers and historical artefacts from Saltford's past.

SEG has reviewed how Saltford's artefacts and some of the many images can be made more accessible at special village events and at a more central and visited location than the Heritage Centre room that has hitherto been located on the 1st floor of St Mary's Church hall. SEG is deeply appreciative of the generous provision by St Mary's of a dedicated room in the church hall but the location and lack of disabled access has always been a concern.

In future, a selection of artefacts and printed or digital panels may be displayed at Saltford Hall - either at special heritage/village events and/or in a display cabinet or via AV equipment.

These plans are still being formulated, but the immediate priority has been to securely back-up SEG's extensive digital heritage records. These records include many hundreds of images that are now held safely in a digital archive for current and future generations of Saltford residents.

As an example, SEG has recently published in the Online Museum a fascinating 1960 aerial photograph of Saltford, and the very high resolution original image is part of our digital archive amongst a large and constantly growing collection of historic photographs.

St. Mary's PCC looks after Saltford's oldest building, the Anglo-Saxon church tower, and the continued support and involvement of St Mary's PCC who kindly help SEG securely store our artefacts will be an ongoing aspect of the new History of Saltford partnership. Saltford School will be involved in future plans too, as much of our online material has been deliberately published in a format that can be of benefit to the school's teaching of history.

We shall make further announcements on our website etc. in due course.

Any enquiries about the project to SEG's Chair, Phil Harding.

Links to "History of Saltford" project web pages :-

The History of Saltford (home page)

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Solar Together Bath & North East Somerset

September 2023

Residents and local businesses are being offered an easy way to invest in solar panels and battery storage to power their homes with clean energy and support B&NES Council's net zero carbon ambitions.

B&NES Council is participating in Phase 2 of the Solar Together West of England Scheme, a group-buying scheme that is being delivered in partnership with the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) and their partner iChoosr Ltd, independent experts in group-buying.

During the first round of the scheme in 2021, a total of 1,620 property owners across B&NES registered for the scheme with 278 installing solar panels and 176 installing battery storage systems. The installations delivered through the 2021 scheme across the whole of the West of England equates to an estimated 18,000 tonnes of carbon reduction over 25 years.

Residents can also register to have battery storage added to their existing solar panels to maximise the benefits of their system.

Details can be found from this link:- Solar Together B&NES.

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SPC responds to WECA's "congestion raising" proposals for the A4 - UPDATE: Residents launch petition!

September 2023 (updated 27.9.2023)

Saltford Parish Council has responded robustly to the WECA proposals for the Bath to Bristol A4. Key points made by SPC in its comprehensive response to the consultation include:-

  • SPC strongly objects to the proposals for changes to the highway as outlined for Saltford and the Keynsham Bypass (bar the Esso garage crossing) and its view is that they provide no transport benefit to Saltford residents.
  • The proposals would result in a significant loss of amenity, worsening of air quality, significant safety issues (for those in vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians), increased congestion on the A4 in Saltford and residential roads, negatively impact 'active travel' incentive, and come at huge expense to residents of Saltford and its businesses.
  • SPC specifically opposes the proposal for two bus lanes the length of the Keynsham Bypass due to the negative impact on Saltford for a theoretical minimal gain in speed for some buses along the bypass which would be more than offset by other impacts of the proposal.
  • SPC also reiterates its strong objection to further Double Yellow Lines on the High Street.
  • SPC recognises the value of measures to reduce the volume of vehicles on the A4 and to support the use of public transport. However, the proposals as put forward in the consultation would both fail to significantly contribute to these aims and would measurably disadvantage Saltford residents as well as commuters from Bristol, Bath, Keynsham, etc.
  • The Parish Council would welcome a greater overall and sustainable commitment to the provision of affordable public transport, especially for commuters and young people. This would entail the continued provision of a regular, reliable X39 bus service at affordable prices to encourage and maintain greater use. It also welcomes proposals to fully upgrade existing bus stops, but this should apply to all bus stops in the Saltford area and not restricted to the ones selected in the proposals.
  • SPC would also value information from WECA on its plans for investment in e-mobility, including both financial support for electric buses and associated infrastructure required. SPC views e-buses as faster and better for air quality, achieving aspects aimed for in the proposals. SPC views lack of inclusion on proposed e-mobility infrastructure, and clearly stated engagement with key partners e.g. National Grid, as a glaring omission.
  • For a true scalable and integrated transport system, Saltford Parish Council is resolute that a greater utilisation of the GWR and MetroWest railway service is the obvious choice and solution to achieving the aims the proposals seek, supported by the re-opening of stations like Saltford Station and offering train travel at affordable prices. Reopening Saltford Station must be an integral part of any consultation and package to address road congestion and pollution on the A4 Bath to Bristol Corridor.

SPC's comprehensive response to the consultation can be found on the SPC website from this link.

UPDATE 27.9.2023 - Residents launch petition!

A group of Saltford residents have started a petition Stop WECA's A4 Bath Road Changes between Bristol & Bath asking WECA to "reconsider the proposed radical changes to the A4 Bath Road. These changes will undoubtedly have disastrous consequences for our community, causing immense traffic delays and adding to pollution levels." The petition highlights the traffic delays and negative impact on local businesses.

It is important that as many residents and business owners as possible sign the petition to send a strong message to WECA that its proposals will have such a negative effect on Saltford and Keynsham. You can find the petition from this link: change.org...

FURTHER INFORMATION

Saltford residents can find out about the 'A4 Bath to Bristol' travel consultation, at a drop-in event arranged by WECA at Saltford Hall on Tuesday 19th Sept between 2-7pm.

Concerned Saltford residents have also arranged a public meeting at Saltford Hall for 7pm Saturday 23rd September.

Consultation for the A4 Bath to Bristol stretch is open between 21 August and 1 October. If you want to see the proposals from WECA and, if you wish, provide an online response, visit haveyoursaywest.co.uk.

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Saltford4Nature seeking to improve Saltford's public areas

September 2023

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A small group of residents have formed the Saltford4Nature group with the aim of starting to make the village's green areas simultaneously both more nature friendly and visually attractive.

The new Saltford4Nature group is proposing to adopt some specific local green spaces, such as grass verges, to improve biodiversity with planting and ongoing management schemes that balance visual impact with benefits for nature. For example, combining pollen-rich herbaceous perennials with wildflowers, thus extending the flowering season to benefit pollinators, can provide an attractive outcome for our green public spaces.

Discussions with the B&NES Parks Team so that this is a shared programme of activity and supports the Council's objectives for supporting nature and in particular pollinators, are part of the plan to move forward.

Just one or two areas will be adopted initially. If this proves popular and volunteers who can provide just small occasional commitments of time come forward, the project will be able to adopt more areas. Before any public area is adopted discussions and agreement will be sought with the B&NES Parks Projects Team.

If this is something that you would like to become involved with, please email Christine and Pat(rick) Brown of Saltford4Nature at saltford4nature@gmail.com to express your interest.

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Saltford Calendar 2024

September 2023

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The 2024 edition of the popular Saltford Calendar featuring some stunning photographs by local photographers is now available from Saltford Post Office* at £8 each.

As in previous years the calendar has been produced by Saltford Community Association and Saltford Environment Group. All net proceeds will be split between SCA, SEG and the Saltford Community Library and Post Office to help further their work supporting the community.

By purchasing your copy or copies (it makes a great gift!) you are helping support the community, including helping to keep the Post Office open, whilst celebrating the village and its rural setting.

*Saltford Post Office is open 9am - 1pm & 2pm - 5pm on Monday to Friday. The Shop & Library (but not P.O.) is also open Saturday 9am - 12 noon.

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Local Nature Recovery Strategy for the West of England - SPC responds

September 2023

Further to our news item last month 'West of England Local Nature Recovery Strategy - Have Your Say', on 6th September Saltford Parish Council resolved its response to the West of England Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS) consultation which was submitted the following day (the deadline for responses is 7th September).

In its response SPC suggested that the LNRS "actively encourages and requires Local Planning Authorities in the West of England to identify and use the Area of Great Landscape Value (AGLV) designation and/or the Local Green Space designation to publicly and permanently signal that specific areas are to be protected as potential priorities for nature from development or other harm as well as for providing open green space for local communities."

SPC continued:- "As two current examples, formal requests have been submitted to B&NES Council for such landscape designations by Saltford Parish Council (January 2023) and Keynsham Town Council (April 2023) as part of the new B&NES Local Plan (2022-2042). These could usefully be incorporated into the LNRS as part of its action and delivery plan as "potential priorities for nature's recovery"."

The Parish Council also referred to the importance of the River Avon and other Sites of Nature Conservation Interest for nature. The response said "...the River Avon through B&NES is an SNCI, a Site of Nature Conservation Interest. The LNRS should declare an objective for a safer cleaner River Avon throughout the West of England, affording greater protection from pollution and habitat destruction arising from inconsiderate and unsafe use by some river users, sewage system overflows during periods of heavy rainfall, and the river should be managed to allow natural habitat restoration/recovery. There are other SNCIs in the West of England; these should be listed in the LNRS as priority protection areas."

The SPC response can be found on the SPC website from this link.

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New 'Saltford South' landscape walk from SEG

September 2023

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SEG has produced and published today (3rd September) a new walking guide of 'Saltford South' in our History of Saltford project's "Walks of Saltford" series.

This walk explores most of the beautiful southern slopes of Saltford, with a pleasant walk through a wood and then on up through fields with wonderful surrounding views - including the ability to see the Cotswolds, the Forest of Dean and the Welsh Hills from one vantage point.

The community of Saltford, led by Saltford Parish Council, is seeking to protect this wonderful landscape through a landscape designation in the next B&NES Local Plan (2022-2042). This new guide takes walkers around the landscape so that they can enjoy the extensive rural landscape views of Saltford South.

Click here to find and download the 'Saltford South' landscape walk (includes map).

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Remarkable 1960 aerial photograph of Saltford

September 2023

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 Saltford (June 1960)

On 2nd September, SEG posted aerial images of Saltford (1960, 1985 and 1989) on the Online Museum of our History of Saltford project and all three images can be viewed at a large scale on our website.

The 1960 photograph (see the smaller scale version above) was taken before Claverton Road West joined up with Claverton Road and the new housing on the south side of Saltford was constructed in the 1970s.

These remarkable images can be viewed from this link >>

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August 2023

A4 Bath to Bristol proposals from WECA - More or less traffic congestion?

August 2023

New proposals from the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) being shared from 21 August could change travel along the A4 between Bath and Bristol. WECA's aim is to give better options to choose to travel sustainably - whether that's by bus, bike, walking and if you use a wheelchair or mobility scooter - wheeling.

There are many concerns in the village that the loss of roadspace on the A4 Keynsham bypass will increase and prolong periods of traffic congestion backing up through Saltford and Keynsham whilst the loss of a pedestrian crossing in Saltford would inconvenience and add risks for pedestrians.

A B&NES Council Officer will be explaining the WECA 'A4 Bath to Bristol' proposals to Saltford Parish Council at its 5th September meeting (7.15pm, Avon Room, Saltford Hall); residents are welcome to attend to learn more about these prioposals and the consultation process.

Saltford residents can also find out about the 'A4 Bath to Bristol' travel consultation, at a drop-in event arranged by WECA at Saltford Hall on Tuesday 19th Sept between 2-7pm, or register for the online webinar to be held on Thursday 7th September 6.30-8pm from this link.

Consultation for the A4 Bath to Bristol stretch is open between 21 August and 1 October. If you want to see the proposals from WECA and, if you wish, provide an online response, visit haveyoursaywest.co.uk.

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West of England Local Nature Recovery Strategy - Have Your Say

August 2023

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A West of England Local Nature Recovery Strategy (LNRS) is currently being developed by the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) to coordinate efforts to restore nature across the region, as required by legislation. The aim is to have this important strategy in place by spring 2024, and the team at WECA behind it are seeking to collaborate with a range of stakeholders.

To have your say on what your priorities are for nature you can complete WECA's survey by 7th September by following this link to WECA and selecting the survey link once there.

BACKGROUND

WECA make the following statement on their website :-

Nature is collapsing at an alarming and unprecedented rate. Globally we have lost 60% of wild vertebrates and up to 76% of insects since 1970. And in the West of England, numbers of once common birds like swifts and cuckoos have dropped by more than 96%.

The decline in nature matters to all of us because of the vital role that wildlife and nature play in supporting our wellbeing, society and economy. Nature provides the air we breathe, the food we eat, the water we drink, and many of the resources we need to survive and maintain our quality of life.

Reversing this decline will require a coordinated effort across society, as well as an improved understanding of the most important actions for nature recovery and how these can be delivered.

The West of England Local Nature Recovery Strategy will identify desired outcomes for nature recovery in the region, including those considered to be 'priorities', and potential measures to deliver them. Ultimately, we see the LNRS as being the guiding strategy for nature in the region, enabling collective effort to be focussed where it will have most benefit.

WHAT ARE LOCAL NATURE RECOVERY STRATEGIES?

Local Nature Recovery Strategies (LNRS) are 'a new, England-wide system of spatial strategies that will establish priorities and map proposals for specific actions to drive nature's recovery and provide wider environmental benefits', as set out by Government in the Environment Act 2022.

As well as having a role in the planning system and directing public funding for nature recovery, LNRSs will inform the delivery of 'nature-based solutions' for outcomes such as flood management, carbon sequestration and improvements in water quality.

There will be a single LNRS for the West of England which will cover the unitary authority areas of Bath and North East Somerset (B&NES), Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire. In total, there will be around 50 LNRSs, covering the whole of England; joined together, the aim is that they will support delivery of a national Nature Recovery Network.

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Saltford Repair Cafe

August 2023

After a successful trial earlier this year, Saltford Community Association (SCA) has set up a Saltford Repair Cafe where residents can bring in electrical, mechanical, sewing and other general items that volunteers will repair. This is held at Saltford Hall in Wedmore Road on the 3rd Saturday of the month (except August and December) from 11am until 1.30pm.

Residents are encouraged to pop down with their item that needs a helping hand with repairs or simply go along and say hello. As well as being able to get your broken items looked at, SCA also run their community café alongside offering their legendary Newton Farm bacon rolls, as well as other rolls, home-made cakes and Fairtrade tea/coffee.

Avoidable waste is avoidable pollution (to air, land and water) and depletes natural resources that existing and future generations will need to use on a renewable basis.

Consumption-driven economic growth on our finite planet has been described as a race where eventually everyone loses. Acting at the local level on global issues like the need to reduce carbon emissions, and to reduce the seemingly ever-growing waste of non-renewable resources, is a small part each of us can take to do our bit.

The waste hierarchy is something we can all apply in our homes and our places of education and work:

  • First reduce the amount of waste we all produce (esp. plastic that poisons wildlife and persists permanently in the environment as it breaks down into smaller and smaller particles!)
  • Second reuse and repair as much as possible
  • Third recycle
  • Fourth we should recover as much value as we can from what is left.

Only as a last resort should we dispose of the left over waste.

SCA's Saltford Repair Cafe is a great example of how a community can reduce waste by repairing items rather than discarding and replacing them.

If you're looking for something to do with your Saturdays, why not volunteer with SCA? They are looking for repairers to give a hand at their Repair Cafes.

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July 2023

"Long-term plan" for housing - Government reaffirms importance of Green Belt

July 2023

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Photograph © Phil Harding

On 24th July Levelling Up, Housing and Communities Secretary Michael Gove issued a public statement on the "Long-term plan" for housing. This is distinctly important for Saltford as our community seeks protection of the local Green Belt and a landscape designation for "Saltford South" during the current preparation of the new B&NES Local Plan (2022-2042).

Michael Gove's speech included the following points that are relevant to protecting the Green Belt that surround communities like Saltford, Keynsham, Bath and Bristol:-

"The quality of the homes that we live in, the physical nature of our neighbourhoods, the design of our communities, determines so much. Our health, our happiness, our prosperity, our productivity - all depend on where we live."

"That is why housing policy - the building of new homes, the stewardship of existing properties, the planning of our towns, the fundamental landscape of our lives - requires long-term thinking. And a long-term plan."

The long-term plan has 10 principles that include these 3 making the principled case against Green Belt development:-

  • The regeneration and renaissance of the hearts of 20 of our most important towns and cities.
  • Communities taking back control of their future.
  • Greener homes, greener landscapes and green belt protection.

He also made a strong case for not developing in the Green Belt:-

"As my colleague Neil O'Brien argued in his landmark study for the think tank Onward on housing - Green, Pleasant and Affordable - cities are where the demand for housing is greatest. It is better for the environment, the economy, for productivity and well-being if we use all of the levers that we have to promote urban regeneration - rather than swallowing up virgin land. That is why we will enable brownfield development rather than green belt erosion, sustainable growth rather than suburban sprawl. So the economic and environmental imperatives all point towards a move away from a land-hungry destruction of natural habitats in favour of a much more efficient regeneration of our cities."

Michael Gove also referred to the contribution new Garden Towns or Garden Villages can make to provide homes where people will want to live "...I am so glad that the spirit of Poundbury is animating new garden towns and villages across the country...It provides a model for the future. More garden towns and villages built on similar lines, master-planned to be communities that anyone would aspire to live in - that is critical to our future."

Ahead of the Statement by Michael Gove, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak also issued a statement on 24 July via the gov.uk website stating that the government will focus on prioritising building in inner-city areas where demand is highest, and growth is being constrained.

The statement on the gov.uk website also said new flexibilities to convert shops, takeaways and betting shops into homes will help to rejuvenate the high street. Meanwhile, red tape will be cut to enable barn conversions and the repurposing agricultural buildings and disused warehouses. New freedoms to extend homes, convert lofts and renovate new buildings will help to convert existing properties into new accommodation. A review into the extension of permitted development rights will make it easier for homeowners to build upwards and outwards - with new extensions and loft conversions - whilst ensuring neighbours' interests are protected.

The intention to consult on "reforming local plans, to make them simpler, shorter and more visual, showing clearly what is planned in local areas so communities can engage" was also announced.

SEG COMMENT

Whilst it is disappointing that the statement missed the opportunity to make clear why Green Belt protection was already increasingly important for the UK's future food security as highlighted by the heatwaves presently affecting southern Europe, the United States, and China that will reduce global food production and increase food prices, at least the emphasis for where new homes are to be built has been placed firmly on brownfield and city-based development; that is to be welcomed.

"Space for nature" gets little more than a passing reference in Michael Gove's statement - under the section on "Regeneration of 20 places" - but for land-use planning in the UK to be truly holistic, reflect sustainable development principles and be joined-up with environmental policies, it needs to be given a much higher priority in national and local planning policies. It is in all our interests that we protect our natural ecosystems and aid recovery from what has already been lost.

FURTHER INFORMATION

The text of the full speech by Michael Gove can be found on the gov.uk website.

PM Rishi Sunak's statement can be found from this link to gov.uk.

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Big Butterfly Count (14 Jul - 6 Aug)

July 2023

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Speckled Wood, Painted Lady and Peacock. © Elizabeth Cooksey

The Big Butterfly Count is a UK-wide citizen survey aimed at helping us assess the health of our environment simply by counting the amount and type of butterflies (and some day-flying moths) we see.

Sir David Attenborough is President of the charity Butterfly Conservation that runs this important annual count, and Chris Packham and Nick Baker are joint Vice Presidents.

This year's big butterfly count is from 14 July to 6 August and could be something to also get younger members of the family engaged in over the summer holidays. Participants choose a place to spot butterflies and moths. Watch for 15 minutes. Then record which species they see. You will be able to submit records throughout July and August.

There's even a free smartphone app for the big butterfly count (and/or a handy butterfly ID chart to download) so that you can carry out and submit your count all in one go while out and about watching butterflies. Details at www.bigbutterflycount.org.

SEG's wildlife page has photographs of all 25 butterflies that occur and have been observed in Saltford in recent years - see wildlife page - butterflies.

More information can be found on Social Media via the #BigButterflyCount hashtag.

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SPC meets B&NES re. landscape designation bid for Saltford South

July 2023

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Members and others will be aware that Saltford Parish Council requested in January of this year landscape protection for 'Saltford South' in the next B&NES Local Plan (covering development from 2022 to 2042). Keynsham Town Council are now also looking to protect 'Keynsham East' similarly; SPC and KTC are supportive in principle of each other's bids.

Together SPC and KTC Cllrs met with B&NES Planning Officers on 3rd July for further discussions on those bids and the bidding process itself. SPC was represented by Cllrs Phil Harding (SPC's Chair of Planning), Andy Rice, David Halton (SPC's Vice Chair), and Gary Graveling. Saltford's B&NES Ward Councillor, Cllr Duncan Hounsell, was also in attendance.

B&NES Planning Officers confirmed that the SPC bid documentation was sufficiently thorough for it to be considered for an AGLV (Area of Great Landscape Value) designation by B&NES Council and the Consultants employed by B&NES to assist with drafting the new Local Plan.

In response to an invitation by B&NES Council, SPC had agreed and submitted a formal detailed bid for LGS (Local Green Space) status for 'Saltford South' in June. Initial discussions suggest an AGLV bid is more likely to be appropriate for the area but in making its decision for inclusion of a AGLV or LGS designation in the Local Plan, B&NES has to test the other options to prove its reasons are sound.

The public consultation on landscape designation options as well as options of parcels of land for development within the new Local Plan was now scheduled for early 2024; previously this was scheduled for autumn 2023. B&NES is required by the Government to identify land for 15,000 new houses over the 20-year period covered by the new Local Plan.

As part of the options and related evidence gathering process by B&NES Council, Cllr Phil Harding will be representing SPC at a Local Plan workshop later in July. SPC, KTC and B&NES Planning Officers will meet again in the autumn.

FURTHER INFORMATION

To read the January 2023 case from SPC for a landscape designation click on the links below (pdf files open in new window) :-

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June 2023

Orchids in Saltford

June 2023

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One of many advantages of letting your lawn (or an area of your lawn) grow through May (#nomowmay) and June (#letitbloomjune) is that some of the wildflowers you never knew were there can appear. These and the area they are growing in are then best left for the summer so that you cut the area in late summer, like a traditional summer meadow, thus giving a chance for new seed to set and disperse.

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The Orchids shown here were photographed in Saltford today (19th June) in an uncut area of privately owned grassland. The Bee Orchid (Ophrys apifera) was one of several, and had not been seen before, and the deep pink coloured Pyramidal Orchid (Anacamptis pyramidalis) was also one of several.

If anyone else has Bee Orchids growing in their grassy areas in Saltford, do let SEG know.

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Let it bloom June

June 2023

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If you made it to the end of May with no mowing of all or a set-aside section of your lawn this will have been very beneficial for wildflowers and pollinators as well as the invertebrates that thrive in long grass that in turn provide an essential food source for the birds that visit our gardens. But what next for your lawn? Can you let it bloom in June?

Plantlife has ideas on their website about how you can build on your success while keeping things under control on this page - click on this link:- #letitbloomjune.

Also SEG's Wildlife page has guidance on how to mow less with different approaches you can take to letting your lawn, or a section of lawn, grow naturally. These are the temporary meadow, spring meadow or summer meadow.

Letting your grass grow until late summer (a summer meadow) provides shelter and food for your garden invertebrates; creating this habitat is especially important with the hotter, drier summers we are experiencing due to climate change.

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May 2023

New SPC renews policy to protect Saltford's Green Belt and local ecology

May 2023

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At the first meeting of the new Saltford Parish Council held on 16th May following the local elections held earlier this month (which was uncontested for SPC), Parish Councillors unanimously resolved to update the Parish Council's "Policy Overview" for the new Council.

The new policy was agreed as follows:-

  "Saltford Parish Council endorses the need to respond to the climate and ecological emergencies. SPC's decisions and policies will take account of whether they are good for the climate, the ecology of Saltford and for residents. SPC is in favour of protecting the Green Belt and our highly valued landscape surrounding Saltford from development including from a road bypass (that would be infilled with housing); a safer cleaner river for users and wildlife; reopening the railway station on the existing site; Fairtrade; and that Saltford should continue to be an inclusive and caring community."

At the 16th May meeting the following positions were filled by election for the SPC year 2023/24:-

Cllr Jon Godfrey - SPC Chair
Cllr David Halton - SPC Vice Chair
Cllr Phil Harding - Planning Committee Chair
Cllr Shay Aziz* - Planning Committee Vice Chair
*(Shay was co-opted onto SPC during the meeting)

The confirmed minutes of the meeting will be published after the 6th June SPC meeting on the SPC website.

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Election Results for Saltford Ward (4th May B&NES Council Local election)

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May 2023

In the B&NES Council local election on 4th May there was a 44.61% voter turnout for the Saltford ward (turnout was 42.7% in 2019). The Lib Dems retained control of B&NES Council and they also retained the two Saltford Ward seats.

The Saltford ward results were as follows:-

- Duncan Hounsell (Liberal Dems) 1058 Elected

- Alison Streatfield-James (Liberal Dems) 676 Elected

- Chris Warren (Independent) 643

- Andy Busby (Conservatives) 548

- Helen Crew (Conservatives) 372

- Joan Liley (Labour) 211

- Emily Unsworth-White (Green Party) 177

- Leon Telford (Labour) 156

- John Christian (Green Party) 135

Congratulations from SEG to Duncan Hounsell and Alison Streatfield-James and thank you to the outgoing Ward Councillor Alastair Singleton for his public service for Saltford on B&NES Council.

SEG looks forward to working closely with the newly elected B&NES Council so that the issues that really matter to Saltford and its local environment can be best served in a spirit of co-operation, partnership and trust.

NOTE:
We reported last month on the answers from candidates competing for Saltford votes on 6 questions put to them by SEG - see B&NES Council Election 4th May: Answers to 6 key questions from SEG.

We also reported last month that Saltford Parish Council's local election was an uncontested result - see SPC Election uncontested! New team ready to serve Saltford.

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April 2023

New Wessex Water access bridge in Saltford to commence construction this summer

April 2023

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2023 should see significant progress for the new bridge over the River Avon, that is being constructed to facilitate construction work for the enlargement of Wessex Water's Saltford Water Recycling Centre and to provide a permanent access to the Saltford site.

The main construction phase for the new bridge over the River Avon in Saltford is getting under way in April 2023 (earthworks and formation of embankments) with actual bridge construction scheduled for August to September 2023.

You can get the latest news on this from the Wessex Water dedicated web page for the project from this link.

BACKGROUND (information from Wessex Water)

Saltford Water Recycling Centre treats sewage and wastewater from Bath and the surrounding area so it can be safely returned to the environment. To meet tighter regulations, which will improve river water quality, and to accommodate projected growth within the area, the site needs to be further developed in the coming years.

The existing access road to Saltford site along Mead Lane is increasingly difficult, partly because of the amount of parked vehicles and narrow sections of the lane, but also because when the river level is high, it floods. A low bridge along the route also affects some vehicular access.

Wessex Water therefore need to improve the approach to the site, which also houses its regional scientific centre that analyses thousands of water suppy and waste water samples a day from across the Wessex Water region.

There will be biodiversity gain and environmental improvement, including tree planting adjacent to both ends of the bridge. Wessex Water are also proposing wetland habitat creation and are working with local wildlife groups and others to identify habitat measures, including supporting bat and bird species.

The bridge will also provide a public footpath linking the A431 to the local public right of way network and the River Avon Trail. It will mean people who live on either side of the river will now have access by foot across it.

To address concerns over the A431 currently flooding in extreme weather conditions, as part of their design Wessex Water are required to undertake flood modelling. Wessex Water states that their proposal will not increase flood risk.

Planning approval for this project was obtained from B&NES Council in December 2021; both Saltford Parish Council and SEG supported this project when compared to any of the alternative new access routes proposed.

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2023 Big Garden Birdwatch results

April 2023

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The results for the 2023 Big Garden Birdwatch held on the weekend of 27 - 29 January are now published by the RSPB. Do they match what was in your garden? The top ten most commonly observed birds across the UK are listed below.

All 10 had no change on last year's position with the exception of the Long-tailed tit that has reappeared (replacing the Chaffinch at position 10) making an impressive improvement from position 15 in 2022. The list is (with UK Conservation Status listing in brackets):-

   1. House Sparrow (Red)
   2. Blue Tit (Green)
   3. Starling (Red)
   4. Wood Pigeon (Amber)
   5. Blackbird (Green)
   6. Robin (Green)
   7. Goldfinch (Green)
   8. Great Tit (Green)
   9. Magpie (Green)
   10. Long-tailed tit (Green)

Top spot goes to the House Sparrow for the 20th year running despite more than 10 million pairs disappearing in the UK since the late 1960s with substantial declines in both rural and urban populations, so much is this decline that they are on the UK Red List for birds.

540,000 people took part this year. More information on the results of the 2023 Birdwatch can be found on the RSPB website. You can also find more information on social media using the hashtag #BigGardenBirdWatch.

A full list of the 103 birds that are presently of regular occurrence in Saltford with ID links to the RSPB website for each species can be found on our Wildlife page >>

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B&NES Council Election 4th May: Answers to 6 key questions from SEG

April 2023 (last updated 19th April)

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SEG has asked the candidates competing for Saltford votes in the 4th May B&NES Council local election six questions preceded by a short introductory statement as set out below. These were addressed to the 9 candidates asking for their view and that of the party they represent should it control B&NES Council after the election.

Don't forget to vote and that you need photo ID to vote!

The candidates that have supplied answers shown below are (and in the order received back):

Liberal Democrats Party: Duncan Hounsell & Alison Streatfield-James.

Independent candidate: Chris Warren.

Conservative Party: Andrew Busby & Helen Crew.

Green Party: John Christian & Emily Unsworth-White.

Labour Party: Leon Telford & Joan Liley.


Q1. Please provide a short statement (60 words max) to describe what you hope to achieve as B&NES Ward Councillor(s) for Saltford from an environmental perspective if you and/or your party is elected.

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS: Action on the climate and ecological emergencies is paramount. We aim for our area to be carbon neutral by 2030. Already, emissions of greenhouse gases are down. We will increase renewable energy generation, double tree coverage, and drive up recycling rates. We will champion food resilience, work to maintain green spaces and green belt, and help make rivers cleaner and safer.

CHRIS WARREN: A founder member of SEG, our first campaign was for Saltford Station that is vital for Saltford giving us a sustainable travel option. 'Reduce, Reuse, Recycle' is my motto, consumerism is the problem. I will work very closely with SEG to help stop any further incursion into our precious greenbelt free from Political influence - the recent Withies Green decision was a big let down.

CONSERVATIVE PARTY (Andy Busby): As a new grandparent I am committed to preserving both our countryside and our planet to ensure that they are there for future generations. I believe technology is the way forward to reducing pollution, but for this to work it needs to be made affordable to all. I would push for ways to achieve this.
CONSERVATIVE PARTY (Helen Crew): I am passionate about the environment, local green spaces and wildlife, one of the reasons I am standing for the council. I am a keen dog walker and member of Bitton Toad Patrol (the closest toad road crossing to me). Whilst sometimes development is necessary it must understand and respect our wild spaces. If elected, I would enjoy working with local environment groups.

GREEN PARTY: We believe that only the Green Party offers the policies Saltford and the rest of BaNES needs to address the environmental emergency that we are all facing, both for the climate and on a wider ecological level for biodiversity and quality of life. It's not good enough just to say it - our policies and councillors take real, practical, immediate actions.

LABOUR PARTY (Leon Telford): The environment is a primary concern of mine, which is why I joined the Labour Party. I wish to make Saltford achieve carbon neutrality ahead of UK targets and strongly believe in preserving wildlife, and air quality/preventing global warming. Therefore I plan to improve bus services, make walking and cycling viable, and provide support for more eco efficient homes.

Note:
Questions 2 to 6 indicate SEG's priorities and require a YES/NO answer ONLY so if a candidate/party needed to clarify or expand an answer they could use their answer to Q1 to explain their position.

Q2. (A two part question) Will you (and your party)
   (i) seek to keep Saltford's Green Belt including the Green Belt between Keynsham and Saltford safe from development (YES/NO), and
   (ii) support Saltford Parish Council's bid for a landscape designation for Saltford South to provide stronger protection from development? - details on SPC website at bit.ly/3nGi0nu (YES/NO)

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS, CHRIS WARREN, CONSERVATIVE PARTY, GREEN PARTY and LABOUR PARTY all replied YES to (i) and (ii).

Q3. There is a strong desire in Saltford for the River Avon in the B&NES area (including Saltford in particular) to be "safer and cleaner for wildlife and people". Will you (and your party) make that objective an urgent and key priority?

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS, CHRIS WARREN, CONSERVATIVE PARTY, GREEN PARTY and LABOUR PARTY all replied YES.

Q4. Will you (and your party) help B&NES Council respond to the ecological emergency with actions rather than words?

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS, CHRIS WARREN, CONSERVATIVE PARTY, GREEN PARTY and LABOUR PARTY all replied YES.

Q5. Will you (and your party) pursue a proactive approach to lowering the carbon footprint of the B&NES area?

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS, CHRIS WARREN, CONSERVATIVE PARTY, GREEN PARTY and LABOUR PARTY all replied YES.

Q6. Are you in favour of re-opening Saltford Station on the existing site and will you therefore help encourage B&NES Council towards achieving that objective?

LIBERAL DEMOCRATS, CHRIS WARREN, CONSERVATIVE PARTY, GREEN PARTY and LABOUR PARTY all replied YES.


Don't forget to vote on May 4th and that you need photo ID!

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SPC Election uncontested! New team ready to serve Saltford

April 2023

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On 5 April B&NES Council announced the results of the uncontested election for Councillors on Saltford Parish Council following nominations received. SPC had 11 vacancies with 10 people nominated and therefore elected.

Those elected to serve on SPC from 9th May 2023 were, as pictured above, Julie Austwick, Dudley Bartlett, Jon Godfrey, Gary Graveling, David Halton, Phil Harding, Emma Hughes, Andy Rice, Paul Smith, and Sally Turner.

All ten stood as independent candidates and share a common commitment to give priority in the new Parish Council to work to protect Saltford's Green Belt, including achieving a suitable landscape designation for 'Saltford South', and for the River Avon through Saltford to be a safer cleaner river for people and wildlife.

Responding to the climate and ecological emergencies, re-opening Saltford Station on the existing site, and Fairtrade, are other priorities that the candidates wish to guide decisions and policies whilst serving the local community on the Parish Council. The existing SPC was also in favour of Saltford remaining an inclusive and caring community; the new team will seek to continue with that theme.

SEG would like to thank the Parish Councillors who are standing down with effect from 9th May, i.e. when the new Parish Council is formally put in place, for their voluntary service on SPC. SPC has delivered a lot for Saltford in the past 4 years and it has clearly been a great team effort.

The first public meeting of the new SPC will be held at 7.15pm on Tuesday 16th May in Saltford Hall.

Further information about the SPC Local Election outcome can be found on the SPC website from this link.

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Annual Saltford Dawn Chorus Walk, 23rd April

April 2023

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The annual Dawn Chorus Walk in Saltford will be held again this year.

The Keynsham Branch of the Avon Wildlife Trust will be listening to, and watching, the birds get up after a night's roosting for this year's Dawn Chorus Walk on Sunday 23rd April 4.30am - 8.00am, starting at Saltford Shallows car park.

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A Saltford Wren - a small bird with a loud song!

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

This event is free but an optional donation of £1 to support Avon Wildlife Trust funds is suggested.

For further information and to confirm your attendance, contact Dave Sage on mobile 07899--716068 the week before the event.

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March 2023

Final part of IPCC report states how the planet stands on climate change crisis

March 2023

The final part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)'s sixth review of human knowledge on the climate crisis was launched 20th March 2023 after a lengthy negotiation period.

This 'Synthesis Report' contains no new science but instead pulls together key takeaways and conclusions from the panel's three other reports produced and disseminated over the last two years.

Key points raised include:-

  • There are multiple, feasible and effective options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to human-caused climate change, and they are available now, according to scientists;
  • Mainstreaming effective and equitable climate action will not only reduce losses and damages for nature and people, it will also provide wider benefits. This Synthesis Report underscores the urgency of taking more ambitious action and shows that, if we act now, we can still secure a liveable sustainable future for all;
  • Almost half of the world's population lives in regions that are highly vulnerable to climate change. In the last decade, deaths from floods, droughts and storms were 15 times higher in highly vulnerable regions;
  • The solution lies in climate resilient development. This involves integrating measures to adapt to climate change with actions to reduce or avoid greenhouse gas emissions in ways that provide wider benefits;
  • Climate resilient development becomes progressively more challenging with every increment of warming. This is why the choices made in the next few years will play a critical role in deciding our future and that of generations to come;
  • To be effective, these choices need to be rooted in our diverse values, worldviews and knowledges, including scientific knowledge, Indigenous Knowledge and local knowledge. This approach will facilitate climate resilient development and allow locally appropriate, socially acceptable solutions;

  and perhaps the crux of the matter:-

  • The greatest gains in wellbeing could come from prioritizing climate risk reduction for low-income and marginalised communities, including people living in informal settlements. Accelerated climate action will only come about if there is a many-fold increase in finance. Insufficient and misaligned finance is holding back progress.

The IPCC "AR6 Synthesis Report: Climate Change 2023" can be found from this link.

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Photography & Advice for Drone Operators

March 2023

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Saltford's attractive Green Belt landscape with its Cotswold AONB backdrop including Kelston Roundhill and the River Avon, itself an SNCI (Site of Nature Conservation Interest), unsurprisingly attracts photographers during all seasons of the year.

If you want to see some of the work of photographers based in and around Saltford, see the Saltford Photographers group on facebook: #saltfordphotographers.

Drone operators wishing to take aerial video or photographs of or near Saltford need to be aware that Saltford Airfield has 3km and 5km flight restriction zones that cover much of Saltford. A drone should never fly in an airport or airfield's restriction zone without prior permission and drone operators are responsible for ensuring they comply with the latest safety regulations issued by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA).

The operator of Saltford Airfield has produced a helpful 3-page pdf guide for drone operators that also includes CAA advice and this can be downloaded from SEG's website from this link:-

Enquiries about flying drones should be made to Saltford Airfield (contact details are in the above guide).

For future reference, this news item can be found on our Green Belt page.

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SPC and B&NES Council protecting Saltford's green spaces

March 2023

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New green space protection bollards at The Shallows (above)
Chestnut paling fence protecting new tree and shrub saplings (below).

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Following long-standing problems, particularly during periods of good weather, that has led to a growing number of concerns raised and complaints from residents to both Saltford Parish Council and B&NES Council, SPC and B&NES Council have taken a series of physical measures to protect the riverbank and the grassed area by the car park in The Shallows.

To stop the high number of vehicles parking on the green amenity space surrounding The Shallows car park when significant numbers of visitors descend on Saltford's riverside areas during sunny weekends and Bank Holidays, wooden bollards are being installed during March by the pavement/highway and around the car park to protect the area from unauthorised parking. This work is funded by SPC's Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) funds. CIL funds are used to enhance Saltford's community facilities, amenities and infrastructure. The installation work is being carried out by contractors appointed by the B&NES Council's Parks and Green Spaces Team.

In addition to protecting the green space from unauthorised vehicle parking, discussions are taking place with the B&NES Council Tree and Woodland Delivery Manager for the future planting of some native trees and shrubs amongst the bollards to further enhance the natural landscape at this location. The objective is to improve and protect the environment at this location, which is considered by many as Saltford's village green.

Visitors forcing their way through vegetation on the riverbank at the southern end of The Shallows to launch power boats together with a general mistreatment of this important part of Saltford's Conservation Area has also led to a small tree and shrub planting measure. This area of riverbank has been degraded by this inappropriate behaviour.

A group of nearby residents, SPC representatives and Saltford's B&NES Ward Cllr Duncan Hounsell alongside the B&NES Tree and Woodland Delivery Manager planted 80 trees and shrub saplings on 11th March. Dozens of Bee Bomb seed balls were also planted, each containing 18 species of native wildflowers. The trees and shrubs have protective surrounds (plastic ones that will be reused in the future) and B&NES Council has installed a chestnut paling fence to protect the young saplings etc. Once established, the area will be a largely undisturbed wildlife habitat once more whilst this part of The Shallows will be enhanced with native trees, shrubs and wildflowers.

Further information about this activity can be found on SPC's website from these links:-

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February 2023

Endangered bird species regularly observed in Saltford South

February 2023

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Yellowhammer in Saltford by © Greg Lovett

"Everybody loves birdsong. It's a human need... the sound of birds gives a deep, if sometimes almost unnoticed, pleasure"
- Simon Barnes, Wild Notebook, The Times (31.12.2011)

The Saltford South area for which SPC is seeking a landscape designation in the next B&NES Local Plan (see our January 2023 news story "Important landscape designation for Saltford South to be sought by SPC") supports numerous bird species, including many of UK "Conservation Concern", that are regularly observed there.

This indicates the value to wildlife the landscape of Saltford South has and why SEG strongly agrees that it should be protected from development so that further important habitat is not lost for our increasingly endangered wildlife.

The Red List is a list of birds in the UK, Channel Islands and the Isle of Man in most urgent need of our help, the Amber List is used to highlight birds whose conservation status is of moderate concern. These species are as follows (with link to information on the RSPB website for each bird):-

RED LIST (20)

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Fieldfare in Saltford by © Greg Lovett

Corn Bunting,  Fieldfare,  Greenfinch,  Herring Gull,  House Martin,  House Sparrow,  Lapwing,  Linnet,  Merlin,  Mistle Thrush,  Redpoll,  Skylark,  Spotted Flycatcher,  Starling,  Swift,  Tree Pipit,  Whinchat,  Woodcock,  Yellow Wagtail.


AMBER LIST (26)

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Kestrel in Saltford by © Greg Lovett

Black-headed Gull,  Bullfinch,  Common Gull,  Dunnock,  Greylag Goose,  Grey Wagtail,  Kestrel,  Lesser Black-backed Gull,  Mallard,  Meadow Pipit,  Mediterranean Gull,  Redstart,  Redwing,  Reed Bunting,  Rook,  Sedge Warbler,  Snipe,  Song Thrush,  Sparrowhawk,  Stock Dove,  Tawny Owl,  Wheatear,  Whitethroat,  Willow Warbler,  Woodpigeon,  Wren.

All other bird species occurring regularly in Saltford South are on the Green List (not showing moderate or severe declines at present) and include spectacular species such as the Barn Owl, Green Woodpecker, Hobby, Little Owl, Peregrine, and Red Kite, to name just a few.

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Barn Owl in Saltford by © Greg Lovett

We have further information on Saltford's birdlife on our Wildlife page including the full list of birds regularly occurring in Saltford (North and South).

NOTE: The conservation status of birds is subject to change as conditions alter. The Red, Amber and Green Listings in this news item are based on the fifth review of Birds of Conservation Concern (BoCC5) in the UK, Channel Islands and Isle of Man, a collaborative product of multiple organisations published in the journal British Birds vol. 114: 723-727 (2021), available as a pdf from this link.

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A "safer cleaner river for users and wildlife" sought by SPC

February 2023

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Following a unanimous resolution at its full meeting of the Council on 7th February, Saltford Parish Council (SPC) has submitted a detailed request to B&NES Council asking B&NES to take responsibility for a "safer cleaner river" for users and wildlife.

In its formal request to B&NES, SPC stated that it had become increasingly concerned at the abuse and misuse of the river and riverbanks in Saltford and elsewhere along the River Avon by a variety of visitors and users to the detriment of wildlife, local inhabitants who live along the riverside areas, the majority of the liveaboard boating community who live in harmony with the river and local communities, the sailing and rowing clubs, and to visitors who respect the Countryside Code and "leave no trace" of their riverside visits.

SPC listed a catalogue of negative impacts on the river including:

  • abandoned boats that eventually sink and need to be removed at considerable expense;
  • the longer-term storage of boats by commercial undertakings etc. on B&NES owned 14-day moorings that prevent liveaboard and tourist access to those moorings;
  • motorised rubber boats or speed boats arriving and entering the river from B&NES Council land (or from unauthorised use of privately owned/managed riverbanks and slipways) that are used in ways including speeding that put other river users and wildlife in danger and at risk;
  • unsafe large boats entering and using the waterway without any safety checks including those that are unlicensed and/or uninsured (that in turn eventually become abandoned);
  • bridge jumping and other dangerous activities including anti-social behaviour by young people putting themselves (there was a near-fatality in Saltford last autumn) and other river users at risk; and
  • raw sewage and assorted sanitary items entering the river, for example during the recent floods, from storm drain overflows with many items littering riparian land along the river, again to the detriment of the general health of the river and the wildlife it supports.

The Parish Council also asked on health and safety grounds that B&NES Council keeps to its commitment to end moorings in Mead Lane under its "Better Moorings Project" before the new spring season commences.

SPC stated that it is the wildlife habitat that in turn attracts considerate visitors and users alike who appreciate, value and respect the river and riverside areas as a great place to be to relax, enjoy leisure pursuits, and experience nature in peaceful surroundings. However, anti-social behaviour puts others and nature at risk.

SPC said that B&NES Council is a major riparian owner and the unitary local authority with overarching responsibilities for environmental health, planning and transport with published commitments to protect the natural environment and habitats of our area as well as the provision of safe access to recreational green spaces.

B&NES was therefore best placed to take leadership and responsibility for a safer cleaner river on behalf of B&NES residents and the wider community whilst working closely and in partnership with the Environment Agency, the Canal and River Trust and other agencies including the police for ensuring that the River Avon within Bath and North East Somerset can become once more a clean and safe waterway in which its wildlife habitat is protected as an SNCI (Site of Nature Conservation Interest).

In support of a safer cleaner river for users and wildlife objective, SPC requested that B&NES Council's Water Space Project urgently carries out an investigation, e.g. a desk study, for Saltford (as a starting point) to gain an understanding of the measures including, where appropriate, physical deterrents (as recommended by Canal and River Trust) and also the use of byelaws undertaken by other similar local authorities that have effectively dealt with problems associated with unhindered, unregulated use and abuse of the main river or rivers in their area.

SEG's members have been concerned about the gradual decline in river safety and cleanliness in recent years. SEG therefore strongly supports SPC's request.

You can read the letter on SPC's website from this link: SPC request for a safer cleaner river.

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Fairtrade Fortnight - Coffee Morning 10th Mar 2023

February 2023

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To mark Fairtrade Fortnight, Saltford's Fairtrade Group has arranged a coffee morning from 11am - 1pm on Friday 10th March 2023 at Saltford Hall in Wedmore Road.

A warm welcome awaits you, with Fairtrade coffee, tea, and cake and a raffle. (Free Entry).

If you are available, come along and help us celebrate Fairtrade Fortnight.

Choosing Fairtrade products helps ensure better prices and improved working conditions for farmers and their communities in the developing world. Making the small switch to Fairtrade supports producers in protecting the future of some of our most-loved food and the planet.

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January 2023

Government's "Environmental Improvement Plan 2023" and Saltford South landscape designation

January 2023

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Plans to restore nature, improve environmental quality, and increase the prosperity of our country will be set out by the government on 31st January in its "Environmental Improvement Plan 2023".

The plan covers how government will:

  • Create and restore at least 500,000 hectares of new wildlife habitats, starting with 70 new wildlife projects including 25 new or expanded National Nature Reserves and 19 further Nature Recovery Project.
  • Deliver a clean and plentiful supply of water for people and nature into the future, by tackling leaks, publishing a roadmap to boost household water efficiency, and enabling greater sources of supply.
  • Challenge councils to improve air quality more quickly and tackle key hotspots.
  • Transform the management of 70% of our countryside by incentivising farmers to adopt nature-friendly practices.
  • Boost green growth and create new jobs - from foresters and farmers to roles in green finance and research and development.

The public will also benefit from a new commitment to access green space or water within a 15-minute walk from their home, such as woodlands, wetlands, parks and rivers.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:

   "Protecting our natural environment is fundamental to the health, economy and prosperity of our country."

   "This plan provides the blueprint for how we will deliver our commitment to leave our environment in a better state than we found it, making sure we drive forward progress with renewed ambition and achieve our target of not just halting, but reversing the decline of nature."

The request earlier this month by Saltford Parish Council to B&NES Council in the context of the new Local Plan for a suitable landscape designation protection for Saltford South (see our earlier news story Important landscape designation for Saltford South to be sought by SPC) is consistent into many of those declared ambitions of the Government to protect and restore nature whilst reversing its decline, improve environmental quality, and giving the public access to green space or water.

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New consensus on the future of farming (& food)

January 2023

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Photograph © Phil Harding

In January the Nature Friendly Farming Network (NFFN) together with other farming groups and environmental organisations launched a new consensus on the future of farming.

In announcing this initiative NFFN's UK Chair, Martin Lines, said

   "There is no quick fix to the problems of our food and farming systems, but there is strength in numbers. Water, soil, habitats and biodiversity aren't just assets, they're the building blocks of how we feed ourselves, and their health is a precondition for viable farm business. We can do many things to ensure this vision of our future food systems comes to fruition, and this consensus clarifies the actions needed to ensure change happens.".

The consensus (external link to pdf) sees nature as an ally for food and farming and outlines an agreement on the vital role all four UK nations play in tackling the global challenge of food system change. This solidarity is a first step in creating a shared vision of accelerating the transition to a more resilient, sustainable and equitable food system that recognises the needs of people and the planet.

WWF, a supporter of the consensus, commented:

   "It's time for leadership and co-ordinated action to create a food and farming system fit for the future, and bring our world back to life."

This campaign can be found on social media under the #TogetherForFarming hashtag.

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Important landscape designation for Saltford South to be sought by SPC

January 2023

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At its meeting on 3rd January, Saltford Parish Council resolved by unanimous vote to seek a landscape designation for Saltford South, that is the Green Belt area of Saltford that lies south of the Bath Road A4. This would be for either an AGLV (Area of Great Landscape Value) or LGS (Local Green Space) designation (or both) and would be officially sought from the Local Planning Authority, B&NES Council, via the B&NES Local Plan (2022-2042) consultation process.

To read the case discussed and approved at the SPC meeting click on the links below (pdf files open in new window) :-

The formal request was submitted by SPC to B&NES Council on 4th January 2023.

SEG fully supports this approach and the case made for securing Saltford's valuable landscape for nature and for existing and future generations. Local landscapes belong to local communities - they are an intrinsic part of their heritage and the reason why they live where they do. Local Planning Authorities have a duty to respond positively to the wishes of communities that value their local green spaces, especially at a time of heightened concerns about the ecological and climate emergencies.

For more information about this on SPC's website click on this link:- SPC - Saltford South >>

COPYRIGHT NOTE

Permission to reproduce or publish photographs in the case paper and/or its annex including requests for high resolution versions should be sought directly from Phil Harding via email (see our Home page for email contact details).

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Big Garden Birdwatch 27 - 29 Jan

January 2023

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Big Garden Birdwatch is for everyone, whether you're a complete beginner or a birding expert. Simply count the birds you see in your garden, from your balcony or in your local park for one hour between 27 and 29 January 2023.

Taking part is easy and this is 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, balcony or local area. And with a simple hour of mindful watching, you could have an hour to yourself, too.

Full details including resources and ideas including tips on making your garden an attractive place for birds to stop for a snack 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.

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Editorial policy

SEG as an independent, non-profit making body takes a politically neutral stance. We are committed to the highest editorial and ethical standards in the provision of all the content and related services for our website.


The Editor is Phil Harding (SEG Chairman) and Phil can be contacted via our home page.