Featured

Transport Survey for Pill and Easton-in-Gordano neighbourhood plan

The Parish Council is keen to make a neighbourhood plan that improves transport choices for people and helps promote healthy low carbon options. 

We’d like to know about your current use and frequency each week of different types of travel.

We want to hear about all the members of your household/place of work in the parish…so please encourage any young/less mobile/less independent members of your household to complete it.

Complete the survey here:

https://www.surveymonkey.co.uk/r/S362TYR

Note from Parish Council regarding attempts to block the cycle path

The Parish Council is aware that somebody has tried to block the cycle path by placing drawing pins on it. Whatever the motivation behind this, it is illegal to block or try to block a public right of way, which would include leaving dangerous hazards on the route. In addition there is a high risk of injury to an animal or child using the cycle path.

It would also be criminal damage and or assault to deliberately damage people’s property or injure them. Whoever is doing this, please stop, and anyone finding tacks, nails or similar please report to the police who have already opened a file on this.

Re-opening of recycling centres (COVID-19)

Sharing this from North Somerset Council:


Opening of sites

The opening of the sites is planned as follows:

·       Weston-Super-Mare recycling centre (Aisecome Way) will open on Monday 18th May. The centre will open on extended hours for the first five days Monday (18th) – Friday (22nd) from 6.30am to 7.30pm. From 23 May and thereafter revert to the usual summer opening times of 8am to 6pm.

·       Portishead recycling centre is planned to re-open on Wednesday 27 May

·       Backwell recycling centre is planned to open on Friday 29 May.

Use of sites

In line with Government guidelines, visits to the recycling centres can only be made if the waste cannot be disposed of via kerbside collections, or safely stored at home. Examples of items that would need to be taken to the recycling centre include:

·       a build-up of excess non-recyclable waste, where storing sacks is leading to public or environmental health issues, such as bags being opened by animals, smell, rodents

·       a broken fridge where the only place to store it would block a fire escape route would be essential. However, a broken fridge that can be safely stored at your home would be considered non-essential.

Social Distancing and safety

To ensure social distancing measures are managed, the following measures are being introduced:

·       Vehicles allowed into the site will be restricted to a limited number

·       Only one person will be allowed outside each vehicle at one time. Exceptions will be made for people with mobility issues where two people can unload the same vehicle.

·       Staff at the site won’t be able to help unload. People should only bring what they can comfortably lift on their own.

·       Only one person at each skip at any one time, with 2m social distancing in place.

·       Bring protective gloves to avoid injury and to protect yourself from infection. Staff will be required to wear gloves as their PPE (not masks at this time).

·       Residents should not visit the site if they are:

o       symptomatic with coronavirus (COVID-19)

o       in a 14-day household isolation.

o       extremely vulnerable and are remaining at home for shielding purposes

Queues

The above measures are likely to result in queues and to help reduce these we are:

·       Not allowing trailers to use the sites

·       Introducing an ‘odds and even’s’ system – Different days will be allocated to restrict the number of vehicles trying to use the site. This will be based on the last number on the vehicles number plate and whether it is odd or even:

Odd: AB59 REY (1,3,5,7,9) Monday, Thursday and Saturday

Even: CD62 WST (0,2,4,6,8) Wednesday, Friday and Sunday.

Both Odds and Evens to enter on Tuesday.

·       Asking residents to check their route using a traffic app, such as google maps, before they leave home. 

·       Introducing a fair use policy and asking residents to be considerate and limit their use to once a month to give more people the opportunity to go.

·       Asking residents to familiarise themselves with the layout of the sites and to pack their vehicles accordingly

Planet friendly money saving ideas

This week’s tips and activities during lockdown are money saving, planet friendly ideas.  See what you could save below.

Ignoring food ‘best before’ dates – saves up to £700

The average UK household throws out £700 of food every year partly because we stick to ‘best before end’ dates. You can safely ignore ‘best before’ dates on most foods as they only show when the product is past its best quality. Experts recommend you examine and taste-test food past its ‘best before’ date to check it is good enough to eat. But don’t ignore ‘use by’ dates on meat, fish and dairy products, as this could lead to food poisoning.  Find recipes for the ingredients you have available through the Supercook website or download the app.

Do the washing at a lower temperature – yearly saving around £10

Your washing machine will clean just as effectively on a 20c or 30c cycle but it will save you around £10 per year, according to green energy supplier Ovo. Most normal washing can be effectively cleaned at 20c as long as any stains are pre-treated and the washing is allowed to dry thoroughly, preferably outside. Only heavily stained cleaning items need washing at 40c to 60c.

Change your light bulbs – save about £55 by replacing 10 bulbs

Although energy- saving LED bulbs still cost more than traditional ones at about £3 each but they last two or three times as long and cut your bills. If you still have old lightbulbs, you can swap them for 7W LED bulbs which emit the same light as a 60W traditional bulb. The Energy Saving Trust estimates you will then save around £2 per bulb per year because they need changing less frequently, plus at least £35 per year off your electricity bill. And you can pick LED bulbs in Poundland saving even more.    

Switch to green energy – save up to £289

Many green energy companies, which use wind, solar and other renewable energy, offer competitive deals. Based on 2019 prices, a family in a semi-detached home could save £289 a year with Octopus, or £282 per year with Pure Planet, compared to a standard variable tariff with EDF Energy. Big Clean Switch specialises in quotes and switching to green energy.

Save water in the shower – save up to £185 a year

The average shower in the UK lasts 8 minutes and uses about 60 litres of water. You can save on your heating bills and water if it’s metred. Try having five minute showers; use a less powerful setting and don’t leave your shower running. An eco-showerhead could also you save water, energy and money if you have a mains water or power shower.  They cost as little as £15, but could save a family of four £70 per year on energy, plus £115 per year on water bills, according to the Energy Saving Trust.

Turn down the thermostat – cut up to £75 off your heating bill

Nudging your thermostat down by just one degree can save 340kg of carbon dioxide from going into the atmosphere every year — and cut £75 off your heating bill. The Energy Saving Trust has some energy saving quick wins.

Two-stage consultation on plan to shape North Somerset’s future

A heads up on an upcoming consultation:

Residents and businesses will have the opportunity to engage in a two-stage consultation process this year on a plan that will shape the future growth of North Somerset.

The North Somerset Local Plan will guide housing, business investment, transport and infrastructure in the district until 2038.

North Somerset Council wants local communities, individuals and organisations to be involved in developing the plan and help influence the future of the area.

“There is also a need to better understand the Government’s exit strategy from the Covid-19 crisis and the longer term economic impacts and implications for North Somerset.

“It is also unclear what impacts the Covid-19 crisis will have on the housing market and the implications this will have for North Somerset’s housing needs. This requires further consideration and also recognition by Government that the basis of current forecasts may need to change.”

More details on how people can get involved in the consultations will be made available nearer the time.

Parish Council Meeting

This is a meeting of the Pill & Easton-in-Gordano Parish Council. The public are welcome to the first part of the meeting to put questions and/or comments to the council.

Wildlife activities during COVID19

It’s week two (week one is here) of our tips and activities during lockdown and this time it’s all about helping and attracting wildlife.

With the arrival of spring all the birds, mammals, amphibians and insects are busily foraging for food, building nests and preparing for new arrivals. Here are some easy projects you can do in your garden, backyard or balcony to make it a magnet for wildlife and provide year round interest for you and your family.

  1. Make a bug hotel. There’s a really simple one you can make with kids for your garden or balcony from recycled materials. You can also drill 2-8mm wide holes in fence posts and log piles too. You can even create a bug mansion.
  2. Make a wildlife corridor. If you have a fence, remove a small section at the bottom to allow hedgehogs and frogs into your garden.
  1. Plant a mini meadow. If you don’t have any ground space you can create a mini meadow in a window box. Sow a wildflower seed mix in a large container and position it in a sunny spot. Seeds are still available in supermarkets even during lockdown.
  1. Create a mini pond. This is a great way to encourage wildlife to hang out in your space. It can be as simple as an old washing up bowl, sunk into the soil with a big rock or a brick in the middle just under the water to allow easy access for frogs and newts. Position it in part shade. You can add an oxygenating plant to keep the water fresh. Affordable plants are available at Amazon at the time of writing and the RSPB has a step by step guide.
  1. Build a log pile – it’s an ideal habitat for small mammals, amphibians and insect critters.
  1. Put up bird feeders. Birds will love the food and you will love watching them feed. You can make recycled bottle and carton feeders and the RSPB has lots of year round bird feeding advice.
  1. Provide water for wildlife. You can just put out a shallow dish. Sloped sides are important to allow easy access to the water. Keep it regularly topped up. A hanging bird bath is a good option if you’re short of space. Hang it from a tree or wall.
  1. Make space for a nest box. Most gardens, even tiny ones, have space for a bird box or two, and this is a great way to encourage nesting birds to make a home in your garden. You can easily make one from a recycled flower pot.
  1. Relax and enjoy. And when you finally head indoors how about trying some nature and countryside podcasts and apps – here are a few for starters:

David Attenborough’s Life Stories – BBC Radio 4A series of talks by the master of nature documentaries on the natural histories of animals and plants from around the world.

30 Animals That Made Us Smarter – BBC World ServiceA series on all the different and unusual things humans have learned from observing animals.

Draycott diaries – a locally produced series of podcast that provide a charming insight into rural life round Draycott near Cheddar.

Download the iNaturalist app to your phone, it’s a fun way for kids and adults to learn about what they find and to contribute to science at the same time 

An update from Network Rail

An update from Network Rail regarding what will be our nearest station, Portway! (text of email below, plus a PDF of further information.)

We are getting in touch to provide a general overview of railway work in the Bristol area and, in particular, to highlight work taking place over the next couple of weekends. Please see the attached​newsletter for full details. 

What’s happening?

Working within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic

Safety of our workers and the public, as well as preventing the spread of the virus, is paramount. We have been reassessing all planned work with Government guidelines in mind. All necessary steps are being taken to mitigate against the risk on site and enable our workers to continue with essential maintenance in line with current advice.

Travel advice

During the coronavirus outbreak, please only travel if it is essential.

If you do need to travel please bear in mind the following:

Weekends of 25 & 26 April and 2 & 3 May:
Coaches replace trains:

  • between Bristol Temple Meads and Newport/Cardiff Central (not calling at Bristol Parkway)
  • between Bristol Parkway and Newport​

Low-floor buses will also run:

  • between Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway
  • between Bristol Temple Meads and Clifton Down/Avonmouth/Severn Beach​

A taxi will run between Bristol Parkway and Pilning (and back) on the Saturdays at 08.05 and 14.05.

Please check before you travel at nationalrail.co.uk or GWR.com

On the weekends of Saturday 25 & 26 April and Saturday 2 & 3 May, we will be replacing sections of track on the large junction (‘Bristol East Junction’) just outside Bristol Temple Meads. This is the first bit of track work ahead of the full renewal of the junction, planned for summer 2021.

During the same two weekends, we will also be completing further drainage work alongside the railway line that runs between Bristol Temple Meads and Filton Abbey Wood station, and carrying out follow up work in the Pilning area, between Bristol and south Wales.

Run a local business? Make sure you’re getting the COVID-19 support that you’re due!

There is a series of government support schemes for businesses, to help them weather the COVID-19 crisis. This article by Business in North Somerset summarises all the the various schemes that are available to access. These include tax support, grants and loans, rates holidays/relief, sick pay compensation, retail grants, a job retention scheme and a £10K grant for businesses in receipt of small business relief.

You can find out more here.

Fairtrade Update

In case anyone was wondering about the importance of Fairtrade to communities in the developing world, please take a look at this post from Fairtrade International:

The news we’re hearing from the fields is devastating. Tens of thousands of workers in the tea and flower sectors have lost their livelihoods, most without any financial safety net. Restrictions on movement mean that harvested goods, like rice, cotton, and coffee, are sitting in fields or in warehouses, waiting for restrictions to be lifted so that they can be sold and exported – which means that incomes and wages are also waiting.

But we’re also hearing stories of hope and solidarity. Fairtrade producer organizations that are feeding the vulnerable members of their communities. Flower workers who learned sewing skills through use of the Fairtrade Premium being called in to work to make masks for their communities. Cooperatives supporting their communities by setting up COVID-19 testing centers. The resilience, innovation, and generous nature of these farmers and workers truly humbles me.

(For context,  Pill and Easton-in-Gordano Fairtrade group last year celebrated 25 years since the launch of the Fairtrade Mark and the 10th anniversary of our recognition as a Fairtrade Community.)

Activities & Info During COVID-19

Welcome to the Parish Council Climate Emergency Group lockdown tips and activities for you and your family and friends. We hope some of the ideas, web links and information below will help you keep busy and entertained at home, in the garden or if you are managing a daily walk.

We’re starting with ideas for celebrating Easter and Spring then each week we will add more tips.

Easter family activities

The Outdoors Project ‘has come up with lots of ideas including natural dye eggs, a nature scavenger hunt, some fun party games and making a bird feed kebab. There’s much more on the website

Have fun out walking you’ll find wherever you go there are opportunities to collect materials for art projects, spot wildlife and take pictures. Check out the Woodland Trust and the RSPB for more ideas and for help identifying garden birds.

Upcycling craft ideas for kids – from a glass jar lantern to bowling tin cans and papier mache piñata here are 15 ways for kids to be crafty with recycled materials

Try some awesome Egg science from crash test eggs to zip lining and building an eggshell bridge.

Get growing

All you need are some seeds, a bit of soil, water, warmth, light and air. Everything else can be done with everyday household items. Who needs a garden fork, when a dinner fork will do for smaller plants? Don’t have a watering can? Try passing water through a sieve or colander over your plants to create a gentler shower. Trowels are only large spoons.

Sourcing seeds and plants is much easier than you might think. Most local supermarkets will still be stocking a huge variety of seeds. You can also find seeds in the produce you buy to eat at home – such as sunflower seeds and avocado stones. And check out our local seed sharing project right here in the village. If you have some surplus seeds you can pop them onto this Seed swapping spreadsheet and check if there are some listed that you would like. Sharing and swapping should be arranged while still social distancing.

Start off your seeds in recycled materials and containers including toilet paper rolls and eggshells. When it comes to planting your seeds in general the bigger the seeds the deeper they are planted. Sow little and often. Only sow what you have room to grow and sowing every 3 weeks will give you a longer season to harvest. Keep seed trays and pots watered and warm – a window sill works well, but protect delicate seedlings from harsh direct mid-day sun. Your seedlings will grow into stronger healthier plants if given the space they need. Using a small tool like a teaspoon handle gently lift the seedling out with its roots, taking care not the damage the stem and pot it on to a bigger pot. Some seeds can be planted directly outside, see packet for instructions. Check if any of your seeds need watering every day, soil must remain damp, not wet and never dry out for seeds to grow.

Help wildlife

Open a hedgehog café in your garden. Feed the hungry hogs to help them build the energy they need when raising hoglets, and their fat reserves for their winter hibernation. Get instructions from the RSPB

Make your own bird feeder

A plastic soda bottle and a couple of wooden spoons make a great birdfeeder. You just have to make holes in the bottle for the spoons and be sure that you angle the spoons downward so that the birdfeed will drizzle onto them.Or you can paint a cardboard juice carton and cut a hold for the feed. Put a wooden spoon or dowel through for the birds to land when they want to eat.