Flower peeps

Nailsea and District Horticultural Society,  
other environmentally-friendly 'green' groups, litter picking and fly-tipping
and news about action on climate change 

2021

Recycling for new year 2022

North Somerset is the best performing council in the south west for recycling according to the latest figures.

So why oh why does some fly-tipper dump rubbish on Backwell Common – see photo.

Recycling rates published in December by Defra, name North Somerset Council as the second best performing English unitary council.

This places North Somerset higher in the top 10 than before as the seventh best council in the country for recycling rates, up from ninth position in 2019-20.

In 2020-21, 60.4 per cent of household waste generated in North Somerset was recycled, compared to the UK average of 44 per cent.

North Somerset Council executive member for neighbourhoods and community services Mike Solomon is the Independent ward councillor for Hutton and Locking.

He said: “One of our main priorities is to make North Somerset a greener place to be, so I am delighted to see our recycling rates have jumped even higher up the top ten of all councils in the country.

"We have worked incredibly hard to encourage our residents to recycle as much as they can and I am hugely impressed with how people have responded.

“Thank you to everyone who plays their part. The time and care that our residents take to sort their recycling correctly is keeping us at the top of the south west.

“The hard work pays off and is worth it.

"Thanks must also go to our hardworking crews for their efforts in what has been an extremely challenging year for them due to the national aftershocks felt from Covid-19 and the shortage of HGV drivers.

“I look forward to publication of the council’s new waste strategy in the new year.

“This key document, which has been put together using residents’ feedback from the recent recycling and waste consultation, will set out our plan for the future.”

  • This year, waste and recycling collections will not change over Christmas. As Christmas falls on a weekend, your collection day will remain the same. You can always check your collection dates HERE. Please be aware staff shortages and delays are likely to continue over Christmas. Remember to check North Somerset missed collection report if your collection has been missed here www.n-somerset.gov.uk/christmas-waste.

  • Christmas trees can be put out for collection with your first garden waste collection after Christmas. This will be between Monday and Friday, January 17 and February 11.

  • Old Christmas cards can be recycled, unless they are covered in glitter. Even better reuse them. They make great gift tags, bookmarks, postcards and even napkin rings! Watch here for ideas https://www.youtube.com/watch?app=desktop&v=yULwnlkjb0s.

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  • Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm is again leading the way with recycling after the Christmas holidays. It is where discarded festive trees can all be put to good use. Supported by North Somerset Council groundwork team the trees will be turned in bedding mulch and silage. It is all part of Noah’s Ark Zoo Farm’s Green Zoo initiative to help with a sustainable future. People wishing to donate their Christmas tree can do so between Sundays, January 2-23, when the zoo is open from 10.30am-4pm and while there visit the zoo and Farm Shop.

Climate change crisis report

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Nailsea Town Council chairman Mike Bird spent two weeks working as a sound engineer at COP 26 and saw all the great and the good (and not-so-good) on the other end of a TV screen. 
He said:"I do think that we have a real climate emergency, but people don't seem in much hurry to call 999."


Here is his reflections:

  • UN Climate Change Conference (COP26)

  • Reflections on two weeks at COP26.

  • So was it all worth it?  Or was it just Blah Blah Blah?

  • Disaster Displacement at COP26

 

Is the COP26 agreement enough?

Clearly it isn’t enough, but coal is in the agreement for the first time and it was signed off by both China and the US – that in itself is a miracle!

Although the Chinese targets are currently for 2060 -10 years too late - they now in the agreement to return every year to update commitments, which is good news.   
The US has 850 coal mines they need to wind down.

So while in a way the result of the conference was disappointing, in another it does keep hopes alive that we can stop climate change.

The launch of the Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance was an interesting event. https://beyondoilandgasalliance.com.
A lot of countries signed up including Ireland, Scotland and Wales...but not Westminster.
So what of my own two weeks there?  

I spent most of it sat in front of a sound desk listening to press conferences and saw many speeches and presentations.
As in the media, there was a lot of talk about 1.5 degrees, but I realised, like many people, I had little understanding of what this fully meant.

It is actually a measured figure of how much the global average temperatures have risen since 1980.

Records started in 1902, but the main temperature rise began in 1980. 
So why is a 1.5 degrees rise so significant?  

Because this is the scientifically calculated tipping point – if we go over 1.5 degrees rise, the climate will be in virtual run away and the chances of us reversing climate change could disappear.  

I leave you to imagine what a runaway increase in temperatures would mean for humanity!  
It needs pointing out that we are already at 1.1 degrees. 

If we carry on as we are, and don’t reach carbon zero* target by 2050, island nations like the Maldives will then literally cease to exist.  

  • * Carbon zero is another well used phrase not many understand. Fundimentaly it means we are only putting into the atmosphere what the earth has the capability to reabsorb.

There was a lot of representation from the island nations at COP26.  

With reefs dying already from the 1.1 sea temperature rise - bleaching it’s called - island erosion is already happening.  

Around the world the people most effected already by climate change, are actually those living the most environmentally friendly lives.  

They are helpless as the responsibility for reversing climate change and therfore sea levels, lies with the developed nations and fossil fuel producers.
There was a lot of talk of money and compensation at COP26.  

Personally, I did find this odd and rather out of place.  

If climate change happens, economies and societies will be destroyed, nature has little use for a few digits on a computer server somewhere, which is all money is these days.

How can money stop the sea rising and sweeping away an island?  

It's action that's needed not money.
I think that’s what’s changed for me having gone to COP26, is seeing the need for urgenct action now to be able plan towards 2050.  

Small token gestures are no longer enough, we need to change fundamentally our way of living. 

We’ve heard a lot about the rainforest over the years, about fights to preserve it as the ‘lungs of the planet’, it seems so distant to us and out of our hands.  

If we actually do make 2050 and only have 1.5 degrees increase, we still need to have restored nature by then to aid the earths ability to recover the climate, repairing the ‘lungs of the planet’.

Yes, we do need to reduce our carbon footprint by changing everyday things like buying locally produced food rather than imported, walking instead of taking the car, not going on that cruise or repeatedly flying to faraway lands on holiday.

There are many small things we can do that all add up to change the way our economy works and make it more environmentlly friendly.  

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WILD BUNCH: Rewilding Nailsea February 2020

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CORNER PLOT: Rewilding Nailsea February 2021

But what are the big things we can do locally?   ​
What we tend not to see is the fact we’ve actually de-forested and taken away the lungs of our own country.  

Only 14 per cent of woodland still exists in this country.  

For example, the Lake District is a completely man-made landscape, it should be covered in trees.

And I’m sure Nailsea itself was once covered in woodland as dense as Wraxall hill.
Woodlands are a huge absorber of carbon dioxide and we need to restore our woodlands locally.
During the Bristol Airport planning application a few years ago, I sat down with a colleague and worked out how many trees would need to be planted just to absorb the emissions on simply the take off and landing of every aircraft from Lulsgate.  

It was 4.2 million trees, that’s about 8,000 acres of woodland.  

Sounds a lot, but North Somerset covers 92,000 acres.
As well as turning over un-used fields to woodland (perhaps those that line the motorway to absorb traffic emmisions?) there are thousands of miles of hedgerow in North Somerset.  

Much of our ancient hedgerow was pulled up or thinned post World War 2.

Doubling and tripling the width of hedgerows with trees and shrubs would enable a huge amount of planting to go ahead, not only would it be good for the climate, but great for biodiversity and wildlife.
The other great carbon absorbing natural asset we have in North Somerset are our moors.  

Yet we’ve been slowly strangling the moorland by draining it.  

Perhaps - as well as planting more hedgerows on them - we need to increase the underlying water levels.  

This again would increase biodiversity and the peat moors ability to absorb carbon.
I’m not trying to frighten people, but the time for Blah Blah Blah has gone.   We need to make people realise action is needed now for the sake of our children and grand-children, their future is literally in our hands.  

We all need to start working towards 2050 now, not just leave it to government.  

 

Mike Bird

  • Nailsea Town Council declared a climate emergency and pledged to reduce its carbon footprint.in September 2019

  • There is a Facebook group called Nailsea Climate Emergency Group although currently it has only 78 members

  • Golden Valley Primary School has an 'eco council' to save the planet 

  • Nailsea School says 'we want to lead by example, taking climate change, and environmental sustainability issues seriously. As a school we are constantly trying to strike a balance between economic and environmental costs'

  • Backwell elected Bridget Petty as its first Green councillor for North Somerset in May 2019. She is currently executive member for climate emergency and the environment 

  • This year Noah's Ark zoo farm planted planted 2,500 mixed native hedging whips to form hedgerows in the top sheep field to create four new paddocks and further 55 larger, established trees around the zoo to create extra shade for visitors in picnic areas and animals in their enclosures

  • Nature and Climate North Somerset also has a Facebook page and nearly 500 followers and another called Climate Action North Somerset is a private group with 234 followers

  • North Somerset UNISON is part of Bristol - COP26 Global Day of Action for Climate Justice and can be contacted by email at unison@n-somerset.gov.uk 

Nurture for nature

North Somerset Council and Avon Wildlife Trust joined forces earlier this year to monitor changes in biodiversity as the council began managing a quarter of its land with wildlife in mind.

Moving from fortnightly mowing of these areas to an annual cut at the end of the summer, the aim of the changes is to provide more habitats for many species which have suffered severe declines in recent decades.

After the start of the 'rewilding champions' project was delayed by the pandemic, volunteers with training provided by Avon Wildlife Trust have been surveying sites across Clevedon, Nailsea, Portishead and Weston-super-Mare since August.

Early results look promising with a marked difference in the abundance of plant and insect species recorded between areas of longer grass and those which remain regularly mown, even after just one summer. In some areas volunteers recorded more than five times the number of species.

North Somerset Council’ executive member for neighbourhoods and community services Mike Solomon is the Independent ward councillor for Hutton and Locking.

He said: “As we alter the way we manage some of our land to the benefit of our local wildlife, it’s important that we are able to monitor the changes to biodiversity.

“The project is a significant transformation in how our open spaces are managed, so working alongside Avon Wildlife Trust and with the help of enthusiastic North Somerset residents, we have been able to show some tremendous initial results.

"It doesn’t take long to notice the positive difference to plant and insect species in the uncut areas, compared to those regularly mown.”

Supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund, a major aim of the project is to provide opportunities for local people to gain new skills and engage with their local open spaces.

Avon Wildlife Trust project manager Jamie Kingscott said: “Considering we’ve only had a small window for monitoring towards the tail end of this summer, our results so far are encouraging.

“We’re looking forward to next year when we can make the most of the full survey season.

"We’ll be offering lots of free training and survey sessions for anyone who wants to get involved.”

Though the main survey season for pollinators is now at an end, there are

events through the autumn and winter months, followed by a packed season of sessions next year.

You can find out more about the project and how to get involved and see the list of events at: www.avonwildlifetrust.org.uk/NSRewilding.

  • The North Somerset Bat Survey is part of the South West Wildlife Monitoring Project led by UWE’s Bat Conservation Research Lab, working in partnership with BTO, North Somerset Council and the Avon Wildlife Trust. Bats play a crucial role in maintaining ecosystems, particularly through controlling insect populations, but development threatens bat populations through habitat loss and fragmentation. During the next 15 years North Somerset Council is required to build more than 20,000 new homes, many of which will be built within areas used by rare bat species.

/continued...

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NAILSEA NEWT: Nailsea town councillor Jeremy Blatchford shared this photo of a common newt. He said: "A new arrival in our garden. Along with a fox, hedgehogs and more frogs. Sadly all the small birds went AWOL"

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  • The North Somerset Bat Survey aims to gather spatial distribution data on bats across North Somerset to enable planners to minimise the impact of development on bats, whilst engaging the public with bat conservation. To sign-up or learn more go to https://batconservationresearchlab.co.uk.

  • You can find Nailsea Climate Emergency Group on Facebook.

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Recycling heroes

Nailsea Community Group at 26 Somerset Square is helping our environment by support Nailsea Community Litter Heroes and setting up some recycling bins.

The bins can take:

  • soft plastic;

  • glasses and contact lenses;

  • coffee pods;

  • ink cartridges;

  • make-up;

  • pens and writing implements;

  • water filters;

  • toothbrushes; and

  • blister packets.

For larger items our nearest recycling centre at Coles Quarry, Backwell is now on winter opening hours until the end of March 2022: 

  • 10am-3pm Monday, Tuesday and Friday

  • 9am-4pm Saturday and Sunday

  • closed Wednesday and Thursday

  • closed bank holidays including Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day.

The community group also recycles unwanted food and helps those families who need extra support especially during the school holidays.

They are open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 10am-2pm and on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from 10am-noon.

Nailsea Community Litter Heroes meets at No26 at 10am for its last two litter picks for 2021 which are on Saturdays, November 6 and December 4.

Read more about the gritters running on cooking oil on our Nailsea On The Road page HERE

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Nailsea park gets Green Flag award

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It's a high five for North Somerset's parks and green spaces which include a Nailsea park.

Five sites will proudly fly the Green Flag again this year:

  • Abbots Pool in Abbots Leigh

  • Watchhouse Hill in Pill

  • Trendlewood Community Park in Nailsea

  • Prince Consort Gardens in Weston-super-Mare

  • Uphill Hill Local Nature Reserve in Weston-super-Mare. 

The Nailsea park is on the south east of Nailsea around Trendlewood Way.

It is supported by Friends of Trendlewood Park and on its website here https://friendsoftrendlewoodpark.org.uk/gallery/ you can view a slideshow of the flora and fauna taken by Andrew Town in the autumn of 2021.

The Green Flag Award scheme, managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for the management of green spaces across the United Kingdom and around the world.

Flying the prestigious Green Flag is the mark of a quality park or green space and is a sign to the public that the site boasts the highest possible environmental standards, is beautifully maintained and has excellent visitor facilities.

"The last year has continued to be challenging with renewed lockdowns at the start of the year and demand on our parks and open spaces continuing to be high," said Cllr Mike Solomon,

North Somerset Council executive member for neighbourhoods and community services Mike Solomon is the Independent ward councillor for Hutton and Locking.He said: “The ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has seen our parks and green spaces play a vital role for people as a place to relax, exercise and meet friends and family safely. 

"Achieving these awards again reflects the commitment and skills of our

Natural Environment team and volunteers in delivering excellent facilities for our local communities.

Our contractors, Glendale and Somerset Wood Recycling, working with our Natural Environment team, have continued to support our volunteers when opportunities for them to be involved have continued to be restricted.

"Our volunteers have also worked tirelessly whenever they have been able to return to our parks and open spaces carrying on with a number of projects and generally improving sites for all.

“Congratulations to everyone involved in managing our green spaces during what has been a continuously difficult year."

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Trash Pick-Up

Nailsea Saturday litter collections 

The last two litter picks for 2021 are on Saturdays, November 6 and December 4.

Now called Nailsea Community Litter Heroes the environmentally-friendly group formerly known as Better Nailsea meet at 26 Somerset Square at 10am both days and usually set out clearing streets, car parks and communial areas until 12.15pm

Everyone can join in.

You can pick litter where you choose!

Stay for the whole time or just do what you can - every little helps..

We will provide all the equipment - you just need to turn up.

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Garden waste collections back

North Somerset Council is to resume garden waste collections this month.

Having suspended its garden waste service earlier this month, North Somerset Council is putting plans in place to restart collections at the end of September.

Although the national shortage of HGV drivers is continuing to impact significantly on the recycling and waste service, the council has developed an approach which will enable a service to be delivered.

From Monday, September 27, garden waste collections will restart with customers receiving a collection once every four weeks instead of once every two weeks until December when collections normally reduce to this frequency.

North Somerset Council executive member for neighbourhoods and community services Mike Solomon is the Independent ward councillor for Hutton and Locking.

He said: "This is a pragmatic approach that enables us to offer a garden waste service to all our existing customers.

"The driver shortage remains a very serious issue for us.

"We are losing drivers to other businesses and very sadly have lost some long-standing colleagues to ill health.

"I say this because I'm keen everyone understands that we remain in a precarious situation with our staff resources and the situation may yet change again."

The council is contacting all garden waste customers to let them know when collections will restart and garden waste collection calendars will also be amended and available on the council's website before collections resume so all customers know their revised collection dates.

Mr Solomon said: "I completely understand why some of our customers are frustrated that we've not been able to maintain uninterrupted collections in the same year we've introduced a subscription service.

"Because of the inconvenience caused we will be offering all our existing subscribers a discount on next year's collections to compensate them for the disruption.

"Customers don't need to contact us to qualify for this offer - it will be automatically available at renewal." 

The council will also trial setting up satellite sites across the area so that existing customers have the option to take their garden waste to staffed drop-off points if they don't live within easy reach of one of the three recycling centres.

These will be announced as soon as they're up and running.

Mr Solomon added: "I'm also keen that our residents understand that we

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are lobbying government to solve the driver crisis. We simply can't make this problem go away on our own, and it's not just our services being affected.

"All areas of business logistics are affected and garden waste collections are just a tiny part of the problem.

"We desperately need government to undo the damage caused by the Brexit driver exodus." 

The council is working with other councils in the region to lobby ministers and has also asked the two local MPs to support a resolution to the crisis.

New subscriptions for the garden waste collection service are currently suspended and will resume when the current driver shortage issues are resolved.

Recycling and black bin waste collections are not affected by these changes and residents should continue to put containers out as normal for collection.

Residents interested in home composting can also still take advantage of the council's reduced price compost bin offer at www.n-somerset.gov.uk/composting 

No garden waste collections for Nailsea

North Somerset's garden waste collections are being suspended for at least the next two weeks because of HGV driver shortages.

Unlike other areas, North Somerset Council has managed to keep garden waste collections going throughout the summer, with minimal disruption, but driver shortages have now reached the point where there are now no longer enough people to make the collections.

 There will be no garden waste collections between Monday and Friday, September 6-17, but recycling and black bin waste collections will continue as normal.

All households which provided their email address when they signed up to the garden waste service are being emailed directly to let them know.

 North Somerset Council executive member for neighbourhoods and community services is Mike Solomon who is the Independent ward councillor for Hutton and Locking.

He said: "We really couldn't ask for a more dedicated team out on the rounds and I am very grateful to all of them for everything they've been doing.

"But the staff shortages - caused predominantly by the widespread shortage of HGV drivers - have reached the level where we know we are not going to have enough people available to provide the garden waste service for the next two weeks.

"HGV driver recruitment is an issue affecting the whole country with the Road Haulage Association estimating a shortfall of 100,000 drivers nationally.

"We are working hard to find ways to remedy the crisis locally and will have a clearer picture on compensation for our customers and what we’ll do to mitigate further impacts within the next two weeks.

"However, this situation will not be resolved quickly without government intervention which is why we are also lobbying our MPs and ministers to fix things.

"I'm sorry that this temporary interruption to the service will inconvenience people.”

 Recycling centres will be open as normal for anyone wishing to dispose of their garden waste during the next two weeks. Home composting is also a good way to deal with any additional garden waste generated.

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LET THE PEOPLE PLAY: North Somerset Council has now removed the rotting grass cuttings from the area of Trendlewood Park bordering Turnbury Avenue and Bude Close, says Pam Salisbury who took all the photos. Pam said: “This has been traditionally used for ball games and team recreation sports for more than 30 years. Thankfully it is now accessible again. Do use it.”

Fines for North Somerset litter louts

A crackdown on littering, dog fouling and other anti-social behaviour has started well and is making North Somerset a cleaner and greener environment for everyone.  
Earlier this year North Somerset Council teamed up with private company Local Authority Support to issue £75 fixed penalty notices to anyone seen breaching our public space protection orders.
The 12-month contract started in May and six trained officers have been patrolling the area since then.
Up until the beginning of August, more than 400 on-the-spot fines had been issued, compared with just 14 in the same period last year.
These include:

  • 331 for littering

  • 42 for dogs not being on a lead when they should

  • 27 for owners breaching dog exclusion zones

  • three for people urinating or defecating in a public place

  • two for dog fouling.

Several were in Nailsea including the newspaper shop boss fined for discarding a cigarette butt.
In a survey last year, only 40 per cent of respondents thought the area was clean, and about 90 per cent agreed it was reasonable to issue on-the-spot fines to deal with dog fouling.
North Somerset Council executive member for neighbourhoods and community services Mike Solomon is the Independent councillor for the Hutton and Locking ward.
He said: "Environmental crime and anti-social behaviour can have a detrimental effect on our communities and littering and dog fouling remain a big concern for many residents.
"By working with LA Support, we are building on the great work already undertaken by officers and volunteers across the area who pick up other people's litter and keep North Somerset clean.
"By working together we will tackle this anti social behaviour that blights our public spaces."

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If you are aware of particular hotspot then email waste.enforcement@n-somerset.gov.uk.

You can also report locations of dog fouling using the Pooper Snooper app (https://poopersnooper.app/get-started).

The app informs the council of the worst offending areas allowing targeted patrols.
For more information about the public space