Email Update January 2011

Mendip Hills AONB web site relaunch. During this interim period we will not be including any links to our site in this update. We will let you know when it is launched and look forward to your feedback.

The National Association of AONBs (NAAONB) are holding regional Chairman and lead officer meetings to bring AONBs up to date with the current situation in relation to Defra sponsorship and discuss future work of the Association and how to harness the collective energy of the AONB Partnership. The Mendip Hills AONB Chairman Cllr Dawn Hill will be attending the SW session of 1st February 2011 in Bristol.

The Mendip Hills AONB Futures Working Group meets on 27th January to discuss ways in which the AONB Partnership could adapt to attract non exchequer funding and what the appropriate model is for doing so. Members of the group are Cllr Dawn Hill Partnership Chairman, Barry Lane Wells and Mendip Museum, Michele Bowe Somerset Wildlife Trust, James Small NFU, Chris Head SDF Panel and Partnership member, Sarah Jackson AONB Manager. This group will report to the AONB Partnership and Officer Support Group.

Mendip Hills AONB Partnership Parish Representatives have been working with the AONB Manager to liaise with Parish Councils regarding future priorities and funding. The AONB Manager attended Compton Martin Parish Council meeting to which all the B&NES parishes were invited to attend by the B&NES parish rep Richard Curry. Nigel Taylor representing the Somerset parishes is attending St Cuthberts Out PC and  Wells Town Council meetings this month. North Somerset parishes – Hutton and Banwell have requested additional information for their meetings.

Wells and Mendip Museum are organising a number of events in partnership with the Mendip Hills AONB Unit and Somerset Wildlife Trust. Pod cast training takes place for local groups on 5th Feb, the AONB Annual Historic Environment Day takes place on 5th March and there will be another coordinated programme of events for Festival of Archaeology in July. For further information see the Museums newsletter attached to this email.

Burrington Commons Access Controls. New lift-out bollards have been installed at two locations on Stony Lane in Upper Langford as part of measures to prevent illegal 4×4 vehicle use of the Black Down.  The bollards are the last step in blocking vehicle access points to Black Down following the installation of vehicle barriers last year.

Mendip Hills AONB Young Rangers have helped the Hawk and Owl Trust by making 15 barn owl boxes as part of the Mendip Barn Owl Project.  The project is taking practical steps to halt the decline in numbers of barn owls by creating artificial nest sites as well as organising public events and working with schools. http://www.hawkandowl.org/

After their hard work the Young Rangers all enjoyed an astronomy session in the Charterhouse Centre observatory.  After a disappointing start due to cloud cover the skies cleared and the group explored the craters of the moon and saw Jupiter and 4 of its moons.

Mendip Hills AONB Advanced Young Rangers have spent a day replacing tree guards in the Rickford Community Orchard with the village community association.  Working with a band of village volunteers the group removed the old tree guards which the apple trees have outgrown and replaced them with new larger guards that will protect the trees from livestock and deer for many years to come.

Considerable media interest followed the AONB Unit’s recent press release issued on behalf of both the Mendip Hills and Quantock Hills AONBs highlighting a joint response to the proposed wind farm on the Somerset Levels mentioned in the December update. This included a BBC Radio Somerset interview given by the AONB Planning Liaison Officer.

Bath & North East Somerset Council is currently consulting on their Draft Core Strategy until 3rd February 2011. The Core Strategy will be the spatial expression of the Bath & North East Somerset Sustainable Community Strategy and sets out a strategic planning framework to guide change and development in the District over the next 20 years and beyond.

National Grid public consultation on its policy on under-grounding the electricity lines needed to connect new power generation. Consultation will run until 16 March 2011. National Grid will consider all feedback received before publishing its revised approach to under-grounding in April.  Anyone wishing to contribute can do so by completing the questionnaire on www.nationalgridundergrounding.com. The Planning Liaison Officer is currently preparing a response on behalf of the AONB Unit.
Anyone with further questions can contact National Grid by calling the project information number: 0800 319 6175 or Sending an email to: info@nationalgridundergrounding.com or writing to: National Grid Under-grounding Consultation, Freepost NAT3717, London SE1 2BR

South West Climate Change Trade Fair 2011
Save and Profit from climate change: a sustainable future for your farm
Thursday 24th February (10am – 4:30pm) – The Matford Centre, Exeter
Over 50 leading organisations and businesses will have specialists on hand.
The Trade Fair is just £5 to farmers with a holding number and £10 to all others. For any further enquiries, please call FWAG on 01823 355427

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