Email Update March 2011


Email update March 2011

2011- 2012 AONB Partnership Business Plan, Delivery Plan and budget were agreed at the Partnership meeting on 16th March 2011. Key projects for 2011-12 will be the Young Ranger scheme, Black Down Project and the Wildlife Trusts landscape projects.

Withdrawal of funding by North Somerset Council (NSC) was discussed. The Mendip Hills Partnership agreed to set out the terms they agreed in a letter to NSC. This will set out the areas of work that NSC have agreed to undertake and what work will continue to be undertaken by the AONB Unit identifying costs where appropriate. Chairman Cllr Dawn Hill will be making further representation to North Somerset Council to ensure that dialogue continues to seek a financial contribution in future years to joint delivery.

2011-12 AONB budget – The other four local authorities: Bath and North East Somerset, Mendip District Council, Sedgemoor District Council and Somerset County Council contributions have enabled the Partnership to apply for the full Defra Mendip Hills grant of £181,052 including an allocation of £37000 for the SDF. Please go to to find papers discussed at the meeting.

Sustainable Development Fund 2011-12– as the fund is reduced from previous years the maximum grant available will be £5000 with smaller applications encouraged to ensure as many projects benefit as is possible. The deadlines for applications are: 9th May, 4th July, 22nd August, and 24th October. Further details will shortly be available on the web site.

Contributions from the Parish and Town councils currently total £1530 for 2011-12. This funding will be put towards specific projects including the Young Ranger scheme. Wells City and Compton Martin Parish Council have specified that their contributions are for Young Ranger costs.

Volunteer Coordinator post – the Mendip Hills and Quantock Hills AONB are sharing this post to increase volunteering opportunities in the AONB. If you are interested in taking part in practical tasks or have a project requiring volunteer support in the AONB please contact A work programme will be devised for the period May – July that will be available on our web site.

Black Down Project – Heritage Lottery Fund Bid – HLF have informed the AONB that the bid has not been successful as they are unwilling to fund a project that includes capital works being undertaken entirely on privately owned land.  HLF are currently consulting on their strategic framework so please support the need to fund work on private land for projects such as the Black Down Project – see below.

HLF were impressed by the project and the quality of the application. The Black Down Advisory Group will investigate ways of resolving the issue of the land being privately owned and to coordinate works to conserve the Burrington Commons in the coming year. Works will be funded through the AONB project budget and the contribution of £10,000 from North Somerset Council and will involve volunteer opportunities.

The AONB Unit will be meeting with the HLF Grants Officer to discuss the best way to take the project forward.  This could include re-applying for the interpretation and activities elements of the project as a self contained bid. 

Shaping the future – Consultation on the Heritage Lottery Fund’s Strategic Framework 2013-2019.
This is your opportunity to tell HLF:

• what they should continue doing
• what they may need to do differently
• and what new initiatives or measures could have the greatest impact

Please register and respond at:

 Centre for Sustainable Energy – PlanLoCal resource. This is a suite of resources including films, a resource pack and a website which aims to support communities and groups that are ‘planning for low carbon living’. Further information is available at the following website:

The AONB Unit holds a copy of the resource pack which is available for Parish Councils or community organisations to borrow if they are considering low carbon projects. Contact for further details.

Mendip Hills Barn Owl Project – One of the barn owl boxes made by the AONB Young Rangers, as part of the Hawk and Owl Trust Mendip Barn Owl Project, has already been occupied. Chris Sperring reported a barn owl was seen hunting in the early hours of the morning and returning to the box.

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