Email Update November 2011

 The Mendip Hills AONB Partnership Annual Forum 10th November 2011 report is now available.

The event at Folly Farm attracted representatives from local organisations, businesses, parish councils and local authorities. The theme – Benefits of a well managed landscape was illustrated by local businesses and CoaST that supports business networking to deliver sustainable tourism.

The Sustainable Development Fund Panel is seeking to recruit two new volunteer members that can offer community art and land management expertise. The SDF is funded by Defra to provide grants for projects that bring social, environmental and economic benefits to the AONB.  If you are interested contact: Sarah Jackson 01761 462338 or email with a short statement stating experience, your interest in the Mendip Hills AONB and contact details. Deadline is midday Monday 12th December.

Requests for AONB Village/town signage are now being received by the AONB Unit for consideration by the SDF Panel. All parish and town clerks in the AONB have been sent details of the design and costs. The deadline is 20th December 2011 for the first order and to consider requests for assistance with funding this financial year.

Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) reform 2014-2020– The European Commission presented a draft reform of the CAP on 12th October. The EC is proposing a new partnership between Europe and its farmers to meet the challenges of food security, sustainable use of natural resources and growth. NFU and CLA issued a joint statement stating that very few of the proposals will meet the objectives and many will move farming in England Wales in the opposite direction. RSPB and Wildlife Trusts are disappointed as they fail to reward farmers for measures to protect and restore the natural environment.

This month the AONB Advanced Young Rangers carried out a Kestrel Survey at Blackmoor and Netherwood.

After a cloudy start to the morning the sun broke through and two kestrels were recorded overhead on the thermal air currents waiting to dive into the heather to catch their prey. 
This was part of a joint project between the Hawk and Owl Trust and the AONB.  This project has its own Facebook page and website which are interlinked.  The main emphasis of this partnership project is to raise the awareness for raptors within the AONB. This is done by enabling people to participate in surveys, send in sightings and most of all to let them take an interest in the conservation of these special birds.  Already it is proving popular with many sightings coming in, lots of bookings on night time Owl survey walks and daylight raptor walks.

The latest activity for the AONB Young Rangers was a caving expedition to Goatchurch Cavern.  The Young Rangers explored the complex network of chambers and passages of Goatchurch climbing down the vertical crack known as Jacob’s ladder and wriggling through numerous tight spots!    As well as the challenge of the expedition, Young Rangers learned about the geological history of these three hundred million year old limestone caves and saw fossils such as brachiopods and crinoids in the carboniferous limestone.

BBC’s Countryfile is to include a feature on ‘fracking’ on Sunday 4th December.

National Grid -Thematic Group meetings to discuss issues associated with the identification of a detailed design for its power line from Hinkley Point through the AONB start this week and will be attended by the AONB Planning Liaison Officer. Discussions will inform the scope and methods for an Environmental Impact Assessment for the route.




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