Email update December 2011

                      Wishing you a Happy Christmas and New Year from Sarah, Norma, Andy, Jonathan and Owen at the AONB Unit! 

And a big Thank You to all our volunteers and partners for their support throughout the year.

December Practical Volunteer Tasks – these have included scrub clearance at Deer Leap and dry stone walling at Pen Hill and Deer Leap. The most recent task of removing scrub at Deer Leap also served as a Christmas celebration.  After a mornings work the volunteers gathered around the fire, mince pies and a small mulled wine in hand to help celebrate an amazing year’s work and the fast approaching Christmas.

These tasks are an important tool in ensuring the landscape and habitats of the Mendip Hills remain protected and in good order.

If you would like to get involved in practical volunteering with the Mendip Hills AONB Unit, then please contact Owen Jones at mendipvolunteers@gmail.com or ring (01761) 462338.

AONB Young Rangers First Aid training – this month’s activity was a day’s training on emergency First Aid in the outdoors. Led by Richard from Reflex First Aid Training, the morning covered the basics: assessing the casualty, making safe the area, contacting emergency services and placing the casualty in the recovery position; before learning resuscitation skills (CPR) and how to treat wounds.

The afternoon put this knowledge into practice with each group of Young Rangers given the task of responding to a casualty (willing volunteers “made up” with some very realistic fake wounds) found in the Blackmoor Nature Reserve. 

The Futures Working Group met on 15th December to agree charitable objects to form a Charitable Company. These will now be submitted to the Charities Commission for their comment before submitting applications to them and Company House. The Mendip Hills Trust key role will be to apply for funds and provide funds to projects that conserve and enhance the Mendip Hills and support delivery of the AONB Management Plan. Further information on the setting up of the Trust will be available in January when assistance with the work will be sought. For further information contact Sarah Jackson, AONB Manager.

Sustainable Development Fund – a number of villages have submitted bids for AONB Village entry signs but there is still funding available for this and other projects. Deadline for applications is January 20th 2012. Projects must be completed by March 31st 2012. For further details and application form please go to http://www.mendiphillsaonb.org.uk/sustainable-development-fund/

National Grid’s (NG) Landscape & Views Thematic Group meetings – the Planning Liaison Officer attended the first on 23rd November. These meetings discuss detailed design issues for the proposed power line project from Hinkley Point through the AONB and will inform the scope and methods for an Environmental Impact Assessment. The Planning Liaison Officer will be advising NG’s consultants on ‘key views’ to be considered in their landscape and visual assessment.

Other planning matters currently being dealt with include a response to Somerset County Council’s draft Waste Core Strategy consultation, a ground mounted PV solar panels proposal near Compton Bishop and a third large wind farm scheme on the Somerset Levels at Pilrow. Further information email jrichards@somerset.gov.uk

National Star Count WeekFriday 20th to 27th January 2012 is when people will be encouraged to count the stars they can see in the Orion constellation and enter the information at www.cpre.org.uk  . CPRE and the British Astronomical Association will use the data recorded to produce a ‘star count map’ of the country and illustrate how light pollution may be affecting dark skies. This information will be helpful in the context of the Partnership’s dark skies statement and AONB Management Plan objectives.

The Independent Panel on Forestry, set-up to advise the Government on the future of England’s forests and woods, has published its progress report. The recommendations will be made in their final report to Government in spring 2012. For more information about the Independent Panel on Forestry including the terms of reference, agreed with the Chair visit http://www.defra.gov.uk/forestrypanel/

 

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