Town Council Sets Out its Environmental Agenda

kathy pearce
Cllr Kathy Pearce considers options for building bridges

Deputy Leader of Bridgwater Town Council cllr Kathy Pearce (Westover Ward) will submit a report to the meeting of April 12th outlining the  work she has  undertaken to date in her role as Environment  Lead and will be seeking endorsement from fellow councillors and members of the public.

Kathy’s report below.

Town Cleaning

Meetings and walkabouts have been taking place through the past year with Clean Surroundings, SDC Environment Manager and Somerset Waste Partnership to address litter and fly-tipping within the town, including commercial waste.

As a result, the following on-going action is being taken:

  • Enhanced street cleaning through additional ‘green machine’ provision, using underspend as a result of the closure of the Taunton Road toilets.
  • Certain areas targeted by SWP to promote the use of hessian sacks for refuse, which are stronger and more resistant to seagull/animal damage.
  • The Eastover area is being especially targeted to address litter problems in conjunction with local residents.
  • More attention to be given to fly-tipping. Problem areas to be notified to SWP, who will follow up with householders, town centre businesses, landlords and tenants and administer fines for persistent offenders.
  • Closer liaison between SWP and Clean Surroundings regarding spillage from refuse lorries.

street clean
Town Centre waste walkabout as members and officers look at increased street cleaning

A special thank you should be given to those who work hard to keep our town free of litter and I thank Clean Surroundings for their flower displays, which always brighten the town centre and will be enhanced with the work to be undertaken through the Town Centre CIM bid.

Green Spaces

The Meads:  The Friends of the Meads, Sedgemoor District Council and Robert Blake Science College have been planning through the winter months for the forthcoming hedge/tree planting which is the first phase to improve habitat for wildlife on The Meads.  The aim is to provide a ‘wildlife corridor’ along the rhynes.  The pupils of Robert Blake Science College who, under the guidance of their teacher, Tim Meehan, will be planting 400 trees donated by the Woodland Trust.  This should have taken place last month but was postponed due to snow.  This is now planned to take place on 18th and 19th April.  The Mayor and Mayoress will be joining in to plant a tree!  At the time of writing, a large section of the Meads is underwater, such is the nature of this flood plain, so it may be fortuitous that the tree planting was postponed.

There are also plans to widen one of the ditches.  This work has also been delayed but will take place at a time when there is no danger of disturbing nesting birds.

Kath on meads
Kath puts on her wellies and wanders the Meads

Further discussions underway are use of the Section 106 money from the adjacent housing development.  The small bridge onto the Meads alongside Penrose School will be replaced with an improved bridge which will be fully accessible by all.  Compass Disability is fully involved in looking at improving access on to the site.  The next large project will be identifying routes across the Meads.

A survey will be undertaken during the spring/summer to help find out what people value about the area, what they would like to see, activities they would to take place etc.

For future months, a storage container will be installed which can also be used as a resource for other groups, including bench workspace and information leaflets.

A bird watching walk took place during the winter and dragonfly, butterfly and spider transects will be undertaken through the spring and summer months, along with plans for wildflower meadow planting.

Waterways/Docks/Canal

mike slade
Mayor Graham Granter recognises the work of waterways activist Mike Slade with the Bridgwater Cup as Town Clerk Alan Hurford gives him the tools to continue the job,

Over the past few years, I have been working closely with members of the Inland Waterways Association with the aim of raising the profile of the docks as both a leisure facility for local residents and as a tourist destination.

In the past year, Patsy Robinson (IWA) achieved the installation of the buoy in collaboration with Bridgwater Town Council and BAM.   New Coastal Path signage has also been installed.

The next potential project for the forthcoming year is improvements to the Bascule Bridge.  The aim is to set up a meeting with potential partners to use the opportunity of works to the bridge to also renovate the control boxes to the side of the bridge – all listed structures.  It is hoped that this, along with the Docks’ position at the end of the Celebration Mile and close proximity to Northgate and the Brewery Field, will act as a catalyst to make progress on enhancing the other features of the docks.

Special thanks of course must go to members of the Inland Waterways Association for their hard work in continuing to tirelessly work to improve to local waterways and for the huge amount of weekly litter/debris clearing work both in and out of the water, undertaken by volunteers.

Reduction of Single Use Plastics/Increasing Recycling

A member of the Somerset Waste Partnership will be speaking to the Town Council on 12th April about the Re-Fill project.  This is a scheme which involves local cafes and establishments to encourage people to avoid the use of single use plastics.

Smedley
Town Council Leader Brian Smedley gives his full backing to the report and gets his feet wet in solidarity

I will be proposing that the Town Council  supports this initiative, along with a strategy to minimise the use of single use plastics, reducing waste and increasing recycling by Bridgwater Town Council.

Town Council Meeting Targets

Town Council Leader Brian Smedley (Westover) said “Kathy was recently successful in getting a similar motion through Sedgemoor District Council and  with County also supporting this strategy we can come at it from all corners of Local Government and really made a difference. I welcome Kathy’s report and would point to the other councillors who have taken the lead on the different specialist  roles  within the Town and really getting out there in the community. Cllr Tony Heywood -newly elected to Eastover only last May, is now fronting our Cultural Partnership and our Transport Forum, Cllr Leigh Redman , who is driving forward a major refurb of council buildings with some key works like stage tech, kitchen and toilet upgrades and DDA compliance for the first floor and Cllr Diogo Rodrigues, who has led the way ahead working with Youth groups and expanding our budget for next year. These are just three examples of the work that all our councillors get themselves involved in as part of their civic duties. We set ourselves targets at the start of each council year now and I’m pleased to say we’re meeting them.”

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