Beacon Parishes Traffic Meeting 12th October 2-17 at Ditchling P.C. office.
The meeting was called in response to reaction and concern after one of our residents sustained serious multiple injuries when she and her horse were struck by a car being driven at high speed on Spatham Lane on Thursday 28th September. The horse, a cherished part of the family had to be destroyed as a result of grievous injury. Two days later a vehicle left the road and overturned north of the crossing and was damaged beyond repair. No injuries sustained but it is safe to assume that the car was being driven recklessly. This was just one of the many incidents occurring along the lane, mostly unreported and obviously caused by dangerous driving. Users of the lane frequently witness or experience “near misses” emanating from driver attitudes.
Councillors from the three Parishes, District and County Councils, Member of Parliament, leading representatives from Neighbourhood Watch, Ditchling Society and Neigbourhood Plan were present at the meeting.
The meeting agreed that there were many traffic and road safety issues that had been well documented in various surveys over many years, most recently in detail as published in the emerging Neighbourhood Plan, and that risks to the public and detrimental effects on our quality of life were becoming worse. It was accepted that any changes should be fairly and equitably applied as needed to all areas of the Beacon Parishes and that this could also have effects beyond our boundaries.
So far nothing measurable in terms of improvement has occurred over the last two decades with the reason given by the Traffic Authority being lack of funding.
The meeting agreed that to deal with a universal traffic and transport agenda would take much time and funding, but it was important to start some action now on what is seen as desperately needed improvement and to follow on with projects considered as priorities.
Therefore Spatham Lane is the immediate focus of attention, with Streat Lane to follow.
Speed limits were discussed and historically we have been told that the lane could not have any other speed control except the National Speed Limit of 60mph. Simple arithmetic indicates that a legal “closing speed” could be 120mph! Much more could be achieved with road engineering if a lower limit could be set e.g. traffic calming.
Councillors will work with the Traffic Authority to establish what can be done, including if required another speed survey. A survey of the hazards, i.e. road narrows, sight lines, property entrances, volume of horse traffic, numbers of equestrian establishments will be made. This has never featured in previous campaigns. Local residents will be looking at ways to create their own measures to alert drivers to the dangers. SDNP, Police and Crime Commissioner and Neighbourhood Watch could help with posters and publicity.
Methods of raising money such as Community Infrastructure Levy, increasing Parish precepts were discussed. Parishes are the only councils with the power to raise rates which in turn attract government grant. The spirit of the meeting was “start the job and worry about the money later”. This seems to work well for community projects.
Next meeting 10/11/2017
Harvest Festival at St Martins
So do drop in and have a look at the decorations celebrating the Harvest. The church will be decorated on Saturday 30th September. On Sunday 1st October there will be a Harvest Festival and Holy Communion Service at 9:45am
Westmeston Summer Fayre 29th July at Westmeston Parish Hall.
Despite the onset of torrential rain we are pleased to say that we still had good attendance and would like to thank the following for their incredible support.
The tea helpers; Kevin & Michael for braving the rain; Todd for looking after the bouncy castle; the cake bakers; the bottle donators; Beacon Commodities; Bedlam Brewery, Albourne; Black Dog Hill Vineyard, Westmeston; the Classic Cars and Petrol Heads; Norman Baker; Court Gardens Vineyard, Ditchling; Harveys’ Brewery Lewes; Paul and his cakes; Tesco Lewes; Mike and Sue and their beautiful Model T Ford; Westmeston Parish Council and Westmeston Parish Hall Trustees and everyone who helped to set up for their hard work.
Half the proceeds went to St Peter & St James Hospice and we handed a cheque to Lucy Brown at the hospice on Wednesday 2nd August.
Lucy Brown receiving the donation at St Peter & St James Hospice
The Parish Hall Trust will benefit from the other half and it will go towards the ongoing repairs and maintenance of our wonderful facility.
We hope to see you at the Christmas Tea, when Father Christmas will be popping in despite his very busy schedule.
Cathy Mills, Tessa Houghton, Brenda Hall & Kendal Golding
Saturday 29th July 2017 2pm to 5 pm at Parish Hall.
Westmeston Summer Fayre.
Cream teas, Raffles, Homemade cakes and produce, Games for all the family, Cup-Cake competition, Classic Car Show, Beer Tent, and Much More.
Adults £2.50. Children free
(This is an independent initiative from Trustees and volunteers, with proceeds to be shared by Charities, St Peter and St James Hospice, and Westmeston Parish Hall Trust.) Please note that our email address is email@example.com
We look forward to seeing you there
Cathy Mills, Tessa Houghton, Kendal Golding & Brenda Hall (in no particular order!)
Fly nuisance in Ditchling and surrounding area.
With thanks to Mike Felton for his hard work on this over the last few years.
Report of a meeting held at 96 North End with Steven Teale (Senior Environmental Health Technician, Lewes District Council) Margaret Felton, Michael Felton (Home owners), on 5th June 2017
Flies are back in Ditchling:
The purpose of the meeting was to raise our concerns over the renewed outbreak of high levels of flies that we are experiencing daily in our home, as well as those of our neighbours and to emphasise that while the daily numbers of flies may vary, what we have to cope with day-to-day is distressing and a nuisance.
Steven explained it was his responsibility to respond to reports of environmental health issues such as outbreaks of flies. Steven inspected the hanging sticky fly paper and confirmed the flies were Lesser House Flies (which are associated with breeding in poultry manure). Steven informed us he would be visiting Mac’s Farm later that week.
The evidence (numbers of flies): Ditchling has been experiencing a fly nuisance for five years now since the massive invasion of flies in 2013, with fly numbers in houses varying each year since then. This year fly numbers have been increasing at a rapid rate since mid-May and by the beginning of June, the 48 hour sticky strip in our living room was counted at 179 flies. Numbers fell away in the cold spell which followed, but are now (21th June) back at over 174 in 48 hours. The possibility that the end of May represented a ‘spike’ was considered, but the evidence since then shows that high numbers have now continued for some five weeks. It is not practical or possible to actually count the number of flies that we are living with in the rest of the house. This is a hideous number of flies to have to live with daily. So regardless of whether we are dealing with peaks or troughs the day-to-day level of fly numbers is unacceptable. (See chart below based on sticky strips hung for 48 hours, then replaced.)
We discussed the regulatory requirement for poultry farms, where they are required to monitor fly numbers using commercial fly paper – and as advised by the consultant who visited Mac’s Farm in 2013 – that this should be recorded 4 x a month. It was not clear from Steven’s response whether or not Mac’s Farm are continuing to monitor fly numbers and to the appropriate standard. Nor was it clear if this information was being made available to Steven.
Source of flies: Steven stated that it could be assumed that Mac’s Farm had made a contribution to the number of flies in houses in Ditchling, but that it was not the only source. Steven acknowledged that the lesser housefly does breed in poultry manure, but added there are other sources (such as refuse). Steven was very careful not to give the impression that is was likely that the major source was from Mac’s farm, although we asserted that common sense would suggest that it was. It is noted that the opinion of the consultant who investigated the fly problem in 2013 was that Four Fields Farm is likely to be the most important source of lesser house flies. It was pointed out to Steven, that in the thirty five or so years we have lived in Ditchling, there was no fly nuisance before the poultry farm was established.
When do fly numbers constitute a ‘Statutory Nuisance’: Steven said that this term is not easily defined in terms of numbers of flies or indeed other factors. He argued that if the local farm was taking measures to manage the fly numbers and the incidence in houses at the level occurring in early June, while unpleasant, taken together was not in his view a nuisance in the legal sense (see box below) requiring measures such as issuing an abatement order (which are within the Department’s powers).
We said our priority at this stage was for the Department to take positive action to ensure any poultry farm in the vicinity is following all necessary guidelines as advised by the Department to reduce fly numbers to a level where they do not create a nuisance and distress to residents.
When does a Statutory Nuisance occur?
Note: A document entitled ‘Fly Management: how to comply with your environmental permit’, April 2013, produced by the Environmental Agency, Bristol. On interpreting the Clean Neighbourhood and Environmental Act 2005 then:
There are no objective levels at which a statutory nuisance exists, or may be caused. In general, in domestic premises, it is likely that the threshold will be very low and control actions might be taken in cases of few house flies.
As a guideline, an occupier will normally experience some irritation if there are five or more flying house flies present in any one room at any one time on three successive days. If houseflies are monitored with baited traps, sticky ribbons, or spot cards, a collection of more than 25 in any 48 hour period may indicate grounds for distress.
In practice, there is a significant difference between something being an irritation and a situation constituting a nuisance in law.
The new normal? As we understood it Steven has concluded that all necessary action is being undertaken by Mac’s farm being the nearest and largest poultry establishment in Ditching. He said it was Mac’s plan to take the older sheds out of the production, i.e. those with earth floors and once that was done the fly numbers would be reduced further. So the point made by the Department appears to be that if residents are living with hundreds of flies on a day-to-day basis, and the local contributors are perceived to be taking all reasonable measures then the local residents are to bear the nuisance impact of an intensive egg production enterprise. For residents, this is not acceptable!
Challenges at the Department: The Environmental Department is experiencing staffing cuts and new organisational arrangements which limit the time that can be devoted to environmental health matters. The inference here is that resources are very thin on the ground in terms of being able to respond and manage the fly nuisance problem.
Action needed: It is important for all parties to maintain a body of evidence on fly numbers and sources. We agreed to keep monitoring the housefly numbers in our house as well as other houses locally. And requested that the Department ensures that Mac’s and other poultry farms also maintain records so that these can be inspected by the Department, and that they take the necessary action to ensure that poultry husbandry techniques are applied to minimise fly breeding.
Conclusion: We were left with a sense that while we were listened to very seriously, lack of resources and a sense that Mac’s farm was seen by the Department as only one of the contributors to the fly numbers, that we will not receive any information (and certainly no evidence) of what if anything is being done by either the farm or the department to reduce fly numbers.
Lesser House Fly numbers are up again as of 22nd June. We will continue to press the department to keep the monitoring of the fly nuisance in Ditchling a high priority and to keep us residents informed as to what action they are taking working with Mac’s farm to reduce fly numbers. We look forward from a response from the Department on action now being taking.
23rd June 2017
Endurance GB South East Group
Plumpton Pleasure Ride - Sunday 23rd July
This annual event starts at Plumpton Racecourse and part of the route takes the horse riders down Westmeston Bostal round Church Corner to Westmeston 11 which passes Middleton Manor to Hayleigh Farm, from there up to Streat Church and along the Ridge. Please be aware there may be horses moving quite fast if you are using the bridleways on that day. Riders will of course be taking all care and we hope everyone has an enjoyable day.
South Downs National Park - Take the Lead Campaign
There have been a number of very distressing incidents of sheep being maimed and killed by dogs which have been out of their owners control. As a rural parish we are all aware and caring of our responsibilities as dog owners but we need to remain aware that others who use our beautiful area for recreation are not so careful or unaware of the risks of dogs being around sheep especially at lambing time.
This week the South Downs National Park Authority launched the next stage of the Take the Lead campaign which encourages responsible dog walking in the South Downs National Park – www.southdowns.gov.uk/takethelead
The key messages in this campaign are focused on putting dogs on the lead around livestock, picking up dog mess, being aware of sensitive wildlife such as ground nesting birds and understanding the importance of responsible dog ownership on MOD land.
Thank you for your support.
Maria’s Latest Update – Westmeston and Ditchling
From your Member of Parliament
I understand that protecting green spaces and community within our villages is vital to many of my constituents, including those within Westmeston and Ditchling.
I therefore wanted to provide you with an update on the work that I have been carrying out to strengthen neighbourhood plans. Many residents will be aware that a planning application turned down by Newick Parish Council and Lewes District Council has been overturned, despite this decision also going against the local Neighbourhood Plan. I joined residents in objecting to this obscene reality, and as a result I am working hard to legally strengthen neighbourhood plans through the current Planning Bill going through Parliament.
Myself and the Member of Parliament for Arundel and South Downs, Nick Herbert, will ensure that a Newick situation can’t happen again when it re-enters the Commons.
Be assured that I will be sure to keep local councils and my constituents up to date on this important issue.
MARIA CAULFIELD MP – SURGERY ADVICE
As your local Member of Parliament I try to be as accessible as possible to residents.
I hold regular advice surgeries across the constituency. If you would like an appointment to discuss an issue or concern please do not hesitate to contact me.
Whatever your concern, please get in touch.
Post: Unit 6, Villandry, West Quay, Newhaven, BN9 9GB
Tel: 01273 513509
Westmeston Christmas Tea 10th December 2016
Thank you to everyone who helped make this a very enjoyable afternoon. Special thanks go to Colin and Brenda Hall, Kendal Golding and Father Christmas who was a huge success, Tessa for the lovely sandwiches and all who came along for making it such fun. All the proceeds will go towards maintaining the hall.
See you all at the next get together
Update 5th October 2016
As you know I have been working on this problem and maintaining a dialogue with BT. I have had a reply now concerning the new DSLAM cabinet that is going into Spatham Lane, it will be installed by March 2017 at the latest. I know this won’t improve things for Church Corner and the surrounding area but we will keep pushing.
Spatham Lane should see a big difference in speeds by the spring.
I will keep you posted.
Meeting with Paul Biochat of BT
On Monday 18th July I met with Paul Boichat, Senior Project Manager, BDUK Delivery – East & West Sussex.
While it was helpful to explore the situation and get some facts it was in fact a disappointing meeting in that the options available are not practical.
One solution is satellite broadband which is not that reliable, a bit slow and with the time lag can lead to difficulties with virus protection software. It is also expensive.
He talked about Community Fibre Partnerships and I have attached a scanned copy to this report with some information. Personally I don’t think this is an option for us for the simple reason that it would only be a small number of people who would benefit and the cost which he estimates would be £25,000 - £50,000 (funding is available for part of the cost) would probably be waste of money as the scheme could take up to a year to fund and install and by then the chances are we will have new cabinets installed and faster broadband available.
For information, and I have mentioned this previously, a new DSLAM cabinet will be installed in Spatham Lane in the near future and this will help residents in that part of the parish to get the speeds they need for efficient broadband. There are deals to be had from BT and we have found we are paying less for faster broadband than we were before!
A new cabinet is also going in on Clayton Hill and various upgrades are happening or have happened in Ditchling so it is getting closer. We are on the border of Hassocks and Lewes exchanges so therefore at the optimum distance from the exchange. This would not be a problem if the cabinets are upgraded but at the moment it does seems to be a waiting game unless we want to raise the funds needed through the community fibre partnership scheme. Paul did tell me that part of Plumpton, about 50 odd houses did go down this route but with 50+ contributors it was probably more economical than it would be for us. They were also in one area whereas we are very spread out.
I will keeping in touch with Paul Boichat on a regular basis and he has promised to let me know as soon as there are any changes. The target that BT was given to provide faster broadband to 95% of users across the UK has been met and they are now aiming for 96.5% by next year. Unfortunately we are in the 5% !
All the best
Whistle for the Somme:
On lst July, 1916, whistles blew along the Western Front as a signal to the soldiers to go ‘over the top’ for the start of what the British called the Battle of the Somme. On the first day of the Battle 19,240 men were killed.
On Friday 1st July, 2016, at 7.30a.m. in the morning, whistles were blown in memory of the five names on the Ditchling War Memorial and Streat War Memorial, who lost their lives during the Battle of the Somme. Later that morning at 11.00 am there was a service of Remembrance led by Rev'd David Wallis when wreaths were laid. Thank you to all who joined us. We Will Remember Them.
Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 June 2016
Flower Festival at St Martin's Westmeston
The Flower Festival at the beautifully decorated St Martin's church was visited by almost 300 passers-by and parishioners, as well as about 170 who partook of tea and cakes in Westmeston Parish Hall, shuttled to and fro in a Model T Ford courtesy of Tony and Jan Snow. In the church were twenty different floral creations from sixteen different artists depicting happiness in it many forms, from the countryside (complete with blackbird song) through theatre and books to water for life, gardening and love of all. The church looked beautiful and many visitors wrote on yellow post it notes what made them personally happy. My favourite notes were "Going for a bike ride and discovering a beautiful flower festival by surprise" and "your child smiling back at you". The event was to the glory of God and the memory of Carol Franks, Doreen Kallman, Marion Martin and Jo Wratten. Doreen would have been delighted to see that her high floral standards had been maintained.
A great weekend was finished off by Songs of Praise led by Fr David with Richard Toms playing on what he says is one of his favourite organs, attended by 40 people in fine voice. The occasion raised over £1,200 for St Peter and St James Hospice and the Beacon Parish (towards the new floodlights at St Martin's) thanks to visitors and generous sponsors of the arrangements.
Sunday 26th June
If you have any honey bee swarms, can you contact www.bbka.org.uk/swarm
where you will be directed to local swarm collectors.
National Trust - Volunteers needed – get involved!
At the Parish Council meeting on Tuesday 19th January we were fortunate to have with us, Lee Walther from The National Trust. It was an informative and interesting talk about the work they do in this area particularly at the Ditchling Beacon car park which of course is in Westmeston Parish.
The trust are looking for volunteers for a number of tasks, which will include litter picking, shrub clearance, reporting any issues which may need addressing such as broken fences gates etc. If you have a few hours to spare please contact the trust using the email address below, or contact Cathy via the contact page. They would welcome your help, be it weekly, monthly or just once a year.
Cathy Mills – January 2016
Update: Defibrillators and Emergency Planning
Our plan is developing in line with the resources available within the Parish. This means that we are selective in providing the most practical and attainable skills and equipment affordable, both in terms of finance and the presence and ability of volunteers willing to react positively in an emergency.
We now have a core of 14 local volunteers, qualified in basic first aid. This meant their investment of two evenings taking a course run by the British Red Cross, funded by Parish Council. We are always ready to expand this group in the event of interest from local residents. This would not necessarily be restricted to Parishioners, and we have in mind volunteers from Streat and Ditchling.
Public Access Defibrillator:
Defibrillators are life saving devices that can be operated by almost anyone, whether or not they have taken training. In real terms the cost of supply and fitting them is within the scope of most small business although for us to provide them represents a sizeable chunk out of our council funds. At sites such as industrial/business parks we would expect occupiers to take responsibility for providing these, much on the lines of first aid equipment. Bearing in mind the possible exposure to risk prevailing in some trades and businesses this will no doubt be something for their consideration.
Within the parish there are very few business premises and to our knowledge only one defibrillator. This is sensibly positioned at the Golf Club where the concentration of players and customers means there is a high probability of use. We understand that it has already helped to save a life. Similarly there is a machine at Ditchling village Hall.
Neither of these installations, in our view, are truly “Public Access”, as at the golf club it is quite properly intended for use on site, whilst at Ditchling, although within reach of the public, can only be accessed by phoning for a code to release the lock. In our view, in the latter case this could cost valuable time and delay the application of the device at the most critical time for the casualty.
We have weighed up the risk of theft and decided that there is a possibility, but pointless in the thief’s view because there is no re-sale value. Vandalism is a risk but this could occur even if the cabinet is locked. Experience in the Sussexarea indicates a very low level of such problems. In conclusion we are providing a Public Access Defibrillator (PADS), because it is in the public’s best interest.
The apparatus will be installed this month in the open porch at the Parish Hall and will be signposted. We believe that people will become familiar with the signs and know where to go in an emergency. This first site was chosen because it is a likely venue for an emergency due to the presence of groups and sometimes crowds of users. It is, of course, accessible to the public for emergencies such as illness/accidents in the home, road traffic incidents or possibly something we haven’t even thought of.
This is a joint enterprise between Parish Council and the Trustees of the Parish Hall, with a generous sponsorship from Burgess Hill District Lions. The cost of supply, fitting and signposting will total approx. £1700 of which about £635 is contributed from The Lions. The Parish Council’s contribution from public funds is approx. £540.
Our plans include a PADs site in the Church Corner phone box. It would be prominent with easy access and become recognisable to the public, similar to installations already existing in the county and probably further afield.
The cost will be about the same but the source of funds will have to be private and business contributions. We are quite willing for a donor to benefit from advertising as this is a reasonable arrangement and normal business practice. Private benefactors are welcome. Should anyone have any ideas how we can raise the money, we would be pleased to hear from you.
Please contact Rob Mills, Mark Clark or Cathy Mills using the contact page.
Westmeston Parish Hall on Saturday 5th December
Many Many thanks to all who helped at the Hall on Saturday, delicious sandwiches and cakes made by Kendal Golding, Tessa Haughton and Brenda Hall. The raffle run by Colin Hall was a huge success and everyone had a lovely afternoon, with good company and enjoyable food. The atmosphere was as warm as the company. If you couldn't make we wish you a very happy 2016 and look forward to next year when Santa has promised to drop in, despite his busy schedule!
All proceeds have gone to the Parish Hall Trust to help maintain our wonderful facility
County’s first Elders’ Commission makes a start
Residents aged 60 to 85 and from across the county, including our parish council Chairman Rob Mills, came together this week to participate in the first Elders’ Commission workshop ahead of a Sussex-wide consultation (the Big Conversation) with their family, friends and peers on policing and crime issues.
The 28 members, with a range of experience in the private and public sector, were greeted on Tuesday (28 April) by Sussex Police & Crime Commissioner, Katy Bourne. The workshop involved presentations from Sussex Police and partners on scamming, elder abuse and police objectives, as well as discussion groups and a Q&A session.
Commenting on the importance of the Sussex Elders’ Commission (SEC), Mrs Bourne said: “Twenty per cent of the Sussex population is aged 65 and over and the biggest population increase is in the over 85s. As PCC and the daughter of an elderly mother, I feel it is vital that we listen and act on the concerns of this section of our society. The SEC will provide a much- needed platform for older residents to inform and challenge my Police & Crime Plan and feedback on local policing in their area”.
Jonathan Hopkins, from Citadel Policy and Communications who spoke at Thursday’s event said: "I was inspired by the commitment and passion the members have to make a real difference, drawing on their extensive networks. It is by engaging directly with older people and their experiences across Sussex that issues can be evidenced and solutions found from within local communities. The members did not shy away from getting to grips with difficult issues from elder abuse to cyber-crime and the challenges for local policing. This will play a major part in shaping and influencing policies and improvements for older people living in Sussex".
Mrs Bourne continued: “It was great to meet the members again and hear why they have signed up to the SEC and what they want to get from it. Pauline Jackson from Bexhill told me that as a trustee of Age UK in East Sussex she is passionate about the elderly community, particularly those who are vulnerable and isolated. She feels that she will be able to reach out further to fellow residents and inform them of what is happening in their community and how the SEC can improve their experience with Sussex Police.
“Ray Hoare from Horsted Keynes told me he has always had a keen interest in local policing and wants to be more informed on the changes that lie ahead. He will use the SEC to feed back on how local policing is working in his community and what concerns residents have.
“Kate Davies, who chairs East Sussex Seniors Association, said she feels that older people’s fear of crime is often greater then the crime rate itself. Kate wants to enable the elderly to have a proper say on policing and make sure their voices are heard”.
Members have already identified their priorities which include financial coercion; fear of crime; local policing, isolation and road safety.
The workshop highlighted the different mechanisms and channels that members intend to use for the Big Conversation, ranging from small intimate groups to large pre-existing events, speaking opportunities as well as stints on hospital radio.
The OPCC will support the members' programme of engagement with venue, transport, surveys, and engagement tools and training.
EVERY FLOWER COUNTS – VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR
ANNUAL STOCK TAKE OF UK’s WILDFLOWERS
Making plants a priority
The new National Plant Monitoring Scheme (NPMS), launching in spring 2015, will for the first time enable scientists to take an annual stock take of the UK’s wild plants and their habitats, but to do this we need the public’s help. We are looking for volunteers to carry out surveys of wildflowers and their habitats that will provide robust evidence of which widespread plants are increasing or declining, as well as indicating the changing state of our most valued habitats such as grassland, fenland and even road verges. Plants are nature’s building blocks and this new monitoring scheme will sit alongside existing schemes for the UK’s birds and butterflies to help us understand more about how the countryside is changing.
Chris Cheffings, from the Joint Nature Conservation Committee says “Currently, information on plant species’ abundance and change is very limited, and it is difficult to gauge the condition of habitats outside protected sites. JNCC is delighted to be able to support the NPMS, which will fill this significant gap in UK biodiversity surveillance. The annual results collected by volunteers will help to identify trends in hundreds of species, allowing us to assess plant community changes.”
The search is now on to find 2000 volunteers to take part in the NPMS who will play a vital role in gathering information. Together the volunteers will monitor wild plants in 28 important habitats, ranging from hedgerows and meadows to salt marsh and scree slopes.
Hayley New, from Plantlife says “The NPMS is hugely enjoyable and over 400 volunteers have helped us set up the new scheme. It’s easy to do and everyone will receive free training and guidance plus support from the partnership for volunteers who have queries, as well as web support and illustrated guidance notes – so volunteers will have the perfect survey tool kit to get them started!”
Dr Kevin Walker, Head of Science, Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) says:
“It’s really great to finally have a national scheme that everyone can take part in. Whether you simply love wildflowers or are a budding botanist, input from volunteers will provide sound evidence on how our wild plants and habitats are changing. It’s a fantastic achievement and should mean that wild plants are at the forefront of discussions on how our environment is changing and what we should be doing about it.”
How does the NPMS work?
ï‚· Volunteers will be able to choose from three options depending on their level of expertise: recording from a short or an extended list of target species in each habitat or recording all species they find in their plots.
ï‚· Volunteers will be given a 1 km square with a grid showing up to 25 locations. Surveyors will be asked to visit three of those locations and carry out surveys in square plots and then identify two linear features such as hedgerows, rivers and road verges and survey these locations too.
ï‚· The squares have been randomly chosen, but with a focus on squares containing habitats of interest.
Oliver Pescott, from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology says “The results from this new scheme should allow us to quantify the smaller changes that are occurring within our most valuable habitats. In the past, volunteer-collected data have been able to demonstrate the results of large-scale habitat loss over the last century, now we would like to reveal even more detail about the changes within the remaining areas of these habitats in our landscape.”
For more information on the NPMS and how to take part please visit www.npms.org.uk
NOTES TO EDITORS
For enquiries and interviews please contact Hayley New on firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07741 314155. We also have stunning images available.
The NPMS is a partnership of the Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI), the Biological Records Centre (within the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology), Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) and Plantlife. The NPMS builds upon previous research projects funded by JNCC and Defra.
The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) is the statutory adviser to the UK Government and devolved administrations on UK and international nature conservation. Its work contributes to maintaining and enriching biological diversity, conserving geological features and sustaining natural systems.
The Botanical Society of Britain and Ireland (BSBI) has been promoting the study, understanding and enjoyment of British and Irish wild plants since 1836. BSBI supports and encourages research and conservation, and is one of the world's largest contributors of biological records, collected by our volunteer members - amateur and professional botanists who benefit from our research, training and outreach programmes.
The Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH) is a world-class research organisation
focussing on land and freshwater ecosystems and their interaction with the
atmosphere. We are a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) Research
Centre and integral to the delivery of the NERC Strategy, The Business of the
Environment, with over 425 researchers and students based at sites in England,
Scotland and Wales.
W: www.ceh.ac.uk E: email@example.com T: 01491 838800
Plantlife is the charity speaking up for the nation’s wild plants. We work hard to protect wild plants on the ground and to build understanding of the vital role they play in everyone’s lives. Plantlife carries out practical conservation work across the UK, manages nature reserves, influences policy and legislation, runs events and activities that connect people with their local wild plants and works with others to promote the conservation of wild plants for the benefit of all.
Update - Ditchling Post Office
Hopefully you will have noticed the big tidy up at Church Corner which has made a big difference to the appearance and also opened up the pathway and made it easier for walkers to use the footpath without having to dodge all the undergrowth. This was organised by the Parish Council as part of the ongoing maintenance of the Parish. All the waste will add to the enjoyment of a great Bonfire celebration on the 25th at the Parish Hall.
Award of up to £1000 for student in FE or HE
Springett and Campion Educational Trust
The Trust, also known as The Westmeston and East Chiltington Educational Charity offers a bursary award of up to £1000 to a student living in either of the two parishes who is proceeding to, or is already taking, a course of further or higher education. As directed by the Trust Deed, the student must be aged 25 or under at the date of the commencement of the award.
It should be noted that the Trust has extended its reach to include, for the first time, the Further Education sector. This means applications are eligible from students who are undertaking post-16 education (e.g. A-levels, International Baccalaureate, Higher National Diplomas, Foundation learning, apprenticeships, training courses) as well as post-18 learning that takes place at universities, colleges and institutions (e.g. undergraduate and Masters’ degrees [not PhD], professional qualifications and Continuing Professional Development (CPD) modules).
Details of the bursary, which is a usually a single competitive award, and an application form, can be obtained from the Secretary of the Trust:
Professor Phil Ashworth
2 Perry Cottages, The Ridge, Streat, East Sussex, BN6 8RT
Completed application forms must be received by the Secretary (preferably by email) by 31 August 2014. A decision will be made on the award by the Trustees in September.
Trustees - Harold Rowling, Phil Ashworth, Justin Fleming, Giles Dickins
Notice to users: Repair work has been completed.
The section of track affected runs from Hooks Acre to Wapple Way. The elevated stretch adjacent to Black Dog Hill House required extensive restoration and was closed for the duration of the works.
Some reinstatement was also required opposite Black Dog Farm entrance
Please help to preserve these repairs by using the pathway sensibly as the coffers are now empty! All donations welcome, please contact:-
Rob Mills. Chairman Trustees Westmeston Jubilee Pathway Trust. Registered Charity Number1095561
Rural Opportunities Bulletin
Green Deal Home Improvement Fund – Department of Energy & Climate Change
Households carrying out energy efficiency improvements on their home can now get more money back to offset the cost of having the work done. From June, people in England and Wales will be able to get up to £7600 back through a new Green Deal Home Improvement Fund which is intended to enable them to take control of their bills and have warmer, greener homes.
The scheme helps people to install energy efficiency measures such as solid wall insulation and new heating systems by providing them with money back on the contributions they make towards improvements.
See Engery Efficient Link - Links Page
Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive – Ofgem
The Domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (Domestic RHI) is a government financial incentive to promote the use of renewable heat. Switching to heating systems that use naturally replenished energy can help the UK reduce its carbon emissions. People who join the scheme and stick to its rules, receive quarterly payments for seven years for the amount of clean, green renewable heat their system produces.
The scheme is open to anyone who can meet the joining requirements. It’s for households both off and on the gas grid. People off mains gas are stated to have the most potential to save on fuel bills and reduce carbon emissions.
The Renewable Heat Incentive has two schemes - Domestic and Non-Domestic. They have separate tariffs, joining conditions, rules and application processes.
Harold Rowling MBE
As you probably know, Harold has recently stepped down from the parish council after long and very productive service to Westmeston. Before our Annual Parish meeting on 22nd April friends and family of Harold & Pam Rowling gathered in the parish hall to present Harold with a small token of appreciation for all the hard work and service he has given to Westmeston. The bench, seen below will be for the use of all parishioners for many years to come. It was a happy affair and well attended.
Once gain many thanks to Harold for all his work and support for Westmeston.
Harold Rowling and Rob Mills
Call 101 to help stop illegal off-roading in the countryside
People witnessing illegal or anti-social off-road driving on paths in the countryside are being called on to report it to the police using the new 101 phone number.
Sussex Pathwatch is a special service set up to help protect the safety of everyone using rights-of-way, fields and woodland to prevent the damage that illegal offroading can cause. A similar service called Countrywatch has been set up in Hampshire. Anyone can report an offence by calling 101 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org in Sussex and email@example.com in Hampshire.
Angela Ward, ranger for the South Downs National Park, said:
“Most people driving off-road do so legally and with consideration for other people. Unfortunately there are a small minority driving illegally. They put everyone’s safety at risk, give legal drivers a bad name and cause damage to the countryside.
“That’s why we’re working with the Police and local authorities on this scheme. If illegal off-roading isn’t reported then the police can’t take any action.”
Just one example of Pathwatch success was in a case of illegal off-road motorcycling on a Site of Special Scientific interest near Small Dole in West Sussex. The site, which holds three nationally rare habitats and supports a rich community of rare butterflies and moths, was blighted by off-road motorcyclists who had even brought in equipment to dig tracks. Following calls from the public, Sussex Police were able to catch them in the act and serve notice – meaning that if they reoffend in the next 12 months their vehicle will be impounded and possibly crushed. This led to the activity stopping.
“Off-roading can be great fun so if you want advice on how to do it legally speak to the Land Access and Recreation Association, the Trials Rider Fellowship or ask us on Twitter @SussexPathwatch or Facebook.”
Find out more about Countrywatch at www.hampshire.police.uk/internet/advice-and-information/rural-crime/country-watch or Sussex Pathwatch at www.pathwatch.info.