Meeting Minutes (Sept)


DRAFT Notes of meeting on Tuesday September 20th 2022 at 7.15pm

Swarland Club, Coast View, Swarland


1.Present: Liz, Dave, Carolyn, Jan, Suzanne, Bryan, Marlene, Andrew, Richard, Steve, Greg, Louise, Lesley, Judy, David 
 Apologies: Kathryn, Val 
2.Actions from the previous meeting (August 16th 2022) 
 Footpath Survey – Dave queried whether the list of people who were willing to ‘look after’ a footpath needed to be reviewed to ensure appropriate coverage. Dave and Marlene to discuss. Marlene to suggest to the group that they carry out another survey some time in the next couple of months and report any issues.
 Swarland Show – the SNAC stand at the show had attracted a good number of visitors, with the display materials and leaflets proving popular. There had been some possible new members signed up and a number of others who signed up to help with tree planting in Vyner Park. There are spare postcards advertising SNAC which people are welcome to take and share.
NCC Climate Change toolkit for Town and Parish Councils – our response has been finalised and is being taken to the next PC meeting. It will help to form the basis of requesting funding from the PC for SNAC.
Facebook – Dave has set up a SNAC Facebook page and group, although the ‘rules’ around its use are still to be worked out. We also want to post on the Swarland Residents page as this has a good following. Dave to seek advice on this.


3.Bus Service – Carolyn gave a summary of the public meeting which had taken place earlier in the evening with Neil Easton from NCC. Our aim is to help people reduce their carbon footprint by reducing reliance on car transport, although clearer there are other benefits too. The meeting was well attended and proved a good opportunity for people to discuss the issues with NCC direct. Neil had explained that the previous X15 had been withdrawn because of dwindling passenger numbers, safety concerns about the A1 junction near Rashercap and the tightness of the arrival and departure window at Haymarket bus station. Arriva have been asked about restoration of the service, but have said they would not be willing to do so because of the A1 junction safety issue. Any change to this would require  significant investment from Highways England to improve the junction. Whilst we can ask the PC to lobby for this, Neil has proposed an alternative.

 This would be a specially commissioned service, which would run once a day at offpeak times, on two days a week to Alnwick and to Morpeth. We could decide which days, how long it would stay in each destination and where it would stop. It would be likely to be a 16 seater coach which will be accessible. Funding will be available from January 2023. It will be important that the service is used, and Neil will be able to provide us with data showing the numbers of passengers. If it proves popular, then it may be possible to expand it further. 
 It was agreed that SNAC will draft an outline of the service which can be publicised over the next month, giving residents the opportunity to share their views on various aspects of it, including days of the week, how much time it spends in each town and location of bus stops. It was agreed to do this through the Column, the website, Facebook etc.

4.Regenerative Farming – Liz introduced Judy Fortescue who farms Glantlees and Tughall. Judy began by giving some of the history of the farm, and the journey to becoming an organic farm. Judy then spoke about regenerative farming and the importance of protecting the soil and soil microbes. The government are introducing schemes such as the Countryside Stewardship Scheme which encourage farmers to manage their land in a more environmentally friendly way but there can be a lot of bureaucracy and still some detail to be clarified. Judy talked about some of the measures they have taken, such as 6m field margins, replanting hedges and creating hay meadows. These help to increase the biodiversity on the farm.   Larger initiatives are also possible through Local Natural Recovery Plans. Judy was optimistic about the level of interest amongst farmers in North Northumberland, and in particular a group called the 23 Burns who are sharing knowledge and ideas.  
Judy suggested a number of ways in which SNAC could get involved, such as growing hedgerow plants (she would provide acorns / seed) and carrying out hedgerow surveys. She also suggested that a farm walk would be a great way of showing people about regenerative farming. She also has a number of wildlife cameras that could be used.  
Judy also recommended a number of books, including English Pastoral by James Rebanks, Dirt to Soil by Gabe Brown and The Natural History of the Hedgerow by John Wright.   Lesley then talked about her interest in medicinal plants, and the possibility of combining this with a farm walk. The group was enthusiastic about arranging a farm walk and then agreeing how we can work to support Judy’s aim of creating more wildlife corridors on the farm.  

The group thanked Judy for an extremely intesting talk, and Liz will follow up to make arrangements for a visit to the farm.   Suzanne offered to write a piece for the next Column about the work that Judy has been doing.

Carolyn also said that the Forestry Commission have offered to do a guided walk in Swarland Woods and she will follow this up.






5.Tree Planting – we now have a delivery date for the trees from the Woodland Trust which will be planted in Vyner Park. The group agreed to hold a ‘Planting Day’ on Saturday November 19th and plans will need to be made to publicise this. Suzanne and Bryan agreed to take the lead in making the necessary arrangements.
NCC have also opened up their free tree giveaway and this is open to individuals and community groups who can get up to 120 saplings. Liz asked the group to identify locations in the Parish where we could plant additional trees.  One suggestion is to replace some of the damaged trees in Nile Park with oak saplings. Information about the scheme is available on the NCC website. There is a link to it on  


6.Any Other Business
Liz informed the group that NCC’s Household Carbon Footprint Calculator is being piloted in Felton and Humshaugh in the coming weeks. NCC have said that we can either take part now, or wait until the first two pilots have been completed. It was agreed that we should wait until the pilots have been done and any issues ironed out, but ask Felton CAN if they would be willing to come and share their experiences with us.

7.Date of Next Meeting – Tuesday October 18th 2022 at 7pm.