Minutes – February 2023


Notes of meeting on Tuesday 21st February 2023

Swarland Club, Coast View, Swarland

1. Present: Carolyn, David, Bryan, Suzanne, Greg, Jan, Kathryn, Richard and Lesley L.

2. Apologies / Welcome to new members: Apologies from Liz, Lesley S, Val and Rob.

3. Actions from the previous meeting (15.11.22):

a.Facebook – Carolyn said we have a new Facebook page with a link to the Swarland Residents page. Please take a look and follow.

b.Bus Service – NCC still hasn’t received the funding from central government, but everything is ready to go once the funding has been transferred. Carolyn said we were ‘first on the list’.

c.Alnwick FoE Networking meeting – Suzanne attended this meeting some time ago and notes have been supplied (to be circulated to whole SNAC group). There may be future meetings with the FOE but for us, it might be more productive to work on links with Felton, Warkworth and Rothbury. David suggested feeding into FOE and other groups in Alnwick on things like recycling facilities in the Alnwick supermarkets. Lesley said it seems like there are a lot of small groups in Northumberland but no overarching body aware of what is going on. Suzanne said this came out at the FOE meeting. Lesley said she’d been on the NCC Climate group training the ‘Carbon Literacy Course’, so she is in regular contact with someone who suggest link to NCC.

Jan queried the

NCC Climate Change Toolkit for Town and Parish Councils which was discussed and agreed at the 26th October 2022 PC meeting – she asked if this should be fed back to NCC as it provided a summary of what was being done in the Parish? To be checked with Liz who has led on this for the PC.

d.Vyner Park Tree Planting – This will now definitely take place on Sunday 5th March at 10.30 in Vyner park. Please can everyone confirm their attendance with Suzanne and Bryan by 1st March. Bring gloves, sensible footwear and clothes, trowels, spades etc. Jan to check and provide list of people who were to attend last year.

e.Felton CAN Carbon Footprint Survey – A trial survey was being conducted but was getting limited interest from residents. It still looks as though this will be useful in our Parish and we are waiting for the roll out from NCC/Newcastle University. SNAC is hoping to get feedback from Felton CAN on the project soon.

4. Priorities for 2023 – feedback from Questionnaire and next steps – Liz had summarised the results of the SNAC membership survey. There had been a 47% response rate with the majority being interested in projects, the most popular being tree planting/energy efficiency. There was lots of support for having outside speakers, and lots of suggestions for topics and visits.  There was a smaller group of people who would like to meet regularly and it is suggested that this group meets on a monthly basis to plan and encourage volunteers.  David said he would be happy to help co-ordinate things and suggested building in more feedback to the wider community. One question is where and how often the core group will meet?

Potential  talks;

a. Solar/heat pumps – Lesley offered to present a talk on the process she went through evaluating and selecting/rejecting equipment.

b.Gardening talk – Making gardens better for wildlife. What’s special about our Parish’s wildlife. Suzanne suggested Richard Barnes from Felton as a speaker.

c. Active Travel – Getting people to use bikes and walk. Wheels for all Accessible cycling workshops. David said that the work SNAC is doing on footpaths is ‘active travel’. Lesley suggested Adam Bell who runs a bike shop in Alnwick and also hires bikes. David mentioned Gear Up/Gear Change run by Jan Chisholm. It was agreed to explore this as a talk topic.

d. Community green energy – Lesley suggested Humshaugh PC which is part of the NCC carbon literacy project. Could ask them to visit to do talk.

e. Plastics recycling – Visit to recycling plant. Could examine how we could do more. David said the Environment Act set targets for local authorities to achieve by 2025.

f. Community Orchard – David mentioned the Bull Field orchard in Alnwick. Jan said that Vyner park had surveyed a few years ago but there wasn’t any support from residents for an orchard. Marlene had said the Food bank could take surplus fruit and veg. We could try to be more organised about this for the coming season.

With these activities, we canrough out the years programme with a booking every other month and fit in actions around this. Need to include visit to Judy Fortescue’s farm in the Spring.

WINNER OF THE SURVEY DRAW – Richard. Richard said he had many eco magazines which might be of interest to SNAC members. He will give Jan a list of available mags which can be distributed.

5. FE Storm Arwen Recovery Plan – Carolyn and Bryan had met with Alex MacLennan, Recreation, Public Affairs Manager Northumberland for Forestry England (FE), together with Mick Smailes. The aftermath of Storm Arwen has led to FE bringing forward major felling in Swarland Woods. Alex wants to engage with residents about how this will proceed. There are still a lot of unknowns. SNAC could facilitate engagement, document changes and help with replanting. FE looking at late summer/early autumn and the woods will be closed. FE know the area to be felled, and there will be considerable disruption with heavy vehicles. Concerns about the Red Squirrels in the area but there are many issues to discuss. Squirrel issue has been referred to the FE Planning/Ecology team. Alex will come to the next meeting of SNAC and then have a community meeting soon after. Could be an opportunity for more footpaths. Could use April Column to get message out about public meeting in May?

6. Footpath Group – David has taken over from Marlene in co-ordinating role. Trying to a get access to OS public mapping scheme to get a good quality map of the whole  Parish. This could be annotated to highlight, for example, muddy areas or stiles. Sue Rogers did a talk on 14th Feb on footpaths, identifying where they had been, and backing this up with research. Discussed possibility of a route through Newton Hall grounds. Agricultural Support Scheme could include improving access eg footpaths across land.

7. Photography Competition – Closing date 28th February.

8. Future Events

a.Alnwick StoryFest – February 25th

b.Visit to Hydrogen Homes – March 9th

c.Storm Arwen Recovery Plan – March 21st (SNAC meeting)

d.NCC Climate Change Event – March 30th

e.FE Swarland Woods walk – May 31st 2023 – Carolyn said that people from the Caravan site will also be welcome. SNAC reps to liaise with Alex MacLennan to plan route. Let Carolyn know if you are interested in helping to plan the route.

9. Any other business:

  • Woodland Owner Scheme information receivedto be circulated to landowners in the area.
  • Northwoods Woodland management information received – Jan to contact to find out what scale of project they are looking at.

10. Date of Next Meeting – Tuesday 21st March 2023 7.30 pm at Swarland Club. Meeting beforehand of ‘core’ group 7.00-7.30.

Email: talktosnac@gmail.com