Great Bustard

The Great Bustard is the UK's largest flying bird and the County bird of Wiltshire.

It was wiped out by the Victorians who just absolutely had to have a stuffed Bustard on their mantelpiece - there is also significant competition as to who shot the last one - not a great honour, in my opinion.

It was wiped out by the Victorians who just absolutely had to have a stuffed Bustard on their mantelpiece - there is also significant competition as to who shot the last one - not a great honour, in my opinion.

David Waters is currently trying to re-introduce them into the wild on Salisbury plain but is hampered by the fact that they were missed off the UK indigenous species list by mistake so there are significant issues regarding the introduction of a "foreign" species.

So far David Waters has won over the British, Russian and EU bureaucracies - he has successfully imported live chicks from Russia and eggs from Spain and the Great Bustard population on Salisbury plain is now close to being self sustaining.

However, David Waters desperately needs financial support - if anyone would be willing to join the Wiltshire Great Bustard Group as a member please go to http://greatbustard.org/ and join - it would help enormously.

Freeth Lane

Hills Waste Solutions have won their battle to gain five planning permissions to allow the large materials recovery facility to become one of the largest in the UK

Strong opposition to the plans, lead by pressure group Calne & District SOS was based on their opposition to the projected 39% increase of commercial vehicle movements around Calne and the surrounding villages if the project went ahead. This could have a detrimental affect on the air quality in the area from the inevitable increase in vehicle generated pollution.

Jennie Brooks, of the 400-strong Calne & District SOS, told Wiltshire Council's strategic planning committee on Wednesday, “This lack of regard for our homes, our families, our health and our businesses is not acceptable."

"The effect on the amenity of residents in Lower Compton, Oxford Road and Sand Pit Road from the relentless daily HGV movements will be damaging to health, property and homes for many years to come and could expose the council to potential future litigation."

However Hills arguments proved to be more convincing and the planning authority gave the five consents being sought by Hills for the site.

Hills are currently being a little guarded in the celebration of their victory saying that the planning consents may be the subject of a judicial review.

In a statement Mike Hill, chief executive of the Hills Group said, “Hills is pleased that the planning authority has recognised the strategic importance of the Sands Farm and Lower Compton sites in the delivery of waste and recycling services to the residents of Wiltshire and the two sites’ wider benefit to the local economy."

“We look forward to working with the planning authority and other agencies in the implementation of these permissions and will keep local residents updated as the project progresses.”

Freeth Lane

Freeth Farm and Calne Quarries - Planning Application Number 16/05708/WCM

An application for a diversion order has been made for the bridleway or Brown Track near Freeth Farm to facilitate, the as yet contested, planning applications for extensive gravel and sand extraction on land surrounding Freeth Farm and Freeth Cottages.

The application has been made to divert two sections of bridleway as shown in the two maps attached here as PDF files. The diversion to the south route will go through ground which will be beside an area destined to become and active quarry if permission is granted and will be below the water table levels in winter. This will render the proposed route to be potentially unuseable in winter weather by any of sound and reasoned mind! The application is made for a "temporary" diversion but the question is how will it ever be reverted to its ancient track status when the route will then go through a disused quarry with whatever measures will be implimented to reinstate the land.

You are allowed to object to this application in whatever terms you wish to use. We have attached here a suggested letter of objection which you may wish to use to send to send to Ms. Ali Roberts before 12th July. For a lengthy but well considered email urging the rejection of this application I have also attached, for your information, the email sent by Graham Bennett, Bridleway Officer (Legal), British Horse Society, Wiltshire.

Hills fire lower compton

Compton Bassett Councillor and Olympic Rower plan to raise awareness of Diabetes

Julian Barlow, after his recent diagnosis with type 2 diabetes has joined forces with 5 times Olympic gold medal winner and fellow diabetes sufferer Sir Steve Redgrave, to promote awarenes of the disease and its affect on sight in a nationwide campaign during National Diabetes Week in June.

Julian has worked with Sir Steve since 2000 and earlier this year became his agent and manager working particularly on health-related sponsorship programmes and recently enrolling him as a Specsavers ambassador. Julian said: 'Sir Steve is still one of just a handful of athletes to have competed at a senior level in an endurance sport, in spite of being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.'

'Last year I was also diagnosed with diabetes by my local GP. This gave me a much better understanding of the challenges sufferers face, and off the back of that we decided to pursue a partnership with Specsavers to encourage people to get regular eye tests."

'Sight loss is one complication associated with diabetes, but as well as monitoring general eye health, the test can also act as a form of early diagnosis for optical retinopathy.'

Sir Steve said, 'I have worked all over Europe with Julian, especially in relation to raising awareness of diabetes and how important it is to integrate its management into your life. Now that he has been diagnosed himself he has given a new perspective on the disease and has been able to identify the most appropriate partners as we move towards national diabetes awareness week in June.'

Hills fire lower compton

Hills Waste Solutions have revised their application to extract sand from around Freeth Farm.

There were 497 letters of objection to the initial application, so If you also wish to object to this revised application, please feel free to do so and we have attached here a pro-forma letter that you may wish to use. But please follow your own conscience with what ever response you may wish to make.

The two images here are taken around The Freeth and you may wish to savour them for a moment. The top image of a field of barley gently ripening in the early summer sun will mostly be replaced by a sand extraction pit and the small country lane in the second image will have large covered conveyer system running right through the middle of it taking the sand back to Lower Compton.

Freeth Lane

We have listed below the salient points contained in the pro-forma letter supplied to us by The Wiltshire Waste Alliance.

  1. Hills latest applications propose the removal of 307,200 tonnes of sand over more than five years.
  2. The final excavation will be 3-4 metres below the existing ground level and therefore below the existing water table levels. This suggests that the water table levels and water run-off must change considerably or the surface will be often below water
  3. Noise levels will be prolonged in duration and are believed to exceed legally permissable levels.
  4. The earth banks to be built around Freeth Farm Cottags and The Freeth will cause a two year loss of visual amenity
  5. Permanent destruction of the bridleway or brown track, an ancient track shown on the very first Ordenance Survey map of the area ever produced, way back in the early 1800s.
  6. Permanent loss of of around 11 hectares (27 acres) of grade 2 farmland.
  7. Short term and long term subsidence problems which could affect the bridleway diversion and the only access route to local properties
  8. Permanent destruction of ancient hedgerows and and ancient woodland.
  9. Damage to local habitat affecting great crested newts and badgers.
  10. Permanent destruction of nationally important archaeology.
  11. Possible dust nuisance to local residences and businesses.
These are the facts as we have been able to determine but would welcome any in support of this proposal and, if verifiable, we will publish them here.

Important documents:

Pro-forma letter of objection

Objections to application

Hills fire lower compton

Major Fire Incident at Hills Landfill Site at Lower Compton

The landfill site at Lower Compton Bassett was well alight on the afternoon of Thursday 19th April.

Twelve engines were brought in from around the area plus water bowser support to bring the fire under control as it spread northwards into the latest active cell of landfill. With black smoke billowing across the sun and flames darting skyward the fire was getting dangerously out of control when the wind changed, blowing the smoke up over the Cherhill White Horse and the fire back over the ground it had already covered.

One machine operator was trapped in his cab by the fire and the first fire tender to arrive, based in Calne, worked hard to get him out of his cab and out of danger.

Although the fire had died down significantly, firefighters remained on the scene over night and three fire crews remain on site the following morning.

By the Friday morning the landfill site remained closed but the MRF (Materials Recycling Facility), the concrete batching plant and the household recycling centre were all open for business as normal.

Hills personell were working with the fire crews to spread clay based material ovr the fire to contain any remaining hotspots.

The fire was apparently started when waste material was tipped from one of the collection vehicles. Hills are still trying to assertain the exact source of the fire and have taken the opportunity to remind residents of the need to dispose of all their waste in a responsible manner.

Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race

Annual Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race

More than 500 canoe teams from far and wide assembled in Devizes early on Good Friday morning to start the 70th anniversary event of the annual Devizes to Westminster canoe race. Due to the heavy rainfall on Friday and through Friday night raising the water levels on the waterways, the race had to end in Reading as it would be too dangerous to continue to Westminster.

The junior teams set off on Thursday but the main competitors set off from 7.00 am Good Friday morning. Claire Perry, the local MP was there to see the teams off, as was the town mayor Nigel Carter, together with a sizeable group of enthusiasts and supporters. Bridges and the canal tow path were used by small or large groups of supporters along the way.

The canal would take the competitors along a 52 mile stretch, encountering 57 locks to join the River Thames at Reading, passing through Pewsey, Hungerford and Newbury along the way. The River Thames section was cancelled, but would have passed through a further 24 locks and should have ended in Westminster having passed through Henley-on-Thames, Marlow and Kingston.

Roy Cooke had been part of the team to attempt to canoe along the River Avon from Pewsey to the sea at Christchurch in 1947. He then planned to attempt to get from Devizes to Westminster in less than 100 hours. At that time most of the canal was derelict but still held water but he was unable to make the attempt. A number of local people offered sponsorship if the Devizes Scouts could succeed in "taking a boat from Devizes to Westminster in under 100 hours, all food and camping kit to be carried in the boats". A group of four, all aged 17, attempted the route at Easter 1948. A large crowd gathering at Westminster Bridge to see the end of their journey, which was completed in 89 hours 50 minutes. Chippenham Sea Cadets attempted the route at Whitsun in 1948, and managed a better time of 75 hours 50 minutes. Several further attempts that year were thwarted by the amount of weed in the canal. In 1949, although no race had been organised, nearly 20 boats attempted the course at Easter, and although many failed to complete it, two crews representing Richmond Canoe Club completed it in 49 hours 32 minutes, and a team from Bristol Scouts managed 53 hours 10 minutes.

The rules were changed in 1971 so crews no longer had to carry "all food and camping kit". In 2000, Duncan Capps and Steve Baker set out to break the record, set in 1979, at 15 hours and 39 minutes. After a safety incident at Old Windsor weir the official race had been abandoned. The team removed their race numbers and informed the organisers that they were no longer their responsibility and kept going. Despite the delay whilst negotiating with the organisers, by the time they were joining the Thames they were back on schedule. News had got aroundof their efforts and many supporters were waiting for them at various points along the route. With heavy rain providing a good flow of water on the Thames, they picked up time all the way to Westminster. Their total time was 15hrs 17 mins 45secs, beating the previous record by more than 16 mins. This may have been unofficial as a race but is the benchmark to beat. But sadly, not this year!

Compton Bassett

Protect yourself against ticks

Tick Awareness Week

Tick Awareness Week is raising awareness of the potential health hazards posed by the tiny, spider-like creatures

Ticks feed on the blood of animals and humans, and bites can transmit Lyme disease and threatenteir victims health. There are over 20 different ticks found in the UK but there is one that is more likely to bite humans, known as the sheep or deer tick and they can be infected with the bacterium that causes Lymes disease.

Together with the local councils, Public Health England have developed leaflets and posters with information on where ticks can be found, how to avoid them and what to do if you find them already embedded on your body or those of your pets. These will be circulated to local vets around Wiltshire.

There is a useful FAQ section about ticks and what to do about themm on the Wiltshire Council web site at http://www.wiltshire.gov.uk/public-health-infectious-diseases
Compton Bassett

A303 tunnel past Stonehenge

Consultation extended until Monday 23 April 2018

The proposed £1.6 billion tunnelling of the A303 past Stonehenge is open to consultation where, as a, resident of Wiltshire you have the opportunity to make your voice heard over the whole project.

Since the announcement of the preferred route in September 2017, Highways England have been developing the scheme proposals to the stage where they would now welcome the public's views on the proposals. Hignways England are therefore holding a series of consultation events across Wiltshire which have now been extended because some of the consultation events had to be cancelled due the poor weather and the effects of `The Beast from the East`. You now have until midnight on 23rd April to have your say. You can view the detailed plans at the Library in either Devizes or Marlborough.

Feedback from this public consultation will help in the continued development of the scheme to the subission of the application for planning consent (known as a Development Consent Order) to the Planning Inspectorate.

Further information about the consultation and the response form to use to submit your feedback will be available on this page and on the consultation page.

You can also use the Highways England consultation page to submit your views via an online response form, or download a response form to fill in and post, free of charge.

Have your say on their consultation page

The details are available for you to view at the public libraries in Devizes and Marlborough until 23rd April.

Deposit copies of consultation information, along with response forms to fill in and return by Freepost, will also be available throughout the local area. Details are available at the libraries.

This extended public consultation is the next step in the legal and planning process to apply for a Development Consent Order. For more information about this, see our handy guide to the planning process.

Timeline

Date Event
2013 A303 feasibility study announced as part of the Autumn Statement
2014 Scheme included in the Roads Investment Strategy
2015-2016 Route options assessed
12 January to 5 March 2017 Non-statutory consultation on route options
September 2017 Preferred route announced
8 February to 6 April 2018 Statutory consultation on proposed scheme
Late 2018 Submit planning application
2021 (planned) Start on site
Compton Bassett

Confirmed cases of Alabama Rot in Wilts

Cutaneous Renal and Glomerular Vasculopathy (CRGV), commonly known as ?Alabama rot' is a disease that damages blood vessels in the skin and kidneys and can affect dogs of any breed, age or size. The disease was first identified in the USA in the late 1980s.

Many thousands of dogs are walked in the countryside every day with no problem but only a very small number of dogs have been affected. Case numbers have gone up recently; this may be only due a higher level of awareness of the disease.

Another dog has died in the area after falling victim to the condition dubbed 'Alabama Rot'

The dog, believed to have been from Foxham, was walked near RAF Lyneham, Canalside and Crudwell.

Dog owners have been warned to watch their pets carefully for signs of the disease.

To reduce the risk of the disease we are advised you should consider washing off woodland mud after walks, check for any signs of Alabama Rot (such as sores on paws or legs) and to contact your vet without delay should your dog exhibit any symptoms.

Symptoms of Alabama Rot include:

  • Skin sores
  • Lesions
  • Vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Exhaustion

This latest case has renewed fears that the disease, which tends to hit during wet conditions and affects dogs which have been taken for walks in woodland, is making a comeback.

This latest outbreak was nearby but there have been several cases in the Wiltshire. According to a website set up by Vets4Pets to monitor the spread of the disease there have been five cases reported across the county.

Vets have warned the devastating condition can lead to a dog's flesh rotting - resulting in kidney failure, loss of appetite, tiredness and vomiting. Without urgent treatment, dogs develop a raging fever and can eventually die.

The latest figures were revealed via an online tool on the Vets4Pets website. By putting in your postcode, you can check whether there have been any new cases in your area.

The cause for Alabama rot has yet to be identified and dog owners are not currently being advised to avoid any particular locations, testing to date has not revealed whether there is an environmental trigger. No vaccination for Alabama rot is available.


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