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Updated: Jul 6

Wouldn’t it be great to have a space to connect, communicate, share support and good practice across the Arts & Cultural Sector here in Bath & North East Somerset?

Whether you are a practitioner, freelance worker, organisation leader, or a member of our local community, we would like to hear from you. Help us shape a new Arts Hub by providing us with your input and ideas by completing our survey. We would love to hear your views by 5.00 pm on Saturday 31 July 2021.

Bath Bridge, with the generous financial support from St. Johns Foundation, is delighted to be sponsoring a review of the 2015 Bath&NES Arts Strategy. Maria Santelices MA in Arts

Management, from Bath Spa University has been appointed as Project Manager. Together we have carried out an initial review and you can now read our brief interim report.

The report has resulted from a consultation process that included meetings with our steering group, local authorities and interviews with 36 key cross-sector representatives. Now, together with your ideas, we will be able to create a solution to help boost a strong arts and cultural sector for Bath and North East Somerset.

Further information: Maria Santelices

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A new organisation from Bath is tackling the climate crisis head-on, by bringing together companies and individuals across the region to fund the purchase of land and plant brand new carbon sequestering biodiverse forests that everyone can enjoy.

Co-forest has announced this week that it has secured it’s first site and will be planting 10,000 trees this coming winter.

The organisations’ announcement comes at the beginning of Mental Health Awareness Week 2021, which this year is focused on connecting people with nature for their wellbeing.

Katrina Kelly, Co-Founder of Co-forest, said:

“It has been well established that spending time in green spaces offers many benefits for mental health and wellbeing, and a great deal of research now exists that demonstrates the unique value of forests and trees to humans. However, the pandemic showed us that there are many social inequalities in ability to access woodlands.”

Co-forest is all about togetherness - bringing companies and people together to create new woodlands, and making those woodlands spaces which people can come together and enjoy and appreciate nature.

The first new forest is going to be called ‘Acorn’ and will be situated just north of Bristol near Almondsbury. Over twenty companies have contributed to the project so far and as well as their financial support, many will assist in tree-planting this winter. There is now an opportunity for more organisations to get involved in the project and to either extend Acorn forest or help in the purchase and planting of land at another site.

Katrina adds:

“We would not have reached this point without the immense support we have already received from companies and individuals across the region. We can’t mention every single one, but do want to give a big shout out to our early supporters - Storm Consultancy, Mayden, CiteAb, Dialect, Ultraleap, Feilden Clegg Bradley Studios, Fourth Floor Creative, Bristol Weaving Mill, Royds Withy King, Bath Motor Club, NatAlt Design, Suited & Booted, Backpack, CollectEco, Cellesce, Kelpi, NaturBeads, EnvoPap and the Raby Family Trust.

“Co-forest helps companies improve their carbon footprint through offsetting, and also helps them to contribute to the local area through creating new spaces for biodiversity and for people to enjoy nature for their wellbeing. The companies and individuals who have become Co-foresters to date have had many different motivations, but overall they are all excited to be part of tackling the climate and ecological crisis right here on their doorstep.”

So what can you do to help? Spread the word - please tell your employer, friends, and colleagues all about Co-forest. Sign up to our mailing list at the bottom of our website. Join our volunteer register to get involved in planting days. And ultimately - become a Co-forester and help us plant our next forest!

Further information: David Kelly, Co-Founder of Co-forest

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Updated: Apr 9

Robin Kerr, Co-ordinator of the Bath Alliance for Transport and Public Realm, has warned of the challenges facing the city of Bath's motorists, both residents and businesses, as the new clean air zone and cameras are introduced and traffic congestion grows.

Recent press coverage in the Bath Chronicle, Chew Valley Gazette and Somerset Live, reported the range of concerns expressed by the Alliance. Robin Kerr, also a Director of Bath Bridge, a local community interest company concerned with the profile and identity of the city, has said that the city's new clean air zone will do little to tackle traffic congestion but the introduction of cameras could serve a dual purpose, although this may well result in some motorists being penalised with financial charges twice.

The strength of concerns from key stakeholders across the city are represented in the ongoing work of the Alliance, established five years ago, with 21 members including the city's two universities, Bath Preservation Trust, Bath BID, Bath Rugby, Bath City Football Club and the RUH amongst them.

Robin, on behalf of the Alliance, has commented on the city's transportation issues and some of the key aspects needing immediate attention. These include:

  • the damage to Cleveland Bridge

  • low traffic neighbourhoods

  • the need for a monorail.

Image: Cleveland Bridge

Himself resident in Bath for over 50 years and an engineer by profession, Robin reinforced the seriousness of the city's transportation issues; issues he said have been a significant problem for many years, impacting on both Bath's businesses and residents. He advocates forcibly the need for urgent and consistent action that starts to address the root causes of these problems, arguing that policy changes every four years are not the answer.

Robin puts forward the case for a number of actions including:

  • retaining the 18-tonne weight limit on Cleveland Bridge, following the forthcoming repairs, to stop much heavier lorries continuing to cause damage and pollution to the city

  • piloting the concept of low traffic neighbourhoods (LTNs) in a small number of areas of the city to enable the assessment of impact on residents and traffic flow

  • investing significantly in the city's public transport, both buses (their efficiency and cost effectiveness for users) and the development of a monorail located along the river as a way to relieve congestion on London Road

  • extending the city's park and ride scheme to become 24/7 to allow for deliveries and alternative uses such as the night time economy

  • identifying an additional park and ride facility for road users coming into the city via London Road

  • utilising cameras to impose a congestion charge ('road user pricing') to cut the number of vehicles on the roads during peak times

He argues that the Council and the West of England Combined Authority (WECA) collectively need to give serious consideration to these ideas and draw up an action plan for urgent implementation, if the volume of traffic and pollution levels in the city are to be reduced. Robin also commented on the aim for the city becoming carbon neutral by 2030 saying that as drivers move to electric vehicles, the introduction of road user pricing could provide an opportunity for the Council to replace lost revenue from taxing petrol and diesel cars in the future.

Detailed planning and consideration will also need to go into exploring new and emerging technologies to support the charging of electric vehicles as car owners make the inevitable shift away from petrol and diesel. For Bath as a World Heritage City, it will not be straightforward to install charging points on the many Georgian buildings and streets, so opening up discussions with different suppliers to identify the most effective solutions for the future will be critical.

Robin concluded by saying:

“You have to make buses so attractive and everything else so unattractive. In London the Tube is better than anything else. You make parking so difficult and buses so good, and a reasonable price."

Read the full interview with Robin Kerr in the Chew Valley Gazette

Further information contact Robin Kerr, Bath Alliance for Transport and Public Realm

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