A copy of the Somerset Waste Partnership April Briefing is available here: SWP Briefing 2022 04 April final
Looking for work, new skills and training opportunities or information on how to grow your business? Would you like to try out digital equipment to find out what might suit you? Then come and visit us at the new Step Up to Mobile Outreach service which is coming to you on 26th May and will be located at The village hall car park, Bishops Lydeard from 10am-2pm.
Step Up to Mobile Outreach will be visiting localities with the aim of helping people access a range of employment, digital and business support provision.
Friendly advisors will be on hand to help you explore work opportunities, improve your CV, give helpful tips on how to find and apply for jobs online, and signpost you to a range of organisations who can provide specialist support. If you are currently in employment, the advisors will provide advice on training and skills opportunities to help you progress in work or change career pathways.
You will also have the chance to access and become familiar with digital resources such as Alexa, dongles, and iPads, and even meet our friendly talking robot called Ohbot.
Information will be readily available if you are thinking of starting up your own business or want to grow an existing business, including how the local library service can help you achieve your goals.
Keep an eye on the Step Up Somerset website at Events (stepupsomerset.org.uk) for updates on the dates and locations of upcoming events.
The Step Up to Mobile Outreach programme is being funded through Somerset County Council’s successful bid for Community Renewal Funding from the Government.
Work is beginning next week to protect an area of Quantock Common owned by Friends of Quantock and regularly damaged by unauthorised car parking on the grassland along the road. Quantock Common is a designated Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a nationally important wildlife site, but it has had a growing problem with cars badly churning up the turf during wet weather. Concern is growing about water run-off damaging the nearby sensitive acid mire and archaeological remains are also at risk. The need for action has become especially obvious with the influx of new visitors during the pandemic.
A shallow ditch and low bank will be dug along a total of about 350m of the 1800m-long east side of the Nether Stowey to Crowcombe road. This will be done only where the terrain or old banks aren’t already enough of a barrier and will be just big enough to deter unauthorised parking.
Friends of Quantock are the independent conservation charity for the Quantock Hills and are owners of the land along the South side of the Over Stowey – Crowcombe road. They are dedicated to the conservation and protection of all the landscape of the Quantock Hills for the benefit of the public and for future generations. They continue to support a separate scheme to provide improved parking for public access at Crowcombe Park Gate as part of the QLPS.
Friends of Quantock has obtained the necessary legal consent under the Commons Act 2006, as well as the agreement of the Quantock Hills AONB, the Quantock Commoners Association and Natural England.
The work has been commissioned by Friends of Quantock with assistance from the Quantock Landscape Partnership Scheme (QLPS) and will be carried out from 7th March – it should take about three days. QLPS Historic Heritage Officer Dan Broadbent will be keeping an eye on the work in case anything archaeologically interesting is uncovered.
Although we understand this will be disappointing news to some regular visitors, it is vital work to prevent further damage to the common. Parking is still available in the area at Crowcombe Park Gate, Withyman’s Pool and Dead Woman’s Ditch.
The Local Heritage List helps to protect buildings, sites and structures that local people regard as important – from medieval cottages to unusual postboxes. Somerset residents are being invited to nominate what’s valuable in their community as part of a new project being delivered by the South West Heritage Trust.
Somerset and Exmoor National Park were chosen by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government as one of 22 national pilots for a Local Heritage List Project. The Local Heritage List is different from the national statutory list. It focuses on buildings, sites and structures that local people regard as important. Local listing will stop locally significant sites from being overlooked, and will offer some increased protections through the planning system.
Mary Andrews, Local Heritage List Project Manager, said: “Anyone can have a say in deciding what’s valuable to their community by nominating a site. Nominations might feature rare materials or historical connections and could be anything from a factory to a front doorstep, a postbox to a historic landscape. Places where important events took place, or where minority identities are celebrated, are also promising candidates. The key thing is that the site matters to the life and culture of the local community.”
There are several ways to make a nomination, including through the ‘Know Your Place’ website, or by post or email. Find out more at swheritage.org.uk/local-heritage-list.
Alerting Somerset County Council to potholes or a host of other problems on the road is now easier and quicker – and now you can track its progress after you’ve reported it.
Gone is the need to make phone calls or send emails – thanks to a new upgraded online system with an improved interactive map, members of the public can report a problem 24/7 and our Highways team will get on the case. From potholes, blocked drains and broken manhole covers, to overgrown vegetation, damaged pavements or cycle paths, faulty traffic lights or missing markings – they can all be reported in just minutes from a smartphone, tablet or computer.
The full range and how to report is available here www.somerset.gov.uk/roads-and-transport/report-a-problem-on-the-road/.
“The new improved Report It system has been delivered by our dedicated Digital Team as part of ongoing improvements to the Digital Customer programme,” said Councillor Faye Purbrick, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Transformation.
“It is an exciting time to be working in the Council’s Digital Team and there are great opportunities available for people who want to innovate and deliver great customer solutions to join us.
“Our goal is to use digital innovation to transform the way that residents engage with the Council, taking away the need for emails and phone calls to our busy contact centre, unless that is their preferred way of getting in touch.
“This will save people time and enable them to report problems when it’s convenient for them, it will also free up our advisors to help the public with other enquiries.”
The new development means that if you’re reporting a fault you can now track its progress.
If it’s safe to pull over, all you need to do is take a quick picture of the fault, then visit the Report It site on your phone, answer a few simple questions and upload your picture. You’ll be sent a link which enables you to track it.
Councillor John Woodman, Somerset County Council’s Cabinet Member for Highways added: “This is now an excellent tool to alert our teams quickly and efficiently so they can carry out repairs across the network.
“Please do take a look and make use of the system, and tell us what you think, we want to hear your feedback.”
The system works through seven simple stages:
- You take a picture of the fault – please only do so if it’s safe and legal.
- You fill in the form and submit your picture at the link above – if it’s a pothole you’ll be asked to roughly estimate its size, e.g. golf ball, tennis ball, or football. You will receive an email thanking you for reporting the fault and carrying a link for you to track its progress.
- It will then ping up a notification on an engineer’s phone.
- They will visit and assess – we aim to do this in three working days and depending on size and where it is will try to repair it within 28 days, or sooner if it’s an emergency. All defects are risk assessed and either allocated a repair within 28 days, added to a routine works programme or monitored.
- While on site the engineer sends a works order electronically to our contractor to schedule the job in our routine repairs programme.
- The contractor comes out and repairs the fault.
- You’ll get an email confirming this has happened.
We set high standards with our roads and the number of potholes in Somerset has fallen from 27,479 in 2010 to 19,282 in 2020 as a direct result of our proactive approach to maintenance. From 1 April to 19 November 2021, 11,721 potholes have been repaired. We regularly carry out inspections and also encourage the public to report potholes to us so we can take action. Where a pothole is found we have a proven track record in responding quickly, and in October 2021 we repaired more than 96% of potholes within our target response times.
Somerset County Council looks after 4,172 miles of road and in 2020/21 invested £23.1m to keep the county moving. Highways teams filled 19,282 potholes last year and carried out 556 highway maintenance schemes ranging from drainage works to carriageway and footway resurfacing.
A copy of the Somerset Waste Partnership December Briefing is available here: SWP Briefing 2021 12 December final