A Somerset farmer has recently been ordered to pay nearly £4000 in fines and costs for polluting a stream with contaminated water. The incident near Stoke St Gregory was picked up during a routine Environment Agency visit. Water from a roofing drain had become contaminated by sileage discharge. It emptied into a watercourse within a Site of Special Scientific Interest, impacting several kilometres of watercourse.

All farmers, landowners and businesses should have measures in place to prevent pollution. However, ensuring that these measures work and continue to work is vital. Regular monitoring and testing can pick up any changes before the local environment is impacted. It can also avoid costly cleanup processes, and help avoid accusations of negligence.

Incidents over the last few years in Somerset have included costs of £4000 for a Merriot poultry farm, £9000 for a Radstock dairy farm, £18,000 for a Yeovil box company and £30,000 for a Cannington anaerobic digestion plant. Fines are unlimited and there is the risk of up to 5 years in prison. If your business creates contaminants, or you have a consent to discharge from the EA, get your equipment and processes checked and tested on a regular basis. Contact Somerset Scientific Services, part of SCC, for advice on 01823 355906 or

Winsham Housing Needs Survey

Back at the beginning of December the Community Council for Somerset (CCS) conducted an independent Housing Needs Survey on behalf of the Parish Council (PC), funded by a generous grant awarded to us by South Somerset District Council (SSDC).

Prior to this activity the most recent survey regarding housing needs that the PC arranged took place as part of the Parish Plan questionnaires, back in 2013.

Owing to that elapsed time, the PC considered it the right moment to assess properly the housing needs of the whole parish; not just the main village but also the wider area including Leigh, Whatley, Street, Bridge, Ammerham and Purtington.  The assessment was to look at housing needs both current and future, particularly with the added impetus of the recent decline in our Social Housing.  

Such community led surveys form the guidance for housing, not just for the PCs benefit, but also the planning authorities (which is usually SSDC).  Therefore, it does form a vital part of establishing the future of Winsham. 

The results of the survey have now been returned to us. You’ll see there are 28 pages, but don’t be too daunted!

Two of the main headlines from the report are:

  • The majority of respondents feel that more housing is needed in Winsham (63%), with the largest proportion feeling a few more houses are needed (57%). Around 1 in 3 consider the current level of housing is about right.

  • The large majority support future development in the parish (75%) if it met the specific needs of people with a local connection. Less than 1 in 4 do not support future development (17%). With the exception of one respondent, all participants expressed a view.

The report can be read by clicking here, or by visiting the Winsham Parish Council website at and looking for it under “Documents” and under the sub heading “Council Plans”. A paper copy can also be viewed in the Parish Council office, please contact the Clerk to arrange a suitable time to visit and view it. 

Finally, may we extend a big thank you to everyone who took the time in either paper or electronic form to fill out the survey. 


Help Shut the Gate on Rural Crime

New text number to combat rural crime - 81819

Avon & Somerset Police are launching a new text service, 17/01/2017, to help prevent and detect rural crime.

They are asking rural communities and businesses to help them by providing information and intelligence about suspected crime in their area.  The new number will allow the public to text information directly to the Rural Crime Team, who will be able to assess and action the intelligence quickly and efficiently.

Inspector Joanna Mines, from the Rural Crime Team in Somerset, said: “We are trialling the number for three months. Many people who belong to our Farm Watch scheme had said they wanted a facility to be able to pass on information and respond to messages quickly, and this new number will allow that.  We want to hear from anyone who has information about any suspicious or potentially criminal activity in their area, for example - details of people/vehicles seen behaving suspiciously, potentially stolen goods or livestock being offered for sale either to the public or at markets, sightings of stolen vehicles we might put out an alert for.  No matter how small or insignificant people may think information is, it may be a vital piece of a jigsaw that helps us fill in the gaps and either prevent a crime or bring offenders to justice."

Messages are currently sent out via text message and email to members of the Neighbourhood, Farm and Horse Watch schemes to alert them to crimes and incidents in their area. This new number will allow people to text back information quickly and easily.

Anyone can use it if they have information about rural or agricultural crime in their area, and isn’t just for Watch members.

The number won’t be monitored 24/7 but the team will be looking at it when they are on duty, it therefore shouldn’t be used for reporting crimes, or anything which requires an immediate police attendance. In those circumstances please dial 999.

The new number is 81819, please text us any information you believe could either help prevent or detect a crime in your area. You can still pass on information via the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.  They never ask your name or trace your call.

Standing Up Against Hate Crime

Following Winsham Parish Council's meeting held on the 7th September 2016, the Members unanimously agreed to follow South Somerset District Council's (SSDC) Commitment against Hate Crime:

“We are proud to live in a diverse and tolerant society. Racism, xenophobia and hate crimes have no place in our country. Our council condemns racism, xenophobia and hate crimes unequivocally. We will not allow hate to become acceptable. We will work to ensure that local bodies and programmes have the support and resources they need to fight and prevent racism and xenophobia. We reassure all people living in this area that they are valued members of our community.”

Macmillan Welfare Benefit Advice and Grant Service

Macmillan Welfare Benefit Advice and Grant service is available to help cancer patients and their families obtain their full welfare benefit entitlements.  They see people at outreach, their premises, their home or hospice.  They can help take the worry out of the finances during these difficult times.

Please contact on 01935 847667 for their help. 

Bus Services

Transporting Somerset have recently carried out a tender process for service 99 between Chard and Yeovil (the service between Chard and Taunton is operated commercially by Stagecoach). This contract has been won by South West Coaches and from the 13 June 2016 they will be operating this section of the route on a 7 year contract.

This service has been renumbered 96 to avoid confusion with the Stagecoach Chard to Taunton 99.   Please click here for a copy of the new timetable from 13 June 2016.

Volunteer Driver Recruitment - Somerset County Council

Somerset County Council is appealing for more volunteer drivers to help provide a vital lifeline for vulnerable adults and children.

The County Council currently provides transport for eligible non-emergency NHS patients and social care users, ranging from the elderly to young children.  This includes trips to hospital for medica appointments, or transport to day centres.

A dedicated army of nearly 200 fantastic drivers across the county currently act as volunteers, but the ageing population in Somerset means demand for transport is growing and more volunteers are needed.

Volunteer driving is a rewarding opportunity to get out and about, helping others and meeting new people, while providing a vital lifeline in your local community.

Anyone can be a volunteer - the only criteria is that drivers must be over 18, have use of their own four-door vehicle, and hold a full UK driving licence with no more than six points.  Mileage expenses will be reimbursed at up to 50p per mile.

To find out more about volunteer driving, please contact Somerset You Can Do by phoning 01278 664180 or visit

Blackdown Hills Community Nature Project

The Blackdown Hills Natural Futures Project is an exciting new community wildlife project that aims to discover and record the diverse range of wildlife in the area as well as equipping people with the skills they need for its future conservation.

They are looking for community groups who want to set up nature projects that will benefit wildlife in the local area.  Please click here for more information. 

Adopt a Path Scheme

Somerset County Council (SCC) has introduced a new scheme called Adopt a Path Scheme. The scheme is open to everyone between 18 and 75 years old. SCC would like volunteers to:

  • Walk a path, or ride/cycle a bridleway/restricted byway as often as possible
  • Report any problems encountered to them or a local Adopt-a-path Coordinator.
  • Help with cutting vegetation back from signs, stiles and gates.
  • Keep an approximate total of time spent clearing vegetation.
  • Promote responsible use of the path.

SCC will give help and advice with any rights of way questions, provide cover under their insurance policy whilst carrying out this role and loan gloves and tools to do the clearance.  To take part either go online to fill in the application form or contact Rights of Way Service, Somerset County Council, County Hall, Taunton, TA1 4DY, telephone number 0300 123 2224.  SCC will then send you a map asking you to mark which paths you would like to adopt.  When returning the map SCC will send you relevant information and details of any local co-ordinator. To download SCC's brochure, please click here.

New Traffic and Travel Website

Somerset County Council has recently launched a new traffic and travel website –

This runs alongside the @TravelSomerset Twitter account, which provides live updates from the Council’s traffic control team.

The aim of Travel Somerset is to improve how they tell people about what’s happening on the roads in Somerset – from planned roadworks and public events to unplanned incidents, accidents or congestion.

The website provides updates 24/7 and also has a searchable map showing current and future roadworks. You can sign up for travel alerts or subscribe for emails about roadworks in an area of your choice.

The new website also has information about public transport, cycling and walking, and will be developed and improved over time.


Update - August 2018

The Parish Council have been made aware of a recent press release about road maintenance:

This is promoting a new webpage where you can now find details of all planned structural maintenance work for the current financial year.

You can find this webpage at

Somerset Waste Partnership

The Somerset Waste Partnership's April 2019 Monthly Briefing is now available and can be viewed here.  A revised collection poster promoting the temporary collection day changes due to Easter, May and August bank holidays can be viewed by clicking here.


Quick reminder on plastic …

Plastic bottles are the only plastics taken at the kerbside; household and food plastic pots, tubs and trays are taken at all 16 recycling sites:

Tetra Paks, other beverage cartons and single-use plastic-lined coffee cups are taken at 12 recycling sites:


More on how to recycle as much as possible …

For more on what we do and do not take at the kerbside for recycling:

For what is taken at recycling sites, their locations and when they are open: 


All change for Somerset’s waste services

Upgrading Somerset’s waste services is moving ahead fast to take even more materials in kerbside recycling and generate electricity from the smaller amounts of rubbish left over.

The changes will involve aligning three multi-million pound contracts; for waste collection, rubbish disposal and a new fleet of refuse and recycling vehicles, all of which currently begin and end completely separately.  Lining them up will make services more efficient, helping drive recycling rates from 53% to 60% and beyond and cut waste costs by many millions of pounds.

To accelerate progress, Somerset Waste Partnership (SWP) and waste collections contractor Kier have jointly agreed to end their current contract 18 months early, on 27 March 2020.

That will allow timely replacement of the ageing fleet with newly-designed recycling and rubbish trucks that can collect more materials in future.

It will also bring forward tenders for the new “Recycle More” long-term kerbside waste collections contract, with extra recycling materials taken every week and three-weekly rubbish collections.

A phased introduction of Recycle More starting in 2020 aligns it closely with Somerset’s switch from landfill rubbish burial to the better option of generating energy from waste at a facility being built in Avonmouth by contractor Viridor.

SWP is accountable to the Somerset Waste Board (SWB), whose 12 councillors – two from each partner authority – take all major decisions, including the timing of changes and contracts. SWB chair Cllr Derek Yeomans said: “Our services are a vital provision for every household; these coordinated changes will improve services for all residents in Somerset and are designed both to raise recycling rates and to ensure very significant economies of scale.”

Somerset Waste Partnership managing director Mickey Green said: “This is a time to take major steps forward, improving services for Somerset residents, while also saving them money and improving the environment. “This timetable for investment, services and disposal ensures the maximum efficiency, greatest savings and the best possible waste solution for Somerset. It is a crucial part of our plan to support people in Somerset to waste far less and recycle even more.”

"Report a problem" on the Highway 

A new online, interactive map has been launched by Somerset County Council to allow residents to report potholes and other issues on Somerset’s Highways.

‘Report it’ is now available at  and allows users to report any issues across all 4,206 miles of Somerset’s highways.

How does it work?

Residents can now go on the website to report issues they find on a highway such as a pothole, blocked drain or poor road surface. Simply log the issue on the map by location and then fill in the details of the problem using an online form. People can also leave an email address to receive updates on potholes they have reported.

When residents report a road defect it will be inspected within 3 working days, and programme repair work will be scheduled where required. 

You can find out more information about how we find and repair potholes here.

Explore Somerset – (Public Footpaths and Rights of Way)

A new online mapping system to help people find their way around Somerset’s extensive rights of way network has been launched by Somerset County Council.

How does it work?

Explore Somerset is now available at and allows users to plan their route across all 9,000 public rights of way in Somerset.

The interactive system can also be used to simply report any issues you find on a right of way – such as a broken stile or blocked path.

Residents can log the issue on the map and also upload photos to help wardens easily locate the problem. They can also leave an email address to receive updates when the issue is resolved or closed.

Explore Somerset is being improved and developed all the time, and one of the next phases is to develop a volunteer module for the many individuals and groups who give up their time to help the County Council look after the network.

Explore Somerset

If you have any queries about Explore Somerset please email:,

or if you’re interested in volunteering opportunities on the path network then please visit or email

The Highways ‘Report It, and “Explore Somerset” online systems continue to be improved and will work in co-ordination with the all new Travel Somerset website, ( 

Residents can also report issues to Highways and Public Footpaths and Rights of Way through their dedicated Contact Centre on 0300 123 2224.

Citizens Advice Chard

The Citizens Advice service will be opening a second weekly drop-in session at the Forefront Community Centre in Chard on Wednesdays (on top of their existing Thursday one). 

Please see the attached poster advertising this additional service by clicking here


Wessex Flood Warden News Letter

It is a New Year and Wessex Flood Warden have produced their Winter 2017/2018 Newsletter.  It is full of useful information for you with links to resources.  Please click here to view.