I am sure all readers were delighted to hear that the Town Council unanimously voted to declare an Ecological Emergency on Wednesday 7th July 2020, following the declaration of a Climate Emergency in March last year. It is clear this is not just a set of good words. Already the Town Council has done three things this year that will benefit local ecology. Firstly, the appointment of a green spaces officer who is passionate and knowledgeable about ecology; secondly, supporting the purchase of Becky Addy Wood, a semi-natural ancient woodland between Bradford on Avon and Avoncliff, and thirdly, the recent decision to help finance the repair of the weir at Avoncliff. I do not know the full history of the weir’s disrepair and the refusal of the two riparian owners (whose responsibility it is to repair it) to work together to undertake the repairs. What is clear is that if the weir collapsed, the river through the town would dramatically change character, possibly being just a muddy ditch in dry months. This would be a huge loss of amenity: a flowing river is a delight and well known for benefitting mental health, besides the activities that it can support – canoeing, walking along the banks and paddling near the packhorse bridge. Whether biodiversity could actually be enhanced if the weir collapsed, the wildlife that people see as they stroll along would surely diminish, and that to me is more important. The more people enjoy connecting with nature as they walk by the river, the greater the chance that they will also take action on the climate emergency.
from our chair, Rachel Berger