SALC Newsletter 11th October 2023

Somerset’s TWO nominees for Star Councils Award

SALC is delighted to announce that Cllr Martine Naughton from Trull Parish Council has been selected as a finalist for NALC’s Councillor of the Year Award and that Wellington Town Council has been selected as a finalist in the Council of the Year Award 2023.
The winners of the Star Council Awards will be announced during NALC’s highly anticipated parliamentary reception, which will take place on 29 November 2023 in the House of Lords. NALC promises that this event will be a memorable celebration of the outstanding contributions made by these finalists.
A public vote will decide the Council of the Year category, so Wellington Town Council is calling on residents, partners, and stakeholders to cast your vote by 31/10 and help Wellington to be crowned NALC’s Star Councils Awards 2023 Council of the Year winner.
See the NALC website to find out more about the awards and read about Wellington Town Council’s dedication to community development, environmental preservation, and collaboration. 

images: (T) Wellington Mayor presenting The Freedom of the Town to The Rifles Regiment, (B) Setting up for a Fair in Wellington Park


Communities Prepared & flood resilience

Communities Prepared is a national community resilience programme that equips community emergency volunteers and flood warden groups with the knowledge and confidence to prepare for, respond to, and recover from a range of emergencies, from flooding and severe weather incidents to pandemics.

Access to online resources, advice, and some support, is free and training is delivered with local Groundwork trusts, the Environment Agency, local emergency services’ representatives, and other local partners.

Find out more on the Communities Prepared website.


Government announced £25 million to support projects that use nature to increase the nation’s flood resilience.

The funding will support natural flood management schemes in England that use techniques such as planting trees and creating wetlands to slow and store water to reduce the risk of flooding. Successful projects will be those that cover a large enough area to provide demonstrable flood risk benefits.

Expressions of interest will close on 10th November. Projects will be delivered during 2024-27.

Please follow these links for guidance on submitting expressions of interest and for the programme prospectus. 

If you have any questions, please contact


FREE trees for local councils & communities

The Woodland Trust wants to make sure everybody in the UK has the chance to plant a tree. It is giving away hundreds of thousands of trees to communities, and welcomes applications from town and parish councils.

The UK needs millions more trees to reach its 2050 carbon net-zero target. By digging in with the Woodland Trust, your council will help bring us nearer this important goal.

There are lots of ways your council can get involved so why not bring your community together and create your very own woodland for people and nature to thrive.
The Woodland Trust is currently taking applications for tree packs to be delivered in March 2024. Applications are expected to close in January, or sooner depending on stock availability.

For more information and to apply visit Free Trees for Schools and Communities – Woodland Trust


New neighbourhood planning and 20-minute neighbourhoods toolkit

The Town and Country Planning Association (TCPA) has published a new toolkit as part of its collection on the 20-minute neighbourhood.

Neighbourhood planning gives communities the right to plan and influence development in their areas. This practical toolkit, developed with the University of Manchester, aims to empower communities to create and shape their places to face the present and future challenges. It is for anyone interested in starting or working on a neighbourhood plan.

By offering a framework for neighbourhood plans based on the 20-minute neighbourhood concept and diverse policy examples, TCPA hopes the toolkit can inspire communities to design healthier, more active, and thriving environments for all.

Access the new toolkit here.


Utility Aid National Charity Tender

Utility Aid tells us that many parish and town councils are struggling with their energy costs and finding it difficult to get the best deal.

Utility Aid states that parish and town councils are also unaware that their excessive bills are sometimes incorrect (Utility Aid states it can recover around £100,000 per month in overpayments due to incorrect invoices).

​​To help address these problems, Utility Aid has come up with a solution for parish and town councils. 

It is called the National Charity Tender. Parish and town councils will be able to benefit from discounted energy costs through group energy purchasing and, with it, have access to the following services:

  • Bill checking service
  • Call the suppliers for you
  • Portal access to help manage energy usage
  • Net zero and carbon reported at a discounted rate
  • Green energy for all electricity contracts

To find out more, complete to form.


Finding your way into and around satellite navigation systems

Have you ever wondered where the information comes from that informs the satellite navigation systems that we all use? Or whether an individual can feed local information into a national data base? Nathalie Hetherington, Deputy Clerk at Milborne Port Parish Council, shares some insight.

We needed to find answers to these question recently after Milborne Port residents complained about drivers of tall vehicles using a very narrow road (not even substantial enough to have been allocated a number!) with a low railway bridge, despite there being warning signs en route. This road is impassable for tall vehicles; if drivers take it, they then must turn around in a very restricted space, causing damage to the road surface, and to the surface of nearby driveways.

Have sat nav systems been providing faulty information to these drivers? No. This information is available for any sat nav company paying for data from satellite mapping companies. We received information about a company called Here, whose database is used by UK satellite navigation companies.

It stands to reason that the level of detail provided by the Here database depends on how much is paid by a satellite navigation companies for its license. Companies that specialise in sat nav systems for HGVs, commercial vehicles, etc., pay more than a company specialising in sat nav systems for cars. If a driver of an HGV has come a cropper at a low bridge or particularly narrow road, they have probably been using a low-priced or even free sat nav system suitable only for a car or similar sized vehicle.

We spoke to a sat nav company called Aguri, that specialises in providing systems for drivers of HGVs, motorhomes, and other large/tall vehicles. Aguri buys the data from Here that it needs for its customers. The customers in turn programme their systems with the details of their vehicles (length, height, width, weight) and hey presto, they are never given the wrong route options!

However, a satellite mapping database can only ever be as good as the information that is fed into it. So, where does the Here data come from? The global mapping community, which includes the Highways departments of local authorities. Therefore, a local authority wanting to update the data provided by Here, or another mapping company, can contact them directly to do so.

If you are faced with a similar complaint about vehicles taking inappropriate routes through your area, you can check with a Here that the particular hot spot is recognised by their system, if it is not, you can liaise with Somerset Highways in the hope of feeding your particular local knowledge into the database via that authority. Somerset Traffic Management might also agree to some extra or improved signage in the area in the hope that those not paying top dollar for the best information, notice in time that they are on the wrong road…


Dates for your community health & wellbeing 


  • Rural Communities Energy Support Network – In-person forum meetings include a presentation on helping clients prepare for winter and a workshop with topics around energy usage in the home. It will also be an opportunity to meet others in the network and share learnings.

Date: 19th October
Time: 3-5pm
Venue: Victoria Park Community centre, Victoria Park Dr, Bridgwater TA6 7AS
Registration via eventbrite  

  • Mental Health First Aid courses – Public Health Somerset has provided funding to Mind in Somerset to deliver free Mental Health First Aid courses. MHFA is an internationally recognised training course that teaches people how to spot the signs and symptoms of mental ill health and provide help on a first aid basis.

Date: 23rd and 24th November
Venue: Yeovil
Closing date for applications 30th October
If you would like further information on the course content please click here. For other enquiries please contact:


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