One of the Town Council’s four strategic areas of focus is ‘Protected Environment’; we take an active role to maintain and enhance the green and clean environment by being environmentally conscious and sustainable. So, what does that mean in plain English? We not only protect our open green spaces but are actively looking to enhance bio-diversity throughout the town.

Last Autumn, Councillor Tristan Faith commissioned Somerset Wildlife Trust to survey the whole of Shepton to identify (i) what actually grows or could grow on our open and green spaces (ii) what wildlife uses or could use the space. The draft report has been sent to us and we will be working with SWT and local landowners (including the Town Council, Mendip District Council and some private landowners) to implement some simple changes to enhance biodiversity. These could be as simple as changing the times of year grass is cut to planting wildflowers in certain places. Interestingly, the report identifies that we are blessed with really good tree cover and have an abundance of virtually unbroken wildlife corridors criss-crossing the town. Conversely though, some places that appear ‘green and pleasant’ actually contain very limited diversity. Anything that is implemented will always consider residents needs (grass cutting for instance!); it’s about finding a sustainable balance for us humans and our surrounding environment.

Once we start to implement some changes, we also plan to work closer with SWT to enhance education about our local environment. For instance, SWT are about to launch a ‘Nature Map’ scheme in Taunton. They are keen to take the learnings from it and replicate here. A good example of how working with groups who have experience in other areas can benefit our town.

Until next time.
Matt Harrison, Chairperson