Monmouthshire County Council has granted its first licence to a resident to grow fruit, vegetables and herbs on council-owned land just twelve months after approving its Community Food Growing policy. The licence grants Alison Newsam of Abergavenny the right to cultivate the St Helen’s Road Incredible Edible plot, where with the help of neighbours Alison has transformed an area of overgrown shrubs into an area supporting pollinating plants to sustain insects plus tomatoes, runner beans, rhubarb and strawberries. All produce is offered free to anyone who wants to harvest them. More licences are expected elsewhere in the county. Further information on the Community Food Growing policy may be obtained by contacting Sustainability and Community Officer Alison Howard: firstname.lastname@example.org or 01633 644844.
Monmouthshire’s Walking Festival is 25 October – 2 November. Full programme details at http://www.walkinginmonmouthshire.org/
If you are interested in getting involved in any of the following volunteering projects please contact Morag Sinton on 01633 644663 or email email@example.com – looking after counters of people using the Wye Valley Walk, surveying the condition of bridges, and installing small bridges – all with training provided.
An on-line toolkit for anyone interested in volunteering to support walking and riding will be launched at 3pm at the Centenary Hall, Usk on Wednesday, 26 November – contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
The new Vale of Usk Local Action Group, which will oversee the 2014-20 Rural Development Programme for Monmouthshire and Newport (and possibly Torfaen) is seeking members. Go to http://www.monmouthshire.gov.uk/home/2014/10/22/become-a-member-of-the-new-vale-of-usk-local-action-group/ to learn more and apply – by 31 October.
Monmouthshire CC has rejected Welsh Government proposals that it should merge voluntarily with Newport CC or any other neighbouring council, believing that a robust business case has not been made by Wales Government. Instead they will explore with others options based on joint working but maintaining local democracy and accountability in Monmouthshire.
Already with a reputation for refusing windfarms, the UK Government has moved to curtail the growth of solar farms. Earlier this month it was announced that subsidies for large scale solar farms would end in April, and now Environment Secretary Liz Truss has labelled these a blight on the countryside, taking up land that could be used for crops. She will withdraw agricultural subsidies from these fields despite their availability for grazing sheep and other small animals. These subsidies are devolved to the Welsh Government which now has to decide whether to follow suit, and it will be interesting to see whether planning authorities will feel the need to toughen their controls.
The Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens wants to recruit a SE Wales Development Worker, 4 days a week. More at https://www.farmgarden.org.uk/about-us/jobs. Apply by 30 October.
Welsh Government is consulting on how they could improve energy efficiency performance in Wales, the most cost-effective way to support the move to a low carbon energy system. At this stage they want to hear your views on how to achieve this – http://wales.gov.uk/consultations/environmentandcountryside/energy-efficiency-strategy-for-wales/?lang=en. Deadline 8 January.
Usk has won the gold award for the best large village at the 50th Britain in Bloom UK Final awards ceremony. This is after winning the Wales in Bloom award for the small rural town category for the 33rd year in a row.
Welsh Government is consulting on their detailed proposals for the new pre-application procedures provided for in the Planning (Wales) Bill – http://wales.gov.uk/consultations/planning/frontloading-the-development-management-system/?status=open&lang=en – Deadline 16 January.
Welsh Government is consulting on how they can support their existing policies on design and inclusive access without the need for Design and Access Statements, which are not to be mandatory under a provision of the Planning (Wales) Bill. Go to http://wales.gov.uk/consultations/planning/design-in-the-planning-process/?lang=en. Deadline 16 January.