SPC’s river safety actions - Saltford Parish Council

Due to the many tragic accidents that have occurred locally, Saltford Parish Council regularly raises awareness about water safety during the summer months on social media, and also supports relevant campaigns by other organisations. These include campaigns by Avon Fire & Rescue and the Royal Life Saving Society UK. Please see our news feeds for posts and news articles such as staying safe and well in open water and SPC requests B&NES Council, Avon Fire & Rescue and police support ahead of busy summer months.

At SPC’s request in 2022 a poster campaign was created for Saltford by Avon Fire and Rescue to raise awareness of water safety. ‘Hidden dangers’ and ‘Float to live’ posters can now be seen on display near the river and on noticeboards in the village. If you would like A4 posters or A5 leaflets to display or share please contact the SPC Office. SPC thanks the team at Avon Fire and Rescue for creating these and contacting local river side businesses to display.

Photo taken at The Riverside Inn public house December 2022

SPC is in ongoing contact with Avon Fire and Rescue Service regarding river safety. Regular actions include requesting visits to Saltford’s river side areas by the Hicks Gate team during the busy summer months to engage with river users regarding river safety. Following SPC raising concerns about river safety, the Avon Fire and Rescue team also intend to visit local secondary schools to educate KS3 pupils on the dangers of swimming in the river and near Saltford Weir (Saltford Lock). SPC also looks to support Avon Fire and Rescue Service water safety campaigns, such as #HiddenDangers.

As well as the busy summer months, SPC also raises awareness of water safety in the winter months when the river is high and fast flowing, and adjacent paths are slippery.

B&NES Council is the riparian owner of the riverbank and so any safety signage on public land is a B&NES Council responsibility. SPC has requested more safety signs on the river bank and in river side areas in Saltford. SPC has widely shared B&NES Council’s new water safety poster to be displayed by Saltford Weir in its press releases, on its website and in social media.

SPC has approached the Environment Agency, B&NES Council, and Wessex Water raising concerns about river safety, safety awareness and River Avon water quality. This includes highlighting concerns regarding storm overflows into the River Avon at Saltford. It has also been in contact with landowners in the local area regarding safety issues, including the removal of rope swings near the river.

River safety is discussed (when required) at Parish Council meetings . Any agreed actions and updates about river safety matters can be found in Saltford Parish Council’s published minutes.

SPC is grateful to the landowner on the Kelston side of the river for removing all the trees that were used for rope swings.

SPC is also grateful to B&NES Council for putting up signs on and under the Bristol to Bath Railway Path bridge (LMS Bridge) at the request of the Parish Council, to raise awareness of the dangers of entering the river at this location.

SPC regularly engages with the River Avon Users Consultative Committee (RAUCC) about improving river safety in Saltford. Creation of a safe river entry and exit point for non-powered boat users (such as for use by canoeists and paddleboarders) is currently being investigated by RAUCC. More information about this project will be shared when available. Further, river safety is a regular item for discussion at RAUCC meetings.  

SPC awarded a £500 grant to the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity at its September 2020 meeting. In 2019 the Great Western Air Ambulance Charity’s Critical Care Team were tasked to five critically ill and injured patients in Saltford. In past years, the GWAAC has attended several river accidents and incidents in Saltford due to the remote and hard-to-reach nature of Saltford’s river side areas.

SPC Vice Chair Cllr Phil Harding meeting with B&NES Ward Cllr Duncan Hounsell to discuss locations for additional safety signage on the LMS Bridge (photo taken November 2021)

SPC requests B&NES Council takes responsibility for a safer cleaner river and river side

Saltford Parish Council resolved at its Full Council meeting in February 2023 to request B&NES Council to take responsibility for a safer, cleaner river for users and wildlife. B&NES Council is the riparian owner of the river bank in Saltford, and as such SPC views the litter on the river bank and pollution caused by sunken boats attached to B&NES Council owned land as B&NES Council’s responsibility to address. A copy of SPC’s request to B&NES Council can be found here and below.

Please also see SPC’s news article ‘SPC requests B&NES Council takes responsibility for a safer cleaner river (inc river bank)’ published in February 2023.

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