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The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone and ban on poultry gatherings will be lifted from midday on 15 May. However, high biosecurity standards remain important.
Due to the current pandemic, this years Annual General Meeting of the National Allotment Society will be held virtually on Saturday 12th June 2021 at 10:00am
VIRTUAL AGM DRAFT AGENDA – 12TH JUNE 2021
The AGM will open at 9.15 am to allow registration
10.00am Welcome to Virtual AGM by Phil Gomersall President NAS with short address
10.30am Apologies for absence
!0.40am Acceptance of the Report and Proceedings of the AGM October 2020 and Vote
10.55am Treasurers Report year ended January 2021 – Vote to be taken on acceptance of 2020 – 21 Accounts
Appointment of Accountants 2021/22
Vote for Inspection of accounts rather than audit
1) presented by Alastair Watson
Response from the membership
Vote on Motion 1
2) presented by Libby Earle.
Response from the membership
Vote on Motion 2
11.45am Nominations and Awards
12.00 Close of AGM by Chairman
AGM 2022 to be held Marks Tey Hotel, Colchester Essex with business in the morning and a tour of Kings Seeds in the afternoon.
The use of snares on allotments
Allotments Stockport and SMBC have been made aware that snares are being used to catch foxes and other animals on allotment sites.
The following statement is from Peter Cooke, SMBC
Snares are indiscriminate in what they catch, and animals caught in snares can take hours to die (e.g. If it is just a limb that is caught, they will often chew their own limb off in an effort to escape).
Cats, dogs & badgers could also find themselves caught in snares and this would then be a criminal offence and a Police matter with a probable prosecution.
If a fox or other animal is caught and has not died what then?
Are they shot with a shotgun (discharging a firearm in a public place is a criminal offence) or beaten to death with a spade or similar (also a criminal offence)?
Whilst the snaring of foxes is legal with approved snares, this would not be sanctioned on any SMBC land.
I wish to be absolutely clear that the use of snares on allotments is not permitted and we would be bound to investigate and take action against any person found to be using them.
I would be grateful if you could share this message with your local associations and members as a matter of urgency.
I would also be grateful if you could inform the site that is apparently using snares to desist immediately, and that action will be taken if this practice continues.
Covid 19 Emergency Measures
March 31st, 2020
Reviewed 12 April 2021
What the NAS is doing to help members during the National Lockdown
The National Allotment Society is working to support plot-holders and associations so that they can continue to work their plots and manage sites in a safe and secure manner during the pandemic. We are all living through a crisis, the likes of which the country has not experienced since war time. The community spirit that exists on allotment sites is now vitally important. Please remember to look out for one another during these very difficult times. This is a constantly changing situation and we will review this page on a regular basis.
Please remember to carry on using social distancing and taking hygiene precautions when visiting the site and touching communal surfaces. Plot-holders over 70 years of age, regardless of general health are particularly vulnerable. It may feel safe on an allotment site but there are still risks.
If you break the rules The police can take action against you if you meet in large groups. This includes breaking up illegal gatherings and issuing fines (fixed penalty notices).
You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400. If you hold, or are involved in holding, an illegal gathering of over 30 people, the police can issue fines of £10,000.
HANDS: FACE: SPACE
NAS Q & A On Allotments and Social Distancing
Protect yourself and your family
Covid -19 – The virus that causes COVID 19 is mainly transmitted through droplets generated when an infected person coughs, sneezes or speaks. Some droplets are too heavy to hang in the air and they quickly fall and contaminate floors and surfaces. Other smaller airborne particles can remain in the air for some time. You can be infected by breathing in the virus if you are within close proximity of a person who has Covid-19- hence the 2m social distancing requirement, or by touching a contaminated surface and then touching your eyes, nose or mouth before washing your hands.
Can I still work my allotment during the Covid19 lockdown?
Yes, allotments are a great way of both getting exercise and obtaining food during this crisis.
Can I visit the allotment with my family and friends?
You can use your plot to exercise with your household or support bubble. From the 29 March, if allowed by your local council or site rules, it is permitted for up to 6 people or 2 households to gather together outdoors.
Stay 2 metres apart from anyone not in your household or support bubble and follow the guidance on how to stop the spread of coronavirus at all times.
If you do wish to bring someone to assist with work on the plot, please ensure that that this is notified either to the Secretary or Site Manager so that they can authorise and are aware of who is on site. It is essential that no un-authorised people are allowed onto the plots for the duration of this emergency. Careful consideration should be given to introducing anyone over 70, those with underlying illness or pregnant women.
Can I drive to my plot? Yes, it is permissible to travel to access local green space to exercise and allotments are allowed to remain open. In a rural area you may have to travel further to the nearest available plot or cross boundaries. If you have concerns about the distance you need to travel to your plot please contact your local police force.
How can I ensure my family’s and everyone else’s safety at the plot?
Do not attend the plot if you have coronavirus symptoms or a family member is self-isolating, this includes people who need to isolate after returning from holidays abroad.
Take a flask of hot water, soap and paper towels to the plot with you (cold water will work too).
Use hand sanitiser (should be at least 60% alcohol content) before entering the site and opening any gate locks
Wash hands for at least 20 seconds after closing the lock, dry with a paper towel
The most effective part of hand washing is the drying using preferably paper towel to remove the layer of dead skin scales – on which virus and bacteria sit. Paper towel to compost heap.
DO NOT touch your face after using anything that has been touched by other people- use an elbow to work the push taps.
Wash your hands again for 20 seconds, dry with a paper towel before opening and closing the lock to leave the site
Use hand sanitiser after closing the lock
Wash hands when you get home
Observe “Social Distancing” with each other 2 metres
If you take your children to the plot, ensure that they stay within its confines and do not run around on communal paths and spaces.
Do not share tools
Do not wash your hands in water troughs
I am self-isolating and cannot go to the allotment and worried about losing my plot, what should I do?
Please make sure that you inform your Council Allotment Officer or Allotment Association that you are unable to visit the site, preferably in writing, so that they can make allowances for your situation.
What changes should Allotment Associations make to site management?
Pin up information about social distancing and hygiene on a notice board or the gate, there is a QR code at the bottom of this page that links to our updating page.
Risk – undertake risk assessments and take appropriate action to reduce hazards around any areas of the site where people may gather or multiple people touch surfaces e.g. communal water troughs, equipment, taps, and gate locks. Click Here for government advice around cleaning in non-healthcare settings.
Communal facilities. Communal rooms should remain closed.
Toilets. If associations decide to open toilets a full risk assessment must be carried out and a cleaning regime used that reduces risk of transmission for users and volunteers.
Communal Water Points – many sites will have communal taps and water troughs, the use of which could potentially spread the disease. The water supply itself is chlorinated https://www.wessexwater.co.uk/coronavirus.
Associations may want to consider a system whereby volunteers fill up plot-holder’s water butts from the taps. The volunteers would wear single use gloves (click here for de-gloving advice) and follow good practice around social distancing and hygiene.
The NAS does have further detailed information on risk assessments and the duty of care for Self-Managed Associations please email email@example.com if this is required.
Communal activities, from the 29 March it is permitted for up to 6 people or 2 households to gather together outdoors. However, those not in the same household should still practice social distancing.
AGMs should be postponed or held virtually. AGMs are right at the heart of member democratic control in co-ops and community businesses. We also know that because of COVID-19 and social distancing, our members have faced a number of dilemmas regarding how and when to hold their AGMs.
The Government has confirmed that co-operative and community benefit societies, in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, are covered by legislation that provides businesses with greater flexibility in how and when they hold their Annual General Meetings (AGMs), or any other General Meetings (GMs) until the end of March 2021.
Back in March the government announced it would be legislating to give companies greater flexibility in how they approach AGMs and GMs in 2020. Co-op UK worked with government to ensure legislation was extended to societies in a useful way.
The legislation gives societies legal certainty and comfort if they need to breach their rules, and usual good co-operative practice, by:
Holding their AGMs and GMs in ways that restrict in-person participation
Holding their AGMs and GMs with online participation
Delaying their AGMs and GMs
The legislation initially provided this period of legal certainty and comfort up to the end of September 2020. Government has now confirmed that legislation has been extended to the end of March 2021, for societies in Great Britain and Northern Ireland, and may be reviewed again. The legislation will also apply retrospectively from 26 March, so any AGMs and GMs societies held from that date onwards are covered.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for further information and support.
Shops – it is now compulsory to wear a mask when inside a shop. The Society recommends that associations follow the conditions within the Horticultural Trades Association guidance for Garden Centres (CLICK HERE to view) or put an online/remote system in place.
Gate Sales – please take care to follow social distancing and hygiene guidelines. Sales are likely to be in cash – the risk of transmission from notes and coins is low but care should still be taken, the accumulated cash could be quarantined for a few days before handling.
Shared Machinery– please contact email@example.com for detailed advice
Bonfires Please check with your Local Authority before authorising bonfires on the site. Garden bonfires contribute to air pollution, especially when green material is burnt. Air Quality can be checked at this link – CLICK HERE
Plot allocation If you start to allocate plots from the 8 March please ensure that you adhere to the regulations about meeting others, take steps to ensure good hygiene and keep social distancing.
Plot inspections – if you have commenced plot inspections please take into account the fact that plot-holders may be ill, self isolating or have been shielding.
If you are unsure as to which tenants have been shielding or ill, one option of dealing with the situation would be (from the point at which plot inspections are re-instated) to regard all tenants as if they hold new tenancies and apply the relevant criteria in your tenancy agreements. For associations using the NAS model agreement that would mean you would expect a quarter of the cultivable area of the plot to be cultivated within the next three months and the whole within one year. This would give tenants who have been obliged to shield themselves a fair opportunity to restore their plots to good condition, taking into account the degeneration in plot condition that has occurred in their absence. In addition, it would be a good idea to insist that all material nuisances to other plot-holders resulting from non-cultivation be remedied within the same three months. This would mean, for example, the removal of grass seed heads and overhanging brambles.
Public Footpaths through allotment sites – if you have a footpath running through the site that is used by large numbers of people associations could consider taking the following steps.
Tying gates open if it is safe to do so, so that walkers do not need to touch the gate.
There is no power under the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 for landowners to close or obstruct a public right of way, however associations could put up a polite notice asking walkers to respect plot-holders by following social distancing guidelines and consider using alternative routes that do not pass through the allotment gardens.
Offering a permissive alternative route around gardens only where it is safe to do so (permission must be obtained from relevant landowners and steps must be taken to make sure the route is safe for users and livestock) provided that the original right of way is maintained. It is also necessary to check the insurance position before doing this to ensure that appropriate cover is in place.
The Avian Influenza Prevention Zone (AIPZ) requiring enhanced biosecurity (declared at 17:00 on 11 November 2020) remains in force across the whole of England. But following a reduction in the risk of avian influenza to both wild and kept birds to ‘medium’. Wednesday 31st March 2021 will be the last day poultry and other captive birds will need to be housed as a requirement of the AIPZ.
Housing restrictions end at 23:59 on the 31st March 2021. All other biosecurity measures in the AIPZ remain in force until further notice and are a legal requirement for all bird keepers in England (whether they have pet birds, commercial flocks or just a few birds in a backyard flock).
Seven Planet Saving Solutions
To help you with your Eco-Street application, this week we’ll be looking at examples of nature-based-solutions (NBS). By installing NBS into your designs you can help reduce the impact of climate change on your neighbourhoods, whilst also supporting people’s health and wellbeing and making new homes for wildlife.
The seven planet saving solutions outlined below are all backed up by science with most of the statistics mentioned coming from over 1,000 pieces of scientific evidence which have been collected and analysed as part of the IGNITION project. These are just some of the benefits of nature-based-solutions, so click the links in each section to find out more.
Missed our first email on ‘Why are we banging on about green-spaces?’ – check it out HERE.
1. Green roofs
Green roofs are areas of planting positioned on top of structures – this is most commonly roofs of buildings but they can also be installed on sheds, garages and bin stores. Green roofs are heavier than normal roofs so your structure needs to be checked first before these are installed. They come in many different types and sizes with varying benefits.
What makes a green roof great?
- They can extend roof life by an average of 23 years over a conventional roof, by protecting the surface from the sun’s rays.
- They restore habitats and provide food for insects and other wildlife.
- They manage and store rainfall – on average they retain 62% excess rainwater, which reduces the amount of water overloading our drains and sewer systems. Green blue roofs have an additional egg-tray like layer which means they can store even more!
2. Green walls, living walls and green facades
Green walls can thrive in both indoor and outdoor environments. They can feature simple planting such as ivy growing from the ground to the roof, or they can be made of more complex structures, where plants are grown directly on the walls in specially made planters.
Why are green walls great?
- They improve air quality by absorbing poisonous pollutants (eg. car fumes).
- A view of nature like a green wall can increase memory by 12-15%.
- They reduce energy use in a building (through their added insulation) by up to 15%.
3. Rain gardens and rain garden planters
Rain gardens and rain garden planters are areas of planting put in place to collect excess rainwater and reduce flooding. Rain gardens at ground level can be positioned in locations to collect excess water and store it temporarily. In a storm situation, water collects within them which slows down the water and stops it from reaching the sewer systems quickly. Rain garden planters work in a similar way and can be placed underneath drainpipes with a pipe fitted underneath to release water slowly to the existing drain.
4. Permeable surfaces
Around half of Greater Manchester’s greenspaces are private gardens, so simply by not paving over these, or by using permeable surfaces we can make a huge difference! Permeable surfaces allow water to soak through them rather than pool on top and form puddles. Some examples include; gravel, porous surfaces, permeable paving and reinforced grass. Replacing driveways and pathways with this style of surfacing can reduce flooding while still keeping your feet dry!
5. Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS)
Permeable surfaces and raingardens are both examples of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (lovingly known as SUDS). SUDS have the potential to transform our towns and cities, providing environmental and economic benefits including:
- A pond with sustainable drainage can increase species richness by 60-80% by providing habitats, refuge and food sources for different plants and animals.
- SUDS act as a filter, removing pollutants from our water systems and keeping it clean.
- They can reduce the flow of excess rainwater reaching our water systems by 70%, allowing our water systems more time to recover in storm situations.
6. Street trees
Street trees have a whole range of benefits, from creating more inviting places to live and work, to building resilience to flooding and heat waves.
What’s great about street trees?
- They improve our health and wellbeing, eg. reducing childhood asthma by 29% .
- They soak up and store carbon. 5.5kg of carbon is absorbed by every tree each year (the weight of 37 bananas).
- When planted in tree pits with SUDS they can store water in times of flash flooding. They also drink lots of water and cool city by ‘sweating’ during a process called transpiration.
- They reduce surrounding air temperatures by 3 degrees – keeping us cool in heat waves and cooling down global temperatures. They also reduce wind speed!
7. Water butts
Keeping it simple by retrofitting a water butt as a ‘mini leaky dam’ you can capture extra water in stormy conditions and ensure it is released slowly to relieve pressure on our sewer systems. Simply leave the tap open slightly or add a tap half way up to keep some of the water in all year round. Small wildlife ponds also help to retain water, cool the air and increase biodiversity.
Don’t forget, you can still register for one of our online workshops for more ideas and an opportunity to ask questions. These take place on:
- 23rd March 2021, 10:00am – 11:00am
- 25th March 2021, 5:30pm – 6:30pm
- 31st March 2021, 12:00pm – 1:00pm
Please email our Community Coordinator Amy for instructions on how to join.
As well as the workshops there will be a Live Q&A on Instagram on Monday 29th March from 5.30pm:
This project has been funded through IGNITION, which is looking to create a greener, more climate resilient Greater Manchester through finding innovative ways of financing and implementing nature-based solutions in our cities.
Transform Your Community With Eco Streets
Design Your Own Eco-Street is a new and exciting opportunity from Groundwork Greater Manchester giving communities the chance to win £6,000 funding to transform an unused area into an exciting green space.
The Eco-Streets competition seeks to transform two un-used, un-loved areas in Greater Manchester into spaces that feature nature-based-solutions to climate change. Each design will receive £6,000 in funding and support from Groundwork’s Community Enablers to transform their spaces in 2021.
With support from Groundwork, Eco-Streets will equip communities with the skills to design, install and maintain natural features to create vibrant, green community spaces to benefit people while tackling climate change.
Who Can Apply
Applications are open for Greater Manchester community groups or groups of residents, consisting of at least 3 people from different households. We want to make sure that the project is sustainable, and having a core group of people ensures that different tasks can be shared out and one person isn’t burdened with designing and delivering their project alone.
Transformable spaces could include Alleyways or ‘Ginnels’, Small Streets, Courtyards, Dis-used Allotments or Abandoned Park areas. If you recognise an area similar to those in the picture below then we encourage you to apply.
How to apply
Applications are welcome from all across Greater Manchester, with a particular focus on applications from communities with limited access to high quality green space. Funded through the IGNITION project, Eco-Streets seeks to showcase how Greater Manchester can become greener and more climate resilient.
To apply, simply sign up to our Eco-Streets mailing list:
Once you have received your first e-mail, follow the instructions and carefully read the eligibility criteria to check you are happy with the terms and conditions. This is the first stage of the application process, and everything else will be outlined in future emails.
Throughout March 2021 you’ll receive a number of emails which explain more about nature based solutions and provide inspiring designs for your space. They’ll also be a number of workshops you can attend to ask more questions and ways you can get involved online!
- Workshop One: 23rd March 2021, 10:00am – 11:00am
- Workshop Two: 25th March 2021, 5:30pm – 6:30pm
- Workshop Three: 31st March 2021, 12:00pm – 1:00pm
At the end of March you will be sent details on how to complete your application, which includes a paragraph on why your location should be picked, the features you’d like to include and images of the space you want to transform. Applicants must also provide proof of Landowner consent to proceed with the project.
Two winning projects will be awarded £6,000 to bring their idea to life. These projects will be selected by a panel of judges at the end of April 2021. Prior to construction, the winning projects will also have access to a ‘Seeing is Believing’ tour at one of Greater Manchester’s new pioneering nature-based solutions sites for inspiration, and a design session with one of Groundwork’s Landscape Architects to help you to map out your ideas.
Once a plan for your space has been created, Groundwork will support with multiple volunteer days, where we can help you to build your new site and provide hands-on support and advice. Now you’re part of the family, we’ll also provide future support with funding, maintenance and monitoring so you know how to apply for funding to care for your space in the long-term.
Eco-Streets will target areas currently lacking in natural features and those that combat climate change to address inequalities in Greater Manchester. With this in mind, the judging panel will be prioritising applications based on:
- Local need (e.g. places that have less access to green-space)
- Community Support
- Use of nature based solutions within the design
- Group creativity
You will need to speak to the landowner of your proposed space before submitting your final application. If you are unsure about who owns the piece of land then approaching your local authority is a great place to start. The Community Land Advisory Service also have a list of resources which could help you https://www.farmgarden.org.uk/negotiating-land-owners
You can also search the Land Registry, there is a cost for this service – https://www.gov.uk/search-property-information-land-registry
If you have any problems with this, please get in touch and we’ll see how we can help.
If anyone needs any wood chippings, contact Lee Henderson on 07849775189