HUGE CONGRATULATIONS TO LAURA SUGAR – PARALYMPIC GOLD MEDAL WINNER AND WORLD CHAMPION
A report from the LSASB*
Former resident of Berden, though her parents and horse still live here, Laura nailed the Canoe Sprint, Women’s KL3 with a clear victory over her opponents in Tokyo. This Golden athlete switched disciplines a few years back from track athletics and, prior to that, international hockey for Wales and is now the proud owner of a fine clutch of competitive medals.
However, Laura, being a competitor, was not satisfied with Tokyo Gold! So on Saturday 18 September she set about winning the World Championship in the same discipline in Copenhagen and popped that award on the shelves too!
Go Laura – Go Laura – Go!
Laura Sugar Appreciation Society of Berden*
WHAT IS HAPPENING REGARDING THE VARIOUS SOLAR AND BATTERY PROPOSALS FOR LAND IN AND AROUND BERDEN, MANUDEN AND NEIGHBOURING VILLAGES?
Proposed Pelham Spring Solar Installation and Energy Storage
There is a proposal by a company called Low Carbon Investment Management Ltd, a renewable energy developer, concerning a proposed solar panel installation co-located with energy storage to the southern area of the Parish and looks to extend into Manuden Parish towards Maggotts End and close to (but not within) Furneux Pelham boundary. The area referred to extends to 72 hectares (180 acres).
Berden and Solar Farms
A SEPTEMBER UPDATE ON LOCAL SOLAR DEVELOPMENT PROPOSALS AS WE MOVE FROM SUMMER IN TO AUTUMN.
Normally August sees a slowing down of community activity but this was not so for the rather dismal, not particularly solar friendly, summer of 2021.
To say that the majority are not in favour of the proposed industrialisation of our landscape would be an understatement. And to illustrate this we can do no better than to say that a number of Uttlesford and East Hertfordshire villages are getting together in various ways to try and protect our fields and environment. Namely, so far – Albury, Berden, Brent Pelham, Farnham, Furneux Pelham, Little Hadham, Manuden, Meesden, Stocking Pelham, Thaxted and Wimbish – but this list is growing.
There have been two meetings held in Furneux Pelham Church, called by the Hertfordshire residents group (Protect the Pelhams) that also involved local Uttlesford people. In August we had two meetings in Berden. The first of these was attended by representatives of all the above mentioned villages, the various resident groups and the relevant East Herts and Hertfordshire councillors. The second involved almost one hundred Berdenites and was aimed at explaining the overall situation and encouraging people to write to Low Carbon Group before that company’s consultation ended the following Monday. We think that Low Carbon is now quite clear about how the majority of Berden, Manuden and Stocking Pelham feel about their appallingly obtrusive proposals.
The Uttlesford and East Herts villages closest to the existing substation and battery storage facility as well as the three proposed solar facilities, probably two additional battery plants and a ‘surge control’ facility are in extensive email correspondence with the Members of Parliament for Saffron Walden, North East Hertfordshire and Bishops Stortford as well as lobbying members of both District Councils Planning Committees
At the time of writing there is only one application that remains open for comment. That is the lithium battery storage facility proposed for East End and very close to the county border. An amendment to the original planning application was announced 17 September and comments are required by no later than 8 October. This application is available to view on the East Herts Council website – https://publicaccess.eastherts.gov.uk/online-applications/. The application reference is 3/21/0969/FUL
The coming months will see more consultations by the various developers and both applications for screening opinions and full planning applications coming to the fore. Our intention is to keep a close eye on all these developments and, when the time is right, give you all the details you will need to make robust objections to all these proposals, particularly when they are so unnecessarily close to homes and private property in both Uttlesford and East Hertfordshire. Both districts need to work together on this potentially damaging scenario as the developers are looking to make the most of the county border and the absence of an appropriate planning / protecting policy in Uttlesford in particular.
Make no mistake: These developments are about making money for a relatively few land owners and a number of developers and investors – not repairing the damage that has been done to our environment. It is a gold bandwagon painted green. Just one off-shore wind turbine would generate as much energy as a solar plant covering one hundred and eighty acres of our precious countryside, and it has the capability to produce electricity twenty four hours a day.
A quote from the Governments Build Back Greener policy document –October 2020 – ‘ The Government has confirmed that offshore wind will produce more than enough electricity to power every home in the country by 2030, based on current electricity usage’.
And of course on top of that we have all the power currently being generated by existing solar plants, on-shore wind turbines, hydropower, residential & commercial solar panels and existing and new (being built) nuclear plants in Suffolk, Somerset and Cumbria.
In the next few weeks, and probably about the time you receive this magazine, an extensive twelve page illustrated booklet will be available on the Berden website that will help you all to write, when the time comes, to protect the beautiful rural landscape of both Essex and Hertfordshire.
STOP PRESS NEWS – 16/9/21
Kemi Badenoch, the MP for Saffron Walden / Uttlesford has been promoted to a role on the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. She will be working for Michael Gove who is the SoS for that department (having replaced Robert Jenrick). So Kemi now has the ability to influence policy on the use of high quality agricultural land for industrial solar farms.
Please write to her at firstname.lastname@example.org reminding her of the commitments made by Michael Gove’s predecessor: htpps://questions-statements.parliament.uk/written-statements/detail/2015-03-25/HCWS488
We urgently need a statement from Michael Gove confirming that the policy position set out by Eric Pickles is still relevant.
John Burton on behalf of Berden Parish Council – 18/9/21
An update from Berden Parish Council 8th August 2021
Park Green Solar Factory
A month ago, a proposal emerged for another solar factory (we’ll call them that as they are nothing to do with farming, but are large scale industrial facilities generating electricity for profit) adjacent to Berden village.
This factory will be built on prime agricultural land, bridging Berden and Stocking Pelham extending from a line opposite Benskins, down past the “Bonfire Field” to the Water Tower, then across to the access road to the Grid Station.
An application has been made for a “Screening Opinion”, which asks Uttlesford Council as to whether an Environmental Impact Assessment is required. Consultation and a full planning application will follow.
This proposal will result in the loss of the environment immediately adjacent to Berden and within clear sight of houses at Benskins.
If we don’t all work to oppose it, our environment will be lost !
Berden Parish Council members will be available in the Village Hall on the evening of Friday 6th August to discuss the current situation. Further activities will be publicised on the Berden website and notified via a “Mailchimp” email. If you do not currently receive these emails on Berden news and event please contact email@example.com
This leaflet will be made available electronically on the Berden.org website so that you can use the links
Pelham Springs Solar Farm Factory
The second consultation is now in progress. As you will have seen from the Low Carbon pack sent to you that they have acquired more land but have not produced a definitive plan.
You are encouraged to re-raise your objections to this development either by following the recommendations of the campaign group at the Stop Battles Solar farm website, under the Respond tab. The deadline to respond to Low Carbon is Monday 9th August.
A third Solar Factory !!
Yes, a third Solar Factory is proposed, this time at Furneux Pelham, resulting in the Grid Station being ringed by the facilities. An article on this was in the Saffron Walden Reporter
A meeting was held at Furneux Pelham church on 19th July to launch a campaign group “Protect The Pelhams”. The following map shows the current picture of all the proposals.
Solar factories require Battery Storage Facilities, such as the one now by the Grid Station, to store the electricity until it can be fed into the National Grid. There is increasing evidence, on a national and global scale, that these installation have risk of fire and explosion. A recent Mail On Sunday article centred on the Pelham facility and said:
“The threat of fire is not merely theoretical. South Korea saw 23 battery farm fires in just two years. A recent battery fire in Illinois burned for three days and thousands of residents were evacuated. Such blazes release highly toxic gases. One – hydrogen fluoride – is lethal if inhaled, and causes irreversible health effects after an hour of exposure, according to Public Health England.”
The Parish Council is currently liaising with Stocking Pelham residents and working with other groups for the risks associated with these facilities to be completely understood.
BERDEN, FURNEUX PELHAM, MANUDEN & STOCKING PELHAM –
SOLAR & LITHIUM BATTERY INDUSTRIAL PROPOSAL UPDATE
Yesterday, 15 July, a Devon district council planning committee, against advice from their own officers, turned down an application for a one hundred and fifty acre site due to huge public demand that they should do so to preserve the countryside. So, it is possible to win our horrendous battle. If Devon residents can do it so too can the people of the Stort and Ash Valleys.
This is our situation as at 16 July.
We think it is very important that you read all of these points and react as requested wherever possible. Thank you.
- The original one hundred and eighty acre site, known as Pelham Spring, has now resurfaced as a proposed two hundred and fifty one acre site! A new consultation has been sent to all properties in the Berden, East End, Manuden and Stocking Pelham area by Low Carbon PLC. We understand that this site could contain another lithium battery storage unit; and that would mean three under consideration in addition to the existing National Grid plant. Details of the consultation and how to voice your opinion to Low Carbon PLC are to be found elsewhere in this magazine and we would urge you to respond to this public consultation as soon as possible. We consider this to be vital to protect all our interests. The dead line for objections is Monday 9 August.
- A screening application has been presented to Uttlesford Disrict Council for another proposed solar plant. If approved this would result in an approximately one hundred and sixty five acre site that would run parallel with Ginns Road/ Pelham Road on its south side between Benskins and the county boundary and run back all the way up to the path that links the water tower to the sub-station. Uttlesford planning reference: UTT/21/2158/SCO
- Berden Parish Councils Duncan Murdoch, a chartered surveyor, has written a letter of objection to East Herts Planning in relation to the East End battery proposal signed by the Chairs of Manuden, Berden, Stocking Pelham and Furneux Pelham. The National Grid issued a ‘holding objection’ in mid June as they do not want such structures built below overhead cables. East Herts planning reference: 3/21/0969/FUL
- Duncan has also written a letter to Uttlesford Council on behalf of Berden PC to highlight their failure to enforce adequate screening, noise attenuation and landscape planting at the existing Berden battery unit. We have complained repeatedly before but with little result.
These lithium battery facilities are used to store power generated from several sources but, in many cases, this storage need arises from the introduction of solar generating facilities. The more of the latter – the more of the former.
- Although not yet submitted to East Herts Council as a formal application there is a proposal in the pipe line for a, possibly, one hundred and fifty acre (considerably larger than previously thought) solar installation to be situated in an area between the west side of Stocking Pelham and running down hill so that its entire farthest side will run parallel with the majority of Violets Lane between Furneux Pelham and the road that links Stocking Pelham to Clavering and Brent Pelham. Violets Lane is the ancient river bed style right of way, and, apparently, the longest ford in England, that starts at the Brewery Tap crossroads in Furneux Pelham. This is being handled by a company called Renewable Connections.
A screening application had been posted on the East Herts websiste but has since been removed. We do not know what this means.
- Also in the same pipe line is a proposal for a third lithium battery facility to be installed in the field behind Crabb’s Green Farm, the kennels, and on the opposite side of the service road to the existing Berden facility. East Herts Highways have objected , on the basis of road suitability, to the use of East End Lane for that particular proposal (see item three) so it would seem reasonable to assume that they will do likewise for Crabb’s Green Lane. This indicates to me that access will be via the existing substation service road; down the middle of which runs the parish/county boundary. This too is being proposed by Renewable Connections.
- As a result of on-going noise pollution complaints, related to the existing Berden battery unit, from both villages: Stocking Pelham and Berden Parish Councils have jointly purchased a good quality decibel meter so that we can monitor the current situation. This will allow us also to check other possible sources of noise and monitor future developments. It would seem sensible to contact either Uttlesford or East Herts environmental health officers when we get any excessive / questionable sound recordings.
- 8. An extensive article relating to these destructive proposals appeared in the Saffron Walden Reporter dated 15 July. This can be read at
Another article appeared in the Mail on Sunday dated 11 July.
AND WHAT IS THE GOVERNMENTS THINKING WITH REGARD TO USING AGRICULTURAL LAND FOR SOLAR FARMS AND ENERGY STRORAGE FACILITIES?
Point nine of the governments ten point plan, entitled ‘Protecting Our Natural Environment’, states that:
‘The natural environment is one of the most important and effective solutions we have for capturing and sequestering carbon long-term. We will safeguard our cherished landscapes, restore habitats for wildlife in order to combat biodiversity loss and adapt to climate change, all whilst creating green jobs’
Nowhere in this document is there a commitment to a policy of industrialising productive farm land by constructing large scale solar or power storage facilities on top grade farm land.
Uttlesford already has enough solar power built or approved to supply seventy percent of Uttlesford households. This District Council does not have a policy that covers the management and development of renewable energy sites and therefore should surely not be deciding the future of our countryside without proper public consultation on the entire subject resulting in a firm clear cut policy that will protect both our district, promote the health of our planet and not the wealth of the land owners and the venture capitalists exploiting an inadequate system.
Our Saffron Walden MP, Kemi Badenoch, stated ‘Farming is a vital industry, which helps not only our local economy to thrive, but our national one as well’.
November 2019. Press release – 20190916.
John Burton on behalf of Berden Parish Council
Link to Stop Battles Solar Farm website – Link Here
Link to an article in the Daily Mail concerning battery units and their safety – Link to article here
Latest feedback form and information from Low Carbon UK
THE RESULTS OF THE BERDEN PARISH COUNCIL SOLAR FARM SURVEY
First and foremost a huge vote of thanks to the ninety seven households that completed the yellow survey sheets that were delivered to every home in Berden, Brick House End, Park Green, Little London, Pot Ash Lane and Dewes Green. Most returns were delivered to Wheelwrights Cottage and others came through as email attachments.
Originally we were not sure how the village would vote on this subject, but we have a clear and undisputable result. Eighty six respondents were against the proposed solar farm whilst only eleven were in favour. Of the eleven only four gave unconditional support and the other seven wanted the site to be reduced, particularly on the Brick House End side, and/or considerable thought and effort put in to screen planting. Likewise additional planting and protection of the ancient Blakings Lane were also requested. Many of those who were against the proposal also supported these measures if this unpopular project comes in to being.
We, your Parish Council, believe that this very positive result gives us the mandate to fight against this excessively large solar farm which, at one hundred and eighty acres, would be a vast blot on our countryside. From a view point in Blakings Lane it would stretch from a few yards in front of the observer as far as the eye could see to Maggots End in Manuden and fill the space, left to right, between the ancient Battles Wood to a line running close and parallel to the entire length of Brick House End Lane and other residential properties.
At present this is only going through the pre-planning stage but it will almost certainly be submitted to Uttlesford Council as a firm proposal within the next few weeks. Hopefully with the assistance of Manuden and Stocking Pelham Parish Councils along with the very active Stop Battles Farm pressure group we will be doing our best to protect our natural environment. We must convince Uttlesford Council Planning Committee that whilst we understand the need for renewable energy, our three closely linked parishes already have more than enough electrical hardware with both the existing grid station (that has the space for further development), and the recently installed and unsightly battery unit as well as our many pylons and associated cables. Uttlesford lacks a policy on renewable energy planning and this has to be resolved before they agree to further such development in their rapidly changing district council area. An area that Uttlesford Council are duty bound to protect for future generations.
We will need to keep the pressure on and will probably be looking for additional support, when the time comes, from many sources including resident individuals who have the knowledge to help with this major campaign to protect our valuable agricultural and wildlife rich local environment.
John Burton. On behalf of all of Berden Parish Council.
My Parish Council colleagues are -John Riddell, Amanda Coomber, Duncan Murdoch, Pete Hewitt, Diane Holt and Ian Stumpf.
If you want to help please do not hesitate to ring or email me-
01279 777674, 07860 343324 or firstname.lastname@example.org
You may also wish to look at https://www.stopbattlessolarfarm.com which express the views of many residents who are opposed to the development
Berden Playground has re opened
We are delighted to say the playground will be open from today, Friday 10th July. The Parish Council has undertaken the mandatory risk assessment, so please read the notices in the playground.
The important issues are:
Observe the 2m social distancing wherever possible.
There is hand sanitiser in the hut.
We have cleaned the equipment, but cannot do so on a daily basis, so bring your own sterile wipes.
Do not bring food and drink into the playground.
If practical, have only one adult per family group of children.
If the playground looks too busy, come back later.
The playground will be locked overnight, from dusk to 9am approx.
We will monitor the playground daily, but if you see any problems let one of the parish councillors know.
Berden Parish Council.
THIS IS IMPORTANT
USE OF DEFIBRILLATOR DURING COVID – 19 OUTBREAK
We have been sent information relating to the use of our defibrillators during the on-going virus situation by AJS First Aid Training Services and the Resuscitation Council.
This is for anyone who finds themselves having to perform CPR/Defibrillation in an home/family setting during this difficult time.
Please take the time to look at the following site and IMPORTANTLY please also look at the video contained within it.
We also request that you adhere to the following guide lines:-
- Wear gloves
- A towel or similar should be placed over the victim’s nose and mouth !
When we carry out chest compressions air is released through the nose and mouth in droplet form, thus causing the possible spread of a viral infection.
- Check Danger, make sure area is safe to proceed
- Do NOT check air way or breathing
- Shake shoulders in normal manner
- Ask ‘Are you all right?’
- No response: Call 999 and inform the service of what is taking place.
- Follow instructions.
For full Defibrillator instructions refer to the Useful Information page here
BERDEN PARISH COUNCIL
CORONAVIRUS AND BERDEN
First and foremost I want to thank all the amazing people that have volunteered to be Berden Buddies during the difficult times we might be facing: over thirty seven individuals have stepped in to the breach. As of today, Friday 20/3, over eighty Berden households have let me know that they want to be registered on our developing Buddy Scheme. Yes, Berden is a real community.
It will never be too late to register your involvement, whether as a Buddy or a possible recipient of assistance. Just let me have your name, address, email details and telephone numbers.
Whether we live on our own or as part of a family unit, if we catch the virus we will need to isolate ourselves, and may require help with essential shopping, collecting prescriptions or anything else without direct contact being involved. We must consider that our usual friends and family network of support might also become infected, and thus be unable to help each of us in extremis. Do not forget that if just one person in a household contracts this virus everyone in that house will need to be isolated, and that we might have to isolate individuals within the home too.
John Burton, Chair Berden Parish Council
01279 777674 or 07860 343324 or JOHNBURTON@BERDEN.ORG.UK
Wheelwrights Cottage. The Street, Berden, CM23 1AS
Further information relating to the local situation can be found on…
THE BERDEN CORONAVIRUS BUDDY SCHEME IS UP AND READY TO RUN!
It is completely brilliant that over 40 people/households/families have volunteered to be
BERDEN BUDDIES! Thank you one and all.
How is this scheme going to work? The answer is simple.
Should you be in a position to seek community help please call either myself, Bron, Sue, John or Jenny and we will put you in touch with an appropriate volunteer who is living as close to you as possible.
JOHN AND BRON BURTON -777465, 07860 343324
SUE GRIFFITHS – 777465, 07484 619761
JOHN & JENNY ARNELL – 777239, 07803 150037.
It will never be too late to add yourselves to the list.
KEEP WELL, KEEP HAPPY, KEEP SMILING!
Useful information regarding support available for those who cannot leave their homes due to current COVID – 19 situation
Parish Council Meetings During Emergency
To comply with the latest restrictions, the Parish Council has agreed there will be no physical Parish Council meetings during the current emergency.
If there are urgent matters that you wish to bring to the attention of the Council, please contact Sue Griffiths (Clerk) or any of the Councillors.
Sue Griffiths email@example.com 777465
John Burton firstname.lastname@example.org 777674
Amanda Coomber 777046 Duncan Murdoch 778098
John Riddell 777852 Pete Hewitt 777332
Ian Stumpf 777659 Diane Holt 777779
Stay up to date with local roadworks on the roadworks.org site
DOGS AND FOOTPATHS
We have been receiving more complaints about dogs out of control and their owners not clearing up after them on public footpaths and, astonishingly, on other people’s private property. In recent weeks we have had a report of a young Berdenite, and that means a friend or neighbour of all of us, coming indoors from the families own property ‘covered’ in dog waste.
Please enjoy walking your dog but do make sure that you stick to the legal public paths, or those routes where you know for sure that the owner is happy for you to use them. In the eyes of the law you are trespassing if you step off a public right of way. We are very lucky in Berden: We have a relatively large network of enjoyable legal and permissive paths and, with just a few exceptions, they are all clearly defined through use, so – please – stick to them and keep your dogs under control at all times
There are dog waste bags, provided by your parish council, available by the bus shelter. Please use them and help everybody to enjoy their time out and about in our beautiful countryside.
If you wish to consult the definitive rights of way path, please contact John Burton on 777674.
THANK YOU – BERDEN PARISH COUNCIL
BERDEN NEIGHBOURHOOD WATCH
Berden Parish is part of the Uttlesford Neighbourhood Watch (NhW) scheme. Its aims are to keep parishes up to date on the latest crimes in the area and offer advice on how to avoid becoming a victim of crime. As we know, police resources are in decline and it is becoming more and more important to raise awareness in our community about the possibility of crimes and frauds. By being watchful and alert we can help the police with vital information.
Since our village is sprawling in various directions, we have contact persons in the different parts who will be your first port of call for anything unusual, an incident or a crime. The names and phone numbers of these volunteers are published below and will also be published on the Berden Website. Although we live in a safe and generally trouble-free area with little crime, we would all be advised to consider the following:
- Home security
- Garden, outbuildings and vehicle security
- Bogus callers/doorstep crimes
- Telephone and online security
- Identity fraud
Nowadays, the largest surge in fraud is on the telephone or on-line. Everybody is no doubt aware of this or may have experienced scams. NhW publishes a very useful guide to safety and to crime prevention and their website is: www.ourwatch.org.uk. Weekly, Uttlesford NhW emails me an online Bulletin with updates of the latest crimes in the area and also with very useful advice on crime prevention. I will forward these to John Barber who will regularly put them on Berden Facebook.
If you see something suspicious or want to report information about a crime that has taken place, call the police non-emergency number 101. At the same time, alert your local coordinator. If you see a crime in progress, always use the emergency number 999.
Potash, Highlands, Mill Hill, Peyton Hall John Barber 145
Little London John Arnell 239
Dewes Green, Priory, the Knoll Andrew Nelson 784
St. Nicholas Field John Walker 470
The Street John Burton
Brickhouse End, Park Green Deborah Patrick
Village Hall, Pelham rd. Vicarage Lane, Bonnetting Lane Ulla 994
We would welcome a volunteer for Benskins, Gawlers and upper Pelham Road.
Ideas and suggestion regarding the NhW scheme are always welcome.
Demand Responsive Transport
An Demand Responsive Transport (DaRT) has been introduced in parishes in the North of Essex.
This service allows residents to travel between 0600 and 2000 Monday to Saturday. It increases the opportunities to travel and improve access to shopping, health appointments, work, school or college. It can also be used to visit friends and family.
Passengers can travel alone or as a group. Concessionary Bus pass holders can use the service for free after 0900 Monday to Friday and all day on a Saturday.
Instead of using fixed routes with fixed stops and times, customers book journeys with the operator in advance and are picked up from an agreed point – often their own home, a bus stop or local place of interest. To book the DaRT service contact Arrow Taxis on: 01621 874411.
For more details click here Rural Transport publication May 16
Doorstep/Rogue traders are operating in your area trying to obtain work related to block paved driveways, garden work or tree cutting, roofing or any other household repair or maintenance.
Never agree to have work carried out by traders who knock on your door offering these services and always thoroughly check out leaflets as addresses provided can be false with telephone numbers that stop working if you have a problem with the work. You can also be provided with guarantees that are worthless.
We would always advise residents to consider using one of our Buy With Confidence businesses who have been audited and approved by Trading Standards. The nearest three to your postcode can be found by calling the national consumer helpline on 03454 040506 or
We would ask all residents to look out for household repair and maintenance activity at the homes of elderly neighbours, friends or family members.
Residents who do get caught out by doorstep/rogue traders are often too embarrassed to
report it. If you are concerned call the helpline with the information.
The Parish Safety Volunteer Programme is a new community safety initiative, delivered in partnership by Essex Police, Essex County Fire and Rescue Service and volunteers from local communities. Could you volunteer?
Parish Safety Volunteers are trained by experts from our organisations to deliver bespoke fire and crime safety advice and fit smoke detectors in homes. Parish Safety Volunteers will work in pairs, in a smart but comfortable uniform and visit people in their own homes to offer this bespoke service. A diverse range of people will benefit from the Parish Safety Volunteer programme from young families, to the elderly and those vulnerable to the risk of fire or fear of crime. You must be over 18, know your local area well and be able to commit to an average of 10 hours each month. Everyone who volunteers as a Parish Safety Volunteer will be interviewed, provide two references, complete standard Police security checks and a confidential health questionnaire. Good all-round communication skills are also a must. Reasonable expenses will be paid. If you are interested in finding out more about what is involved in becoming a Parish Safety Volunteer, please visit www.essex-fire.gov.uk/volunteering or email PSV@essex-fire.gov.uk or ring 01376 576237.