Jobs – The (very) Local Perspective

Employment pic 1

Every month I receive the NOMIS data on employment, workforce and benefits claims for South Somerset and for Brympton. I also get a breakdown of Job Seeker’s Allowance by ward for the whole of the SSDC area.

This month continues a strong trend with South Somerset doing well overall on unemployment and Brympton doing very well. You can also see that some areas such as East Yeovil and Holyrood, Chard do less well.

I know from (recent) experience the pain that a few are suffering but the good thing is that very few are unemployed for long and it’s not youngsters waiting for a job.

Take a look. (by the way, the Ward table has the correct numbers for the end of February, the NOMIS data is taken slightly earlier in the month, before another seven found work).

Somerset Waste Partnership – Flooding and severe weather

Somerset Waste Partnership continue to collect waste from communities cut off by the floods, working with local volunteers and in some cases with the Red Cross and Fire Brigade to use their amphibious vehicles. 

  • So far, collections have focused on the collection of refuse for disposal, but arrangements are also being made to start collections of materials for recycling, where these can be handled in clear sacks that will be provided.
  • Arrangements have also been made to provide extra waste collections to support emergency centres and skips to assist with volunteer clean-ups where flood water has receded.
  • There is an increase in bulky items, such as damaged carpets and furniture, being delivered to recycling centres, which it is expected will increase over the coming weeks and months.
Lib Dems Present Bus Petition To County Council

Residents and Lib Dems campaigning together

Yeovil’s Liberal Democrat County Councillors are telling Somerset County Council think again over their proposed bus service cuts.

A letter was sent covering 286 signatures from several local petitions expressing concern that Somerset County Council that the number 11 bus service could be cut.

On 6th January Lib Dem councillors joined local residents at a bus shelter on Larkhill Road, Yeovil, to call for the South West Coaches’ service to be kept, labeling the cuts as ‘short-sighted’ and pointing out that it would cause a significant impact to residents in Brympton and other areas.

Leader of the Liberal Democrat Opposition Group, Councillor Sam Crabb who represents residents in the Brympton Division commented:

“This petition shows the strength of local feeling against proposed Conservative County Council bus cuts. The Council now needs to listen to the hundreds of residents who have said during this consultation that these cuts are a mistake.

“We question the availability of alternative services for many bus users and local residents which connect the key locations which the number 11 route services.

“Additionally, local constituents in our Divisions have highlighted to us their frustration with the County Council for once again rolling out a public consultation of this nature during the holiday period. Conducting public consultations at this time of year does not ensure a fair and full response for many residents who will be affected by the proposed Bus Service reductions.”

Brympton Residents Benefit from Recovery
Market Labour Profile for Brympton (source: NOMIS Nov 2013)

Market Labour Profile for Brympton (source: NOMIS Nov 2013)

As you can see from the extract above, Brympton has an incredibly low Job Seekers Allowance rate compared to the South Somerset and national rates.



Christmas Refuse and Recycling Arrangements


Oak may be saved.

CaptureI have now met with Phil Poulton, the SSDC Tree Officer. The storm damage to the Oak in Oak Tree Park is obviously very severe, with the main crown of the tree failing and taking off all of the lower branches on one side. It was very unbalanced and a further, lower limb has failed since it was fenced off.

Despite this, Phil recommends that we see if the tree can be saved. Oaks are quite good at regenerating and, although this one has few obvious buds, it’s worth taking a couple of years to find out. The suggestion is to stabilise the tree structure by using storm replication/retrenchment pruning techniques. This involves reducing the length of the remaining limbs (to reduce wind loading and to compensate for the loss of “mechanical damping”). Hopefully, in time the tree to produce new growth. This level of emergency work maybe possible without a TPO application.

We took a wider look around and the Oak in the play area also needs some work (it’s much weakened by fungus), so a TPO application to allow further retrenchment might be prudent.

The lightning-damaged Oak which sits on the green between Forde Park and Muchelney Way appears to have Meripilus giganteous at the base. That’s a very nasty fungus which eats away the very big structural roots – no need to do anything hasty but a TPO application to do a second crown reduction may be needed (Phil saved this tree when it was split in two and it has recovered to a nice shape, hopefully the same will happen again).

Food recycled for cooking … and lighting

Gas generation starts at Walpole Digester


CaptureDeliveries of food waste to the anaerobic digester commenced on 20th August as part of the commissioning process. The amount of food waste will be increased gradually over the commissioning period until the point where all food waste arisings collected by SWP from the county will be received.

The plant is already producing gas in low quantities. The first of the gas engines is being installed and will be able to commence electricity production once the volume of food input and gas output have increased sufficiently over the coming weeks. The commissioning period is expected to last 3-6 months.

For more details of the plant click here

South Somerset fly-tipping figures fall

Fly-tipping figures released today [15 October 2013] by the government show incidents county-wide have dropped by 497 or 8.7% from 5,687 to 5,190.

South Somerset’s fall has carried on into the first three months of this financial year, down by 114 to 338 on the same period last year, and down by 94 on January-March 2013. All Somerset districts saw improved figures in 2012/13; as well as South Somerset, Mendip was down 73 to 1,631, Sedgemoor down 306 to 1,161, Taunton Deane down 42 to 646, and West Somerset down 71 to 93.

The improvements were first reported to the Somerset Waste Board four months ago in June, and follows a path previously predicted by board chairman Cllr Derek Yeomans. The fall has coincided with greater efforts to deter fly-tippers, through new equipment, warning signs and further training for district enforcement officers, backed by Somerset County Council.

South Somerset and other councils are moving to reduce the fly-tipping “supply” by urging residents and businesses to check if those removing rubbish – such as builders – have the correct waste carrier’s licence. Councillor Jo Roundell Greene, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Economic Development said, “Building on this good news, this district will continue to fight fly-tipping, with our enforcement staff leading the way in tackling this crime. You can play a vital role by reporting suspicious activity and giving evidence, as this remains a tough crime to deter or prosecute. We must ensure that our countryside is kept looking beautiful. One thing we can all do is to ensure our own household or business rubbish is not fly-tipped; just ask anyone taking it away – builders, gardeners and other tradespeople – for their waste carrier licence.”

Clearing up Somerset’s fly-tipping costs South Somerset and the other district councils a total of around £150,000 a year, with the County Council contributing about £36,000 in 2012/13.

Have we turned the tide?

Capture copyEnglish Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are predicting greater investment according to the latest Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) Barometer. Half (50%) of the 682 companies questioned expect to spend more on new machinery and premises over the next six months.

“This sense of optimism is also present when it comes to employing new staff. 43% of SMEs (up 3% on the last report) are planning to hire new people with a further 50% expecting to keep workforce levels the same.” said David Caddle, spokesman for the Manufacturing Advisory Service.