Dorset Falconry Park Features On Countryfile

Last Sunday, 12th June, BBC’s Countryfile featured an excellent interview with Martin Ballam of Xtreme Falconry at Dorset Falconry Park which they visited at the end of last month.

You can watch the episode HERE (or on Catch up or BBC iPlayer) – 9 mins & 50 secs in.

Martin discusses the plight and controversy regarding the White Tailed Sea Eagle – something which he has offered to educate West Dorset MP Chris Loder on more than one occasion since his comments in February 2022 (read more HERE).

The photograph is of Brianna, their White Tailed Sea Eagle.

Xtreme Falconry, DorsetDorset Falconry Park is at Lewell Mill Lane, Lewell, Dorchester, DT2 8AN.  For more information, you can visit their website HERE or email your enquiry to:
You can also contact them by telephone: 01305 250710.


Chris Loder MP Makes National News

Christopher Loder, MP was invited by to comment on this article prior to publication. Having given him his requested nine days, he declined to reply…

Christopher Lionel John Loder, MP representing West Dorset made national news at the end of last month for unfavourable reasons after his recent comments on Twitter:

This is surprising as he is a patron of the Conservative Animal Welfare Foundation, whose aim is to help advance farm animal welfare. He did indeed introduce his Animal Welfare (Sentencing) Bill in the House of Commons on 5th February 2020 and it was passed on 29th April 2020.

In his own defence, he tweeted again the following day directing people to an article in The Scotsman, quoting Domnhall Macsween, who works on a community-run estate on the Isle of Lewis, who stated “Shows like Countryfile and Chris Packham have romanticised the idea of rewilding for an urban audience.

However, Duncan Orr-Ewing, head of species and land management at the RSPB, stated “Lambs die for many reasons and the sea eagles should not be treated as the scapegoat,” he said, claiming that they feed mainly on fish and seagulls. “What’s being said about them attacking livestock is inflammatory and people are basing their opinions on what they perceive to be the case rather than reality.”
There were 137 cases of confirmed raptor persecution in 2020, according to the RSPB.

The eagle went extinct in the UK in the early 20th century after they were continually poisoned and shot by gamekeepers. It was one reintroduced on the Isle of Wight, where a successful programme has been taking place since summer 2019. The Guardian newspaper then published his comments disclosing that Chris Loder’s 2019 election campaign benefited from a £14,000 donation from the Ilchester Estates, which runs shoots in West Dorset. The estates are run by the honourable Mrs. Charlotte Townshend, an aristocrat worth almost £500m who has both farming and shooting interests. including Chesil Beach, the Fleet and Abbotsbury Swannery. Mrs. Townshend also declares that she is the only person other than the Queen who is allowed to own swans.

Chris Loder told Guardian reporter, Helena Horton, “Any suggestion that I have been unduly influenced in this view is completely wrong.”

White-tailed eagles are coastal birds that feed primarily on fish, and occasionally on carrion (dead flesh). It is highly unlikely that white-tailed eagles would be guilty of killing lambs, as he falsely claimed. However, it is even more embarrassing than you might imagine. The photographer who took the photos illustrating the article that Chris Loder tweeted, Peter Cairns, got in touch with the MP to explain that the photos had been staged: As the photographer behind two of these images, I’d recommend you establish the circumstances before using them as evidence. Both are staged for an editorial story using a captive eagle and a dead lamb. Just so you know.”

  • Jan. ’22 – Chris Loder MP – Highest expenses again – Read more HERE.
  • Oct. ’21 – Chris Loder MP voted against the Amendment 45 to the Environment Bill allowing Raw Sewage Dumping into our rivers – Read more HERE.
  • Jan ’21 –  Chris Loder MP – Highest expenses – Read more HERE.
  • Oct ’20 –  Chris Loder MP voted against the Free Meals For School Children In Need – Read more HERE.


Please be aware that you may not get the answers you request!….



Cllr. Simon Christopher’s Report – Feb 2022

Cllr. Simon Christopher submitted the following report at this evening’s Informal Meeting of Broadwindsor’s Group Parish Council:

Dear Helen and Councillors

It is wonderful thing to note the positivity of people. It has been great to see the Save the White Lion appeal exceed the £30,000 target, Una and I were pleased to support the appeal for funds. There will be work ahead and the need for continued financial backing. I noted with interest elsewhere in the County that, since we last met Dorset Council has allowed an application for a grade 2 listed building to be converted from Pub to residential.

I would like to pay tribute to Kevin, with his all his efforts at Broadwindsor Comminity Stores as manager. Kevin has always conducted matters in such a cheery way and has clearly been hugely instrumental in the Stores being so successful and a crucial community asset.

I continue my work in connection with consistent , sensible speed limits and also pressing for improved pedestrian walkways.

Una and I were pleased to attend the Annual General Meeting of the Melplash Show, again  there was much enthusiasm to  hold a show one again after the difficulties. I know that  amongst the Parish Council there are active supporters of the Show who have enjoyed activities put on by the Melplash Agricultural Society but there is nothing quite like Show day and that is what people have missed so much.

One of my first memories of Melplash Show ( many years ago) was the highlight of seeing the farming toys stand of Frost and Co of Bridport. Maybe others, such as Andrew Frampton will share those memories. Speaking of Andrew I was pleased to hear from him of plans to commemorate the Spitfire Crash on the north side of Lewesdon Hill and the death of Belgian pilot Jean Verdun Marie Aime De Cloet . History matters to me and I am pleased to be a member of the Joint Dorset Council and Bournemouth Christchurch and Poole Archives Board.

On Tuesday Dorset Council will have the first face to face Full Council meeting, This will include a discussion and voting on the budget for 2022/2023. We will soon see a new face on Dorset Council  as Daryl Turner, Dorset Councillor for Lyme Regis has, I understand, moved to Wales.

It is good to see so many events at local village halls , I will pick out just one the recent coffee morning and talk on the growing of potatoes at Drimpton Village Hall that was so well attended.Now for some really important thoughts and that concerns mental health and community events. It is I believe, very important to reflect on, and act on, the impact of Covid on mental health.

Age Uk conducted a survey of what the Charity described as older people being people aged over 60. Some 27 per cent of people said they speak less to their family now. The Charity reports that millions have lost the confidence to go out and 41 per cent described feeling lonely. Memory loss disturbed sleep and anxiety are some of the symptoms being reported by older people in what Age UK has called an “alarming” mental health crisis  The Charity is urging friends and family of older people to what it describes as “reach out for a chat. Good mental health of  residents of Dorset  is good news for the NHS and Dorset Council. It is no wonder that I am a keen supporter of our local halls, community shops , faith groups, clubs and societies. My work also encompasses lobbying for better public transport, road and rail for the benefits that can be derived for the residents of the Marshwood Vale ward. My lobbying also continues for better pavement provision, reduced and indeed consistent speed limits .

In agriculture there are big changes in agriculture policy:

National membership organisations are hosting the Low Carbon Agriculture Show at Stoneleigh, once the home of the Royal Show. This is worthy of mention as the Marshwood Vale ward is rural and we live in a time where farmers prepare their businesses for a future without the Basic Payent Scheme ie a solely area based subsidy.

The first cuts to BPS have been made , by 2024 a typical farming enterprise will have lost 50 per cent of its BPS subsidy and by 2028 the BPS will be removed altogether.

The event is being marketed as an event for forward thinking farmers and landowners to consider practical guidance on issues such as:

  • Sustainable land use
  • Renewable energy generation
  • Emission Control

Farmers will have read in the farming press of changes in farming policy to include:

  • Carbon storage
  • Soil health
  • Natural capital
  • Net zero renewable energy
  • Low emission vehicles
  • Sustainable rural architecture
  • Water health

All of this is very helpful given DEFRA has announced a number of schemes to help farmers move away from reliance on BPS.

Covid-19 update from Public Health Dorset

Following a rise in cases over the past couple of weeks, infection rates have started to fall again across Dorset. Case rates are above the national average for England but below the regional average for the South West. Infection rates remain highest amongst children and lowest amongst over 65s. The number of people in hospital in Dorset with COVID-19 remains similar to last week at 92.

Whilst there are far fewer people needing hospital treatment as a result of COVID-19 compared to last year, our local health and care services are under significant pressure. Alongside exceptional demand and the usual pressures faced every winter, COVID-19 is adding to these. Please continue to play your part by getting your jabs to protect yourself from serious illness, and taking precautions to reduce the spread of the virus.

Exceptional pressures county wide leads to Dorset CCG call for public to use services wisely

NHS and local authority social workers across Dorset are working tirelessly to keep services running to support us all – keeping our loved ones, families, neighbours, and local communities safe and well.

We would like to ask for your support to help us. You can help in the following ways:

  • Support loved ones to leave hospital so that they can be more comfortable and recover more quickly at home. The support of relatives and friends can be important in enabling patients who are medically ready to leave hospital.
  • Use NHS services wisely to get the right treatment, in the right place, at the right time. Our hospital emergency departments are under extreme pressure.  If you’re unwell and are unsure about where to go, visit or call 111. We’ll do our very best to answer your call as quickly as possible though it may take a little longer due to the current demand. Please be patient and kind when you speak to our teams.
  • Contact your local pharmacist or GP practice for ongoing or minor health issues.
  • Only ever call 999 in a medical emergency – this is when someone is seriously ill or injured and their life is at risk.
  • Get your jabs – protect yourself and support your local services by getting your first, second, and booster Covid-19 vaccine doses. For a full list of Covid-19 vaccine sites, visit

Adult Social Care recruitment

With huge pressures currently within the Adult Social Care directorate one of the ways members can help is to promote the recruitment adverts for roles which are currently vacant.

The pressures, which are being mirrored across the country, include higher demand, people with significant requirements, and a reduction in the number of staff in adult social care sector.

There is particular gap in the number of Social Workers and Occupational Therapists within the workforce for which there is a recruitment drive. However, there are also other roles within the service which residents can apply for.

Unitary council, costs are rising.

Residents often ask us ‘why don’t the savings made through creating Dorset Council in 2019 get put towards lowering our council tax?’.

We have made significant savings, but the rising demand and costs of services, particularly social care, have absorbed this. If a single unitary council hadn’t been set up, Dorset’s financial position would have been much worse.

I am struck by the cheerful nature of those who work in our local schools and those who run businesses.  The children of today may be the workers of tomorrow.

I thought I would mention that I was invited by one of our neighbouring Members  of Parliament to attend a question and answer session with local businesses . The main key difficulty that the emplyers quoted was that of difficulty in hiring skilled staff.

I have subsequently been invited it attend another event to be hosted by our own MP for those who run businesses and I also will be interested to hear his comments.

Chris Loder MP has written of his concern about the state of class rooms in Dorset , in particular classrooms which were installed decades ago on a temporary basis, which are still being used. This is an issue that I will continue to discuss with Andrew Parry the Dorset Councillor portfolio holder for education and children’s services.

Many of you  will recall that a couple of years ago Dorset Councillor Andrew Parry attended a Broadwindsor Group Parish Council meeting and is portfolio holder for children education and skills, vulnerable  families in Dorset are benefitting from a Government grant. Dorset Council will be receiving funds from the Governments Supporting Families Programme which will assist with this.
I would like to quote Andrew’s words:

The Supporting Families funded work in Dorset has helped us transform the lives of some of our most vulnerable children , young people and their families.

Best regards to you all

Councillor Simon Christopher
Dorset Councillor Marshwood Vale
077988 33715


Chris Loder MP – Highest Expenses Again!

When he was elected in December 2019, Mr Loder’s claims were the lowest of the five Dorset MPs.  Last year Chris Loder claimed higher business costs and expenses than any other new MP during the the 2019-20 financial year, costing the taxpayer around £71,000.

This year, West Dorset MP Chris Loder claimed £256,176 in expenses last year, figures reported yesterday by Dorset Echo & Bridport News’ digital reporter Sam Greaseley-Machin – the eighth highest amount.

That is £52,296 more than the average £203,880 claim from March 2020-March 2021.

  • South Dorset MP Richard Drax‘s claim was among the lower end nationally at £173,907.63 – around £159,000 of that being staff costs.
  • North Dorset’s Simon Hoare claimed £212,892.94.
  • MP for mid-Dorset and North Poole, Michael Tomlinson claimed £217,449.59.

Mr Loder, whose claim was made up of office, staff, travel and accommodation costs –

You can determine how finanacially prudent Chris Loder MP has been and view further details HERE on the IPSA website. The IPSA is the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, the independent body that regulates and administers the business costs and decides the pay and pensions of the 650 elected MPs and their staff in the UK.

Chris Loder MP claimed £256,176 in expenses. This is while our country was in Lockdown.  This is in addition to his £81,932 salary as of 2020.

Any questions?

Please contact CHRIS LODER MP, our representative for West Dorset:


Photo: Dorset Echo.


Cllr. Simon Christopher’s Report – Jan 2022

Cllr. Simon Christopher submitted the following report at this evening’s Informal Meeting of the Group Parish Council:

Dear Helen and Councillors,

A Happy New Year to you all.

As I write this it has been announced that there have now been in excess of 150,000 Covid deaths.

Despite the current HM Government advice, which continues to restrict normal living whether through advice to work from home , the wearing of masks in certain places or indeed the predominance of virtual meeting as opposed to face to face meetings there appears to be light at the end of the tunnel. This takes many forms, whether through Melplash show planning their AGM and also the Annual Dinner to tour operators for overseas travel reporting bookings returning to normal.

Clearly the vast majority of us want a return to normality as soon possible.

Before I set out the latest Covid news and report on other matters I want to write about road safety.  I have to comment that there can be few things more harrowing to receive than a road safety report after a fatality . The reports give details of road circumstances weather conditions on how an accident is perceived to have occurred and is completed after work undertaken by both Dorset Police and the Dorset Road Safety expert . I know from my discussions with our MP Chris Loder , that he is truly shocked at the number of fatalities and serious injuries as a result of accidents on the roads of Dorset.

I continue to liaise with the road safety expert at Dorset Council but also with our MP in connection with road safety, whether in connection with speed limits, speed cameras, additional payments and appropriate work on road surfaces. Particular roads of concern include Broadwindsor to Drimpton and sections of the B3165 . I have met with the safety officer prior to Christmas and have a virtual catch-up meeting on Monday 10 January .

You will see that this is continuing work and in addition to the work agreed to be instigated following the meeting with Councillor Leader, Councillor Huges and the Highways safety officer and myself, as Dorset Councillor, in November 2021.

The November 2022 meeting subsequently led to the following written commitment from the Highways Safely Officer:

Dear Cllr Christopher,

Further to our recent meeting I can confirm that we will be putting in various lining as set out below.

On Common Hill additional slow markings with yellow bars and also edge lining.

On the B3163 close to the cricket ground extras slow marking with yellow bars.

On the approach from Salway Ash extra slow markings with yellow bar markings.

I have spoken to Rob Camp regarding the SID (Speed Indicator Device) and hopefully delivery will be soon and I have given you Helen Jackson in the LTP Team as your contact to discuss possible footway link to the cricket pitch.

We will be out to mark up the various lining etc but I cannot promise when it will be done as salt is being laid on the road due to the weather so it is likely to be well into the new year but we will ask for the work to be done as soon as possible.

Any other queries please do not hesitate to come back to me.

Clearly, I will be keeping up my work with the Highway Safety Officer in the above and other areas.


In the same way that there is concern about the financial viability of shops, retail units and pubs, there is also concern about the financial viability of farming operations.

There is, and always has been in my time as Local Authority Councillor some speculation about the Dorset Council Farms Estate. Regardless of this, what we do know is that there may never have been a greater time of change for the farming industry than now. The reason I devote so much of this report to Agriculture in this January 2022 report is a result of the following.

  1.  The lack of Dorset Council meetings since the last BGPC meeting, In the interim our waste collection service has, I believe, continued to perform very well.
  2. The importance that I am sure we place on the appearance of the country side and the survival of small family farms in particular.

Following our departure from the EU the Marshwood Vale farmers and indeed Dorset Council tenant farmers and farmers across the Country are impacted by the introduction of a new farming policy under the Agriculture Act 2020.

There is huge concentration on key farming issues succession , capital investment and profitability . Few farmers will be unaware that half of their Basic Payment Scheme ie BPS money will no longer be available by 2024. This is I would argue a man concern of the farming community .As farmers seek to diversify this will have an impact on all of our residents . Other uncertainties include whether relatively high sales prices that have prevailed in many ( but not all ) sectors will continue. if consumers change their buying habits post pandemic . There is also the requirement to be legally compliant and to address environmental issues especially climate change.

One of the greatest concerns is for small farms and tenanted farms, in particular it is my understanding that approximately 50 per cent of land is farmed by tenant farmers (including of course the tenants of the Dorset Council farm’s estate.) My concern is based on the fact that BPS is being gradually reduced this has been hugely important to all active farmers and that tenant farmers should not be excluded from receiving agri- environmental subsidies.

For those farmers amongst you there should be a concern that safeguards that exist for those who rent under the Agricultural Holdings Act 1986 should extend to Farm Business Tenancies such that tenants will not be prevented by landlords from accessing the schemes.

I will detail the concern. There are three proposed ELM (Environmental Land Management) schemes and in respect of the first 2 of them there are uncertainties as to the extent to which tenant farmers will benefit. The reasons for the uncertainties with respect to the first 2 schemes involve

1 ) The Local Nature Recovery Scheme, which will not be widely available until 2024,  that amongst other things, encourages farmers to create new habitats and plant trees.

2) The Lanscape Recovery Scheme which seeks a more dramatic approach assisting farmers and land owners who manage 500 to 5000 hectares (and note hectares not acres) and so only benefiting larger agricultural concerns.

3) The sustainable Farming Incentive which will fund sustainable farming practices and should be widely available.

You may wish to contact your Member of Parliament to address any particular concern you may have for the future of the countryside and indeed family farms. There are a great many who are uncertain about the future prospects for farming and would welcome clarification of eligibility, rules and payment rates for schemes 1 and 2 above.


The portfolio holder responsible for buses is continuing his work (and this is a non-exhaustive list:) following on from the submission of the Bus Service Improvement Plan (BSIP) in October2021

  1.  The launch of the statutory consultation on the Enhanced Partnership Plan
  2. The legal framework through which Dorset Council will deliver the BSIP.

Before I consider these 2 points, I will repeat what the Bus Service Improvement Plan seeks to achieve

a) buses being a more attractive mode of transport for customers
b) bus journeys being more affordable
c) bus services timetables and journeys being easier to use
d) journey times being shorter
e) services being more reliable
f) buses being greener ie more environmentally friendly

The Enhanced Partnership Plan and scheme document has to be produced by 31 March 2022 and is the means by which the BSIP will be delivered. It follows a statutory process defined in the Bus Services Act 2017 and updated in the light of the National Bus Strategy.

Work on the Enhanced Partnership is continuing though there is no definite date by which the Department for Transport will respond to the request for £92million of funding both capital and revenue within the submitted BSIP .

The Enhanced Partnership Plan high level vision will have objectives which is expected to closely follow the Bus Service Improvement Plan. It is expected that the Enhanced Partnership scheme will set out the precise details of how the Bus Service Improvement Plan vision and objectives will be achieved . These details will include any commitment made by the Local Transport Authority and standards to be met bus operators.

The legal framework mentioned in (2) above will include governance and user representation.

Town and Parish councils have I understand been invited to stakeholder meetings next week.

If there are any issues arising, please e mail me.


Following the consultation last year, Dorset Council continue to gather information to inform the proposals for the plan. This will involve consideration of national planning policy including the NPPF (National Planning Policy Framework) and the expected housing need for the County. The Local Plan is an important document as it will assist in the delivery of appropriate housing facilities and employment in the long period to 2038.

Dorset Council is aiming to publish the final draft, which will be available for comments in the middle of this year. The timescale then on is for the comments on the final draft to be considered prior to submission to a planning inspector in the Autumn of this year. If all these dates are adhered to public examination will then follow on from the comments of the planning inspectorate in 2023 with adoption in late 2023.

Here is the latest Covid information

Published: 7 January 2022

This week’s overview

Case rates have continued to rise quickly over the past week across Dorset Council and Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole Council, and remain higher than at any other point during the pandemic. Infection rates are very high across the country.

In Dorset we have started to see hospitalisations related to COVID-19 rise, up to 74 from 55 in a week. Our hospitals and other critical services are also under increasing pressure due to staff absences related to COVID-19. The number of deaths related to COVID-19 has remained relatively stable and continue to be much lower than during previous waves of the pandemic.

Testing remains key to stopping the spread and protecting others. If you have any symptoms of COVID-19, you must get a PCR test and self-isolate whilst waiting for the result. Lateral flow tests should be used by anyone without symptoms, particularly before meeting others – if you get a positive test, you must log the result and follow self-isolation guidance. Most people no longer need to get a PCR test to confirm a positive lateral flow test.

Getting vaccinated is the best way to protect yourself from serious illness caused by COVID-19. As well as people getting boosted, it’s been great to see people in Dorset coming forward for their first and second doses in recent weeks, and we’d urge anyone who hasn’t yet had their jabs to come forward. There are plenty of opportunities to get vaccinated in Dorset.

Latest data

The visualisation below shows the seven-day case rate, people in hospital beds and deaths for the latest data periods available. There can be a time lag to allow us to report the most complete data. We provide this local update weekly, but you can find information daily on the UK Health Security Agency data page.

N.B. the dip in the number of hospital beds occupied by COVID-19 patients on 28 November is due to missing data for one of the hospital trusts.


Summary of the most recent data:

  • 7 day case rates per 100,000
    • BCP: 1,406.6 (compared to 1,087.9 in last update on 31 December)
    • Dorset: 1,190.1 (compared to 783.1 in last update on 31 December)
  • Confirmed cases in last 7 days
    • BCP: 5,584 (compared to 4,319 in last update on 31 December
    • Dorset: 4,521 (compared to 2,974 in last update on 31 December)
  • Current COVID-19 patients in hospital beds in Dorset: 74 (compared to 55 in last update on 31 December)


Many of you will have read reports that the Dorset Council tax budget could have been worse. In fact, Council Tax will be determined at a full council meeting in February 2022. Dorset Counci has been helped by larger than expected settlement from the Government although only for one year. I thought I would share with you some thoughts on additional Government funding. First of all, the extra funding will assist with our perceived budget in circumstances where income has been reduced as a consequence of Covid whether reduced income associated with property or through reduced use of paid for services eg reduced income from leisure centres The Council should then reflect on allocating further funds to assist with housing delivery .The Council is under an obligation to fund work to prepare for the social care market reforms In addition, funds should be earmarked for social care demand and inflationary pressures next year.
Best regards,
Simon Christopher
Dorset Councillor Marshwood Vale
077988 33715


#NoChildLeftBehind – Email Your MP

Incredible as it may sound, 4,165 children in West Dorset are trapped in poverty. That equates to 28%. That also doesn’t include the figures for 2021. No Child Left Behind have launched their campaign and to date, at the time of publishing, our local representative in Parliament, Conservative MP for Dorset, Chris Loder has NOT yet taken the following pledge:

As a member of Parliament, I pledge to do everything in my power so that no child is left behind in West Dorset:

  • I call for the development of a cross-Government strategy to eradicate the poverty faced by the 4.3 million children currently growing up trapped in poverty.
  • I will use my vote and voice in Parliament to try to stop an expected 730,000 more children being plunged into poverty by 2024.

We must value and invest in all our children, so they are supported to learn, succeed, and go on to have bright futures.

 What to write?  An example email is provided HERE at the No Child Left Behind website.

The No Child Left Behind campaign is fighting to break down the barriers poverty puts up around equal access to education.

Please visit for further information.


Chris Loder MP Responds Via Social Media

West Dorset MP, Chris Loder turned to social media to put his response to why he voted against Amendment 45, allowing raw sewage to be dumped into our rivers (read more HERE).  His reply read:

“Last week, I voted to put a duty on water companies to monitor water quality upstream and downstream of storm overflow which they don’t do today, as part of the Environment Bill. This will also give the government the power to direct water companies who fail to provide or adhere to management plans designed to reduce the release of raw sewage in storm overflows. It’s a major step forward and a huge improvement on what is in place today.
But why can’t we just ban this practice straightaway?… Sewage discharge into our water courses has occurred for many years. I despise it, but it is important for us to understand what would happen if we completely banned it with no emergency outlet.
Such discharge typically occurs when existing infrastructure isn’t sufficient to cope with surface water run-off during periods of heavy rain. The whole reason the emergency system of storm outflows exist is to prevent dirty water from entering properties or contaminating drinking water supplies, which when we have a Victorian water system built for a much smaller population, we have a pressure point.
If the vote went through as it was, this amendment would have likely forced complete renewal, costing billions of pounds which would have forced many water companies into bankruptcy, with a considerable cost to each of us.
My vote in the House of Commons was to improve the accountability of water companies to the British people, and to improve water quality for the benefit of everyone through forcing careful planning and long-term improvement to our sewage infrastructure.
But I do agree that more could have been done which is one of the reasons I hope that MPs lobbying behind the scenes will go to clamp down very hard, especially if it is found that water companies are discharging unnecessarily.

It is also worth everyone noting that Parliament is doing its work and this Environment Bill has not completed its legislative path through parliament yet and it will likely have further improvements as it completes its legislative process and becomes law.”



Chris Loder MP Allows Raw Sewage Dumping Into Our Rivers

While the U.K. prepares to host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) in Glasgow on 31 October, last week MPs voted on Amendment 45.

“Lords’ Amendment 45 to the Environment Bill would have placed a legal duty on water companies in England and Wales “to make improvements to their sewerage systems and demonstrate progressive reductions in the harm caused by discharges of untreated sewage.”

“Despite the horrendous environmental impact of the disgusting practice, shortly before the vote, the Conservative Environment Secretary George Eustice recommended to his fellow MPs that they should reject it.”

“And, owing largely to the government’s 80 seat majority, the amendment was indeed defeated – by a margin of 268 MPs to 204.”



West Country Bylines published an article two days ago with the following information from Evolve.  They extracted the names of those MPs in our region whose vote was against the Amendment.  Chris Loder MP was one who voted against the Amendment.


Those who voted against the Amendment:

  • Steve Double – St Austell
  • George Eustice – Camborne and Redruth
  • Liam Fox – North Somerset
  • Marcus Fysh – Yeovil
  • James Heappey – Wells
  • Simon Jupp – East Devon

Chris Loder – West Dorset

  • Cherilyn Mackrory – Truro and Falmouth
  • Anthony Mangnall – Totnes
  • Scott Mann – North Cornwall
  • Anne Marie Morris – Newton Abbot
  • Sheryll Murray – South East Cornwall
  • Neil Parish – Tiverton and Honiton
  • John Penrose – Weston-super-Mare
  • Rebecca Powe – Taunton Deane
  • Jacob Rees-Mogg – North East Somerset
  • Selaine Saxby – North Devon
  • Gary Streeter – South West Devon
  • Mel Stride – Central Devon
  • Robert Syms – Poole
  • Michael Tomlinson – Mid Dorset and North Poole
  • David Warburton – Somerton and Frome


Those who voted against Raw Sewage Dumping:

  • Ben Bradshaw, Labour – Exeter
  • Simon Hoare, Conservative – North Dorset
  • Luke Pollard, Labour – Plymouth Sutton and Devonport
  • Derek Thomas, Conservative – St Ives


The full list of MPs (all Conservative) and how they voted can be found HERE. If you do not see your MP’s name, they did not vote.



Cllr. Simon Christopher’s Report On Common Water Lane – Sept 21

At Monday night’s Group Parish Council meeting, Cllr. Simon Christopher delivered 3 separate reports: a general one, one on Waste Management (Click HERE) and this one – on Common Water Lane:

Dear Councillors and Helen

I thought I would send you a separate report in respect of Common Water Lane for Helen to distribute please.

Earlier this Summer I met with a solicitor at a practice that I have worked with for almost 30 years. The solicitor in question is a specialist in public rights of way and access to land.

I took this decision as I am clearly not the font of all knowledge on these matters and would be beneficial in an attempt to move matters forward and the meeting and written advice to me would not involve a cost to the parish council. It was said of him in the Chambers UK solicitors guide that: “His knowledge on public rights of way is vast“.

His is also honorary adviser to the Green Lane Environmental Action Group  (Until April of this year Prince Philip was Patron of this organisation). Within the legal directory , the Legal 500 he is considered “an industry leader in his own area of expertise public and private rights of way and access to land and leaving no stone unturned”.

I was advised by the solicitor that the power to  a Traffic Regulation Order exists under the Road Traffic Act 1984 and Regulations made under Statutory Instrument 1996/2489.

The question arose as to whether it would be appropriate to make a TRO while allowing private access. The power exists to do so if Dorset Council accept that any one or mor of the of the specific powers listed in as 1(1) of the 1984 Act applies to the Lane. From the explanations that I gave he concluded that those powers or at least those first six powers listed in section 1(1) of the 1984 Act do apply there should it his opinion be no issue that a TRO would be appropriate.

I have to say at this point that as a Dorset Councillor I commented that the present position is in my opinion unsustainable and needs urgent control. We concluded that for the same reason that it is both appropriate and a priority there can be no doubt about necessity.  We then went on to discuss the physical possibility of installing barriers , which prevent unauthorised use but which allow private access to land and property served by the Lane but also public non vehicular use, principally on horseback and on foot.  The solicitor after considerable comment about the benefits to adjoining land owners and local residents, horse riders and walkers  then examined what the thoughts of more learned persons at Dorset Council might be if the struggle is continued!!!

His opinion was that Dorset Council would no doubt want/ need to make 3 specific assessments as to:

  1. What is precisely the current highway status of the Lane?
  2. As to what is its true legal width?
  3. What private rights can be shown to exists?

With respect to the first assessment it was the opinion of the solicitor that “the likely answer  was that the status of the Lane is an Unclassified Road (UCR) – probably no surprises for the reader there it may he said have been a RUPP (Road Used as a Public Path) in 1949, but others may be able shed light on this.

One of the more interesting points to observe is that the solicitor did point out that even if the Lane is a Unclassified Road there is, in his opinion , “no guarantee that public vehicular access exists in a UCR. It depends upon an assessment of all the available evidence of status , as to what the public status is.“  Further he added “One needs to be absolutely sure about this question of status before proceeding.

That research would need to include research of such things as The Object Names Book, The Finance Act 1910, map and book entries, the Handover Map 1929 , the list of streets and the Definitive Map and parish survey . It may also be necessary to go back further , to tithe records and inclosure records

With respect to the second assessment he added: “The width of a highway is  a notoriously difficult question to be sure of. Put simply , the width will encompass not only the metalled strip down the middle but also the verges wall to wall as it were, BUT the latter point is not certain and depends upon whether the boundary features in question which bound the Lane were put in by reference to the highway or for other purposes

With respect to the third assessment:  “Private rights will normally benefit all properties and fields having access off the Lane.  The rights will either be expressly contained in the deeds of the property or field and or have arisen by long use . If the latter the purposes will be only be for the purpose for which it was exercised during the long use period . Thus for houses the private right will normally be for residential purposes only; for agricultural property normally for  agricultural purposes only”.

He essentially finished his advice by adding that the spending of public money will be a key factor in Dorset Councils decision making process!

I look forward to meeting with, perhaps, a working party of parish councillors to discuss further if you decide this is appropriate.  Clearly to arrive at a satisfactory position in respect to the Lane is even more difficult than I might have thought!

Best regards


Simon Christopher
Dorset Councillor Marshwood Vale
077988 33715

Edited by: Wendy Shields.


Cllr. Simon Christopher’s Report On Waste Management – Sept 21

Following Dorset Council‘s announcement last week about the difficulties they are having, mainly due to the national HGV driver shortage, Dorset Cllr. Simon Christopher issued this report at Monday night’s BWGPC meeting:

Dear Councillors

Having supplied  a report devoted to Common Water Lane, I now report separately on a most important matter. Central to the work of Dorset Council is the collection of waste.  The National lorry driver shortage is impacting on kerbside collections and litter bin emptying across Dorset.

Indeed the effects of the National HGV driver shortage added to the continuing impact of Covid are starting to be felt across Dorset Council’s waste services as collection rounds feel the strain.

As recently reported in the National  the impact of the driver shortage is being felt by councils across the county . In Dorset some crews are regularly having to work overtime and often at weekends, which is not sustainable. These pressures come on the back of a year of increased household waste amounts as more people have been working from home.

Dorset Council Senior officers recently briefed local MPs on the issues currently impacting Waste collections , street cleansing and bin deliveries in the hope that a long term solution can be found.

Recruitment of drivers in Dorset has always been challenging particularly due to high local housing costs but the current wide scale staff shortages across all depots are unprecedented. The Council currently has multiple vacancies and drivers and Loders across their waste team, along with some absence due to sickness and others on planned annual leave.

All employees across waste services  are working hard to ensure that key waste services continue to run throughout this challenging time.

Dorset Council are having to temporarily suspend or delay some garden waste collections so that crews can be ready deployed to support vital rubbish food and recycling collections.

If any garden waste collections have to be cancelled stood down Dorset Council will automatically apply a discount to next years subscription fee.

Litter bins are being emptied less frequently in some parts of the county and new bin deliveries are also being delayed.

Councillor Jill Haynes portfolio holder for Customer and Community Services has said  “We are proud to provide one of the best kerbside collection services in the Country under normal circumstances . Bit I’m afraid the current situation is both unprecedented and un sustainable”.

Council Haynes has added   “While we will continue to ensure that Dorset’s waste is dealt with as best as we can there and do whatever is necessary to address local concerns we need actions to be taken by central government to address the National drivers shortage and help to mitigate the continuing effects of the pandemic”.

I want to thank the hard working waste services crews and admin  staff , who are doing a brilliant job  under very different circumstances “.

I also want to thank the people of Dorset for their patience and understanding as we tackle the issues at hand, most of which are outside of our control “.

Rather than continuing the commentary I would ask that you please e mail if you have queries for me to answer. If I do not know the answer myself I will contact the portfolio holder, the excellent Councillor Jill Haynes!

Best regards


Councillor Simon Christopher
Dorset Councillor Marshwood Vale
077988 33715

Edited by: Wendy Shields.

Read Cllr. Simon Christopher’s Report on Common Water Lane by clicking HERE.