19 March 2019Make a change; become a parish councillor

Brean Parish Council is calling on residents, passionate about their community to stand in the local elections in 2019.

What do councillors do?

Councillors are the champions of their community and give residents a voice on the decisions the council makes. Becoming a councillor will allow you to make a real difference in your community by engaging with residents, local groups and businesses to find out their needs; making decisions on which services and projects the council should take forward; and getting involved locally to ensure the services are meeting your community’s needs.

How long does it take?

The National Association of Local Councils (NALC) Local Councillor Census Survey found that councillors put aside, on average, three hours a week for council work. This often includes attending meetings, engaging with residents and speaking on behalf of the council to other bodies.

Can I stand?

There are only a few rules to stand for election. You must be:

A British citizen, or a citizen of the Commonwealth, or the European Union

18 years of age or older

Live in an area that is served by a local council

How can I get involved?

Contact the Clerk of Brean Parish Council at breanparishcouncil@gmail.com or 07341 977235 to find out more or visit www.nalc.gov.uk/elections

You can also find more information and download candidate packs at https://www.sedgemoor.gov.uk/article/3271/Standing-as-a-candidate-May-2019

11 March 2019Revised waste collections 2019

11 March 2019Great Weston Ride 2019

11 March 2019Council tax news from Sedgemoor District Council

With annual council tax bills due to land on doormats across Sedgemoor from 11th March, Sedgemoor District Council is warning residents that this is the time of year when scammers can target people. 

One current scam that has been brought to the district council’s attention is from a company claiming to be called ‘claimers’ who call on behalf of Sedgemoor District Council and ask for £95 to lower your Council Tax banding.  Council Tax bands are set by the Valuation Office Agency and can only be changed under certain conditions. Details can be found at www.gov.uk/council-tax-appeals. You will not be charged for the service.

If you are struggling to pay your Council Tax bill and need help, speak with a member of the Council Tax Team on who will be able to offer help and advice on 0300 303 7801.

Council Tax  - Single Person Discounts

Across the country, The National Fraud Authority estimates fraudulent single person discounts cost councils and taxpayers over £92m a year.

Continuing the crackdown on fraud, Sedgemoor District Council will be running checks to make sure that people claiming a single person's discount on their council tax bill are claiming legitimately.

In Sedgemoor, there are approximately 17,000 people who claim the discount. Sedgemoor District Council is checking by cross-referencing with other sources of information about their household by using sophisticated data matching technology.   Fraud investigation is carried out within data protection and GDPR regulations.

Currently a 25% discount, ranging from a minimum of £195.25 a year and up to a maximum of £754.25, is given to persons stating they are living in a property on their own. If the checks indicate that another adult is living at the address, the discount will be withdrawn.

Residents who are genuinely claiming the discount have nothing to worry about, but anyone found to be deliberately misleading the Council could face a fine and legal action. There is an on-line form at https://www.sedgemoor.gov.uk/article/1805/Discounts where people can apply for this discount.

Contact numbers for members of the public to report any concerns 0300 303 7801.

11 March 2019Cheaper than a trip to the tip – Garden Waste collections

With the lighter evenings, gardeners are no doubt planning their gardening year ahead and itching to get out into their gardens.  Garden Waste collection is a service on offer in Sedgemoor could be blooming useful.  The fast, clean and cheap alternative is a subscription to Sedgemoor District Council's garden waste collection service.

You get a roomy wheeled bin that is easy to fill as you walk it around your garden, saving time and energy going back and forth.  The bin holds your garden waste neatly in a corner; no more messy piles of leaves blowing in the wind.  Wheel your bin outside for the fortnightly collection, leaving you to sit back and smell the roses instead of using fuel and time going to the recycling centre.  They collect flowers, plants, grass cuttings, leaves, hedge trimmings, weeds and even branches up to four inches across and compost them in Somerset.

Sedgemoor District Council is inviting residents to sign up to garden waste collections in time for the spring.  At a cost of £56.90 per year, those signing up to the scheme will receive 25 collections a year.  The scheme encourages residents to recycle their garden waste.

Customers signing up have the option of receiving a green wheelie bin for their garden waste or garden waste sacks at a cost of £28.40 for 10 bags.  Letters are now being sent to more than 10,000 current customers inviting them to renew their subscriptions, which start in April.  Customers considering joining up can telephone 0300 303 7800 to order and pay.

Having your garden waste collected can save time and fuel and can prevent mess in your car.  Every bit of Sedgemoor’s garden waste is turned into Revive soil conditioner.

Alongside a garden waste collection, home composting is a great way to turn your clippings and pruning’s, plus fruit and vegetable peelings and even shredded cardboard, into free soil conditioner. Low-cost compost bins can be purchased through Somerset Waste Partnership at www.somersetwaste.gov.uk

18 February 2019Will you stand for it? - Becoming a councillor

Local parish and district elections are taking place in May 2019 so this is the ideal time to begin to think about getting involved. 

Have you ever thought about standing for election as a Brean Parish Councillor or Sedgemoor District Council Councillor?  With the local parish and district elections taking place in 2019 this is the ideal time to begin to think about getting involved.

Anyone can be a councillor. Your background, qualifications and occupation are not important. All that matters is that you have a keen interest in your local community, can spare some time and are passionate about making a difference in Brean. Support is available to help people carry out their duties and a financial allowance (as a district councillor only) is payable to meet costs incurred.

Contact the clerk for further information if you are interested: breanparishcouncil@gmail.com or 07341 977235

18 February 2019Beware of renewable energy scame

Many of us aim to be more eco-friendly. One way to do this is to use renewable energy, for instance by installing solar panels or switching to a green energy supplier. However, alongside many legitimate schemes and home products, there are fraudsters using the cover of renewable energy to steal your money or personal or financial information.  

If you are thinking about switching to renewable energy, follow this checklist:

  • Research the market. Don’t be tempted by a seemingly unbeatable deal from a doorstep trader, mailshot or cold phone call. 
  • Never be rushed or intimidated into making a decision. The choice of suppliers is growing so take time to shop around for the right deal.
  • If you receive a cold phone call tempting you to invest in renewable energy, don’t give any personal or financial information. Put the phone down.
  • If you want to switch energy supplier, use the Citizens Advice comparison tool at energycompare.citizensadvice.org.uk or call 03454 040506 to find the best genuine deal.
  • Before signing anything, read the terms and conditions and make sure you know what you are signing up to. Ask a trusted friend for help if you need it.
  • Ask friends and family for advice and recommendations on renewable energy.
  • Use a scheme or association to find reliable businesses. For example:
    • Find local, trustworthy businesses through the Buy With Confidence scheme. All businesses in the scheme are vetted, approved and monitored by Trading Standards. Visit buywithconfidence.gov.uk or call 01392 383430.
    • Or use a business that’s a member of an appropriate trade association for example the Renewable Energy Consumer Code (RECC) or the Renewable Energy Association (REA). These specialise in renewables and members must stick to their codes of practice. If a trader says they are a member of an association, check this is true.

If you are worried you have bought into a scam of any kind:

  • Get advice from Citizens Advice on 03454 040506
  • Report it to Action Fraud on 0300 123 2040

Did you know? Switching to green energy doesn’t mean all the electricity coming into your home will be green. You’ll still receive the same energy (including renewable) as everyone else. However, it does help increase the amount of green energy in the National Grid.

This article has been written by Devon, Somerset and Torbay Trading Standards Service https://www.devonsomersettradingstandards.gov.uk/

 

 

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