I know from my own ward the tremendous benefits the Village Agents bring. This fantastic service operates in the Chew Valley, Somer Valley, Cam Valley and surrounding villages, as well as Peasedown St John, Combe Down and Foxhill and villages in Bathavon North and South. Village Agents connect people to advice and support and more information can be found on 01275 333 700 or [email protected].

Our area is also fortunate to have such a wide variety of high-quality green spaces. Bath & North East Somerset Council has declared an ecological emergency and I wanted to highlight two projects locally that are involving local people in improving biodiversity and promoting health and wellbeing by connecting local people with their natural environment.

Chew Valley Reconnected aims to connect communities with natural spaces. Its area has important networks of natural and semi-natural areas, including the internationally-designated Chew Valley Lake, providing crucial habitat and wildlife corridors for priority species.

A partnership has been established to co-ordinate projects that will better connect and improve wildlife, water and wellbeing, and address impacts of climate change in the Chew Valley.

Somer Valley Rediscovered includes Radstock, Midsomer Norton, Westfield, Paulton and Peasedown St John and surrounding countryside and smaller villages, an area that has a proud history of coal mining. The project has been awarded funding from the West of England Combined Authority to restore key habitats and improve access for local people at Haydon Batch. Waterside Valley, Midsomer Norton Town Park, Wellow Brook Walk, and Staddlestones.

The team have organised a number of walks, events and volunteering opportunities so people can get involved in the project. In addition, the upcoming Somer Valley Walking Festival on 9th and 10th September aims to encourage local people and visitors to explore the local countryside. The Festival’s events are all free and this year sees a family-friendly pram walk from Midsomer Norton, along with the ever-popular long walk alongside the Somersetshire Coal Canal. For more information please see www.somervalleyrediscovered.co.uk

Finally, it would be remiss of me not to mention that Bath’s Clean Air Zone (CAZ) is continuing to improve air quality with a decreasing trend in nitrogen dioxide concentrations across the city. It’s heartening to see also clear indications that the clean air zone is working to improve air quality across the area, not just within the zone.

Air pollution is a significant risk to people’s health, which is why the Government directed us to implement the CAZ.

It was the first to be launched outside London and works to reduce pollution in Bath by levying a £9 or £100 a day charge on anyone driving a chargeable higher emission vehicle in the zone. This excludes private cars and motorcycles which are not charged.

Any revenue over and above the operating cost will be spent on supporting sustainable transport projects or schemes which contribute towards improvements to air quality.