A weekly column is written by the Leader of Mendip District Council, Cllr Ros Wyke, and contains her personal views.
The columns are published every Thursday in the Somerset Series newspaper group, and here on the Council's website. Previous editions are also featured online.
Cllr Wyke welcomes your views. If there is something you'd like her to cover in her column please email.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org
It was lovely to see the Mendips featured on this week's Countryfile on BBC1. What a beautiful part of the world we are lucky enough to live in! The downside of this of course is that so many people (and their cars!) are attracted to these beauty spots, posing a significant threat to the delicate ecosystems and ecologies.
I don't want to spend too long dwelling on what I know are such challenging and worrying times for all of us, but rather take the opportunity to signpost you to different sources of guidance, support and information. There's lots of help out there.
No doubt this week you'll have been busy boxing up the decorations and storing them away for another year. Let's hope next time we dust off those baubles and tinsel, and put up a Christmas tree, we'll be in a much happier place.
I recently heard a great term to describe the days between Christmas and New Year - Chrimbo Limbo. If you're struggling to know what day it is, this will probably resonate with you! I hope you had a good Christmas and managed to see loved ones, even if it was at a distance.
With the news of more government restrictions upon us, many are understandably upset that they might not be able to spend Christmas with their loved ones. The festive holiday season can be an extremely difficult time for people who fall on harder times or who don't have family or a support network close by to them.
It's been such a tough year for everyone so we are trying to help where we can. Starting from today, Thursday 17th December, all Mendip-owned car parks will be free up to, and including, Christmas Eve.
Those of you who regularly read this column, will know how important protecting our natural environment is to me and to Mendip District Council. I know it concerns many of you too as I frequently receive emails and phone calls about it. Indeed, one of our major priorities at Mendip is to deliver on our climate and ecological commitments.
I am a firm believer that in order to get stuff done - whether that's to improve the energy efficiency of our homes to reduce climate change, or to support our communities during this global pandemic - we need to work together.
The pandemic has meant many of you will have been spending more time in the home or garden. As a consequence, you may have caught the DIY bug, or tackled that long list of jobs you've been putting off.
As we find ourselves in the middle of another national lockdown, this week I wanted to make sure that all local businesses know that there is financial support available. Central government has again given district councils the responsibility to issue new national grants to support local businesses.
As the evenings draw in and the days and nights get decidedly chillier, we were pleased to launch a 'warmer homes' initiative to tackle fuel poverty in Mendip.
Every time I drive through Rodney Stoke - the neighbouring village to where I live in Westbury-sub-Mendip - I am reminded of the notion of a 'Thankful Village.' You can't miss it. They proudly state this on the signage.
With the children off school this week for half-term, Halloween and firework season is upon us already.
Many people are surprised to learn that nearly 40 percent of Mendip residents live in a rural setting. With this in mind, I wanted to talk to you about parish councils and the important role they play serving their local - and rural - communities.
I know many of you are watching the increasing rates of covid infections across the UK. The cases are rising locally in Mendip too unfortunately. We're all, understandably, concerned for what the coming weeks and months could bring.
Last week at a meeting of the Mendip District Full Council, we gave an update on our actions to combat climate change. Since taking over the administration, in May 2019, fighting climate change is something we've been taking very seriously.
Those of you who are interested in all things planning-related will have seen that central government is set to bring in changes to the planning system over the coming months. From what I understand, the main aim of these changes is to support developers and to increase housing stock.
Across our district, for a variety of different reasons, there are people who live on the roadside in vans and caravans. These communities occupy County Council-owned land and roads, and so it is Somerset County Council are responsible for any enforcement action.
I know many of you are keen recyclers and will be glad to hear that as of next month, the variety of items collected from our houses for recycling will be increased. Plastic pots, tubs and trays, food and drink cartons and small household electricals and batteries will now be collected.
As the season changes and autumn evenings draw in, what better time to start thinking about how to make our homes more energy efficient?
Today I am covering an item many of you may have heard or read about - the future of local government in Somerset.
Ask any Councillor what topic has featured heavily in their inboxes in recent weeks, and they'll most likely reply 're-wilding'. Re-wilding is when you leave areas of land to grow unmanaged in order to allow wildlife, especially bees and other pollinators, to flourish.
Hello, I'm Ros Wyke and I'm the leader of Mendip District Council. I'm really happy to have been invited to write a weekly column in this paper as I'll be able to keep you up to date with current news, issues and developments facing Mendip as a district.