The next meetings will be at 8pm on Monday 8th July and 'provisionally' Tuesday 6th August at the Stonewater Common Room. All residents welcome (but please let us know ahead of the date if you're coming)!!

Friday, 30 March 2018

Garden Waste ... 'Extra' during April

South Oxfordshire and Vale of White Horse district councils are giving those who are part of the paid-for service the opportunity to put out the equivalent of one extra bin’s worth of garden waste (around three large bin bags) during:

• week commencing 9th April – South Oxfordshire
• week commencing 16th April  – Vale of White Horse

Residents should leave their extra garden waste out in bin liners or sacks beside their brown bins on their usual collection day during these weeks.  Trade waste bags will not be accepted

Cllr Elizabeth Gillespie, cabinet member for housing and environment at South Oxfordshire District Council, said: “The garden waste service is very popular. We are glad that we are able to offer extra help at this time of year when people clear their gardens after winter.  We’d like to encourage everyone to make use of the extra collection.”

Cllr Elaine Ware, cabinet member for housing and environment at Vale of White Horse District Council, said: “After the Easter bank holidays is a good time to give residents this extra service and we hope they find it helpful.  It’s a perfect opportunity to get their gardens ready for summer.”

See garden waste - south or garden waste - vale for more information.

** Please note that boxes and bags left on the extra garden waste days are at the residents own discretion and the council will not replace them if missing or damaged.

Tuesday, 27 March 2018

Easter Waste

As with every bank holiday, Vale of White Horse waste crews will empty bins on a different days.  For information on revised collection days visit the collections page on our website

Residents can recycle Easter egg boxes, plastic inserts and foil wrapping – they all go in the green bin.  Please put recycling in loose or in clear sacks – the waste teams won’t take it away if recycling is not in see-through bags.

In the unlikely case of any leftover chocolate or hot cross buns, use them in recipes on the love food hate waste website or put it in the food waste bin where they be recycled to make green electricity and fertiliser.  Residents can also re-use plastic bags to line food caddies.

Friday, 23 March 2018

Flood Risk Reduction Proposals

There will be a drop in session on Wednesday 28th March 2018 from 2.30pm to 7pm at the Abingdon Community Free Space, 18 Bury Street (shopping precinct), Abingdon where you can talk to members of the Project Team and share your comments.

Plans will be available to view in the same venue from 26th March to 1st April if unable to attend on the 28th.

The Environment Agency, the Vale of the White Horse and Oxfordshire Councils have been working together in looking at reducing any possible future risks.

Thursday, 22 March 2018

Purse Thefts from Town Centre

Over the last three weeks there have been several purse thefts reported in Abingdon town centre, targeting elderly people, and Police advise to be aware, making sure your purse or wallet is out of sight, not to put it in an outer pocket, don't leave your bag unattended, be aware of carrying a backpack and also note who's around you and above all don't write your PIN number down or leave with bank card.  This will all help deter offenders.

For the full report please visit:

Wednesday, 21 March 2018


Regularly voted the nations favourite mammal, but how many of us have seen a wild one?  My interest in Otters has lasted over 30 years.  As a student I volunteered at an Otter sanctuary in Derbyshire and it was here I got to admire this skilful semi-aquatic predator, who also has a playful side, and it was here where I watched the otters who loved sliding down the banks to play in the water.

European otters (Lutra lutra) can live up to 10 years, and have a body length of around 60-80cm and tail length about 32-56cm, with the average weight of 8.2kg for a male and 6.0kg for females.  They have small ears, webbed feet and a streamlined body, and their diet is mainly fish and crustaceans, but they are opportunist feeders also eating birds, molluscs and frogs.  They build an underground holt into the banks of rivers and are often found near water, but do travel on land normally at night and can travel up to 20km in a day.  A female will have one litter a year between May and August of 2-5 cubs.  This was the late 1980s when many of our rivers were highly polluted, but are slowly recovering with stricter pollution control and laws to back them up.  At the time the Otter haven was very excited that they were secretly releasing some captive bred otters into the wild.

When I moved to Oxfordshire 13 years ago, I knew this should be the perfect otter habitat, and I volunteered to do some otter survey work once a month, first on the river Windrush and then at Culham Lock.  This entailed looking for footprints on muddy riverbanks (often confused with dog footprints), you have to look for the distinctive webbing and size, forefoot is about 60mm x 65mm, though juveniles and females have smaller feet.  The more distinctive clue is finding a deposit of faeces (spraints) with a characteristic musky odour.  This is deposited on prominent trees and logs on the river banks, to act as a calling card to mark territories ... and yes, I have collected otter poo!

Unfortunately I never got a positive recording around Culham, though I did get sightings of water voles and mink, though I did hear some rumours of sightings, often by people fishing, and fortunately these rumours are now becoming more factual.  Thirty years on, our rivers are much more cleaner, Otters are no longer persecuted and their numbers are on the increase.  There has been YouTube videos of otters at Radley lake.  When swimming on the surface, they have a distinctive V shaped wake, and when swimming under water, you have to follow the line of bubbles to see where they will break the surface.  Sadly a dead otter was spotted near Didcot in Autumn, killed on a road, one of the biggest causes of death.  However, roadkill is a good method of seeing how animals are dispersing around the country.

I recently contacted the TVERC (Thames Valley Environmental Records Centre) to ask about their most recent data.  They informed me they were definitely on the increase in Oxfordshire, with more sightings on the Thames and River Ock.  In the past I have had to travel to Skye and Devon to see wild otters, often on a dawn morning walk where otters were regularly seen.  It would be a dream come true if I saw a wild otter around Abingdon ... maybe you have been one of the lucky ones that this is a reality.

by Max (the Wildlife Watcher)

Friday, 2 March 2018

Snow Disruptions to Waste Collection

We are expecting some disruption to your waste collections today due to the snow and ice.  It's unlikely that conditions will have improved sufficiently for the crews to catch up tomorrow, so if we aren't able to empty your bins today, please leave them out on Monday and we will try and catch up. If we haven't emptied them by the end of the day on Monday, please bring them back in and we will empty them next time they're due. If this is the case you will be able to leave out extra waste beside your bin if it is full up.

Rogue Traders Operating Abingdon

We have received a number of calls about Rogue Traders offering to work on your driveway because they are working in the Abingdon area.

Put simply, where a service costs over £35, customers have a 7 day cooling off period and must be provided with a written notice of these rights prior to work being started.  Good tradesmen are generally booked up and will not make door to door sales. Reports have included children being used to hand out promotional information as well as pushy tactics on the doorstep.

Please look out for your vulnerable neighbours by reporting suspicious behaviour.

Trading standards can be called on 03454 04 05 06 for advice.  If suspicious people are in the area at the time we would also welcome calls on 101.