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Back together at last

We were pleased to be able to hold our first face to face meeting since February of last year and it was great to see members back together in the same room for a social catch up. For one new member it was his first time meeting people in the flesh, having only been able to get to know people through our regular zoom meetings. They have proved to be a valuable way to keep in touch and we will be continuing with virtual as well as “real” meetings because some members found them really convenient.

The overall message from our get together was that although people had sometimes needed to find different ways of working, their businesses had continued to survive and in some cases actually thrive as the pandemic created changes.

For example Estate Agents have been busy with more people wanting to move out of cities and into more rural areas such as ours. One member who is in the world of IT reported strong demand for his services as there was a rise in home working, more companies taking up card machines for payments spelled good news for another, whilst a third had just shipped a major engineering order to Scandanavia.

It just goes to show what a wide variety of businesses we have in the Chew Valley and the range of skills that are available locally.

But there are challenges ahead, and not just to do with the continued dangers posed by Covid. The Bristol Clean Air Zone is getting ever closer and it is due to come into place next summer. The latest plans show that non compliant vehicles crossing the Cumberland basin and going along the A4 Portway will face a charge even if they don’t enter the congested and polluted City centre. That is likely to mean £9 for pre 2015 diesel cars and pre 2006 petrol cars and up to £100 for large vehicles. It is inevitable many will use unsuitable country lanes to avoid going into the Clean Air Zone.

The concentration of communication and the exemptions are focused on people living or businesses operating in the City of Bristol itself. There is a real danger other people living or working in the Chew Valley may not yet have recognised the potential impact it may have on them. We have already raised the issue with Jacob Rees-Mogg and Kevin Guy, the leader of Bath and North East Somerset Council. We’ll be writing to them again to re-inforce our views. That’s the Chamber in action !

If you’d like to join us in Chew Valley Chamber of Commerce please email or have a look at our website –


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