Forum‎ > ‎Main Meeting Minutes‎ > ‎

April 2003

MINUTES for the Meeting held on Monday, 28th. April 2003, at the Civic Centre, Barnstaple.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Mrs.R.Day, Chairman, (Instow P.C., C.P.R.E.), Mr.T.Pratt, Vice-Chairman, (N.D.Y.C.), Mr.A.Bell, (N.D.C.C.S.), Mr.T.Squire, (N.D.W.S.C.), Mr.J.Daniel, (T.T.Nets), Miss B.Haddrill, (D.W.T.), Mr.J.Ramsden, (N.D.Conservation Society), Capt.P.Fronteras, (Westleigh P.C.), Mr.R.Butler, (U.K.M.A.B.), Mr.P.Hames, (Northam T.C.), Mr.J.S.Seaman, (E.A.), Mr.J.Breeds, (M.o.D.) Mr.J.Hartnoll, (Braunton Marsh Comm.), Mr.L.Oldham, (NDWFC.), Mrs.A.Humphris, Hon.Sec..
Two new Members were welcomed to the Meeting. Mr.J.Turner, (co-ordinator, N.D.D.C.), Mr.S.Wiseman, (H.M.Coastguards).

1. APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE: Mr.J.Hadfield,(Bideford T.C.), Mr.T.Smale, Chief Executive,T.D.C., Mrs.P.Bennett, Mr.P.Mullen, (Fremington P.C.), Mr.N.Rowe, Mrs.S.Sampson, (Ashford P.C.), Mr.T.Jones, (Dev. Birds), Mr.C.Davis, Mr.M.Low, (E.N.), Mrs.P.Ferris.

It was reported that Pat Bennett was not seeking re-election to Fremington P.C. at the elections so would be retiring from the Forum. The Chairman would write a letter to her thanking her for all her help to the Forum.

Presentation by Richard Hill, DCC Emergency Planning Officer (Counter Pollution).
Richard Hill began his presentation by explaining the purpose of the Oil Pollution Response. He explained that the talk would cover the effect of a potential threat of an oil spill to the north and south Devon coastline, the implications of oil on water, the response to an oil spill and then the protection of the Taw Torridge Estuary, covering particular issues and difficulties that might be experienced, and the role for estuary management.
He listed a number of incidents concerning many vessels and oil spills which had occurred in the last ten to fifteen years, all of which posed a potential threat to the north and south Devon coastline. Many thousands of tons of fuel had been deposited into the sea. So far the nearest threat to the north Devon coast came from an incident off Lundy, but the wind changed direction and blew it away. However, vessels do pass the coast and therefore near misses do occur.
This poses the question - How long will Devon’s luck hold? It’s not a case of if, but when will disaster strike?
He continued by pointing out the damage done by an oil spill. The ecological damage resulted in oiled seabirds, smothered sea creatures, and toxic effects of the oil. The socio-economic effects were seen in the quality of life, local economy and on properties in the area.
There are different types of oil. Group 1, a light oil through to Group 4, the heavy fuel oils. Group 1 diesel oils are the least persistent and will break up quickly. They often produce a thin sheen on the water but still can be toxic. The heavy fuel oils of Group 4 are not readily dispersed and often lie under the surface of the water so that they cannot be detected from the air. When oil gets into the marine environment it starts to break down and become weathered; various processes take place as it reacts with the water to disperse, but it can form an emulsified oil, known as “chocolate mousse”, which cannot be dispersed and is difficult to clean up, as it leaves a sticky mat of oil.
Any response method should aim to minimise the damage that would be caused by the oil spill, however, depending on the sensitivity of the area, not all areas are tackled, for instance cleaning salt marsh areas would probably cause more harm than good so they would be left whilst nature took its own course.
There are several different types of response to an oil spill. The at sea response tries to contain the oil at site, spraying dispersant from the air, and recovery of the more viscous oil at sea by using nets to land the oil on to the boat.
On shore response involves moving assets at risk, trying to persuade wildlife to move, (very difficult), and initiate beach cleaning via the local authority
Booming is a protective method, which is set up to keep the oil away from certain areas. It is a long inflated plastic sausage put on to the water to act as a barrier. Trials have been carried out in the T.T.Estuary but due to the physical nature of the estuary locations have to be very carefully chosen if it is to be effective. Due to high wave velocity or too strong a current, the oil could effectively get over, under or have the boom floating on top of it. Other issues concern health and safety of workers, high tidal range, and the exposed nature of the estuary. This means that booms cannot go from bank to bank. A series of spur booms is proposed around the estuary to protect sensitive areas.
After an oil spill, and if the boom failed to work, the local authority would have to organise a clean up operation. The local authorities and the Estuary Forum need to assist the coastal watch set up by the Coastal and Countryside Services. These groups of people need good local knowledge so responses can be rapid.
There is a national contingency plan now in place, which puts an emergency boat at our disposal, (our nearest is at Falmouth).
At a local level there is need for contingency plans for cleaning up beaches, positioning of booms in the event of a spill and gaining the public and community support.
The Chairman thanked Mr. Hill for his presentation. She suggested that forum members would help in anyway they could and looked forward to hearing from him in the near future with further updates. The Chairman also thanked him for the opportunity of attending the Oil Pollution Response Course. Andy Bell was also thanked for providing the screen.
Action: The Chairman to write and thank Richard Hill officially.

3. MINUTES of PREVIOUS MEETING held on Monday, 20th. January, 2003:
It was proposed by Tony Pratt, seconded by Paul Fronteras that the Minutes be accepted and they were adopted unanimously.

(a) Estuary Report:
Andy Bell gave his report. He reminded the forum that at the last meeting it was mentioned that there was a plan to join with other international regions in a bid for funding. However, it was decided that this was not appropriate so Devon withdrew its bid so other sources of funding are being sought, such as that from the Rural Renaissance Agency.
Tarka Trail is now open. Two projects that had been undertaken. Wings SW project of a pond restoration at the Picnic Ground at Instow and a project of wildflower seeding on the Tarka Trail in conjuction with Instow School and Instow in Bloom.
Logo. The logo on the compliments slip is the Forum’s new logo, thanks to Andy Bell. The Chairman hoped that it would eventually be used on the Website.
Encams. The Chairman informed the meeting that the beach awards seminar was postponed until the autumn and that the Exeter office is closing.
Wise Training and Accreditation Scheme. A course run by Devon Wildlife Trust, for boat owners and boat trip organisers to promote safe watching of wildlife in SW England. Barbara Haddrill said that it would be running in the autumn.
Churchfield Car Park. It was reported that boat trailers are now being clamped.
Lundy. The English Nature Study of marine life around Lundy is to be carried out this summer. The No-Take Zone is now in operation.
The Kathleen & May, with the Duke of Edinburgh’s support, is applying for Heritage Lottery money.
The NDDC Beach Owners’ Meeting. The notes for this were sent out to all members. The Minutes are now available from the Chairman.
EA Update on LEAP Action Plans. A twice- yearly newsletter is to be sent out. Lists of committee membership and personnel are included.
A Report of an incident of Scramble bikes being used on Isley Marsh with complete disregard of nesting birds. The complaint was passed on to Malcolm Davies of the RSPB.
(b) Braunton Burrows UNESCO Biosphere Reserve:
Richard Butler reported that he had attended the UK Man and Biosphere February Meeting in London where the Braunton Biosphere had featured highly on the business agenda with a strong endorsement of the effectiveness of the November Conference. He said that he had taken along local press releases. The Chairman of the Meeting asked if a portfolio of press releases could be put together for use in European meetings. There was also strong endorsement for the MAB involvement in the degree course at Plymouth as the committee were very keen that the Biosphere Reserve should be seen as a high priority in educational establishments. The committee was keen to support the Biosphere Reserve in any way it could with advice, if required, and asked for. They were also keen for local and national publicity.
Andy Bell was asked to write a report of what had happened in the last year and where it will progress.
The committee showed an interest in a twinning with other Biospheres for the purpose of the interchange of information.
Andy Bell told of a Governing Structure of a Biosphere Management Board made up of scientists and members from the local community.
He had also attended a meeting in London to discuss, amongst other issues, a link up with a similar estuarine salt marsh in Australia.
After the November conference and using some of Paula Ferris’ notes, two leaflets have been produced, one is for the community and the second is to encourage Biosphere business partnerships, aimed at land managers and farmers etc.,telling how local businesses can become involved
On the Marketing side students are to be engaged in market research on the new name for the Biosphere Reserve.
The Foundation Degree will have the first two years at ND College and the final year at Plymouth. There is also hope for a course for Biosphere Reserve Managers with local farmers and farms involved.
A successful Biosphere Awareness and Sustainable Development Forum was held at the ND College for students and the public.
(c) Meeting with the Chief Executives:
A Handout of notes prepared for the Chief Executives was given out at the meeting.
The Chairman received very positive feedback from both Chief Executives. Mr. Sunderland NDDC sees the role of the Forum in the light of its Community Strategy Unit and Jon Turner has been appointed as co-ordinator for NDDC. Mr. Smale TDC has previous experience in working with Estuary Fora in South Devon, and was well informed as to our role.
Issues such as Jet Skis, byelaws, moored boats, role of the Forum were discussed. Both Chief Executives went through the T/T Estuary Management Plan, and both understood the need for estuary-wide co-operation and agreed to appoint an estuary co-ordinator for each of the councils. These co-ordinators will liaise with the Forum and will also liaise with each other. They also agreed that it is important to have an estuary-wide strategy for estuary matters. A round table meeting concerning jet skis was agreed, but Mr. Smale requested that this was postponed until after the local elections. The TDC co-ordinator had not yet been named
Action: As soon as the elections are over and the new councils are in place, the Chairman needs to call a round-table meeting to discuss jet skis, to be invited; TDC.NDDC. Braunton PC, Christie Estates, MOD, RMB Chivenor, Marsh Commissioners, NDCCS, Instow PC and Forum Members concerned, to try and resolve the issues.
Tim Squire commented that as time was going on, and it will be well into the season, nothing could happen this year.
(d) Jet Skis in the Estuary:
Some of this has been dealt with in © above.
The Chairman had spoken to Mr. Gavin of the Chivenor Conservation Group, who was seeking to ensure that the problems of the inappropriate use of jet skis by those launching from the Chivenor Slip did not re-occur this year.
(e) Crab Tiles: 
A letter from NDDC was sent out with the agenda. It suggested that nothing could be done about the safety aspect, and referred the Forum back to the insurers. Andy Bell suggested that as it was a public health and safety issue the council should deal with it. He offered to take up the matter with the NDDC co-ordinator to see if he could make progress.
The Chairman had received no responses to the Code of Conduct. Andy Bell will be arranging a survey of crab tiles. Volunteers were requested
(f) Moored Boats:
This issue was discussed with the Chief Executives. NDDC has not made any progress on this matter, and feel that they have to deal with it together with the individual parishes involved.
Action: The Chairman to bring this matter to the attention of TDC and NDDC estuary co-ordinators.
(g) Former Yelland Power Station Site:
The Chairman had received a letter from Cllr. Morrish of Fremington Parish Council to the effect that lorries containing chippings had been seen exiting from the Yelland Power Station Site. She sent a copy of this letter to Andy Bowman and the Environment Agency.
It appears that the activity has been stopped.
The Chairman had also received a letter from Barnstaple Town Council asking for more information on the contractors’ breaches of the conditions on the site. She referred Barnstaple Town Council to Andy Bowman at DCC and the Environment Agency.
There appears to be no further progress on the Power Station Site and the Greenhouses issue. 
(h) Website:
The Chairman had tried unsuccessfully, on two occasions, to get a subcommittee together. A meeting will be set up in the very near future.
(i) Northam Burrows Landfill Site:
An update letter from English Nature had been sent out with the agenda. They stated that the tip road was in good condition, there was no breaching of it, and whilst the landfill site is still there the road is safe. There is regular testing for toxins in the landfill site.
The chairman was to enquire, when meeting TDC, about the register of potentially contaminated sites.
(j) RNLI Visit:
This is fixed for Saturday, 14th June, at 3p.m.
Action: The Chairman is to send out information in the next couple of weeks.


DCC Structure Plan: Devon to 2016:
The Chairman had received no comments and no further response was appropriate.
Draft Supplementary Planning Guidance:
There were no comments sent to the Chairman so she had made her own response and handouts of this response were circulated.
DCC: The Human Habitat – Devon’s Historic Environment: 
There were no comments provided by members except CPRE, so the Chairman responded and a handout of response was given to members.
Devon County Waste Local Plan:
The Chairman received comments from Fremington PC so she was able to add them to her own comments. A handout was available. Peter Hames reported that Northam TC had commented independently.
NDDC Oil Spill Contingency Plan:
A printout of provisions for the NDDC controlled area of the TTEstuary, which complemented Richard Hills’ talk, was given out.

7.AONB Management Plan:
Andy Bell reported that a Management Plan, for the AONB had to be completed by March 2004. There is a recommended procedure for consultations. There had been a stakeholder event, which some members of the Forum had attended; there had also been public consultation where the public could comment on the plan.
At this point in the meeting there was a five-minute break for a quiz, to test members knowledge of AONB Sites. The answers were given out later.

Biosphere Awareness Conference: Leaflet
English Nature – Leaflet on Devon Team.
CPRE document on Renewable Energy.
CPRE leaflet – expanding airports destroy the countryside.
MARINET – Friends of the Earth network.
Torridge Agenda 21 Newsletter – January 2003.
Devon Barn Owl Survey – 2003 – information to the Barn Owl Trust.
CPRE Annual Report 2002.
Rear and Release – Puss Moths – Information.
Hallsannery Field Centre – Fieldworks software for advanced studies, - Eco Projects.
English Nature – Booklet on SSSIs.
Countryside Agency – A guide for AONB partnership members.
Outstanding – magazine for AONBs – Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer.
DPC Magazine.- Article on wooden harbour walls (Paul Fronteras).
Environment Agency – Towards sustainable agricultural waste management.
Devon Wildlife Trust – Information on: a key to plants common on sand dunes, guide to saltmarsh plants of Britain, guide to wetland birds.

(a) Future Coast - English Nature.
(b) Down Stream Bridge.

i. Question raised as to what was happening as far as the down stream bridge was concerned. It was decided to put the topic on next meeting agenda.
ii. Jon Turner asked if he could have queries concerning NDDC in advance of the meeting then he could bring answers to the meeting.

11. Dates of the next meetings:

Monday, 7th, July 2003 at Bideford Town Hall.
Monday, 6th .October, 2003, at Barnstaple Civic Centre.
Monday, 19th. January, 2004. at Bideford Town Hall.

There being no other business, the meeting ended at 9 15p.m.