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April 2004

MINUTES for the Meeting held on Monday, 19th April, 2004 at the Civic Centre, Barnstaple.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Mrs.R.Day, Chairman, (Instow PC and CPRE), Mr.A.Pratt, Vice-Chairman, (NDYC), Mr.P.Mullen, (Fremington PC), Ms.S.Colquhoun, (WCRT), Mr.J.Ramsden, (NDCSoc), Mr.J.Breeds, (MoD), Mr.L.Oldham, (TTWC), Mrs.P.Ferris, (Braunton CC), Mr.R.Dyer, (Braunton Marsh Inspectors), Mr.C.Hassall, (Rolle Canal Soc), Mr.J.Bell, (Northam TC), Mr.C.Davis, Mr.J.Diamond, (English Nature), Mr.W.Cox, (Bideford ARC), Mr.R.Butler, (UKMAB), Capt.P.Fronteras, (Westleigh PC), Mr.J.Daniel, (TTNets), Mr.J.Brooks, (NDWSC), Mrs.A.Humphris, Hon Sec.

In Attendance: Mr.J.Allen, Ms.J.Farrow, and (RNLI).

1. APOLOGIES for ABSENCE: Ms.B.Haddrill, (DWT), Mr.J.Turner, (NDDC), Mr.A.Bell, (NDCCS), Mr.J.Hartnoll, (Marsh Inspectors), Mrs.M.Shapland, (Braunton PC).

The Chairman announced that Spence Seaman, due to promotion would no longer be able to attend the forum. He would be replaced by Andy Leyman (Taw) and Phil Siddall (Torridge) from the Environment Agency.
Action: The Chairman to write a letter to Spence to thank him for his dedication to the forum over many years.

2. PRESENTATION: The Rolle Canal and the Rolle Canal Society: By Mr. Chris Hassall.

Chris Hassall gave the Forum a fascinating account of the Rolle Canal. He told members that the purpose of the Rolle Canal Society is to draw attention to the Canal, to try to preserve the remains and to conduct walks for interested members of the public.
He gave a very comprehensive account of the Canal, of its place in history, its construction and its workings. 
He told of the Society’s work in restoring and preserving the parts of the canal that were still visible.
Members of the Canal Society, to walk and point out the remains that are visible, plan a series of walks for the public. Chris Hassall promised to keep the Forum informed of dates and information concerning the walks.
(A full account of the Rolle Canal, its route and history is attached to the Minutes.)
Following answering questions from members the Chairman thanked Chris Hassall for a very
informative talk.

3. PRESENTATION: The Taw Torridge SSSI – a condition assessment: By James Diamond of English Nature:
James Diamond explained that he was to talk on the SSSIs on and around the Taw Torridge Estuary. He also explained that a SSSI was the Nation’s best natural sites of wildlife and geological interest.
The Wildlife and Countryside Act is legislation to protect and preserve these sites for the present and for future generations. There are many of these sites around the Estuary, all with individual features that need protection.
English Nature work towards protecting the various sites and is required by government to provide a condition assessment every six years. Each SSSI is visited and features assessed to a common national standard on the condition of the site, favourable or unfavourable.
By 2010 the Government has set the target of 95% by area of SSSIs will be of favourable or recovering towards favourable condition. On current assessment nationally it is 60%, in Devon it is a little lower than that at 56% due to a large area of Dartmoor being unfavourable.
Many sites on or around the Estuary are 100% favourable but others, such as Northam Burrows, which is 10% unfavourable, need help;key issues being coastal defences and inter-tidal saltmarshes.
There needs to be a planned approach to resolve issues such as is happening on the sand dune systems, where English Nature is working with the landowners.
English Nature is committed to working with all users, landowners, tenants and organisations to help keep the Taw Torridge Estuary special for Wildlife, geology and people.
After answering members’ questions the Chairman thanked English Nature for their informative presentation.

4. MINUTES of PREVIOUS MEETING: Monday 19th. January 2004:
Jeremy Bell proposed and Richard Butler seconded the adoption of the Minutes, and members voted unanimously to adopt them.
5. MATTERS ARISING from the MINUTES:
(a) Estuary Report and NDCCS Update: 
In the absence of Andrew Bell (NDCCS), the Chairman gave the report.
Business plan: A Business Plan for the NDCCS will be launched by the first week in May, concentrating on the Biosphere Reserve and AONB and an Interpretation Strategy for the whole North West Devon Area.
NDDC Mill Road Development Brief: This Brief is due to be discussed by the NDDC Barnstaple, Fremington & Instow Task Team on 5th May. The TTEF consultation response will need to be sent direct to the Planning Policy Department.
The formal consultation period for a series of new development briefs (Mill Road, Cattle Market and Queen Street, Bear Street and Supplementary Planning Guidance on the provision of community woodlands) is due to commence on April 30th for six weeks.
NDDC Riverfront Task Team: This team has now been amalgamated with the open spaces and Rock Park task teams; no meetings have been arranged.
Integrated Coastal Zone Management: Fact or Fiction? A conference will take place in Plymouth on the 21st. and 22nd. April, 2004.
Update: 8th. February 2004:
1.English Nature Press Release: “ Grazing is good for the Burrows.”
James Diamond reported that the Final report is due this year.
2. Environment Agency Consultation: Taw and North Devon Streams Catchment Management Strategy (CAMS): 
No responses were received from members.
3.Website Update: Member organisations were requested to send in any reports that they wished to be put on the TTEF Website. So far, until the Biosphere Reserve has its own Website, the TTEF Website is one of the very few places where Biosphere Reserve information can be obtained.
4.Change of date for July TTEF Meeting. The meeting will now take place on 5th July 2004.
Update: 4th. March 2004.
1.North Devon College Biosphere Evening- Wednesday, 31st March 2004
This was a successful evening. However, many of those present felt that it is now time to be informing people as to what they can do to help with the Biosphere Reserve and make it work.
2.NDDC Beach Owners’ Meeting Report. The Chairman had made contact with the Barnstaple, Fremington and Instow Area Committee over the Fast Leisure Craft issue, and is to address this committee on the 7th. June, she had also sent all information on the Fast Leisure Craft to the Chairman of the Ilfracombe & Northern Rural Area Committee, and had been invited to address this committee last November.
3.Re-seeding of mussels in the Taw Torridge Estuary – Notification.
Thanks are due to Paul Carter for sending out information before the re-seeding was undertaken. This ensured that everyone was informed. 
It was resolved that the Chairman should write to Paul Carter thanking him for his efficiency over this matter.
4. New Bathing Water Directive –Update: Copies available from the Chairman.
5. ENCAMS- Blue Flag, Seaside Award and Beach Management 2004- Report.
Report sent out to members.
6. South West Beach Workshop – Notes circulated.
7. Community Renewable Energy Projects Conference – Monday, 22nd. March 2004.
No representatives were able to attend this conference.
8. DCC Structure Plan – Devon to 2016- Proposed Modifications to the Deposit Draft.
No responses had been received from members.
9. Braunton Burrows International Biosphere Reserve – John Breeds’ Report from the Forum meeting in Jan. 2004, was circulated to members.
10. Website Subcommittee Meeting: It had proved impossible to find a suitable date so this did not take place.
11. Northern Devon Coast & Countryside Service: Re-organisation to date:
-Linda Blanchard has started as the AONB Officer on April 1st.2004.
-Ben Totterdel has been appointed as the Access and Interpretation Projects Officer.
12. Torridge District Local Plan- Notice of Intention to Adopt and Notice of Proposed Modifications to the Local Plan: No comments received.
13. North Devon District Council- Notice of Local Plan Inquiry- North Devon Local Plan 
(1995-2011). For Information, the Chairman has the first draft programme of the NDDC Plan 
Enquiry which begins on Tuesday 15th.June and ends around 12th. October.

(b) Braunton Burrows UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve:
UK MAB Meeting: Richard Butler reported on the UKMAB Meeting in London, where Annual Reports from Biospheres nationwide were presented. The Braunton Burrows Biosphere Reserve’s report was well received. Andy Bell reported on the development of the local Reserve and the Economic Statement of the North and West Devon Economic Partnership, in which the committee were particularly interested. 
The Projects undertaken by the Braunton Burrows Biosphere Reserve have the support of the UKMAB committee, which would like to be kept up to date, in order that they can continue to support the Reserve in the future.
The Publicity Brochure on the UK Biosphere Reserves which Richard Butler(UK MAB) has helped produce, is now complete and will be published shortly. Richard would welcome any comments on this publication when it is released for consultation
Report of Andy Bell,NDCCS, and Biosphere co-ordinator: (Given by the Chairman in his absence)
Trans- national project development: Leader + will be funding new projects that link North Devon with other Leader + projects in Europe. Two will be set up i.e.
1.A collaborative project between a farmer in Holland and local farmers to make films.
2. An embryonic project linking surfing related businesses and beach management between Latorche in Brittany, North Devon and the Isle of Tyree –The Project will explore how they can combine their marketing and visiting experiences.
3.NDCCS is looking for more projects; Andy Bell would welcome any projects put forward by Forum members.
Coastal Flood Plain and Grazing Marsh Project: £20,000 will be made available by the EA, from 2004, for environmental enhancement to wetland sites around Taw Torridge Estuary, with a view to improving their management of biodiversity and to investigate possible sites for saltmarsh creation and for freshwater enhancement and improvement. About 12 sites in and around the estuary have been identified.
MoD Conservation Areas: The NDCCS is working with Major Nick Bentham-Green from ATTURM at Instow with a view to setting up conservation sites around Zeta Berth and Chivenor.
Visit to World Heritage Site Team (Jurassic Coast): Paula Ferris (Braunton CC) and Andy Bell had visited the World Heritage site to learn more about their communications, monitoring and management systems.
Paula Ferris commented that they had learnt an enormous amount. The WHS officials were very generous in providing information, and BBBR staff is now working closely with them.
Communication Strategy: Paula Ferris is currently working with the NDCCS to produce a communication strategy for the Biosphere Reserve. Paula commented that the policy would be submitted in the near future to Devon CC and eventually to the new BBB Management Board.
NDCCS Art Projects:
(a) Braunton Cycleway:This project which involves columns exhibiting LED writing, was opened on the evening of Saturday, 3rd April.
(b) Velator Wetlands:A walkway, ending in a boat like structure has been built by the Environment Agency, out into the Velator Wetlands. The project was opened on Saturday, 27th.March by Cllr. Derrick Spear, and Braunton primary school children displayed their art work surrounding the project.
©.Slade Valley Reservoir: The opening of this project was postponed because of an on going police operation in this area.
(d).Westward Ho! Sound Bench: This project was opened by Cllr.Pat Ferguson on Sunday, 28th.March.
Biosphere Reserve Handbook: UNESCO is producing a handbook on the establishment and management of Biosphere Reserves and they have asked for submissions of best practice and casework from biosphere reserves that might be included. Any projects that member organisations would wish to be included, should be sent to Andy Bell by the end of the month.
NW Devon Economic Partnership-Economic Strategy:-This strategy is due to be finalised soon.
The Chairman and Andy Bell attended a workshop at Saunton Sands Hotel. The NWDEP is using the Biosphere Reserve as an Economic Driver for its business plan for area. All of the information gleaned from the afternoon workshops was collated and will be included in the new economic strategy.
The overriding theme of the workshop was that the economic growth of North Devon should be sustainable, and economic growth should work in harmony with the environment, which makes North Devon unique.
Inaugural Biosphere Reserve Board Meeting: The Chairman of the Forum will be invited to represent the Forum on the Board.
The Chairman commented that the Forum’s seat on the board will be as a specifically-interested local group. All Forum members will also be offered the opportunity to become facilitators in the linking group between the Board and the wider Consultative Framework/Forum containing a varied selection of interest groups.
Skills Audit: The Chairman asked the members if they would consider completing a Skills Audit. She explained that the foundation of the Biosphere Governance, and the Forum’s position within it, provides a tremendous opportunity for individual Forum members to become involved. People with special skills and experience to help in the programme of the BR will be required to act as facilitators. Forum members are uniquely placed to do this, and their wealth of talent and experience in so many different areas, is an untapped and very valuable source of expertise. The Chairman said that she would like to be able to offer Andy Bell full information on the skills, expertise and experience of all of the Forum members, so that he will know whom to contact for any specific job.
It was resolved that a skills audit form would be sent out with the minutes to all members.
Richard Butler commented that local involvement will be absolutely essential in the running of the Biosphere Reserve.
Assembly of European Regions: Conference on Sustainable Tourism: A three day Conference had been held in Exeter; one day in Exeter, one day at Jurassic Coast and one day in North Devon. The Chairman and Richard Butler had helped to host the visit to North Devon; John Breeds had escorted the delegates on a tour of Braunton Burrows.
Paula Ferris’ Report: Paula reported that the Braunton Countryside Centre is now open for the summer, but that there was some concern about its future.
She also reported on the number of complaints that had been received from the public about the dog mess in the Car Park and other places. It was hoped that it would be possible to display signs now that the car park was open for visitors. This issue is ongoing.
John Breeds’ Report: 
1.John Breeds reported that the major threats to the biological diversity of the dune system are: -
a) increase in scrub and coarse grass through insufficient natural grazing, resulting in a decline of the rich and diverse dune habitats.
b) a drop in water table levels, reducing the extent of wet slack habitats rich in many uncommon species.
c) increasing numbers of uncontrolled dogs are having a detrimental effect on breeding bird populations and are a potential problem in the implementation of wide scale grazing management.
2.2004 Events Programme: Mary Breeds has compiled a programme of Biosphere walks, talks and other activities. A copy of the leaflet was handed out at the meeting.
3. New interpretive notices are planned explaining the need for active management and control of illegal activities such as camping and scrambling.
4. Mary Breeds’ book on Wildflowers of Braunton Burrows has been well received.
(The full report can be read on the Website.)
Richard Dyer of Braunton Marsh Inspectors stated that The Marsh Inspectors do not have jurisdiction on Christie Land to deal with any problems that arise. He also felt that the MoD does not give enough support. 
It was suggested that Andy Bell should make contact with the new commandant when he arrives in July to try to resolve some of these problems.

©. AONB: North Devon AONB Strategy and Action Plan: The final version went to DEFRA on 31st March. The printed version will be available to the public in the next 10 days.
The Countryside Agency has commended the NDCCS on the Plan, and has noted several elements of good practice, such as the community consultation process.

(d). Personal Watercraft in the Taw Torridge Estuary:
Minutes of the meeting held on 26th January were sent out with Forum Minutes.
The Chairman has now sent out a letter to all of the parties involved, reminding everyone of the resolutions reached by the meeting, and the action that they to take. A copy of the letter was handed out to members.
The follow-up meeting will take place on Monday, 14th June 2004 at the Civic Centre, Barnstaple, at 7.oop.m.
Jon Turner NDDC reported that he had passed all of the information on this subject to the legal team and hoped to have a report on a review of the byelaws at the June Area Committees.
Jeremy Bell reported that the sign at Churchfield Slip had been removed. The Chairman suggested that this should be reported to Torridge District Council.
RNLI Report:
The Representative asked for a correction to be made in the Personal Watercraft Meeting Minutes. The last sentence of Section 4 should read:-“Whilst the RNLI have no objection to charges for registration, they felt that education should be considered paramount.”
The RNLI are training lifeguards in North Devon. They have 300 lifeguards to train on 58 beaches in Cornwall, Devon and Dorset. In North Devon they are using various rescue water craft and jetskis which they are launching from Appledore Lifeboat slip.
The dates for this training are:- April 19th. – May 1st.
May 10th – 22nd.May.
5th.July – 17th. July.
They are training at three levels, a Foundation Course, Lifeguarding with Vehicles and Surfing Elements.
(e) Appledore Quay Wall: No further progress has been made with the meeting.

6. Urgent Matters brought forward by Chairman: None.

7. CONSULTATIONS: Yelland Quay Ashbed Site: Application No:37228 to vary Condition 1 of the Planning approval 02/27/24672/97.
The Applicant wished to vary Condition 1: “to extend the timescale for the capping due to delays in achieving additional consents, which could not have been foreseen at the time”.
The applicant’s proposal was ” to extend the timescale for the capping and restoration for a further 3 years to 8th. March, 2007”
After much discussion it was agreed that the Chairman should write to DCC with the following points.
1.Members had not been consulted on this matter.
2.Devon County Council should ensure that the original conditions are enforced.
3.If there is no alternative but to extend the time limit, this should be for the minimum period necessary.
4.Financial or other enforceable penalties should be written into any new or amended conditions to ensure that no further delays occur.
4.DCC should supervise the work on the site stringently, to ensure that all the conditions are being complied with, and that no further breaches occur.
Jon Turner reported that Yelland Quay is DCC matter and NDDC is unlikely to raise any objections.
Proposed Dredging of Marine Aggregates at Culver Sand 472, Inner Bristol Channel:
The Forum members raised concerns over the flood defence issue particularly as regards the South Wales Coast. Members also had concerns about the effects of the proposals upon biodiversity.

8. CORRESPONDENCE RECEIVED: CPRE: Annual Report 2003
CPRE: Countryside Voice – Magazine – Spring 2004Envision: Creating a better environment for business success
Devon Wildlife Trust: Helping you to help your local wildlife: leaflets on
Hedgehogs
Blackbirds
Common Frog
Bullfinch
Song Thrush
Robin
Environment Agency: Links – An overview of the work of EA in Devon
North West Devon Economic Partnership – Strategy – 2000-2006
Forum for the Future – Meeting the challenge of Sustainable Development
Forum for the Future –Annual Report 2002 – Sustainability: Switching on to the Challenge
Forum for the Future: Green Futures - Magazine
WSP – Strategic Environmental Assessment and Sustainability Appraisal
Just Business – Teaching Resources List
Just Business – Development Education Tool Box
Norfolk Education & Action for Development – information leaflet
9.Agenda Items Proposed for next Meeting:
Andy Bell Biosphere Reserve –Update.

10. Any Other Business: 
1. Les Oldham reported that dead animals had been washed up on the Ashford Slip. It was resolved that the Chairman should write to NDDC Environmental Health.
2.Paul Fronteras complained about rubbish on the edge of the estuary at the junction of the Westleigh Road with the B3233. He was advised it was a Parish Council matter.
3. Chris Hassall asked if Andy Bell could produce a Who’s Who of the staff of NDCCS.
4. Paula Ferris advertised a Local Ecology Course in September, by Rod Lawrence.

11.Dates of future meetings:
Monday, 5th July, 2004 at Bideford. 
Monday 4th October, 2004 at Barnstaple.
Monday 17th. January, 2005 at the Town Hall Bideford.
 

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