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January 2004

MINUTES for the Meeting held on Monday, January 19th, 2004 at Bideford Town Hall.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Mrs.R.Day, Chairman,(CPRE), Mr.A.Pratt, Vice-Chairman,(NDYC), Mr.P.Mullen, (Fremington PC), Mr.J.Bell, (Northam TC), Mrs.P.Ferris, (Braunton CC), Ms.S.Colquhoun,(Westcountry Riv.Trust), Mr.J.Turner,(NDDC), Mr.S.Squire, (NDWaterski C.), Mr.J.Daniel, (TTNets), Mr.J.Diamond, (EN), Mr.B.Collett, (EA), Mr.J.Ramsden, (NDConservation Soc), Mr.T.Jones, (Devon Birds), Ms.M.Sankey, (Bideford TC), Mr.J.Breeds, (MoD), Mr.S.Seaman, (EA), Ms.B.Haddrill, (DWT), Mr.A.Bell, (NDCCS), Mr.J.Hartnoll, (Braunton Marsh Inspectors) Mr.L.Oldham, (TTWC), Mr.R.Butler, (UKMAB).
New Members: Mr.M.Stanbury, Mr.W.M.Buckland, Ms.J.Thomson, (Gaia Trust), Mr.C.Hassall, (Rolle Canal Soc).
Observers: Mr.P.Hayward, Mr.B.Hill, (Taw Mussel Fishery).

Visiting Speakers: Mr.C.Evans, (Halcrow), Mr.T.Robbins, (Devon Sea Fisheries Committee).

1.APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE: Capt.P.Fronteras, (Westleigh PC), Mrs.M.Shapland, (Braunton PC), Cllr.R.Windsor, (Barnstaple TC), Mr.E.J.Brooks, (NDWSkiC), Mrs.V.Mason,(FremingtonPC).

Chairman: Mrs.Rose Day was proposed by Tony Pratt, seconded by John Ramsden and duly elected unanimously.
Vice-Chairman: Tony Pratt was proposed by Rose Day, seconded by John Ramsden, and duly elected unanimously.
Hon Secretary: Ann Humphris was proposed by Rose Day, seconded by Tony Pratt and duly elected.

3. Presentation: Appledore and Bideford Quay Walls: Mr.Clive Evans, Engineer, Halcrow.

Mr. Evans first spoke of the problems encountered building the new Bideford Quay wall. It was decided not to replace the previous large masonry blocks with ones of a similar size. The reason for this is three fold, firstly purely economics, secondly the lack of sources of the stone as the quarries are not readily available and the skilled people to cut it are not around, and thirdly the health and safety implications of moving the large blocks.
He also explained some of the problems that had been experienced in years gone by. He explained the dilemma that a new, strong and reliable quay wall would not be aesthetically pleasing, to build a quay wall that was aesthetically pleasing was uneconomical.
Although Bideford Quay Wall and Appledore Sea Walls had both fallen down, the repair of each was quite different. At Bideford precast panels were made locally in dry, controlled conditions. The masonry was fixed to the panels and it was transported back to Bideford and attached to the wall. However, due to further problems, and health and safety concerns the panels were removed.
As a result of the problems the contractors have carried out a wide survey of similar coastal schemes in the South West. In view of this and in the light of further investigation, they hope that the expertise of a North Wales company specialising in precast masonry panels may enable them to use local stone to solve the problem. The work, which starts on site in May, will take three months to put up the panels, so it is hoped that it will be completed by the Tourist Season
At Appledore, the problem was caused by having to work between tides and the mortar around the masonry had reacted with the salt water. The solution,to the problem however, is not so simple because of the irregular shape of the existing wall. The contractors are still discussing the various options with Torridge District Council whether there should be masonry or precast concrete. Mr. Evans answered various questions from members.
The Chairman thanked him for attending the meeting and asked that the forum be kept in touch in the future.

4. Presentation: Shellfish Regulating Order in the Taw Torridge Estuary: 
Mr.Tim Robbins, Devon Sea Fisheries.
Tim Robbins came to the meeting to explain the new Regulating Order in the Taw Torridge Estuary, which is being applied for by the Environment Agency as the Sea Fisheries committee of the T/T Estuary. The Devon Sea Fisheries Committee has been contracted by the E.A. to assist in their application, as they have more experience in these matters.
Because of the problems in the Shell Fishery about 18 months ago the management of the Fishery have two options:
- adopt local sea fisheries byelaws which take about 8 months to put in place, but do relate to local issues. The disadvantage of byelaws is that they are not restrictive so permits can be obtained by anyone who applies.
- to adopt a regulating order which has total control over the Fishery but which allows greater flexibility in management. This would be more expensive to operate than the byelaw.
The full support of landowners is being sought at present. It will take about two years to be up and running. The Regulating Orders are designed to improve the management of natural shellfisheries. They cover species such as oysters, mussels, cockles, clams and now shore crabs. Orders are usually granted for 30 years but can be for up to 60 years.
The Regulating Order will stipulate local regulations and will contain the powers to enforce these regulations. It will also make provision for issue of licences- The granting of Licences have to be agreed by the Minister but the regulating order can place restrictions on fishing methods, fishing seasons, size limits, and set prescribed fishing methods and set limits on fishing locations.
Through the consultation process the area within the regulating order is established – many interested organisations are consulted and a Draft Order is drawn up. After further consultation agreement with DEFRA Legal Department is required and then the Order is advertised and finally has to signed by the Minister. A continuous process of consultation takes place throughout all the various stages of the application.
Tim Robbins concluded his presentation by answering questions from members.
He finally concluded by saying that he wanted to reach as many people as possible as the consultation was now underway.
The Chairman thanked Mr. Robbins and offered the contact details of members in order to help the consultation process.

The Accounts for the year 2003. were circulated to all members at the meeting.
It was noted that the admin expenses had increased considerably due to Jet ski meeting, Biosphere Reserve and lack of an estuary officer. The setting up of the website had caused additional expenses, which will be annual expenses.
It was hoped to reduce admin expenses by sending out information, Minutes etc. electronically. Members were asked to contact the Secretary if this was acceptable.
Mrs. Mary Jane Scott CTA has certified the Accounts, as correct.
The Members accepted the Accounts.2003.
The Chairman was asked to write to Mrs.Scott to express the Forum’s thanks.
The Chairman also wished that thanks should be minuted to Paul Fronteras, the forum’s Webmaster for setting up the website, and by doing so saving the forum a great deal of money.

Both the Chairman and the Hon. Secretary waived their Honoraria.

Following discussion in Item 5. it was decided there was a need to increase the Annual Subscription for 2004.
It was proposed by Tony Pratt and seconded by Mr. Squire that the Subscription for 2004 should be £15. This was carried unanimously.
Mr. Squire requested that the Forum’s thanks to the Chairman and the Secretary for their hard work, should be recorded.

8.MINUTES of PREVIOUS MEETING: Monday, 6th. October, 2003.
Peter Mullen proposed and John Daniel seconded the adoption of the Minutes and members voted unanimously to adopt them. 

(a) Estuary Report and NDCCS Update: Andy Bell reported: 
Crab Tiling Survey was in progress.
Local Nature Reserves: Taw meadow was due to be handed over to NDDC by the end of February.
At East-the -Water the Landowners do not want to hand over the land to Torridge District Council.
Jennetts Reservoir is progressing slowly, but has been bought by a private Landowner and Beam Weir is now more accessible to canoeists.
The Chairman gave a report of certain items from the Beach Owners’/Managers’ Meeting. 7th October, 2003. A printed report was available to all members. Formal Minutes of the Meeting are available from NDDC (Jon Turner) if required.
Lifeguards: There is no change in the provision foreseen for 2004, however, IPC intimated that there might be cuts in the cover this year.
The RNLI have been approached to take over the scheme for 2005 but this has not yet been agreed.
Water Quality: Review of storm overflows in TTE. A letter from Nick Gough SWW was circulated with the agendas.
New EU Bathing Directive:
Spence Seaman explained that the existing Directive is some 28 years old and is currently being revised in Europe. The current proposals will see a general tightening of standards; broadly speaking the UK’s current guideline levels (Blue Flag) will become the mandatory compliance level. This will see compliance drop from the current 2003 levels in Devon of 100% to more like 80% with major implications for many of the key stakeholders. The revisions are also currently considering a widening of the classified waters to include more recreational water usage.
Beach Signs: All signs on ND beaches are to be updated to include extra safety and water quality information, but money is required to fund this work.
Jon Turner reposted that any beach events that needed publicity could be displayed on the NDDC Website, Items to Jon Turner or Jon Parkinson at NDDC.
Environment Agency Environmental Network Conference 27th, November, 2003. The Chairman attended this conference in Exeter where they were brought up to date with the Agency’s projects around Devon, and the targets they are trying to striving to meet under the national plan “Making it Happen 2002-2007” The plan “Devon’s Local Contribution” is the countywide response to these targets.
Review of the North Devon Biosphere Action Plan-12th December 2003:
The Chairman attended this workshop where she was asked to comment on the targets contained in the Estuary and Sand Dunes BAPs, and to indicate where the forum could assist in the process. The BAPs will now be updated and sent out for further comment and consultation.
WISE Course at North Devon Yacht Club- 27th, November, 2003.
Barbara Haddrill reported on this Wildlife Safe Accreditation Scheme, which was set up for people who run Wildlife activities such as cruises etc. in order to advise on how to approach wildlife safely She said that numbers were small but a promising response.
RSPB Survey. Malcolm Davies reminded members that a survey of garden birds was to take place the last weekend in January. Results were to be recorded on the website, if possible.
(b) Braunton Burrows UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve:
The Chairman congratulated Andy Bell, upon his appointment as Biosphere Co-ordinator and Countryside Service Manager.
A letter from Derrick Spear regarding the Biosphere was circulated with the Agenda.
Andy Bell’s report: 
-A 2 year Science Degree Course with a Biosphere Reserve module was offered at North Devon College. The final year of the degree course takes place at Plymouth University.
There was to be another Biosphere Awareness Conference at North Devon College, March 31st/April 1st. aimed at all levels, college students, primary children to be bussed in and an adult event in the evening. Details will be found on the North Devon College website.
The ND Economic Partnership has adopted the Biosphere as its prime economic driver. 
-Bideford School is applying for Science College Status using the Biosphere Reserve to underline its bid.
-The gardens at Rosemore are introducing wildlife friendly gardening.
-An Interpretation bid has been made by Northam Burrows.
Andy Bell had been invited to give a talk at the next UKMAB Committee Meeting in Londonand has been asked to give an annual report on the Braunton Burrows Biosphere Reserve He asked that anyone who had any projects underway to give him the details and he would add them in his report.
It was pointed out to Andy Bell that Councillors need to be informed of the work of the Biosphere. Andy Bell replied that they were working on the problem of communication to everyone, especially elected members of councils.
Grazing Trials: James Diamond of English Nature said that the fieldwork was now completed but the report was not yet finished. Copies of the finished report would be available to the public.
Richard Butler UKMAB: Richard Butler reported that along with a colleague on the UKMAB Committee, he was to write an 8 page leaflet under the headings of:-
1)Aims and Benefits of Biosphere Reserves
2.) How to initiate a Biosphere Reserve
3) Sustainability of Biosphere Reserves.
He is basing his work on Braunton Burrows.
Both He and Andy Bell are to attend the next meeting of UKMAB Committee and would report back to the Forum.
John Breeds Report: John Breeds reported that the botanical monitoring for the grazing trials has now been completed, and it will be of benefit the management of the Burrows.
There will be a series of talks at the Braunton Countryside Centre in the Summer. There will also be a programme of guided walks on the Braunton Burrows but there is a need for volunteers to take walks etc., NDDC are to be asked for funding. It was suggested that a letter of support from the Forum might help to obtain the funding.
Mary Breeds’ book on plants of the Biosphere is almost ready.
A Management Plan of the core area is about to be revised.
Undesirable activities such as illicit camping, scrambling, poaching, raves and rustling sheep are happening. There are moves afoot to try and combat these activities.
The rabbit population has increased.
Digitalised photographs have been taken for production of a new map.
There is now a strategy to combat those activities causing concern over the future of conservation
(The full report can be found on the Forum web site.
(c) Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty: The AONB Management Plan was launched on the 6th November at Clovelly, and was circulated to Government Agengies, landowners and other interested parties for Consultation Forum members’ comments on the draft plan were sent to the NDCCS, and a second draft plan was issued before the meeting on 21st January of the NDCCS Joint Advisory Committee for a further limited consultation.
, (d) Personal Watercraft in theTaw Torridge Estuary: The Chairman reported that the follow up meeting to the Jet ski meeting in June would take place on January 26th. (A week later).
From the meeting in June, it was suggested that the jetskiers and thunder cat owners would meet and discuss setting up a club, with a formal constitution and code of practice. A small, local membership with 3rd party insurance. Members would “police” the Code of Conduct.
Permission to launch from certain launching slips would be restricted to club members.
A registration scheme could be set up by the Local Authorities, requiring club membership, 3rd party insurance, adherence to the Estuary Code of Conduct , speed limits and the estuary zoning system. The club logo and reg. Number to be displayed upon the craft.
The Chairman had written to the Chief Execs of TDC and NDDC asking them to liaise over the question of byelaws, enforcement, registration etc. before the next meeting. She had had confirmation from Mr Smale that this was happening.
Jon Turner (NDDC) reported that discussion between the two authorities was in progress. He also said that the existing byelaws were either not effective or were non-existent. He said that the task team had not yet met, but he had been doing some research of his own into the effectiveness of byelaws in other parts of the country.
John Hartnoll added that he had had no communication from the Jetskiers.
The Chairman had received a phone call from the RNLI expressing a wish to run three training courses from Instow Beach this summer, using Jetskis. The Chairman had explained the background to this issue in the TTE.
The RNLI spokesperson said that the jetski could be used as part of the proposed beach lifeguarding provision from 2005, and that they would be able to be used to give safety advice to all other estuary users.
It was suggested by Tony Pratt that the training courses using jetskis should be well publicised.

10. URGENT MATTERS brought forward by the Chairman:

DCC Minerals Local Plan: Modifications Document 2. Any comments to the Chairman
Devon strategic Partnership: Draft Strategy on Renewable Energy and Energy Reduction. Any comments to Chairman


CPRE – Magazine: Countryside Voice
Letter – Government's Planning Bill
Environment Agency: Barnstaple Flood Plan – Public Information Leaflet
Bideford Flood Plan – Public Information Leaflet
Devon's Local Contribution
The Voluntary Network in Devon
Can National Quality Objectives Assist Local Action?
Devon Area Management Team
Improving Devon Areas Environment – Our Five Year Plan
Devon Area Collaborative Projects – 2003/04
Introduction to Cycleau Project – Working together for the benefit
Of our rivers, estuaries and coasts – EU Interreg 111B project
Helping communities in EU to find solutions to common problems
Monthly Report – Devon Area – 23.9.03 to 22.10.03
Sustainable Drainage Systems (SUDS)
Assessing the Groundwater Pollution Potential of Cemetery
The registration of waste carriers and waste brokers
Directed Innovation – Environment 2003
Preparing for Coastal Flooding
Rod & Line Fisheries Byelaws – South West Region – March 2003
Northern Devon Coast & Countryside Service – ND AONB Draft Strategy & Action Plan
Westcountry Rivers Trust – Newsletter – Winter 2003
Help the Westcountry Rivers Trust improve your rivers
Environment Devon: Devon's Environmental Challenge
NDDC – Biodiversity Action Plan – Estuaries
Sand Dunes
Available from:
Gaia Trust – Treraven Farm, St. Breock, Wadebridge
Home Farm Marsh, Lower Yelland, Fremington, North Devon
List of Trustees
Exe Estuary Management Plan: Action Plan 2003-2004
EXE-Press: Newsletter of the Exe Estuary Management Partnership
13. AGENDA ITEMS proposed for next Meeting:
Presentation: The Rolle Canal and the Rolle Canal Society.
2. Rescue Hovercraft. (if contact is made)
3. Andy Bell – The Biosphere.

14. Any Other Business:
1.Tim Jones. ( Devon Birds)informed the meeting that there was a National Census of Roosting Gulls taking place which is conducted every 10 years.
2.Barbara Haddrill,( DWT) two beach cleans were to take place at Croyde Beach and Instow Beach the following weekend. She also reported that there had been a porpoise washed up on to the beach at Saunton Sands on Christmas Day. She asked that all such sightings should be reported to the Devon Biodiversity Record Centre, Tel:01392 279244.
3.Members of the Gaia Trust wished to give thanks for the help they had received whilst setting up the Reserve at Home Farm Marsh.

15. Dates and Venues for forthcoming Meetings:

Monday 19th April 2004, at Barnstaple.

Monday 5th. July, 2004, at Bideford.

Monday 4th October, 2004, at Barnstaple.

Monday 17th. January, 2005, at Bideford.

There being no other business the meeting ended at 9.31p.m.