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January 2005

MINUTES for the Meeting held on Monday, 17th January, 2005, at Bideford Town Hall at 7.00pm.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Mrs. R. Day, Chairman, (Instow PC and CPRE), Mr. J. Daniel, (T.T.Nets), Mr. J. Breeds, (MOD), Mr.J.Diamond, (English Nature), Mr. R.K. Butler, (UK. MAB), Mr. T. Squire, (NDWaterski Club), Mr. P. Mullen, (Fremington PC), Mr. J. Bell, (Northam T.C.), Mr. J. Ramsden, (Barnstaple & Dist Conservation Soc), Mr. A. Bell, (NDCCS), Lt.Col. M.B.Portman, (Fremington Training Camp), Cpl. D. Perkins, MBE, (RMB Chivenor), Mrs. W. Dale, (RNLI), Mr. C. Hassall, (Rolle Canal & ND Waterways Soc), Ms. B. Haddrill, (DWT), Mrs. M. Shapland, (Braunton PC), Mr. P. Siddall, (EA), Mrs. A. Humphris, Hon Sec.

The Chairman introduced new Members:- Mr. D. Graham, (ATTURM), Mr. M. Isaac, (NDDC Liaison Officer), Mrs. S. Ambler, (Bideford Canoe Club)

1. APOLOGIES for ABSENCE:- Mr. T. Pratt, (NDYC), Mr. P. Fronteras, (Westleigh PC), Ms. S. Colquhoun, (SW Rivers Trust), Mr. A. Windsor, Mr. R. Knight, (Barnstaple TC), Mr. M. Davies, (RSPB), Mr. R. Dyer, Mr. J. Hartnoll, (Braunton Marsh Comm.), Mr. L. Oldham, (NDWildfowlers), Mr. T. Jones, (Devon Birds).

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

The Accounts for the year 2004 were circulated to all members at the Meeting.
It was noted that the use of E-mail had made a significant difference to expenses and there was a healthy balance in the Account.
Mrs. Mary Jane Scott CTA. had certified the Accounts as correct. 
It was proposed by Jeremy Bell, seconded by Marguerite Shapland that the Accounts should be adopted and the Members voted unanimously to adopt them.

Both the Chairman and the Hon Secretary had waived their Honoraria.
It was proposed by Jeremy Bell, seconded by Dave Perkins that the Honoraria be kept and it was voted unanimously by the Members to accept.

It was proposed by Peter Mullen, seconded by Jeremy Bell that the subscription should remain at £15 this was carried unanimously.

6. MINUTES of PREVIOUS MEETING: Monday 4th. October 2004.
Tim Squire proposed and John Daniel seconded the adoption of the Minutes, and Members voted unanimously to adopt them.

(a) Estuary Report:
(i) Crab Tiles: In response to the consultation of Crab Tiling, the Chairman and The ND Waterski Club had pointed out to NDCCS that there was a conflict between Crab Tiling and Water skiing in the Broadsands area at Crow Point. It was noted from the map that Crab Tiling was allowed in the Broadsands Area that is an allocated area in the Estuary for Water Skiing. Tim Squire, (ND Waterski Club), expressed his concern on this matter from the safety point of view. Andy Bell informed the meeting that in law, both water skiers and the crab tilers have equal rights on the water. He also said that he hoped that the forthcoming Shellfish Regulatory Order would give stronger controls over crab tiling.
The Chairman asked the Representative from the Environment Agency to report this matter to the Agency. He said that he would pass on the Forum’s concerns to the appropriate person.
(ii) Instow Beach Re-Profiling:
The Chairman reported that Devon County Council, with the help of the Royal Marines at ATTURM, had moved a considerable body of sand from Instow Beach, to prevent the over spilling of that sand onto the road, and blocking of the springs, streams and surface water drainage. The sand has been moved to the north of the Cricket Club, to support the sand dunes in that area. The chestnut fencing around the southern dunes will be reviewed, and any redundant or damaged fencing has been taken out or relocated.
(iii) Bideford Regeneration Working Party – Regeneration Framework:
The Chairman had attended the inaugural meeting of the Bideford Regeneration Initiative on 11th November 2004, which was to consult on the preliminary work on the Regeneration Framework. Ideas and information was gleaned from all of the many and varied organisations present.
(iv) Fullabrook Wind Farm Proposal:
The Chairman represented the views of the AONB and the CPRE in her response to the wind farm proposal at Fullabrook. This acknowledged the concerns that the proposed wind farm was not in our area of influence, but that it would have a great visual impact upon the Estuary, and that it contravened NDDC and DCC policies concerning AONBs and the Coastal Preservation Areas. The Chairman informed members that copies of the response were available upon request.
(v) Anchorwood Bank, Barnstaple – Construction of Attenuation Pond and Related Open Space:
The Chairman had amended the response made to the original plans, and had submitted this to NDDC Planning Department.
Copies of this response are available on request.
(vi) NDDC Beach Owners’/Managers’ Meeting – 25th. November 2004:
The date of this meeting was changed twice, and the Chairman was unable to attend on the final date. From notes sent out following the meeting, the only matter, which concerned the Estuary, was that SWW was to investigate reports that the road gullies had been inappropriately connected to the sewerage system on Instow sea front. 
The EA reported that the matter had already been sorted.
(vii) Climate Change Conference: Andy Bell reported that the ND Conference was now to take place in March/ April 2005.
(viii) Shellfish Regulating Order:
The Public Consultation Paper should be available in the not too distant future.

(b) Braunton Burrows UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve:
Andy Bell, NDCCS, reported that the Interpretation Strategy being produced by Ben Totterdell should be published in April /May. For its implementation bids will be made to Objective 2 and the Heritage Lottery Fund for funding.
Fremington Local Nature Reserve plans were moving along well now after discussions with the local landowners.
As part of UKMAB they were developing an Education Policy that would include the new Oceanic Centre. It is hoped that UKMAB will use this model as a national policy.
Richard Butler said he had little to report other than the UKMAB Meeting was to take place on 9th and 10th February, 2005. If there were any points members wanted him to raise at that meeting he would be happy to take them along.
The Chairman expressed concern in that it had been over 7 months since the Biosphere Reserve Management Board had met. She had written a letter to the Chairman, Mr. Maltby and had only just received a reply. Mr. Maltby had pointed out that he and Andy Bell were working together to bring about co-operation from the key stakeholders and that he hoped that a solution would soon be forthcoming and they could move forward.
Copies of the Chairman’s letter and the reply from Mr. Maltby were available on request.
John Breeds Report:
Management Issues: Approximately 275 ha of dune scrub and coarse grass has been mown, using 6 tractors and implements during the last 5 weeks. Extensive areas, including some very steep dune slopes in the southern dunes, have been mown for the first time with two dual wheeled tractors. The two periods of drought in 2004 drastically reduced the growth of coarse grass, which resulted in a corresponding reduction in the volume of cut grass picked up after mowing.
A new management regime incorporating grazing over most of the Burrows is being planned. This aims to bring the whole dune system into a ‘favourable condition’ as a conservation habitat.
Vehicle access to part of the car parking area in Broadsands will be restricted by the placement of large boulders. This will hopefully safeguard the large colony of Petalwort, a rare liverwort, which grows in this area.
Rare Species: Petalwort, surveyed in 1998 and 2001 is being monitored again this week. The Sand bowl amber snail was surveyed this summer and was found to have increased in numbers in the excavations created in 1999 and 2000. Sea Stock, a plant usually found on shifting unstable sands, was surprisingly found growing amongst the prostrate branches of a wind pruned pine tree.
Research and monitoring: Despite some periods of heavy rainfall the water table levels remain low with no flooded slacks.
Recent rabbit counts show the customary seasonal drop in overall numbers
Publicity: There was an excellent 6-page article on Braunton Burrows in the October edition of the international plant conservation magazine ‘Plant Talk’.
‘The Wild Flowers of Braunton Burrows’ continues to sell steadily locally and nationally.
Biosphere Activities/Education: There is a continuing flow of requests from various organisations for talks and guided walks on the Burrows.
The 2005 Biosphere walks and talks programme is currently being prepared. A series of guided walks will again take place between May and September along with a programme of talks at Braunton Countryside Centre.
The Chairman suggested that it be put into the minutes that The Forum owes a debt of gratitude to the MOD for the excellent work they carry out in their management of the Braunton Burrows.
The full report can be viewed on the Forum website. 

(c) Fast Leisure Craft in the Taw Torridge Estuary:
The Chairman reported that much had happened on this front since the last meeting in October. As reported in the updates the Chairman finally received a letter from NDDC saying that Andy Bell had been appointed by both District Councils to convene the Joint Working Party, and a date was agreed – 2nd. December 2004 – for the first meeting.
Both the Chairman and Vice Chairman attended that meeting, and Andy Bell’s notes from that meeting were circulated to everyone with the agenda.
Andy Bell then called a meeting with Access Owners around the Estuary and a second Joint Working Party Meeting is set for February.
Andy Bell reported that the Access Owners meeting was very positive and it was recommended from there that charges be made for launching to ALL craft and all craft should have insurance in order to launch. This should be policed at the slipways.
Ben Totterdell, NDCCS, would like to hear of incidents on the water so that he can keep a record of events and these will then be used to inform what measures the councils need to put in place.
The fourth Fast Leisure Craft public meeting is due to take place on Monday, 31st. January 2005 in the Taw Room at the Civic Centre at 7.00 p.m.
The RNLI at Poole will be sending two officers to that meeting.
The Chairman asked Andy Bell that the date in February, for the next Joint Working Party meeting should be circulated to those taking as soon as possible.

(d) North Devon AONB:
On 8th. November 2004, an AONB Business Planning Day was held at Caddsdown for all of the partners involved. This was to plan the priorities for the implementation of the AONB Plan for the next 12 months.
A further AONB partnership meeting will be held Friday, 21st. January, 2005.
There will be an AONB Annual Forum at Clovelly Village on 5thMarch 2005. All member organisations are invited.
• Time 10 until 4pm at the Clovelly Visitor Centre
• Entry is free to the event and includes full access to the Visitor Centre and Village.
• The main event will be interactive displays and demonstrations
• There will be at Talk on the ‘Archaeology of the AONB’ by Dr. Mark Horton Head of Department and Reader in Archaeology at the University of Bristol.
• There will be a farming debate.
The Forum has been asked if they would like to run an information stand.
The Chairman asked if there were any members who would like to help with the stand, and to provide leaflets, information, etc about their organisations. It had been suggested that a quiz be set up on Water Safety.
Anyone interested in this venture should contact the Chairman.
David Graham, ATTURM, offered practical help with stands and displays and there was also support from RNLI, EA, and EN. 

(e) MCS Adopt - A – Beach:
Barbara Haddrill reported that as well as raising awareness of the litter problem they also required Data. They are to target one aspect of litter perhaps cigarette butts to provide the information and the necessary data.
The Chairman and Barbara Haddrill are to meet to produce a letter to go to all landowners around the Estuary to promote the scheme.
Jeremy Bell raised concerns about reports of sewage- related debris on Westward Ho! Beach 
The EA agreed to take these concerns back to Exminster.
The EA also offered a skip for the purpose of the Adopt a Beach Scheme.

(f) Beach Lifeguards:
TDC has appointed RNLI to run beach lifeguard service on Westward Ho! Beach – starting in May.
At the moment NDDC are unable to run a lifeguard service on the privately owned beaches.
Marguerite Shapland explained the NDDC position in not providing the lifeguard cover. The beaches of Saunton, Croyde and Instow are in private ownership and the District Council felt that they were unable to fund the lifeguard cover for this year. The Beach owners were told of this decision 18 months ago. The NDDC is prepared to help facilitate discussions between landowners and service providers, but can no longer provide this service itself. 
The RNLI Appledore has been in contact with NDDC expressing deep concern.
The Chairman was asked to write letters to NDDC and Christie Estates expressing concern and urging them to find a compromise so that lifeguard cover is in place for the 2005 season. 

(g) EA Committees: -
Taw and North Devon Streams CAMS Stakeholder Group:
The 2nd. CAMS meeting took place on 2nd December, and the Resource Assessment and Management results have shown that there is water available for abstraction in all but two of the streams in the area.
For anyone interested, the Chairman has copies of the minutes.
The next meeting will be the 18th February.
Devon Area Environment Group:
The annual DAEG conference was held at Exminster on 24th November 2004
Reports were given on issues such as: -
Floodplains and flooding, flood prevention, waste problems, land management to reduce erosion, Salmon Action Plan, Sports bids for improved facilities, pollution, audit of sewage pumping stations, angling and bathing waters.
Local issues mentioned were: 
Bideford ARC bid for improved facilities.
Bideford Angling Club- Paul Carter is helping to develop a coarse fishery at Gammaton Reservoir
Angling course at Jennett’s Reservoir for pupils of Torrington School.

(h) Appledore Quay Wall:
Despite reminders the Forum has still not been notified of the date of the meeting with EA and Halcrow. It should have been in November.
The Chairman asked the EA Representative to report this matter to Mr. Buxton- Smith.
The Chairman said she would contact them yet again.

8. URGENT MATTERS brought forward by the Chairman:

9.COASTAL FLOODPLAIN and Grazing Marsh:
Andy Bell requested that this be deferred to the next meeting.

10. PERMANENT MOORINGS in the Fairway:
John Daniel expressed his concern regarding the moorings in the fairway from Zeta Berth to Appledore Quay. He suggested that there were more and larger boats mooring there and they were becoming a danger to shipping. He added that the Lifeboat negotiating the River Torridge at night might encounter problems.
Mrs. Shapland reported that there were similar problems at Velator.
The Chairman was asked to send letters, expressing concern to NDYC., Instow Marine, Capt. Hoad, ( Bideford Harbour Master) and the Crown Commissioners, (Marine Section.).

Draft TDC Bideford Harbour Oil Spill Contingency Plan.
The Chairman had responded to the draft plan and summary notes were handed out to members. Any further comments from members were to be sent direct to TDC.

The correspondence is listed at the end of the Minutes.

13. AGENDA ITEM proposed for the next meeting:
Floodplain and Grazing Marshes - Andy Bell.

1. English Nature: James Diamond informed the meeting that someone wishing to start a commercial seaplane service on the Torridge Estuary at Bideford had approached him. A Marine Aerodrome Licence Application has already been applied for; also consent from the Civil Aviation Authority. English Nature had suggested that the applicant should inform the Forum and perhaps also Chivenor. EN also sent communications to the CAA pointing out the need to follow correct procedure especially in light of the SSSIs involved.
2. James Diamond informed the meeting that as from January 1st. he has taken on responsibility for the whole Taw 
3. RNLI Appledore: Wendy Dale informed the Forum that a new Operations Manager is still to be appointed. They would be glad to hear from anyone interested in the post. Also, they will be looking for a new Coxswain in the summer when the present one retires.
4. Fremington PC. Peter Mullen asked Andy Bell if the Local Nature Reserve in Fremington had been officially declared.
Andy Bell responded that it had not yet been declared.

15. DATES and VENUES of MEETINGS for the forthcoming year:


Monday 18th July 2005, at BIDEFORD TOWN HALL

Monday 17th October 2005, at BARNSTAPLE CIVIC CENTRE.

Monday 16th January 2006 at BIDEFORD TOWN HALL.

There being no other business the meeting closed at 9.30pm.



12. Correspondence Received:
Countryside Recreation Network: Countryside Visitor Seminar
on Wednesday, 19th. January, 2005 – Birmingham
Friends of the Earth: Marinet Briefing No.2 – Offshore Marine Aggregate Dredging
DCC Minerals Local Plan – Adopted Plan – Summary Leaflet – June 2004
Environment Agency – Links – Overview of the work of the EA in Devon – Autumn 2004
Environment Agency: The Choice is Yours
Environment Agency: Turning the Tide
Environment Agency Emergency Hotline: 0800 80 70 60 – 24 hours a day, 7 days a week - free
Devon Wildlife Trust: ND Voluntary Marine Conservation Area Newsletter – Autumn 2004
Campaign to Protect Rural England: Countryside Voice – magazine – Autumn 2004
Army Training Estate – Annual Report 2003/4 – Facilitating Training and Protecting the Environment
CEFAS: Assessment of the re-habilitation of the seabed following marine aggregate dredging
AONB: Outstanding – magazine for Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty
North Devon AONB News – Autumn/Winter 2004/05
North Devon AONB – Leaflet
EA Press Release: £2 million goes to waste (re. Fly Tipping) – 22.11.04
EA Press Release: SWW fined for Polluting Devon Stream – 24.11.04
EA Press Release: Water Investment to bring Environmental and Economic Returns – 2.12.04
EA Press Release: Paul Daniels conjures up Flood Advice – 10.11.04
EA Press Release: Tyre Tipper Lands £360 Bill – 10.11.04
EA Press Release: Owner of Illegal Scrap Yard Prosecuted – 19.11.04
EA Press Release: Cold Comfort for Man caught Flytipping Fridges – 19.11.04
EA Press Release: Environment Agency says Be Prepared for Tidal Flooding – 26.10.04
EA Press Release: South West Bathing Waters Top for Blue Flag Quality – 9.11.04
EA Press Release: Bonfire Advice from Environment Agency – 27.10.04
EA Press Release: Efficiency Measures to Cut Back Most Charge Increases – 29.10.04

For Information:
RSPB Programme of Events – Local Group:
Held in the Taw Room, Civic Centre, Barnstaple at 7.30 p.m. Admission Charged:
Friday, 28th. January: Peter Walters – "Fishleigh Estate"
Friday, 25th. February: Doug Eade – Devon Bat Trust
Friday, 18th. March: Ethne Conlin – Albatrosses

Sunday, 13th. March – Isley Marsh
Thursday, 21st. April – Chapel Wood