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January 2009

MINUTES of the Annual General Meeting held on Monday 19 January 2009 at the Town Hall, Bideford.

MEMBERS PRESENT Mrs R Day, Chairman (Instow PC and CPRE), Mr T Pratt, Vice Chairman (NDYC), Mr R Graham, (MoD, RM Instow), Ms C Jones, (DWT), Mr J Earnshaw, (GAIA Trust), Mr A Barclay and Mrs M Tucker, (Northam Burrows 1716 Committee (NB1716C)), Mr P Siddall, (EA), Mr J Breeds MBE, (Br Burrows Ed Warden), Mr N Briden, (Devon Birdwatchers), Mr Jerry Lee, (NDCC Liaison), Cllr W Silver, (Fremington PC), Cllr R Jones (NDDC & Fremington PC), Mr J Gillet, (NE), Mr R Butler MBE, (AONB & UKMAB), Mr S Shambrook, (MOD, RMB Chivenor), Cllr P Fronteras, (Westleigh PC & MVS), Mr S Brown, (MVS), Mr R Gotts, (NDFA), WO2 A Hall, (MoD, RMB Chivenor, Water Sports & Trg Centre), Mr J Hartnoll, (Br Marsh Insp), Capt R Hoad, (TDC Hbr Master), Mr A Atkinson, (NDSA), Mr A Bell, (ND Biosphere Res), Lt Col M Portman, (MoD, Fremington Camp and Br Burrows Trg Area), Mr M Roberts, (Coastwise ND), Cllr T Johns, (Bideford TC), Mr C Hassall, (Rolle Canal Soc), Mrs A Humphris, (Hon Sec). 


The Chairman welcomed all present who then introduced themselves and stated which TTEF member organisation they represented.

Apologies for absence were received from:
Mrs L Blanchard, (AONB), Cllr G Holder, (Ashford PC), Dr M Ford, (Braunton Countryside Centre), Cllr M Shapland, (Braunton PC), Mr C Squire, (ND Water Ski Club).

The Chairman then addressed the Forum. In her address she stated that it had been a privilege to Chair the TTEF and expressed her gratitude to the members for their support. The independence of the Forum was emphasised and, as the only stakeholder group to represent both estuaries and the surrounding countryside, it commanded considerable respect. The membership now stood at 40 with additional representation from government bodies and, if all contributed to the Forum's business, it should continue to thrive. The Chairman expressed her particular gratitude to the Hon Sec, Mrs Ann Humphris and made a personal presentation. On completion of her address the Chairman formally stood down. 


The Hon Sec then asked for nominations for the posts of Chairman and Vice Chairman. No nominations or volunteers were forthcoming. The Vice Chairman then volunteered to step in as Chairman until a volunteer could be found. This was proposed from the floor, seconded and carried unanimously. In accepting the position of Chairman Mr Pratt emphasised that he could only fill this post for a very limited time. Under no circumstances would he continue as Chairman beyond 2009. 

The Hon Secretary then stated that she would not be seeking re-election. No nominations or volunteers for the post were forthcoming. The Chairman suggested that efforts to fill this post should continue and, in the meantime, Mr Graham would carry out these duties for this meeting if the Forum agreed. This was proposed from the floor, seconded and carried.

In addition to the Chairman, Mr Hassall (Rolle Canal Soc), Mr Hall (RMB Chivenor, Watersports Centre) and Mr Graham (RM Instow) had volunteered to work on the Forum's committees. No other volunteers were forthcoming. It was therefore agreed that the Consultation and Administration Committees should be combined with the volunteers above as members.


On behalf of all the members of the Forum the Chairman thanked Mrs Humphris for her tireless efforts as Hon Secretary and made a presentation. He then gave an appreciation of the work of Mrs Day on behalf of the Forum. Her commitment to the objectives of the TTEF and the amount of work she had done on its' behalf were well beyond that which could reasonably have been expected of her. That the Forum had become such an influential body was largely due to her efforts. He then proposed that, although no longer the Chairman, Mrs Day should be invited to continue to represent the Forum with the Biosphere Reserve and the AONB. This was seconded and unanimously agreed. In closing the Chairman repeated the Forum's gratitude and made a presentation. 


The Annual Accounts were presented to the Forum and items of note explained. That the accounts should be adopted was proposed from the floor, seconded and agreed.


The continued unwillingness of the Chairman and Hon Secretary to accept their honoraria was the subject of some concern. It was suggested that this gave a false impression of the financial state of the Forum and that refusal by one officer to accept the honoraria could make it difficult for the other to do so. Noting these concerns the Chairman proposed that the honoraria, at the current rates, should continue to be shown in the accounts so that the true financial position could be seen. However, it was the personal choice of the Forum's Officers as to whether they chose to take them. This position was seconded and agreed.

The Chairman proposed an increase in the Annual Subscription from £18 to £20 in order to cover inflation and other inevitable cost increases. This was seconded and agreed.

20 October 2008

Acceptance of the Minutes of the Forum's meeting on 20 October 2008 was proposed from the floor, seconded and agreed.

31 October, 5 December, 16 January

The Chairman summarised the results of the Steering Group Meetings. Despite some lobbying and contacts with other organisations no volunteers had been found to fill the posts of Chairman and Hon Secretary. Acknowledging the exceptional workload of his predecessor it had been agreed that, on her retirement, 2 committees would undertake routine business. Unfortunately only 3 volunteers had stepped forward. A single committee lead by the Chairman would therefore carry out all business. This had been endorsed by the Forum at Agenda Item 2.

Approaches to the District and County Councils had so far not resulted in any offers of support. The Chairman proposed that a letter should be sent to the County Council, with copies to other potentially interested parties, seeking support. This was seconded and agreed.


The MCA had expressed an interest in attending meetings as observers as they had particular interests in safety within the estuaries. This was welcomed.

The Chairman had attended a meeting of Estuary Officers. This had been informative and, with their Terms of Reference, would assist the Forum in making a case for the post for the Taw and Torridge Estuaries.

It was noted that the telephone numbers on the Estuary Signs still require updating. Mr Bell stated that all panels would be replaced by March 2009.

Funding has been allocated to provide a board walk in order to reinstate the coastal path near Appledore Shipbuilders.

The problem of Quad bikes on Penhill Marsh had been passed to Fremington PC. Unfortunately, as the culprits cannot be identified, there is little prospect of action.

The Harbour Master gave his report. A copy is attached. Mr Bell questioned the loading method for the proposed shipment of recycled glass. This would be handled by the grab on the harbour crane.

Mr Bell gave the Biosphere Reserve Report:
a. In future there would be 4 working groups. The Communication Group would be launching a Key Stage 2 Education Pack in June. The launch would be in Tiverton in order to maximise accessibility. The Science and Evidence Group was in place but taking some time to get their research direction. An Environmental Quality Group had been started and a 4th Group on Climate Change was to be established. 
b. They are seeking Environment Agency Funding for flood risk management to match European Union funding. 
c. Craft registration will re start this summer. 
d. Councillors will be providing £10K funding for the new estuary information panels mentioned at 8a above.
e. BP Handy Gas have passed money to the Tarka Trust for interpretation work..

The lack of continued funding for the position of the Braunton Burrows Education Warden was raised. Natural England had no comment at that time. The Chairman proposed that a letter should be sent from the Forum supporting the continued funding of this post. This was agreed.

The Braunton Burrows Education Warden gave his report. Since his last report there had been 3 educational visits for 51 students and 2 specialist group visits. 31 volunteer tasks had been carried out totalling 66 working days. These were mainly rubbish removal, monitoring and survey. Points of note were the number of newts in a breeding condition and the increased rabbit numbers in grazed areas. Dogs continue to be a problem. The demand from volunteers for involvement was still high but the future of the post needed to be addressed.

The AONB Partnership Report was given.
a. The Management Plan was now in the process of gaining final approval.
b. The consultation document had received an excellent response.
c. The photographic competition had attracted over 200 entries. A short list was on the web site and Forum members were encouraged to vote.
d. The Anniversary Year runs from May 2009 to June 2010 and Forum members were encouraged to get involved.
e. "Explore Braunton" is going really well. The project is now to be handed over to the community through the Braunton Museum and the Community College.

Sandy Lane Car Park.
No response had been received from Christie Estates regarding the Sandy Lane Car Park and there was now controversy over the ownership of the approach road. Members of the Forum expressed some frustration over the lack of progress here and the apparent unwillingness of the agencies involved to deal with the situation. Once again dog mess was a particular problem. It was agreed that with the AONB 50 year anniversary imminent something should be done but no way ahead was found.

Northam Burrows - Disused Landfill site.
A non technical summary had been published that some felt did not adequately address the situation. The Forum would await developments. 

Appledore Quay Wall.
A response from Halcrow to the Forum's request for information was read out. This response was considered inadequate and the terms under which it was presented were unsatisfactory. However, at that stage no further action was proposed.

The subject of dog mess on Braunton Burrows was once again discussed. The AONB 50th anniversary should spur some action. Further action is required from the NDCCS.

Work on the Knapp House flood bank is progressing and there appears to be enough material on site to complete the task.

Live Aboard Vessels In the Estuary.
This was recognised as a problem that was probably going to increase. The Crown Commissioners were not prepared to act by themselves but will act in partnership with other appropriate agencies. Craft above the high water mark can be dealt with under planning law and there will be environmental health issues. This issue would be monitored.

Foreshore Leases - Update.
It has been established that the MoD has a licence from the Crown for its activities, not a lease.

Shoreline Management Plan Review.
There are notes on the website covering this. Any new development will be handled by the Chairman through the committee.

Marine and Coastal Access Bill.
This is currently at the committee stage in the House of Lords. There is cross party agreement for the need for conservation.

Joint NDC/TDC Local Strategic Partnership Delivery Board.
The Chairman will attend the February meeting.


There has not yet been a formal application for an incinerator at Seven Brethren Bank. TTEF will be consulted when there is.

Further details can be found in the Newsletter. 


None brought forward by the Chairman.


No new items proposed.


The Forum were informed that work had started on widening the access slip at the RMB Chivenor, Watersports Facility.


20 April - Barnstaple. 20 July - Bideford. 19 October - Barnstaple. 

18 January 2010 - Bideford.