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July 2004

MINUTES for the Meeting held on Monday, 5th. July 2004 at Bideford Town Hall

MEMBERS PRESENT: Mrs. R. Day, Chairman, (Instow PC and CPRE), Mr. R. Butler, (UK MAB), Capt. P. Fronteras, (Westleigh PC), Mr. J. Breeds, (MoD), Mrs. P. Ferris, (Braunton Countryside Centre), Mr. J. Daniel, (TT Nets), Mr. L. Oldham, (TTWC), Ms. S. Colquhoun, (Westcountry Rivers Trust), Mr. J. Hartnoll, Mr. O. Slade, (Braunton Marsh Inspectors), Mr. T. Squire, (ND Waterski Club), Mr. J. Diamond, (English Nature), Mr. A. Bell, (N.D.C.&C.S.), Mr. P. Mullen, (Fremington PC), Mr. C. Hassall, (Rolle Canal Society), Mr. J. Turner, (NDDC), Mrs. A. Humphris, (Hon. Sec.)

The Chairman introduced the following New Members: - Mr. D. Edgcombe, (NDC&CS), Mr. P. Siddall, (Environment Agency), Mr. P. Hammond, (ND Jet Ski & Personal Watercraft Club), Dr. J. Sharp, (Fremington PC), Mrs. M. Cox, standing in for Mr. J. Bell, (Northam TC), Mrs. W. Dale, (RNLI Appledore).

1. APOLOGIES for ABSENCE: Mr. T. Pratt, Vice Chairman, (NDYC), Ms. J. Thomson, (Gaia Trust), Mr. T. Jones, (Devon Birds), Mr. J. Bell, (Northam TC), Mr. M. Davies, (RSPB).

2. MINUTES of PREVIOUS MEETING on Monday, 19th. April 2004:
Tim Squire proposed and Paul Fronteras seconded the adoption of the Minutes, and members voted unanimously to adopt them.

3. MATTERS ARISING from the Minutes:
(a) Estuary Report:

Update: 27th. April 2004:
Devon Wildlife Trust: Protecting Our Coast Workshop Saturday, 12th.June 2004:
The Chairman had attended the Workshop. The programme included:
-Biosphere Reserve Presentation - Andy Bell.
-Coastal and Marine Life Presentation - Barbara Haddrill
-North Devon Volunteering Development Agency - Patrick Hamilton
-Local environmental, economic and social benefits- Mark Hodgson - EnVision
Workshops were held to bring forward ideas for projects. Those present were invited to volunteer their time and expertise to push forward these projects.
A Project Launch will take place on Friday, 16th July.

Anchorwood Bank, Barnstaple: Proposed Attenuation Pond and Associated Open Space:
The Chairman reported that she had submitted a response from the Forum, a copy of which was available if any member wished to see it.
The Chairman had subsequently received a copy of a letter from NDDC to the Developers (RPS), drawing their attention to the fact that there is no provision for an attenuation pond on this site. The provisions state that the surface drainage water from the Leaderflush + Shapland site will be discharged into the river, and that the site at Anchorwood Bank itself would be used for “nature conservation purposes and informal public access”
A member suggested that they do need a storage facility, and they are trying to facilitate this around the open area. The problem was that the same land had been designated as a playing field, a pond and a conservation area.
It would appear that there would have to be further consultation and a new plan drawn up.

Update: 11th May 2004:
NDDC Consultations:
(a) Rolle Quay, Mill Road, Braunton Road and Rolle Street Area, Barnstaple.
(b) The Former Cattle Market, Barnstaple
(c) Queen Street/Bear Street, Barnstaple
(d) Supplementary Planning Guidance on Community Woodlands.
A copy of each of the responses was available from the Chairman.

Update: 4th June 2004:
NDC&CS. A copy of the contact details and job descriptions of everyone employed by the service was circulated to all members.

RNLI Beach Rescue:
RNLI Training Event: 5th. To 17th. July
This is the final training event. The training will take place using the Appledore Lifeboat Slip and Airey Point.


RNLI Open Management Meeting – 9th. June 2004:
The Vice-Chairman's written report of the meeting was circulated to all the members present. 
Steve Instance, the Beach Lifeguard Manager had spoken on the developing role of the RNLI in beach safety. The RNLI is now responsible for all of Cornwall's guarded beaches, and is now negotiating for contracts in the North Devon area, with a possible starting date in 2005. One of the roles of the Beach Lifeguards was policing the dangerous use of fast leisure craft.
Further reports were given by the Management Team and Guild, and by the Divisional Inspector.

Environment Agency Taw and North Devon Streams Catchment Abstraction Management Strategy (CAMS) Stakeholder Group:
Georgina Gray, the EA CAMS Technical Officer, had written invitingng the Forum to take part in this Stakeholder Group. This will be a very welcome renewal of contact with the Environment Agency stakeholders groups. The TTEF Chairman has been asked to chair the group, which she has accepted.

Environment Agency Beach Monitoring Data – Instow, Westward Ho! and Saunton Beaches:
The Chairman has been receiving regular reports on the monitoring results. So far, the results from Westward Ho! and Saunton are well within the Guideline (Blue Flag) limits, and the results at Instow are within the Mandatory Standards.
A copy of the results was handed out to members at the meeting.

Crab Tile Code of Conduct:
The Code had been discussed and commented upon at a previous TTEF meeting. Further copies were distributed to members.
The Code of Conduct will be discussed at a meeting on Tuesday, 17th. August, and the format and content of the leaflet will then be decided. Any further comments on the Code of Conduct should be sent to Andy Bell by 3rd. August.

(b) Braunton Burrows UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve:
Presentation by Andy Bell:
Andy Bell gave an up-to-date report on the Braunton Burrows UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve. He pointed out, firstly, that the Braunton Burrows Biosphere Reserve was one of 500 Biospheres worldwide.
He explained that Biosphere reserves perform three main roles:
• Conservation in situ of natural and semi-natural ecosystems and landscapes
• Demonstration areas for ecologically and socio-culturally sustainable use and
• Logistic support for research, monitoring, education, training and information exchange.
These functions are associated through a zonation system including: 
- The Core Area – Braunton Burrows, the golf course and parts of the Estuary as the prime conservation area.
- The Buffer Zone - the area around the core.
- The Transition Zone - the area surrounding the core and buffer zone.
On the recommendation of UNESCO, Lundy Island may be added as a second core zone.
The ecosystem approach - a method or strategy for trying to deliver conservation under the headings of Biodiversity, Social needs, and Economic Development – will be implemented.
The ideal governance structure for Biosphere Reserves is made up of associated groups all interlinked and interrelated, i.e:
- The Biosphere Reserve Management Board links to the North Devon AONB Partnership, to UK MAB and beyond; it supports and advises authorities and agencies and meets quarterly.
- The Facilitation Group filters and refines information to and from the Management Board, and prepares papers and reports. The Facilitation Group is made up of officers and representatives from the institutions on the Management Board and from Taw Torridge Estuary Forum members as Founding Community Facilitators.
-The Consultative Framework is split by Geography and by Theme, using existing groups and fora, such as Community Planning Alliances, Local Strategic Partnerships, theme-based interest groups such as the Agricultural Forum, the Biodiversity Forum, the Coastal group, Transport groups and Tourism Associations.
There will be an annual conference/workshop.
The following projects are planned:
• Economic Partnership 20-Year Vision
• Biosphere Reserve Strategy
• Marketing and Branding
• Interpretation Strategy
• "Watch Your Mouth" Project (Estuary Evolution)
• Environment Support for the Community and Business (Global Action Plan and EnVision)
• Art in the Landscape Trans-national Link.
Longer Term Projects:
• Oceanic Centre (North Devon College)
• Foundation degrees and knowledge-based industries centred on the Biosphere Reserve.

Other Future Aspirations:
• More co-ordinated work within the Buffer and Transition Zones.
• Improved visitor management.
• Research
• Social Development.
The Inaugural Biosphere Reserve Management Board Meeting was held on 11th. June, and was attended by international and local scientists, whose role was to help, support and advise. It was agreed that the Board should operate as an Interim Board before a full management board was appointed in 12 months' time.
The Chairman and Richard Butler (UK MAB) represent the Forum on the Management Board. The next meeting will be in September (alternative date in October).
Biosphere Reserve Project Officer This new post was included in the re-organisation of the NDC&CS and the setting up of the NDC&CS role in the Biosphere Reserve. DCC has now expressed support for the post.
It was resolved that letters underlining the need for such an officer should be sent by the Chairman of the Forum and by each of the individual Forum member organisations, encouraging DCC to provide the necessary funding which will encourage the other funding agencies to do likewise.

Slade Valley Art Project Launch: The NDCCS is still awaiting permission from the Police to go ahead.

Rod Lawrence’s Ecology Course: "The Ecology of the Biosphere": This course will take place in the Autumn/Winter Timetable of the WEA. Paula Ferris will let the Chairman have details, which will be sent out to members in a subsequent Update.

Richard Butler – UK Biodiversity Partnership Conference in Cardiff:
Richard Butler reported on this conference of 175 delegates, funded by DEFRA and led by the Minister for the Environment for Wales. The delegates were representatives from the Welsh Assembly, and groups such as Wildlife Trusts, English Nature, Environment Agency, Plant Life, Universities, RHS, Forestry Commission, RSPB and many others.
There were many speakers but one representing the BBC was of particular interest. He suggested that, as regards wildlife, the perpetual problem with the general public is that of ignorance. He went on to give statistics of how the population responded to biodiversity.
There was a series of workshops looking at Biodiversity Action Plans, Species Action Plans and Habitat Action Plans. A full report of all the Biodiversity Action Plans is expected in 2005.
It was reported that a third of our habitats and a quarter of our species are still in decline.
The message for the end of the conference was: “We are achieving, but we are being overcome by the speed and the need to change”.

John Breeds' Report:
Management Issues: John Breeds reported that the final report assessing the effectiveness of the grazing trials between 1998-2003 is due at the end of the year. There has, so far this year, been no summer grazing of the trial plots because the dry conditions have significantly slowed the growth of vegetation. He went on to point out the problems encountered, due to the dry spell of weather. The recent rain has restored some of the colourful flora with yellow drifts of Lady’s bedstraw, pink of Restharrow and purple patches of Thyme.
Rare Species: The status of several rare species continues to be assessed.
Water Germander – appropriate management has now halted the decline of this very rare plant.
The populations of Round-headed Club-rush, Sand Toadflax, and Sea Stock continue to be healthy.
White Horehound has been rediscovered recently near Broadsands.
The first brood of the Small Blue butterfly has not appeared this year.
Research and Monitoring: Water table monitoring continues and there is increasing concern over the future of wet slack communities as they become drier for longer periods of the year.
Regular counts of rabbit numbers, along a fixed 7.5km route, continue to show an increase.
Biosphere Events and Activities:
A successful beach clean took place on May 23rd. with 12 volunteers collecting 2 large trucks full of sea-borne and other litter from the beach and fore-dunes.
Dave Edgcombe (NDC&CS) along with 7 volunteers carried out repairs to the boardwalk on June 13th.
Slide talks on the management and wildlife of the burrows were given at Braunton Parish Hall.
During the last 2 months 26 different groups representing a wide variety of local, national and international organisations have visited and been led around the dunes by John and Mary Breeds.
An increasing number of national natural history and botanical groups have visited, discovering new species plus some very rare hybrid willows. A small colony of wasp orchids, an uncommon and interesting variety of the Bee Orchid was found near Sandy Lane.
Interpretation: The high numbers of visitors have highlighted the urgent need for good quality interpretive boards at Sandy Lane, Broadsands and Saunton carparks.
The Braunton Countryside Centre is hosting Mary Breeds’ display on ‘Wildflowers of the Burrows’. The series of illustrated talks start on Wednesday, 7th July. Copies of the lists of the Activities were handed out at the meeting.
The full report can be viewed on the Forum website along with photographs and the lists of activities.
www.ttef.org.uk

North West Devon Economic Partnership Vision and Strategy:
The draft document for consultation is now available. It can be found on: www.ndexreg.co.uk

(c) Skills Audit:
Copies of the Skills Audit Form were circulated with the Agenda and further copies were available at the meeting. The Chairman pointed out that it is an opportunity for members to offer personal skills to help with projects for the Biosphere Reserve. Andy Bell added that anything members might be able to contribute in skills or knowledge, (not necessarily as a formal qualification), would be most useful.

(d) Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB):
Dave Edgcombe explained his role as the AONB Project Officer in a team, which was part of the NDC&CS. His report included details of one of the main projects undertaken by the AONB namely the ND AONB Strategy and Action Plan. This was required in Section 89 of the Countryside and Rights of Way (CROW) Act 2000. The Plan was successfully submitted to DEFRA on March 31st. 2004. The colourful copies of the Plan, Parts 1 & 2, were handed out to members. It is also hoped that the new AONB Newsletter will help to raise awareness of the work of the AONB in the area. It will be distributed widely during the summer. A second publication is due in the autumn, and members were invited to submit any items of interest to the NDC&CS for this publication.
A website is to be set up in July. 
Other activities and promotional events for 2004 covered in the report can be viewed on the AONB website. www.northdevon-aonb.org.uk
The Chairman announced that Richard Butler would represent the Forum at the next Joint Advisory Committee (JAC), as she was unable to attend.
Countryside Agency’s State of the Countryside Report 2004:
This is now available on the SW Protected Landscapes Forum website at:
www.southwestlandscapes.org.uk/ResearchPapers.asp

(a) Fast Leisure Craft in the Taw Torridge Estuary:
The minutes of the FLC meeting were circulated with the Agendas
This meeting was very positive.
• Two clubs have now been formed covering all the classes of Fast Leisure Craft.
• Each registered member will be issued with an ID permit by the NDC&CS and will display the registration number on the hull of the craft.
• The two District Councils are to set up a joint working party to look at a long-term strategy involving Byelaws and non-statutory provisions.
The Chairman will be contacting both District Councils to ask when the first of these meetings will take place.
Phil Hammond (ND Jet Ski & PWC Club) spoke of the difficulties he has encountered whilst forming the NDJS&PWC Club. The main problems are craft with no insurance, and nobody to enforce launch bans. Andy Bell commented that the NDC&CS is happy to monitor the licensing, but enforcement is a problem.

(b) Dead Animals in the Estuary:
A response from NDDC was available to members, in which it stated that removing dead animals is the responsibility of the landowners. On the tidal foreshore the responsibility falls to the Environment Agency, but there are discussions underway to formalise a new protocol, where this will become the responsibility of the Council.
Phil Siddall (EA) is to inform the Forum when this new protocol comes into effect.

(c) Appledore Quay Wall:
Mr. Buxton-Smith (EA) informed the Chairman that the test panels are ready, and that a meeting with TDC, representatives from the Forum and other interested organisations will take place in the next 2 to 5 weeks.
The Chairman will keep the Forum informed.

4. URGENT MATTERS:
None.

5. CONSULTATIONS:
No new consultations had been received.
1.Yelland Ashbed Site: A copy of the TTEF response was made available.
2. Culver Sands. A copy of the TTEF response was made available.

6. CORRESPONDENCE RECEIVED 
Countryside Agency's State of the Countryside Report 2004: This is now available on the 
South West Protected Landscapes Forum website at:
http://www.southwestlandscapes.org.uk/ResearchPapers.asp
(Also, on the same website, Character Area Profiles, are being produced as part of the work on 
"Countryside Quality Counts")
The North Devon Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty Plan – Spring 2004
The North Devon AONB Management Plan: Part Two – Action Plan 2004-2010
North Devon Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty – Annual Review 2003/2004
AONB News – Issue 1, April 2004
CPRE: Countryside Voice – Magazine – Summer 2004
EnVision: Creating a better environment for business success
EnVision: What is THE most valuable asset to your tourism business … the Environment
EnVision: Climate Change & Tourism Conference
Fremington Parish Council: Invitation to meeting on Parish Appraisal - 2nd. June 2004
North West Devon Leader+: Funds for Improving the Quality of Life in Rural Areas – Leaflet
Leader+: Access to the Countryside – Leaflet
Leader+: Community Projects Grant Scheme
Dorset and East Devon World Heritage Site: Lyme Regis Museum – Information Leaflet
Dorset and East Devon World Heritage Site: Beer Quarry Caves – Information Leaflet
North Devon Volunteering Development Agency – Leaflet

7. AGENDA ITEMS for the next meeting:
• AONB Presentation including a report on Wind Farms.

8. ANY OTHER BUSINESS:

1.Andy Bell: A Conference on Climate Change will be held in the autumn. Details later.
2.James Diamond distributed an English Nature’s Leaflet – ‘Our Coasts and Seas’
3. Phil Siddall (EA) reported from Paul Carter that the results of the re-seeding of the mussels would be apparent in September.
4. Chris Hassall advertised the ‘Torrington Commons Week’ at the Plough, Torrington, which included a display and information on the Rolle Canal.
5. Paula Ferris advertised the series of talks at the Braunton Countryside Centre beginning in July. 
On July 14th at 7.45 p.m. there will be a talk by Mary-Rose Lane of the Environment Agency on Otters.
6. The Chairman had been contacted by Claire Davies of Instow asking for support for the distribution of bio-degradable “dog poo bags” to local businesses near beaches in North Devon District. The Chairman referred this to NDDC Environmental Health Department.

9. Dates of Next Meetings:

Monday, 4th. October 2004 at the Civic Centre, Barnstaple.
Monday, 17th. January 2005 at the Town Hall, Bideford - AGM.

The Meeting closed at 9.20.pm.
 

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