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July 2006

MINUTES for the Meeting held on 17th. July 2006 at Bideford Town Hall, at 7p.m.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Mrs. R. Day, Chairman, (Instow PC and CPRE), Mr. J. Daniel, (T.T.Nets), Mr. A. Bell, (NDCCS), Cllr. P. Mullen, (Fremington PC.), Mr. R. Butler, (UK MAB.), Cpl. D. Perkins, MBE. (RMB Chivenor and Conservation Group), Lt. Col. M. Portman, (Fremington Training Camp), Mr. C. Hassall, (Rolle Canal Society), Mr. S. Corbett, (EA), Mr. J. Breeds, (MoD), Mr. J. Diamond, (EN), Mr. J. Lee (NDDC Liaison Officer), Mr. R. Hoad, (Bideford Harbour Master, TDC), Mr. D. Graham, (RM Instow), Ms. C. Manning, (Project Officer, Braunton Marsh Study). Mrs. A Humphris, Hon. Sec.

In Attendance: Mr. M. Pryer.

1. APOLOGIES for ABSENCE: Ms. C. Roberts, (Devon Wildlife Trust), Mr. R. Knight, (Barnstaple TC), Mr R McCormack, (TDC), Mr. T. Jones, (Devon Birds), Mr. T. Squire, (ND Waterski C), Mr. L. Oldham, (TT Wildfowlers), Mr. T. Pratt, (NDYC), Cllr Mrs. M. Shapland, (Braunton PC), Cllr. H. Barton, (Bideford TC), Mrs. W. Dale, (RNLI), Mr P. Fronteras, (Westleigh PC), Cllr. Mrs. M Cox, (Northam PC), Mr. J. Hartnoll, (Braunton Marsh Commissioners).

The Chairman welcomed two new members attending, Stuart Corbett, Environment Agency and Clare Manning the new Project Officer for the Management Study of Braunton Marsh.

2 Presentation: “A policy to protect the Torridge Estuary as part of Northam Town Council’s Parish Plan”:
As Miranda Cox was unable to attend the Meeting, this Presentation did not take place.

3. MINUTES of PREVIOUS MEETING; Monday, 3rd April 2006.
Peter Mullen proposed and Michael Portman seconded the adoption of the Minutes, and members voted unanimously to adopt them.

4 MATTERS ARISING from the Minutes:
(a) Estuary Report:
 Update 23rd. April. Update 1st. May. The consultations in these updates are dealt with in Item 7.
 Newsletters 17th June and 25th June:
Draft Marine Bill: The sub-committee notes have been circulated, along with the responses sent to DEFRA

Devon Estuary Officers Group:
The Chairman informed members that in the absence of an Estuary Officer, the TTEF has been invited to take part in this group. The Chairman went down to the Salcombe Estuary for a meeting, and she had a really interesting and informative day, especially finding out what was going on in the other estuaries in Devon.
The next meeting will take place just before Christmas. 

Fremington Nature Reserves. Peter Mullen informed the members that these Reserves are to be opened on Sunday 30th July.

Post of Coastal Project Officer: Andy Bell announced that the post was to be advertised. The new officer would work on 3 projects.
1.One project is based on work with the EA and local farmers to eliminate pollution on Combe Martin Beach.
2.Marine Litter Pollution monitoring of 5 beaches including Instow 
3.Coastal Floodplain and Grazing Marsh Project.

Our Coast: In one of the recent newsletters, the Chairman sent out notification of a course being run by Paula Ferris. She is also running a photographic exhibition, and is inviting people to submit photographs of their favourite spot on the North Devon coast, fascinating (coast shore or sea) wildlife, or simply a beautiful coastal picture, for inclusion in a celebratory display at Barnstaple Library in August.
Entries to be submitted by 21st. July. 
For enquiries about the competition or the course email: 

Hovercraft Service: Andy Bell mentioned that a Hovercraft operator, who is looking to operate out of the Taw Torridge Estuary, might contact the Forum.
The Chairman had had a telephone call from Lt Cdr. Rob Lawson, NDDC Harbour Master for Ilfracombe, giving more details about another hovercraft operation, and informing the Chairman that there is to be a meeting in October or November. He has put the Forum on the list to be invited to this meeting.
It appears that the operator wishes to operate a passenger service across the Bristol Channel from South Wales, and is looking for places in North Devon from which to operate.

Bideford Regeneration Initiative: Open Day Thursday, 20th July, at the Burton Art Gallery, from 11.30 am. to 9 pm.

Wrecks/Hulks in the Estuary: An officer from NDDC had telephoned the Chairman late on Friday night, about a hulk (the Dawn Monarch) that had been towed off that evening, and appeared to be adrift. The Chairman referred the Officer to Roger Hoad, the Bideford Harbour Master and Estuary Pilot.
Roger Hoad reported on this incident, which resulted in the tug towing the hulk being grounded on its way to a safe over-night berth. It was prevented from completing its task and the hulk will now have to wait until the next set of spring tides before it can continue its journey.
Following a discussion on the lack of communication telephone numbers, it was decided that the Chairman should write to NDDC, TDC, DCC, with a copy to HM Coastguard, Swansea, to ask that they update their telephone communications, to be used in this kind of emergency.

Harbour Master’s Report: 
Roger Hoad reported that Bideford shipping has been slow, since the small Spring tides prevented the maximum draught ships from loading over some months. However there were spring tides last week and two maximum draught ships arrived.
The mud from shipyard dredging works remains, together with the bund bags adjacent to the shipyard. There is a meeting soon to discuss this matter.
Approval has been given by Torridge DC to write a letter to Trinity House requesting clear marking of the navigable channels in the estuary for the safety of the large ships operating at present.
The reshuffle at TDC has now enabled the placing of slipway wardens at Appledore slip who will provide information and try to ‘educate’ the fast craft owners, as well as registering the third-party insurance of these craft.
No new houseboats have been allowed in Bideford Harbour, though requests are made regularly.
The superyacht built at Appledore Shipyard arrived safely at Plymouth.
The volunteer Marine Watch Co-ordinator (Keith Knowles) has produced posters and boat stickers which are available via the Harbour Office to help make all aware of the small but continuing crime wave in the estuary.
Speed limit signs are on order for Bideford Harbour. There will be 3 on the Harbour itself and 2 on the bridge legs.

This report can be seen in full on the TTEF website: 

Clay Pigeon Shooting at Fremington:
The Chairman has had more correspondence from Mr. David Jury of Fremington, concerning the clay pigeon shooting at Fremington Training camp
Lt Col Portman informed the members that he had been in touch with Mr. Jury.
The Chairman is to visit the Training Camp so that Lt. Col. Portman can show her what goes on in the area of concern.

MoD Power Kiting on Saunton Beach:
Fremington Training Camp will be using Saunton Beach, west of the Braunton Burrows Training Area, for Power-kiting, which is an approved military adventure training activity.

Opening of Bideford Quay Enhancements:
The Chairman had attended the official opening of the Bideford Quay Enhancements.
She also attended an Open Day at the Bideford Angling Club’s new Gammaton Fishing Lake at the invitation of Paul Carter (EA).

Environment Agency Prosecution of South West Water: discharge of sewage from pumping station ‘A’ at Instow, through the combined storm overflow off Instow Quay.
At the prosecution at Barnstaple Magistrates’ Court, SWW pleaded guilty, and was fined £4,000, with costs of £1050 being awarded to the Environment Agency.
A copy of the EA’s Press Release was handed to members.

Environment Agency Area Manager, Martin Weiler, is to continue in the post.

Environment Agency – Looking at Estuary Plans:
Tim de Winton of the Environment Agency is looking at Estuary Plans in Devon, in order to be able to assess what the EA contributes towards these plans and how the EA benefits.

Dredging at Appledore Shipbuilders: Roger Hoad said that he was to attend a meeting in Exminster the day after the Forum meeting on this matter.

Appledore Quay Wall: There was nothing to report.

Richmond Dock, Appledore – 150th Anniversary Celebrations:
A very successful day and it was well received by the many visitors who attended.

Hinks’ Boatyard:
Chris Hassall reported that TDC had turned down Skern Lodge’s application for the redevelopment of Hinks’ Boatyard.

(b) Braunton Burrows UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve: 
Report from Andy Bell (Biosphere Reserve Co-ordinator and NDCCS Countryside Services Manager:

Biosphere Reserve Discovery Day on 8th. July 2006:
Andy Bell reported that the Day had been a moderate success. The idea was to sell the wider image of what the Biosphere Reserve is all about to the public.
There will be similar consultations at the North Devon Show on 2nd. August and at various other community events in North Devon.
The Chairman thanked David Graham, (ATTURM), for the loan of the display boards, and Tony Pratt and Andy Bell for their help with the transport of the display boards.
Andy Bell handed out copies of the Taw Torridge Estuary and Approaches Coastal Management Study, Study Brief, dated May 2006, explaining that consultants have been appointed to do the geomorphological modelling of the estuary.
The programme for completion is the end of January 2007.
A copy of the Torridge Local Strategic Partnership – Environment Task Force Update was in the Handout pack.
The task force has been working on 3 moderate projects:
1. Biosphere Reserve Schools’ Programme
2. Land-use Strategy for Climate change, which describes the estuary modelling.
3. Industrial Symbiosis.
Andy Bell reported that in a separate project, the North Devon Economic Partnership is promoting North Devon, using its environmental credentials, and using the brand North Devon to denote local goods of high quality.
The Strategy for the Biosphere Reserve is to be produced by the end of the year.
There is a U.K. Man & the Biosphere, (UK.MAB), Committee Meeting in September.

Report from James Diamond (English Nature):
He reported that English Nature and the MOD are to employ an Education Warden. Part of the warden’s brief will be to inform the public of what is going on on the Burrows and to explain the winter programme of work.
DCC and the EA have funded a dragonfly survey on various sites, the Burrows being one of them.

Knapp House. The owner has applied to the EA for permission to bring in materials to repair the breach in the sea defences. Stuart Corbett reported that the materials have been checked and declared suitable and clean with no contamination.

Report from John Breeds (MOD) – Core Area: April – July 2006:
Management – Interpretation – Metal boards, produced in conjunction with the Christie Estates, MoD and EN, explaining the need for habitat management works were erected in April, with 2 sited in Sandy Lane car park and 1 in Broadsands.
Grazing. 60 cattle have been grazing the Flats on the east of the American Road since early July and are tackling the vigorous regrowth of scrub.
Staffing On July 1st, Landmarc appointed a full-time Training Area Supervisor, Barry Greasley, and his remit is solely concerned with military training.
Flora and Fauna The growth of rank vegetation over unmanaged areas of Braunton Burrows is relentlessly building up and continues to threaten herb rich grassland.
a) Orchids. Marsh Orchids have occurred very locally this year and are very small. Two species are counted annually, early purples totalled 232 (231 last year), and fragrant in Pebble slack –561 (202 last year) – the highest count known.
b) Insects. Butterfly numbers have been high with many dark-green fritillaries and marbled whites in flight. Several species of dragonfly and damselfly were abundant.
c) Ornithology. Ringed plovers have seldom nested successfully here; they seem unaware of the large tidal range and the nests get washed away. There has been a noticeable decrease this year in Stonechat numbers throughout the Burrows.
d) Rare species. Sand toadflax is now locally abundant in the southern dunes. Round-headed club-rush continues to thrive and sand lizards have been seen more frequently this year.
Research and monitoring. The recording of monthly rainfall and water table readings has continued. The regular rabbit counts show that populations have remained fairly constant. Nighttime counts of the great crested newt produced maximum count of 62.
Undesirable activities. Dogs faeces / poo bags remain a problem.
Vehicles. The illegal parking of a few vehicles at Crow Point continues.
Publicity Media – The Burrows has featured regularly in the local press and manned displays were exhibited at several venues.
Parish Plan John Breeds is involved in the new Braunton Parish Map project as the Burrows covers 30% of the total area of the Parish.
Education and Guided Walks. 32 different groups have been taken on to the Burrows since April.
Other Events Beach clean on May 7th.
D-Day Memorial The Braunton branch of the British Legion laid a wreath at the WWII dummy landing craft memorial plaque on June 6th.
A complete copy of this report can be found on the TTEF website: 

(c) Management Study for Braunton Marsh:
Richard Butler (UKMAB) reported that the necessary funding had now been obtained and introduced Clare Manning who had been appointed as the Project Officer to carry out the Study. She will commence her task on 1st. August.

(d) North Devon Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty:
The TTEF will be running a stand at the AONB Forum at Watermouth Castle on Sunday, 8th October 2006. Tony Pratt will be running the stand and would appreciate any offers of help.

(e) Fast Leisure Craft in the Taw Torridge Estuary:
Appledore Slipway Warden: As mentioned in the Harbour Master’s Report, the Warden has now commenced duties.
Estuary Leaflets are being reprinted this week by the NDCCS to be handed out to the public.
Roger Hoad asked if some points in the leaflets could be reconsidered. Perhaps to be discussed at the next FLC meeting.
It is thought that from 1st August, proof of 3rd party insurance may be required from boat owners before they launch from Churchfield Slip
It was suggested that NDDC, Instow PC, the Marsh Inspectors, Braunton PC need to be made aware that this may result in added pressure on other access points to the Estuary.
Copies of the TDC Press release were handed to members.

(f) Moorings in the Fairway/Trinity House Survey:
The notes from the sub-committee and the letter to TDC, requesting the survey and buoying of the channels, had already been circulated to members.
A small working group was made up from those at the sub-committee meeting to draw up a Moorings Code of Practice. This group will meet July 18th at ATTURM.
The Chairman also mentioned the press release from NDDC about Moorings at Castle Quay, Barnstaple and the marking of the Taw channel. The Chairman had asked Mr Laird, NDDC for more information and also about Fremington Quay. She had passed Mr Laird’s response to TDC as the pilotage authority, and a copy was in the handout pack.

(g) Shoreline Management Plan:
This has already been covered in item 4(b).

(h) Harvesting of Mussels in the Taw Torridge Estuary:
James Diamond reported that the Aqualift consent expired on the 30th June, and the report from the operator showed that he was well within the limits set by EN on all counts.
There had been no complaints or comments from the public.
Consent had been granted to a local mussel fisherman, to do some hand picking on a small-scale operation from Spratt Reach to Snuffy Point.

(i) District Council Liaison:
NDDC Jerry Lee had nothing further to report.
Torridge Together – Local Strategic Partnership. The Chairman attended the meeting on 3rd. July at Merton. The papers from the meeting are available on request.
North Devon Community Alliance – Local Strategic Partnership.
The Chairman attended this meeting on the morning of the TTEF Meeting and received a lot of interesting information. Reports on 2 presentations given under item 4(b).

(j) Annual Visit 2006: Visit to Home Farm Marsh, Yelland in October (Gaia Trust).
The Chairman will liaise with Dr Beale on the details and a firm date.
Richard Dyer has also offered to escort members around Braunton Marsh.

5. Bathing Water Quality:
Instow has had one failure this year so far. Westward Ho! and Saunton are doing well.
Stuart Corbett (EA) reported that extra samples were now taken upstream in the River Torridge and upstream in the River Taw, to establish the diffuse pollution levels
Copies of the latest data from the Environment Agency were given to members in the handout packs.

6. Urgent Matters brought forward by the Chairman: None.

• Integrated Coastal Zone Management:
• Appledore Fish Dock: Comments received from Tony Pratt. Response in pack
• NDDC Pilton Quay: Comments received from Tony Pratt. Responses in pack
• NDDC Brunswick Wharf: Comments received from Ricky Knight. Responses in pack

• NDDC Planning Inspection Stakeholder Meeting: The Chairman was invited to a meeting at the Civic Centre, to discuss what the TTEF felt about the planning service provided by the Council to the TTEF. She was able to give positive feedback about the relationship with the planning department.
• Devon County Waste Local Plan: Inspector's Report and Adoption of Plan:
DCC adopted this plan on 30th. June. Copies can be obtained from the DCC website, or from the Minerals and Waste Policy Team, Environment Economy& Culture Directorate, Devon County Council. Contact details are on the Correspondence List. 

The Chairman announced that there would be a number of plans coming out over the summer holidays. She will be sending out details on what they are, and how to get hold of a copy. Any comments should be sent in in good time to meet the relevant deadlines.

8. Correspondence received: A full list to be found at the end of the minutes.

9. Agenda Items proposed for the next Meeting:
 Climate Change by Sarah Hendel-Blackford, SW Climate Change Impacts Partnership Manager and Co-ordinator

10. Any Other Business:
 Dave Perkins, (RMB Chivenor) reported that since the bridge works commenced, the sand banks at Heanton have changed and increased in size, and this appears to be changing the course of the tributaries at low tide. It was suggested by Andy Bell that the build up of silt would right itself in time.

11.Dates and Venues of Meetings for the Forthcoming Year:
Monday, 16th. October 2006 – Civic Centre, Barnstaple at 7.00p.m.
Monday, 15th. January 2007 (AGM) – Town Hall, Bideford at 7.00p.m.

There being no other business the meeting closed at 9.32p.m.

Signed ………………………………….Chairman.

8. Correspondence Received:
Salcombe-Kingsbridge Estuary – Environmental Management Plan
Welcome to Salcombe: Harbour Guide 2006 – A safe haven
Dart Estuary Environmental Management Plan – Periodic Review 2006-2011
Dart Estuary Update – Devon Area Estuary Officers' Meeting
EXE-Press: Spring 2006 Newsletter of the Exe Estuary Partnership: Issue 11
Devon Wildlife Trust: Discover the Dart … Protecting Wildlife for the Future – Leaflet
Devon Wildlife Trust – Marine Megafauna of Devon – whales and dolphins – poster
Devon Sea Fisheries Committee – Update
Devon Wildlife Trust – Update for Devon Area Estuary Officers' Meeting – 11.7.06
Teignbridge District Council – Making the most of your Estuary: Key Stage 1 & 2 National Curriculum learning objectives that can be delivered through an estuary field trip
Exe Estuary Partnership –A Summary of Progress – 11th. July 2006
Torridge Together – Torridge Local Strategic Partnership – Agenda and Notes
CoastNet – Press Release: Expand your horizons with the launch of CoastWeb – the unique, intelligent coastal and marine portal –
Input – The Devon Strategic Partnership Magazine 7 – Magazine
CPRE – Countryside Voice – Magazine – Summer 2006
Annual Coastal Partnerships Forum – Draft Programme – 20th. June 2006
CHIRP Feedback: Issue No.10 – A Maritime Safety Newsletter
North Devon Community Alliance: Minutes – 22nd. May 2006
NDDC Biodiversity Action Plan: Estuaries 
Environmental Measures on the Barnstaple Western Bypass – NDNHN Report
9 copies of Barnstaple Western Bypass Newsletter 14: May 2006
Environment Agency: State of the Environment of the South West
Environment Agency: Bright Future: Your Environment Supplement – How we meet our 
energy needs and save the planet
Environment Agency: Water Abstraction – getting the balance right – How you can get involved
in the Torridge and Hartland Streams Catchment Abstraction Management Strategy (CAMS)
Environment Agency – The Promise – Environment Day 2006
RSPB – for birds, for people, for ever – Join Today
Cycleau: Working together for the future of our rivers, estuaries and coasts energy needs and save the planet
Devon County Council: OurDevon 2006-2011 – A Focus on the Future – Booklet
Maritime Plymouth: Little Blue Book 2005 – of all the firms and organisations in the
Plymouth area, who use the sea for pleasure or profit
European Environment Agency: The Changing Faces of Europe's Coastal Areas: Report 
on the state of the coastal areas across Europe –