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October 2005

MINUTES for the Meeting held on Monday, 18th. July 2005 at Bideford Town Hall at 7p.m.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Mrs. R. Day, Chairman, (Instow PC and CPRE), Mr. T. Pratt, Vice-Chairman, (NDYC), Mr. J. Diamond, (EN) Ms. C. Roberts, (DWT), Mr. T. Jones, (Dev Birds), Mr. J. Sharp, Mr. P. Mullen, (Fremington PC), Mr. G. Hydes, (Bideford Canoe Club, Mr. R Butler, (UKMAB), Mr. P. Hammond, (ND Jetski & PWC Club), Mr. J. Breeds, (MOD), Mr. L. Oldham, Mr. E. Renshaw, (TTWFC), Mr. J. Bell, (Northam TC), Mr. W.G.Cox, (Bideford ARC), Mr. P. Siddall, (EA), Mr. A. Bell, Ms. F. Anderson, (NDCCS), Mr. P. Fronteras, (Westleigh PC), Mr. J. Daniel,(T/TNets), Mr. D. Graham, (ATTURM), Mrs. W. Dale, (RNLI), Mr. R. Hoad, (Bideford Harbour Master), Mr. M. Davies, (RSPB), Mr.C. Hassall, (Rolle Canal Society), Mr. B. Nicholls, (ND Waterski Club), Mrs. A. Humphris, Hon Sec.

1. APOLOGIES for ABSENCE: Lt. Col. M. Portman, (MOD), Mr. B. Collett, (EA), Mr. N. Welch, (Ceasar Boat Club), Mr. J. Hartnoll, (Braunton Marsh Commissioners), Mr. J. Ramsden, (Barnstaple Civic Society).

2. Presentation: Seaplane in the Taw Torridge Estuary: Mr. Wassell sent his apologies. He was unable to address the Forum due to circumstances beyond his control and is unable to continue his project.

3. Presentation: Coastal Floodplain and Grazing Marsh: Fiona Anderson - NDCCS.
Fiona Anderson spoke of the project with which she is involved.
She explained the meaning of the Habitat and the three objectives of the Biodiversity Action Plan:
Objective 1: Arrest the decline of grazing marsh in Devon.
Objective 2: Actively restore grazing marsh within Devon.
Objective 3: Recreate grazing marsh where it has been lost and create new areas where opportunities arise e.g. as part of managed retreat.
There are 300 hectares of Coastal floodplain and grazing marsh on Braunton Marsh.
She went on to point out the factors affecting Coastal Floodplain and Grazing Marsh in the South West and also the benefits from the CFPGM Project, including the incentive payments to landowners to achieve these benefits.
The CFPGM Project is funded by the Environment Agency, English Nature, ND Coast and Countryside Service and DEFRA are also in the steering group. The Key Objectives are:
• To identify landowners interested in Environmental Stewardship
• To assist with Environmental Stewardship.
• To work with landowners to help initiate and deliver CFPGM improvement around the Estuary.
Through DEFRA Environmental Stewardship provides funding to farmers and other land managers who deliver effective environmental management on their land.
In the Higher Level Scheme the different options for funding are:
 Grassland options- creation of wet grassland for breeding waders.
 Creation of inter-tidal and saline habitat on arable land or grassland.
 Also there is a wetland grazing supplement.
There are constraints however; it is a short-term project only funded at present until next April, with insufficient financial incentives to landowners. The landownership investigations are time consuming and it is poor timing for the new Stewardship launch. It was felt that it conflicts with good quality grazing.
There are sites underway currently on Northam Burrows and at RMB Chivenor, and several landowners are taking up Stewardship.
In conclusion it was announced that there is a guided information walk on Wednesday, 17th August, and press releases and website articles are also in place.
The Chairman thanked Fiona Anderson for her interesting talk.

4. Minutes of Previous Meeting on Monday, 18th. April 2005:
James Diamond EN. requested that a correction to be made on P.2 line37. It should read: -“where cars have been excluded in previous years the population of Petalwort had increased.”
James Diamond proposed, Malcolm Davies seconded the adoption of the Minutes, and Members voted to adopt them.

5. Matters Arising from the Minutes:
(a) Estuary Report:
Bathing Water Quality:
Instow Beach has had two failures since the beginning of this year’s monitoring, and so has failed the Imperative Standard for 2005. The EA has been doing extensive investigations as to what has caused these failures. There have also been extensive complaints in Instow of a persistent smell nuisance.
Copies of the Bathing Water Monitoring Data 2005 were handed out to Members.
Phil Siddall EA reported that the reasons for the second failure were not clear although a period of dry weather was recorded so that indicates a local problem. Follow up samples were taken and possible sources of the problem were investigated with dye tracing. Also the EA discovered a black noxious discharge in the Quay area, which could be the result of rotting seaweed. This discharge could be connected to the smell problem. Different tests are still in progress and it is suggested that there may be 2 or 3 contributory factors to the problem.
Phil Siddall agreed to keep the Forum updated.
Devon EA Area Manager: Geoff Bateman has been promoted to Head Office, from 1st. July 2005, to work with the Water Resources Change Programme Team as the Project Executive for the Streamlining Abstraction Licensing Project. His successor as Area Manager will be Mr. Martin Weiler.

Torridge District Council Chief Executive:
The new Chief Executive is Mr. John van de Laarschot. The members agreed that the Chairman should seek an appointment with Mr. Van de Laarschot to provide information on the Forum.

Barnstaple Downstream Bridge: Installation and Commissioning of the Temporary Lifting Bridge: As part of the works to construct the Downstream Bridge, Nuttalls have built a temporary causeway across the river Taw. A lift bridge will be installed to allow vessels to pass through the works via the navigation channel. Work is due to begin on Monday 25th. July and it is expected to take about two weeks for testing and commissioning, during which time navigation will be disrupted.
A barge carrying the bridge will be towed from Appledore Middle Yard to Barnstaple bridge site on any tide from Thursday 21st July onwards, and will be moored in the river near the bridge site until July 25th.
Roger Hoad kindly provided the information, and copies of a press release were made available to members.

Richmond Dock, Appledore: The Plan to build 9 dwellings on this site has been withdrawn.

Kathleen & May: The Kathleen & May has been voted onto the core collection on the National Historic Ships Committee Designated List. Vessels on this list are considered by the Committee to be of pre-eminent national importance, to merit a higher priority for long-term preservation, and to deserve a greater degree of support.
The Chairman is to write to congratulate Steve Clarke.

Bideford Regeneration Initiative: This initiative is progressing. During the next few months a community consultation will begin with a series of open days later in the year.
Lists of projects were handed out to members.

Northam Burrows: TDC is looking to introduce mobile CCTV cameras and to locking the gates overnight, to try and reduce the level of anti-social behaviour on the Burrows. The Council is trying to address the problems of sheep worrying, fires, litter, and overnight parking.

RNLI Open Meeting – Skern Lodge – Thursday, 23rd June: Wendy Dale reported on the following points: -
 There have been 43 launches in 2004 – 9 of which were the all weather boat.
 At that time, they had already had one call to an unguarded beach
 Talks on Sea Safety have been put on at the Lifeboat Station
 With the problems at Appledore Shipyard and the consequent lack of employment in Appledore, there has been considerable anxiety over daytime cover for the Lifeboat. This problem is expected to improve following the re-opening of the Yard.
 Blue Peter has raised money for 25 Lifeboats over the years.
 RNLI only has 11 months of financial reserves; therefore fundraising is an important priority.
 Lifeguard service – 8 lifeguards have been trained, 2 more are being trained for the peak season; 8 beach rescues had been carried out, and 3 rescues had been carried out on day of meeting, all at Westward Ho!
Flt. Lt. Martin Wood of ‘A’ Flight, 22 Squadron, Chivenor gave a talk gave a talk on the Search and Rescue Helicopter Service, with particular reference to the rescue operation mounted at Boscastle in August 2004.
Following the presentation, the Chairman of the Forum has written to Squadron Leader Roger Matson, to ask if the SAR service would wish to join the TTEF.
The RNLI Helmsman of the Appledore Lifeboat, Gary Stanbury, is to be awarded the RLNI’s Bronze Medal for Gallantry, and crew volunteers, Andrew Hallett and Martin Davis, who were also on board the lifeboat, are to receive Medal Service Badges and Certificates.
The Chairman is to write to the RNLI Lifeboat Crew to congratulate them.

Instow, Westleigh and Yelland Village Day:
This was an excellent day and was very well supported.
The RNLI and ATTURM were present with their vehicles and their beach lifeguard PWC.
The RNLI engineer has promised to try and arrange an RNLI presentation for one of the Forum’s future meetings.
The Chairman expressed her thanks to the RNLI for distributing the Estuary leaflet containing the Estuary Code of Conduct.
TTEF Website:
Paul Fronteras has been very busy updating our website. The whole Braunton Burrows File is now on the website, and there were nearly 12,000 hits in April.
Paul has the grateful thanks of the Forum for all his hard work.

Michael Meacher will be giving a speech at the Health & Harmony Festival at Tapeley Park, on July 30th and 31st.

Floating Pontoon in the River Torridge:
The Chairman had received a letter of complaint from NDYC suggesting that the pontoon was a dangerous hazard.
Roger Hoad, Bideford Harbour Master, reported that it is a WW2 pontoon, an old Royal Naval Officers’ training vessel HMS Hindustan, originally from the Royal Naval College in Dartmouth. It was recently moved from a wharf at Appledore towards Bideford, awaiting permission to moor in Bideford, East-the-Water, but it is in NDDC waters at the moment. In his professional opinion, the barge does not represent any particular danger. It is, in fact, not blocking any channel and, unlike the vast majority of moored boats, is lit.

ATTURM Viking Trials are taking place on Instow Beach.

5(b) Braunton Burrows Public File:
As agreed at the last meeting, the Chairman has been in contact with all of the organisations involved and has agreed with them the contents of the file. The documents contained in the file have now been distributed to all members for dissemination and they are all on the website.
Unfortunately the Braunton Countryside Centre was unable to accommodate the File, but Braunton Library was happy to do so.
The Forum’s thanks go to Mrs. Carol Butler, who works in the Barnstaple Library, and has agreed to receive the files and to distribute them through the library service.
Copies of Estuary Users’ Guide and Code of Conduct, and Biosphere Reserves brochure were handed out to members.
The Chairman is to write to the North Devon Journal to notify the public that the Braunton Burrows Files are now available in Braunton, Barnstaple and Bideford Public Libraries.

5(c) Braunton Burrows UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve:
Andy Bell gave an update on the Biosphere Reserve.
Education for Sustainable Development. UNESCO has announced the start of the decade of Education for Sustainable Development. Because Biosphere Reserves have a specific educational function within their remit, the UK Man and the Biosphere Committee has been appointed as the lead agency to deliver the 10yr. programme. A local working group will be set up to take this forward.
The Coastal Floodplain and Grazing Marsh Habitats. This was covered earlier in the meeting.
Local Food Group Launched: The NDCCS has teamed with ND Marketing Bureau to promote local food within North Devon.
Projects under Development:
Leader plus trans-national project with Ouest Cornouaille, Finistere, looking at beach information systems and marine debris.
North Devon Showcase: A project that is being undertaken by ND Economic Partnership, designed to be a first stop attraction that will showcase local food, produce and other attractions to all.
Interpretation Strategy: This is due for completion very soon.
Car Free Days out in the Biosphere Reserve: This project is funded by Discover Devon Naturally.
North Devon BAP: The revision of the action plan is due for publication and re-launch very soon.
Climate Change Conference: NDCCS will be running a half-day conference on Climate Change on October 5th. Target audience – the tourist industry, parish councils and land managers.
EBASE. Community Carbon Footprints and Action Plans: This project is to help communities to understand their role in climate change 
Fast Leisure Craft Working Group: Report later in Meeting.
A complete Report can be viewed on the TTEF website: -
John Breed’s (MOD) Report:
Management Issues: Scrub: The benefits of the scrub clearance and excavations have been evident this summer with species such as Twayblade, Thyme-leaved Sandwort and Viper’s Bugloss flourishing on some of the drier, cleared and excavated areas, and plants reappearing such as Henbane, which has not been seen for many years. A combination of mowing and grazing is required to restore the former diverse dune turf communities.
Vehicle Access: Most local people have accepted the boulders as a necessary action to protect the dunes and many have expressed their appreciation as this area is now quieter. There has been a reduction in camping at Broadsands. The Braunton Marsh Commissioners have increased the capacity of their car parking area outside the SSSI.
Rare Species: Sea Stock is being surveyed in North Devon – the Burrows population is the largest in the UK. Water Germander is being resurveyed this summer. Sand toadflax is thriving and has spread into new areas. The nationally scarce Sticky Stork’s-bill has been rediscovered in Broadsands and the uncommon wild Clary have been found near the White House. Three more rare hybrid willows have been found.
The crested newt count, in 1 Lane Pond only totalled 9- compared with 81 in 2003. The small blue butterfly has not been recorded for the second year running.
Research and Monitoring: Monthly water table and rainfall recording continue to show that water tables remain worryingly low – no areas of slack flooding occurred last winter. The opinion of expert botanists is that adjacent scrub is drawing water out of the slack.
Regular rabbit counts continue and have produced a record high count of 320 within the grazing trial area on 18th June. The Devon Moth Group held a moth trapping night on the 3rd. June and records will be provided.
Publicity. The Biosphere Reserve display at Braunton Countryside Centre has been updated. Locals who were initially perturbed by the scale of scrub clearance during the winter months have now realised the benefits of this work to the flora.
Biosphere Activities/Education: There has been a high level of educational use for field studies; 3 talks have been given and 41 different groups from primary schools, colleges and specialists have been led around various parts of the Burrows.
A very interesting herbal walk took place, jointly led by Mary Breeds and medical herbalists, looking at the past and present uses of plants; the Burrows was selected for its diverse range of herbs. The Botanical Society of the British Isles chose the Burrows for a national field meeting on 2nd. July when 25 botanists recorded a diverse range of species.
Visitors continue to express alarm over the number of dogs running loose.
The Biosphere walks and talks programme has been produced and distributed.
A litter clearance event took place on 8th May covering the length of the beach between Saunton and Airy Point. North Devon District Council was again supportive and removed the collected litter.
The complete Report can be viewed on the TTEF website: -

5(d). Fast Leisure Craft (FLC) in the Taw Torridge Estuary:
Andy Bell reported on the Joint Working Party (JWP) Meeting. He said that the meeting had discussed DCC Byelaw 15 but no guidance on the use of this byelaw was available from Devon CC Legal Department. There are no known examples of the byelaw being used since it came into being in the 1970’s. As an alternative it was agreed that guidance could be drawn up on the use of Byelaw 15 by the Working Party and passed in front of Devon CC legal department for comment.
It was established that Byelaw 15 could be applied by any authority not just DCC.
Simon Wiseman (HM Coastguard) is to be invited to join the working party.
Other matters discussed were:
o The Draft Marine Bill
o Signage
o Press Release
o Incident log and data collection.
The purpose of the JWP is to “define what the local Authority response is to Fast Leisure Craft”. The next meeting on Wednesday, 5th October is to draft a list of recommendations for the Local Authorities.
Copies of the Minutes of the FLCJWP meeting were handed to members at the forum meeting and a complete copy of these minutes appears on the website:
Proposed Barrier at Churchfields slip at Appledore: Roger Hoad reported that TDC is planning to put a barrier at the Churchfield Slip at Appledore 2hrs before high water until 2hrs after high water. It is a controversial move but they are still discussing the possibility, but they have not consulted with other Authorities around the estuary.
The Chairman suggested that a strategy that encompasses both sides of the Estuary is needed; otherwise one authority acting alone would produce problems for others.
It was suggested that Andy Bell contacts TDC to discuss the issue with them and express the concern of the members over this action.

5(e) North Devon Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty:
The Chairman congratulated Richard Butler (UKMAB), for being elected as Vice- Chairman of the AONB Partnership.
Janine Holbert, who is now full-time with the AONB Team as the Volunteer Co-ordinator and Administrator, would like to address the Forum on her new role at a future meeting.
A Project Summary was handed out to members.
AONB Partnership Meeting: 
Boundary review: At a previous meeting the question of the criteria for AONB boundary changes was discussed and whether the AONB should include Braunton Great Field and Braunton Marsh. If Braunton PC and Braunton Marsh want to progress this, a formal resolution will have to come from the Forum in support of this.
Sustainable Development Fund Grants: After Foot and Mouth Disease the National Parks granted funds to projects within and just outside the National Parks. These have now been extended to AONB and they now have £100,000 for projects.
Definitive Map of Public Footpaths: Braunton Burrows is being reviewed starting in October.
A register of historic sites is being prepared, and geological and archaeological surveys are being undertaken.
Funding for the magazine Tarka Country Visitor has been withdrawn by DCC, so the magazine will not be printed next year.
North Devon Marketing Bureau is to do research over the winter to find out the effects of wind farms on tourism.
The Minutes of the AONB Partnership Meetings are available on request.
The AONB is looking for information on any habitat or species surveys that have been undertaken within the AONB.

5(f) Appledore Quay Wall:
A draft report has now been submitted to TDC and the Environment Agency and Halcrow will have a meeting with TDC in early August. In the following 4 weeks Halcrows will meet with interested parties. A public exhibition will be held at the Blue Light Hall, in Appledore on 5th September. Moulded Concrete trial panels have been prepared and these will be at Appledore during the consultation period.
A meeting is to be arranged between interested parties including TTEF members and a consultation report will be issued which the Chairman will circulate to all members.

5(g) Permanent Moorings in the Fairway: 
Roger Hoad reported that Trinity House did a preliminary survey without informing him. They had referred to the T/T Estuary as the “worst signed estuary in the country”. Roger Hoad is to go to Harwich to discuss the marking of the channels.

6. Urgent Matters brought forward by the Chairman:
NDDC Liaison with TTEF.
The Chairman reported that NDDC liaison officers had declined to attend the Forum meeting on the grounds that Andy Bell had a service level agreement with NDDC, so he would represent them. As this was not the agreement made between the TTEF and NDDC, the Chairman asked the officers to reconsider their decision. The Chairman provided copies of all previous correspondence with NDDC on this matter, and it was distributed to members.
The Chairman asked that if members and their organisations could offer support, she would be very grateful.
Tony Pratt (Vice-chairman) proposed the following resolution:
“The TTEF asks its Chairman, Mrs Day to seek a meeting with the NDDC Community Development Officers to re-establish the previously agreed direct links between the Forum and the Council by which mutually relevant matters can be interchanged” This was seconded by Peter Mullen and carried unanimously by the voting members of the TTEF.
Andy Bell (a non-voting member) declared an interest and made no comment.

7. Consultations: Environment Agency Taw and North Devon Streams Catchment Abstraction Management Strategy (CAMS) Consultation Document:
A response proforma is provided inside the document for direct comment to the EA by 23rd. September. Copies of the document from the EA.
New Consultation dated 13th July 2005: Pedestrian & Carriageway Improvements at Long Bridge, Barnstaple.
The Chairman and Vice-chairman to respond.
EA Consultation: Water for Life and Livelihoods – A River Basin Planning Strategy:
A copy of the response sent on 25th April 2005 is available upon request from the Chairman.
Zeta Berth: David Graham explained that one pontoon needed refurbishment and it was to be taken away for the process. It was found that the problem was bigger than at first thought; the pontoons were beginning to tilt from the scouring and were becoming dangerous. The plan is to stabilize the riverbed under the pontoons and at the same time, to build a careening grid on the in- board side of the pontoon where boats can be dried out. The work is to be carried out soon, at a time when there is least disturbance to the habitat.

8.Correspondence Received:
Magazine: Dredging and Port Construction – May 2005
Environment Agency: Your Environment – magazine
Environment Agency: Your Environment Supplement – Bye-bye waste?
Environment Agency: Various Press Releases
Northern Devon Coast & Countryside Service: Art in the Landscape – Without Touching the Ground – brochure
Campaign to Protect Rural England: Green Belts: Great development potential – leaflet
CPRE: Countryside Voice – magazine – Summer 2005
Green Books: Spring/Summer Catalogue – 2005
Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty: Magazine – Outstanding – Spring/Summer 2005
National Trust: Shifting Shores – Living with Coastline Change – brochure
Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill
Natural Environment and Rural Communities Bill – Explanatory Notes

9. Agenda Items Proposed for next meeting:

Western Bypass Progress Report.

10. Any Other Business:
 Tony Pratt reported that Sunday 17th. July was horrendous on the estuary. Urgency required rectifying matters. It is a matter of some urgency that this matter is resolved before someone gets hurt.
 Phil Siddall (EA) said that he would provide an update on the pollution problems at Instow.
 Peter Mullen (Fremington PC) said that he had had a complaint from a member of the public about Fast Leisure Craft speeding down from Chivenor. He was advised to pass on the information to NDCCS.
 Roger Hoad (Bideford Harbour Master) reported that Appledore Shipyard want to resume dredging; he is to discuss the matter with them. He will keep the Forum informed.
 Wendy Dale (RNLI) informed members about two new RNLI appointments; Mr. William Gibson is the new President and Mr. Keith Clements the new Launching Manager.
 Les Oldham (TTWC) told of objectors to Planning Applications being told that they may face possible payment of legal fees if their appeal was lost.
 John Breeds (MOD) reported that The British Legion had laid a wreath on the WW2 Landing Craft on Braunton Burrows under a memorial plaque, on 6th June.

11. Dates and Venues of next Meetings:

 Monday, 17th. October 2005 at Barnstaple, Civic Centre at 7.00p.m.
 Monday 16th. January 2006 at Bideford Town Hall at 7.00p.m.

There being no other business the meeting closed at 9.50p.m.