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October 2007

MINUTES of the Meeting held on 15th October 2007 at 7p.m. at Barnstaple Civic Centre.

 

MEMBERS PRESENT: Mrs. R. Day, Chairman, (Instow PC and CPRE), Mr. T. Pratt, Vice-Chairman(NDYC), Mr. S. Shambrook, (RMB Chivenor), Mr. A. Gladwin, (Devon Birds), Mr. M. Davies, (RSPB), Mr. R. Butler, MBE, (UK MAB, AONB), Mr. J. Breeds, MBE, (Education Warden, Br. Burrows, MoD, NE), Cllr. P. Hames, (Northam TC), Mr. S.McKay, (EA), Mr. J. Lee, (NDDC), Mr. C. Hassall, (Rolle Canal Soc), Capt. P. Fronteras, (Westleigh PC and MVS), Capt S. Brown, (MVS), Cllr. G. Holder, (Ashford PC), Mr. J. Daniel, (TT Nets), Mr. C. Squire, (ND Waterski Club), Mr. A. Atkinson, (ND Sea Anglers), Cllr. D. Harris, (Fremington PC), Miss K James, (NDCCS, Explore Braunton Project), Mrs. W Dale, (RNLI), Cllr R. Knight, (Barnstaple TC), Mrs. A Humphris, Hon Sec.

 

1.APOLOGIES for ABSENCE: Mr. J. Diamond, (N E), Mrs. S. Ambler, (Bideford Canoe Club), Cllr M Shapland, (Braunton PC), Mr. L. Oldham, (TT Wildfowling Club), Mr. A. Bell, (NDCCS), Mrs. L. Blanchard, (AONB), Cllr B. Hockin, (Fremington PC), Lt. Col. M. Portman (MOD).

 

2. Presentation: Atlantic Array – “The world’s largest proposed offshore windfarm”:

 

The Presentation was given by Michael Huntingford of Farm Energy Limited, South Molton.

He introduced himself and explained that the firm, Farm Energy, is based in the South West and has been actively involved in wind power since 1989 and offshore wind power since 1998. The company is currently involved in onshore and offshore wind power developments in the UK.

In 1999 Farm Energy was the originator of the London Array Project in the Thames Estuary, which is the world’s largest wind farm.

The London Array is a joint development between the 3 partners, EON Renewables, Shell Wind Energy and DONG Energy London Array Limited (DELAL).

DELAL is a joint venture between Danish Oil and Natural Gas (DONG), Energy Renewables of Copenhagen and North Devon based Farm Energy.

The London Array is expected to commence construction in 2008, 20Km offshore of the North Kent and Essex coast.

Mr. Huntingford explained that the South West offers good prospects for grid connection. The region is a net importer of electricity with a rapidly growing demand.

A Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Bristol Channel (SEA 8) is currently underway. Many issues are still to be considered, such as navigation in the Bristol Channel, radar and MOD issues. Five years is needed for development.

The Atlantic Array would be one and a half times larger than the London Array and the suitability of the area of the Bristol Channel, re the depth of water, tidal range and position of area in mid channel, has led the company to feel confident enough in the results of the feasibility studies, to sign a connection agreement with the National Grid in November 2006

The Atlantic Array would supply the electricity needs of over 1 million South West households, which means it would supply almost half of the South West’s domestic load.

It would also offset the production of 2.3m tonnes of carbon dioxide per year.

 The Socio – Economic Impact would mean a potential for hundreds of new jobs during construction period of 6 years.

Also Atlantic Array would create up to 100 long-term, full time jobs, together with considerable extra employment in the wider local community.

Mr. Huntingford concluded his presentation by saying that Atlantic Array presents a unique opportunity to regenerate the northern coastal area of the North Devon District in partnership with a major sustainable energy project.

The Chairman thanked Mr. Huntingford for his informative presentation and asked that the TTEF be kept up to date with developments.

Contact details for e-mails is mhuntingford@farmenergy.co.uk

 

 3. Minutes of Previous Meeting: Monday 16th July 2007.

Amendment: A correction needs to be made in item 4. “Copies of the Newsletter dated 16th July were handed to members” and not 3rd. Sept as stated.

Paul Fronteras proposed and Alec Gladwin seconded the adoption of the minutes, and the members voted to unanimously to adopt them.

 

4. MATTERS ARISING from the MINUTES:

 

The Chairman reported that some members were experiencing difficulties in receiving the complete Newsletters. This problem was now in hand and hopefully resolved.

(a) Estuary Report : Including:

 TTEF Update – 3rd. September, 2007.

Northam Burrows :

The Chairman had not heard anything more about the investigations into the site. The Chairman is to write to Devon County Council to request a copy of their findings when it is available.

EA Fish Survey :

The Chairman to contact Paul Carter (EA) for an update on the Survey.

TTEF Update – 4th October, 2007.

All information items, or covered in the agenda.

 

Estuary signs:

It was reported that these are being renewed – there are new signs at Fremington Quay, on the Tarka Trail at Instow, etc but many of the old signs are still in situ. Some of the old signs still have an incorrect telephone number which needs to be changed.

The Chairman reported that the NDCCS had agreed to update and correct the signs, so she would contact Andy Bell to ask if this could be done.

TDC /NDDC Beachmasters’ Course:

Both the Chairman and the Vice – Chairman were unable to attend this 3 day course. The Chairman was able to watch the attendees rolling out and placing booms on the mudflats and across the channel outside Riverbank House, on the final morning.

North Devon and Torridge Districts Regeneration Workshop :

The TTEF was invited to go to this workshop but no-one was available to attend.

Westcountry Rivers Trust & Association of Rivers Trusts:

Autumn Conference – “The myth of the natural river: to protect, restore or enhance?”  -  Friday 9th. November, 2007, at the Eden Project, Bodelva, St. Austell, Cornwall.

Devon Maritime Forum :

1st. November at the Barnstaple Hotel – 10.00a.m. to 4.30 p.m. Registration fee £25.

The Chairman is to attend.

Visit to Braunton Marsh:

The Chairman has written to Richard Dyer, Chairman of the Braunton Marsh Internal Drainage Board and to John Hartnoll, Chairman of the Marsh Inspectors to thank them for such a wonderful day.

Congratulations to John Daniel. There was a long article and photograph in the local paper on his hobby of building replica salmon boats.

Application to TDC about Jet Ski Hire Fleet :

Roger Hoad reported at the last meeting that TDC had received an application to license a jet ski hire fleet within the river. The Chairman contacted TDC and although an enquiry had been made, this had not translated into a formal application.

Report from Bideford Harbour Master and Taw Torridge Estuary Pilot : Captain Roger Hoad.

In the harbour Master’s absence a report was handed out to members.

Capt Hoad reported that the dry weather has seen shipping revert to more normal berthing manoeuvres at Bideford especially with the current actually moving up river during the last hour of flood.

Shipping at Bideford (clay exports) continues to be above forecast with 16 clay exporting ships at Bideford since April to date compared with 9 ships last year same period. A relief Pilot is currently undergoing his 3 month training period.

The channels depths within the estuary have remained sufficient for shipping with some considerable changes of channel position down at Appledore.

The previously reported approach channel buoy damage – specifically the Bar buoy has yet to be repaired though it has had a temporary light on. Still no new buoys or lights have been laid or placed by Trinity House.

No new houseboats have entered the harbour, or Torridge River, although requests are even more common in recent months. The river Taw has gained two new barges at Heanton over the last week (again from Gloucester area). A large yacht is moored there also (Charlie Burridge), as well as Seven Seas shipping’s spud leg barge..

The catamaran Hindostan has been granted a temporary licence to moor within Bideford Harbour to undergo maintenance and painting, near to the slipway. An application to moor on an annual basis is being considered.

Wildlife at Bideford seems to be on the increase – with 3 Egrets being spotted near to each other on the east bank.

The Kathleen & May is due to sail for the first trip of this year to Sharpness on Thursday 15th. October, for a festival.

Work at the fishermen’s co-op has started and boats are landing their catches at Bideford quay into lorries.

A full report can be seen on the Forum website: - www.ttef.org.uk

(b) North Devon’s UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve:

Biosphere Reserve Strategy : Andy Bell sent his apologies to the Meeting and Katie James attended in his stead.

A copy of the Biosphere Reserve Strategy Consultation Summary was handed out to members. It contained a Report on the summary results of the consultation of the draft strategy.

The results of the discussion at the partnership were : -

bulletThe Strategy consultation has been extended to the 26th October.
bulletA working group will meet on November 6th. to refine the strategy in the light of the comments received.
bulletIn the week commencing the 26th November, there will be a workshop for the development and prioritisation of the action plan

The Chairman stressed that individual organisations should submit their own comments on the strategy consultation. 

Explore Braunton Project :

Katie James explained that the Explore Braunton Project is a wide reaching project. Her present task is acquiring multimedia devices for visitors to hire and use in the area. She also is setting up a website to store and gather information. Katie James said that she would appreciate any information to help in this task.

Jerry Lee (NDDC) offered a number of relevant items from the archives. The Chairman suggested that she could use some of the information from the Braunton Marsh Study.

The Chairman, Richard Dyer and Richard Butler had been asked to be on the Steering Group of the project, so there will be ongoing commitment to the project.

There is to be an Open Day on Wednesday 17th. October, in Braunton Parish Hall, to publicise the project and to collect information.

Braunton Burrows Core Area Report : John Breeds MBE.

  1. Management: Grazing

Seasonal grazing has continued on the previously grazed areas. The Flats, east of the American Road, were grazed by 130 sheep plus their lambs. Other areas were grazed by 35 Red Devon cows and 15 calves. This grazing has improved the flora.

Biosphere Volunteers Conservation Tasks. The practical  conservation tasks in conjunction with NDCCS have continued.

2.Flora and Fauna: The exceptionally vigorous growth of vegetation this summer has smothered the flora on many of the flower rich swards that were formerly maintained by regular mowing.

Two new insect species have been recorded this summer, the Banded Agrion damselfly as a vagrant and the very local Water stick insect in Partridge Slack. Also the triple hybrid willow, unique to Braunton Burrows has also been recorded.

Rare Species : The Annual survey of Water Germander took place in August, 6 out of the 14 sites were flooded and a count was not possible. It has declined in 5 sites but has increased in 3 sites, with an extraordinary increase in Round Slack.

3. Research and Monitoring: The monthly water table readings in 18 sites and rainfall readings at the White House were continued.

4. Undesirable Activities : Although dog mess in and around Sandy Lane car park has significantly decreased since 5 new dog bins were provided , much loose mess is not cleared by dog owners.

The fine weather over the August Bank Holiday brought hordes of visitors and many with 4WD vehicles trespassed on the beach. A sign has been erected on the White House slipway, but many drivers have ignored it.

The Ringed Plover Project has demonstrated that the bird can nest and raise a youngster and that most visitors respected the project. However, the issue of illicit vehicle activity on and around Crow Point will need to be resolved should the project be repeated in 2008.

5. Publicity: Braunton Burrows display boards along with interactive exhibits were manned at 3 venues. Three news releases were prepared and published in the local papers.

6. Events: This year’s programme of 24 guided walks once again proved successful with most of them being well supported. Thirteen of the series of 15 evening talks on various subjects of local interest have taken place weekly at Braunton Countryside Centre.

7. Educational groups: A number of groups (totalling 309 participants) have been guided around the Burrows and shown various aspects of the site’s ecology and management.

Illustrated talks on aspects of Braunton Burrows and the wider Biosphere have also been given.

The full report can be seen on the TTEF website – www.ttef.org.uk

 

(c ). North Devon Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty : Chairman’s Report from Richard Butler MBE

Copies of the AONB Business Plan Update were handed out to members.

Richard Butler reported very briefly on the Business Plan. He pointed out that the report outlines progress made by the AONB Staff Unit towards delivery of the Business plan 2007-8 to the end of August. It covers Staffing, new and departing staff and gives Highlights and Priority Projects.

Richard Butler also reported on a very successful Poetry Competition.

 

(d) Appledore Churchfields Slip: Report on the 2007 Season.

Copies of the Taw / Torridge Estuary 2007 MVS Report was handed out to members.

Paul Fronteras (MVS), reported that although the MVS covering the Churchfields Slipway had a good first year, he felt that too much time had been spent making sure that people had paid instead of spending time on other information and checking safety equipment.

By next Season, it is hoped that the MVS will have a fast Dory or other boat at their disposal for use on the river.

The Chairman had received a report on the 2007 season at Churchfields Slip from Simon Toon TDC. He reported that he thought that the Churchfields Slipway operation went well this year. There is still some opposition to charges from a hardcore minority of users but this is to be expected. He thought that the registration scheme is a great idea and benefits both the TDC and the individual especially as it is administered free of charge by the NDCCS. As for next year, he said that he was sure that wardens will be in place again in some shape or form.

Copies of the report on the Craft Registration Scheme in the 2007 season from NDCCS Ben Totterdell, were handed  out to members.

The recommendations for next year include:

bulletA review meeting with NDCCS, MVS, TTEF, TDC, Marsh commissioners etc. to look at how the scheme is working and plans for next year.

 

bulletFurther promotion of the scheme and estuary code.
bulletIncreased monitoring of secondary estuary access points.
bulletNDCCS will continue to operate the scheme free of charge for the 2008/2009 season.

The Chairman suggested that Northam Town Council should also be invited to the review meeting.

 

 

(e) Fremington Quay : Clay Pigeon Shooting.

Copies of Lt Col Portman’s and James Diamond’s reports were handed out to members.

This item was on the Agenda to allow Fremington Parish Council to report back on any progress.

James Diamond had visited the site following the last TTEF meeting, and he reported back that he could not find any trace of clays or wadding on the tideline.

Michael Portman had sent a report. He stated that his annual visit to Fremington Parish Council is on 8th. October. He had heard nothing with reference to Clay Pigeon Shooting on the site for nearly a year. Currently he had nothing new to say on the subject.

Fremington Parish Council are happy with Lt Col Portman’s report and actions. It had been suggested that shooting activties were likely to be reduced by 50% as soldiers were going to Purbright.

It was decided that it was no longer necessary to put this item on the agenda.

 

(f) Broadsands Beach and Car Park : Report and Leaflet.

The Chairman has assisted John Hartnoll to print a small leaflet that can be stapled to the Estuary Users’ Guide and Code of Conduct.

Copies of the leaflet were handed out to members.

The Marsh Inspectors have also put up a new sign at the entrance to Broadsands Beach, giving this information.

The Chairman has given John Hartnoll laminated copies of the Guide, the registration scheme, the leaflets, contact details and general information etc. – for display in the Toll Booth.

 

(g) Estuary Geomorphology Study : Public Presentation at Braunton Parish Hall by Andrew Bell.

The date for this presentation has changed to Wednesday, 31st. October, 2007 at 7p.m.

This is a TTEF run project to ensure that all members of the public that did not have access to the presentation at Edgehill earlier this year, and particularly those in the Braunton, Barnstaple and Fremington areas, have the opportunity to participate.

A poster for the presentation was included in the members’ handouts, so that members can assist in publicising the event.

 

(h). Foreshore Leases around the Estuary :

In order to produce a map of ownership and leases around the estuary for public information, the Chairman has been requesting information from MOD, TDC and NDDC.

The Chairman has been promised details of leases etc. from MOD and TDC when the information is available.

A formal letter of request, has also been sent to the agents for the Crown Commissioners – Frank Knight of Bristol - and they have promised to make this information available.

Malcolm Davies  (RSPB) has given the Chairman a map of the foreshore owned by the RSPB at Isley Marsh.

The Marsh Inspectors own/lease part of the foreshore between Velator Quay and the first stone style.

Instow PC leases a small part of Instow Beach and the Chairman has a map of this area.

The Chairman said that any help, by giving accurate maps / information on the foreshore leases, would be greatly appreciated.

Devon Christie Estates also have foreshore leases, and once all of the promised information is collated, then the Chairman will ask the Estate to fill in the Christie areas.

Alec Gladwin (Devon Birds) reported that he intends to produce a map of all these estuary areas and what influences bird life etc. in those areas. He would also welcome and appreciate any information that could be offered.

 

(i) Joint NDDC / TDC Local Strategic Partnership : Jerry Lee NDDC to report.

Jerry Lee reported that the NDDC / TDC Joint Local Strategic Partnership had been set up in accordance with the Government White Paper. The TTEF has been invited to join this influential committee as a Voluntary Environmental Body.

The Chairman reported that although she had been informed of this invitation, she had not yet received confirmation in writing.

The Biosphere Reserve Board has agreed that the TTEF should represent the Biosphere Reserve on the Joint LSP.

In order to underpin the Forum’s voluntary status, the Chairman was encouraged to register the Forum with Torridge Voluntary Services, which she has done.

Joint LSP Scenario Planning Workshop :

Tony Pratt took part in a Joint LSP Scenario Planning Workshop which included a representation of top officers from the local authorities.

He said it was pleasing to note that NDDC and TDC are beginning to work together.

 

5. Bathing Water Failures at Instow :

Copies of the Bathing Water Data Instow Beach 2007:

 

1)        A Brief Resumé

2)        Final Bathing Water Data for Saunton, Instow and Westward Ho! For the 2007 season

were handed out to members.

This resumé was written by the Technical Specialist for Monitoring and Data at the Environment Agency, in response to queries sent to the Chairman from Instow Parish Council, which were forwarded to the Environment Agency.

Sean McKay EA, reported that the EA was looking at the problems with Instow Beach and the bad publicity it was receiving. He came with the suggestion that the beach should be de-designated as a bathing beach, thus the water would neither be monitored nor tested.

It was decided that the Chairman should take this suggestion back to Instow PC and in the meantime to leave this item on the table.

 

6. Estuary below Knapp House :

Peter Hames, Northam TC, said that there were concerns about the breach in the sea defences, the saltmarsh behind the sea defences and a lack of activity at the site. However in the last week work had commenced. The work was supposed to fill the breach and to install a pipe so that the tide could reach the saltmarsh and flow out again.

Sean McKay reported that the lease for the work runs out on November 10th, so for the landowner the work had become urgent. No plans for the present work had been submitted to the EA, but this was only a request not a legal requirement, but the EA would still inspect.

The Chairman asked that when the EA had inspected, could the TTEF be informed of what had been done.

She said that she would contact the NDCCS to ask that the footpath be reinstated.

It was reported by a member that the breach had been repaired that afternoon.

 

7. North Devon Ferry Project – Information Brief ; Objectives and the Structure of the Business Plan:

A copy of the Brief was handed out to members.

The Chairman declared a non-prejudicial interest in this project as the Chairman and Secretary of the project were her next door neighbours.

This proposal is to re-instate the ferry, and to extend the ferry routes and the leisure boat trips to cover Barnstaple, Bideford, Braunton and Fremington, as well as Instow and Appledore. The idea is for the ferry to work all year round to a regular time table, which would mean that commuters would be able to use it to get to work, and it would link various parts of the Tarka Trail and the South West Coast Path. It would carry bicycles, pushchairs and wheel chairs, as well as passengers.

The ferries would be new modern vehicles using the latest technology, but retaining the iconic DUKW design as a tourist attraction

This is a very ambitious project which fits well with the aims of the Biosphere Reserve and the AONB. Northam TC is also in favour but with reservations.

It was decided that more detail is needed on certain issues, such as – possible pollution, bird disturbance, the churning up of the riverbed, safety measures and contingency plans for possible fuel spillages.

 

8. Urgent Matters brought forward by the Chair: None.

 

9 Consultations:  None completed.

 

10 Correspondence Received: A list appears at the end of the Minutes.

 

11. Agenda items proposed for next meeting (AGM):

bulletExplore Braunton Project: Presentation - Katie James.

 

12. Any Other Business.

v      Peter Hames, Northam TC. Asked if there was any information on Goosey Pool. Sean McKay replied that due to legal sensitivities, investigations are still on going. Information will be released when possible .

v      John Breeds, Education Warden, announced that there was a Public Meeting on the workings on Braunton Burrows, 27th. November, at Braunton Parish Hall.

v      Wendy Dale, RNLI, announced the annual fund raising Arts and Crafts Exhibition, at NDYC 17th-23rd. October

v      Chris Hassall, Rolle Canal Society, announced a meeting of the Devonshire Association at the Burton Art Gallery, on 19th.October. Details on the Correspondence List.

 

13. Date and Venue of the Next Meeting:

 

Monday 21st. January, 2008 at Bideford Town Hall at 7p.m.  (AGM).

 

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

 

Signed………………………………………………………………….

Chairman.

 

Item 10. Correspondence Received:

 

AONB State of the Environment Project Update:

Cetacean Surveys and Training

Saturday 20th October 2007 at Morthoe Village Hall – 10.30a.m. – 3.00 p.m.

Rachael Ackerman, ND AONB, Bideford Stn, Railway Terr, East the Water, Bideford. EX39 4BB.

Tel: 01237 423655. Eml: rachel.ackerman@devon.gov.uk

and

Coastal Inspiration: A collection of poems by young people celebrating the ND AONB

www.northdevon-aonb.org.uk

Walter Henry’s Bookshop, 12, High Street, Bideford. EX39 2AE.

www.walterhenrys.co.uk  and eml: info@walterhenrys.co.uk 

 

Plymouth’s National Marine Aquarium

Conference: “Seas of Opportunity”

22nd. November 2007, 9.30a.m. to 4.0 p.m. – Registration £35

 

North Devon and Torridge District Councils:

Sustainable Community strategy and Core Strategy DPDs – Regeneration Briefing Paper.

 

Devonshire Association

Talk by Sue Scrutton on “Lord Rolle’s Canal” at meeting of the Devon Association

Burton Art Gallery on Friday, 19th. October at 2.00 p.m.

Rolle Canal Society:

Open Day at the Sea Lock at Annery Kiln by Halfpenny Bridge, Weare Giffard (OS Ref:462228)

at 2.30 p.m.  – Refreshments provided

Note: the A386 Bideford-to-Torrington Road is closed at Landcross, so use minor roads via

East-the-Water, Gammaton Moorand Halspill to access Halfpenny Bridge

 

Westcountry Rivers Trust and Association of Rivers Trusts:

Autumn Conference: “The myth of the natural river: to protect, restore or enhance?”

Friday, 9th. November, 2007 at the Eden Project, Bodelva, St. Austell, Cornwall. PL24 2SG

www.wrt.org.uk or www.associationofriverstrusts.org.uk

 

Marine and Fisheries Directorate:

The London-based staff in MFD have moved to:

2nd. Floor, Nobel House, 17, Smith Square, London. SW1P 3JR

Marine and Fisheries Agency HQ

still in Whitehall Place, London.

 

Devon Maritime Forum:

The Forum will take place on Thursday, 1st. November between 10.00 a.m. and 4.30 p.m. and the

Registration Fee is £25 per delegate.  The Registration Form is available from:

Jim Masters,

Environment, Economy and Culture Directorate,

Devon County Council,

Lucombe House,

County Hall,

Topsham Road,

Exeter. EX2 4QW

jim.masters@devon.gov.uk

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