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October 2008

MINUTES for the Meeting held on Monday, 20th October, 2008 at the Civic Centre, Barnstaple.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Mrs. R. Day, Chairman, (Instow PC and CPRE), Mr. T. Pratt, Vice-Chairman, (NDYC), Mr. D. Jones, (MCA), Mr. D. Graham, (MoD, RM Instow), Mr. P. Siddall, (EA), Cllr. W. Silver, (Fremington PC), Cllr. P Fronteras, (Westleigh PC and MVS), Mr. S. Brown, (MVS), Cllr T. Johns, (Bideford TC), Mr. R. Butler, MBE, (AONB, UKMAB), Cllr P. Hames, (Northam TC), Mr. A. Cooper, (T/T Wildfowling C.), Ms. C. Jones, (DWT), Dr. M. Ford, (Braunton Countryside Centre), Mr. J. Breeds, MBE, (Br. Burrows Ed. Warden), Mr. A. Atkinson, (ND Sea Anglers), Mr. C. Hassall, (Rolle Canal Soc.), Mr. W. Cox, (Bideford ARC), Mr. A Bell, (ND Biosphere Res.), Mrs. A. Humphris, Hon. Sec.

Also present: Ms. S. McLintock, Mr. D. Murphy, (Finding Sanctuary).

1. APOLOGIES for ABSENCE: Dr. M. Moser, (ND Biosphere Res Partnership), Mr. J. Gillett, (NE), Cllr. R. Knight, (Barnstaple TC), Mr. J. Lee, (NDDC), Cllr. G. Holder, (Ashford PC), Mr. S. Shambrook, (RMB Chivenor), Capt. R. Hoad, (TDC Harbour Master), Mrs. W. Dale, (RNLI), Mr. S. McKay, (EA). 

2. Presentation: Maritime and Coastguard Agency:
by Derrick Jones, MCA Head of Unit, Taw Torridge Estuary.

Derrick Jones explained the role of the MCA and his role within the Agency.
He said that the MCA have a Mission Statement and how they meet that Mission Statement, the aim being with a pro- active approach to minimise the risks.
Safer Lives – Safer Ships - Cleaner Seas. They hope to educate the public by suggesting they do not drink and drown. The PR materials include beer mats. Also suggestions that people keep away from cliff edges after drinking. Other safety issues are delivered at Boat Shows where safety information is given on such items as the use of life jackets.
Information for mariners is also given by the Safety Information Broadcast to provide safety navigation procedures.
Locally, education is continued by attendance at the North Devon Junior Life Skills fortnight, with Year 6 pupils from local schools being taught how to cope with incidents on the beach and dangers to be avoided. The MCA also attends Themed Safety Events with Scouts and Cadet Forces. Talks are given to many different organisations.
Reactive Approach. – The Emergency Response to an incident.
The HM Coastguard is the national co-ordinator for all Search and Rescue in the UK using all the agencies required, such as the RNLI, the helicopters, Lifeboats and the MoD assets. The Coastguard covers all aspects of water, sea, river, lake, etc. but mainly beaches cliffs and inland water. The biggest part of the work is the search aspect, for missing persons and missing vessels. In order to do this, the MCA has 19 centres to co-ordinate, 24 hours a day.
Swansea Search and Rescue cover a large area of the Bristol Channel with 27 Coastguard Rescue Teams.
Bideford has 5 Coastguard Rescue Teams. This area of North Devon has some of the highest cliffs in the country, largest tidal ranges and the coastal footpath. The area is becoming increasingly popular with climbers and an increasing number of people being cut off by the incoming tide to deal with.
The Coastguards rescue teams have to be highly trained people. There are specially trained Rope Rescue Teams in Hartland, Croyde and Westward Ho! to operate day and night. The Instow Rescue Team specialises in Mud Rescue.
Safer Ships – The MCA are responsible for safety checks.
The Port State Control – International vessels are checked by the MCA unannounced.
Flag State Control – MCA surveyors carry out similar inspections on UK flag vessels whilst in UK ports and waters.
Inspections of UK Fishing Fleet. These vessels are subjected to periodic inspections to assure suitability of safety equipment. The Enforcement Branch can prosecute when vessels are in breach of the regulations
Safer Ships Locally - Inspection of fishing vessels less than 9 metres will be inspected every 5 years or less , if need be.
Cleaner Seas – The MCA responds to pollution incidents from shipping and off shore installations.
At a local level the MCA responds to pollution incidents, also conducts courses for local authorities, to educate them in dealing with such incidents.
The MCA provides Emergency Towing Vessels, dispersal equipment for pollution issues and expert advice on counter pollution.
Derrick Jones then answered questions from the members.

Report of Meeting between Tony Pratt, Derrick Jones and Roger Hoad held on 29th. July 2008:
Tony Pratt reported that much of their discussions had been covered by Derrick Jones presentation.
They did establish that the MCA were responsible for the Taw Torridge Estuary as well as the Port of Bideford therefore any incidents should be reported to the MCA’s Enforcement Branch in Swansea.
Copies of the notes of the Meeting were handed out to members.

3. Presentation: Finding Sanctuary Stakeholder Mapping:
By Sarah McLintock.

Sarah McLintock explained that Finding Sanctuary is a partnership project that aims to develop a Marine Conservation Zone network around the coasts and seas of the South West England.
The goal of the Marine Conservation Zone network will be to safeguard and encourage recovery of biodiversity, and to help ensure the long term sustainability of marine resources in the region.
Finding Sanctuary is very different from other marine conservation planning processes in that they are bringing together a wide cross section of marine stakeholders from the beginning.
As the seas around the UK become busier and more intensively used, it is important that we are careful about our long-term impact.
Any site at sea that has been set up to protect marine species and habitats is known as a Marine Protected Area which is a marine environment that is safeguarded to some degree for its biodiversity, natural or cultural resources. These will be set up as a whole network of sites around our coasts and seas to protect marine biodiversity. Sites will have a range of protection levels that will reflect the level to which a particular habitat or the wider ecosystem needs to be protected.
Most importantly we need to build a comprehensive picture of how the sea is used by fishermen, sea anglers, divers, boat owners and other marine users. Finding Sanctuary will do this using questionnaires and maps to gather life –learned ecological knowledge and where activities take place. Together with scientific information, understanding where human activities take place will help us explore ways of providing protection for marine life, with careful regard for the needs of stakeholders.
Mapping following responses from participants is added to a Geographic Information System, which is a tool for looking at patterns in spatial data.
The Marine Bill – the draft Bill sets out a number of ways in which the Government aims to strengthen and improve marine conservation. By 2012 they aim to have an ecologically coherent network of sites around England protecting a range of habitats that are vital to the health of marine ecosystems.
Within the Government’s Marine Bill, Finding Sanctuary will be the formal decision making process through which MPA sites in South West England are recommended to the Secretary of State in June 2011.

The Chairman thanked both of the speakers for their interesting presentations.

4. MINUTES of PREVIOUS MEETING: Monday 21st April, 2008.
Cat Jones proposed and David Graham seconded the adoption of the minutes, and members voted unanimously to adopt them.

5. MATTERS ARISING from the Minutes:

(a) Estuary Report: Including:

TTEF – Newsletter – 12th. September, 2008.
No matters arising – all matters either under specific Agenda items or just for information.

TTEF – Newsletter – 19th. October 2008:
No matters arising – all matters either under specific Agenda items or just for information.

2008 Summer Season – Launching and Registration Scheme:
Appledore Churchfield Slip:
Simon Toon of TDC reported that despite the weather, he thought that the year had gone well. He had not received any negative feedback. Up to the 16th. August they had recorded 400 launch/recovery activities whilst the staff were on duty. If the weather improves it was hoped that they would record more launches before the end of the season at the end of September.

John Butterwith of the North Devon Fishermen’s Association sent the Chairman a copy of his letter of complaint to TDC about the inconsiderate use of the Torridge Estuary.
The Chairman had circulated copies of this letter.

Craft Registration Scheme:
72 craft have registered this year, each was given a registration card and a sticker for the craft.
Andy Bell reported that the telephone numbers incorrectly displayed on the estuary signs, had now been corrected.
The Chairman reminded him that the signs in Instow had not yet been corrected.

Marsh Commissioners, White House:
John Hartnoll, the Marsh Commissioner responsible for the Toll Road and launching at the White House on Braunton Marsh had reported to the Chairman that he had been in contact with Paul Fronteras and Simon Brown of the MVS, and has given them permission to land at the White House when they need to.
John Hartnoll confirmed that the Tollman checks for 3rd party insurance on the boats to be launched at the White House.
Recently, a pay barrier and CCTV camera has been erected at the Toll Keeper’s House, and will start to be used in two weeks’ time. During the day, the Toll Keeper will still man the Toll Booth, but the barrier will operate the rest of the time. The charge will still be £1.50 – the machine will not accept coins of a value lower than 10p and no change will be given.

Bideford Harbour Board:
The Chairman had attended the Bideford Harbour Board Meeting on 30th July 2008.
An update on the meeting is contained in the Bideford Harbour Master’s Report.

Coastwise ND and Devon Wildlife Trust.
Cat Jones (DWT) explained that the Oral History Project on Tuesday 21st October 2008 at Ilfracombe Museum titled ‘Foraging for Fishing Facts’ will be collecting information from people with any knowledge of how the marine life of our local coast has changed during the last 60 years.

Dredging at Appledore Shipyard (Babcock Marine):
The Chairman had received a complaint about dredging at Appledore Shipyard which she passed on to the Environment Agency and Natural England. There has been a meeting with Shipyard representatives and a protocol is being developed for future dredging. Natural England has agreed that ‘some dredging work to maintain a ‘level profile’ directly in front of the shipyard gates within the shipyard entrance channel can occur without further consultation- but only by redistributing sediment within shipyard channel area itself.’
A copy of Justin Gillett’s report was handed out to members.

Shoreline Management Plan :
Andy Bell reported that the SMP2 is going ahead shortly.

Report from Bideford Harbour Master and Taw Torridge Estuary Pilot: Captain Roger Hoad:
Roger Hoad reported that Bideford Harbour Shipping visits have remained at the lower end of the averages over the last few years but the arrival of a Rock Salt vessel late last week and a 1300 tonnes Ball Clay export to Spain in the same week, trade is definitely improving.
North Devon Fishermen’s Association have written to the Bideford’s newly-formed Harbour Board and requested that local boating organisations and clubs are made aware of several incidents where fishing vessels- which are constrained by their draught to stay within the unmarked estuary channels- have been hampered by the action of the leisure vessels whilst navigating within the estuary.
At the beginning of September Appledore shipyard received a delivery by sea from Germany of large ramps for the super yacht hull being constructed in the main shed.
Bideford’s old crane will be semi – retired on Friday.
A brand new Fuchs ‘Re – handler’ hydraulic crane will arrive from Portishead on the same day.
The local fishing fleet’s new Co-op building at Bidna, Appledore is virtually complete and will open during next week.
The monitoring of the channel in the vicinity of Babcocks’ main yard approach has continued by the Pilots as preparations are made for the launch of the new 90 metre super yacht hull.
The Kathleen & May spent some time at Bideford Quay prior to a planned voyage first to London , and then France, which was eventually thwarted by a short availability time and poor weather. She has now returned to her berth for the winter and will have her masts removed for maintenance.
Major works on the Long Bridge at Bideford have commenced.
A full account of this report can be seen on the Forum’s website 

(b) North Devon’s UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve:
Report from Andrew Bell, Biosphere Reserve Co-ordinator
The Golf Club; Andy Bell reported on the meeting with TDC and the Golf Club to offer advice on the problem of the suggested movement of pebbles from Greysands and the 8th Tee. Whilst it was a temporary measure it was suggested that there would be no significant benefits. The group’s Meeting notes were to be sent to the Forum and circulated to members.
New panels will be replacing all panels round the Estuary soon.
Publicity in ND Journal – The Biosphere Reserve had had 3 double page coverage in recent weeks.
BBC World – A film is being made for BBC World on How to involve people’s interest in Climate change.
John Breeds MBE. Braunton Burrows Education Warden – Core Area Report:
1. Events: - Walks /Educational Visits.: The programme of guided walks & other activities in this period again proved successful and popular with 283 people attending 14 events.
2. Management – Grazing. The Flats, east of the American Road are being grazed by 60 bullocks and 40 ewes.
Biosphere Reserve Volunteers. The tasks have included beach cleans and scrub clearance.
3. Rare Species. – The small blue butterfly rediscovered this year has produced a small second brood.
4. Monitoring. – The monthly water table readings in 16 sites on the Burrows and rainfall readings at the White House have continued.
5. Publicity 3 new information Boards were regularly updated with programmes and posters advertising events.
6. Vandalism. – The old interpretive sign in Sandy Lane car park has been burnt and several bridle path signs damaged on the Burrows.
7. Dogs. – The daily abuse by dog walkers has continued.
8. Sandy Lane Car Park. – The gates to the entrance of the American Road and the car park have been repaired, they have been left open and the public continue to use the car park.
9. Safety – Unrepaired potholes at the entrance to Sandy Lane car park and 400 metres north on the tarmac road leading to it have caused damage to some cars.
A full account of this report can be seen on the Forum’s website 

Dog Mess at Braunton Burrows:
The Chairman had written to NDDC and Raymond Coldwell. She had had a reply from NDDC but no reply from Mr. Coldwell.
NDC is also trying to get hold of Mr. Coldwell as it is private land so they cannot proceed without the permission of the landowner.
Copies of the letters from the Chairman , and the reply from Brian Holme were handed out to members.

Justin Gillett – Natural England:
A copy of Justin Gillett’s report was handed out to members.
He reported that ‘Some 600 ha of Braunton Burrows has now entered into the HLS Environment Stewardship Scheme with NE. This will see grazing introduced in phases on the Burrows over the next 4 years. NE will be holding public meetings to explain what is happening in due course eg. Fencing work, scrub control work etc.

Braunton Countryside Centre. – Dr. Maggie Ford had given out copies of Events at the Braunton Countryside Centre to all members.

( c) North Devon Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership:
Richard Butler MBE, Chairman of the North Devon AONB Partnership.
Richard Butler reported on the activities to date, and mentioned a Photo competition, (the details of which were in the newsletter 19th October).
The Sustainable Development Fund is going well.
The new Management Plan has been presented at Stakeholders’ Meetings and the response has been good. Unfortunately the public response has not been so encouraging. A website response for the under 25s has shown to be more popular.
There were 8 new trails on the website.
The AONB had obtained £13,000 to fund archaeological survey work with schools and community groups, which will take place this winter.

(d) TTEF Steering Group: Report from Tony Pratt, Chairman of the Steering Group.
Tony Pratt presented the Steering Group’s proposals to amend Section 7 of the Forum’s Constitution.
Copies of these proposals had been circulated to members with the Agenda for consideration before the meeting.
The proposed changes introduced two new committees on Consultation & Planning and Administration & Finance.
Tony Pratt proposed, David Graham seconded, the Amendment of Section 7 of the Constitution and members voted unanimously to adopt the amendment.
He also reported on the Meeting of the Steering Group on 6th October, 2008. Copies of the notes for this meeting were handed to members. He pointed out the importance of item 5, the Job Description and the Qualities required for the new Chairman. (This had been circulated to members with the Agenda.)
He asked that nominations for the various positions, i.e. the Chairman, the new committee members and the new Hon. Sec., should be made forthwith. He handed a copy of a form to all members present for this purpose and indicated that he would send a copy to members not present at the meeting. He pointed out the urgency of the matter and the return of nominations by 27th October for consideration at the next Steering Committee meeting on 31st October.
Tony Pratt proposed, Paul Fronteras seconded, to adopt the Steering Group Minutes and it was voted unanimously by members to adopt them.

(e) Northam Burrows: Update on DCC’s investigation into the Disused Landfill Site.
A copy of the Update from Adrian Middlewick, Senior Waste Officer, Devon Waste was handed out to members.
It stated that the first draft of the report of the consultant’s findings as a result of the survey held last July is expected in the near future.
In the ND Journal it was reported that “there were moves to repair part of the Burrows Pebble Ridge”.
Justin Gillett (EN) in his report stated that “ Natural England was formally approached by the Golf Club to carry out some small-scale remedial work to try and extend the life of the 8th tee in August. As part of the consent process, the proposal was reviewed by the Taw – Torridge Technical Officers working Group. This proposal was viewed as acceptable by the group, but it will only address very short term issues”
Ray Webster of Torridge District Council reported that “A report has been prepared by our Solicitor for Committee on the 8th November. TDC’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee had given a recommendation that TDC should pay £3,000 towards the cost of saving the 8th tee. The lease clearly states that TDC are nor liable to pay. As the proposal is only to save the 8th tee and nothing else from flooding, then Members will need to decide the issue.

(f) Bathing Water Quality: Final Results for the 2008 Bathing Season are not yet available.
Copies of the provisional Results as at 3rd October 2008 were handed out to members.
To be confirmed but Instow had three failures against the Imperative Standard. This Standard only permits one.
Westward Ho! beach held on to its Guideline Standard – four failures are allowed against the Guideline Standard – Westward Ho! had three. It therefore qualifies for the water quality standard of the Blue Flag status
Saunton Beach did fail the Guideline Standard – it had 6 failures – but none of these was enough to fail the Imperative Standard.

(g) TTEF Membership: Update.
1. Coastwise North Devon:
A copy of the Coastwise Constitution was handed out to members.
The Chairman reported that Coastwise is an educational organisation with experienced and knowledgeable members and she recommended that they should be asked to join the Forum.
It was decided that Coastwise ND should be invited to join the Forum.

2. Northam Burrows 1716 Committee Constitution:
The Chairman reported that they were an historical and democratic committee.
Members agreed to invite them to join the Forum.

3.Appledore Moorings and Boat Owner’s Association:
The Chairman had written to Peter Reveley to ask for further details about the Association’s membership and remit, but there has been no further response.

4. Torridge /Appledore Pilot Gig Club:
After the initial response from Torridge Pilot Gig Club, there has been no further contact. The Chairman would chase this up.

(h). Knapp House: Update.
Phil Siddall reported that he would be recommending to head office that they do not renew the exemption to construction waste. No more material has come on to the site, so the remaining materials have to be landscaped or if the owner wants to re- establish the bank along its unstable length, he must do so before the exemption runs out.
The EA wants the tidal flap to be removed so that the saltmarsh can be renewed
The Owner has been informed of these recommendations.
The EA is also involved in a “clean up” of the river bank at East-the-Water.

(i). Joint NDC/TDC Local Strategic Partnership Delivery Board:
No-one from the TTEF was able to attend the last LSP Meeting. The draft Sustainable Community Strategy will be signed off at the next LSP meeting on 17th. November.

(J) District Council Liaison: Reports from Liaison Officers.-. None present.

6. Consultations – including:
• DCC – Yelland Ash Beds Plan for the restoration, management and aftercare 
• North Devon AONB Management Plan.

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

8. Correspondence Received: All dealt with in Newsletters and previous Agenda items.

9. Agenda Items proposed for next meeting: None.

10. Any Other Business: 
 Tony Pratt (Vice Chairman) A reminder to get the nomination forms back to him as soon as possible.
 Paul Fronteras (MVS) –When the crafts were registered, he suggested that the form MCA CG66 be given at the same time.
 Cllr. Trevor Johns (Bideford TC). – asked if the mud bank at Brunswick Wharf could be dealt with.
 Cat Jones (DWT) – She reminded that the Marine Bill was due to be mentioned in the Queen’s Speech. Also coastal views were to be recorded at the Oral History Project at Ilfracombe on 21st October.
 Sarah McLintock (Finding Sanctuary) – Asked members to keep in touch and to send information to her.

11. Date and Venue of Next Meeting:
Monday, 19th January, 2009 at Bideford Town Hall (AGM) at 7.00pm.

There being no other business the meeting ended at 9. 40 p.m.