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October 2009

Minutes of the Meeting held at 7.00 pm on Monday 19th October in the Taw Room, Civic Centre, Barnstaple

Members Present:
T Pratt, Chairman (NDYC) J. Kelley (RSPB)
J. Earnshaw (GAIA Trust) G. Holder (Ashford Parish)
R. Gotts (NDFA) C. Hassall (Rolle Canal & CPRE)
N. Briden (Devon Birdwatching & P.S.) M. Ford (Braunton Countryside Centre
R. Graham (MOD, RM Instow) P. Fronteras (MVS & WPC) 
S. Brown (MVS) R. Day (ND Coast AONB)
S. Shambrook (RMB Chivenor) M. Roberts (Coastwise N.Devon)
Lt. Col. MB (Retd.) Portman (Commandant A. Bell (UNESCO Biosphere 
Fremington Training Camp and Braunton Reserve)
Burrows Training Area) S. McKay (Environment Agency)

Others Present:
J. Breeds (By Invitation)

1. Welcome, Introductions and Apologies for Absence:
The Chairman welcomed all present who then introduced themselves and stated whom they represented.

Apologies were received from Justin Gillett, (N.E.) and Roger Hoad, Bideford Harbour Master, Andrew Atkinson (NDSA), Marguarite Shapland ( Braunton Parish Council).

The Chairman informed the meeting that a note had been received from Jerry Lee stating that, quote……

North Devon Council is examining its resource commitment to all its many partnerships. As a result, the Council will be represented on the TTEF by the Biosphere Reserve, who are the contracted service for environmental issues. This is in effect a continuation of existing arrangements and reflects our approach across the many alliances which form part of the Local Strategic Partnership. Consequently, Andy Bell or his nominated representative will be our expert representative and liaison and will continue to provide leading expertise and strong support to the TTEF. 

The Chairman suggested that a letter of thanks be sent to Jerry Lee thanking him for his continued support. This was proposed by Rose Day and seconded by David Graham.

2. Minutes of previous Meeting – Monday 20th July 2009
Acceptance of the Minutes of the Forum’s meeting on 20th July was proposed by David Graham and seconded by Malcolm Roberts.

3. Matters Arising from the Minutes
(a) Estuary Report: 
The Harbourmaster had submitted a report which will be published in full on the Forum’s website. This covered the fact that ball clay shipments to Spain and Finland have ceased again due to lack of demand in line with other exporting South West ports and as a result redundancies have occurred. The report also mentioned a shipment of road salt form Northern Ireland being handled successfully in early October, the production of bow sections of the Navy’s new aircraft carriers at Appledore Shipyard and the arrival of a Russian RO-RO ship to transport them to Rosyth. The report went on to highlight other arrivals at Bideford.
The next part of the report dealt with the recent sale of Yelland Oil Jetty and speculation about a possible wind farm on this site. The report concluded with the note that no new houseboats have been allowed to stay in Bideford Harbour although requests and arrivals continue to be steady. 

Estuary Registration Scheme. In respect of the Estuary Registration Scheme and Leaflet, 58 craft are now registered, 44 of these local and 6 for whom insurance has expired or is about to expire.

Appledore Quay Wall. The Chairman informed the meeting that he had heard from Sarah Chappell, Conservation Officer with TDC responsible for the Sea Wall who stated that Halcrow Engineers, Councillor Eastman and Mr Peter Reveley met on site at the end of July to look at the installation of the panels. Planning Permission was granted in 2005 (Application No. 1/2327/2005) for this method of finishing the existing quay wall. A photograph of the panels was circulated to all attendees of the meeting.

Houseboats / Liveaboards on the Estuary. The Chairman confirmed that he and Rose Day had met with North Devon Planning Officer, Keith Bines in January 2009 to discuss the problems associated with houseboats/liveaboards in the estuaries. At that meeting it was agreed that Mr Bines would look into the planning implications and consult with other departments on such things as Council Tax. To date no response had been received despite the Chairman calling on two occasions. He resolved to progress this. Rose Day confirmed that she had spoken with Andrea Davis on this subject and it was decided to keep the pressure on to have this resolved. It was felt that attention should be paid to this, matter, particularly the issues of waste water, effluent and disposal of rubbish. It was further suggested that a site meeting be called and councillors invited to see for themselves the extent of the problem. Geoff Holder said that he would raise this matter at the next meeting of the Ashford Parish Council and he would also email Andrea Davis on the subject.
Chris Hassall commented that we had asked for the names of leaseholders of the properties and a letter from the Crown Estates’ agents (Knight Frank) confirmed that they would come back to us with a new map detailing the leaseholders. The Chairman said that he would follow this up.

Severn Sands at Fremington. There is some movement in respect of this matter but it is being kept confidential at the present time.

Bathing Water Results for Instow. The results to the end of September have resulted in failures on both Guidelines and Imperative Standards. These are linked to salinity highlighting the fact that, as believed, the pollution is coming down the Torridge and is land-based. It was noted that Andy Lehman is now looking after Torridge for the EA.

(b) North Devon’s UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve:
(Awaiting Andy Bell’s notes)

(c) North Devon Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty Partnership:
The Chairman joined with members in congratulating Rose Day on her election to Chairman of the AONB for two years, taking over from Richard Butler. The Chairman also thanked Richard who has served the Forum unstintingly for a long time as representative of the AONB and a member of the Steering Committee last year. He went on to say that Rose’s appointment will have consequences for the TTEF representation on AONB, more details to follow on this. Rose then gave her report, commenting that it would be an exciting year as the AONB was celebrating its 50th Anniversary. As it is a unit of two people in North Devon it was going to be difficult to mark this but they were working with partners and where the partners have upcoming events they would be branding these as AONB 50th Anniversary events. Rose went on to list some of the approaching events including Appledore Arts, Beaford Arts, Lobster & Crab Fest and Herring Fest in Clovelly, the Walking Festival and ending with the North Devon Festival. More details of these events are available at Rose went on to mention the AONB Sustainable Development Fund which targets community projects and is helpful in the area of training volunteers. She said that she expected it to be a very busy but enjoyable two years.

(d) Braunton Burrows:
Andy Bell gave a short update commenting that grazing was now in place (cattle and sheep) and fences are up.

Lt. Colonel Portman informed the meeting that Fremington Training Camp was due to close on 13 December 2009 and it would take up to six months to hand over the camp. It was currently undecided who would take responsibility for Braunton Burrows Training Area but there would be less usage of this training area in 2010. He explained that this was now the trend as the financial situation was difficult. TA training would only be taking place in cases of deployment to Afghanistan and all other training would be voluntary and therefore unfunded. The next conservation meeting is due to take place on 12th November and it would be the last. He provided his telephone number (01271 312950/2) if anyone needs to contact him.

The Chairman informed the meeting that he had received a letter from Mr Coldwell, Chief Executive of Christie Farms. Mr Coldwell began by apologising for his tardiness in responding as he had been away on vacation. He went on to confirm that there had been a Management Agreement with Natural England for many years and prior to that there was an Agreement between the MOD and the NCC. He explained that at no time had the Management Agreement incorporated any type of education or volunteer work. He went further in explaining that a warden was provided originally by the NCC/English Nature and latterly by Natural England and the MOD, and that the Christie Farms Estate had never been asked to provide such services, nor indeed did they have the capacity to do this. He stated that the area is now within the Stewardship Scheme and this provided the possibility of funding for such a purpose. Whilst the Estate currently does not receive such funding he confirmed that they were investigating the matter but solely on the basis that the Estate can provide the optimal warden service/educational service on the site. He said that he was not averse to being involved in the TTEF for attending meetings or on a more permanent basis as there is a large stretch of the foreshore that is under the jurisdiction of the Estate.

Lt. Commander Portman said that Mr Coldwell had agreed to chair the Conservation Group for one year up until November 2009 and he hoped that Mr Coldwell would continue.

(e) Devon Area Estuary Officers Group:
There has been no meeting since the last TTEF meeting. The next is due to be held on 9th December.

(f) Joint NDC/TDC Local Strategic partnership Delivery Board:
The Chairman informed the Forum that he had been unable to attend the last meeting on 3rd September as he was on holiday. The main agenda items were: 

• The Economic Recession
• The Volunteer Release Scheme
• Information from Housing & Community Agency

The next meeting is due to be held on 19th November 2009.

(g) District Council Liaison – Reports from Liaison Offices:
The Chairman referred to Jerry Lee’s note and said that he had spoken with Annette Dentith of DCC on the subject of the Waste Plant. She had informed him that it was unlikely that the planning application would be submitted until mid November. As agreed, as soon as the planning application has been received the Chairman will convene a special Planning & Consultation Committee meeting that would be open to all.

4. Report from Planning & Consultation Committee & Acceptance of P&C Committee Minutes:
Acceptance of the minutes of 10th July 2009 and 31st July 2009 was proposed by Malcolm Roberts and seconded by Chris Hassall.

(a) Shoreline Management Plan – Andy Bell confirmed that this was out for public consultation and he gave a short presentation showing the various coastline areas and explained that in all cases three time periods were being considered for action:

• 0 – 20 years
• 20 – 50 years
• 50 – 100 years

The decisions taken for each stretch of coastline and within each time period would be:
• No Intervention
• Hold the line
• Managed realignment
• Advance the line

These decisions would set the general policy and the details would follow at a later date. The consultation is open until 8th January 2010. Chris Hassell asked for confirmation that this was the final draft and the last chance for public consultation. Andy bell confirmed that this was correct. The Chairman confirmed that there was to be another meeting of the P&C Committee to put together a response from the Forum. He invited members to pass any comments to him as soon as possible. Members were provided with a leaflet on the scheme which also gives the website address.

(b) Meetings being organised by Andy Bell
Andy Bell confirmed that there would be an Estuaries Plan meeting on 17th November from 2pm – 7pm to review progress so far. There were originally 14 aims and the meeting would seek to ascertain how many of these had now been completed and which were still relevant. It was important to see it will work with other plans and he asked for volunteers on the day. Anyone willing to help should contact Andy.
A presentation had been made to the AONB Partnership and it was clear that more resources were needed to manage the coast.
A second meeting was scheduled to find ways round the lack of officers.

(c) Planning Applications / Consultations: 
Knapp House Marina – We were consulted on the Scoping Report by TDC and sent in the following comments:
i) On Section 4 – Transport Assessment
Assessment on the degree of increased water traffic in the estuary and its impact on navigation and the rescue services
ii) On Section 6 – Ecology
Assessment of the degree and frequency of dredging required to maintain a channel to open water and its effects on wildlife, water movements and pollution of Instow bathing beach.
Assessment of the quantities and effects of effluent discharge from visiting craft before entering the marina.

Concrete Plant at Yelland
Consulted with Wayne Silver (FPC) and made the following points:
i) If, as we believe, the waste transfer station is acting on a temporary licence how will the continued use of this batching plant affect that situation currently and into the future? We feel that it will make it more difficult to refuse extension to the current licence.
ii) We are not convinced by the arguments put forward by the operators as to any reduction in overall vehicle numbers as a result of the offsite selling of concrete produced in the future. It sees unlikely that incoming vehicles delivering waste materials to the site will necessarily be those taking the concrete away. If they are not, vehicle movements are likely to increase.
iii) We also have concerns on the environmental effects of concrete production. What safeguards will be put in place to prevent washout water escaping and seeping into the ground? Should an environmental survey be carried out?

Recommended not.

The Chairman reminded members that if they wished the Planning & Consultation Committee to take up any issues, to contact him immediately.

(d) Any other matters:
Richmond Dry Dock: Chris Hassell had spoken with Appledore residents who confirmed that no planning application had yet been submitted as the Developer was working on the Gaiety Cinema.

5. TTEF Personnel:
The Chairman highlighted the fact that in the light of Rose’s election as Chairman of AONB she has indicated her desire to stand down in the interest of independence from the job of representing the Forum on the AONB and BR. There is therefore a need to nominate new representatives and he asked for suggestions and nominations. Rose explained that the job entailed involvement in both partnership meetings and that they both met during the day three times a year. The Chairman took this opportunity to remind the meeting that he had taken the Chairman’s job for 12 months only and that this was drawing to a close. He reconfirmed that he would not be standing as Chairman again and indicated that unless another Chairman could be found, the Forum may have to disband. He went on to say that he would be emailing nomination forms to members and the matter would be discussed at the next planning & Consultation Committee meeting.

6. Urgent Matters Brought Forward by the Chairman - None

7. Correspondence Received – Mainly covered in agenda. Newsletter from Torridge Volunteer Service.

8. Agenda Items Proposed for Next Meeting – Waste to Energy Plant. Any other items should be emailed to the Chairman.

9. Any Other Business - None

10. Date & Venue of next meeting - 18th January 2010, Town Hall Bideford.