Thursday 14th March 2019, 10:00am-12:30pm
Location: Exmouth Town Council, St Andrews Road EX8 1AW
Chair of meeting: Teignbridge District Council (Partnership Vice Chair): Cllr Edward Hockin (EH)
East Devon District Council: Cllr Michael Howe (MH)
Exmouth Town Council: Cllr Bruce De Saram (BDS)
Starcross Parish Council: Cllr Andrew Cadbury (AC)
Bishops Clyst Parish Council: Cllr Christopher Scanes (CS)
RSPB: Gavin Bloomfield (GB)
Lympstone Fishery & Harbour Association: Neil Downes (ND)
RYA: Alan Wood (AW)
Powderham Estate: Tim Faulkner (TF)
British Canoeing: Jane Evans (JE)
Devon & Severn IFCA: Neil Townsend (NT)
Supporting Officers (non-voting)
Devon County Council: Peter Chamberlain (PC)
Teignbridge District Council: Graeme Smith (GS)
Exeter City Council: David Bartram (DB)
Exeter City Council: Steve Carnell (SC)
Powderham Estate: Graham Durrant (GD)
Exe Estuary Officer: Stephanie Harper-Chung (SHC)
Minute taker: Rowena Garne (RG)
Specialist Advisors (Non voting)
Stakeholder Representative: Rex Frost (RF)
South East Devon Habitat Regulations Partnership (SEDHRP): Neil Harris (NH)
Marine Management Organisation (MMO): Abigail Haines, Marine Planner (AH)
Devon Wildfowling and Conservation Association (DWCA): Andy Chadwick, Chairman (AC)
Devon Wildfowling and Conservation Association (DWCA): Nick Millman (NM)
British Association for Shooting and Conservation (BASC): Shane Robinson, Wildfowling Officer (SR)
Devon County Council (Partnership Chair): Councillor Jeffrey Trail BEM (JT)
Forum Vice Chair: Ted Draper (TD)
Devon & Severn IFCA: Katherine Stephenson (KS)
Natural England: Andrew Stanger (AS)
East Devon District Council: James Chubb (JC)
Environment Agency: Hugh Davey (HD)
Exeter City Council: Colin Acton (CA)
British Canoeing: Peter Thorn (PT)
Exeter City Council: Cllr Andrew Leadbetter (AL)
Dawlish Town Council: Cllr Terry Lowther (TL)
Dawlish Town Council: Cllr Martin Wrigley (MW)
Woodbury Parish Council: Cllr Graham Murrin (GM)
Forum Chair: Jeremy Rawlings (JR)
Powderham Estate: Lord Charles Courtenay (CC)
Devon Wildfowling and Conservation Association (DWCA): Scott Harding, Secretary (SH)
1. Apologies for absence and introductions – Cllr Edward Hockin
Apologies: As above.
2. Minutes and Action Log of previous meeting – Cllr Edward Hockin
No comments were made on the minutes.
Action Log (full details within Action Log paper):
Item 9: Roles and Responsibilities of Harbour Master and Patrollers
- DB – The role has now been advertised, including on website. ECC have received several interesting enquiries so far, several experienced applicants, will be paid at the correct level.
- SC – ECC has contacted several organisations to help promote/advertise the position.
- DB – It has been made clear that experience and relevant qualifications are essential. The closing date is the 31st March.
3. Recommendations on annual budget 2019-20 – Peter Chamberlain
- Employee Costs – £43,636
- Essential Partnership Expenditure – £3,536
- Basic Additional Project Budget – £5,000 (this amount was initially agreed by the partnership committee)
- Total – £52,172
- Core funding – £29,923
- Shortfall – £22,249
- Confirmed Additional Income – £24,454 (this includes carry over)
- Confirmed Expenditure – £3,742
- Shortfall – £1,519
- BDS – I notice clear disparity between contributions. Can others take on some of the expense to help balance the budget? I think the budget projections are very positive, I just think given the amount needed some further contributions could come forward.
- PC – This is a very fair point. We do have a funding strategy in place which sets out a minimum level of funding from each organisation. This level of funding has evolved over time, we ask organisations to give as much as they can. We can’t say with confidence that we will be fine in 2020/21 and we do need to find a way to obtain more income.
- MH – Judging by the way local government funding is going I can’t see anybody’s budgets being increased. Most will be fighting a budget decrease, in the long-term we may have to look at decreasing our costs.
- PC – In an ideal world income from core funders would match costs, however this is not feasible. We are now focussed on asking for additional project funding for specific pieces of work, which needs to include officer time.
- EH – Can I ask about an increase in costs?
- PC – There has been a slight increase in employee costs through the inflationary salary rise and redundancy liability.
- CS – Looking at the carry forward, without this we are looking at a 50% deficit next year. Could local yacht clubs give small contributions? Perhaps SHC could liaise with AW?
ACTION: SHC to liaise with AW, discuss how to approach yacht clubs for contribution and include in Funding Strategy.
- TF – It is only fixed users of the estuary that are contributing to the partnership when there are thousands of users such as walkers, cyclists, paddleboarders, etc. who use the estuary on a “part-time” basis. We need to find a way to get a contribution from these users. Everyone to start thinking about this to include in Funding Strategy.
- RF – Why is Natural England not providing funding?
- PC – NE stopped funding the partnership several years ago. This was the case for the majority of partnerships. They have tried hard of the past few years to provide a contribution through project funding that fulfils the objectives of the partnership. However, a question mark was raised at the last Executive meeting for the next 12 months.
ACTION: SHC to move NE out of core funding section of budget sheet.
The partnership committee agreed to approve the budget.
4. Delivery Plan Highlight Report – Stephanie Harper-Chung
- PO1.2 – Website Update through locality budget. Base design by end of March. Content April and May.
- PO8.2 – Spring Newsletter will be sent out at the end of March. Advertising has raised £480.
- WHD4.4 – Wildlife refuge promotion. Issue with kite surfer jumping the Warren. This had widespread promotion, it posed a safety risk as well as a disturbance issue. SHC has been in touch with Grenadier to ask them to include something in their business agreement about asking business to sign up to the Exe Codes of Conduct and best practice.
- WBR5.1 – Powderham Estate have successfully obtained an MMO licence for Painters Slipway.
ACTION: SHC to refer to the slipway as Painters not Lady Dunn’s in future.
- WMR1.1 – Approach to future Clean Up events is being explored by Executive.
5. Approval of Annual Delivery Plan 2019-20 – Peter Chamberlain
SHC gave a brief overview of the plan and asked committee for approval.
- JE – Does the Exe Activities leaflet come under 4.5?
- SHC – Yes. I will include more detail to make this clearer.
- MH – Great Trees? Can’t find anything about Clyst Valley cycle trail? How are we considering new visitors to Exe? Already have pressures on Exe Trail, increasing pressures from this new trail which starts at Cranbrook.
- PC – This comes under Page 29 – input into GESP. Safeguards for Exe. SEDHRP – role to protect statutory site. Balance between promotion of Exe and protection of site.
- CS – Clyst St Mary defences – construction planned for 2019.
- PC – EA manage government spending for this financial year.
Annual Delivery Plan – Approved by Partnership Committee
6. Feedback from Winter Forum 2019 – Stephanie Harper-Chung
- SHC gave an overview of the Winter Forum to the Committee. Notable points include:
- Largest Forum attendance so far with 115 people attending
- Range of representation from different sectors. Largest representation from recreational (likely due to Harbour Authority presentation)
- Election of Forum Vice Chair. New Vice Chair: Ted Draper. Jeremy Rawlings took up the role of Forum Chair following Lynn Trout stepping down.
- Forum Feedback Session – Marine Litter. Successful discussions, with positive outcomes. This included the linking of the Ocean Recovery Project with Exmouth Marina to take away a large amount of marine litter to be recycled.
- SHC discussed feedback from Forum:
- 28 feedback forms were received.
- Overall a positive response.
- Most people agreed there was a good balance of topics.
- Several feedback forms indicated people were unhappy with the sound system.
7. MMO Presentation: South Marine Plan implementation and case study
- Abby Haines (MMO) gave the Partnership Committee a presentation on the MMO South Marine Plan implementation
ACTION: SHC to share presentation with committee following the meeting.
- AC – Are the MMO fully aware of the dredging issue, with material dredged off Exmouth being dumped in Teignmouth
- AH – Graeme is in contact with the MMO.
- GS – The dredging is taking place inside the Exe and being disposed outside the Exe.
8. Updates on Devon & Severn IFCA review of management for hand-working activities
- Neil Townsend gave the Committee an update on Devon & Severn IFCA’s work with Exmouth Mussels and hand-working activities management.
- Bull Hill – IFCA have been working with Exmouth Mussels to attempt to repopulate the bed. Authority has been given to go ahead with the temporary closure of public beds on the Exe. Both areas will be mapped, and a poster will be produced. This will also be advertised on the website and a press release will go out to those on the IFCA database. Please forward to others should you receive it. We want to make use of local notice boards.
- Review of hand working: This includes crab tiling, bait digging and the hand collection of mussels. It is a big task of reviewing these fishing activities. We have already looked at crab tiling and SHC has submitted a good response on behalf of the partnership. The next phase is bait digging. We will be putting together background on this activity which will be circulated shortly via email.
- TH – To GB: as the reduction in stocks impacts birds do you work with Neil?
- GB – Not directly.
- NT – This is why we come to these partnership meetings, to discuss such items. The more information we have, the better informed decisions are.
- GB – The RSPB doesn’t own any intertidal land, but does take a significant interest. Oystercatcher numbers are decreasing which is a concern, it is likely that mussel reduction is having an impact. NE are working on this.
- GS – Does the bylaw regarding commercial exploitation also cover public use?
- NT – In regard to our permitting approach, different permits will be dependent on the type of user. Each permit will have different restrictions. We have attempted to balance the different needs of users. The advantage of permitting everybody is it gives an indication of numbers. These are things that are currently being discussed.
- NH – Why are the mussel stocks depleting? When evidence has been collated how will the bylaw implementation be undertaken?
- NT – There are various factors involved in the depletion of mussel stocks on the Exe. Partially due to problems with dredging. I will point you in the direction of more detailed information following this meeting. We have set up a bylaw permitting sub committee who will consider all the information available and what action is appropriate, this may be voluntary but may also come under a bylaw. Restrictions need to be proportionate and balance admin. A bylaw will be drafted and undergo formal consultation, responses will be collated.
9. Devon Wildfowling and Conservation Association Presentation: Wildfowling Activities on the Exe
- Shane Robinson gave a presentation on wildfowling on the Exe with input from Andy Chadwick and Nick Millman.
- GB – When will the disturbance PhD be available?
- SR – The PhD is on the disturbance of wildfowling activities. All the fieldwork has been completed, the data is now being inputted. The student will be doing a presentation in Devon. It will be published in 2020. If you would like further information, please contact Matt Ellis – Head of Science. There was a previous PhD undertaken at Poole Harbour.
- Several questions were raised regarding the commercial aspect of wildfowling.
- None of the birds shot are sold. Wildfowling is recreational, used as food.
- PC – Do you keep a tally?
- AC – Everyone has to keep a bag tally. Less than 100 birds are shot per year, with approximately 50% Canada goose.
- GS – What type of shot do you use?
- Lead free shot (non-toxic). It is the law since 1999.
- Not afraid to use disciplinary procedures.
- PC – is your membership declining?
- AC – Our areas are permitted, 50 people won’t all turn up to shoot at once.
- NM – There has been a decline over the years. We are trying to encourage young people. We aren’t growing in number.
- SR – 50-60 people is the average club membership. There are 11 clubs in the South West.
- NH – As you are licensed by Natural England – does this restrict the number of birds you can shoot?
- AC – No it doesn’t at present.
- SR – Currently in the process of renewing license. 15-20 year licence with a review every 5 years.
- NH – So you could take as many birds as you like?
- SR – BASC has good practice guidance and all clubs have codes of conduct detailing how many you can take. It is all club controlled. We also can’t sell geese on so this will limit the amount shot. 4-6 birds is unusual.
- NH – What will happen if there is a serious decline in bird population?
- NM – Clubs will adapt. We don’t want to see the bird populations declining. Widgeon can be a species of concern.
10. Any other business
- No further business was raised.
Date of next Partnership Committee meeting:
26th September 2019, 10am-12:30pm – Venue TBC (Suggestions from partners welcome)
Date of next Stakeholder Forum:
- Summer Stakeholder Forum: 3rd September 2019, 6:30pm-8:30pm – Powderham Castle Music Room (to link with update on Powderham Estate initiatives)
- Winter Forum: Tuesday 4th February 2020, 7pm-9:30pm (end time TBC at Stakeholder Forum) – Council Chamber, County Hall