Thursday 26th September 2019, 10:00am-12.30pm
Location: Exe Sailing Club, Tornado, Shelly Rd, Exmouth EX8 1EG
Devon County Council (Partnership Chair): Cllr Jeffrey Trail (JT)
East Devon District Council: Cllr Michael Howe (MH)
Teignbridge District Council: Cllr Charles Nuttall (CN)
Exmouth Town Council: Cllr Bruce De Saram (BDS)
Starcross Parish Council: Cllr Andrew Cadbury (AC)
Woodbury Parish Council: Cllr Michael Hesketh (MHe)
Clyst St George Parish Council: Cllr John Manser (JM)
Bishops Clyst Parish Council: Cllr Christopher Scanes (CS)
RSPB: Peter Otley (PO)
Powderham Estate: Lord Charles Courtenay (CC)
British Canoeing: Jane Evans (JE)
Devon & Severn IFCA: Oliver Thomas (OT)
Supporting Officers (non-voting)
Devon County Council: Peter Chamberlain (PC)
Exeter City Council: Grahame Forshaw (GF)
Exeter City Council: Nick Stone (NS)
Exe Estuary Officer: Stephanie Harper-Chung (SHC)
Minute taker: Rowena Garne (RG)
Specialist Advisors (non-voting)
Environment Agency / Lower Otter Restoration Project: Megan Rimmer (MR)
Exe Sailing Club: Dave Preston (DP)
Exeter City Council: Cllr Andrew Leadbetter (AL)
Dawlish Town Council: Cllr Terry Lowther (TL)
Dawlish Town Council: Cllr Martin Wrigley (MW)
Forum Chair: Jeremy Rawlings
Forum Vice Chair: Ted Draper (TD)
Lympstone Fishery & Harbour Association: Neil Downes (ND)
RYA: Alan Wood (AW)
British Canoeing: Peter Thorn (PT)
Devon Wildfowling and Conservation Association (DWCA): Scott Harding (SH)
Environment Agency: Hugh Davey (HD)
Natural England: (TBC)
East Devon District Council: James Chubb (JC)
Teignbridge District Council: Graeme Smith (GS)
Stakeholder Representative: Rex Frost (RF)
South East Devon Habitat Regulations Partnership (SEDHRP): Neil Harris (NH)
1. Apologies for absence and introductions – Cllr Jeff Trail
Apologies: As above.
Introductions and thank you to Exe Sailing Club for allowing us to use this fantastic venue.
Welcome from DP to Exe Sailing Club.
2. Minutes and Action Log of previous meeting – Cllr Jeff Trail
Minutes agreed as accurate record:
- Proposer: MH
- Seconder: AC
Action Log (full details within Action Log paper):
Item 1: Outstanding. Update not available as AW was not present at this meeting.
3. Voting for Partnership Vice Chair – Cllr Jeff Trail
Proposal to present Cllr Edward Hockin with a memento of his time as the Partnership Vice Chair – approved.
The role of Vice Chair of the Partnership is currently vacant. The role was previously held by Cllr Edward Hockin of Teignbridge District Council, who has since stepped down as Councillor. The Vice Chair is elected by a process of nomination supported by at least one member of the Committee. This role should be filled by one of the District Council Funding Partners (including Exeter City Council). The Vice Chair shall normally serve for two years at which time he/she shall stand down but shall have the option to be re-nominated to stand again. He /she will be restricted to serving one further continuous term (i.e. a total of four years).
On potential candidate was put forward for this role: Cllr Michael Howe of East Devon District Council. Cllr Howe has been a long-standing member of the Exe Estuary Management Partnership, which gives him a good background to fill the Vice Chair position.
Nominations for potential candidates were requested by email. Several Committee Members nominated Cllr Howe for this position.
May we now have a vote for Cllr Mike Howe to take the position of Partnership Vice Chair:
- Proposer: BDS
- Seconder: PO
- Votes: Unanimous
MH gave a few words to the committee: “Thank you, I will do everything I can to assist the Partnership. I’m here for anyone to speak to and I will do my best to be fair to the Exe, both commercially and environmentally.”
4. Lower Otter Restoration Project – Megan Rimmer
MR from the Environment Agency gave a talk on the Lower Otter Restoration Project – the presentation will be circulated to the Partnership Committee.
- Project came out of Exe Estuary Flood & Coastal Erosion Risk Management Strategy.
- Facilitates managing flood risk to 3000 properties, 5000 by 2110.
- Managing flood risk causes ‘coastal squeeze’ in the Exe Estuary Special Protection Area, Special Area of Conservation and Ramsar site.
- The Exe is already in deficit for habitat loss, due to historic and recent tidal defence schemes such as Dawlish Warren. The EA has a statutory duty to provide a minimum of 14.5 hectares of compensatory habitat by 2030, with another 70 hectares required by 2110.
- One of the outputs from the Strategy was a ‘Statement of Case’, approved by Defra, which listed potential sites for delivering compensatory habitat.
- EA undertook a feasibility study on the Lower Clyst and Kenn, both were unable to be progressed. Other Exe based sites were deemed unsuitable. The nearest viable location was the Otter Estuary.
The Ottery Estuary:
- Landowner Clinton Devon Estates were working in parallel, seeking more sustainable management
- Embankments built for agriculture in early 19th century, enclosing 60-hectare site.
- Preferred option:
- Create 58ha of mudflat and lower salt marsh
- 70m breach in embankment at southern end ² tidal ingress
- Lower sections of upstream embankments ² fluvial flooding
- Breach at southern end means fluvial flows won’t be trapped
- Raise South Farm Road, using route across the tip to make use of the higher ground levels
- Re-locate Budleigh Salterton Cricket Club to new site, because existing one will be in the intertidal area
- Provide erosion protection to the tip where necessary
- Maintain South West Coast Path with footbridge over the breach
- Intention is to eventually designate the new habitat as part of the Exe Estuary designations.
- Applying for Interreg funding for potentially £6-7m.
- Aiming for completion 2023.
- JT: FAB landing was supposed to be at Orcombe Point?
- MR: The cable will make land at Budleigh, but large equipment will come in at Orcombe Point.
- CS: Flood protection scheme at Bishops Clyst – apart from the rebalance is there any connection between these two schemes?
- MR: No link between financing.
- MHe: Have you completely discounted the Exe Estuary for land? There are 6.5 acres of land between Exton and Lympstone Marine Camp (around Clyst area), it is a flood plain. Might be able to go under railway at Exton. Landowner appears to be open to discussion (currently communicating with MHe and Cllr Graham Murrin). Devon Wildlife Trust interest in assessment of area.
- MR: Sites on Exe have not been ruled out completely, the Lower Otter site was deemed the most acceptable.
ACTION: Land for habitat between Exton and Lympstone Marine Camp to be discussed through EEMP (with MHe and the EA)
- CC: Why was the Lower Kenn rejected? Powderham Estate as the landowner was very keen.
- MR: Technical issues on watercourse were the reason that this site did not go ahead.
- CC: 14.5 ha and 70 ha to be created – where are these sites?
- No other sites have been identified at this stage.
- CC: I think the partnership should show appreciation to those on the Otter Estuary with this work, for protection of the Exe.
- PC: I agree. This project could have implications for the EEMP, we should maintain a close relationship between the Otter and the Exe and ask to be kept informed as this develops.
- JE: There is a popular activity spot at the end of the estuary by the bank of trees. Would that cease to exist?
- MR: I’m unsure of exactly where you mean, so am afraid I don’t know the answer.
- CC: Net Zero 2050 – one area being looked at is intertidal habitat, seagrass is a very effective method of carbon capture. Is that something that is on anyone’s agenda? This is something that we should be proactive with.
- MR: I am sure it is on someone’s agenda (within the EA) but does not form part of my role unfortunately.
Lower Otter Restoration Project Website: http://www.lowerotterrestorationproject.co.uk
5. Governance Issues – Peter Chamberlain
a. 12-month review of revised governance structure
- 18 months ago, we changed the structure and method of operation for this Partnership.
- At this meeting we are looking to discuss whether Partnership Committee members feel that the changes have worked to improve the work of the partnership and whether any unforeseen problems have occurred.
- The Executive reach the conclusion that it has helped us to move toward our initial objectives. They felt that greater stakeholder engagement has been successful.
Agreement to continue with adopted governance structure:
- Proposer: MH
- Seconder: BDS
- Votes: Unanimous. Motion carried.
b. Review of Memorandum of Agreement
- Changes have been made to the MoA, however further amendment may need to be made. A code of conduct is common for partnerships to include in their MoA. Executive suggested that there is a further change to the MoA about how members of the partnership should conduct themselves.
- A suggested paragraph has been drafted (sent to the Partnership Committee in the Summary Paper). A small change has also been made to the Executive to include 3 people as part of the investigative process.
- BDS: Should the right to appeal be built in?
- PC: The investigation will be led by 3 individuals, but the partnership as a whole will make the decision. We can make it more explicit that the individual has the right to make their case to the partnership.
- CC: The introduction reads “not the exclusive interests of any one particular group”, there has to be an ability for us to argue for our interests as well as the majority interest. Exclusive maybe not the right word?
- PC: This is in no way an attempt to stifle members of the partnership representing different stakeholder interests.
- What is the purpose of these clauses?
- JT: There have been incidents in the past, at the time there were no formal arrangement to deal with the situation. These incidents are rare, but a contingency should be in place to deal with them.
- JE: If views conflict with the majority view of the partnership, do these clauses cover that outside of the partnership meetings?
- PC: We do not want to stifle your ability to express views in a reasonable manner, it is more about behaviour.
- CC: I agree, that a decision made by the partnership is something you have to respect once it has been made, providing you have had the opportunity to present your point of view.
Agreement of new text in MoA (including suggestions agreed above):
- Proposer: MH
- Seconder: CC
- Votes: 1 abstention. Remainder voted in agreement. Motion carried.
6. Budget monitoring 2019-20 – Peter Chamberlain
- Total expenditure: 51,847. On track
- Funding regular: 29,971
- Total Income: 62,462
- Surplus: 10,615
- Acknowledge positive position. We will need surplus to balance budget next year. We will have a problem with our budget next year. We will not seek to spend that surplus.
Approval of budget:
- Proposer: BDS
- Seconder: MH
- Votes: Unanimous in favour
The partnership committee agreed to approve the budget.
- Locality fund – work together to identify projects that local councillors can support
- JT: The locality funding that councillors have cannot be given out on an annual basis unless it’s a different project. We are currently pushing for funding from west side of Exe. JT to speak to further councillors.
- Parishes Together Fund and West Exe – not clear on that situation for next year. Those however, were for specific projects. Partnership has plans to look into additional projects.
7. Delivery Plan Highlight Report – Stephanie Harper-Chung
- PO1.2 – new partnership website, draft in place. Costs were covered by locality funding. A link will be sent out once the site is live.
- PO4.2 – Identify new funding streams. This is the only amber item. A reminder for committee members to look out for opportunities that could benefit the partnership.
- PO5.1 – Formation of Friend of the Exe Estuary. Look at setting up a task group next year.
- PO6.1 – State of the Exe Report. Executive recommended moving towards an online resource. Intend to promote it to local communities and groups.
- PO8.1 – Attending events as an alternative to running our own festival. SHC attended H Fest and will be attending Powderham Food Festival (5th October).
- PO8.2 – Exe Press newsletter. Advertising to bring in costs, still not completely covering printing, etc.
- F2.2 – Devon & Severn IFCA Bylaw Review. Data collection has been completed.
- OT: Byelaw consultation has been completed. The sub-committee will meet in November to decide. It will go through a formal consultation if byelaws are proposed to go ahead. (More information here: https://www.devonandsevernifca.gov.uk/Consultation).
- JT: We have received some complaints from local users of the Exe regarding potentially illegal shellfish collection.
- OT: Our enforcement officer has been doing regular patrols, they have witnessed no infringements so far.
- JT: I would suggest further engagement with landowners and businesses especially on the west side of the Exe (Generals Lane area mentioned as one example).
- CC: Is there a reporting mechanism?
- OT: Please report to D&SIFCA.
ACTION: SHC to send out reporting details for infraction of D&S IFCA byelaws (including illegal shellfish collection) to committee (see below).
All the D&S IFCA resources on what is and isn’t permitted within the district can be found on their website, both in their byelaw book and subsequent annexes: https://www.devonandsevernifca.gov.uk/Enforcement-Legislation/D-S-IFCA-Byelaw-Book-and-Minimum-Conservation-Reference-Size-List.
If you see a possible infraction of their byelaws then you can contact them either via email at email@example.com , or on the office phone at 01803 854646, or otherwise on the duty phone at 07740 175479.
- OT: D&S IFCA have limited resources. There is no limit on non-commercial hand gathering, therefore it is difficult to enforce. The beds are not designated for commercial gathering.
- MH: If it is a legal matter, we should be working in conjunction with the police, so both are fully aware, especially as IFCA has limited resources.
- MHe: Is there ECC resource?
- GF: We operate when the tide is in, whilst they collect when the tide is out.
- CC: I think we need to respect the traditional collectors such as the crab tilers and prevent excess gathering exercises elsewhere.
- MH: Can we coordinate with both IFCA and the police?
- DP: We need a clear definition on when to report.
- OT: A statement could be put together from the EEMP to IFCA.
- OT: Hand gathering: surveyed recently. Only Pacific oysters and whelks (no mussels). There are no restrictions on these and therefore we cannot enforce. If you would like information on what we do and don’t restrict, please contact us.
- PTA1.1 – Promotion of Exe leaflets. New and updated leaflets – 90,000 copies printed.
- WMR1.1 – Deliver Clean-Up events. We have delivered two events this year. The first was a smaller Clean-Up at Dawlish Warren, the plastics collected were used for a Glastonbury stage. Our larger Autumn Clean-Up attracted 110 volunteers. Local businesses supported the Clean-Up including Stuart Line Cruises, Krispies Fish and Chips, McDonalds, Clear Reach and Ace Music. EDDC provided supported with equipment and removal. Aerial footage of the event was taken and a press release was sent out. This was the first event which we didn’t use a tractor for, it worked well, sledges were used for larger items and we plan to encourage these for future events.
ACTION: JT to speak to a local company about donating some sledges for future Clean-Ups.
- EI1.1 – Review of signage. New and updated signage will be installed around the Exe. Funded by Parishes Together and Communities Together Funds.
- CC: Some issues around Starcross. Might be worth inviting comment and input from stakeholders?
- SHC: Our signage is separate from SEDHRP, who are also putting up signage. We did not have final say on where they will be placing their signage. We are looking to promote local areas with our signage, and we will be working with local stakeholders on this.
- CC: Sounds like there could be a danger of duplication with signage.
- SHC: We are avoiding this through our Exe Signage Review which was undertook before this work took place. I will be sharing recommendations for signage with SEDHRP and other bodies to avoid duplication of information and signage.
- EI1.2 – Education sessions. 18 sessions were booked with over 500 children in total. Free train travel was provided on the avocet line. Lympstone school was involved in the creation of a new mural at Lympstone. Exmouth Schools Conference – EEMP was in attendance and was very successful.
- EI6.1 – The partnership has been working with a film crew to create short stories on the Exe.
ACTION: Partnership to suggest possible local stories to be filmed for short video stories project.
8. Approval of Annual Review 2018-19 – Peter Chamberlain
- New format. Less comprehensive than previous review but more readable. Make it more useful for a wider audience.
- BDS: I think the summary is very good. It allows me to show Exmouth Town Council, where their funding is going.
ACTION: SHC to send Annual Review 2018-19 to sponsors and through a press release.
Approval of Annual Review:
- Proposed: MH
- Seconder: BDS
- Votes: Unanimous
9. Feedback from Stakeholder Forum 2019 – Stephanie Harper-Chung
- JT: Thank you to Powderham for the venue and hospitality. The venue and event were very well organised.
- SHC: Special thank you to Lord Charles Courtenay for setting venue arrangement in motion.
- On the 3rd September we held our second Stakeholder Forum. 113 attendees, with the event chaired by Jeremy Rawlings and support by our Vice Chair Ted Draper. There was a good sectoral balance with a wide variety of different attendees.
- JT: One thing that did come out as a positive was a plan to arrange user group meetings.
10. Introduction from the newly appointed Exeter City Council Harbour Master – Grahame Forshaw
- I have now been in post for 8 weeks. Taken on 3 members of staff. Ordered new harbour patrol boat, which arrives next spring. ECC have put a huge investment into this role. We are currently looking at clearer branding. We are also looking into education. Keen to progress for the estuary.
- We are concerned with navigation aspect. I have already made my phone number available, I will make available to this partnership.
ACTION: GF to make phone number available to EEMP through SHC: 07864 958658.
- Looking to take over AS Moorings and buoy store. Keen to get involved with clearing in area of reeds.
ACTION: SHC to ask film crew to film short story with Harbour Master.
- We will be monitoring behaviour on Exe.
- CS: Will you be liaising with sailing clubs?
- GF: I have met with Exe Sailing Club and Topsham Sailing Club so far. I will be meeting with Starcross later this autumn.
- GF: We will be enforcing the speed limit.
- GF: To clarify, you do not need a licence for towing.
- MH: A point on the estuary where people can ask questions is needed.
11. Any other business
- MH: SEDHRP are consulting on Clyst Valley Regional Park. Suggest contact Simon Bates to ensure they inform us of this.
ACTION: SHC to request presentation by Simon Bates on Clyst Valley Regional Park for next meeting.
- CC: Starcross Yacht Club will be 250 in 2022. It is said to be the oldest yacht club in the country. Looking at joint celebration (1775 Powderham Estate).
- CC: Painters slipway – haven’t yet been able to open it. Have received an MMO consent to clear mud. Over the next few weeks we will be tidying it up until end of October. Wreck clearance to be done too. Looking into uses of that slipway (lack of recreational access in area, water taxi, access to deeper moorings). Invite Partnership Committee to have input into that.
- JT: Better communications between partnership and commercial businesses. Opportunity to speak to commercial businesses and assist where we can.
- PO: Sand at the back of Dawlish Warren, are smothering mussel beds. Mussel boat are keen to re-seed the area. Those beds are a key area for birds. What is the mechanism?
- JT: In this instance there are 5 key stakeholders: NE, EA, IFCA and Myles Blood-Smyth and Powderham Estate (as Fundus owner). And there is also a navigational issue so the Harbour Authority may need to be kept in the loop.
- CC: Can we learn from EA scheme?
- PC: Can we pick this up as a substantial item for the next meeting? Ask EA to speak and explain if any further action be taken?
- PO: Need to contact stakeholders to make them aware of the issue.
ACTION: SHC to organise a talk from the EA at the next meeting, regarding the movement of sand from Dawlish Warren. Contact stakeholders involved to discuss the issue and make them aware that we are taking this forward to highlight the key issues / lessons learnt.
- JE: The EA Adviser at the meeting I attended said that wasn’t included as part of his work, possibly at a last Forum?
- The EA expected the sand to move, but perhaps not to this degree.
- PO: Focus on moving forward.
Date of next Partnership Committee meeting:
Thursday 12th March 2020, 10am-12.30pm – Starcross Fishing & Cruising Club
Date of next Forum:
Winter Forum: Tuesday 4th February 2020, 7pm-9:30pm (end time TBC) – Council Chamber, County Hall