Minutes of Meeting of South Chilterns Catchment Project: Steering Group
Held at Manor House, Howbery Park, Wallingford
Tuesday 27th June 2017
||Chilterns Chalk Streams Project
||University of Reading
||Pang Valley Flood Forum/West Berkshire Countryside Society
||EA Fisheries, Biodiversity & Geomorphology
||Royal Yachting Association (London & South East Region)
||Berks, Bucks and Oxon Wildlife Trust
||Pang Valley Flood Forum
||North Wessex Downs ANOB
||National Farmers Union
||Revive the Wye/ Little Marlow Lakes
||EA South Chilterns Catchment Coordinator
||Wycombe District Council
||Foundation for Water Research (Catchment Host)
||Thames Fisheries Consultative
||West Berkshire Farming & Countryside Project
||Thames Valley Anglers Association
Above names in Bold indicate presence at the meeting; underlined names sent apologies.
- Welcome, apologies and introductions
Neil Tytler welcomed everyone to the meeting, especially the two new members and thanked everyone for making the effort to attend. A number of apologies had been received and these were recorded. In addition there were a number of representative changes as well as new organisations joining the Partnership. These are Dr Joanna Clark = Reading University, Charlotte Elliott – Natural England, George Crowe RYA, Judith Hartley – BBOWT, and Jeff Woodhouse – TVAA.
All around the table introduced themselves in turn and their affiliation.
There were two presentations. The first was given by Dr Joanna Clark (JC), Associate Professor in Environmental Science at Reading University on the Natural Environmental Research Council (NERC) call for research proposals on Natural Flood Management (NFM). Dr Clark went through the background to the project and that their proposal was one of 12 going forward to the second round after which only 3-4 submissions will be successful in gaining funding. The successful bids will commence on 1st November 2017 and run for a period of 4 years.
JC then discussed the different elements of their proposal, the research questions to be tackled, covered, the rationale behind the locations selected within the EA’s Thames West Region and the five Objectives to be addressed, concluding with Communication and Engagement activities planned to develop out of the project.
NOTE: The presentation is attached to the email circulating these minutes to Steering Group members. It may appear later on the Catchment website but until the result of the NERC review is known, Dr Clark asked for it to be restricted to only Steering Group members.
The second presentation was given by Mrs Kay Lacey (KL) of the Pang Valley Flood Forum (PVFF). She commenced her talk with a quick background to why the Forum was established, its structure, membership and achievements. The Forum has built a very comprehensive and impressive website and KL took the Group through the various elements of the site. There is an Introduction page to the Forum that includes outlining their Aims and Objectives, the Parishes involved and how to make contact. One notable area of the site is the Dashboard that displays both daily river gauge levels and daily maximum river gauge levels for five locations, and daily maximum Groundwater levels at four sites. There is an interactive Map section with 11 different layers that can be toggled through relating to flooding, terrain and geology of the whole Pang catchment. There is an Action Plan where issues relating to the whole catchment as well as four of the Partners; PVFF, Thames Water, West Berkshire Council and the Environment Agency are detailed. Finally, the other two areas of the site are a Documents section and a Feedback area where people’s comments/ suggestions are recorded in a spreadsheet format that includes a Status column so that contributors can see the outcomes from their comments. Follow this link to view the web site.
The Forum is also involved in two projects. The first is a Defra NFM initiative where the forum has submitted a bid for £50k of funding, the second is with a Birmingham University MSc student who is investigating into the feasibility of using the West Berkshire Groundwater Scheme to alleviate groundwater flooding in the Upper Pang Valley.
KL concluded her presentation with two points of information firstly Sally Wallington has now moved to Dorset but will remain in contact. Secondly, that the new Chair of the WBCS is Ed Cooper.
- SCCP Website.
NT gave a live presentation on the new, nearly completed website. AB made a suggestion that in addition to individual water body projects the site also included catchment wide initiatives e.g. River Fly Monitoring. NT said he would look in to this. A number of typos were noted and again NT agreed to have these corrected. Considerable discussion then took place regarding the fact that the website was a section contained within FWR’s main website. NT said that this was commonplace amongst many hosting organisations in fact it was the case in four of the eight adjacent catchments. AL said that dedicated catchment web addresses was considered “Good Practise” within the EA and something that they were striving to have adopted by all catchments. NT said there were additional costs to be considered in doing this but he would look in to it. A question then arose as to how Partners could get projects/topics/comments/corrections etc. put up on the site. MO said that direct access by Partners was not desirable as there had to be some control over any content published on the site. NT said that if all such material was sent to him he would have them posted on to the site quickly. GC said that whilst it was a useful starting point the project list needed much more detail to include timescales, accurate costings, who would undertaking the work etc. before anything could be put in front of any possible funders. KL asked if it was possible to circulate the revised Catchment Potential Projects list to everyone for comment/suggestions hopefully to identify a short list of realisable projects that can easily be worked up with costings, timescales etc. This can then be put to various possible funders for support. KL also suggested a feedback form on the site inviting comments/suggestions for potential projects. NT said he would look in to this as well.
- Catchment Opinion Poll
KL asked about the status of the pro-posed Catchment Opinion Poll. NT said he had been advised that another web based site “Smart Survey” had been recommended to him as being better than “Survey Monkey” so he said that he was drawing up a fresh questionnaire using Smart Survey programme.
Due to the meeting going on to 17:30 there was not time to cover any AOB.
- Date of next meeting
The next meeting will be towards the end of September/early November. NT to draw up a Doodle poll in August.
The meeting closed at 17:30