Minutes of Meeting of South Chilterns Catchment Project: Steering Group
Held at Manor House, Howbery Park, Wallingford
Tuesday 11th October 2016

Participant Representing
Allen Beechey Chilterns Chalk Streams Project
Brian Connorton West Berkshire Countryside Society
Dick Greenaway West Berkshire Countryside Society
Alison Futter EA Fisheries, Biodiversity & Geomorphology
Claudia Innes Thames Water
Jonny Johnson Royal Yachting Association
Stuart Keable EA Fisheries
Kay Lacey West Berkshire Countryside Society
Henry Oliver North Wessex Downs AONB
Tom Ormesher National Farmers Union
Mike Overall Revive the Wye/ Little Marlow Lakes
Oliver Roden EA South Chilterns Catchment Coordinator
John Shaw Chiltern Rangers
Philip Simkin Wycombe District Council
Lesley Sproat EA Biodiversity
Sam Riley Forestry Commission
Rebecca Tibbetts Natural England
Neil Tytler Foundation for Water Research (Catchment Host)
David Wales Thames Fisheries Consultative
Sally Wallington West Berkshire Farming & Countryside Project
Matthew Woodcock Forestry Commission

Above names in Bold indicate presence at the meeting; underlined names sent apologies.

  1. Welcome, apologies and introductions
    Neil Tytler welcomed everyone to the meeting and thanked them for making the effort to attend. Apologies had been received from the names underlined in the list of participants. All around the table introduced themselves in turn and their affiliation.

  2. Presentations
    Two presentations were given of the work done last year supported by the Defra Catchment Partnership Action Fund. The first was by Sally Wallington on the work done on the River Pang to restore the derelict fish bypass around Bradfield Mill owned by Bradfield College, Bradfield, Berks, the second presentation regarding improvements on the Wye was delivered jointly by John Shaw and Allen Beechey. John talked about the work done at Funges Meadow, High Wycombe, Bucks which included additional improvements to the banks and vegetation funded by the River and Wetland Community Days Fund, Allen outlined improvements (in conjunction with the CCSP) that were undertaken at two other locations further down the Wye before it joins the Thames. He expressed deep frustration over the difficulties and excessive delays in obtaining Flood defence Consents to do what were relatively minor works in the river Wye. Alison Futter made a note and agreed to look into the problem.

    It was agreed that the presentations would go up on the Catchment website.

  3. Update on 2nd Cycle of River Basin Management Planning. Oliver Roden updated the Group on the current state of River Basin Management Plans for the Catchment. There has been a change from Moderate to Good particularly on the Pang however this may by for a number of reasons. It could be due to a number of factors including improvements at different locations, increased frequency of monitoring compared to the first cycle (2009 – 2015) as well as general improvements in water treatment and agricultural processes. Allen Beechey stated that he felt volunteer monitors could be better used by the EA in their assessments of river quality.

  4. National Success Measures
    A copy of the National Success Measures that forms part of this year’s Water Environment Fund – Catchment Partnership Hosting Support, was given out to each member of the Group for discussion. The discussion then developed to consider the four goals listed in the Measures.

    1. Develop a shared catchment action plan

      The consensus was that the Catchment lacked any real presence on the web. It was felt to be very important that there should be a Catchment map detailing on not only what has been achieved but also what are the intended next steps would form this action plan. This map is to be circulate first to all group members for comments including those of landowners within the catchment. This all would lead to the development of a shared set of objectives. The map would be a working plan that would show the locations of each objective which can be regularly updated by individuals. Good examples suggested were the Colne, and the Mimram. Neil Tytler agreed that development of this map is a priority and would be circulated to the Group before anything went live. It was felt by the Group that such a map together with regular 6 monthly updates involving all the Group stakeholders, would satisfy the requirement of the first activity.

    2. Work with the Defra Group.to develop and agree a shared set of priority places.

      Defra wishes to develop common catchment plans incorporating common boundaries between the Environment Agency, the Forestry Commission and Natural England (Defra Group). Henry Oliver believed that difficulties will be encountered due to different priorities of each organisation. Planning, and local stakeholder engagement issues also need to be taken into account. Defra are working on these and how this Steering Group interacts with this initiative should become clearer in a few months.

    3. Participate in a joint evaluation of catchment partnerships to identify capacity and capability across the country.

      Several questioned whether the EA were behind this initiative, who was driving it and who is accountable for its delivery. It was stated it was a Defra initiative and Alison Futter is a member of the National Team conducting the evaluation. A meeting of local catchment hosts is being organised.

    4. Supply information regarding planned actions and enhancements to waterbodies during the year through delivery of partnership actions.

      Allen Beechey felt there was a need to secure long-term catchment support funding to maintain and keep the website updated on planned activities in the catchment.

  5. Aims, objectives and proposal summary.
    Due to the lack of time the discussion moved quickly on to possible sources of funding for catchment projects. Claudia Innes appraised the Group on the various funding initiative available through Thames Water. Firstly, the Community Investment Fund with submissions to be in by approximately 18th December 2016 for the Assessment Board meeting in January 2017. Claudia also mentioned Thames has a small grants scheme for small projects. Sally Wallington asked about the Thames Water project on the Sulham Brook to remove a Thames Water weir. Claudia replied that it was now at the CDM design stage. Claudia said that Thames Water were looking for organisations to become involved in similar projects. Neil Tytler asked if he could contact Claudia to discuss Thames Water funding initiatives further and she agreed to meet up (NT to phone). Henry Oliver said that NWD AONB had Sustainable Development Fund for projects undertaken in partnership, details are available on their website as well as funds for small projects. (NT agreed to call HO). Oliver Roden agreed to review what funding had been agreed for the Catchment this year.

  6. A. O. B.
    After the meeting Sally Wallington asked if Neil Tytler could personally request that someone from Natural England is invited to do a presentation at the next meeting on the Higher Tier Countryside Stewardship scheme (water and flooding options) within the catchment as their input is crucial with regard diffuse pollution and water quality.

  7. Date of next meeting.
    Neil Tytler said he wished the Group to meet more frequently than before and to keep the pressure up on delivery having lost so much time this year due to Defra not awarding this round of funding until July 2016. It was agreed to arrange the next meeting for January 2017.

    The meeting closed at 13:00 hrs.

    NBT 01/12/16
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