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River Erme Councils Joint Water Quality Meeting

River Erme Councils Joint Water Quality Meeting
Minutes November 30th 2023
Meeting held via Teams due to weather conditions
Present: Cllr Ann Turner (AT) Chair, Modbury Cllr Barbra Price (BP)Modbury, Cllr Jon May (JM) Ugborough, Cllr Pat Hannam (PH) Ermington, Cllr Tessa Lannin (TL) Ivybridge, Cllr Anthony Rea (AR) Ivybridge, Mark Walker (MW)
– Ermington Environmental
Apologies: Cllrs Harry Baumer and John Sherrell (Holbeton) Cllr Suzanne Grant (Kingston) Cllr John Dunlop (Ermington) Cllr Helen Nathanson (Modbury)
John Mildmay White (WATER)
1. Minutes from the previous meeting were agreed.
2. Reports from Councils
Ivybridge: TL confirmed that Ivybridge Town Council had agreed, at their Climate Group working meeting, to contribute towards administration costs for the River Erme group.AT thanked Ivybridge and will seek advice about the procedure for managing joint funding.
A local fishing group have approached the TC regarding Erme Fishing Rights. The Council has asked them to commission a report to look into the viability of this and may help towards the cost as it would give information about fish
stocks as an indication of river health.
TL will provide points to be raised for SHDC’s scrutiny committee when the meet with the Environment Agency and South West Water. These will cover the issue and review of permits, the failure to measure volume of spills and
management of invasive species such as Himalayan Balsam on their land.AT to send TL information on combined Sewage Outflows.
Ermington: PL commented on the Parish Council developing a working relationship with Ermington Environmental.
A particular planning issue within the area are applications for change of use from agricultural to equestrian use and the potential impact of this.
Ugborough: JM had nothing specific to report. The issue of invasive species which he had raised in the previous meeting would be addressed by MW later on the agenda.
Modbury: The planned renovation and repair work on the sewer in the centre of town is due to begin in January. The work will take significantly less time than originally proposed due to new and less disruptive technology. SWW held
a public event to explain the process. Despite concerns about the continued use of a combined sewer rather than replacement with separate clean and foul water pipes, this was discounted on logistical grounds as discussed in our
previous meeting. This makes the matter of the CSO at Poundwell even more pressing. We are following up with SWW on contact details for the most appropriate person with decision making powers to discuss this and other matters bought up by this group. AT to report back.
The Parish Council has funded 12 kits for Citizen Science water testing.
Kingston: Apologies for not sending a representative to the meeting but Cllr Suzanne Grant will be the representative for future meetings.
Holbeton: Cllrs Baumer (HB) and Sherrell (JS) were unable to attend due to a clash with a meeting in Holbeton with developers of the new housing site.AT met with HB to get updates for our meeting. A key issue for the new
development is who pays for management of water connections and surface water runoff. It appears that the developers and SWW are each trying to minimise their costs and responsibilities. This is something which is likely to be
an issue for other councils in looking at and commenting on planning applications. We will ask HB and JS to feed back at our next meeting. The Parish Council has funded water quality testing kits for Citizen Science.
3. Planning applications: It was agreed that this was a core area for this group to focus on. All agreed that it would be helpful to have a check list of water related/ environmental issues to act as an aide memoire when considering
planning applications. The document sent out previously is quite lengthy, AR has offered to adapt it for consideration at the next meeting. Proposed legislative changes re developers’ responsibilities for nutrient neutrality. As agreed, AT contacted SHDC to discuss proposals for a policy on this. Representatives of SHDC would like to meet with us at 11am on
Tuesday, January 30th.Venue TBC. Attending District Councillors will be Cllr MacKay (Environmental lead), Cllr Long (Planning lead) and Cllr Taylor (Vice Chair Planning). Daytime meetings are not easy for some but there are limited
opportunities for meeting with them all together. Please contact AT if you are able to attend.
Anthony Magnall MP, held an open meeting in Modbury prior to our meeting. He will be the prospective MP for our constituency under boundary changes. AT addressed with him, our concerns about environmental management. He
will be sending information about government intentions and has offered to attend a future meeting if we wish.
4. Discharge Permits: It was agreed that TL will take up the issue of the validity of permits for the Sewage Treatment Works. This is particularly pertinent to Ivybridge given the growth of the town since permits were issued.
AT to send information about permit dates to TL.
5. Coordinating Actions: We agreed that it was important to work with community organisations to maximise efficiency and to utilise the technical skills within those groups. As JMW was unable to attend, AT met with him to discuss the progress of WATER, their key objectives and future co-operation. He provided a summary of their position which was circulated to this group prior to the meeting. A summary of the meeting between JMW, HB and AT is
attached. NB. Please see JMW’s request for details of your parish/town community magazines.
6. Invasive Species: Himalayan Balsam. An additional agenda item following a request from MW of Ermington Environmental to discuss this issue. This follows on from the matter of Himalayan Balsam raised by JM at the last
meeting. MW reported on the spread of the plant particularly in the Ugborough and Ermington areas and along the river on Dartmoor. He explained the method of distribution, control and its potential impact on the riverside biodiversity. A volunteer from Ugborough has offered to put together an information campaign to encourage the public to identify and help manage this problem. MW asked if the councils would consider funding for this. He will send costs and we agreed to consider at our next meeting.
7. Voices of the Erme project: This project to capture experiences and memories of the Erme and estuary is going well. Initially, this is about audio interviews but the plan is to enlarge the project and include visual images and possibly film. The project is supported by Modbury Parish Council but Laura is keen to speak to residents anywhere in the Erme catchment. Please pass on to your fellow councillors and communities.
Laura Denning <>
Dr. Laura Denning: Artist/Researcher
Principal investigator: British Academy SRG: Wet Ontologies
Artist in Residence: Leverhulme Centre for Anthropocene Biodiversity
Associate Lecturer: Creative Media, University of Plymouth
Date and time of next meeting: 7.30pm on Thursday, January 25th 2024 at
the QE11 Pavilion, Modbury


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