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Minutes of the Decarbonisation and Environment Committee Meeting held in the Council Chamber of the Town Hall, Bideford, on Tuesday 29 October 2019 at 6.30 pm

PRESENT:

North Ward:

Councillor J Herron

South Ward:

Councillor B Wootton

East Ward:

Councillor J Craigie (Chairman)
Councillor Mrs R Craigie
Councillor J McKenzie

IN ATTENDANCE:

Mr R Coombes (Deputy Town Clerk)
Councillor C Hawkins (West Ward)
Miss J Cooper (Bideford Carbon Cooperative)
5 x Members of the Public

25.      APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Councillor Mrs L Hellyer (East Ward – personal).

26.      DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST ON ITEMS ON THE AGENDA

Councillor J Craigie declared a non-pecuniary interest in Items 5 and 7. (Membership, Royal Forestry Society and Bideford Carbon Cooperative.)

27.      PUBLIC PARTICIPATION PERIOD

A member of the public felt that the works of the Committee was vital to the Local Community Environment; the group is important for the legacy of young people. He noted their interest in tidal energy and the ecology but believed they should think “bigger” in order to have an impact for the future.

28.      MINUTES

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 10 September 2019 were approved and signed as a correct record.

(Vote – For: 5, Against: 0)

29.      ROYAL FORESTRY SOCIETY MEMBERSHIP

Councillor Herron explained that in setting up the Bideford Forest Project (Dimpsey (Twilight) Woods) he had investigated various woodland / tree associations and felt the Royal Forestry Society were the most professional.

The Membership fee of £173 provides for experts (e.g. decarbonisation) on call. Regarding Ford Woods they can offer recommendations on how to make money. There is also an opportunity during the year for a visit and again advice given on open spaces, re wild – the Chairman indicated that Society visitors could be hosted at Ford Woods where they could provide on-site information.

Councillor Mrs Hellyer spoke of the Devon Woodland Trust and her desire for the more local group to be considered.

It was proposed by Councillor J Craigie, seconded and

RECOMMENDED: That the Council obtains Membership to the Royal Forestry Society at a cost of £173.00. The Membership of the Devon Woodland Trust is investigated and considered at the next Meeting.

(Vote: For: 5, Against: 0)

30.      RCEF FEASIBILITY STUDY GRANT APPLICATION – SCOPE OF WORKS

The Chairman had provided Members with a scope of works with the objective:

“To identify suitable technologies from a mix of hydro/tidal/marine to extract cost efficient energy from the Torridge estuary that protects or enhances the wildlife value of this unique part of the North Devon Biosphere reserve.”

Councillor Mrs Hellyer indicated that DCC were hosting a (Carbon Reduction) plan for Devon and welcomed ideas. She noted that the (Devon) Inshore Fisheries and Conservation Authority (IFCA) had a responsibility for the management of estuaries and that together with the AONB a dialogue could be made in support of the RCEF feasibility study grant bid.

Councillor Mrs Craigie indicated that the Harbour Board were fully supportive to a feasibility study into hydro/tidal/marine energy sourced from the Taw / Torridge Estuary.

Councillor Mrs Hellyer spoke of the importance of starting a dialogue, in terms of the bid and scope of works. She explained how DCC were working with partners including IFCA and the University of Exeter exploiting their expertise.

It was proposed by Councillor J Craigie, seconded and

RECOMMENDED: That the RCEF feasibility study grant application is pursued.

(Vote: For 5, Against: 0)

31.      BIDEFORD CARBON COOPERATIVE – PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT

The Chairman introduced Miss Jen Cooper to speak on behalf of the Bideford Carbon Cooperative.

Miss Cooper based her presentation, Community Engagement Proposal for a Town council Decarbonisation Hub, on the document that is attached and forms part of these Minutes.

Miss Cooper led discussion points that included:

• Community Engagement (crucial).
• Initiate Decarbonisation Action Plan.
• Establish (Community Engagement) Hub. Council consider making 1 Cooper Street available – ideal, central location on Jubilee Square.
o Benefit over often conflicting / confusing social media – online engagement can see increased isolation.
o Empower, develop plans, debate, instruction and drop box site.
• Opportunity to take stall at Pannier Market.
• Volunteer Pool needed.
o Tap into Extinction Rebellion.
• The importance of the Neighbourhood Plan to influence the development of the Town in the next forty to fifty years.
• Website / media presence – Councillor Hawkins volunteered to help.
• Opportunity for 361, the Bideford Carbon Coop and the Chairman of the Decarbonisation and Environment Committee to broaden engagement and meet with a receptive North Devon Council.
• Element of RCEF feasibility study grant could provide for an appropriate resource to support “the Hub”.
• Consideration by Market Management Committee to provide a permanent “Climate Emergency” pitch.

It was proposed by Councillor Mrs R Craigie, seconded and

RECOMMENDED: That investigation is made into the availability of Community Space provision to address carbon neutrality by 2030.

(Vote: For: 5, Against: 0)

32.     WORKING GROUPS – UPDATE

a.     Energy and Heat:

The Chairman indicate that Mr Day was investigating a further crowd funding bid with a view to again winning support from Marks and Spencer.

He spoke of a recent visit to school with a view to introducing solar pv although there was a mixed reception.

Councillor McKenzie indicated that several churches were receptive to a solar pv initiative.

The Chairman indicated that Mr Day was also exploring a Heritage Lottery Funding bid for additional solar panelling on the Pannier Market roof to charge a reservoir of batteries.

b.     Transport:

Councillor Mrs R Craigie led discussion on buses and bus routes. She would like a letter addressed to Stagecoach requesting them to switch off their engines when “idling”.

Members agreed that a representative, of Stagecoach, should be invited to attend a future Meeting.

c.     CSB:

Councillor Mrs Hellyer will be providing £500 from her locality fund (represents four kits). Expanding on the area of deprivation she advised that the Head of East-the-Water primary school was horrified at the numbers of disposable nappies that
are disposed of. She added that the Library Project was near to commencement.

Discussion followed on trees and the very successful Acorn Planting initiative run at the Pannier Market during Wikked Week. It provided information on planting (including detail on the tree and its inhabitants), actively sought to reduce carbon through a re-potting four-year programme that would then see the young tree
planted in the wild. Reference was made to the Woodland Trust’s trees for schools programme.

The Chairman concluded that a donation had been received by the Council to support the planting of verges with wildflowers as a source of nectar for insects.

 

The Chairman thanked the Members for their attendance and support. He concluded the Meeting at 7.37 pm.

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