Minutes of the Axe Brue Full Board Meeting held at Bradbury House, Market Street, Highbridge on Tuesday 20 January 2015 at 10.30am.           Chairman: Mr J Fear

Attendance & Apologies for Absence: as per register appended.

Items Additional to the Agenda: (1) Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA) and membership – Item 9 (2)   (2) Tenders meeting date – Item

Declarations of Interest: None at this time

Opportunity for the public to address the meeting: None

Minutes of the Main Meeting held on 11 November 2014: (appended) having been previously circulated the Chairman signed the minutes as a true and correct record of the meeting held.  All in favour.

Matters Arising: Item 11 Favourable Conditions “…developed overtime…” should read “…developed over time…”

Item 11 Alpha House “…at 312 January…” should read “…at 31 January…”

Item 12 (2) ROF outfall: it has been confirmed that this structure is inoperable, however ownership remains unclear; the structure is not on IDB land and assets are usually owned by the land owner. The neighbouring land is within the ownership of the Agency.

Item 12 (1) Water levels: A Franks requested clarification of agreement for operation of tilting weirs in the raised water level areas, it was agreed that P Brewin would meet to discuss accordingly.

Item 13 Bradbury House: members were advised that relocation to Bradbury House was completed during December 2014. The Administration & Finance Support Officer (AFSO) was dismissed during December, however a new AFSO has been appointed on a 3 month fixed term basis.

Item 9 Elected member: members concurred that the addendum to this item was correct and that as a full appointed member, Mrs Judah could not be co-opted as an elected member.

Proposed M Watts, Seconded P Thorne ‘that Resolution 1 of the Axe Brue Full Board meeting of 11 November 2014 be rescinded as Mrs Judah is a full member of the Axe Brue Board by appointment of Sedgemoor District Council.’ Vote: unanimous RESOLUTION 1

Item 18 Lincolnshire Visit: Members were advised that funding for 6 members to visit Lincolnshire had been offered by the Environment Agency. The Clerk advised that a formal invitation had not been received.Draft minutes of the meetings of the Axe, Brue and Coastal Catchment Committees: draft catchment minutes were not available for members, however these will be disseminated independently of this meeting.

Draft minutes of the Finance & Governance sub-committee meeting on 08 January 2015: (appended) having been previously circulated the draft minutes were noted by members.

  1. Finance Reports: (appended) S Gee (SMG) briefed members on the reports advising that Bradbury House premises costs includes overheads prior to the move, at which time the Consortium (SDBC) will take over the costs.
  2. Other income: interest rates being received are minimal; alternative risk free investments are being investigated.
  3. SMG advised that the appended report differs from that of the F&G meeting due to updates subsequent to the F&G meeting.
  4. The report was duly noted by members.Budgets and rate setting for 2015/16: (appended) SMG advised that following the Finance & Governance (F&G) meeting of 08 January 2015 the budget proposal was amended accordingly; the estimated 2015/16 budget is £1,066,804, which includes an increased contribution to the consortium due to staff costs previously included within Favourable Conditions funding.

It was previously agreed that Bradbury House as an asset, would be included within the accounts as building at valuation, however Defra/ADA guidance states that the building should be depreciated, SMG advised that depreciation is estimated as £12k.

Proposed R Adlam, Seconded P Thorne ‘that the Axe Brue IDB depreciates Bradbury House at 2% per annum for accounting purposes.’ Vote: 19 for, 0 against, 1 abstain. Motion Carried RESOLUTION 2

Members were advised that SDBC pays an annual fee of £12k to the Axe Brue for the use of Bradbury House, of which the Parrett IDB contributes 46%.

Other points of note:

  • Maintenance increase approx. 2%
  • EA Precept subject to 2% increase
  • Schemes – Board total £235k includes £47k Grant in Aid
  • SRA – Board contribution to shortfall in inaugural year funding
  • Recommendation to set rate at 6.608p as in 2014/15
  • SMG was commended for enabling the rate to remain as the previous year with projects and schemes being included within the budget without FC funding
  • Desired works programme and expectation to be managed with Board resources
  • Milk Quota may be abolished in April 2015 (EU intention), however the rate is set in accordance with the Land Drainage Act 1991 which states that ”the drainage rate for any financial year shall be made as at the 31st December preceding that financial year”¹
  • Health & Safety of structures within the Upper catchments is being reviewed with appropriate funding to be sourced accordingly

Proposed D Tratt, Seconded W Welland ‘that the Axe Brue Internal Drainage Board set a rate of 6.608p in the £ for 2015/16 to raise a total Agricultural Rate of £179,707.67 and Special Levy of £742,366.07.’ Vote: unanimous RESOLUTION 3Engineering Report: (appended) Maintenance Reports: the report was duly noted by members

  • Maintenance in the upper catchments is complete
  • In-house maintenance is behind schedule due to sickness leave of M Andrews, Tractor Operative
  • Tenders meeting of 14 April 2015 will review all contractors and in-house operations
  • Inflation indicator to be used in-line with other bodies, is CPI rather than RPI. Fuel inflationary figure will be removed from tender documents as this is included within CPI
  • Figures for CPI could be published on the Board website

Improvement Works:

  • I Sturdy (IDS) apologised for the report being tabled. A photograph presentation of works completed was discussed with members.
  • Back Lane Rhyne, Mark: members gave consideration to a request from residents of The Old Barn for the Board to install a viewing gate to allow contractors easy access to undertake annual maintenance from the adjacent field rather than from the lane.
  • Proposed C Pople, Seconded P Thorne ‘that the Axe Brue IDB undertakes to install a viewing gate at The Old Barn, Mark to allow contractors easy access to undertake annual maintenance subject to budget and availability.’ Vote: unanimous RESOLUTION 4
  • Northwick Road, Mark: members were advised that the Board will serve Notice to enter land to undertake necessary maintenance works to reinstate the drainage system and recover full costs.
  • Ivy Down Ditch: appropriate Notices of Entry have been served and agreed contributions of £6,000 and £1,500 have been received. The culvert works are due to commence week commencing 25 January 2015 at an estimated cost of £16,326.
  • Favourable Conditions: (appended) IDS advised members that FC is in the final year and that it is expected that there will be little or no on-going work after the financial year end. A project funding audit will be completed in due course.
  • Development Control: National Grid: IDS advised that a procedural meeting had taken place to discuss matters including the impact of the duration of development and impact of construction. The Board, as a registered interested party, will need to submit written representations by 24 February, which needs to be evidence based; a statement of common ground is also to be completed by the Board.
  • The Board has written to National Grid seeking recompense for officer time in processing the application; although National Grid accept that there will costs involved, an agreement has yet to be completed.
  • May Ditch: members were advised that there is nothing to report at this time, however contractor details have been forwarded to Bristol Water for their consideration.
  • Raised Water Level Areas: at the previous meeting A Franks had asked for clarification of the agreement for operation of tilting weirs in the raised water level areas; IDS advised that he would confer with P Brewin and A Dowden to ascertain the relevant information and report at a future meeting.
  • River Brue De-silting: IDS advised that a funding bid was submitted to the Royal Bath & West Society flood relief fund for dredging from Westhay to the North Drain Pumping Station, as well as
  • an assemblage of other projects, however the bid has been unsuccessful.
  • Bleadon Sluice: no update at this time.
  • Consent Application 0614/00017/CG: the Board was advised that the route of the proposed North Somerset Coastal Path has not been amended and will run along Rhyne banks from Weston Super Mare to Brean; the IDB has responded as mindful to object.20 year flood action plan and the Somerset Rivers Authority: NWS provided an update of the Flood Action Plan (FAP) and Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA) advising that the SRA takes over responsibility of the Leaders Implementation Group on 31 January 2015.
  • Local Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to be devised, seeking agreement from local partners, to be reviewed prior to March 2016
  • MoU v5: key partners will have arranged for a review of the MoU by their respective legal advisors
  • The final MoU is expected to be received and operational by 31 January 2015
  • Due to media attention, rate payers and public expect the formation of the SRA from a FAP work stream
  • If time allows, a meeting of the SRA Working Group is to be called to review the final MoU
  • Extra-ordinary SWADA meeting to be held on 16 February to discuss SRA formation and operation
  • Concern expressed for long term funding
  • Lincolnshire model: initial discussion documentation available for member’s scrutiny
  • Clerk to discuss with Lincolnshire officers their issues with setting up an agreement
  • Delegated powers required for Working Group members for matters relating to the SRA

Proposed W Welland, Seconded J Healey ‘that the delegated authority be given to the Somerset Rivers Authority Working Group joint Sub-Committee of the Axe Brue IDB for decision making concerning matters relating to the Somerset Rivers Authority.’ Vote: unanimous RESOLUTION 5

Members were advised that the first meeting of the SRA will be held in February.

FAP work stream of river management is being put into operation; Board officers are being consulted regularly, utilising reasonable time.Special Correspondence and meetings: None

Any Other Business: (1) Bradbury House – members were advised that general building work and relocation have been completed, however snagging works are being undertaken.

(2) South & North Drain levels: the Board was asked if water levels in the South & North Drains are lower than the agreed Water Level Management Plans; NWS advised that the Board is not aware that levels are, or have been lower than agreed, and that the Parrett IDB is of the opinion that water levels are being maintained in a very effective manner.  Board members concurred that moors in high water areas are being managed well, and that the Agency should be commended for their work. It was agreed that P Brewin would be asked to investigate winter levels.Date of next meeting:  Tenders meeting (All Boards) 14 April 2015

Axe Catchment 08 May 2015, Brue Catchment 12 May 2015, Coastal Catchment 26 May 2015, Finance & Governance 02 June 2015 and Full Board 09 June 2015.There being no other business the Chairman thanked members and officers for attending.

The meeting was closed at 13.15pm