Minutes of the Parrett Board Meeting held at Westonzoyland Community Centre, Cheer Lane, Westonzoyland on Tuesday 25 November 2014 at 2.15 pm.

Chairman: Mr P Maltby

The Chairman welcomed guests from the Environment Agency and members to the meeting.

Attendance & Apologies for Absence: as per register appended.  Cllr D Baker, Cllr A Gilling,

J Irish, R Merchant, C Passmore, G Thead, M Winslade and N Lockyer.Items Additional to the Agenda: R Archer – RFCC report of RSPB to be produced publically (item 11).

Somerset Rivers Authority (SRA) – report of SRA Working Group (item 14).Opportunity for members of the public to address the Board meeting: two members of the public present who did not wish to address the meeting.

Mr T Bradford, Vice Chairman introduced Mike Phillips to the meeting: Mike Phillips, Expenditor to the Board since 1997 with King Sedgemoor and Cary Valley IDB, has chosen to retire at the end of 2014. An oration was provided by B Bryer, with a gift presented by T Bradford. Mr Phillips thanked members and staff for their consideration.Declarations of interest: P Maltby (PCM): non-pecuniary interest item 12e Development Control.

  1. Minutes of the Full Board Meeting held on 17 June 2014: (appended) having been
  2. previously circulated the Chairman signed the minutes as a true and correct record of the meeting
  3. All in favour.Matters Arising: Item 12 Seasonal water levels – members were advised that an interim newsletter is to be disseminated prior to 1st December, which contains information and advice for landowners.

Draft minutes of the E&M Committee of 23 September 2014: (appended) having been previously circulated the minutes were duly noted by members

Draft minutes of the Management Sub-Committee of 07 October 2014: (appended) Item 9 should read quantity not quality. Having been previously circulated the minutes were duly noted by members.

Draft minutes of the Finance & Governance Sub-Committee of 04 November 2014: (appended) Item 6 T Bradford advised that any comparison of staff numbers between the Somerset Consortium and Welland and Deepings IDB is not to be taken as detrimental to current Consortium staff. The minutes were duly noted by members.

Finance Reports: S Gee (SMG) briefed members on the accounts to 31st October 2014.

  • Thorney Ring Bank: payment for works undertaken is due from Somerset County Council in due course
  • 15k tonnes of impermeable clay have been moved
  • The new ring bank has been erected
  • PCM was interviewed for the BBC One Show; however the full interview was not aired

(b) Consortium budget 2015/16: members were advised that a contribution increase would be due in the forthcoming year as Favourable Conditions is due to cease at year end, other Grant in Aid funding and bank interest is minimal, therefore an approximated shortfall of £58k is expected, of which (approx) £27k would be proportionate to the Parrett,

Proposed D Spicer, Seconded Cllr I Dyer ‘that the Parrett IDB accepts the budget of the Somerset Drainage Board Consortium as recommended by the Parrett Finance & Governance Sub-Committee of 04 November 2014.’ Vote: unanimous RESOLUTION 1

(c) Authorisation to institute court proceedings on behalf of the Parrett IDB: members were advised that S Gee is authorised to institute court proceedings. At a recent court hearing for outstanding rates, SMG was unable to respond to the court however C-A Porter, Assistant Clerk, was unable to participate in court proceedings without authorisation. After discussion members concurred that two officers should be authorised.

Proposed R Barrington, Seconded J Healey ‘that Carrie-Anne Porter be authorised to institute court proceedings on behalf of the Parrett Internal Drainage Board.’ Vote: unanimous RESOLUTION 2

SMG advised members that a new rating system, DRS, has been approved by the Consortium Management Sub-Committee to replace the VDBAS system which the Board has utilised for approx 20 years.  DRS will allow information to be extrapolated for reports and payment information i.e. direct debits. The meeting was advised that one Drainage Board had offered a discount as an incentive to sign up to a direct debit payment plan; however an incentive of this kind is not justified. After a full discussion it was agreed that SMG would investigate direct debit receipts and report at a future meeting.

Environment Agency: Sowy & KSD investigations update: G Quarrier, EA Project Manager, addressed the meeting with a presentation entitled Enhanced Capacity Appraisal. Discussion included the following (this list is not exhaustive):

  • Penzoy River has been included within the appraisal with minor works undertaken where possible
  • Chedzoy flap valve will be re-engineered
  • Funding for 2015 will be in the region of £2m
  • Preliminary works undertaken by SCC to realign Beer Wall culverts
  • Monks Lease Clyse: EA would like this operational more frequently and wider
  • Value for money demonstration to be undertaken
  • Public meeting to be held in Othery, 10 December 2014
  • Consideration to widening Sowy to increase capacity

I Sturdy (IDS) advised that the Sowy is a work action within the 20 year Flood Action Plan.

R Archer advised that RSPB is to launch a document entitled Flooding in Focus, nationally on 27 November 2014. It was agreed that the Assistant Clerk would disseminate to members and provide hard copies upon request.Engineering Reports: (appended) IDS advised that with regard to recent flooding of the A393 at Long Load, the Agency are reviewing options to reduce flood risk.

  1. a) Routine maintenance: P Ham (PSH) advised that routine maintenance works are to be completed by the end of January 2015.

Variations to viewed rhynes: (appended) Aller Moor (map 1), Bridgwater & Pawlett (map 2) and King Sedgemoor & Cary Valley (map 3).

After a full discussion it was agreed that a meeting would be arranged by officers with M Young to discuss management company.

Proposed D Spicer, Seconded D Ayres ‘that the Parrett IDB adopts the variations to the Viewed Rhyne network as submitted at Aller Moor, Bridgwater & Pawlett and King Sedgemoor & Cary Valley.’ Vote: unanimous RESOULUTION 3

  1. b) Improvement Works Programme (appended) IDS advised that the Thorney Ring Bank will provide a level of defence above the flood level of 2014.

Thorney Pottery Ring Bank: staff time is being monitored to re-charge the Agency under a custom Public Sector Co-operation Agreement (PSCA) with the Agency.

Elsons Clyse: IDS advised that estimates have been requested for permanent pumps, and that the Agency has been asked to provide ‘permanent’ temporary pumps.

Investigation will be made as to whether Elsons Clyse could be diverted to the Bridgwater Canal.

Elsons Clyse flap: this matter as been deferred to January for replacement.

The Chairman thanked officers and staff for their work on the 20 year Flood Action Plan.

  1. c) Parrett Dredging: members were advised that the initial 8km dredge has been completed, except for an area that had to receive ‘special’ treatment.
  2. d) Winter water levels and communications: this item was discussed earlier in the meeting.
  3. e) Development Control (appended) the report was duly noted by membersAssessment of the impact of water level management of flood risk: (appended) P Brewin (PAB) advised that the IDB was asked to undertake an assessment as an action from within the Flood Action Plan. The Board has previously investigated flood risk in relation to high water tables. The study was undertaken in conjunction with the Centre of Hydrology, and has been published on the Boards’ website. Ditch lengths and widths were considered along with the transmission of water through soil, to compare the storage capacity of the soil in the ditch profile.

Flood water equates to approx 1% of water through the system in the winter and approx 10% in the summer.

Winter raised water level areas: the volume in the ditches is very small compared with the volume.

Some moorland areas have not recovered from 2013/14 floods; this report does not purport to be an answer to managing all flooding on the moors, moreover it observes differences between traditional flood plain meadows and more improved schemes.20 year flood action plan and Somerset Rivers Authority: N Stevens (NWS) advised that nominations were required for representatives of the Board to take seats on the SRA. The recommendation from the recent SRA Working Group meeting was the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Parrett IDB.

Proposed Cllr P Stone, Seconded D Spicer ‘that the Chairman and Vice-Chairman of the Parrett Internal Drainage Board be nominated to sit on the Somerset Rivers Authority.’

It was agreed that a press statement should be examined by the Board.Special Correspondence and Meetings including ADA Conference: Nothing at this time.

Approval of meetings calendar 2015/16: (appended) the calendar as submitted was approved by members.  It was agreed that meetings would be arranged for the SRA as necessary

Any Other Business: members were advised that this would be the last meeting of the Parrett IDB to beheld at Westonzoyland as future meetings will be held in-house following re-location to Bradbury House, 33-34 Market Street, Highbridge, due to occur before the year end

Date of Next Meeting: SWADA 10 December Oaktree Arena, Management Committee 06 January 2015, Finance & Governance 13 January, Full Board 27 January, Employment & Machinery 24 February.

Unless stated all meetings will be held at Bradbury House, 33-34 Market Street, HighbridgeThere being no other business the Chairman thanked members and officers for attending

and closed the meeting at 17.15pm