ICG Group Members Present – Jem Williamson, Richard Wakeford, Chris Deveraux-Little, Sue Morris and Annette Dawson
Others Present – WCC, Wychavon DC, GCC, Gloucestershire University, Cotswold ANOB, FWAG, Winchcombe Town Council, Sedgeberrow PC, Toddington PC and 25 public members – See Attendees sign in sheet.
Apologies – received from 11 interested parties & recorded with the Secretary.
- Welcome, introductions and apologies received – Jem Williamson.
- The Minutes from the last AGM on 28th November 2018 were approved.
- Chairs Report – Jem Williamson talked through the report inserted below.
- Local Update – Wendy Bufton Natural Flood Management Project Officer Worcestershire County Council gave a presentational report on progress to date along the Beesmoor Brook at Charlton Abbots and the plans to extend this further downstream at Sudeley; work completed at Laverton Hill Farm Snowshill to prevent runoff; future plans for work at Farmcote and a planned (150-200) tree planting exercise at Toddington Estates as part of national climate change initiatives. In addition, a rain gauge at Winchcombe Primary School and 3 river level gauges have been installed along the Isbourne. Lucy Clark from the University of Gloucestershire followed on with further details on the monitoring programme including levels, photo, water quality, sediment, habitat and use of a dissertation student to gather the data. The session finished with the Google Earth ‘virtual tour’ and its use in engagement with landowners for NFM interventions. Several technical questions were raised from the audience and discussed including does the debris block dam; reported loss of fish in the river at Winchcombe this year; sediment loss; speeding up the flow in certain areas and what happens if the money is not spent. The latter issue would result in funds being ‘clawed back’ whereas full expenditure could allow for future funding bids so a plea was made for the audience to talk to known landowners to spread the word on NFM and pass any details onto the Secretary or Wendy Bufton. Having demonstrated the efficacy of the approach with local landowner advocates the aim was to now accelerate the process and create many more interventions.
- Appointments for coming year were voted and agreed.
Chair – Jem Williamson
Vice chair – Richard Wakeford
Secretary – Annette Dawson
- AOB – None.
AGM – Chairs Report from Item 3 above.
It is five years almost to the day since the inaugural meeting of the Isbourne catchment group, at the Queen’s Head pub in Sedgeberrow on 13th November 2014.
Since then the group has tried to establish itself as the community group voice within the catchment, and the point of liaison for a host of statutory bodies.
Whilst progress has, for some, been slow, we have achieved some major steps, including
- A recognition across various authority boundaries that action is necessary
- The production of the first full hydrological assessment of the catchment – with thanks to Uni of Glos/CCRI (Countryside and Community Research Institute)
- A commitment that ‘natural flood management’ is the path to follow
- The securing of funding to support interventions – with thanks to Brian Smith of the Environment Agency
This last year has started to see the fruits of those initiatives, and whilst more detail will be provided at the AGM by Wendy Bufton, the WCC field officer for the Avon and tributaries funding programme, it is worth noting the following highlights
- Charlton Abbotts – Beesmoor Brook The phase 2 works on the Charlton Abbotts estate have now been completed. This has involved implementing further woody dams on two upstream tributaries of Waterhatch.
11 woody dams have been placed along the tributary referred to as ‘Cole’s Hill’ and a further 8 dams have been placed along the Willis’ Coppice section.
When including the original 9 dams at Waterhatch, we now have 28 dams in place on the Charlton Abbotts estate.
- Laverton Hill Farm, Snowshill – River Isbourne. Works have now been completed on this site. Two weeks of works which involved the re-profiling of a steep farm track and also an adjacent steep footpath to encourage overland flow to divert into a natural depression, where it should infiltrate into the ground.
An attenuation bund was constructed along a downstream section of a depression – again to encourage water to be stored and infiltrated (taking it out of the overland flow system and reducing the amount of water travelling downstream).
Two spring lines on the site have each had two attenuation areas made along them, with a 150mm pipe inserted along the spring line to ensure baseflow at all times. The limited pipe size will encourage water to back up and ‘store’ during times of high flow.
There are 7 interventions in total at this site.
- Constructive dialogue with owners at Sudeley Castle estate and Toddington estate where it is hoped appropriate interventions can also be made. Unfortunately, some landowners remain resistant to engagement which is frustrating given the exemplars provided by the likes of the Bailey brothers on the Beesmoor Brook, and the fact that funding is provided via the EA.
- Tree Planting is being promoted by the Woodland Trust, who are launching a mass tree planting campaign, marketed as a ‘Big Climate Fightback’ on 30th November 2019. We would like to use this as an opportunity to undertake a community tree planting exercise in the Isbourne catchment, which could help stabilise banks as well as provide water capture. Landowners have been contacted and Wendy awaits responses.
And finally, a short note on funding. Income has come from the following sources:
NFM implementation as part of the initial DEFRA funding £50,000
Additional EA funding for the Isbourne catchment £40,000
ICG money from Tewkesbury Borough Council £1,300
Total Income: £91,300
Charlton Abbotts, Phase 1 May 19 £4,303
Laverton Hill Farm Sep 19 £8,350
Charlton Abbotts Phase 2 Oct 19 £9,930
Total Expenditure: £22,583