Venue: Rennes Room, Civic Centre, Paris Street, Exeter. View directions
Contact: Sharon Sissons, Democratic Services Offier Telephone 01392 265115 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
The Chair welcomed two new members of the Board, Ms. Green and Mr Colin Seddon who she invited to introduce themselves along with the Board Members.
To approve the minutes of the Exeter Harbour Board meeting held on 13 July 2023.
The minutes of the meeting held on 13 July 2023 were taken as read and signed by the Chair as correct.
Declarations of Interest
No declarations of pecuniary interest were made.
A period of up to 15 minutes is available to deal with questions relating to the business of the Harbour Board from the public.
Details of questions should be notified to the Democratic Services Manager via the email@example.com email by 10.00am at least three working days prior to the meeting. For this meeting any questions must be submitted by 10.00am on Wednesday 20 September 2023.
There were no public questions.
Update on the Harbour Revision Order
To receive an update on progress towards the HRO application from representatives of Ashford’s Solicitors.
Tommy Fox of Ashfords Solicitors attended and referred to the previous meeting of the Harbour Board when an outline on the general process of a submission for a Harbour Revision Order (HRO) was made. He confirmed that the application for a Harbour Revision Order had now been submitted.
The HRO submission had been prepared in draft form and with a statement of support had been submitted to the regulator, the Marine Management Organisation (MMO). The application was submitted before the fee for submission increased. He thanked the Harbour Master and his team for their assistance in producing the required plans. Checks would be made by the MMO and could take any time up to six months. Once that part of the process was complete, there will be a 42 day public consultation and the application documents would be made available to the public. The document will be published on line, circulated in the local press and the MMO will send it to designated consultees. Individuals and organisations will be able to respond and comment on the application. Following the consultation, consultees will be contacted in relation to their response. Once all of the objections have been resolved the MMO will make a decision and either make a HRO or call a public Enquiry, which would be rare for a HRO of this nature. Once the HRO is made, it will be put to Parliament through the Department of Transport for laying. The whole timescale can be anything from 18 to 24 months from submission to determination, but once it is laid before Parliament, the Order will come into force two weeks later. The Order can then be enforced and the Council will be able to exercise any provisions in the Order.
He gave the following responses to questions:-
Exeter Port Users Group Update
To receive a verbal update from the Secretary of the Exeter Port Users Group (EPUG)
The Secretary of the Exeter Port Users Group (EPUG), David Rochester attended to provide a verbal update from the Group’s recent meetings and activities:-
The following response was given to Board Members’ questions:-
To receive a presentation from John Monks, Chair Friends of the Exeter Ship Canal. The circulated document has also been presented to the Exeter Canal and Quay Trust.
The Chair of the Exeter Ship Canal, John Monks presented the details of the Heritage Harbour route map. He advised that the Exeter Canal and Quay Trust (ECQT) had adopted the circulated version of the route map. He added that he made some minor revisions and would take the opportunity to update the document in the future.
He set out the background to the Ship Canal and Heritage Harbour Route Map and how the document may be of use to the Harbour Board. At the end of 2020, the Friends of the Ship Canal secured Heritage Harbour status for Exeter, and published their report Making the Canal Matter Again calling on the City Council, the Canal and Quay Trust and the Port Authority to work together and use the boost which the new Heritage Harbour status provided to bring about a working regeneration of the waterway. The responsibilities for the canal and basin, control over income and use of waterside buildings, and management of access to the sea were split three ways between the Council, the Trust and since 2021 the Harbour Board. The route map was commissioned and sets out interlocking projects, activities and improvements to take the canal and basin forward and scale up the level and range of maritime activity to make Exeter a leading inland port. The route map also develops its plan for a maritime future simultaneously with its vision for a working Heritage Harbour including the docking of historic vessels and return of traditional skills and crafts. He welcomed the arrival at the Basin of Britannia for restoration and Snark for a safe commercial mooring over winter, along with the two Heritage Harbourside festivals organised by ECQT, which were all tangible results of the Route Map’s preparation.
The Route Map was designed to be a source of good ideas and good advice and a tool for planning ahead and offers a direction of travel. It included practical recommendations as long-term proposals and quick wins for the canal and basin and included:-
· Return of waterside assets to waterway use
· Making space and workshops available for start-up boatbuilders
· an accessible canal management, information and community hub
· A mini-hub at Topsham Lock and the Lock Cottage
· Preparation for quicker and easier navigation when headroom beneath the road bridges on the A379 is raised: this is a game-changer
· Bridges and locks electrically operated and boater operated where possible
· Slipways fit for purpose
· Attracting commercial interest in, say, sailing holidays working out of Exeter and making a gradual return of specialised waterborne freight with low carbon impact a focus of the Port’s waterway revival. If Exe Estuary mussels bound for Exeter, and Exeter brewed beer bound for Exmouth are transported in any other way than by boat, something is lacking
· Lacking too is the offer of combined bus and ferry tickets for passenger transport, taking in Marsh Barton railway station and a variety of waterside leisure destinations.
In conclusion, a key idea embedded in the Route Map, was that ... view the full minutes text for item 58.
To receive a quarterly report from the Harbour Master. (Grahame Forshaw)
The Harbour Master provided an update on his circulated report and raised some matters in addition to his circulated report.
The Harbour Master responded to a number of questions:-
· John Monks had put them in touch with a Canal Restoration Group who had offered a barge to help with this, but they could not bid for that as a Council but the Friends of the Exeter Ship Canal or ECQT may as Registered Charities be able to look at the possibility of acquiring such a vessel for weed clearance. The team were ever conscious about the management of the weeds on the canal bank whilst being mindful of wildlife. The Canal Manager said that lower Bridge Road was part of a triple SSI site and he had consulted with Natural England and RSPB on what they are doing in respect of weed clearance and preserving the site is very complex.
· the project for developing power trains with the University had stalled because of issues with the funding stream. The University had suggested installing a different power train in a boat that the waterways team would test for them. They had also decide to remain at a workshop at the Science Park.
Members noted the report.
To note the revised terms of reference and Duty Holder.
The Chair introduced a proposed update of the Terms of Reference for the Exeter Harbour Board which were circulated for Members’ comments. The update included a reference with the confirmation that the Director Net Zero responsible for waterways would be the Duty Holder. This would be included in a Scheme of Delegation report relating to officers’ duties which would be presented to the November Executive and ratified by Council.
A Board Member who welcomed the City Council support for the Harbour Board, the River and Canal and the financial commitment to support a unique piece of green infrastructure for the area. He suggested a further amendment that in paragraph (d) that it was more realistic to just say contributed to, to manage expectation.
A Board Member also referred to the information put out on the Council’s Newsfeed on the Harbour Revision Order and queried references ‘to the waters of the Exe’ and of there being ‘no plans currently to charge’ and would that be changed when the HRO is passed. The Harbour Master confirmed that the waters of the River Exe included the Canal, and he was unable to comment on future charging matters.
Members agreed the revised terms of reference as amended at the meeting and the Director Net Zero with responsibility for Waterways be the designated Duty Holder for Exeter’s Port Authority.