Agenda and minutes

Agenda and minutes

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No. Item


Welcome and housekeeping


The Chair welcomed the panellists, Members and the public to the meeting. She outlined the format of the meeting, how it would work in practice and reminded all parties to be polite and respectful to each other at all times.




Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Clayton, Hunt, P. Leaver and Patrinos.


Declarations of Interest.

Please telephone the Corporate and Community Services team to prepare a form for your signature before the meeting. Interests must be re-declared when the item is called. A declaration of interest under the Code of Conduct will be a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest, an Other Registrable Interest or a Non-Registrable Interest.  If the item directly relates to your interest you must declare the interest and leave the room for the item, save in the case of Other Registrable Interests or Non-Registrable Interests where you may first speak on the item as a member of the public if provision has been made for the public to speak.  If the matter does not directly relate to your interest but still affects it then you must consider whether you are affected to a greater extent than most people and whether a reasonable person would consider your judgement to be clouded, if you are then you must leave the room for the item (although you may speak as a member of the public if provision has been made for the public to speak) or, if you are not, then you can declare the interest but still take part).



There were no declarations of interest announced.


Water Quality. To consider the impact of water quality within the North Devon area. pdf icon PDF 119 KB

Additional documents:


The Committee collectively noted the responses to the pre-submitted questions under item 5 on the agenda at appendices A-G.


Councillor Jones outlined the proposed format for the meeting, he identified the reasons behind calling the special meeting which involved addressing public concern at both national and local level.


He outlined the following key points to the special meeting:


·       The focus of the special meeting was to discuss water quality in our local rivers and on our local beaches. There was a lot of information already within the public domain but it was not always clear as to the truth and what’s actually happening.

·       The aim of the special meeting was to discuss pollution. He added that the Council had received a number of questions from both District Councillors and members of the public. In order to ensure that all areas of concern were covered at the meeting the questions were used to define the key areas of focus for the special meeting.

·       From the questions raised, the Council had identified five key subjects to discuss.

·       Councillors would be given the opportunity to ask follow up questions initially based on the responses provided in the attached appendices, which would then lead on to further discussions.


He detailed the five key subjects, which were as follows:


1.    How bad was the current situation and what were the issues: How bad was the current situation regarding water pollution for North Devon’s Rivers and beaches and what were the main issues?


2.    Differences in information who is responsible and who should we trust: There was a variety of different information regarding water quality for local rivers and the coast, which was sometimes conflicted. Who was responsible for the confusion and how should the public be informed?


3.    Planning: In order for planning authorities to properly determine planning applications, should water companies provide up to date appropriate information on the capacity of sewage disposal for the proposed development?


4.    Testing and Data: Individual organisations and groups currently undertook their own testing. How can those results be compared and the data used in the most effective way?


5.    When will the situation be resolved and how, what were the main impediments: What could North Devon Council do to support the responsible organisations?


Each Member of the panel was invited to introduce themselves and their organisation and to provide a brief overview of their role together with their organisations responsibilities for managing water quality.


The Committee members asked follow up questions of the panellists and received the following responses:


1.    How serious is the situation regarding pollution and water quality in North Devon?


Ø  Surfers Against Sewage: The issues in North Devon were a combination of treated/untreated sewage together with agricultural runoff. There were 98 designated water bodies within the North Devon area and of these 83 failed to reach good ecological status and zero met good chemical status. So essentially none had good overall status.


Ø  North Devon World Surfing Reserve: Not a good situation, the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.