Agenda item

Water Quality (attached).


Councillor Jones addressed the Committee as the appointed lead Member of the working group for water quality.


He highlighted the following points to the Committee:


·       The scope of the work was to speak to experts to support and instigate an effective centralised river water monitoring network across North Devon.

·       To establish what was already in place together with its effectiveness and the support required to deliver.

·       Looking to hold two meetings, the first meeting to be held in an informal setting to meet with stakeholders involved to establish what was currently in place together with the support that was required. The second meeting would form part of a scheduled Policy Development Committee and would call further experts with discussions around facilitation of ongoing projects.

·       Had spoken with the North Devon Biosphere who were responsible for flood monitoring and had organised a separate meeting with West Country Rivers Trust.

·       Aspirations to discuss with experts a single localised catchment to monitor testing to gain a broader understanding of the findings.


The Committee discussed the following:


·       Questioned whether the Environment Agency undertook regular testing of water quality.

·       An incident earlier in the day at Barricane Beach in Woolacombe where a storm had caused an overflow of sewage onto the beach and as a result the Council had been asked to assess the health impact.

·       Questioned the capacity of existing sewage treatment works with in parishes and their ability to cope with the impact of new builds.


In response to a question regarding holding joint meetings with Torridge District Council regarding the three scoping papers, the Clerk advised that she had been in contact with an officer at Torridge District Council and advised that they already had an established working group for water quality but they were keen to work jointly in regards to dentistry and agriculture.


The Director of Resources and Deputy Chief Executive advised the Committee of a couple of typographical errors within the work programme for the dates of the items due for consideration in February 2024, the correct dates were as follows:


·       Review of Fees and Charges for services 2024/25.

·       Revenue Budget 2024/25, Capital Programme & Medium Term Financial Strategy 2024-2030.

·       Treasury Management Strategy Statement 2024/25.

·       10-Year Capital Strategy 2024-2034.





a)    That the work programme together with the amendments above for 2023/24 be noted, subject to the inclusion of the following items:


                        i.         November 2023 – Dentistry.

                       ii.         December 2023 – Water quality.

                      iii.         March 2024 – Agriculture.


b)    That key stakeholders be invited to attend an informal meeting to discuss issues prior to discussions in a formal Committee setting;


c)    That the Chair of the Overview and Scrutiny (External) Committee at Torridge District Council be contacted with a view to accepting their offer to hold joint meetings to consider the items in relation to dentistry and agriculture;


d)    That stakeholders be invited to attend the Committee on 14th  December 2023;


e)    That the title of the group be changed to “Monitoring water quality in North Devon”; and


f)      That the scoping paper be updated to reflect the comments made by the Committee and include the membership.

Supporting documents: