February 2020 minutes

Feb 27, 2020 | Sustainable Blackawton

Sustainable Blackawton meeting _ held in School (Room 3) Monday 24February 2020 6pm.

Present: Richard Dayment, Ruth Coe, Lesley Mallyon, Sue Hadow, Mel Triggs, Robin Mewes, Jan & Andrea Scott, Claudia Benzies, Laura Perry, Richard Powell, Thierry Alexandre, Helen Gray, Rachel Burris,

Apologies : Kate Purver, Steve Thomas, Charlotte Massey, Beth Hughes, Adam Gaisford and Jerry Neville,

The meeting started with silence for one minute.

Soup & Film evening Saturday 29Feb20 is organised, a variety of soups to be supplied by SB members, bread by Angus Hadow, Film has been sourced by Claudia, meeting with Adrian Kyte to review / confirm operation of technology will take place on Tuesday 28Feb at 7:30pm in village Hall. Claudia to organise tea & biscuits after film show. Advertised in Beacon, on website, by word of mouth, in shop – SDittisham and others invited. Helpers to arrive for hall setup at 5pm. Jan & Ruth to share MC duties (welcome, brief explanation, donations, thanks)

Richard Dayment explained that the demographic of local farmers sometimes led to a reluctance to change the way they had always farmed. The future is uncertain, and as the older farmers retire who will take over is unknown. In a discussion on hedges, flailing and allowing hedgerow trees to grow (as recommended by Bob Harvey in the recently shown BBC Spotlight news programme) attendees offered to help identify and mark existing hedgerow trees, especially oaks, that might be left to grow on, leaving gaps between trees of at least 10metres. Richard accepted this offer, and will earmark certain hedges on his farm for this initial exercise. He made the point, accepted by the meeting, that many farmers will see this as extra work, extra expense and may be reluctant to participate.

Rachel explained a little of the Aune Valley Project, the objective of which is to join “wild” areas from Dartmoor to the coast providing a corridor for wildlife to protect and increase biodiversity. Sue Hadow expressed an intention to enquire whether a similar local project might be advantageous for the valley of the Gara. (Craig Dunton and Lynne Kennalin to be approached). See separate item below.

Sue also talked of Higher Level Country Stewardship which might help local farmers looking for ways to profitably make beneficial changes to increase biodiversity.

Helen suggested that initially a few (maybe just one!) very simple improvements would be best as a way to involve wider local participation, all agreed with this way forward – the current tree planting project is a good start, especially if some resistant elm tree saplings could be sourced, as many local farmers will remember these as landscape icons.

Helen and Claudia made the point that several small areas of land are privately owned and not farmed, the parish has community owned land by such as Parish Council, Church, School, Playing Fields committee and Village Hall, and privately owned areas to the south, and the east of village. Ruth is to request direction from Chris Janman re Churchyard planting – Chris subsequently gave the go ahead to remove dead trees, he is awaiting response from Church Commissioners on our replanting scheme and the Green churchyards Project.

Car Share arrangements Thierry introduced ideas for sharing transport within the parish and further afield, Laura talked of her intention to apply for a Public Service licence to operate a local taxi service with her electric car. It was suggested that advertising regular routes in the shop, on notice board or ‘phone app and online would help local residents plan their trips, even if this was only to get them from the village to the bus routes. Thierry is to form and lead a sub-group to take this project forward, including a copy of current bus route timetables to be displayed locally and online on the community website.

The time of the meeting was discussed, and it was agreed to continue with meeting on the last Monday of each month, but with alternating times of 5:30 and 7:00pm. Laura needs details of two meetings in hand to be sure details can be posted in the Beacon on time.

Garden at the Centennial Stone is to be de-turfed on Wednesday 26Feb, replanted and seeded if weather permits. Working party (Robin, Ruth, RichardP, Andrea, Jan, Laura) to convene from 10am.

The Aune (Avon) Valley project representatives are visiting the parish on Thursday 26th March at Sue’s invitation and Sue will organise a meeting in the village hall for everyone wanting to participate.

Tree and hedging whips ordered by School and Ruth are due to arrive soon, Mel confirmed that school party will plant in Rob Benzies field to east of village on 21st March. Ruth will plant in meadow to south of Main Street, and order hedging packs from Woodland Trust for autumn planting on Playing Fields land (RHS of PlayPark and in fill LHS of Village Hall entrance). Ruth to prepare plan to be presented to, and agreed by, Playing Fields committee.

Mel told us about the school Gardening Club (every Wednesday 3:30 in term time). Term time dates were picked for future planting and maintenance activities so the Gardening Club can join SB volunteers. The first three dates are 29th April, 27th May and 24th June at 3:30. Volunteers welcome to help.

Helen suggested there should be a “mapping” project, showing land owned, what has been achieved, what might be done in future – Richard P is working on this for the SDittisham Nature Group and explained this could be done online, with people adding their own sites and projects.

Laura said Worm Charming is trying to be a “Carbon Neutral” event, with offset donations made at registration, with a suggested offer of small plant for those donating. (herb, sunflower, marigold??). Solar powered disco by “EcoTainment” was offered a slot at Worm Charming event.

Next meetings: Monday 23March at 7pm and Monday 27April at 5:30pm in school