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Advisory Group - Environment

 Report to Parish Council meeting on 13.02.18. Cllr Ms K Howard
The E.A.G. met on 30.1.18.  The following progress has been made:
a) Devon County Council land:
DCC are being reminded about the need for a date for a further meeting.
b) Communication
Information about dormice has been added to the parish website.
c) Permissive Path – Dartington land at Garden Close-Kettlewell
Permission has now been given by all parties concerned for the creation/continuation of a permissive path, which will enable a wildlife corridor, and the management of a protected woodland nature reserve in the Kettlewell site. Peter Smerdon has offered to help Matt Symes to cut back the remaining hedge on the housing association bit of land, with possible help from the local Young Farmers Group. The hedgerow will subsequently be managed manually and allowed to grow until sufficient height to coppice and then lay, providing ideal dormice habitat. 

It was agreed that the path should be fenced for its entire length, with a slight realignment of the current path in Kettlewell to create a less steep, slippery section. Matt Symes has been asked to investigate the best way of managing the path across the boggiest part of the Kettlewell field, and provide costings for this. Once the final costings total is known and a charity set up, fund-raising will begin, starting with an application to the Western Power fund.

It was noted that it would greatly assist any fund-raising if:
i) the parish is seen to be actively supporting the proposal; and
ii) the Environment Advisory Group applied for charitable status.

d) Establishing a charity
A proposal to set up a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO): Foundation Structure was discussed.  The proposed constitution is attached at Appendix A. It was agreed that:
a) the CIO Foundation structure should be adopted;
b) the name of the charity should be the “Rattery Environment Group” (REG)

Report to Parish Council meeting on 09.01.18.
Rattery Open Spaces Community Project (ROSCP)
Following the agreement made at the December Council meeting to extend the ROSCP to include the proposed permissive footpath at the back of Garden Close, the project proposal has been amended to include the latter as a Phase 1 of the overall project (subject to consent being confirmed by all householders whose gardens would be alongside the new path). An application for grant funding towards the project is now in the process of being made to Western Power. A date is still awaited for the next meeting with DCC to further discuss the proposal regarding their land.

Cllr P Smerdon confirmed that he has approached Matt Symes and Totnes Young Farmers who would be able to take out the wood in the hedgerow to make the new footpath and dig out the hedge to enable a new fence to be put up – the digging out would be approx £500 and then around £500 more for the fencing – site meeting with Dartington will be arranged to decide who will do what. Cllr R Haigh, Cllr P Smerdon and Cllr Ms K Howard will deal with this project and take forward

Rattery Parish Plan
Kettlewell Conservation Project

The Rattery Parish Plan Steering Group aims to create a wildlife asset, with managed public access, in the centre of the village of Rattery in South Devon. The costs will amount to approximately £9,000. The Group has no financial assets but has received local support and so is applying for a grant to meet 50% of the outlay.

Ecological Background

The project area incorporates a variety of habitats. These include established and freshly laid hedgerows, both shady and sunny, containing both evergreen and deciduous plants. Some of the hedges are on soil banks, others on walled banks greatly increasing the range of hedgerow habitats.

Part of the trail overlooks a goat farm, run organically, therefore the dung is ideal for insects which bats and small mammals enjoy. Another area runs alongside an established south facing meadow, well drained in parts, overlying rock and damp in other areas, increasing the biodiversity, making it ideal for insects and some birds.

Kettlewell itself (so called because it was the source of water for the village before mains water was brought in in 1946) is a source of springs, exceptionally wet and set in a sheltered corner overshadowed on one side by mature oak and brambles on another side. It has recorded an impressive range of wild life.

Adjoining Kettlewell is an established and undisturbed wood with the Bidwell Brook running through it. Download full details of project (PDF file)