Agenda and minutes
Venue: Hendon Town Hall, The Burroughs, NW4 4BG
Clive Cohen from the London Wildlife Trust requested that when Councillors are not able to attend they should send their substitute. Councillor Khatri responded that this will require change to the Constitution of both Barnet & Brent and agreed to take this forward with governance officers. (Action: Cllr Khatri)
Leslie Williams from the London Borough of Brent made a correction on p.2 of the minutes that there is no budget available to introduce a kingfisher bank.
Mr Cohen mentioned that the minutes of the last meeting should include a reference to the new officer Catherine Cullen that joined the London Wildlife Trust. At the time of the meeting she had been post for 2-3 days and her role was around S106 funding related to the warden for the Welsh Harp and the impact on the SSSI by the development of the area.
Mr Cohen asked what would happen in the absence of budget being available. Mr Williams responded that kingfishers do not nest in high density so a kingfisher bank would not have a great impact. Brent is part of the River Brent Catchment Partnership who are investigating a project to remove redundant timber toe-boarding from sections of the riverbank, upstream and downstream of the Welsh Harp. The more natural riverbanks may benefit several species of wildlife.
Mr Roy Beddard from Welsh Harp Conservation Group mentioned that there are probably two kingfisher nests. There is evidence that there is breeding taking place this year. They have seen birds passing in the breeding season carrying fish which is an indication that breeding is taking place.
A kingfisher bank would be very expensive to build, it’s not very clear where it should be placed and it would disturb other habitants. Mr Beddard expressed his opinion that a kingfisher bank is not needed and that there are other high priority issues that need to be addressed.
Neale Hider from the Environment Agency said that there are some smaller versions of a kingfisher bank and they are installing some in another area. A sand Martin bank would have a greater impact on the site than a kingfisher bank. There are other sand Martin sites which are expanding because of good breeding success and a feasibility study could be done for a sand Martin’s site to be installed on one of the islands in the Welsh Harp.
Ms Julie Johnson from Local Agenda 21 asked whether the committee can be advised of costs involved before any action is taken.
Mr Cohen added that a sand Martin bank would be adding another environment to the purpose of the Welsh Harp.
Mr Hider added that they are able to provide costings for a sand martin bank and look into the different options of a kingfisher bank and a sand martin bank and bring a report to the next Committee meeting. The report can also include funding options and possible locations.
Councillor Hart seconded Mr Hider’s proposal.
The Committee unanimously agreed the recommendation and it was therefore ... view the full minutes text for item 1.
Absence of Members
Councillor Kay, Councillor Dixon, Councillor Mashari, Nathan Smith (Barratts) and Rosanna Chambers (London Wildlife Trust) had sent their apologies for the meeting.
Disclosable Pecuniary interests and Non Pecuniary interests
Report of the Monitoring Officer (if any)
Ms Sawyer introduced the report which related to the London Borough of Barnet Welsh Harp Management Plan.
Ms Sawyer informed the Committee that her team conducted regular patrols for rough sleepers and located 8 persons behind he allotments. This was done on a weekly basis and felt that her team were on top of the problem. Since then there haven’t been any reports of any further encampments
There has been effective work in regards to the treatment of knotweed and hogweed. Some additional areas for the hogweed were identified and these are to be targeted. They will be also monitoring before the next stem injection.
The treatment is carried out around June/July and surveys take place around May. Mr Cohen added that it is important to apply the treatment before flowering. This was noted.
Ms Sawyer informed the Committee that if they identify knotweed and hogweed in other areas they should email email@example.com
Ms Catherine Cullen from London Wildlife Trust requested a current map that shows all the areas that have been injected. The Committee unanimously agreed. (Action: Ms Tracy Sawyer)
Ms Sawyer also added that they have completed the contract procurement process for bigger litter bins and they were going to order them and would be installed in the near future. Councillor Hart asked whether these bins were for dual purpose, both for recycling and other waste. Tracey responded that these bins are only large bins. Ms Daniella Levene asked whether these bins were bird proofed and Ms Sawyer responded that these bins will have lids.
Ms Johnson from Local Agenda 21 asked whether there are any signs placed across the Welsh Harp that notify people that the water is deep because a lady from West Hendon drowned. Ms Sawyer responded that there were ‘no swimming’ signs on site but would investigate into placing larger signs in the water and which could be installed.
Ms Liz Hall from the West Hendon Allotment Society stated that the ‘no fishing’ signs were ineffective. Mr John Shepherd from the Welsh Harp Sailing Association added that there is a need to patrol the area to tackle illegal fishing. However signs by itself do not deter but need regular patrols of the area.
Mr Hider added that checks can be carried out to see if people have a licence and prosecute if necessary. Mr Shepherd added that even if people have licences, fishing is not allowed. Mr Hider said that the only thing they can do is engage with the enforcement team and he agreed to forward details and contacts. (Action: Mr Hider).
NB: POST MEETING
Subsequent to the meeting Mr Hider advised that:
“I have spoken to one of our enforcement officers regarding illegal fishing at the welsh harp.
Our officers are only allowed to check for valid rod licences to see if people have paid their licence fee. However, I’m informed that since last April it has become a criminal offence to fish a water without the land ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
Mr Williams introduced the report which related to the London Borough of Brent Welsh Harp Management Plan.
He outlined that Brent have undertaken an exercise to look at areas of habitats and there seems to be an increase in reed beds but a reduction in marshland.
Regarding rough sleepers there had been one report.
Mr Sawyer also added that the healthy walks programme continues at the reservoir.
Councillor Hart said that the redevelopment of Brent Cross and those attractive aspects of it will be returned to its natural shape.
Mr Shepherd asked whether Brent was planning to look at the erosion of the beach. The Chairman requested that this should be reported at the next Committee meeting and Leslie agreed to report this at the next meeting (Action: Mr Williams).
Councillor Langleben invited the resident Ms Jackeline Parsons to make a comment.
Ms Parsons addressed the Committee and said that she lives very near the small lake by the Welsh Harp and referred to an incident that happened a few months ago regarding a floating dead swan. Ms Parsons said the swan was floating for weeks and it was distressing. She also raised the issue of security as there is abuse on the Welsh Harp, it was not safe to walk on one’s own and mentioned that the fence in the Silkstream by the park had been smashed again. There have been previous incidents with dead swans. She had contacted several agencies but no one helped.
She received a call from Sanctuary and they said that if she took the swan there, they could establish how it died.
Ms Parsons also mentioned that there are rough sleepers around the Staples Corner area. Residents can also hear gun shots during the night.
She also requested that protection needs to be provided to these animals because they are having a rough time. She also mentioned that there is illegal fishing, bonfires, swimming and barbecues taking place.
Mr Shepherd agreed with the points that Ms Parsons raised and he added that foxes kill swans and people fish them and consume them.
The Chairman responded to Ms Parsons said that the Committee has noted the points she raised and will investigate to see what can be done.
Mr Shepherd requested for patrols in that area now that there is no breeding taking place.
Mr Hider mentioned that if there is a dead swan during the breeding season taking a boat through would cause a number of young bird casualties if someone intervenes. It was agreed that during the March-June period Mr Shepherd can contact Mr Beddard to see how to best approach such incidents.
Mr Cohen asked whether Mr Shepherd could help to remove some of the debris that exists. Mr Shepherd responded that they are already picking logs and they would be happy to do so if needed however, they are not allowed to go near the margins of the Harp.
Mr Beddard mentioned that there is excessive debris in the ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
Any Other Business
(1) Mr Cohen asked Mr Beddard what are the measurements of the rafts in the new reserve in Hackney because they are looking into building some rafts.
He also asked whether they are any chestnut trees because there is a particular moth on the leaf of the chestnut which is causing a disease and is damaging the growth of conkers and strength of chestnut tree. He requested if the leaves could be cleared up and composted. The Chairman requested to include this in the next report to the Committee. (Action: Ms Sawyer)
(2) Mr Cohen added that it was agreed in a previous occasion that any Committee reports should be sent by post in advance of the meeting so that they can be considered internally.
(3) There is a rough sleeper issues, fishing issues and Mr Cohen requested that a leaflet be produced so that this can be given to rough sleepers in order to make them aware on what the position is and they would be punished.
The Allotment society added that not all issues on the Welsh Harp are caused by rough sleepers.
The Chairman requested Barnet officers to look at the issue of signage. Ms Sawyer responded that when people are caught in the Harp, their IDs are taken and they need to report to the immigration office to receive those documents back. During operations, all IDs and photographs are recorded. They also get CPN notices when they are caught.
(4) The Chairman welcomed Eric Holroyd from Barratt London. Mr Holroyd a copy of presentation slides and offered an update to the Committee on the West Hendon regeneration.
The majority of demolition has been undertaken. After demolition is finished Barratt will start building phase 3b in the new year. Phases 3b and 3c are due to complete in late 2018, this is a 18 months building programme.
Planning condition 40 requires monitoring of the potential construction-related noise on water birds associated with Welsh Harp and particularly Great Crested Grebe. Initial monitoring found no evidence on breeding or wintering waterfowl. The mitigation and monitoring strategy was agreed with LBB/Natural England in 2013 and included monitoring in 2 locations overlooking the northern arm of the Welsh Harp.
Although no significant demolotion took place in 2014, and no planning condition requirement Barratts voluntarily continued monitoring in 2015-2016.
Mr Holroyd outlined the outcomes of the report and explained that the great crested grebe continued to breed successfully in the northern arm of the reservoir during the monitoring period (2015-16). There have been no behavioural responses by great crested grebe to noise stimuli recorded during the monitoring period. The evidence was minimal regarding significant disturbance to other waterfowl that could be attributed to construction-related noise. Noise data indicated that baseline noise levels are relatively high and as result of this, construction work beginning and ending does not significantly change the noise profile at the Welsh Harp. These findings provide no evidence that indicates that the integrity of the Welsh ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
Any Other Items that the Chairman Decides are Urgent
The Chairman reminded the Committee that the next meeting is on 14 March 2017.