Meeting documents

Hilbre Islands Nature Reserve Management Committee
Friday, 13th April 2007



SA Brown, GJ Ellis, JE Green, A Taylor, GCJ Watt

Council Officers

Dave Cavanagh (Ranger, Hilbre Islands), Dave Cowling (Head of Parks & Open Spaces), Josef Hanik (Ranger Service)

In attendance:

Peter Williams (Hilbre Bird Observatory)


Sue Craggs (Friends of Hilbre), G Gardiner

Index to Minutes

Minute 7 - APOLOGIES

Minute Text :

As above.

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Minute 8 - MINUTES

Minute Text :

The minutes of the previous meeting held on 23 November, 2006 were approved as a correct record.

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Minute Text :

Margaret Sixsmith explained that her book "Hilbre - Islands in the Dee Estuary" had been produced in response to public demand for information about the islands of Hilbre, and the estuary around them. The aim of this book which had been prepared with contributions from the Friends of Hilbre and the Bird Observatory was to provide a brief outline of the history of Hilbre and the visual natural history of the islands.

She gave a presentation showing some of the colour slides from her book and commented on the difficulties associated with nature photography and the stories behind the pictures which illustrated her book.

Councillor Green thanked Margaret Sixsmith for her presentation.

Peter Williams reported that arrangements would be made for the next meeting to show a DVD film "Hilbre Unseen - Windows on a Wilderness" written and directed by Dave Wade. The film contained a wide range of interests including history, wildlife, fishing, conservation, bird-ringing, and members of the Hilbre Bird Observatory described their research work in tracing bird migration and its worldwide ecological importance.

Minute Decision :

Resolved - That Margaret Sixsmith be thanked for her presentation.

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Minute 10 - RANGER'S REPORT - NOVEMBER 2006 - APRIL 2007

Minute Text :

D Cavanagh submitted the six-monthly Ranger Report for the Hilbre Islands Local Nature Reserve based on the objectives within the Hilbre Islands Draft Management Plan.

He highlighted the following points of interest:-

(i) Maintaining Important Habitats - Larger walls had been built to protect vulnerable plant life on the west side of Hilbre and steps were being taken to control the growth of grasses in specific areas.
(ii) Control of Invasive Species - The Council's Pest Control Section had attended the island to carry out pest control measures.
(iii) Co-ordinate Research on Important Species - Three bird traps were being repaired by the Hilbre Bird Observatory.
(iv) Protect historic Interest - Following storms at the start of the year, damage had occurred to all of the buildings on Hilbre. The extent of the damage was assessed to prepare and undertake a repairs programme.
(v) Maintain Existing Buildings consistent with the Character of Hilbre - Council gas fitters were carrying out improvement works in the day/meeting room and the single storey bouymasters building.
(vi) Energy Efficiency - Diesel fuel use, as back up for the wind turbine , was decreasing and monitoring of this was ongoing.
(vii) Minimise Impact of Waste and Litter - Delivery of composting toilet units was planned for 16 April, 2007.

Councillor Green asked for further information regarding the process for reviewing and updating the current Draft Management Plan (2003), upon which the Ranger's report was based.

It was reported that the Culture, Tourism and Leisure Overview and Scrutiny Committee (2/4/07) had received a report informing members that 20 park management had been produced in draft form and were ready for detailed consideration. It was explained that the plan process would be extended to all sites, including Hilbre. Dave Cowling confirmed that the Hilbre Islands Local Nature Reserve Management Plan was due to be reviewed during 2007/08.

Councillor Watt asked for an update on erosion by the sea (paragraph 2.6 refers).

It was explained that, although Hilbre did not meet the relevant criteria for funding from the Coastal Protection budget, efforts were being made to identify funding from other sources for some minor remedial works.

In response to a question from Councillor Green, it was agreed that the officers prepare a further report to quantify the size of the erosion issue, together with costings for the various stages of remedial works.

Minute Decision :

Resolved -

(1) That the report be noted.

(2) That the officers prepare a further report to quantify the size of erosion issue, together with costings for the various stages of remedial works.

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Minute Text :

It was noted that Sue Craggs was unable to attend the meting on Hilbre today and had sent her apologies. However, she had forwarded a written report indicating that the Friends of Hilbre would continue to work closely with Wirral Borough Council, elected members, Officers of Parks and Countryside, and the Ranger Service. Their role for the past 6 years had been to make this kind of contact, to be available for simple tasks on Hilbre, to help with public visits and organised parties, to be seen as the voluntary wing of Hilbre’s helpers, and to apply for funding.

The Friend's efforts to gain Lottery money for preserving and developing the buildings had received positive recognition from the Heritage Lottery organisers but this potential source of funding was not pursued because the Council was able to access other funds undertake this work. The current scheme was to improve the day visits facilities, including building modern water-free composting toilets.

The Friends’ AGM to be held on Wednesday 23rd May at 7.30pm in West Kirby Concourse, was open to all Councillors, Officers, and other interested people. The guest speaker was Mrs. Glenys Wilkinson, the great niece of Lewis Jones, a former Telegraph Keeper on Hilbre. Susan Craggs would retire as Chair, and Alan Burton was nominated for the post. A replacement Treasurer was also being sought as Mr Neil Kelly was becoming increasing busy in his career. The Constitution of the Friends set out their aims and they would continue to work with the Council as before, and try to help the preservation of Hilbre’s buildings, landscape and wild life.

Minute Decision :

Resolved - That the report be noted.

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Minute Text :

To be arranged.

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(Minutes Published: 24 April 2007)