PWLL DU CAVE MANAGEMENT GROUP

The Meeting commenced at 1104 hours with the following in attendance:
Name Representing
Mick Day (Chairman)
Elsie Little Cambrian C. C.
Alastair Garman Draenen Diggers
Sue Mabbett South Wales C. C.
Martin Laverty Grwp Ogofeydd Garimpeiros
Spencer Drew (Treasurer)
John Cooper Chelsea S. S.
Andy Farrant (Proposed Geological Recorder)
Tim Long (Conservation Officer)
Chris Densham Oxford Univ. C. C.
Ian Wilton-Jones Brynmawr C. C.
Huw Jones (Access Officer)

Apologies were received from Paul Stacey (Croydon C.C.), Pete Bolt (Bristol Exploration C.), Dave Lewis (Cwmbran C.C.), Mark Helmore (Wessex C.C.), Rhian Hicks (Biological Recorder), Ray Woods of C.C.W., Frank Baguley (Cambrian) and Stuart France.

A statement was then made by the Chairman that this was an ad hoc meeting as full notice could not be given in time to call the meeting on this date.

Before the meeting proper commenced the members stood in silence as a mark of respect for Mel Davies whose funeral was being held today.

Formal Adoption of Dr. Andrew Farrant as Geological Recorder of the P.D.C.M.G.

All agreed that this be ratified at the next full meeting. Proposed:Tim Long Seconded:Chris Densham
For against abstained

Present and future status of the Pwll Du area

An explanation was given by Andy Farrant.

Siambri Ddu on the escarpment is already an SSSI and so the latest book on the area records Ogof Draenen (in the same area) as a proposed SSSI. This has prompted C.C.W. into taking action; investigations are being made and letters of support for the proposal have been written.

In connection with this both C.C.W. and the N.T. are interested in possible land purchase. The way the SSSI is organised may depend on how the land is purchased or used but me C.C.W. will have the final say sometime in the future on a timescale as yet unknown.

The Secretary reported that a brief but urgent meeting of some P.D.C.M.G. members was held on Sunday evening, 29 December '96 at me Lamb & Fox to decide on our approach to the pending sale of the Pwll Du land. Over the next week maps were prepared and in the first week of January, just before the deadline, the P.D.C.M.G. sent in a letter and other details expressing interest in the area of the northern escarpment. Acknowledgement has been received.

2.iii The Secretary reported on the meeting held with the Coal Authority Land Agent (Mr. R. Perons) on Thursday, 27 February 1997 at Bridgend. P.D.C.M.G. was represented by himself, Pete Bolt and Pete Mellors (an expert in Conservation, Access and Insurance relevant to caving). Pete Bolt explained the layout and extent of the cave and its relationship to the surface features and geological beds. The Secretary explained P.D.C.M.G. and supplied him with Constitution and Conservation Policy - but not a list of members as this needs clearance from this meeting. [The meeting agreed this could now be done.] Pete Mellors and ourselves explained arrangements over access and insurance in other areas and we agreed to supply more information if required. He expressed satisfaction with the meeting; surprise at our organisation and obviously learnt a lot. He is seeing the Coal Authority on March 2nd. and thought agreement could be reached in the near future. They seem to be keen for the group to take control so long as the Coal Authority is indemnified against claims - i.e. possibly insurance to cover land owner liability.

It was agreed unanimously and Minuted: "That Officers are empowered to continue negotiations and agree arrangements over current access and to lake out insurance if necessary."

Land Sale Follow up

The Secretary gave details of the Sale including the entire areas involved and the areas in which we have expressed interest.

Agreed we follow up our contacts with C.C.W. and the N.T. and try to work together over possible land purchase.

There are rumours of other potential bidders including Stuart France and various local tenants.

It was suggested by Martin Laverty that once bids are invited for the various "Lots" we invite other potential "friendly" bidders to a meeting. This was agreed by all present.

3.ii Thanks were recorded to the Officers for the actions taken up to the present. It was also agreed that a map of the areas for sale be circulated with the Minutes of this meeting.

Finances

The Secretary pointed out that the extra work load being incurred is likely to prove more expensive to the organisation.

The Treasurer stated that finances were stable at present, partly due to me fact that both Morgannwg and Chelsea had recently donated

Other clubs involved need to be aware of the organisation's expenses.

Conservation Policy / Other Entrances

5.1 The Chairman stated that this meeting originally had the perception that, for the immediate future, a moratorium had been agreed over possible second entrances. However, he raised the following points: (a)Had the Management Group clearly stated its policy? (b)Did people flout an agreed policy? (c)What action do we now take? John Cooper said that the Constitution made it clear that all such developments should be discussed by P.D.C.M.G. The Chairman at the first meeting had asked that other surface digs be stopped and Chelsea S. S. agreed at that time to stop their dig. Other members stated that it was not clear in writing that other entrances were not acceptable.

There was a discussion on the vagaries of the Constitution and that it needs to be updated at the June meeting.

Noted that we need to make sure our Minutes are accurate and also that the caving press are given full information.

The Chelsea S. S. reiterated their position that they want a full and open discussion on the merits of other entrances.

5.ii John Cooper said that Stuart France had been working in the area for a long time but that the opening right up to the surface was originally caused by accident and only completely opened to make it stable. It was then destabilised by others and became an eyesore.

Sue Mabbett (S.W.C.C.) said she believed most people did not support a second entrance.

Chris Densham (O.U.C.C.) said it was for P.D.C.M.G. to make a decision on this matter.

John Cooper (C.S.S.) said they would support whatever decision was taken. It was also suggested that the local C.R.O. be asked for their viewpoint over a second entrance. Andy Farrant stated that the present entrance system damages routes, as will any entrance to a system.

Ian Wilton-Jones (B.C.C.) queried whether draught changes had affected cave life.

Letters and other documents liad been forwarded to the P.D.C.M.G. from Wessex C.C., Croydon C.C. and Oxford U.C.C. both for and against the second entrance. Ali Garman (D.D.) said that it could be cleared and stabilised but we needed a decision on whether it is then gated. or capped for rescue purposes only.

5.iii The Chairman then summarised the views to present and re- stated that we need a decision on what action to take.

It seems that this particular entrance is not in a good situation mainly due to its surface position.

The merits of a second entrance need to be discussed at a future meeting.

It was desirable that whatever action is taken should have the support of the original excavalor (Stuart France) and on the phone he has stated to the Secretary that he will back a decision made by the P.D.C.M.G.

A long discussion was then held on decison making and it was finally agreed that mis meeting can only make an interim decision. A full and properly called meeting needs to ratify whatever decision we make. Finally a proposal was made:

5,iv Ali Garman agreed to co-ordinate the work with the help of O.U.C.C. and several other volunteers.

Information on the action taken to be published via outlets such as the caving press, etc.

Any Other Relevant Matters

6.i Problems with the present gate lock. These were noted and the lock is to be modified.

6.ii Treasurer asked that any Conservation tape needed should be purchased now to utilise our grant to its maximum. It was also requested that the tape be distributed to where it is required.

The date and time of the Biannual Meeting

This was confirmed as Sunday, 15 June, 11am. at the Gwesty Bach.

The meeting then closed at 1344 hours.