PWLL DU CAVE MANAGEMENT GROUP

The meeting commenced at 1040 hours with the following in attendance.
Name Representing
Mick Day (Chairman)
Boyd Potts (Secretary) Orpheus.C.C.
Spencer Drew (Treasurer)
Rhian Hicks (Biological Recorder)
Ali Garman (Survey Officer) Draenan Diggers.
Charles Bailey Brynmawr.C.C.
John Cooper Chelsea.S.S.
Martin Laverty Grwp Ogofeydd Garimpeiros
Ben Lovett Morgannwg.C.C.
Chris Densham Oxford University .C.C.
Sue Mabbett South Wales.C.C.
Elsie Little Cambrian.C.C.Representative

Also present as Observers were: Frank Baguley-CCC Secretary, Ian Wilton-Jones, John Stevens, Arthur Millett.

Chairman's Opening Remarks

The Chairman thanked everyone for attending and confirmed we had a quorum for the meeting. Everyone was then requested to stand for a brief silence to recognise Remembrance Day.

Apologies

These were received from; Andy Farrant (Geological Recorder), Tim Long (Conservation Officer), Andy Harp (Access Officer), Paul Stacey (Croydon C.C.), Pete Bolt (Bristol E.C.), Dave Lewis (Cwmbran C.C.), Tim Barter. No apology received from Wessex C.C.

Minutes of the meeting of 15th June 1997

3(a) The following additions were made to Item 6 (ii). Para 7. Add after 'could'. - 'with their permission'. Add at end of Para 7. They did not trust some previous holders of the G5 data.' Subject to these corrections it was Proposed Sue. Mabbett; Seconded Spencer Drew. That the minutes be accepted. All agreed.

3(b) All matters arising were referred to other items later in the Agenda.

Officers Reports

4(a) Secretary :

A lot of correspondence by E. Mail, Phone or Letter but all referred to items to be dealt with later in the Agenda.

4(b) Treasurer:

(i) A second account has now been opened specifically to ensure Donations are safe and are earning interest for the Group. A report will be included with the minutes, on the progress of donations and promises, and give a list of Donors towards Land Purchase and Fees.

(ii) A B.B.N.P. Grant is being applied for to help with Conservation, Surveying and other costs. Last year's grant was very useful but only partially taken up. It was suggested that the Geological Officer might be able to utilise some of this grant. However we would need to check carefully what items would be allowable. There was also a question as to whether the G5 surveyors would find the availability of this grant useful. However no positive ideas were put forward.

4(c) Permit Secretary:

Not available, but various comments had been passed to the meeting.

(i) It was hoped to replace the damaged entrance lock the following weekend and try to get this lock repaired. There was a query as to how long the lock had been damaged; no immediate answer was forthcoming. There was then a discussion on the type of locks used and their repair or replacement. Suggested we might try the BBNP Grant to cover the cost of replacement locks. Also suggested we investigate the cost of other types of locks. Sue Mabbett offered to investigate me cost and possibility of repairing the present lock.

(ii) Noted that Andy Harp had stated that due to regular address changes he may have to resign from the post. If this proves necessary Sue Mabbett agreed to take on the job of key distribution but we may need someone to check the gate and log book on a regular basis.

(iii) Requested by the meeting that we need a breakdown of visitor numbers of both permanent and occasional key holders.

4(d) Conservation Officer

No report received.

(i) Taping. A discussion was held on the progress of this. Some recent work had been done but mere is still much to do. There is a need to update taping records and once completed they will go onto the WWW. There was a request that the BEC discoverers tape me 'Big Country' area.

(ii) Noted that another cave on the edge of the Pwll Du area is being pushed and the Group is being kept informed of any possible links.

4(e) Survey Secretary:

(i) Grade 5 data: Ali Garman reported that all G5 data held without permission, has been erased. Also no G5 data has been distributed since he has been in the post.

(ii) Discussion was held on why PDCMG holds me G2 data. Agreed mat the Group finds it a very useful tool at present for guidance and exploration.

(iii) Draft Survey Policy: There was a discussion on various points in me policy and some modifications were agreed. It was pointed out that this policy was for the future guidance of the Group. A revised copy of the policy will be circulated with, and form part of, the minutes of this meeting.

(iv) Survey copyright notices were distributed to the meeting by John Stevens with a request that they be also passed on to all Group members.

4(f) Biological Recorder:

(i) Records are still being received.

(ii) No known work is being carried out in the cave at present.

(iii) The work/records are being put on to a data base.

4(g) Geological Recorder

A report sent by Andy Farrant was circulated at the meeting. The findings were noted with interest and the meeting recorded their congratulations to A.F and colleagues for the work and its results. There was a brief discussion over access to funding possibly through BBNP or BCRA.

Election of any new member clubs

There was a long discussion on an application for membership from the G5 Surveyors group. To get round the problems associated with membership it was suggested that they apply through the BCRA Surveying SIG. Another possibility suggested was to have a G5 Survey Officer. Eventually these suggestions along with others were left for future negotiation.

Land Purchase Review:

The Secretary commented on information received. (i) The National Trust seemed to be the front runner over purchase.

(ii) The CCW seemed to be giving support to the NT and Torfaen.

(iii) Torfaen are pushing for World Heritage status for the area and obviously for restrictions on the use of the area.

(iv) There are other Leisure Activity bidders for surrounding lots.

(v) Charles Bailey has written to Torfaen on behalf of LIangattock and Pwll Du caver groups.

(vi) Tim Barter has had some contact with the NT and we await further information from that quarter. There was then a discussion on the above and the hope expressed that in the end. we do not have to attempt to buy but can agree with a new owner over sensible management policies. Agreed that we still need to keep up the fund-raising activity.

The Secretary quoted from a 1995 National Trust Caving Policy document to support the view that we should be approaching the NT now over the future of the Pwll Du area. There was also a discussion on the possibility of a Consortium bid for the area of Lot 3. Meetings have been held with local tenants. It was agreed we carry on investigations with the present working group.

Tim Long has information on both Insurance and possible Limited Company status for the consortium. A.G said he would push for an early meeting of the sub- committee.

Coal Authority Licence:

The Secretary explained the present situation.

(i) The Licence is verbally in place and our Solicitor, Ursula Collie, is in the process of drawing up the final Licence terms.

(ii) At an ad hoc meeting of eight of the Group members at the BCRA Congress, it was agreed to raise the money to pay the Solicitor's and Land Agent's expenses, making sure they realised this was a one-off payment, and emphasising this was not a precedent for the future. Chris Densham agreed to underwrite the cost until we had the money in our account.

(iii) The main reasons for going ahead were that if we refused payment it would leave us in very bad light for future negotiations, probably exclude us from any possible Land bid and open to other costs over legal fees etc. It was ensured that the cost in any future years would only be the

Policy re. other possible entrances:

A document titled 'Generic Multi-Entrance Issues' was distributed by Ali Garman.

The Secretary pointed out that all the previous documentation on this issue had been circulated with the minutes of the last meeting. This included Chris Densham's Draft Entrance Policy.

There was much discussion on the merits of a 'one' or 'multiple' entrance policy and it was noted that there is at present a hold on second entrance developments. Arguments from John Cooper against the present policy but counter arguments by others in its favour. Both sides argue that their view is better for conservation. • Do we promote ease or difficulty of access to protect formations. • Second entrances create through trips. Good for sport caving but maybe not for conservation; or does it keep people away from other areas. • Several entrances could mean access on the Iand of various owners; this may be useful in the future. Methods of preservation and control were discussed such as leaders, gates, taping etc. Finally it was proposed by Chris Densham, and seconded by Ali Garman; That we accept the Draft Policy on Entrances to Ogof Draenan but that we note in particular the last sentence within the Policy. Voting was 8 For and 2 Against. The proposal was therefore accepted.

There was also discussion on an item raised by Ian Wilton-Jones on behalf of Gwent CRO. They suggested modification to the passage inside the present closed 2nd entrance to make rescue easier. After much comment the following was agreed. That it be modified only if and when needed for a rescue and until that eventuality we work according to NCA policy.

Any Other Business

'The Trench'. Excavations outside the present entrance. There was discussion on why it had been done and who the perpetrators were. It was generally agreed to be an unfortunate decision and had created a messy situation and a danger of slumping.

The decision was made to attempt to restabilise, possibly with stonework and cement.

The date of Sunday 16th November was set for the repair work and Ali Garman agreed to be the co-ordinator.

There was a discussion on present access procedure. The Secretary agreed to circulate me present rules for discussion and possible modification. Points to consider include; novices, payment, number and make up of caving parties etc.

Next Meeting

This has been set for Sunday 14th June 1998. To be held at the Gwesty Bach at Brynmawr at 10.30am.

The meeting closed at 1533 hours.