The meeting commenced at 1050 hours with the following in attendance.
Name Representing
Mick Day (Chairman)
Boyd Potts (Secretary) Orpheus C.C.
Spencer Drew (Treasurer)
Elsie Little Cambrian C.C. Representative.
Ben Lovett Morgannwg C.C.
Ali Garman (Survey Officer) Draenan Diggers.
Huw Jones Brynmawr C.C.
Charles Bailey (Trustee)
Martin Laverty Grwp Ogofeydd Garimpeiros.
John Cooper Chelsea S.S.

Also present as an Observer was Frank Baguley-CCC Secretary.

Chairman's Opening Remarks

The Chairman thanked everyone for attending and confirmed we had a quorum for the meeting.


These were received from Rhian Hicks (Biological Recorder), Andy Farrant (Geological Recorder), Tim Long (Conservation Officer), Sue Mabbett (Permit Secretary and SWCC), Steve Roberts (Oxford University C.C.) Dave Lewis (Cwmbran C.C.) Paul Stacey (Croydon C.C.), Ian Wilton-Jones (Brynmawr C.C.).

No apologies received from BEC or Wessex C.C.

Minutes of the meeting of the 9th November 1997

3 (a) Proposed by John Cooper and Seconded by Elsie Little; That the minutes be accepted as a true record All agreed.

3(b) There were no matters arising.

Officers Reports

4(a) Secretary: A quiet period since the last meeting. The main correspondence has been in connection with the Coal Authority Licence and the agreement of the details to be forwarded from our solicitor to their solicitor. Other items are dealt with in the agenda under Land Purchase and Entrance Padlock. Apologies for circulating the agenda very early, but due to a five week absence I had no alternative.

4(b) Treasurer: See separate sheet.

(i) Noted that our present balance as at 10th June 1998 is pounds 1561.94 of which pounds 638.00 is held specifically for land purchase and may have to be refunded.

(ii) The BBNP Conservation Grant is available. For further information contact the Treasurer. The Group recorded its thanks to the Treasurer.

4(c) Permit Secretary: (Absent, but Report forwarded). See separate sheets.

(i) Record of cave visits Oct.'97 to May'98 inclusive. Suggested that these records be held by Secretary, Permit Secretary and Conservation Officer in case of future claims for access or for tracing damage in the cave. Noted that the Log Book has limited details. Often full names (i.e. including surnames), date, planned route, club info.,are missing. A request was made that all Club Reps. remind their members via newssheets etc. to complete full details.

(ii) Permanent Loan Key requests. Five requests have been outstanding for a long time.

  1. . Swiss Re Trogs. Key request agreed.
  2. . Gagendor. Key request agreed. - Club only. No instructed groups.
  3. . Shepton Mallet C.C. Key request agreed.
  4. . South Wales C.C. Key request agreed.
  5. . East Dorset C.C. Key request agreed after a full discussion and a vote in favour.

(iii) Entrance Padlock. The missing padlocks have reappeared but are virtually u/s. New padlocks will be needed if we do not use the Combination Lock. The gate; must stay locked. Long discussion held on the use of the Combination Lock versus the use of the Key Padlock. The Combination number can easily be circulated but can also be changed if necessary. Comment by Elsie Little: That the use of the Combination Lock could mean more open access and less control over conservation.

There will be a need to keep the lock clean and to notify S.M. if there seems to be any reason why the combination needs to be changed.

A request was made that any comments on the financial and other aspects of S.M's report be made before the next meeting so a discussion can then be held. Finally it was Proposed by Martin Laverty and Seconded by Spencer Drew;

That we continue with the Combination Padlock until reviewed at the next meeting. This was agreed unanimously. Thanks were recorded for the work put in by Sue Mabbett.

Conservation Officer:

(i) No report received but comments were sent on E-Mail about deterioration of formations in Gilwern Passage. Stated that Owen Clarke was sending recommendations, but these have not been received. A.G. commented that protection and cleaning were needed urgently. Taping is of little use. Engineering, such as a path retaining wall, is needed. It was Proposed by Ali Garman and Seconded by Spencer Drew; That the area be taped off temporarily. This was agreed unanimously. Investigations into answers to the problem will be pursued by A.G., O.C. and others as quickly as possible.

(ii) Charles Bailey reported that the "Luck of the Draw" formations had been protected by tape across the passage. Unfortunately further extensions have now been made but taping as protection will still be needed wherever possible.

Survey Secretary:

There is now 45.2kms. of Grade 2 data with more still being received. Noted that the Grade 5 survey is now reported as being over 60kms in length. A request was made for a new Grade 2 survey to be published. Support was given for the suggestion that A.G. goes ahead on the basis that any surplus funds be put into the Group.

Biological Recorder: (Comments received by E.Mail).

(i) Some ongoing work on distribution and content of Bat Guano by Dr. Mike Simms, believed to be working at Ulster Museum.

(ii) Request made for clearance to write letters to Caves and Caving and Descent with appeals for Biological Records, and information on bones removed and sent to museums. The meeting fully supported this.

(iii) Report from Tim Guilford that a Hyena bone had been identified by Oxford and will be passed on via R.H. to the National Museum for Wales. This also had the full support of the meeting.

4(g) Geological Recorder: See separate report.

The comments on the protection needed in Gilwern Passage were noted. A suggestion was made that a small notice be added stating why protection was necessary. It was agreed that this will be looked at along with the other Gilwem Passage work.

Election of New Member Clubs

No applications.

Land Purchase Review

Noted that Lot 4 (Blorenge) has been purchased by the Paragliders. This should present no problems as we are on good terms and have various contacts.

No other definite information as yet. Much discussion going on in the background between Torfaen and others. The Consortium for Lot 3 has heard nothing yet. All we can do is continue our support in the hope we can work with them.

Coal Authority Licence

The Licence was, forwarded with amendments as agreed. It is now in the hands of their solicitor. We await further news.

8(a) Padlock: Dealt with as item 4(c) (iii).

8(b) Gilwern Passage: Dealt with as item 4(d) (i).

Any Other Business

9(a) Entrance Trench. It was agreed at the last meeting to repair the damage and tidy up the mess. This was done shortly afterwards and a lot of work put into reconstruction and concreting. More damage soon occurred and each time repairs have been made they have been vandalised. Virtually all the original repairs have now been destroyed and debris strewn down the slope to make an even worse mess than before.

The main question asked at the meeting was WHY!

Discussion then centred on whether this was a Police matter and, if we obtain evidence, whether to prosecute. Agreed we publicise and ask people to look out for possible culprits. A.G. was instructed to circulate, on E.Mail and in the caving press, a statement on the action we plan to take.

8(b) Telephone Cable. It was noted that this had now been removed from the cave by Dave Lewis and Adrian Fawcett.

Next Meeting

This has been set for Sunday 15th November 1998.

The meeting closed at 1249 hours.

B. Potts.

Hon. Secretary.