The meeting commenced at 1032 hours with the following in attendance:
|Mick Day ( Chairman )|
|Boyd Potts ( Secretary )||Orpheus C.C.|
|Spencer Drew (Treasurer)||-|
|Sue Mabbett (Permit Secretary)||South Wales C.C.|
|Ben Lovett (Conservation Officer)||Morgannwg C.C.|
|Ali Garman||Draenan Diggers.|
|Rhian Hicks ( Biological Recorder )|
|Owen Clarke||Cwmbran C.C.|
|John Cooper||Chelsea S.S.|
|Paul Stacey||Croydon C.C.|
|Martin Laverty||Grwp Ogofeydd Garimpeiros|
|Andy Farrant ( Geological Recorder )|
|Chris Densham ( Trustee )||Oxford University C.C.|
|Elsie Little||Cambrian C.C. Representative.|
|Charles Bailey ( Trustee )|
|Ian Wilton-Jones||Brynmawr C.C.|
Also present as Observers were John Stevens, Arthur Millett, Frank Baguley ( CCC Secretary ), Louise Maurice, Jo Whistler, Tim Guilford and Lynn Mulelly.
The Chairman welcomed everyone and commented on there being an almost full attendance. He also expressed his wishes to Arthur for a speedy recovery.
Received from Tim Long ( Trustee ).
No apology received from the Wessex C.C. representative.
3(a) It was agreed unanimously: 'That the Minutes be accepted as a true record.'
3(b) There were no matters arising.
All the important items that require further discussion are listed in the Agenda.
4(b) Treasurer: A sheet was circulated showing the Accounts as at 30th April 1999. The Treasurer stated that he had written to all the Land Purchase Fund donators, about return of monies, but as yet had received no replies.
The BBNP grant for this year had been lost due to no receipts being available on time. It was suggested by SM that possibly materials could be purchased and charged to the grant at a later date. It was agreed that the Treasurer and Conservation Officer go ahead and apply for Grants for projects at present being carried out. There was a discussion on what items can be applied for. The Treasurer requested receipts to help with applications.
Query over the use of purchased survey books. Noted that these are used for recording entry into the cave.
4(c) Permit Secretary: A listing of the No. of Parties and the No. of Persons entering the cave in the last six months was circulated.
SM stated that visits are scattered throughout the cave and no single section is visited particularly heavily. The numbers are up on the previous six months. Full visitation records will be held by the Permit and Group Secretaries. Agreed by the meeting that th file of completed visit requests need only be held for a period of one year.
Noted that most of the activity is by clubs who hold a permanent key and visiting groups form only a small proportion of the total.
4(d): Conservation Officer's Report.
Other than dealing with the ongoing 2nd entrance fiasco, I am pleased to report that the path alongside the Giles' Shirt formations at the start of Gilwern Passage has been repaired and the passage is now open again. The bank opposite the formations was cut away to allow the construction of a path and a low rock and cement wall was constructed to prevent mud being kicked into the pool. Many thanks to Adrian Fawcette, Lou Maurice and Hillary Greaves for their help.
4(d) Conservation Officer: The path in Gilwern Passage has now been reinstated by some digging and walling. AF suggested that the other parts of the passage might need more protection, possibly by retaping or making the accepted path easier to use.
Comment was made that surface as well as underground maintenance is needed. This to be dealt with later in the Agenda.
A request was made that some of the materials not now in use in Dollimores be removed. Oxford UCC agreed to do some clearing in this area.
OC requested that we protect cave floors as much as possible and JS asked that more taping be done in some of the less well protected areas.
TG discussed the difficulties of taping. Some of the passages it was not necessary to access had been closed off by tape to protect them.
JC pointed out that we need to develop a clear taping policy and a request was made that the Conservation Officer try to formulate this by the next meeting. It was noted that we need more tape in the cave. Suggested it be placed at a few obvious places including possibly Caim Junction and other major intersections further into the cave.
4(e) Survey Secretary: AG commented that he had been out of circulation for 4 of the last 6 months. He had only received a small number of survey reports. There then ensued a long discussion between the Grade 5 and other surveyors. The Chairman suggested that all the information could be passed to the G5 surveyors electronically. He asked that once the exploration of an area is complete the G2 data be made generally available. TG commented that it would be helpful to have up to date survey information so that areas already explored are not reworked.
It was proposed that all the survey data; when time is available, be put on a web site, with the Oxford site being used for the present but with the aim to set up our own site eventually. It was agreed that both the G5 and G2 data bases have their differing uses. A final point was made by OC, that we try to show the closed (taped off) passages on the surveys. 4(f) Biological Recorder: Questions have been raised about the use of explosives during the Bat hibernation season. It was agreed that our Conservation Policy was unclear on this subject and needs to be more specific, possibly following the guidelines used in the Llangattock area. It was noted that the small amounts of 'Bang' used had been in areas where there were no recorded bat hibernation areas.
RH was asked to produce a policy to be discussed and then voted on at the next meeting. This Policy to be circulated with the next Agenda. Noted that we are now out of the hibernation period.
4(g) Geological Recorder: Efforts are being made to try and obtain grants for further dating and other studies in the cave.Thei:e is also the possibility of an HydroGeological study based on dye tracing but, again grant aid may be necessary.
AF requested that if anyone has any dye tracing information could they forward it to him as all information is useful.
There was a query about SSSI status of the area. It seems the designation is a slow process but the CCW will act if there is a perceived threat.
No applications received.
6(a) The Secretary went through the licence to highlight the changes made from the CA document. The meeting expressed its pleasure at hearing that the Annual Licence Fee would not now be applied and also noted and accepted that we would need to pay their Solicitors fees in connection with the Licence.
Accepted that we would copy Minutes and Reports from the Biennial Meeting to the owners. There were questions about NCA recognition of clubs. This was accepted but a suggestion was made by the Cambrian representative, and .supported by the Club representatives, that Cambrian ( as the National Representative Organisation for Wales) be included in the Licence alongside the NCA. The Secretary agreed to raise this point with both owners and solicitors. A discussion was also held on the supply of surveys to the owners and the view was expressed that what they seemed to require was up to date information on the position and extent of the cave passages under their land.
6(b) It was then proposed and agreed unanimously by the Group; 'That the Secretary and Trustees are given full authority to accept and sign the Licence documents,f
6(c) Other items discussed in connection with the Licence: (i) The problems in keeping the Entrance Logbook available and in good order. It was pointed out by the Secretary that Brian at the 'Lamb and Fox' would allow a box to be mounted on his outside wall. This was considered a good idea and discussion ensued on the best method of implementation.
It was finally agreed we install a padlocked box (with the same key code as the entrance gate) containing the logbook. The Permit Secretary and other Officers will contact Brian to arrange the positioning of the box.
(ii) The present entrance lock. The combination is now too well known and needs to be changed. After discussion this was agreed and the relevant groups will be notified. To give time for this to take place the change will be made at the end of August.
(iii) The Code of Conduct. This will need to be signed by Officers of the various clubs who have permanent access to the system, and also by Leaders of visiting groups. SM will deal with this matter by circulating the Member clubs.
The Chairman does not need to be elected. He stated he was willing to continue in the post for the present.
All Officers were willing to continue in their posts and there were no further nominations. It was proposed by Chelsea S.S. and seconded by Cwmbran C.C.: 9 That all Officers be re-elected.' This was agreed with one abstention.
Letters from Gwent CRT and Chelsea SS were read out by the Secretary. He also quoted comments from the Owner and the section from the Licence.
There was a discussion over digging other entrances. Stated that the Licence does not allow this on the Owner's land without prior written approval.
A long discussion then ensued about the access to this entrance. It was pointed out that the previously agreed policy was to cap the entrance.
Suggestion then made that we tidy, cover and leave as a locked and hidden rescue entrance. Whatever is decided we must minimise the impact on the surface and improve the distant appearance of the entrance so it does not attract unwanted visitors.
How exactly to close the entrance was then discussed. By capping, sealed padlock or padlock with key.
After various proposals it was finally proposed by B.E.C. and seconded by Oxford U.C.C. 'That the gate should be padlocked, with a key passed to the GCRT, and then the gate be capped to prevent abused The vote was 10 in favour, 3 against and 1 abstention.
It was noted that the committee still has the power to allow access in a very limited number of special circumstances.
It was also pointed out that work still needs to be done to stabilise both the inside and the outside of this entrance.
The Conservation Officer agreed to arrange a working weekend for the 12/13 June to try and complete this work.
The Owner has suggested we leave any modification of the top fence until they have finished their own fencing.
It was agreed we need to look at ways to improve the path down to the entrance. Hoped some ideas might be produced and acted on after the working weekend in June.
10(a) Venue for meetings. We now have to pay for the room but it was agreed we continue with the venue and try to cover costs from the coffee contributions.
10(b) First Aid Kits in the cave. These have not been checked recently and there is no inventory. Agreed that they need to be checked on a regular basis and an inventory made. Certain items do deteriorate and may need replacing. There may also be a need to relocate the kits and record the new venues. AG, IW-J and PS will discuss these items and bring rccomnicndahoiis to the next meeting.
This has been arranged for Sunday 14th November 1999. To be held at the Gwesty Bach, Brynmawr, at 10.30am.
The meeting closed at 1445 hours.