Friday 14 December

Petersfield Town Partnership - Biodiversity Group

Minutes from Petersfield Biodiversity Action Plan Meeting 19/4/10

Present

Chris Wain – Whitehill/Bordon Town Partnership
Bill Wain - Whitehill/Bordon Town Partnership
Bob Ayer – Petersfield Tomorrow Chair
Robin Hart – Petersfield Wildlife Group/Friends of the Heath
Tracy Chandler – Rotherlands Conservation Group/Greening Petersfield
Jamie Cummins – Rotherlands Conservation Group
Amanda Greenlea – Greening Petersfield
John Charnock-Wilson – Greening Petersfield/Transition Petersfield/Environmental Consultant
Peter Jones – Petersfield Town Council
Martin Healey – EHDC Countryside and Biodiversity Officer
Linda Munday – EHDC Community Planning Co-ordinator

No apologies

Question and answer session re Wildlife Of Whitehill BAP

Working from Bill and Chris Wain’s slide presentation from the biodiversity conference we looked at the following specific issues:

LBAP – What can it do?

1. Translate national regional and country biodiversity objectives into effective action at the local level.

We talked about the UKBAP, Hampshire BAP and EHDC BAP. Important to look at these to guide local BAP. Martin Healey stressed the heathlands of East Hampshire are of International importance. Bill Wain also mentioned looking at other local BAP’s such as Hook to see what they have done.

Action – Research the content of the UK, Hampshire and EHDC BAP and how they relate to Petersfield. Look at UKBAP registered species to see if Petersfield has any. All of these can be easily found on line. Research other local BAP’s and make notes on their approach.

2. Consider species and habitat priorities at the local level in terms of their rarity or importance to the local community.

Martin Healey felt it was important that we look at what makes Petersfield special or unique to the people of Petersfield. What gives it a sense of place. We obviously have different biodiversity rich areas such as Petersfield Heath, Rotherlands etc but there may be other areas that residents feel are specifically important to them. We must not forget the village of Sheet with its common. Bob Ayer mentioned 25 areas of Petersfield that had been highlighted in the Town Design Statement. This may be a useful source of information.

Action – Make a list of habitats within Petersfield that are rich in biodiversity. Collate information from the Petersfield Town Design Statement regarding 25 areas of Petersfield. This info is available at http://petersfield.pbworks.com/Your+views. Talk to local people/visitors about which areas are of importance to them. It may be a good idea to do a short questionnaire with people in the town centre and record their views.

3. Co-ordinate a wide partnership of individuals and organisations to deliver action in the most cost effective way.

Bill Wain reiterated how important it was to work with environmental groups in the area. Certainly the Environmental Conservation group which was a sub group of the Whitehill Bordon Town Partnership did this to get volunteers. He also mentioned how he had written to various organisations asking them to be partners. Some of these organisations were Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust, British Dragonfly Society and The Botanical Society of the British Isles

We currently have wide representation within this group from the Town Council, local conservation groups, the Greening Campaign and Petersfield Tomorrow.

Action – Look to maintain current partnerships with a view to increasing individual involvement and getting more organisations on board. Make a list of relevant organisations to contact. There is a good list at the back of the Wildlife of Whitehill BAP.

4. Raise awareness within all sectors of society including policy makers about the importance of an area’s biodiversity,

We talked about contacting local schools to potentially involve young people. Bill Wain had some involvement with local schools. Most schools have a conservation area. We also mentioned the water meadow by Tesco. Various members of Cranford Road/Borough Road residents association are involved in this. There are also other groups within the community who may be interested in getting involved. Bill mentioned local societies that he got involved.

Action – Make contact with other local societies such as Petersfield Gardening Society, The local Round Table, Women’s Institute, Anglers, Cranford Road Residents Association etc. Contact local schools about linking in with them. You may get a good source of volunteers from young people

5. Map and consider opportunities for the enhancement of biodiversity in the future.

Bill Wain felt that this can be difficult to do. Having said that, by actions taken, the small flowered catchfly has multiplied on a grass verge in Whitehill. So it could be deemed to be enhancement of biodiversity. Tracy Chandler felt there were opportunies within Petersfield to enhance the local biodiversity. Jamie Cummins mentioned removal of Himalayan Balsam which is a non native invasive plant which is taking over in some areas causing problems to other species. Martin Healey spoke about Hampshire Biodiversity Opportunity Areas. (BOA) This identifies areas where biodiversity enhancement can be carried out. He suggested that if any actions were identified to promote enhancement that HCC might be able to fund some work.

Action – Identify key areas during BAP process where biodiversity enhancement can take place. Make contact with Nicky Court at HBIC to find out about possible funding.

6. Provide a framework for conservation and a means by which progress can be assessed.

It was suggested that the group look at existing conservation management plans to formulate something. Petersfield Town Council have a management plan for the Heath and Rotherlands have their own management plan.

Action – Look at existing management plans in the local area i.e. Petersfield Heath, Rotherlands with a view to formulating one for Petersfield.

Who is the LBAP for?

Policy Makers and Planners - Make sure that you keep in contact with planning at EHDC and inform them of what you are doing. Bill Wain made sure a copy of WOW BAP was given to every district councillor.

Landowners and Managers – Make a list of all landowners/managers with a view to getting permission to do a survey on their land if necessary.

Local Residents – Publicise what you are doing to local residents and get them on board. Looking at the urban environment there is much biodiversity in people’s garden. Also Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust are running the Wildlife Friendly Gardening Award Scheme. This is something that could inspire local residents. Make sure that you make the LBAP accessible for everyone to understand.

Conservation Advisers – Hampshire and IOW Wildlife Trust provide conservation advisers for East Hampshire. Make sure you advise them of what you are doing and consider them when producing BAP.

Local Businesses – Many local businesses are interested in biodiversity and would welcome getting involved. They may be sources of funding. They may also require training and information for their staff.

Other issues

1. Find other local skilled people i.e. Ecologists, computing, photography, ornithologists, Entomlogists, fund raisers.
2. Get surveys done by HBIC funded via EHDC
3. Find experts to do specialist work and surveys. This will cost money.
4. Funding sources – tap into various sources of funding like your county councillor, EHDC, the town council etc.
5. Don’t try and do everything! Pick priority areas.
6. Develop a strategy.

Formulating a strategy for Petersfield

It was discussed what approach would be best. A popular idea was to look at the water catchment for the area. There are 3 streams running into Petersfield.

Martin Healey suggested that the best approach would be thus:

1. Contact the Environment Agency to find out what information they hold with reference to water courses, pollution and flooding.
2. Get information from HBIC on what biodiversity records are already in existence.
3. Contact South Downs Joint Committee for any information they hold.

This is a good starting point and will save the group repeating work that might already have been done.

There are many surveys and records that have been done by conservation groups within Petersfield and these need to be collated.

Setting up Petersfield Tomorrow Environmental Sub Group

Tracy Chandler has been voted in as Chair with Jamie Cummins as Vice- Chair. Others present were keen to be involved. Robin Hart prefers to be out in the field working. He specialises in survey work.

Tracy will report back to Petersfield Tomorrow Management Committee.

Funding

Martin Healey has offered £200 to start the group off.
Linda Munday suggested applying to the Sustainable Development Fund. She also suggested that the town council might like to put in some money.

Action: Group to apply to EHDC for funding. Make application to the Sustainable Development Fund and approach the town council.

AOB

No other business.

Close

The next meeting date was not set as we ran out of time. It was agreed that Petersfield Town Council would provide a room free of charge for future meetings. Tracy Chandler to set up next meeting and Linda Munday to contact HBIC.