Recent Reports from all meetings involving the Llandanwg Dunes Protection Group
(in reverse chronological order)

Minutes of the AGM
held at 1830 in the Christian Mountain Centre (CMC), Pensarn on 2nd March 2017.


Attended by: John Houliston (Chair), Richard Poole (Secretary), Colin Mackie (Treasurer), Jon Webb, Rosy Berry, Mark Downey, Graham Tottle, Caerwyn Roberts .

Apologies from : Sheila Pargeter, Julia Moir-Jones, Tim Bush, Alice Lovegrove-Jones, Ben Wynne, Lisa Brooke.

The Chairman paid tribute to Jill Smith, a founder-member of the LDPG and staunch supporter through the years. He had written to her family offering condolences on the Group's behalf. He then formally thanked Julia Moir-Jones for her handsome donation of £300 to the Group's coffers.

The minutes of last year's AGM on 10th March 2016 were approved.

Chairman's Report
John summarised LDPG's present situation as a record of some battles won, others lost. On the positive side, the Group's Planning Application to re-cobble the denuded area toward the southern end of the beach had in May received approval at the second attempt, albeit with conditions. Following this success, Alice Lovegrove-Jones of Jones Peckover, the Crown Estate's local agent, was approached for help with regard to ascertaining the basic requirements for an application to the Crown Stewardship for project funding (funding had previously been granted by CME towards the major dune reinstatement of 2003). In due course she duly supplied a schedule of requirements which formed the basis for the application which the Secretary prepared and emailed to Alice for forwarding in August 2016. On 10th October Alice confirmed that the document had been forwarded. On 24th February of this year she reported that the application had been rejected as it "did not meet with the scheme's criteria". This was, to say the least, puzzling, as the application had been couched precisely in terms of the requirements supplied via Alice. The Secretary immediately asked for clarification as to the criteria in question; Alice replied that she would enquire.
The Chairman thanked Richard for his work on the application.

Treasurer's Report
Colin reported that a donation of £300 had been made to the Group by Julia Moir-Jones. Disbursements for web hosting meant that we currently have a positive balance of £614.23. Richard wondered if web hosting might be acquired at a lower cost than is currently the case. He promised to liaise with Colin on this head.

Election of Officers
There being no fresh candidates for the posts of Chairman, Secretary and Treasurer, and with the current officers indicating their willingness to carry on, Rosy proposed that they be re-elected for a further year. The motion was carried unanimously.

Any Other Business
Discussion focussed on what might be accomplished in the current absence of a funding base for the re-cobbling project.

Joyce Watson AM, whom the Group had latterly approached for support with the funding application, had duly written to both the Crown's local agent and the Estate itself. She has indicated her willingness to write to the Estate again, and this should prove useful if its response to the agent's enquiries are tardy or unsatisfactory. The Group is grateful for Joyce for her support. It was resolved that the Secretary should write to the Prince of Wales to see if he could help in any way; he had visited Llandanwg in 1983 when work on fencing in the dunes had been under way by the Prince's Trust.

Jon raised the question of the deterioration of the dune on the lagoon side over the winter, and the need to renew the fencing there. This was work which required fresh posts and wiring, and could be accomplished by Group members. Blown sand had buried the fencing on the first of the crossover paths across the dunes. Responsibility for the fencing lies with the National Trust. Rhodri Wigley should be contacted on this head.
Jon proposed contacting Keep Wales Tidy, who had been forthcoming in the past with small grants. He would liaise with the Secretary in this regard.

Mark Downey raised the question of holding a daytime barbecue, perhaps at the beach cafe with the help of Graham Perch, to raise awareness among the general public and provide a focus for a sizeable beach clean-up operation. A group from the CMC could be mobilised for this work, supplemented by interested parties such as LDPG members. May Day might be a possible date.

Date of Next Meeting
No date was provisionally fixed for the next meeting, which would be determined when plans going forward coalesced.

The meeting closed with the Chairman thanking the CMC for hosting the meeting.

Minutes of the AGM
held at 1830 at the Christian Mountain Centre (CMC), Pensarn on 10th March 2016.


Attended by: John Houliston (Chair), Richard Poole (Secretary), Colin Mackie (Treasurer), Jon Webb, Rosy Berry, Simon Lewis-Jones.

Apologies from : Caerwyn Roberts, Mark Downey, Chris Tutton.

The minutes of last year's EAGM on 12th February 2015 were approved.

Chairman's Report
John summarised the situation with regard to the Group's Planning Application to re-cobble the denuded area towards the southern end of Llandanwg beach. Following the rejection of the first PA, three meetings had taken place between LDPG members and Natural Resources Wales which resulted in the receipt of a document setting out guidelines as to the maximum acceptable size of stones (0,6 of a metre) for the project written by Rhodri Dafydd of NRW. This document was incorporated into a revised PA which was submitted four days before the 12-month deadline. The PA has been accepted as valid by SNPA. Caerwyn Roberts has advised John that it can be considered under "Delegated Authority of Officers" rather than going before a full board. A notice advising the general public of the PA has been posted on the tide board at the beach entrance. No further contact has been received from the SNPA so the Group must now await events.
The Chairman thanked Ben, Richard, Caerwyn and Jon for their efforts in meetings with NRW, and Richard for his work on the revised PA.

Publicity
John wondered if a presence on Facebook would help to get the Group more well-known. Colin offered to put something up - a special LDPG page perhaps? Rosy offered to take leaflets to the Beach Cafe and the Caravan site. Could the cafe host a bigger display of Group material, possibly in a special box? The issue of linking up with the Harlech in Action group was also mooted.

Treasurer's Report
Colin reported that the only moneys that had been received during the last 12 months were a donation of £25 from Mr John Adams. Accounts were submitted that currently show a positive balance of £443.89. The website was due for annual renewal and had been paid by cheque.

Election of Officers
Rosy proposed the re-nomination of all current officers. None of those officers demurred and the proposal was seconded and the motion carried.

Any Other Business
Funding
A thorough discussion of funding was held over to the next meeting, by which time it was hoped that a decision on the PA would have emerged. The position of Crown Marine Estates as potential chief source of funding was discussed. Simon was of the opinion that we should go direct to CE itself; Jon argued that we owed it to Alice Lovegrove Jones of Jones Peckover, the Crown Estates agent, to make the first approach through her. She could be consulted before the next meeting and then invited to attend.

Jon noted 2 points:
1. The "epidemic" of litter dumping in drop-off points along the dunes, an issue which had been raised by Alice Lovegrove Jones on behalf of Crown Estates. Jon and Richard had cleared one site, but dumping had re-commenced almost at once. Richard promised to contact Barry Davies at Gwynedd Council to see if they could place bins for such material.
2. The ingress of the sea over vulnerable areas of dune during the winter period to date on both seaward and landward sides. It was particularly observable at the corner where the dune spit meets the edge of the maes, where fencing has been uncovered and left dangling in mid-air.

Proposed bypass
Simon again raised the issue of the potential impact of the proposed Llanbedr bypass. Would the bypass involve the construction of an embankment or a dyke? In either case these works would bear upon flood defences, and the dune spit ought to be an element in the thinking of bypass design/construction. It was important to monitor developments. Simon noted the upcoming meeting in Llanbedr (Thursday next) on the bypass which he intends to attend.

Date of Next Meeting
Thursday April 14th was provisionally fixed for the next meeting, though this might be moved to a later date if no decision on our PA has emerged by then.

The meeting closed with the Chairman thanking the CMC for hosting the meeting.

Minutes of the meeting held at 1830 at the Christian Mountain Centre (CMC), Pensarn on 12th November 2015.

Attended by: John Houliston (Chair), Richard Poole (Secretary), Jon Webb, Tim Bush, Rosy Berry, Jill Smith, Caerwyn Roberts, Simon Lewis-Jones, Alice Lovegrove Jones.

Apologies from : Ben Wynne, Colin Mackie, Mark Downey, Graham Tottle.

The Chairman welcomed everyone, with special thanks to Alice Lovegrove Jones, who had driven from Denbigh in atrocious weather conditions to attend, and expressed thanks to the CMC for their hospitality.

Planning Application

John then proceeded to summarize the situation with regard to the Planning Application after the most recent meeting between LDPG members and Natural Resources Wales, as recounted in the Report written by Ben Wynne and Richard Poole and circularised to members. This Report was sent by email to Arfon Hughes on 7th October, but beyond an out-of-office acknowledgment of it by return, no written response had been received. A lively and full discussion of the situation then followed. It was resolved that the Secretary should email NRW immediately expressing the Group's concern at the absence of a response, with a request that NRW should (a) formally withdraw its objections to the PA and (b) write to Snowdonia National Park to inform them of this so that LDPG would be in a position to re-submit the PA.

There was some discussion of the time limit appertaining to the PA. Caerwyn volunteered to contact Snowdonia National Park with a view to clarifying the situation. He also said that he had spoken to Tim Jones about Bob Matthews (NRW's geologist) and his apparent change of mind over the months, but had no further information about this to date.

Rosy and Jon spoke of the need to elicit political support to bring pressure on NRW if no prompt response to our email was forthcoming. Joyce Watson had expressed her willingness to back our position and was ready to write to NRW if necessary after taking advice from us on the tack to take with them. Rosy also spoke in favour of contacting Edwina Hart if need be, with Caerwyn adding that Ms Hart steps down in May. He proposed mobilising a TV film crew on the beach to publicise the situation with regard to the threat to Llanbedr if NRW did not withdraw its objections.

Simon raised the issue of the potential impact of the proposed Llanbedr bypass and the possible mutation of Llanbedr airfield into a spaceport on the Group's concerns. Might the bypass become an element in flood defence? Rosy wondered if the National Govt. had powers to overrule NRW. Caerwyn could not answer these questions, but was 90% sure the bypass would go ahead; if it followed the example of the Porthmadog bypass it would be sufficiently high-rise not to interfere with flood defences.

Funding

Jon spoke of the financial support that LDPG had received in the past from Crown Marine Estates and expressed the hope that this would continue. Alice spoke of recent changes at CME with regard to the funding of future projects. Richard, who had looked at the website after Alice had sent him some web links, said that the Coastal Communities Fund had closed and would re-open in March 2017; funding currently appeared to be a matter for the Big Lottery Fund, which emphasised partnerships with business. Alice said she had as yet discovered no recent examples of coastal projects that had received funding. She promised to investigate further on our behalf and also agreed to act as a conduit for our future communications with that organisation.

Date of Next Meeting

Thursday February 11th - when the meeting would function as the AGM.

The meeting closed with the Chairman thanking everyone for turning out in appalling weather.

Minutes of the meeting held at 1830 at the Christian Mountain Centre (CMC), Pensarn on 9th April 2015.

Attended by: John Houliston (Chair), Richard Poole (Secretary), Colin Mackie (Treasurer), Nikki Soysa, Tim Bush, Rosy Berry, Jill Smith, Mark Downey, Mary Griffiths Clarke.

Apologies from : Jon Webb, Ben Wynne, Chris Tutton, Sheila Pargeter, Simon Lewis-Jones, Caerwyn Roberts.

The Chairman welcomed everyone, including Mary Griffiths Clarke (who was attending her first meeting) and expressed thanks to the CMC for their hospitality.

John then went on to summarize the situation with regard to the Planning Application. Proposing the reinstatement of a section of Cobble Bed on the beach, the PA had been rejected despite the fact that its particulars had been green-lighted by the various responsible authorities during its formulation. The rejection centred upon the size and nature of the cobble material to be used. Funding approaches had been postponed in the light of this outcome. Caerwyn had volunteered to speak to Tim Jones of Natural Resources Wales about the rejection with a view to organising a site meeting: the Group was concerned that the rejection of the PA arose from a misunderstanding of the project's proposals.

John then said that he had managed to speak to Caerwyn by phone immediately before the meeting. Caerwyn was unable to attend due to illness, but he had arranged a provisional date for the site meeting: 21st May at 2 p.m.*

A lively discussion of the rejection of the PA and various issues arising then took place.

- Mark drew the Group's attention to the fact that many of the cobbles present on the beach - "Bryncir cobbles" - were not (contrary to the stipulation of the PA rejection paper) native to this area but had been imported from Anglesey, where they had been quarried and from where they had been transported at considerable expense. In contrast, the stones pinpointed by Jon Webb for use on the beach would be brought down from Llanfair where they originated. Material presently adorning the beach included boulders (a) in front of the church and (b) forming a bastion at the end of the breakwater, also a concrete slab which had constituted part of an earlier entry to the shoreline. Mark later added that the PA did not contravene EU Marine Acts.

- It was also pointed out that the rigour applied to the Group's proposal appeared to apply to no other recent local defence work, e.g. last year's repairs to the estuarine shoreline, where slate had been utilised. Was NWR aware of this anomaly? Was it a case of one rule for organisation A, another for organisation B?

- Mary Griffiths Clarke drew the Group's attention to the situation in Fairbourne, where Fairbourne Facing Change had been created to combat the threat to the town and a public meeting had been held where the responsible authorities were confronted over the opacity of their policy. She thought that consulting FFC's Chair, Peter Cole, might offer useful insights to LDPG. If our site meeting with NRW proved unsatisfactory, a public meeting in Llanbedr could be one viable response.

- One problem with NRW was its persistent denial that the dunes constituted a part of local flood defences. Yet should a breach of the dunes occur between sea and bay, Llanbedr would inevitably be threatened. Houses in parts of the village are already facing swingeing increases in flood insurance. Colin pointed out that a Pre Feasibility Study Report authored by W.S. Atkins in 2002 had stated clearly that the sand dune spit was essential to flood defence. Colin promised to upload the report onto the Group website. Moreover, in the Shoreline Management Plan road and railway were to be protected: but how, without due attention to the health of the dune spit? In short, the entire rationale of the rejection paper should be challenged. But we should be aware that the NWR never give concrete advice, lest this leave them liable to its practical consequences.

- It was suggested that the Group needed to formulate a strategy for the site meeting, with bullet points highlighting significant particulars. We should marshal the support of as many existing Reports as possible. John and Richard undertook to prepare a discussion paper for circulation to the Group. Rosy suggested sending copies of the final document to Tim Jones and whoever else was to be present there.

- It was proposed that the following attend the site meeting: Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer (though Colin was unavailable on the 21st), Caerwyn, Ben, Mark, Jon and Rhodri Dafydd (geologist).

The date of the next meeting was left to be fixed at a time subsequent to the site meeting.

There being no further business, the Chairman closed the meeting and thanked the attendees. *Subsequent to this meeting, Jon has asked Caerwyn to re-schedule the site meeting so that he can attend it.

Grwp Gwarchod Twyni Llandanwg / Llandanwg Dunes Protection Group 12th February 2015

Minutes of the AGM held at 1830 at the Christian Mountain Centre (CMC), Pensarn.

Attended by: John Houliston (Chair), Tim Bush (Secretary), Jon Webb, Rosy Berry Graham Tottle, Jill Smith, Mark Downey, Richard Poole, Ben Wynne, Simon Lewis-Jones, Caerwyn Roberts (Snowdonia National Park) and Eirwyn Thomas (Llanbedr Community Council).

Apologies from : Colin Mackie, Nicky Soysa, Chirs Tutton, Teresa Ross, Peter Richards.

John welcomed everyone and expressed thanks to the CMC for their hospitality.

As there was no actual AGM last year, John gave a brief synopsis of the EGM held last year instead, and confirmed there were no matters arising from this.

Chairman’s Report - John gave the Group a summary report on the Group’s achievements over the last 12 months. This included reinstating a considerable fence along the beach between the National Trust owned section and the Yacht Club. Thanks to Jon for organising this. The fence was also signed with the cooperation and generosity of the Snowdonia National Park. A very detailed Planning Application has also been submitted to allow the reinstatement of a section of Cobble Bed. Again, sincere thanks to Jon and Ben for their hard work on this.

Treasurer’ Report – In the absence of Colin, John gave a brief update on the Group’s financial position. The bank balance to date is recorded at £610.08. This includes a generous donation from the Llanbedr and Pensarn Yacht Club of £100. A letter of thanks will be sent to the Club accordingly. The balance does not include the cost of the recent Planning Application which amounts to £180. The Accounts were duly recognised as being accurate.

Election of Offices – Chair - John agreed to continue, proposed by Rosy, seconded by Jon.
Colin, in his absence and by prior agreement, continues to be Treasurer. Proposed by John, seconded by Tim.
Rosy agreed to continue as Vice Chair, proposed by Jill, seconded by Richard.
Tim gave advance notice of his wish to step down as Secretary and Richard kindly offered to take over. Proposed by Jon, seconded by John. A vote of sincere thanks were given to Tim for his services during the year.
Finally, Jon agreed to continue on in the position of Project Manager.

Other Business – Jon gave an update on the Planning Application situation, including a brief history of the project for the benefit of new attendees. The Application has essentially been refused following an objection from Natural Resources Wales (NRW).
This is a considerable setback, after, what was believed to be full cooperation and support from NRW prior to the Application’s submission. The justification for their objection appears to be fundamentally flawed and there is an option to appeal against the decision. In the meantime, Caerwyn has kindly has offered to organise a site meeting with Tim Jones, a senior officer in NRW for this area, and Rhodri Dafydd (NRW), to see if the official objection stems from a underlying misunderstanding of the project’s proposals.

A welcome letter of support for the Application has been written by Llanbedr Community Council and there is growing concern from local residents on the issue of possible future flood threats. House insurance premiums have already rocketed and this has already had knock on effects on property values.

Clearly a Flood Management Plan needs to be drafted for the area, particularly, for the Mochras lagoon. However, this depends entirely on whether the official line of ‘Managed Retreat’ is maintained and whether the Dunes are officially recognised as contributing to ‘Flood Prevention’ of the area.

With regard to obtaining official funding for the Cobble bed project, it is deemed necessary that full approval has already been granted. An approach to the Crown Estate will therefore be postponed until the issue of Planning has been resolved.

An expression of thanks were duly given to Mark for hosting and providing refreshments and to Caerwyn and Eirwyn for their official ongoing support.

Date of next meeting – 6.30pm Thursday 9th April 2015 at the CMC.


Grwp Gwarchod Twyni Llandanwg / Llandanwg Dunes Protection Group 11th December 2014

Minutes of the meeting held at 1830 at the Christian Mountain Centre (CMC), Pensarn.

Attended by: John Houliston (Chair), Jon Webb, Graham Tottle, Jill Smith, Mark Downey, Richard Poole, Peter Richards, Ben Wynne, and Phillipa Millar

Apologies from :Tim Bush, Colin Mackie, Nicky Soysa, Simon Lewis-Jones, Rosy Berry, Chirs Tutton, and Sheila Pargeter.

John welcomed everyone and expressed thanks to the CMC for their hospitality.

The minutes of EGM were agreed.

Maters Arising – Colin has since received an invoice from Jon for the recent fencing.

Update on Planning - Ben Wynne gave us an update on the planning permission for the cobble bed that has now been submitted to SNPA. A resume of the Planning Permission submitted: to place stones on the ‘southern spit’ to create a cobble bed. This will be approx. 70m in length along the beach and approx. 10m top to bottom, sitting above the Spring MHW mark – which means it does not need a licence. This equates to approx.. 1000 tonnes of stone.
There was some discussion on suitable stones and the importance of using some larger ones. The ones at Llanfair are deemed of appropriate origin, but an option to ‘power wash’ them to remove alien species has been included , in case this is deemed necessary. The SNPA will have to consult on the project esp with NRW and GCC who will provide an Environmental Protection Study. The local Community Councils will also be contacted. It will be about 5 wks – but up to 8 wks – before a reply can be expected. The feeling is it will go through, but it will have conditions attached. It was suggested that info to this effect goes on the website. Ben to send appropriate docs to Colin. Many thanks indeed to Ben for all his hard work on this.

Update on Funding – The costing for the stones required works out at £25/tonne ex vat, which gives a grand total of £30,000. (A breakdown of the cost is: £12.50 for the stones + £7.50 transport + £5 labour.) There was some discussion regarding VAT and whether it can be claimed back or exempted in some way. It was suggested that Colin could look into this.
Jon thought that the Crown Estates (who own the land) should bear most of the costs. So, our approach to them should be firm! Jon will contact Alice Lovegrove-Jones in the next few days – putting the case strongly.

Alternative/Additional funding sources were discussed. Richard Poole has looked at Keep Wales Tidy for grants, but there doesn’t appear to be much and they are generally small grants anyway. The National Trust have strict eligibility rules, which may also exclude the Dunes Group.
Do the Dunes come under Flood Defences (Government money) or Coastal Erosion?
Is The European Social Fund still active?
Can any lump sums be ‘matched’ from other sources?
Can a small amount of funding start the project i.e. do the cobble bed ‘piecemeal’?
Is the Airfield a source of financial help, now that it is an Enterprise Zone?
Shell Island – have money, but can we tap into it?
Caravan Parks – also depend on beach etc, could they contribute? Peter was asked to contact Head of Salop Leisure to ask this and also to see if other (non-financial) support could be given. E.g publicity about the issues.
Are there other groups like the Dunes Group around and how do they fund raise/publicise the issues? Peter offered to research this.
Letters of Support – these are very useful to have for any funding applications. It was agreed that Mark & John will draft a letter explaining the project & asking for letters of support (Jon to see draft first). Graham to contact Yatch Club when letter is ready.
It might be useful to include a ‘template’ letter of support that people can just ‘fill in the blanks’. Mark is happy to provide admin support on this task and the question was raised as to whether we have a suitable database of people to contact?
Mark offered to ask Chair of CMC to write in support of project.
It was also suggested that we have a symposium (?) to explain what we are doing and invite any local people/businesses that might be affected.

Any Other Business – The National Trust and its policy on the removal of the Rosa Rugosa has caused concern & shock amongst the general public. There are no obvious notices explaining what is being done & why. Apparently, they have put a noticeboard up at Borth, explaining their actions. Are the NT going to replant with Marram grass – or just wait & see? Mark happy to talk to people or ‘host’ – at CMC - to explain what is going on. Jon will also speak to Rhodri Wigley (NT) about the issue.

Finally, there was some discussion regarding the more effective use of chestnut paling fences in the ‘dune ‘building’ process. This is a more expensive option than single wire, however, as Mark pointed out, there had been a recent incident in which a child ran into the single strand fencing, as it was not very noticeable. This could have Health & Safety implications. Any fencing structure will need replacing at intervals – so small grants could be useful for this.

Date of next meeting/AGM –6.30pm Thursday 12th February 2015 at the CMC - tbc.

Grwp Gwarchod Twyni Llandanwg / Llandanwg Dunes Protection Group 16th October 2014

Minutes of the Extraordinary General Meeting held at 1830 at the Christian Mountain Centre (CMC), Pensarn.

Attended by John Houliston (Chair), Tim Bush (Secretary), Colin Mackie (Treasurer), Rosy Berry, Jill Smith, Mark Downey, Nicky Soysa, Simon Lewis Jones, Richard Poole, and Jon Webb via Speaker phone.

Apologies were received from Caerwyn Roberts (Snowdonia National Park), Graham Tottle, Sandra Poole, Teresa Ross, Sheila Pargeter, Ned Thomas, Chris Tutton, Ben Wynne.

John welcomed everyone and expressed thanks to the CMC for their hospitality. The minutes of the last meeting were agreed and there were no matters arising.

Clarification of Offices – In the absence of an AGM earlier this year it was felt that, in order to meet with our Constitution, the Offices posts should be reconfirmed. The positions of Chair (John Houliston), Vice Chair (Rosy Berry), Secretary (Tim Bush), and Treasurer (Colin Mackie) were therefore duly re-elected until an AGM in Feb/March next year. It was also agreed that a copy of the Constitution should be sent out to members for their reference, as an attachment to these minutes. Finally, it was confirmed that the Dunes Group do have a Mission Statement in the form of Intended Goals, which might need to be available in the event of grant fundraising.

Financial Position – Colin presented a bank statement showing a balance as of 25th September 2014 of £566.41, and a request was made to Jon Webb for a copy of the invoice for the recent fencing. A detailed record of the Accounts were provided showing all transactions on the Account since April 2003. Also, it was confirmed that there is no requirement for the Accounts to be audited.

Update on Funding for Cobble Bed Project - Jon has been in touch with Alice Lovegrove-Jones regarding possible funding from the Crown Estate. A breakdown of costings is required and these are to be sought from John Ceri-Evans as soon as possible. Total costs depend on the scale of the new cobble bed being proposed. Once Planning Permission has been submitted there is an 8 week wait but as yet there is no timescale on when the funding could be available.

Alternative fund raising avenues were discussed, including the National Lottery. The Group did put in a bid in 2008 but were unsuccessful and it was felt that, in any case, the categories for funding were, perhaps, not applicable or relevant to the Group’s Project. Furthermore, match funding would also be required. Other funding avenues discussed included Snowdonia National Park, but again match funding is required and the project work needs to have begun before an application can be submitted. Keep Wales Tidy also have grants and the Group have been successful in the past, however, they tend to be available for only small projects.

Aside from grant applications, the idea of seeking on-going financial support from the local community was raised. This could be aimed at tourists and tourist related businesses, and maybe second home owners. The threat to the coastline could have a major impact on tourism in the area and nurturing this local concern might be advantageous.

Any Other Business – In a bid to reach out to the wider community it was proposed whether the Group should actively invite representatives from Llanfair and Llanbedr Community Council to attend our future meetings.

Date of next meeting – Thursday 4th December 6.30pm at Christian Mountain Centre. Refreshments including Mince Pies to be provided.

Grwp Gwarchod Twyni Llandanwg / Llandanwg Dunes Protection Group 11th September 2014

Minutes of the meeting held at 1830 at the Christian Mountain Centre (CMC), Pensarn.
Attended by Caerwyn Roberts (Snowdonia National Park), John Houliston (Chair), Tim Bush (Secretary), Jon Webb, Rosy Berry, Jill Smith, Mark Downey, Nicky Soysa, Graham Tottle, and Ben Wynne.

Apologies were received from Colin Mackie (Treasurer), Richard & Sandra Poole.

John welcomed everyone and expressed thanks to the CMC for their hospitality. The minutes of the last meeting were agreed and there were no matters arising.

Finance – In Colin’s absence a copy of the last bank statement was read out and a balance of £566.41 was declared. This included a recent cheque for £1,300 in payment for fencing off of the Group’s section of the Dunes.

Update on the Cobble Bed – Natural Resources Wales (NRW) have now received a ‘Method Statement’ from the group on how the stones are to be transported and placed on the beach. Sincere thanks were expressed to Gwynedd Council for their detailed survey and technical drawings and to Jon for bringing it altogether. The stones are to be sourced from a field on the old Llanfair Road and transported by John Ceri Evans of Llanbedr.
The National Park Authority (NPA) has no objections to the project and no Marine Licence is required as long as the work along the beach takes place above the Mean High Water Springs line. Possible funding opportunities are also being pursued, in particular, from The Crown Estate.
In the meantime, a Planning Application is being submitted and our thanks go to Ben and Jon for their time and expertise in preparing the various documents required. The Application incurs a cost of £166, however, it was suggested that maybe Llanfair Community Council might like to offer some financial assistance in this matter.
Finally, it was pointed out that the restoration of the Cobble Bed is not a long term solution to the threat imposed by the sea, but it will help to absorb some of the energy from the waves and will play its part in ‘delaying the inevitable’.

Annual General Meeting – It was noted that the Group have not held an AGM this year and that this needs to be addressed as soon as possible. It is important that the group meets with its Constitution and that ‘Housekeeping’ is in order especially if external grant funding is to be sought. With this in mind it was suggested that an Extraordinary General Meeting be held on 16th October 6.30pm at the CMC and an AGM organised for February/March of next year.

Grwp Gwarchod Twyni Llandanwg / Llandanwg Dunes Protection Group 6th August 2014

Minutes of an additional meeting held at 1930 at the Ty Mawr, Llanbedr.
Attended by Tim Bush, Jon Webb, Mark Downey, Richard Poole, Simon Lewis-Jones, Ben & Jenny Wynne.

Apologies were received from John Houliston, Rosy Berry, Colin Mackie.

Jon Webb gave a quick synopsis of where we stand in terms of reaching formal consent from official bodies to proceed with the cobble bed restoration and fencing.

Fencing has now been completed along our stretch between the National Trust boundary and the breakwater, at a cost of £1,300. This has been financed from our own budget and has been erected to the same standard as the National Trust section. Signs will be added every 25m to advise the public of the fragility of the Dunes. In the long term the Group would like to replace this with Chestnut Paling but this will require some external fundraising due to its high installation costs.

Planning Permission assent is on hold while various technical constraints are being resolved. Natural Resources Wales (NRW) requested a method statement which Jon has provided but we are still waiting approval, in particular, in relation to the source and gradation of stones for the cobble bed. Three very local sources have been identified and on site meeting with NRW is being sought to assess their suitability.

Technical drawings of the site of the proposed cobble bed restoration have been received from Huw Davies (Gwynedd Council), but they are in need of completion. Ben will attempt to pursue this.

Once the Planning application can be submitted, fundraising can then be sought to finance the sourcing, transportation and placing of the stones on the beach. Possible avenue s to explore include CAE grant (Sustainable Development Fund administrated by the National Park), Crown Marine Estate and National Lottery.

Next main group meeting – Thursday 11th September 6.30pm at the CMC.

Grwp Gwarchod Twyni Llandanwg / Llandanwg Dunes Protection Group 26th June 2014

Minutes of the meeting held at 1830 at the Christian Mountain Centre (CMC), Pensarn.
Attended by Rosy Berry (Acting Chair), Caerwyn Roberts (Snowdonia National Park), Huw Davies (Gwynedd County Council), Jon Webb, Jill Smith, Mark Downey, Richard Poole, Peter Richards.

Apologies were received from John Houliston, Tim Bush, Colin Mackie, Alice Lovegrove-Jones (Jones Peckover/Crown Estate), Rhodri Dafydd (Natural Resources Wales), Colin Mackie, Nikki Soysa, John & Ben Wynne, Ned Thomas, Simon Lewis Jones.

Jon Webb gave us an update on the formal consents received to-date by official bodies, along with the situation regarding planning permission, fencing and signage.
Formal notification has been received from NRW (Natural Resources Wales) that our proposals are supported in principle. They have imposed a number of stringent requirements to enable completion of the (Cobble-bed replenishment) project and Jon is in the process of working through those.
The planning Permission process has been begun by Ben Wynne, and that process is closely-intertwined with the work Jon is undertaking re the above and with the on going negotiations with Gwynedd Council. So, in this matter, progress is being made, albeit slowly.
Fencing between the National Trust section and the Yacht Club has now been completed, thanks in no small part to Jon for arranging this. With regard to signage to be placed along the fencing, the format/design and subsequent production have been achieved with the kindness and cooperation of the National Park. Thanks in particular to Caerwyn Roberts for his assistance in the process. As the signs were produced for both the National Trust and ourselves, Rhodri Wigley kindly collected the consignment and has installed them on his section. Group volunteers are due to attach the remainder shortly.

Rhodri Wigley also wished his policy regarding the Rosa Rugosa to be known and publicised, and your cooperation would be greatly appreciated in supporting his position and expressing his policy sympathetically when spreading the word; here it is:
“I was intending to discuss the Rosa Rugosa at the meeting tonight. I'm sure some if not all the committee members will be aware of some laminated posters that I've put up on the fence next to the rosa, highligting our intention of removing the rosa for the sake and wellbeing of the native dune plant species which are being outcompeted at the moment. It is in fact one of the work tasks in Ned Ymwlch's Glastir agreement to eradicate the rosa, which I agree with and wish to give him help with removing. Since the posters have gone up, I've had a number of phone calls from local people voicing their objections and concerns. Obviously, I don't wish to do anything to undermine the good name of the National Trust, but this work is essential to the wellbeing of the dunes, and I have my colleagues backing as well as NRW consent. Although I raised this issue in a previous dunes committee meeting and had 100% support, It would be good if you could mention it again tonight as see if opinions are the same. To have the Dunes Groups' full backing would be reassuring before I embark on a potentially unpopular action!”

Date and time of next meeting – 6.30pm Thursday 11th September at the Christian Mountain Centre, Pensarn.

Grwp Gwarchod Twyni Llandanwg / Llandanwg Dunes Protection Group - April 10th 2014

Minutes of the meeting held at 1830 at the Christian Mountain Centre (CMC), Pensarn.
Attended by Rosy Berry (Acting Chair), Alice Lovegrove-Jones (Jones Peckover/Crown Estate), Caerwyn Roberts (Snowdonia National Park), Simon Lewis Jones, Jon Webb, Jill Smith, Tim Bush, Mark Downey, Graham Tottle, Richard & Sandra Poole.

Apologies were received from John Houliston, Rhodri Wigley (NT), Colin Mackie, John & Ben Wynne, Ned Thomas.

Jon Webb gave a synopsis of his report of the on-site meeting held 6th March at Llandanwg beach, attended by representatives of various official bodies including National Trust, Natural Resources Wales, Crown Estate, and National Park Authority. The report highlights the urgent need to restore the cobble bed north of the breakwater, and re-fence/sign accordingly. It was felt that the meeting generated much positive feedback and, with the underpinning of a continuous round of phone calls and meetings the ‘official approval process’ can now be said to be underway. It is hoped the fundraising phase can then be initiated as soon as possible with the aim of restoring the dunes before next winter’s storms. Time is of the essence and the importance of keeping the project moving forward was universally agreed.

In the meantime, Jon Webb put forward a proposal that the Group pursue the re-fencing of the length of beach from the southern edge of the National Trust stretch to the just north of the Breakwater. Re-fencing using Chestnut Palling has, in the Group’s opinion, been deemed the most effective method of restoring the Dunes, albeit a more costly affair. However, the group do have some funds and it could useful to compare /demonstrate its effectiveness with other forms of fencing, namely, post and wire.

The report will provide a very useful tool for the Group’s aims and it was agreed that a copy of it should be available on the website. Colin Mackie will be approached on this matter. There was also concern that the Group have very limited Welsh translation ability and that help should be sought from maybe Gwynedd Council or the Assembly. Rosy Berry has offered to pursue this. In addition, it was agreed that hard copies of the report should be made available, for ease of reading and for circulation purposes. Mark Downey has kindly offered the services of the CMC after Easter.

With regard to the website, it was also pointed out that amendments should be made to reflect the amalgamation of the Environment Agency and Countryside Council for Wales into the new ‘Natural Resources Wales’. In addition, it was suggested that it might be useful to have a facility to invite contributions from members, particularly with regard to the history of the Dunes.

Llanfair Community Council will be kept up to date with the LDPG’s minutes/reports and have offered their support. It was felt that it was important to keep an open dialogue with many different organisations and to ensure we are all ‘singing from the same hymn sheet.’

Concern was raised that with the advent of Easter holidays the Dunes are potentially unsafe, due to their erosion over winter, and that the public need to be informed of the need to tread carefully and stay clear of the dune cliffs. The National Trust have assured that their section will be fenced off before Easter but signage may not have been reinstated. It was therefore proposed that the group prepare and erect some signs at the entrance to the Dunes and in the car park. Mark Downey kindly offered the services of the CMC and will action before the holiday weekend. A press release will also be made to the Cambrian News to this affect. Tim Bush to action.

Date of next meeting – Thursday 29th May, 6.30pm at the CMC

LDPG MEETING MINUTES 27/02/2014

Minutes of the meeting held at 1830 at the Christian Mountain Centre, Pensarn.
Attended by John Houliston (Chair), Huw Davies (Principal Engineer, GC), James West (NRW), Rhodri Dafydd (NRW), Alice Lovegrove-Jones (Jones Peckover/Crown Estates), Rhodri Wigley (NT), Colin Mackie, Simon Lewis Jones, Jon Webb, John & Pip Wynne, Ned Thomas, Rosy Berry, Jill Smith, Ben Wynne, Tim Bush.

Apologies were received from Annwen Hughes (GC), Lisa & Steve Brooke, Mark Downey (CMC), Chris Tutton, Graham Tottle, Teresa Ross, Joyce W, Barry Davies (Maritime Officer, GC).

An Overview of the current situation, in the aftermath of the storms, was given by the statutory bodies.

As far as Gwynedd Council (GC) were concerned, despite the significant storms, the situation could have been much worse if it hadn’t been for the low still water level. The Dunes have been cut back in a lot in places, up to 20m elsewhere in the county. Aberdyfi was one of the worst storm-damaged places in Gwynedd. The estimated cost of repairs in the county are in the region of £350,000 and financial help is being sought by the Assembly.

Natural Resources Wales (NRW) commented on the relatively sheltered location here, however, fences have been buried/damaged, boardwalks lost and damage has been inflicted on the Dunes resulting in exposed cliffs. As far as Flood Risk Management is concerned, Pensarn was the biggest concern and grant money of £300,000 has already been made available from the Welsh Assembly to rebuild the breach in the embankment. The Llandanwg Spit breakwater has been inherited by NRW and its ownership seems unclear. It will be managed for safety but there are no plans to maintain either the breakwater or the Dunes as a sea defence.

It was noticed that the flooding in the Morfa Mawr/Llanbedr area seemed to accurately follow the predicted mapping outlined in the Shoreline Management Plan (SMP) including extensive flooding East of the Artro and East of the airfield most of the way to Dyffryn. Unlike the Llandanwg Headland to the North of the church which the SMP details as ‘hold the line’, it was noted that for Llandanwg Dunes and Spit, ‘managed realignment’ is the default position of the statutory agencies as per the SMP. This does not preclude other interest groups from seeking to hold the line.

Anecdotal evidence is that the Llandanwg dunes were breached just North of the Spit in the early 70’s and beach material including natural cobbles were ‘bull-dozed’ into the gap. One of the achievements of the Dunes Group is that it has managed to ascertain which statutory body own which piece of the Dunes. A potted history of the Group was given and it is thought that without the past efforts of the Group to restore and fence off parts of the Dunes, dune damage would have been far worse. Colin Mackie agreed to provide details of those organisations which provided funds for the restoration work completed in 2003.
Income
From Snowdonia National Park through CAE £10,800
from Crown Marine Estates 2003 £6,650
from Keep Wales Tidy £500
from Crown Marine Estates 2010 £3,900
from bank interest £9.14
Total income in life of LDPG is £21,859.14
Expenditure
To re-profiling sand dunes £9,400
to fencing and re-fencing £10,330.52
to making tools £5
to meetings £80
to Easyspace for the website £177.21
Total expenditure of LDPG is £19,992.73
Balance now £1,866.41

The Crown Estate, represented by Jones Peckover, has also taken stock of the damage and suggested that there are grant funds available to repair/reinstate fences but have equally stressed that they are not responsible for flood defences.

The National Trust’s (NT) responsibility will be to reinstate fences and signs, hopefully, before Easter. There was some discussion as to the merits of different types of fencing and the NT consider that Post and Wire would be more enduring and require less maintenance than Chestnut Paling. However, the Paling is thought to be more successful in trapping sand and thereby rebuilding the dunes behind. The Crown, NT and the Dunes Group will consult and hopefully a coordinated approach will be achieved.

The restoration of the Cobble bed on the stretch of beach to the North of the spit was discussed at length. This is the narrowest part of the dune system, where it was breached previously. It was eroded significantly in the recent storms with ‘cliffing’ which presents a hazard to children. It is felt that its re-establishment, together with re-fencing higher up the beach, would greatly assist in sustaining the longevity of the Dunes. One possibility discussed was that some material inc cobbles might be obtained from further along the beach and that with the owner’s permission this could re-located. However it was concluded that taking all the cobbles necessary for the restoration (initial estimate about 2000tons) would probably be unwise.

The size and type of cobbles to be used need to be similar to those already in existence along the beach and any new material brought in to supplement the amount required should, ideally, be matched accordingly. The redistribution of any rocks also needs to take place from above mean water level to negate the need for a licence.

A better estimate of the quantity and source of the material will be discussed at a site meeting on Thursday 6th March. Representatives from GC, NRW, NT, Snowdonia Park, the Crown Estate and the Dunes Group will hopefully be advised on feasible sources by John (Ceri) Evans, a local haulier with knowledge of different varieties and sources of rock. Transporting material onto the beach by dumper would add further cost. However, once a design for the bed has been drawn up and agreed with estimates of quantities involved, it is hoped that approval from NRW and Gwynedd Council should be straightforward.

On the lagoon side, damage from the recent storms was generally less than on the sea side. However there appears to be no accretion of sand occurring on the lagoon side and whilst the cobbles and gabions there are performing well, erosion is gradually occurring.

Actions
Colin Mackie to provide details of organisations funding the restoration work undertaken in the early 2000’s. Action since completed.
Jon Webb to facilitate site meeting on Thursday 6th March at Llandanwg. Key organisations including GC, NT, NRW, Crown Estates agreed to be represented. Action since completed.

Date of next meeting
10th April, 1830. Christian Mountain Centre, Pensarn.

LDPG MEETING MINUTES January 30th 2014

Minutes of the meeting held at 18.30 at the Christian Mountain Centre, Pensarn, attended by Jill Smith, Rosy Berry, David Lewis, Ned Thomas, Tim Bush and Simon Lewis Jones.

Apologies were received from John Houliston, Graham Tottle, Colin Mackie and Chris Tutton.

An update from Colin Mackie was reported as follows.

Cobble bed. We cannot raise enough funds to bring stones from the quarry. We must ust argue this matter to use local stones from local farms.
Website. The site has been running for two years now, with appropriate keywords and links. A list of those being used on the website was provided and the monthly viewing statistics for the site for 2013.
The great new year storm. There was a severe onshore gale at new year coinciding with very high tides. The sort of conditions which we had always dreaded. A lot of damage was done to the dunes. All the fencing was destroyed and all the sand removed from Llandanwg beach. The river bank was breached at Pensarn and thousands of acres of land was flooded, livestock drowned and cottages flooded and evacuated. Links to twenty photographs and two videos have been put onto the website on the Media page. Some were attached for the minutes.
Reasons to be cheerful. The dunes were not breached, proving the worth of the work we have done over the years, particularly the addition of sand in 2003. A substantial width of dune remains. It is obvious that it will take more than one or two storms of that magnitude to breach the dunes.
The land flooded followed very much the flood map shown on the Shoreline Management Plan. Natural Resources Wales could have decided to let the land flood. Instead they are spending considerable time and resources to build a road to the breach and repair it. This is heartening.
Finance - The balance of the Dunes account is £1,866.41p.

The main item for discussion was the damage to the Llandanwg dune following the storm of January 4th, specifically that area owned by the Crown Estate.

It was noted that previous Chair and Project manager Jon Webb was convinced that, without the remedial work the Group did to rebuild the weak point of the dune (mainly in 2003), the dune would have been breached by the storm making flooding in the area much worse.

As it is, much of the new build and accreted sand, together with fencing, has been lost. Members feel the immediate need is to replace fencing before the summer visitors arrive. Ideally, the placing of large boulders from adjacent farms would also help to protect the weak point of the dune.

Concern was expressed that the National Trust (who own the bulk of the dunes at Llandanwg) may now have a more relaxed view about preventing footfall on the Dunes to encourage certain plant species. The Dunes Group feels fencing is essential not only to encourage the growth of marram grass , but also to prevent accidents with children, as the dunes are currently less stable. Documentary evidence of a commitment by the NT to protect the dunes with fencing is held by the group.

Simon Lewis Jones will liaise with the other concerned bodies, such as landowners of the weak point of the Dune (the Crown Estate), the National Trust, National Resources Wales and representatives of the local Councils (Gwynedd, Llanfair and Llanbedr).

It was also reported that Adam Cooper of NRW Marine Licensing Dept had confirmed that Shell Island were to be permitted as of 3rd Feb 2014 to dump 14,000 tons of sand on the bar. In future, the Dunes Group will be formally consulted on such matters.

Tim Bush will liaise with Graham Tottle (sec.) to update a mailing list of all interested contacts.

While it is considered vital to work with other agencies to protect the dunes, which form part of the area’s sea defences, we urgently wish to ensure that the dunes owned by the Crown Estate should be re-fenced before the holiday season.

Date of next meeting 27th Feb, venue tbc

The meeting ended at 20.15

LDPG MEETING MINUTES 18/10/2013

General Meeting October 2013

The group met at 1830 on Friday 18th October in the Christian Mountain Centre by kind permission of the Director

Present: Colin Mackie, Graham Tottle, Rosy Berry, Simon Lewis Jones, Jill Smith, Alice Lovegrove-Jones of Jones Peckover representing the Crown Estate.

1 Welcome
We welcomed Alice Lovegrove-Jones

2 Apologies
Apologies were received from Ned Thomas, and Jon and Ben Wynne

3 Matters Arising: Discussed below

4 Review of Shoreline Management plan.
We had hoped that Huw Davies would, as he had previously offered, prepare a design for the cobble bed. Rosy would contact Gwynedd Council to find out about any new reporting structure, and Simon would go about liaising with the official concerned .

5 Development of the Cobble Bed
Reviewing the developments over many years it was discussed that the original cobbled bed had been bulldozed into the dunes and and had performed a very useful function, being now covered with sand. We could therefore make a case for restoring it in its original position. We would have to acquire funds for all this and to use the washed boulders on which the authority has insisted.

6 Finance
We have £2001.16

7 Website
Colin reported that he had developed the Welsh language version of the website. He had used Mair’s translation for the top screen, and Google for the rest. We felt that the site looks very professional, but there is still a need to establish appropriate keywords so that Internet users are pointed towards it.. We need to seek web links to organisations with objectives similar to ours, so that our activities can be widely promoted and supported.

8 Fencing
As reported previously, the fencing has been successful, in fact so successful that it is gradually getting buried in the sand. More stakes are needed but the National Trust say the cost may perhaps be too high.

9 Dredging
Shell had gained permission to dredge 14,000 tonnes of sand from their harbour area. This would be dumped onto the bar. We felt it would be far more effective to dump the sand as previously off the car park where it might be swept up onto the beach.. This will of course be massively expensive and had previously involved laying a track for the equipment to cross the river from the south. Subsequent note: [I've talked this over and found out that the decision to dump the sand on the bar was made by the environment agency, and that Shell had requested permission to dump it on their island. GT]

11 Next Meeting
A date for the next meeting would be set once Rosy and Simon and taken the actions shown and we were better aware of the state with regard to the various officials involved.

There being no further business the meeting was closed at 1945
Graham Tottle, Hon Secretary

LDPG MEETING MINUTES 21/02/2013

A Meeting of the Llandanwg Dunes Protection Group took place at 18.30pm on Thursday 21st February 2013 at Llanfair attended by Colin Mackie, Ned Thomas, Jill Smith and Simon Lewis Jones.

Apologies were received from Graham Tottle, Rosy Berry, Lisa Brooks and David Lewis (Snowdonia Society).

Website Development
Further links have been added and translation to welsh is progressing.

Cobble Bed.
Simon LJ has written to Huw Davies (GCC) regarding the required design for the proposed cobble bed. What is acceptable stone? Ned Thomas reported that John Kerry could supply stone from local farms. Can we put in place rock bastions?

Groynes.
Simon LJ is in contact with Hope University, Liverpool, for advice on the groynes.

Chairmanship.
Colin reported that John Houliston had agreed to become chairman.

Date of next meeting
will be Thursday 25th April 2013 at 6.30pm in the Neuadd. (NB. This did not take place.)

Management Plan.
A pro-forma spreadsheet had been prepared and people were asked to try and fill in the gaps.

AOB.
We need to research Cobble Bed Design
There is a Welsh Assembly Bill to form Natural Resources Wales from CCW and Environmental Agency.
Attention was drawn to the Crown Marine Stewardship Fund which may be asked to provide funds for small projects like ours.
GCC are measuring the height of sand on the Llandanwg beach every 6 months. Llanbedr Airfield is being classed as an Enterprise Zone. Do MPs know it may become flooded?


LLANDANWG DUNES GROUP MEETING MINUTES 22/11/12

A Meeting of the Llandanwg Dunes Protection Group took place at 18.30pm on Thursday 22nd November 2012 at CMC Pensarn attended by Rosy Berry, Colin Mackie, Ned Thomas, Jill Smith and Simon Lewis Jones.

The meeting wished Graham well; Rosy had prepared a card.

Simon LJ took the Minutes.

Apologies were received from Graham Tottle and David Lewis (Snowdonia Society).

The meeting wished to thank Mair Thomas for supplying Welsh language content for the website.

Colin M offered to speak to John Houliston to enquire if he would like to become the Group’s Chairman.

Colin M would contact James Peckover to learn who would be taking over from Roger Wilyman. (Colin has done this and our contact is now Alice Lovegrove-Jones).

Cobble Bed.
Simon LJ has supplied Huw Davies (GCC) with a dozen photos describing the type of cobbles currently found along the beach. These might assist Huw D in confirming the quarry from which we will need to source materials for the proposed cobble bed.

Groynes.
Simon LJ will contact Hope University, Liverpool, to determine if they might be able to assist with a design proposal. This would form part of the Management Plan.

Website.
Colin M is keeping the website up-to-date and will incorporate the Welsh language content as it is confirmed. Simon LJ had prepared a list of other organisations with whom we might link, some reciprocally.

Finance
The Group’s financial situation is unchanged at £2,001.16p.

It was agreed that we should incorporate ‘climate change’ into our goals as follows:
Give first aid to the dunes and assist nature to recover from the ravages brought about by climate change, adverse weather conditions and public access erosion.

Mary Kate Jones of The Snowdonia Society has been in touch to offer the support of the Society’s hands-on volunteers to assist with practical work on the dune. The meeting welcomed this kind offer.

The meeting ended at 19.45pm. Date of next meeting will be 21st February 2013 at 6.30pm (venue to be confirmed).


General Meeting, September 20th 2012
The group met at 1830 on September 20th in the Christian Mountain Centre by kind permission of the Director

Present: Graham Tottle, Rosy Berry, Sara, Lewis Jones, Jill Smith, Simon Lewis Jones, Eurig Hughes, David Lewis.

1 Minutes of the last meeting were agreed and signed, subject to the correction that Huw Davies represents Gwynedd Council.

2 Apologies
Apologies were received from Ned Thomas, and Colin Mackie.

3 Matters Arising: Discussed below

4 Review of Shoreline Management plan.
Simon will prepare a draft management plan.

5 Development of the Cobble Bed
Simon reported on going progress with CCW (Isabel Griffiths). Eurig said it would not be difficult to acquire washed boulders locally[SLJ]
It was agreed we would hope to put forward a plan for the cobble bed to be extended. Graham would prepare urgently a document for BBC TV’ One Show seeking support by volunteers [GT]

5 Finance
We have £2001.16

6 Website
Graham will discuss with Mair Thomas a possible cut down version of the site in Welsh.
We need to seek web links to organisations with objectives similar to ours, so that our activities can be widely promoted.

7 Fencing
The fencing has been successful, in fact so successful that it is gradually getting buried in the sand. More stakes are needed but the National Trust say the cost may perhaps be too high. Graham would write to the National Trust regional office saying that the public were getting access to the area and suggesting action e.g. to plant marram grass. He would e-mail Rhodri Morgan[GT]

8 Evidence of sea rise.
We discussed the pigs of Mochras evidence.br The Snowdon Society volunteers normally work in the mountains but had worked at Fairbourne and might be prepared to work with us.

9 Committee officers
Mark Downey wished to stand aside as chairman but was glad to continue as a member. We might consider other possible people including someone who spoke Welsh. John Houliston would be invited to the next meeting.

10 Intended Goals.
The text “Give first aid to the dunes and assist nature to recover from the ravages brought about by adverse weather conditions and public access erosion” would be added to to include “the effects of climate change”.

There being no further business the meeting was closed at 1945

11 Next Meeting
We meet again on 22 November at 1830 in CMC


General Meeting, June 7th 2012
The group met at 1830 on June 7th in the Christian Mountain Centre by kind permission of the Director

Present: Graham Tottle, Rosy Berry, Jill Smith, Colin Mackie, Ned Thomas, John Wynne, Jenny Wynne, Ben Wynne, Simon Lewis Jones, Dafydd Roberts, Environment Agency.

We will miss David Robinson and our thoughts are with Alison.
We hoped that Roger Wilyman might still be with us.

1 Minutes of the last meeting were agreed and signed, subject to the correction that Huw Davies represents Gwynedd Council.

2 Apologies Alison Robinson has written to say that she was leaving the Committee but would like to keep in touch as one of the “Friends of Llandanwg Dunes”. Apologies were received from Caerwyn Roberts, Anne Hughes and Tim Bush.

3 Matters Arising: Discussed below

4 Review of Shoreline Management plan.
We warmly welcomed Mr Dafydd Roberts, who is the engineer primarily responsible for the estuary works within the Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs in this area. He has been in touch with the development and history of the estuary and sea front for many years. He said he welcomed this opportunity to get in touch with groups like ours which are concerned not with the macro level, but the micro level developments in the area. Simon Lewis Jones said that we needed to put one episode behind us, that of the placement of bales of grass and rushes which we had hoped would help to build up the sand in the dune. One of the bales had now successfully been removed; the remainder had absorbed water and sunk into the sand. Mr Roberts raised a caution that contravention of the SSS I rules was a criminal offence. But he hoped that we could move forward on other fronts. Control of this lay with the CCW - Countryside Council of Wales, and they are quick to take action even on minute infringements.

4.1 Rebuilding of the Groynes.
Rosy Berry questioned whether this was acceptable. Mr Roberts said that the decision in this case does not lie with the CCW. Maintenance of the main breakwater is now assigned to the Environment Agency, and their overriding commitment is to ensure the continued safety of the public. They have no immediate plans for its development. In discussion we noted that the default policy for the entire area is for Managed realignment; Mr Roberts pointed out that this did not exclude re-alignment further out to sea. Management plans would be needed as required in the Shoreline Management Plan for the likely development of the estuary in 20 years, as had been well discussed. We warned that flooding of the main road and the embankment had already been recorded in the 1970s and our main concern is to ensure protection of the estuary from wind action. [GT: Is this really so? Are we global warming deniers?]. Simon said that his understanding was that the groynes development would depend on CCW approval. £30K, or possibly much less, might be needed and this seems a trivial reason for rejecting the expenditure compared with massive sums committed eg to the Borth reef. Mr Roberts agreed and said that use of groynes, e.g. around Barmouth, was well understood and successful.
John Wynn raised the European Community directives to preserve/extend salt marsh habitats. Daffyd Roberts acknowledged this and explained that this activity was widely spread and unlikely to affect the estuary.

4.2 Development of the Cobble Bed
It was agreed we would hope to put forward a plan for the cobble bed to be extended. Mr Roberts suggested we reapply but we would need to tackle the design issues. Simon Jones will write Huw Davies re Huw’s offer to help with the design. The groynes were originally built to contain and counteract wave deflection from the breakwater which would otherwise sweep the sand away.
We should draft a proposal e.g. for a single 18 inch high groyne and submit it via the Crown Estate. This could be followed with an on site visit.
We mentioned problems with the sizes of the stones and Mr Roberts felt this should not be a significant obstacle. Funds to bring the stones in are needed.
Rosy Berry conveyed our thanks for a most helpful discussion. It was suggested that there is an Environment Agency fund for community projects and Mr Roberts will check and let us know details.

5 Finance We have £2001.16

6 Website
The site is universally welcomed, but Colin Mackie needs a flow of new material so that interest and attention can be sustained.

7 Other Business
Rosy Berry said that holidaymakers trespassing on the site continues to be a major problem due to the lack of fencing.

We agreed to circulate the minutes more widely.

There being no further business the meeting was closed at 2000.
We meet again on 20th September at 1830 in CMC.

General Meeting, March 8th 2012
The group met at 1830 on March 8th in Llanfair Pentref

Present: Chris Tutton, , Graham Tottle, Rosy Berry, Lisa Brooke, Councillor Caerwyn Roberts, Councillor Eurig Hughes, Jill Smith, Colin Mackie and Simon Lewis Jones. We welcomed Councillor Caerwyn Roberts, and Councillor Eurig Hughes.
Apologies had been received from Mark Downey, Ned Thomas, John and Ben Wynne, David Lewis and the Robinsons. We all sent our best wishes to David, who is seriously ill.
The two hotels, three shops and two restaurants in the area had been invited to the social but not turned up. Graham would try to pursue this since their contacts with people locally could be very important [GT]

1 Minutes of the last meeting were agreed and signed, subject to the correction that “rosa japonica” should read “rosa rugosa”.

2 Matters Arising:
Contacts We need to assemble the names of people in key areas and to contact them personally (could Rosy and Simon let the secretary have details)[SLJ,RB]

Environment Agency. Chris had contacted Meic Davies and Graham Mabel Logan. Graham will send background information about the group and our objectives to Meic Davies and invite him to our next meeting.

Quote from T Q:Evans to put to the CCW and Crown Estates. Mr Evans may have some suitable boulders for the cobbles now from his work in Blaenau Ffestiniog. We would ask Ned to confirm the latest situation with Mr Evans.[NT]

Eurig felt that boulders for use on the lagoon side of the dune could be collected locally and that installing them would be relatively straightforward. It was suggested that this should form part be of the Management Plan Proposal.

Disposition of the Christmas trees – Simon has contacted the Council’s Environment Department who have agreed to move them on.

Disposal of the bales. The CCW ruling against them seems debatable, but we have to follow their instructions and remove the bales, which are now waterlogged and partly sunk into the sand. Barry Davies has confirmed that the beach access boards are to be removed in the week commencing 26th March, thereafter Simon would liaise with Ned and Eurig re removing the bales. Funds can be provided by the Group and/or CCW.[SLJ]

We lack a well qualified engineering input for the Management Plan Proposal and are trying to get a student from Bangor to help from the Marine Biology department[RB] Prof Richardson, Head of the School of Ocean sciences had replied to Rosy saying that he had circulated her notes among some of the staff who were working on salt marshes and sand dunes and they may offer assistance. This year’s MSc s had already been allocated, but one may be offered next year.

3 Finance - we had £2013.16 in the bank.

4 List of intended goals.
We reviewed the goals recorded in the January meeting and on the agenda. They continue to apply and will be included on the web site. They include 6 major headings and 13 specific actions.
Our immediate goals are:
4.1 Maintain all fencing and signage.
4.2 Protect the lagoon side.
4.3 Move the boulders on the lagoon side higher up the dune.
4.4 Investigate the possibility of a groyne on the sea side and test its effectiveness.

5 Cobble Bed Huw Davies of CCW had offered to Chris to sketch out a design outline several years ago for replacement of the cobble bed. Simon has written and rung Huw Davies but no reply has been received to date. He felt that perhaps Huw Davies would be more responsive once the bales issue had been resolved.[SLJ]

6 LDPG Web site. Colin presented the current draft which was greatly admired. It was agreed that it be opened up on the net site on 10th March, and comments, suggestions etc from members will be welcome. The list of e-mail contact addresses will be cut down to one.

7 LDPG circulation lists. These were circulated for correction as needed.

8 Environment. The chestnut paling fencing in many National Trust maintained areas of the dune has now been partly submerged in sand so that it is easy to step over. Although this is a problem success, people and dogs were now gaining easy access to the protected area. We would approach the National Trust to suggest action, and also consider recovering the signs which are now concealed by the sand. Councillor Roberts would also speak with the National Trust. There is a need for positive notices which encourage people to avoid accessing and damaging the fenced area and give an explanation of the reasons. Note that agreeing formal notices takes about two years.
Dog fouling continues to be a major problem and Eurig would raise this in the Community Council to improve the disposal of the containers. We can place notices on the car park noticeboard making these points.

There being no further business the meeting was closed at 2000.
We meet again on 7th June at 1830 in CMC.

Graham Tottle, Hon Secretary.


15th December, 2011
A meeting to discuss issues relating to the management of the beach at Llandanwg.


Present were:
Gwynedd Councillor (Lanbedr and Llanfair) - Evie Morgan Jones (EMJ)
Llandanwg Dunes Protection Group - Simon Lewis Jones (SLJ)
The Crown Estate - Roger Wilyman (RW) of Jones Peckover
Gwynedd Council - Barry Davies (BD) & Huw Davies (HD)
The National Trust - Rhodri Wigley (RhW)
CCW - Arfon Hughes (AH), Isobelle Griffith (IG) & Catrin Owen (CO)

The chairman for the meeting was Barry Davies and Catrin Owen recorded the minutes.

Main Points
HD informed the meeting that the Environment Agency had recently accepted responsibility for the concrete wall at the southern end of the spit of dunes and that ideally they should have been present at the meeting.

BD asked each group to explain their responsibilities with regard to Llandanwg dunes:

Gwynedd Council
BD explained that the Council only manage the amenity aspects of the area, which includes the foreshore that is leased from the Crown Estate. They manage the signs, toilet block, Emergency Telephone and Car Park, and have previously constructed a new access path from the car park through the dunes to the beach at Llandanwg.

HD confirmed that minor works had been undertaken without prejudice by the Council at Llandanwg. This entailed the installation of a boulder bastion to protect the dunes from oblique waves. The bastion is now totally buried by sand, and is therefore thought to have been a success. Gwynedd Council also undertake beach level monitoring at Llandanwg, which shows that beach levels are extremely variable.

Countryside Council for Wales (CCW)
IG explained that the dunes are part of the Morfa Dyffryn Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) and Pen Llyn a’r Sarnau Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

This means that if owners or occupiers of the SSSI and SAC wish to undertake works as defined on the list of ‘Operations Likely to Damage the Special Interest (OLDSI)’ supplied to all owners/occupiers then they must provide notice in writing to CCW who may either consent, consent with conditions or refuse to permit the work as set out in the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended) and Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 (as amended).

Additionally if owners wish to undertake work within the SAC then an assessment must be made of whether it is likely to have a significant effect either alone or in combination with any other plans or projects as set out in the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010.

CCW have written a Site Management Statement (SMS) and a site description for Morfa Dyffryn SSSI which can be provided to the Group via the CCW website.

Action: IG to send web links to the official documentation (maps, citation, SMS, PDO list) for Morfa Dyffryn SSSI and Pen Llyn a’r Sarnau SAC.

CCW also gave a brief description of how SSSIs are created. IG explained that within what is known as the ‘area of search’, of which there are several within Wales, the best examples of areas with habitats and species of conservation importance (as defined in the Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) guidance for site selection criteria) are selected for SSSI designation. CCW holds information on the scientific interest within Morfa Dyffryn SSSI and this can be provided to the Llandanwg Dunes Protection Group.

AH gave an outline of the current scientific thinking on dune management and the problems of over stabilisation of dunes. AH explained that since the 50s and 60s there has been a significant reduction in bare sand and dune mobility in sand dune systems in the UK and Europe in general. This is thought to be related to factors such as air pollution and subsequent nitrogen deposition, climatic factors such as warmer wetter winters allowing plants to grow for longer periods and soil to develop, and the lack of windy conditions. This reduction in bare sand and dune mobility is resulting in the loss of habitat that also supports a large number of plants and invertebrates that rely on early successional habitats and bare sand, and is therefore a significant threat to the biodiversity of dune systems in Wales. CCW are currently organising access permission for a geomorphological consultant to visit 10 sand dune systems throughout Wales – including Morfa Harlech and Morfa Dyffryn. The consultant will be drawing up proposals to re-mobilise dunes and is also seeking to understand why some systems are more mobile than others.

HD pointed out that de-stabilising sand dunes could only take place within some sites e.g. Harlech, as dunes at other locations act as flood defences.

SLJ asked how much sand had been removed from Mochras lagoon during the dredging operation. IG gave an outline of the dredging work in the lagoon and explained that all dredged sand was placed on the Bar Newydd in the hope that it would be washed towards Llandanwg dunes and act as dune nourishment. For future dredge operations HD requested that a topographical survey of the area be undertaken before and after the dredge so that the amount of material removed could be calculated.

IG added that Snowdonia National Park now manage the NNRs at Morfa Harlech and Morfa Dyffryn through a Memorandum of Agreement with CCW. The Warden in the Llandanwg area is Ifan Jones.

The National Trust
RhW said very few people are going into the dunes, which he felt was a good thing. The National Trust are responsible for the area from the concrete access ramp, past the Church and a little bit by the Crown land at the end of the ‘Maes’ boundary. They also own the field called ‘y Maes’. People walk and walk their dogs on the Maes as it is open access land. There are two walkways to the beach from the Maes. The National Trust are responsible for the gate, fence, boardwalks and styles on their land. A tenant grazes the Maes. Dog walkers have been found to break the chestnut fence to allow their dogs to run after rabbits. This doesn’t happen very often.

In winter 2001, a storm washed away the fence, the same thing happened the next year. In the following year contractors came in to help the National trust to put in a new fence, which would allow water to flow through it. The Llandanwg Dunes Protection Group (LLDPG) have helped the National Trust to put a chestnut fence up which has the effect of trapping sand. The National Trust do not have a management plan for the site but CCW have good guidelines and recommendations for the site and therefore they work under those.

The Crown Estate
RW said that the Crown owned the foreshore up to mean high water mark and an additional area of the dunes. RW explained that the Crown Estate is a non-active landowner, in that they do not do anything to control their boundary line as it changes regularly with accretion and erosion.

RW related how the Llandanwg Dunes Protection group had been formed and that phase 1 of works to protect the dunes: marram grass planting and sand fencing had been completed. He noted that the level of sand has increased on the seaward side of the dunes but that there is still a weak spot to the north of the boat house where the most recent bales were placed. RW enquired about the next phase of works to protect the dunes.

Llandanwg Dunes Protection Group (LLDPG)
SLJ related that the Dunes Protection Group had done a lot of work on the dunes, despite the difficulties of obtaining funding, and had found that a lot of research has been carried out on other dune systems which they found difficult to access as it is on the internet in PDF format.

The Crown Estate has put money into the dunes group and the National Trust have given time to the group. The local group have been in existence for 10 years and SLJ felt that they have a role to play in informing local people about flooding, climate change and rising sea levels. SLJ feels that they have got a lot of responsibility for a small group, and that there are a lot of issues such as social, environmental and economic.

Interpretation Panels
EMJ asked if there is any form of interpretation at Llandanwg dunes. He felt that because the dunes are very accessible due to the car park in very close proximity to the dunes this location would be ideal for some panels explaining why they are important. He also asked whether there is a people counter in the car park. BD confirmed that there was no such device in place but that an estimate could be gained from the takings collected in the parking ticket machine. EMJ noted that many visitors park on the road verge instead of paying in the car park, therefore any estimate might be below the actual number of people who visit.

The National Trust, CCW, the Crown Estate and the Dunes Protection Group have previously discussed putting panels up in the dunes - perhaps one in the car park and two in the dunes to highlight everything the site has to offer.

AH suggested that it could take up to two years to design and produce any panels, and that in that time there will be significant change to the environmental bodies (CCW, EAW and FCW) who are likely to be merged into a single environmental body. Therefore if funding to create the signs is to be sought from one of these bodies it should be progressed as soon as possible.

SLJ commented that what applies to Morfa Harlech and Morfa Dyffryn, in terms of scientific interest and character of the site, might not directly apply to Llandanwg, therefore it’s hard to know what to put on the signs, however, one possibility would be to focus on the impact of sea level rise on the dune and surrounding area. SLJ commented that the fewer signs the better and asked for clarification on what should go on the signs. RhW said that if there is too much writing on the signs people probably won’t read them, and suggested that each organisation write down what they think should be on the panels and present their ideas in the next meeting.

BD passes comment regarding the payment being processed by Gwynedd to the Crown Estate. RW commented that a proportion of this money would find it’s way back to Wales as part of the Assembly Marine Stewardship Fund. In the meantime an application to the Crown for stage two funds would be likely to receive favourable consideration.

Big Bales
HD explained that in a meeting with the LLDPG after the initial placement of bales he had advised the group that they needed a letter of consent from CCW to undertake this type of work. However, the group had seemingly ignored this advice and placed 6 more bales in the dunes again without consent.

SLJ explained that a local farmer (National Trust tenant) had some locally sourced bales and that they had arranged to put some in the dunes to see what would happen. This initial work had received a good response locally, and therefore the Group arranged to put another 5 on the dunes. SLJ said that it wasn’t deliberate to undertake the work without consent and that initially he hadn’t been aware that the work had actually taken place.

HD pointed out that the process of obtaining consent is the same for everyone e.g. Gwynedd Council, NT and the LLDPG; everybody needs work under a letter of consent for activities listed in OLDSI before they undertake work on a SSSI.

RhW explained that upon seeing the second lot of bales placed in the dunes, particularly the one in the entrance to the access corridor, that he had asked the farmer to remove it.

AH clarified that CCWs objection to the bales is that they could bring in invasive species to the dunes, that putting bales on the dunes is a PDO and therefore requires a letter of consent, and that the bales would rot and release nutrients into the sand dunes that would not be there naturally. AH also pointed out that the bales could be a hazard and public liability issue, and that he was aware of a bale having been found floating out at sea off of Anglesey which the Coastguard had to remove because it was deemed to be a shipping hazard.

Gwynedd Council sympathised with the LLDPG saying that they understood the frustration that the voluntary groups may have, and stated that it was clear that the bales were put there with good intentions. All agreed that the enthusiasm of the group was extremely valuable.

The Way Forward

Bales
RW stated that as the landowner the Crown Estate would wish to see the bales removed because they had not been consented and having regard to the advice and comments of the other parties concerned.

EMJ stated that removing the bales was unlikely to be easy due to their weight and position behind the fence. SLJ asked if they could just cut the bale twine and let the material wash away. However CCW advised that this would not be appropriate as the plant remains would catch on the fences weighing them down which could cause them to be damaged or washed away. AH offered CCWs softrack or tractor to remove the bales. BD offered to contribute towards the cost of removing the bales, e.g. diesel and time.

Groynes
EMJ enquired about the wooden groyne field and whether the remains should be removed or perhaps even fully re-instated. HD advised that the groyne field is likely to be the responsibility of the Environment Agency (as it was originally constructed by the National Rivers Authority - a precursor of the Agency), and that re-instating them might be an unachievable aim due to the cost of such a proposal. HD instead advised that the section of beach that is depleted of its cobble, possibly as a result of previous re-instatement of the dune ridge with beach material after a breach, could be nourished with more cobble to provide more protection to the dunes from waves. It was agreed that HD would provide a description of the design of this prospective cobble bed. HD also suggested that if the fence on the seaward side of the dunes is pulled down to remove the bales that when the fence is re-instated afterwards it should be located closer to the toe of the dunes so that there is less chance of it being damaged.

AH wished to point out that Shoreline Management Plan 2 policy recommendations for Llandanwg Dunes are ‘Managed Retreat’ over all three epochs, and that gaining funding for coastal defence in the area might be difficult as a result.

Consents
AH suggested that a Llandanwg Dune management plan which could span several years should be drawn up. Once the plan was agreed, the Group would not need to gain consent to undertake each element of the plan.
Additionally it should be noted that CCW cannot issue a letter of consent to the group as they are not an owner or occupier of any land in the SSSI. In the future, the local group will have to go through National Trust or the Crown Estate if they want to carry out any works. BD asked SLJ to contact himself and CCW before any works carried out in the future.

Future Meetings
It was felt that it would be useful to reconvene every year or six months.

Other business
The National Trust require advice on what to do with the Japanese Rose Rosa rugosa on their land at Llandanwg. IG explained that the plant is very invasive and it’s best to remove it, and AH added that deliberately spreading R. rugosa is an offence under Schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 (as amended). CCW offered to investigate a management agreement with the Trust to help with the cost of the works.

Catrin E Owen, Conservation Officer, Meirionnydd
20/12/2011

Links to online documents:

1. Interactive Protected Sites Map: Sites Map
2. SMS, Citation & OLDSI List Morfa Dyffryn SSSI: Morfa Dyffryn
3. Official Documentation on Pen Llyn a’r Sarnau SAC: Pen Llyn


Earlier Reports