The Chairman, Mr David Roberts, announced that he would be retiring as Chairman at the conclusion of the meeting. The Board expressed their gratitude to Mr Roberts for his 20 years of service as Chairman. Mr Roberts welcomed Messrs Richard Blackhurst and Robert Stacey who were attending their first meeting and advised that a new lawnmower had been purchased.
Paul Drinkwater was elected Chairman and David Caton Vice Chairman. Middle Level Commissioners were re-appointed as Clerks and Cedric Armstrong as District Officer. The new Chairman referred to the meeting of the Forum concerning the Warboys Landfill Site. He felt the issues of hydraulic containment had been fully aired and recorded and the existing situation had to be lived with. The Clerk reported that Woodford Waste Management had paid the costs billed to them. It was resolved to review Ramsey Hollow Bridge at the next AGM.
The Board discussed the IDB Review at some length and noted the concerns expressed by all of the other IDBs at Defra's proposals for a single sub-catchment board which were considered impractical and unworkable. The Clerk reported on discussions held with Mr Geoff Beel, who had been appointed to conduct a review of the Middle Level area. Mr Beel did not support the Defra proposal and, in view of the changing climate within Flood Risk Management, in the light of the Pitt Review and the proposed Flood and Water Bill, had advised a cautionary approach. He had, however, highlighted the accountability of IDBs under the present system. The Clerk reported that he had written to the local authorities within the Middle Level area following the Pitt Review and had also been in contact with the recently appointed Chairman of the Central Area Regional Flood Defence Committee. The Board noted the resolution of the Middle Level Board in that they approved an approach on the same lines as that suggested for Norfolk and Suffolk IDBs but felt that Defra's views on this needed to be known, before it could be adopted. The Clerk also referred to the publication of proposals for the Flood and Water Management Bill, which contained a number of provisions which he felt would adversely affect IDBs. A meeting of affected Chairmen would be called later in the year. The Clerk referred to the failure of ADA to represent Boards in this area last year and to a more recent change in the position of ADA. It was resolved to authorise the Chairman and Vice Chairman to consider the renewal of the ADA membership.
The Clerk reported on draft documentation regarding Financial Regulations and Members' Code of Conduct.
The Board noted the advice received from Defra on consortium arrangements.
The Board noted the difficulties that had arisen with the Aquatic Plant Management Group but agreed to continue their support in principle and maintain their contribution if appropriate. The precept figure of £5,517 was noted.
The Clerk reported on progress with the GIS system and referred to the Environmental Officer's newsletter. He reminded the Board of the need to complete a BAP by April 2010 and reported on the steps that were being taken.
Reports were received on the Water Framework Directive, the position regarding Defra grant-in-aid and spoil disposal.
The payments and accounts were approved.
The Board received the Report of their Consulting Engineers and noted that only maintenance works were required for this year. A report on the electric pumping station's condition was considered, but it was not felt that any action was required at the present time. The present position on the Grant Aided Scheme was noted and a special meeting would be held when tenders had been received. The Board noted the present estimated cost of £753,000. The Board noted that their District System was generally in good order.