Sustainable Development Fund Committee

11/10/2017 @ 10:00 - National Park Offices

1. To receive apologies for absence

2. To receive any disclosure of interest by Members or Officers in respect of any item of business

3. To confirm the minutes of the meeting of the SDF Committee held on the 28 June 2017

4. To consider the report of the SDF Administrator

5. To consider the applications on the following pages:

SDF 0372 – Native Oyster Restoration Aquaculture Trail MRes
 Tethys Oysters Ltd (Thethys) will work in collaboration with Swansea University to investigate a novel approach to developing a native oyster (Ostrea edulis) growing business in Pembrokeshire, using a “Restoration Aquaculture” model.

The native oyster is listed as a UK Biodiversity Action Plan species, and identified as one of the Habitats and Species of Principle importance to Wales.  One of the reasons for the serious decline in species numbers is the parasitic disease Bonamia, which has seriously affected populations of native oysters causing mass mortalities in many historic oyster-producing areas, including the Milford Haven Waterway and Cleddau rivers.

In response to evidence that native oysters removed from their native seabed and raised into the water column may be healthier, less stressed, have reduced exposure risk to disease and hence increased survival rates, Tethys has recently developed an oyster basket design (ortec basket) specifically as a nursery and grow out habitat for native oysters. Testing in a growing commercial context is now required and this research project will provide empirical data to biologists and oyster aquaculture businesses on the growth and survival of native oysters in newly developed culture systems. It will also provide baseline data crucial for evaluating the effects of culturing native oysters on the surrounding biodiversity and potential for these oysters to populate the surrounding ecosystem (overspill). Evidence of overspill would have a restorative effect with regard to the wild population.

Tethys farm at Angle Bay will create jobs and produce high quality produce whilst also playing a key role in restoring the threatened native oyster population and associated ecosystem services.

SDF 0373 – South Pembrokeshire Woodland Services
 South Pembrokeshire Woodland Services will be an extension of an existing forestry business that will deliver low impact woodland and hedgerow management services in addition to providing wood-fuel and, where possible, saw grade timber to meet a growing local market. This will also help to secure three full time jobs. The aim is to bring currently unmanaged woodlands back into productivity and to change the management of farm hedgerows from annual flail cutting to long rotation cutting. Paying for the timber will provide an income for the landowners while creating a sustainable management regime will significantly benefit habitat connectivity and biodiversity in a largely agricultural landscape. Encouraging additional tree planting in awkward field corners that are difficult to access with modern machinery will also contribute to biodiversity benefits and may also assist in reducing water run- off from farm land. To achieve these aims requires the purchase of an eight wheeled low footprint timber forwarder to enable access to currently unmanaged woodland areas which are currently inaccessible due to either wet ground conditions or a lack of access tracks. The low footprint forwarder can extract timber without damaging the ground or requiring the creation of costly and environmentally damaging access tracks.

SDF 0374 – Heritage Guardians/Arwyr Amser 
Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority with work with primary schools situated in the National Park, and the surrounding local community, to encourage them to ‘adopt’ a local heritage monument. This will help to improve the appearance, access, awareness, monitoring and interpretation of the site. As part of the process and after completion of the project the site may be used as an outdoor area to deliver lessons covering all aspects of the curriculum but importantly the children will also be introduced to archaeological techniques such as artefact identification, recording and excavating. Ultimately the project will introduce children to their local heritage, encourage their interaction with that heritage and inspire them to take pride in it. By improving access, carrying out any repair necessary repair work and developing a monitoring programme the project will also safeguard these monuments for the future. Interpretation through creative means such as artwork, photography, films, drama and social media will raise awareness more widely so that the local community and general public will also benefit.