Venue: The walk will start at 2.15pm outside the Highgate Wood Café. The meeting will be held at Heathfield House, 432 Archway Road, N6 4JHN at 4.00pm.
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Apologies were received from, Anne Fairweather, Stephanie Beer and Councillor Gail Engert. It was noted that Councillor Gail Engert would be retiring in May and therefore would not attend any further meetings.
Declarations by Members of Any Personal and Prejudicial Interests in Respect of Items on This Agenda
There were no declarations.
To agree the public minutes of the meeting held on 22 November 2017.
RESOLVED, that the minutes of the meeting held on 22 November 2017 be approved.
In response to a question regarding what the overall energy/resources benefits of using a battery vehicle were, Members were advised that there is an Energy Officer employed by the City of London Corporation and the Town Clerk agreed to liaise with them on this matter. The Highgate Wood, Conservation & Trees Manager noted that this vehicle had been used for as long as possible and was cheap to run but the cost to continue maintaining the vehicle had now become too high. The vehicle may be refurbished elsewhere.
A Member noted that there were excellent walking guides available covering Highgate Woods and suggested making these available in the café.
Report of the Town Clerk.
The Committee noted the various outstanding actions and the updates provided thereon.
Meeting with Natural England
The Highgate Wood, Conservation & Trees Manager advised Members that there was good progress applying for Countryside Stewardship the Team were confident on securing a grant in the 2019 bid year. The Heath’s Senior Ecologist provided an update on work that had subsequently taken place during the Committee Walk before the meeting.
Oak Processionary Moth
Members were advised that this allergic reaction was rare, usually occurring hours after exposure. The Director agreed to raise this concern at the National Oak Processional Group and ask for guidance on Epipens. It was agreed that the standard Forestry Commission leaflets would continue to be used.
Report of the Superintendent of Hampstead Heath.
Members considered an update report of the Superintendent and the following points were made.
· A Member suggested that “no dog waste” be stated on all recycle bins. Members were advised that planned work was due to take place on bins to provide clarity on general and recycling bins and to convey educational messages.
Roman Kiln Project
· It was recommended that the work of Bruce Castle Museum be mentioned in this project.
· Members were advised that a report on the outcomes would be provided at the next meeting.
Woodland Conservation and Tree Management
· The Superintendent advised that storms and extreme weather in January, most notably storms Eleanor, David and Georgina, had caused damage throughout Hampstead Heath and Highgate Wood and led to closure of Highgate Wood for four days in compliance with the Division’s Extreme Weather Event Protocol.
· The interesting survey results of the research projects on hedgehogs and foxes were noted and Members were advised that a student could be approached regarding the preparation of a leaflet to go to Lancaster Road residents regarding hedgehogs.
· Members were advised of Heath Hands’ plan to increase their already significant activity.
· The Superintendent expressed thanks to all the volunteers that work at Highgate Wood.
Oak decline and oak regeneration
· It was noted that the two tables projecting tree loss were based on 100+ year old trees.
· In response to a question, Members were advised that currently, approximately ten trees die per year.
· Members were advised that the Superintendent planned to work with the Highgate Wood Consultative Group on the project to re-tender the café lease. Members were supportive of the suggestion to offer a seven-year lease with a possible extension of three years.
· A Member suggested adding a something to contracts for them to be environmentally aware in
Members noted the draft Woodland Management Plan 2018-2028 and the following points were made:
· Members were advised that this was a ten-year plan providing site-specific detail. It was noted that the formatting of the plan was based on the Forestry Commission’s format for grants.
· A Member noted that it would be useful to provide an online archive of background documents, earlier versions of plans, references, guides, etc, on the City of London Corporation website.
· A Member stated that a for reference/further reading item could be added to the document.
· Members discussed the overlap between the Woodland Plan and the Conservation Management Plan. The Highgate Wood, Conservation, Trees & Sustainability Manager noted that there were overriding links between the two plans which they had tried to link but they also have different elements, e.g. the Woodland Plan was limited to just woodland. It was agreed an explanation of the different plans should be provided including how they support each other.
· A Member felt that habitat should be a separate item.
· In response to a query regarding a potential market for commercial outlets for dead trees, etc, Members were advised that deadwood was normally retained in-situ to provide important deadwood habitat. However, there was no objection for providing smaller quantities of wood to local wood turners.
· A Member highlighted the importance of research and the value data collected at Highgate Wood and felt that this should be highlighted in the plan. It was agreed that data/research should be mentioned under item 6 Management Strategy and include work with other science organisations.
· It was noted that the report was very tree orientated with minimal reference to soil, which was regarded as very important as soils determine the habitat.
· Members supported the vision of the Management Plan but noted some changes:
o Objective 5 to
Members noted the progress of the projects (notably the April 2018 milestones) in the fourth Quarter update on the status and progress of the 2017/18 Divisional Plan. The following points were made.
· The Superintendent noted that due to a duplication of project 3.5, an additional project has been developed (3.14) to separate the events and cultural strategies and develop a broader cultural strategy.
· The Superintendent advised that Members would be provided with an update at the end of quarter 2 at the next meeting providing more information of project priorities.
· Members felt that milestones were a good way of measuring impact.
· The Director of Open Spaces clarified that there were two parts of the Events Policy with Part 1 covering all of the Open Spaces and Part 2 being of more specific importance to Highgate Wood. Members would be provided with a more detailed version at the next meeting for consideration.
Members considered a report regarding Licensed Events, School Walks and Schools Sports usage in 2016/17 and 2017/18.
Members felt that it was a disservice not to list all events and walks and requested that this list be updated.
Members noted a report from Heath Hands regarding the volunteering highlights for 2017/18.
Members noted the Highgate Woods 2018/19 Annual Work Programme for Cyclical Works and Projects. The following points were made.
Countryside Stewardship Funding
A verbal update will be provided by the Superintendent of Hampstead Heath.
Members received a verbal update from the Superintendent of Hampstead Heath regarding Countryside Stewardship Funding.
There were no questions.
Any Other Business That the Chairman Considers Urgent
The Chairman gave special thanks to the Heath’s Senior Ecologist, who was retiring the following day after 15 years working for the City of London Corporation. These sentiments were echoed by Members.
The Town Clerk agreed to contact the Highgate Society regarding their representation on the HWCG.
Members were advised that the Superintendent had written to the Board of Governors regarding finding a school’s representative to sit on the HWCG and was awaiting a response. The Chairman noted that there was a teacher in the Hampstead Heath area that could potentially be interested in this role.
Date of Next Meeting
The date of the next meeting is 17 October 2018 at
Members noted that the date of their next meeting would be on 17 October 2018 at 4.00pm.