PRESENT: Mr B Stewart (Chairman), Mr R D Pryce (Secretary), Mrs D Hopkins (Treasurer), and thirteen voting members: Mrs K A Cottingham, Mrs L Corscaddon, Mrs E Jones, Mrs V Lewis, Mrs M Owen, Mrs M Williams, Messrs N Jones, T Lewis, I K Morgan, M Smith, A Stevens, N Stringer and G D V Williams.
APOLOGIES were received from Mrs S Stewart, Dr P A Jones and Mr D Poulter.
The MINUTES of the 2001 Annual General Meeting (reproduced in Newsletter no 66) were adopted and signed without amendment.
There were no MATTERS ARISING.
CHAIRMAN’S STATEMENT: The Chairman welcomed all those present to this, the 28th AGM of the Llanelli Naturalists. He continued by reading a letter from Dr P A Jones in which he expressed the pride of the Society at RDP’s appointment as President of the Botanical Society of the British Isles. (RDP pointed out that he will not take office until May 2002). Also PAJ suggested that the Society send a card to Jan and Keith Crowden now that they have moved away, thanking them for all their support and hard work in the past. This was agreed. The Chairman went on to thank all the officers and committee members and particularly DH and KAC for hosting committee meetings. He concluded by calling on the secretary to present his report of the year’s proceedings.
SECRETARY’S REPORT: The Secretary opened by thanking the Chairman for his statement and continued by outlining the society’s activities over the past year which had consisted of six indoor meetings and seven field meetings. Indoor meetings had covered Invertebrates, Water Voles, Cetaceans, and illustrated wildlife talks on Sicily, Spain and Egypt and attendances had been better than in previous years. The outdoor meetings had also been well attended and enjoyed. Newsletter no. 67 had been produced during the year, only one edition, due to the secretary’s increasingly busy schedule. IKM appealed for members to contribute short notes or longer articles about any topical natural history subject for inclusion. Bulletin no. 5 was published in April 2001 and the content for Bulletin no.6 was largely complete and would be published in the next month or two. Two committee meetings had been attended by the Society’s Patron, Prof.Charles Stirton of the National Botanic Garden of Wales and his authoritative knowledge and expertise had been greatly appreciated by committee members. Particular thanks were expressed to Prof.Stirton for his interest and input into the Society’s affairs. The Secretary continued by stating that the Carmarthenshire Biodiversity Action Plan was progressing with Local Habitat and Species Action Plans continuing to be written. He also drew attention to the recent NAW consultation paper on Section 74 of the CROW Act which proposes to delete some species and habitats included on the UKBAP Priority List and include some additions to produce a Welsh Principal Species BAP list. Additions would include, for example, Lapwing, Curlew, Yellowhammer and Corn Marigold, whilst deletions concern only species which do not occur in Wales. It is hoped that the Llanelli Millennium Coastal Park, in future will be run by a Trust but at present is still under the control of Carmarthenshire County Council. The Secretary congratulated Mike Smith on his appointment as Facilities Manager as nature conservation interests will now have a champion within the authority. Concerns were expressed at the proposed fish ‘research’ facility adjacent to WWT Penclacwydd proposed by coarse fishing interests whilst the construction of the sill across the entrance to Burry Port Harbour appeared to be proceeding without further hitches after the Dwarf Mallow site was disturbed at the start of the contract. We can be confident that Mike Smith will continue to monitor the situation. The Secretary reported that the horse racing track and autotechnium proposed for the Pembrey Peninsula had been diverted away (to Ffos-las and Dafen respectively) due to the high cost of raising the sea defences of the Banc-y-Lord. The Secretary concluded by echoing the Chairman in thanking our Patron, Prof.Charles Stirton, all officers, committee members and the general membership for their continuing help and support, without whom the Society could not function.
TREASURER'S REPORT: The accounts, which were adopted by those present (proposed by IKM, seconded by VL), are presented below. The Treasurer explained that there was net a loss in 2001 due to the donation made to WTWW towards the purchase of land at Ffrwd Fen. The subscription to Habitat magazine has been cancelled as its content has changed and is no longer very relevant to the Society. The paid up membership now stands at only 50 with 9 complimentary and continues to give rise to concern. Both the public liability insurance premium and affiliation to the BTCV had remained unaltered over the previous year but it is likely to increase and could double shortly, due in part to events on Sept 11th. After discussion it was resolved to retain present subscription levels for 2002 but, as in previous years, the Treasurer was given leave to raise subscriptions from January 2003, if required, which would then be ratified at the 2003 AGM. The accounts had been audited by Mrs S.Stewart;
Ffrwd Fen: RDP reported that Jacqueline Bond had recently agreed to take over as honorary warden at both Ffrwd Fen (from PAJ) and Rhos Cefn Bryn (from Jan Crowden). The WTWW had almost completed the purchase of the northern triangle and it was reported that this had only been possible due to the generous donations from the Llanelli Naturalists and by two individual Llanelli Naturalists’ members. In Sept 2001, the Environment Agency had dug out a series of ditches on the southern part of the reserve and created a small pond. The machine had also made swathes through the reed giving good access at present. Lin Gander is liasing with the EA who will be undertaking further ditch clearance in due course. It was reported that the Marsh Pea (Lathyrus palustris) was doing well and BS reported seeing good numbers of wildfowl recently. IKM told the meeting that Carmarthenshire Wildfowlers have acquired the marshes to the east of Ffrwd Fen embracing the Stoney Drain and they have applied to be included in the Tir Gofal scheme to enable them to create shallow water bodies and allow reed to spread which may be good for Cetti’s Warblers, etc. The SSSI now also includes the area to the north which Celtic Energy are attempting to dispose of.
Lliedi Reservoirs: No report received.
Factory Road, Pembrey: Tony Lewis reported that the Bloody Crane’s-bill (Geranium sanguineum) continued to flourish but the reserve continues to receive no formal management.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS AND COMMITTEE MEMBERS: Prof. Charles Stirton, Director of the National Botanic Garden of Wales continues as Patron. The following officers were elected unopposed: Mr Barry Stewart (Chairman), Mr Tony Lewis (Vice-chairman), Mr Richard Pryce (Secretary), Mrs Diana Hopkins (Treasurer). The Committee members proposed were Mrs Kath Cottingham, Mrs Edith Jones, Mrs Pat Gill, Mrs Viv Lewis, Dr Philip Jones, Messrs Ian Morgan, John Taylor, Barney Gill, Mike Smith and Andrew Stevens. As the number of vacancies on the committee equalled the number of nominations it was proposed that all be elected en bloc. This was proposed by Mrs Edith Jones and seconded by Mr Geoffrey Williams. There is currently no Wildlife Trust West Wales observer as the post previously held by Steve Lucas has not yet been filled.
ELECTION OF TRUSTEES: PAJ in absentium had raised this issue as the Charity Commission only has himself recorded as a trustee. In fact both RDP and GDVW also remain as trustees. GDVW stated that four trustees plus one reserve would be desirable in order to oversee the Society’s business so it was proposed that KAC and EJ be appointed in addition. This was proposed by AL and seconded by LC. These appointments will need to be formally documented.
BEREAVEMENT: IKM reported that a founder member, Mrs Menna Street, had passed away about two weeks previously and it was agreed to send a card to her husband, Cec.
PLANTLIFE FUNGAL SURVEY: NS reported that this survey had identified 500 sites nationally and 300 of them were ‘important sites’. A substantial number of important sites are in Carmarthenshire and include Pembrey, South Carmarthenshire Coast, Carreg Cennen, Lletty-wen and Pwll-edrychiad and in fact two fungal sites in Wales had now been proposed for notification as SSSIs. RDP said that congratulations were due to PAJ, Maurice Rotheroe and Nigel Stringer for their enthusiasm in carrying out much of this fungal research.
The meeting closed at 8.20pm and was followed by slides shown by Tony Lewis and Richard Pryce on botanical highlights of the year.
Richard Pryce (Hon.Secretary)