PRESENT: Mr.B.Stewart (outgoing Chairman), Mr.R.D.Pryce (Secretary), Mrs.D.Hopkins (Treasurer), Mrs.S.Stewart (Hon. Auditor) and eleven voting members.

APOLOGIES were received from Mr.Tony Jenkins, Ms.M.Dunn (Conservation Officer, WTSWW), Dr.G.Hutchinson, Mr.J.Taylor and Mr.M.Smith.

The MINUTES of the 2002 Annual General Meeting (reproduced in Newsletter no 68) were adopted and signed without amendment.

MATTERS ARISING: Dr.P.A.Jones (PAJ) reported that the Charity Commission may propose to change the rules relating to charities and that the Llanelli Naturalists may too small to remain as a registered charity in future.

CHAIRMAN’S STATEMENT: The Chairman welcomed all those present to this, the 29th AGM of the Llanelli Naturalists. He thanked all the Officers and Committee Members. 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 nine field meetings including one joint meeting with the Wildlife Trust for South and West Wales. Indoor meetings had included talks on Central Africa, Malawi, Carmarthenshire Woodlands and Highlights of Wales. Most of the outdoor meetings had  been well attended and all were well enjoyed. Newsletter no.68 had been produced during the year, only one edition, due to the Secretary’s increasingly busy schedule. Bulletin no 6 was published in October 2002 and the next (Bulletin no.7)  would not be published for at least six months as no papers had yet been received. The Secretary asked those on e-mail who wished to be reminded of each meeting to supply him with their e-mail address. He continued by stating that the Local Biodiversity Action Plan was progressing and he welcomed Ms.Isobel Macho who had recently been appointed as full time Biodiversity Officer by Carmarthenshire County Council. He also drew attention to the list of BAP habitats and species included under Section 74 of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act, recently launched by the National Assembly (see Secretary’s Notes, opposite).  The Secretary had recently submitted observations on the Draft Deposit Unitary Development Plan on behalf of Llanelli Naturalists and had received an acknowledgement. He continued by how disappointed he was at the way in which Carmarthenshire County Council had handled biodiversity issues concerning various developments, in particular at Burry Port and also expressed his concern at the general loss of biodiversity as a result of the development of the Millennium Coastal Park, particularly the leasing of  water-bodies to fishing interests, despite having originally been designated for wildlife enhancement.  The Secretary concluded by echoing the Chairman in thanking the Society’s Patron, Prof.Charles Stirton, all officers, especially the Treasurer, Mrs Diana Hopkins, Committee Members, the Hon. Auditor, Mrs Sandra Stewart, and the general membership for their continuing help and support, without whom the Society could not function.

TREASURER'S REPORT: The accounts, which were received and adopted by those present  having been proposed by Tony Lewis and seconded by Barry Stewart, are presented below. The Treasurer explained that there was net a loss of £24.49 in 2002 due to the increase in insurance costs when BTCV, through whom we obtained our insurance, had their insurance cover withdrawn so the Society had to find alternative cover which cost substantially more. BTCV has now had its insurance restored and it is likely that the Society will return to having insurance provided through BTCV when it becomes due for renewal. It will be a similar cost to the present but the cover will be more comprehensive. The paid up membership now stands at 57 with 8 complimentary and losses continue to give rise for concern.  After discussion it was resolved to retain present subscription levels for 2003 but, as in previous years, the Treasurer was given leave to raise subscriptions from January 2004, if required, which would then be ratified at the 2004 AGM.  The accounts had been audited by Mrs S.Stewart.

RESERVE REPORTS

Ffrwd Fen: PAJ reported that hay had been cut and taken off promptly and that cattle had grazed the aftermath for a short time, although there had been no cattle on the Waun-cae-Phillip field.  The Marsh Pea had flowered well in 2002 particularly where the Environment Agency’s  ditch-clearing machinery had tracked across the reedbed.  There had been no active wardening nor input from the Wildlife Trust.  Much fly-tipping had occurred from the layby recently with rubbish thrown down the steep bank onto the reserve.  PAJ reported that very recently he had observed a Council road cleaning lorry in the lay-by tipping its contents down the embankment onto the Nature Reserve but the driver had assured him that it was only leaves and clean waste. The meeting felt that a fence was urgently needed and Dr R.N.Stringer felt that CCW could use its powers to insist on this and that only a tall and robust chain link fence would be effective.  The following day the Council were observed to be clearing the rubbish, including the road-cleanings which had been used to form a low bund at the edge of the lay-by. In so doing the hedge had been damaged leaving a gap of some 20m. PAJ then reported his discovery of a rare honey fungus, Armellaria ectypa, at the reserve, only the second British record for the species. It was thought that more contact was needed with the Wildlife Trust concerning the Reserve and that Derek Moore, the Trust’s Director,  should be asked to give a talk in the autumn.

Lliedi Reservoirs:   No report received.

Factory Road, Pembrey: Tony Lewis reported that new fencing had been erected but that grazing is needed to prevent the grassland from becoming any more rank..

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 Tony Lewis (Chairman), Mr Andrew Stevens (Vice-chairman), Mr Richard Pryce (Secretary), Mrs Diana Hopkins (Treasurer). The Committee Members proposed were Mrs Kath Cottingham, Mrs Pat Gill, Mrs Edith Jones, Mrs Viv Lewis, Mrs Lorraine Corscadden,  Dr Philip Jones, Messrs Barney Gill, Ian Morgan, Mike Smith and Barry Stewart.  All were elected  unopposed. Mrs Sandra Stewart was again elected to the post of Honorary Auditor. There is currently no Wildlife Trust for South and West Wales observer on the Llanelli Naturalists Committee. Ms.Isabel Macho, Carmarthenshire County Council’s newly appointed Biodiversity Officer had also been nominated for membership of the Committee but had reluctantly declined as she felt that as an employee of the local authority employed as Biodiversity Officer she obviously had to be aware of any potential conflicts of interest  that could compromise her position.

There was no OTHER BUSINESS.

The meeting closed at 8.20pm and was followed by slides shown by Dr Philip Jones on his discovery of the UKBAP fungus Armellaria ectypa at Ffrwd (see p.10 of this Newsletter), then by Richard Pryce on the proposed route of the Burry Port Southern Distributor Road and finally, a series of slides of miscellaneous fungi which were described by PAJ and Nigel Stringer and also prompted debate from the floor.

Richard Pryce (Hon.Secretary)