The Board considered a report setting out an update in respect of the activities and achievements of the Strategic Access Management and Monitoring (SAMM) Project since May 2016. The report confirmed Natural England’s commitment to continue hosting the project for another three years until 2020. The report included updates on project staffing and recruitment, project accommodation, wardening and delivery access to SPA land, communications and promotional work, SPA monitoring and car park counts, a budget update, and SAMM project activity for the next 6 months.
Natural England to continue hosting the SAMM project
The report sought JSPB agreement to the continued hosting of the SAMM project by Natural England until July 2020.
In line with the Board’s agreement in May the staffing structure will be 6 year round wardens and 6 seasonal wardens. Sarah Bunce has been promoted to Senior Wardens. The full time wardens have all previously worked as seasonal wardens and therefore will not require training.
With regard to the use of volunteers to assist wardens Natural England raised some concern re ensuring a consistent message was given but will continue to look at this proposal for the 2017 bird nesting season. It was reported that between March and August there have been 2,694 wardening hours on the SPA sites and engagement with over 4,000 people using the SPA. In addition to the formal questionnaire to get people’s views on SANG there will also be an informal questionnaire to seek what features of SANGS are liked and what could be improved. This can then be feed back to the Local Planning Authorities and help determine how future monies are used on the sites.
Access Licenses had been agreed with a range of landowners and land managers. Work was taking place to finalise access agreements with the Ministry of Defence and wardens were making accompanied visits to MOD land until this was signed off. Sign off should be by the start of the 2017 breeding season
A meeting has been held with local representatives of the Crown Estate and a paper is to be produced to present to their senior management to make the case for allowing SAMM wardens onto Crown Estate Land. The Board in May agreed that representatives of the Crown Estate would be invited to a future Board meeting to discuss their plans for the SPA sites on their land and to try and develop a workable way forward. This remains an ACTION to be taken forward
The website, which is hosted by Horshall Common Preservation Society, but populated by Natural England and Local Authorities is now fully uploaded and will be tested over the next few weeks.
A report will be presented at a future meeting on car park counts and people counts.
i. The contents of the report be noted
ii. That Natural England should host the SAMM project for a further three years until July 2020
iii. The website should be shared with Local Authority Officers before it goes live to ensure accuracy of data and that an Officer group set up to monitor the website
iv. Members to access the website before it goes live for Member approval.