Minutes of Annual General Meeting Tuesday 28th May 2019 7.30pm at West Mersea Yacht Club, West Mersea 

Attendees: Kieran Alexander (RSPB), Allan Bird (Trustee), Ian Crossley, Jane Dixon (secretary), Mark Dixon (Trustee), Jonathan French (Trustee), Howard Hill, Roger Lankester, Alan Mogridge (Trustee), David Moore, Pat Moore, Mark Nowells (RSPB), Simon Plater (Trustee), Richard Taylor (Trustee), Faith Tippett, Dougal Urquhart


  1. Apologies
  2. Welcome
  3. Minutes of previous AGM.
  4. To elect Trustees in place of Mr A Bird, Mr M Dixon, Mr J French, Mr A Mogridge, Mr S Plater, Mr D Stoker and Mr R Taylor who retire as per the rules of the constitution, and are willing to stand again.
  5. To receive the Trustee’s Report for the year ended 31 October 2018
  6. To receive the Accounts for the year ended 31 October 2018
  7. Succession Management – Construction and monitoring
  8. Powerpoint presentation entitled on local archaeology.
  9. To fix the place of the next Ordinary General Meeting.
  10. Any Other Business



Apologies for Absence
Robert Davidson, Richard Haward, Richard Matthews, Bry Mogridge.

By Richard Taylor.

Minutes of AGM 28.5.18
Proposed  – Allan Bird, Seconded – Simon Plater.

Standing of Trustees, in rotation
Mr A Bird, Mr M Dixon, Mr J French, Mr A Mogridge, Mr S Plater, Mr D Stoker, Mr R Taylor all retired and were re-elected. Proposed: Ian Crossley, Seconded: David Moore, agreed unanimously.

Trustee’s Report
Meeting with Harwich Haven Authority (HHA) all very positive and committed. Final decisions not confirmed but they are moving ahead to do the dredge. It should be noted that HHA has a legal obligation to find beneficial uses for dredgings but do not legally have to go ahead with the beneficial use, this is the British government’s interpretation of the European ruling on beneficial use. They aim to have their application with the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) by June 2019 and hope to have approval by the end of the year, tender early 2020 and dredge 2021.

Ideally, the recharge would happen in the spring or autumn of 2021, the Spring would be preferable to the MHPT as fewer boats in the water and the birds (namely little terns and ring plovers) will not have started nesting or may be prevented in areas affected. The MHPT application to the MMO took 18 months and cost £83,000 and in March the licence was granted for 10 years. The Trust is indebted to Essex County Council, Essex Community Foundation, West Mersea Town Council, the Mersea Moorings Association, Environment Agency and others from whom the money was raised.

The Environment Agency have agreed to consider funding of £352,000, of which £300,000 is for supply and transport of material and £52,000 for post-placement monitoring. They are however still trying to get the money from central government and Mark Dixon has been helping them with their Business Case.

The pre-placement monitoring has been undertaken and will continue for five years post the recharge placement. The RSPB have been a great support doing the bird monitoring and we are very fortunate to now have Dougal Urquhart on board who is liaising between MHPT, the RSPB and the Little Tern group.

Volunteers will be needed for building the brushwood fences and assisting with the placement and management.

The MHPT trustees are conscious that they do not have the resources or skills to complete the project and they may fall by the wayside. To this end, Mark Dixon has put together a succession management plan stating all that needs to be done up to the end of the five-year monitoring and how to do it. The Trust is, therefore, looking for volunteers with some relevant background to the project to shadow/take over.

Crown Estates who own three of the sites to be recharged have now themselves had to become to some extent self-funding. They are therefore now charging for placing of recharge material.  If this is being done for coastal defence there is no charge however if there is a social-economic gain then there is a charge of £1.65/m3. The MHPT are caught in the middle as the recharge is for coastal defence but to get the money from the Environment Agency they had to prove socio-economic gain. Mark Dixon has therefore given Crown Estates a full break down of the funding and match funding.  If they do decide to charge this amount to a cost of approximately £150,000, the raising of which may well end the project. Crown Estates may, however, feel that the ensuing press releases from MHPT may be enough to consider substantial fee reduction.

No questions.

Annual Accounts
Richard Taylor put up on the screen a spreadsheet summary of the accounts 2014-2018, showing total income of £87737.00 and outgoings of £82947.00 giving a balance of £4790.00.

Proposal to accept the accounts Ian Crossley seconded David Moore, all agreed.

There is currently no immediate income due or expenditure to pay but should something arise there may be a need to seek further contributions.

Ian Crossley is kindly donating £1000.00 on behalf of the Mersea Island Society. Thanks were given for this kind gesture.

Roger Lankaster asked if the financial contributions in kind had been quantified? Answer. Yes, match funding has totalled £190,000.00 of which £24,000 is down to the RSPB.

There was at this point a change to the order of the Agenda.

Date and place of next AGM
Date and place to be notified nearer the time.

Simon Plater requested a thank you to Richard Taylor and Mark Dixon for all their time and effort be Minuted.

Richard Taylor asked thanks to be passed on to Louisa Tippett for producing the accounts free of charge.

Roger Lankaster using a slide showing Tollesbury Wick and Old Hall Marshes commented that in Epoch 3 (2055) Environment Agency Shoreline Management Plan these sites were proposed areas for managed realignment by which time sea level rise would be about 0.2m. The Environment Agency have been asked to re-consider this option as Old Hall is classified as ancient grazing marsh.

If these areas are realigned the land would become mudflats and potentially make Tollesbury’s marine assets unviable and expose Mersea Harbour. If the land inside these areas could be raised this would create salt marshes and help ease tidal action. Plans to do this work would need to be started soon as it would take decades to create. The RSPB own this land and would have to be involved in this decision.

Mark Dixon responded that the MHPT could not get involved as only a small group but would be happy to write a letter of support. Seawalls are not going to be raised as they can only go so high and clay seawalls are quite resistant. He would support the idea of raising up the areas inside Old Hall and Tollesbury Wick and if using dredgings to build up the ground in these areas, this could work effectively.

There is no easy solution as tidal rise due to be 18” by 2060 then accelerates and in 200 years could be 7m in which case London and New York are no longer. Need to also think about carbon usage.

The recharge being proposed will help slow down the deterioration of these areas and manage the sea level rise. The RSPB currently have a maintain as necessary policy.

Meeting closed at 8.15pm.

The meeting was followed by a talk by Mark Dixon on the changing coastline and how it has affected the archaeological findings on the mudflats around Mersea.