Under normal circumstances, we would be sending out a Notice of General Meeting. However since such gatherings are not currently permitted, the Trustees have decided to cancel the Annual General Meeting for the year to October 2019 as permitted by the Charity Commission. Please see the Accounts and Trustees Report. Any questions about those should be directed to Trustee Richard Taylor at crtaylor@btconnect.com.

However, we are pleased to advise you that plans for The Mersea Recharge are very much on track. We have the necessary consents and arranged the finance. We are now simply waiting for Harwich Harbour Authority to give the go-ahead for their dredge of the approaches to Felixstowe which will provide the material.

To summarise our current position:

The Marine Management Organisation (MMO) have issued us with a 10-year licence to carry out the recharge, with (manageable) conditions. This has cost us over £80,000 raised locally.

The Environment Agency (EA) have committed to providing £300k to finance the costs of the material and a further £52k to cover the follow-up monitoring required by MMO.

Harwich Harbour Authority have agreed to arrange the supply and placement of 98,000 cu m of material to the four Mersea sites from a Capital Dredge of Harwich Approaches increasing the depth to 15.5 or 16.5m. They expect their MMO licence imminently and are issuing tenders for the dredging work, and delivery to Mersea. We have agreed that they will bill EA directly for the costs.

RSPB have generously agreed to carry out the bird monitoring surveys specified by the MMO licence prior to and for 5 years subsequent to the recharge. Other survey work will be carried out by ourselves, the oystermen and other groups.

Mark has produced a detailed “manual” of the actions required for preparations towards the delivery of the material and subsequent monitoring.

Dougal Urquhart has joined the team to work with RSPB and coordinate the wildlife aspects.

Richard Bailey has joined the team to support Mark, Richard T and Jon F in the planning and management of the recharge process.

We are instructing our Environmental Consultant, Carol Reid, to assist us with the statutory and contractual issues of the recharge process.

HHA have applied for their licence from MMO and will be putting out tenders for the dredge including delivery of our requirement to Mersea. Although in current global trading conditions the HHA dredge project cannot be 100 % certain, they are currently hoping the final go-ahead to be confirmed in March 2021. But it could then commence without delay and probably allow the Mersea Recharge to take place in the winter of 2021/22, avoiding the key nesting and boating seasons.

In preparation, there will then be three key activities for the Trust to arrange:

Construction of the brushwood fencing to control the movement of the recharge material. This will need a team of volunteers for a work party.

Placing of navigational marks to indicate for the dredger where to unload.

A rota of oystermen to accompany each shipment to ensure that it is delivered to the correct location and on the first of the ebb tide.