Posts Tagged ‘South Efford marsh’


With the recent enhanced focus on global warming and climate change, you may be interested to find out more about the role of salt marshes, such as those abundant in the Avon Estuary, and other coastal ecosystems in sequestering carbon.  Check the following link for more information and a brief video:-

Clearly, these important habitats deserve the highest level of protection on a global AND local scale.

Consultation about designating the Devon Avon Estuary as a new Marine Conservation Zone

DEFRA is consulting until 20th July 2018 about designating new Marine Conservation Zones, seeking any fresh information that might influence the decision.  The summary sheet for the Avon Estuary proposal is available here – Devon Avon Estuary Factsheet

At present, the proposal does not include South Efford Marsh or the full extension of the Bass Nursery Zone out to Burgh Island.

The ACA, unsurprisingly, fully supports such a designation and our suggested modifications as a means of protecting the marine life of the estuary from unwarranted change, development or exploitation.

Our formal response is available for inspection here :- MCZ – Devon Avon Estuary

DEFRA reply – All responses will be considered before Ministers make their final decisions on which sites will be designated in the third tranche. We aim to designated this tranche within 12 months. Final decisions on which sites will be designated will take into account any relevant information submitted as part of this consultation. We will publish details of evidence received and a full Government response to these together with the final decisions on each site within 12 months. This will be placed on the consultations section of the Government web site.


DECEMBER 2014 – Newsletter

Click here for a brief account of recent ACA activities – December 2014 Newsletter[4]

South Efford Marsh with Maya Plass and Aveton Gifford school children

Maya at SEM

The culmination of Maya Plass’s exploration of South Efford marsh with children from Aveton Gifford primary school took place on Thursday 5th June following a series of workshops during early summer.   Here, Maya revises some of the key learning points with the children at an open afternoon for members of the Aune Conservation Association (who sponsored the workshops) and parents.



The Environment Agency (EA) responded to the community’s recent rejection of their revised plan for the flooding of South Efford Marsh (SEM) with a renewed drive to push ahead with the plan, in a probable collaboration with the Devon Wildlife Trust as managing partner.    The plan has now been elaborated in slightly more detail and can be read by clicking here - SEM – EA Summary of points051110 .    The area which the EA hopes to flood is depicted in the figure below, which shows the planned flood depth with salt water,  and in the diagram showing habitat type to be created and the proposed hide location (click here) proposed Habitat Creation .

The ACA’s committee has unanimously rejected these more detailed plans because much remains unclear.   The plans do not address our original  objections about a) the uncertain, wider environmental outcomes of the project  and b) the absurdity of destroying a well established BAP habitat (freshwater grazing marsh) to create a new one (salt marsh), over what might be a very extended period of time,  solely in order to meet a national EA target for new salt marsh creation.      Furthermore, the proposed freshwater ‘scrapes’ will be susceptible to ‘poaching’ by grazing cattle, unless fenced securely, and could become stagnant and unattractive to wildlife without a source of flowing fresh water. 

Gary Streeter MP and others are also very concerned about the waste of public funds at a time of cut-backs which will have widespread repercussions, some of which will include other environmental projects with, arguably, greater importance and urgency e.g. flood protection.

However, in a private meeting, Aveton Gifford Parish Council (in whose area the marsh lies) has now decided to welcome the latest scheme as a potentially attractive public amenity within their parish.  Whether this represents an acceptable level of public support for endorsement of the project is a moot point!   The PC did add the following caveats, as summarised below in italics :-

The proposal to proceed has a number of riders attached and was passed unanimously.
1) The aspect and consideration of Flood Risk by EA’s Development Control should include consultation with those Bridge End residents close to South Efford Marsh at road level and lower. We understand that there would be no increase in flood risk by flooding South Efford Marsh; and that particularly the most affected local resident should approve any additional work through walls and moats to help stabilise the risk to his property.
2) That the EA look at the current sewage arrangements for South Efford House. There is a licence for permitted discharge. The location of the current septic tank should be assessed. The need for different and renewed arrangements, bearing in mind the Planning Application for expansion should be reviewed.
3) The Parish Council, through their appointed representatives (say two people) wish to be included in the forward planning and decision making process to bring local knowledge to bear, and to add a liaison point for the project.
4) The Parish Council to be informed and approve the lease that is created with managing partners.

We can only hope that the Parish Council’s confidence in the scheme will be justified and that we shall not all be left with a lifeless sea of mud, or worse, for the foreseeable future.