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  • Harriet Bell

First Meeting of the Dartmoor Test and Trial Project Board

Notes from he first meeting of the Dartmoor Test & Trial (T&T) Project Board (PB) which took place via video call on the 20th May.


All members were present: Russell Ashford (DHFP), Eamon Crowe (NE), Philip French (DaCC), Chris Giles (DNPA), Tom Stratton (DCOA) and John Waldon (independent & Chair). Kevin Bishop (DNPA) for part and Harriet Bell, Dartmoor ELMs Project Officer, in attendance.


1. It was agreed that:


• Other than the independent Chair every member of the board is there as a representative rather than in an individual capacity. Should there ever be any conflict of interest they will be declared. Substitutes will not normally be allowed.

• A note will be provided after each meeting and made available on the Hill Farm Project website (items will only be excluded if a specific request for confidentiality is made).

• It was noted that representation from landowners other than owners of common land may need to be considered. A landowner group or meeting to compliment the Advisory Team is for future discussion.


2. Dartmoor T & T update:


Advisory Team had met twice. Note of meetings will be made available. All four objectives to be developed. Changes to delivery programme anticipated, await Defra decisions.


Communication is key, recognising a range of audiences including the Dartmoor farming community and further afield with other projects and organisations, including Defra.


3. Budget:


Some flexibility within each FY and potentially between budget heads. The facilitator/running costs includes overheads and contribution to management costs.


There is a budget to support farmer involvement in the process. It was agreed that it’s important farmer’s time is valued but budget limitation means that funding should be targeted at specific activities. Agreed to see how the situation around COVID 19 develops and adapt as necessary.


4. Review of project papers:


Discussion of the two draft working papers on Natural Capital and Payment by Results was postponed for a later meeting.


Action: Board members to provide comments on both papers. All direct to Harriet.


5. Update from Advisory Team:


There was concern that the Project Officer has to Chair, participate in and minute the Advisory Team. The Board suggested that they would be guided by Harriet and it may be useful if additional support is considered.


6. Project Officer Request


Harriet submitted a request to the Project Board for advice/suggestions/opportunities/contacts of businesses who could be approached to work with the Test and Trial on developing a blended finance approach.


Action: All to make suggestions direct to Harriet.

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