As previously advised we have been assisting with the preparation and final agreement of the Planning Guidelines for Apiary Values (Guidelines) with STT. We also advised on a subsequent Memorandum Of Understanding (MOU) with STT where the parties agree to cooperate and in particular inform each other and negotiate any proposed action which would change the effect of the Guidelines.
The examination of the 3 Year Plan for wood harvesting has now commenced and there have at the outset been 2 coupes where the provisions of the Guidelines have not been adhered to. After discussing these with STT and inspecting same with the relevant beekeepers STT are in the process of amending their Forest Practises Plan (FPP`s) in an attempt to meet the requirements of the Guidelines. The amendments have yet to be finalised.
Our concern over this is that these are the first two coupes examined and assessed under the Guidelines.
Further work has involved preparing an application to the Forest Practises Authority (FPA) to have the Guidelines inserted into the Forest Practises Code (FPC). A response to the application has not been received other than an acknowledgement of receipt. If this insertion was to occur it would enshrine the Guidelines permanently in law.
Of more concern is the decision by STT to not publish any more FPP`s on its website. After making representations to STT as to the provisions of the Guidelines and the MOU and their expressed intention to deal effectively with the Stakeholders of which the beekeepers are one, they have agreed that if we have any coupes in the 3 year plan for which the beekeepers require to sight FPP'S, they will send them on line to us.
While this is a partial solution, it is nowhere as efficient for us as we look for an FPP when we are examining the 3 year plan with or without the relevant beekeepers. We have previously looked for coupes on the plan and been able to immediately check the details of that coupe from the FPP on the STT website. Why do we want to have immediate access to the FPP details….. so as to check compliance with the Guidelines at the earliest time amongst other things.
We will keep you informed of the outcome of these discussions.
In the meantime we again ask that beekeepers advise of any wood harvesting activity in areas where they have sites and if necessary make an appointment with me to call and inspect the 3 year plan to identify those coupes of interest.
If any of our members reading this have not renewed their membership for 2019 to 2020 we urge you to do so as soon as possible. There is definitely strength in numbers.
We are all volunteers and get no benefit other than knowing we have slowed the destruction of the understorey in State Forest.
Bob Davey (President).
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