Agenda and minutes
Venue: Melling Institute, Hornby Road, Melling, LA6 2RA
Contact: Samantha Gorton
Welcome, Introductions and Apologies for Absence
County Councillor Albert Atkinson welcomed all to the meeting.
Apologies were presented on behalf of the Committee members and officers listed above.
Disclosure of Pecuniary Interests
Members are asked to consider any Pecuniary Interests they may have to disclose to the meeting in relation to matters under consideration on the Agenda.
There were no disclosures of pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests.
Resolved: That the Minutes of the meeting held on 19 October 2017 were agreed as a correct record following the amendment on page 4, Item 9 AONB Unit Activity Report, first bullet point – change the word 'hectors' to 'hectares'. There were no matters arising from them.
There was an issue raised regarding road signs in the Goosnargh area being pushed round to face the wrong way and that a more secure fastening was required to stop this happening.
Resolved: That County Councillor Atkinson agreed to speak to the Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport regarding this issue.
The situation for birds of prey, and in particular the hen harrier, in Bowland was raised. Elliott Lorimer, Lancashire County Council commented that he was aware of the on-going prosecution for case involving persecution of peregrine falcons in Bowland. James Bray, RSPB reported that hen harriers have been sighted in and around Bowland more this spring, however was unable to say anymore on this and the prosecution. He also reported that a pair of peregrines had been seen on Pendle Hill recently.
Planning Policy in Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB)
Short presentation from David Porter, Lancaster City Council, followed by questions and answers.
David Porter, Lancaster City Council gave a short presentation on the planning policy in the AONB.
There was a proposal in 2013 that Lancaster and South Lakeland Councils develop a Local Plan for Arnside and Silverdale AONB.
On 28 February 2018, two councils submitted the final plan and the hearings are planned for June 2018. There would be one joint plan for the AONB and the test will be to see if it succeeds at examination.
For the Arnside and Silverdale Local Plan, the City Council had made a call for potential development sites. 130 sites had been put forward for development. A detailed analysis of these sites was made, which particularly considered the impact on the landscape if such a site was to be developed. Of the 130 sites assessed, nine had been put forward for inclusion in the Local Plan.
There were 15 accompanying planning policies for Arnside and Silverdale which had been jointly commissioned, assessed and written by both Councils.
Some of these policies could be applicable to the Forest of Bowland.
Work on developing policy statements had been progressed by David and members of the AONB Funders Group, working closely with local planning authorities. These statements could be formally adopted by the JAC at a later stage and made available for local planning authorities to consider when required to review their Local Plans in the future.
Resolved: i) That David Porter be thanked for his presentation.
ii) That David Porter report back at the next meeting on the planning inspectors report following the examination.
Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) Partner Updates
Alison Boden updated the Committee on the Garstang Walking Festival, with many of the events in the Festival having been included in the Discover Bowland brochure. Alison reported that health and wellbeing was a big part of the festival's agenda and it was very important to residents as well as visitors. Training courses had also been undertaken by volunteers on helping to survey and maintain Public Rights of Way.
Wyre Council staff and volunteers had been working with AONB to produce a new interpretation panel for the Brock Valley. Some changes had been required due to significant flooding events affecting some of the routes, making some walking routes impassable.
Elliott Lorrimer presented a report on the revised and updated budget for 2018/19 which took account of the protected AONB funding settlement agreed by Defra in January 2016.
There was a significant increase in salary costs in the revised budget from the position presented in October 2017. This reflected the additional costs of establishing two part-time positions as follows:
· AONB Countryside Access Officer (0.5fte)
· AONB Farming and Wildlife Officer (0.4fte)
The positions had been created to help address the loss of support previously provided to the AONB Partnership by Lancashire County Council Environment and Community Officers who helped to deliver aspects of the AONB Management Plan.
The budget allowed for £69,649 for an annual programme of projects to help deliver the AONB management plan. Elliott emphasised that the 'Projects' budget would continue to be used by the AONB Unit to attract additional external income to supplement the Partnership budget and help to deliver the AONB Management Plan.
The Committee requested that an item for information on the AONB Unit structure be added to the agenda for the next meeting.
Elliott also informed the Committee that the lease for the offices in Dunsop Bridge ends in September 2019 and future accommodation options for all AONB staff (including Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership Team) would be investigated from late 2018.
Resolved: i) That the revised AONB budget for 2018/19 be noted
ii) That there is an item on the next agenda with regards an update on the AONB Unit structure.
a) AONB Management Plan Review
b) AONB Unit Activity Report
Including presentation on headline achievements over the last six months.
c) AONB Unit Business Plan 2018/19
a) AONB Management Plan Review
Elliott Lorimer informed the Committee that the review was ongoing and that a Management Plan Review Group had been established and an online survey was going live from today and would be available for all to offer their views on the AONB and the work of the Partnership. This was the link to the survey and it was out for consultation until 25 May 2018.
The first working draft of the plan would be in June, then a refined and final draft would be available in September/October when formal consultation would take place for approximately 6-8 weeks and the local authorities would be asked to comment.
Resolved: That Elliott Lorimer would keep the Committee updated on the progress of the Management Plan.
b) AONB Unit Activity Report
Sandra Silk gave on update on the activities the AONB Unit had carried out in the last six months and highlighted areas from the report that was attached to the agenda.
· Peat Restoration – Hawthornthwaite was at the top of the catchment between Langden Brook and the Wyre. An area of deep peat which has had additional gully re-profiling and re-wetting followed by re-seeding with grass seed and heather brash. A film about the peat work on Abbeystead Estate had been produced and would be available on the AONB website in the very near future.
· Hedge laying – Nine training sessions were held during the 2017/2018 season involving 38 people. 424 metres of hedge was laid over four sites at Crook O'Lune, Lancaster, Fell View Camp Site, Scorton; Higher Gills Farm Rimington and Lane Side Farm, West Bradford. Next season, they were looking to focus some sessions on young people – especially the Young Farmers group – as encouragement was needed for the hedge layers and trainers of tomorrow.
· Bowland Experience – Bowland Experience Limited closed as a company at the end of 2017 but the Bowland Sustainable Tourism Network would remain active in its place.
· Cluster Business Leaflets reproduced – this was due to popular demand – Gisburn Forest Bike Trails and Teashops and Villages in Bowland. The Gisburn Forest and Stocks leaflet had been updated to include wider visitor information for the businesses that had made contributions to be included in the listings. The Teashops and Villages leaflet now included more village information including history and walking opportunities – encouraging people to stay and explore.
· Training for Bowland Experience Members Autumn/Winter 2017-2018 - Opportunities included two social media workshops run by Salar Media at the Shireburn Arms in October 2017 and Wyreside Lake Fisheries in January 2018. 12 business attended in all. Also a Sense of Place/Know your AONB workshop was held at Holmes Mill in Clitheroe for managers of James' Places business.
· Annual Sustainable Tourism Forum – this was held at Browsholme Hall's Tithe Barn in November 2017. The focus was a celebration of achievements of Bowland Experience and Champion Bowland over the past decade. A link to the film can be found ... view the full minutes text for item 8.
The report circulated with the agenda provided an update on key areas of policy work being progressed by the National Association for AONBs to strengthen and raise the profile of AONB Partnerships at a national level particularly within Government.
There are two main parts to the policy:
i) Statement of commitment
ii) Proposal to commission a review
A Green Future: Our 25 Year Environment Plan for the Future
The Plan sets out the Government's goals for improving the environment, within a generation, and leaving it in a better state that was found. The plan formed the culmination of over two years work and consultation with environmental bodies, including close work with the National Association for AONB (NAAONB).
The NAAONB were in early discussions with the Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs and Natural England about the proposed review and would be fed back to the AONB Partnerships and Conservation Board as it progressed.
Health and Harmony: the future for food, farming and the environment in a Green Brexit
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) was currently inviting views on the Government's proposals for future agricultural policy. The consultation was the first step towards a new agricultural policy outside of the EU with the intention of securing a "bright future for farming and the environment".
The NAAONB had again been working closely with Defra in the development of these early proposals and in particular the nature of and delivery mechanisms for future Environmental Land Management Schemes outside of the EU. The NAAONB had presented an offer to Defra focused on using our statutory Management Plans as the framework for identifying priorities upon which any future schemes should focus within our individual AONBs.
Environmental Land Management Schemes
The main proposal of 'Health and Harmony' was a new agricultural policy that would be underpinned by payment of public money for the provision of public goods to include environmental enhancement and protection, better animal and plant health, animal welfare, improved public access, rural resilience and productivity.
Resolved: That the Committee:
i) Noted the AAONB update report and offered comments.
ii) Approved the AONB Principal Officer to continue liaising with and assisting the NAAONB on key policy work, in particular bidding for delivery pilots for the new Environmental Land Management schemes within AONBs.
The report as attached to the agenda, provided an update on progress in establishing the Pendle Hill Lancashire Partnership (PHLP) scheme, following the successful Stage 2 application to the Heritage Lottery Fund approved in December 2017.
It was agreed to have a partnership update as a standing item on future agendas of the Committee.
Resolved: i) That the update report on the Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership be noted.
ii) That a standing item be added to future agendas of the Committee on Pendle Hill Landscape Partnership updates.
An item of Urgent Business may only be considered under this heading where, by reason of special circumstances to be recorded in the minutes, the Chairman of the meeting is of the opinion that the item should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency. Wherever possible, the Chief Executive should be given advance warning of any Members' intention to raise a matter under this heading.
25 Year Environment Plant Northern Forest
Elliott Lorimer reported that he had received a letter from Pendle Borough Council on the Government's 25 year Environment Plan's proposal for a Great Northern Forest and that Lancashire had not been included in the plan. Following discussion with Pendle Borough Council, they were proposing to seek support for the inclusion of the County from Forest of Bowland AONB Partnership.
Resolved: That the Committee approved to support Pendle Borough Council should they decide to progress with this proposal. Elliott Lorimer agreed to write to Pendle Borough Council to offer the Committee's support.
National Grid Landscape Enhancement Initiative
This was a £24 million fund managed by National Grid available to AONBs and National Parks affected by large, high voltage overhead powerlines. The fund will consider proposals to improve the condition of the landscape and some AONBs had been successful in gaining funding to support creation and management of hedgerows, dry stone walls and generally enhancing the landscape close to the overhead lines.
Resolved: That the Committee agreed for the AONB Unit to progress a potential bid to the National Grid Landscape Enhancement Initiative.
Date of Next Meeting
Members are asked to consider the following provisional dates for future meetings of the Committee:
Thursday, 18 October 2018 (Pendle venue to be confirmed)
Thursday, 18 April 2019 (Wyre venue to be confirmed)
The Committee noted that the next meeting would be held on:
Thursday, 25 October 2018 in Pendle District
Thursday, 18 April 2019 in Wyre District.
The proposed date of Thursday, 18 April 2019 in Wyre will need to be rescheduled. The Committee will be informed when a new date has been agreed.