Agenda and minutes

Forest of Bowland National Landscape - Thursday, 18th April, 2024 2.00 pm

Members of the public are welcome to attend our meetings to watch them in person at any of the venues across the County. Publicly accessible meetings held in County Hall will be webcast, which means they are available to be watched live or recorded on our website. Please see our webcasting notice here. The Committee may, in certain circumstances, resolve to hold part of the meeting in private. If this is the case, you will be required to leave the meeting.

Venue: Wild Fox Distillery, Lower Barker Farm, Button Street, Inglewhite, Preston, Lancashire, PR3 2LH

Contact: Samantha Gorton 

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome, Introductions and Apologies for Absence

Minutes:

All were welcomed to the meeting, introductions made, and apologies presented on behalf of the Committee members as noted.

 

The Committee noted that Shaun Berry had replaced Michael Leah, North Yorkshire Council.

 

Alternates for this meeting were:

 

·  Sonja Ludwig for Robin Horner, RSPB

·  Mark Sutcliffe for Mike Pugh, Champion Bowland

·  Martin Charlesworth for Marilyn Pilkington, Friends of Bowland

 

The Board were also informed that Tony Lund would be replacing Elliott Lorimer as the Forest of Bowland National Landscape Partnership Manager from 1 May 2024.

 

Elliott Lorimer was thanked for all his hard work and contributions to the Forest of Bowland during his time at Lancashire County Council.

 

Debbie King, Head of Environment and Climate, Lancashire County Council and Tony Lund were welcomed as Observers to the meeting.

 

2.

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.

Minutes:

There were no disclosures of pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests.

 

3.

Minutes of the Meeting held on 19 October 2023 pdf icon PDF 199 KB

The Committee is asked to approve the minutes of the previous meeting held on 19 October 2023.

 

Minutes:

Resolved:  That the minutes of the meeting held on 19 October 2023 be confirmed and signed by the Chair.  There were no matters arising from the minutes.

 

4.

Partner Updates (Open to all)

Minutes:

Wyre Borough Council

 

Alison Boden, Wyre Borough Council provided the following update:

 

The Wyre Coast and Countryside team with its volunteers have helped to contribute to the Forest of Bowland management plan priorities and themes.  Volunteers have been involved from the local community in this work as well as working in partnership with local landowners and land managers. 

 

Engagement – A Strong Connection between People and the Landscape and Resilient and Sustainable communities:

 

·  Wyre Great Outdoors Programme 2024 – available from December 2023  – includes information on regular short walks - Garstang and Scorton, Leg-stretchers, Rivers Trust Ambles and Tramper Treks in Bleasdale as well as conservation days planned for the summer re invasive species.

·  Garstang Walking Festival 2024 – there are a good number of fully booked walks and regular bookings every day and preparation is going well – 400+ tickets have been issued on line, with around 10 activities that do not require booking.

·  The Great Outdoors Team lead and coordinate all the walks and activities in the Wyre Great Outdoors, Garstang Walking Festival, Bioblitz and Heritage Open Days – they do this in partnership with landowners, volunteers, friends of groups, Wyre Rivers Trust and the Forest of Bowland National Landscape Team.

 

Access and habitat management – An Outstanding Landscape of Natural and Cultural Heritage and Resilient and Sustainable communities:

 

·  Support of Wyre Rivers Trust natural flood management and habit work – tree planting and leaky dams.

·  Boardwalk improvements in partnership with United Utilities – Holme Wood –  dismantling of flood damaged Bridge in readiness for replacement footbridge  - on-going management of the boardwalk.

·  Public rights of way improvements in liaison with Lancashire County Council's Public Rights of Way Network Officer, Chris Gregson.

·  Focus is on the routes needed for the Garstang Walking Festival –volunteers have reconnoitred the routes and provided feedback where work is required to repair/improve the network.  Joint working between Lancashire County Council and Wyre Borough Council on the repairs/improvement as well as volunteers are being guided by the Coast and Countryside Ranger.

·  River Restoration works in partnership with landowners, Wyre Rivers Trust, Lancashire County Council and the Environment Agency:

o  Brock and Calder Landscape Recovery Project – support

o  Brock – river bank restoration following flood damage in December 2023

Ø  Using natural flood management techniques and the skills of local contractors, the eroded picnic area river bank was protected. Working with Claughton Estate and neighbouring landowners, Wyre Rivers Trust, Lancashire County Council  and liaising with the Environment Agency, the Coast and Countryside Team coordinated the works with specialist advice and support from Wyre Rivers Trust.

Ø  Working with Lancashire County Council and Wyre Rivers Trust, the Coast and Countryside service are planning picnic site improvements following the riverbank restoration works.  This will allow the public footpath to reopen and refresh the damaged picnic site and develop  interpretation for the picnic site and neighbouring ancient semi-natural woodland.

 

Biodiversity Net Gain and Nature Recovery and Climate Action

 

·  The Council's Planning Team have been working hard  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

National Landscape Partnership Budget FY2024/25 pdf icon PDF 114 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cathy Hopley, Forest of Bowland National Landscape Team, Lancashire County Council tabled a report which contained the updated National Landscape Partnership review budget for 2024/2025, which took account of Defra's AONB grant funding settlement of £259,075, which represents a 'flat cash' rollover settlement of that received for 2023/2024.

 

The Committee noted that there had been no significant change from the Budget presented at the meeting in October 2023, save that previous Craven District Council and North Yorkshire County Council contributions have now been combined under the new Unitary authority, North Yorkshire Council.

 

The Committee was also provided with two further papers which detailed projects to be supported via the 'additional pot' of funds for 2024/2025 and a breakdown of the Project Budget 2024/2025 which will assist in the delivery of the National Landscape Management Plan and the Partnership Budget 2024/2025.

 

Documents that were tabled at the meeting, are appended to the minutes.

 

Resolved:  That the Committee noted the 2025/25 revised estimates and offered comments.

 

6.

Peatland Restoration Project

Minutes:

Dom Hartley, Forest of Bowland National Landscape Team, Lancashire County Council provided the Committee with a verbal presentation on the Peatland Restoration Project.

 

This work has been mainly funded by the Peatland Restoration Grant Scheme from Defra and managed by Natural England and there has also been multiple discovery and restoration grants received.  The discovery grants are for survey work and the restoration grants are for the platform works (the restoration itself).

 

The discovery project ran from January 2022 to August 2023 and in that time surveyors covered around 15,000 hectares of the Bowland Fell Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), mainly on the upland areas and also some lowland raised bog areas and let to the creation of 22 restoration plans and 11 historic environment assessments (HEAs) which revealed at one site a lithic found, which would have been used a tool and was dated to be in between 8,000 and 10,000 years old.  Approximately £235,000 was spent to carry out that work which complimented similar survey work that United Utilities had done on their land in Bowland and within an 18 month period, most of Bowland Fell has now been covered to gain further insight into peat depth, conditions and the type of vegetation that there is which provides a baseline to measure change moving forwards.

 

Following that piece of work, there has also been two restoration grants undertaken.  Restoration one grant was awarded £1.3 million to cover four sites (166 hectares in total) of restoration and the carbon calculations on those sites estimated that over 50 years, 115,000 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent would be saved (1 ton = 6,000 miles in a diesel vehicle).  Approximately £4 million has been spent on peatland restoration and approximately £900,000 has been cash matched (from the Grosvenor Estate, United Utilities and Wyre Rivers Trust).  Work is continuing with the Wyre Catchment Partnership and there are 2/3 sites this year at the top of the Wyre catchment which has enabled further funding.

 

It was also noted that monies had been secured to fund three permanent members of staff for a Lancashire Peat Partnership, which will be scaled up and formalised and will report countywide, instead of reporting only on the work that is happening in Bowland and consolidate reports on a larger scale.

 

Resolved:  The Committee noted the verbal report.

 

7.

National Landscape Team Activity Report (Oct 2023 - April 2024) pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Hetty Byrne, Cathy Hopley, Sarah Robinson, Nichola Gill and Sandra Silk, Forest of Bowland National Landscape, Lancashire County Council presented the Team Activity Report (October 2023-April 2024) that had been circulated with the agenda.  Further information can be found in the report on a wide variety of topics, such as:

 

·  Nature Recover Plan (download www.forestofbowland.com/nature-recovery)

·  Farming in Protected Landscapes Programme (www.forestofbowland.com/farming-protected-landscapes)

·  Forest of Bowland Farmer Group

·  Quernmore and Conder Valley – Landscape Enhancement Initiative

·  Traditional Boundaries

·  Regenerative Agriculture and Net Zero: North Yorkshire Research

·  Eco Escapes (www.discoverbowland.uk/activities/ecoescapes/map/)

·  A Diamond Year to Discover Bowland (www.forestofbowland.com/discover-bowland-guide-0)

·  Days to Remember

·  Festival Bowland (www.forestofbowland.com/festival-bowland)

·  Diamonds in the Landscape

·  Nature Calling (www.forestofbowland.com/nature-calling)

·  Access for All (www.forestofbowland.com/access-all)

Ø  Removing Barriers: Access for All Funding

Ø  Access Land

Ø  Promoted Routes

 

Following the update the following comments/queries were raised:

 

·  Councillor Anna Hindle, Preston City Council requested further information with regards to the Educational Farm Access – Sarah Robinson agreed to contact Councillor Anna Hindle following the meeting.

·  Councillor Anna Hindle also requested contact details with regards to an orchard in Ribbleton, Preston.  Debbie King, Lancashire County Council agreed to email Councillor Anna Hindle with contact details for the Treescapes Team.

·  Councillor John Ibison, Wyre Borough Council commended the Newsletter which is received quarterly and pulls together farming information both locally and nationally and stated that this is well received in the farming community.

·  In terms of the Landscape Recovery Report, this will feed into the evidence base of the Lancashire Nature Recovery Strategy.

·  There was a recent consultation on Lancashire Nature Recovery Strategy and 963 responses had been received and was currently the highest response so far in the country.  A summary of the results will be shared at the next JAC meeting in October 2024.

·  The timeframe for the Lancashire Nature Recovery Strategy publication is March 2025, however a further announcement from Defra is awaited in terms of when the implementation will take place following the publication and to agree the priorities for Lancashire with stakeholders.

·  The Bowland Nature Recovery Plan will also feed into the Lancashire Nature Recovery Strategy.

·  There is a need to ensure that Bowland information and assets are reflected in the Lancashire wide strategy as currently, it is felt they are not and it is important to have discussion now to ensure, peatlands, grasslands, habitats, farmlands are well represented in the strategy.

·  The next step is to turn the strategic plan (Lancashire Nature Recovery Plan) into a delivery plan for Lancashire and in the meantime, there is a lot of groundwork that needs doing in terms of checking information that is already held and whether it is still current.

·  To have the Lancashire Nature Recovery Strategy as a standing item for future meetings of the JAC.

·  Councillor Rosie Elms, Ribble Valley Council suggested that Hetty Byrne, Forest of Bowland National Landscape Team, Lancashire County Council to contact Tom Pridmore, with regards the Ribble Valley Foodie Trail  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Three Counties: One River, Stage 1 Bid to National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF)

Minutes:

Cathy Hopley, Forest of Bowland National Landscape Team, Lancashire County Council reported that a bid had been put forward to the National Lottery Heritage Fund (NLHF) for the Lune Valley part of Bowland (Caton to Kirby Lonsdale).  The Forest of Bowland National Landscape Team have been working in partnership with the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and the Yorkshire Dales National Park to submit a collective bid which unfortunately was turned down.  A lot of feedback has been received as to why the bid failed (mostly positive) and subsequently were then strongly encouraged to re-apply for those funds or something similar in the future.  In the meantime National Lottery Heritage Fund have updated their strategy and funding criteria, so the new system which to apply under is slightly different with a change in priorities.  The funding bid will be revisited collectively with the Yorkshire Dales Millennium Trust and the Yorkshire Dales National Park and with a particular focus on strengthening partnerships and consultation with communities looking at what their needs are as well as focussing on young people.   If the bid is successful, it is hoped the work will commence by the end of the year and this will then allow a Stage 1 Bid to commence next year and subsequently then move to a development phase.

 

In the meantime, the National Lottery Heritage Fund are introducing a funding stream for landscapes so the Team may look to apply to that instead of the general scheme for the funding.

 

Resolved:  That the Board noted the verbal report and that further updates will be brought to future meetings.

 

9.

Urgent Business

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.

 

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business received.

 

10.

Date of Next Meeting

The proposed dates and provisional locations for the Committee meetings to be held in 2024/25 are:

 

10 October 2024, North Yorkshire, venue to be confirmed

3 April 2025, Ribble Valley, venue to be confirmed

 

Minutes:

10 October 2024, North Yorkshire, venue to be confirmed.

3 April 2025, Ribble Valley, venue to be confirmed.