Agenda and minutes
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Venue: Aldern House, Baslow Road, Bakewell, DE45 1AE
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Roll Call of Members Present, Apologies for Absence and Members Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest from Members.
The minutes of the previous meeting held on 21 January 2022 were agreed as a correct record.
There was no urgent business.
To note any questions or to receive any statements, representations, deputations and petitions which relate to the published reports on Part A of the Agenda.
No members of the public had given notice to make representations to the committee.
Cllr Furness requested clarification as the item was on the agenda as ‘for decision’ but there was no decision to make. The Chair confirmed that the item was for information only.
Cllr Greaves arrived at the meeting at 10.10.
The report was introduced by the Head of Landscape who highlighted the main areas of the work via a short presentation and how it fitted with the National Park Management Plan.
The Farming in Protected Landscapes (FIPL) Lead Engagement Officer introduced the second part of the presentation which gave more detail regarding the ongoing FiPL programme and highlighted several projects within the Peak District National Park. It was noted that there are more projects in the Peak District National Park than other Protected Landscapes across the country. A summary update of progress for the financial year 2022/23 has been provided to Defra and is also provided as one of the appendices to the report.
It was confirmed that support was possible for projects outside the National Park boundary if the positive benefit to the National Park could be demonstrated, such as a project supporting Curlew populations.
Members thanked the FIPL Lead Engagement Officer for an excellent presentation.
Clarification regarding the number of land holdings in the National Park was sought. Officers explained that Defra records show 1,474 “commercial” holdings with a definition of commercial holding, whereas the National Park Authority had records of all holdings Officers have worked with which totals over 3,000 holdings. However, due to the changing nature of holdings and short term lets of land it is a complicated picture. The National Park Authority database had been used as the source for sending out the newsletters and the recently formed Peak Farmers Group was also being used to communicate with farmers that were not normally easily reached.
Members expressed concerns regarding sufficient resources. The Head of Landscape clarified that Defra provided an allowance that allowed for the team to consist of two FTE farm advisors plus administrative support but that more resources would be useful to enable engagement with land holders who had previously disengaged from agri-environment support.
The Head of Landscape confirmed that any programme underspend could not be carried forward to the next financial year. In the last year of the programme 2023/24 all funded projects would need to be completed by the end of December 2023 so that the claims could be evidenced, submitted and paid before the end of the financial year – 31 March 2024.
Members discussed the link to the National Park Management Plan (NPMP) and Officers confirmed that to complete a FiPL application correctly the farmer/land manager needs to show how their project delivers for the four FiPL themes and for the NPMP priorities. A short summary of the current NPMP priorities and the emerging new NPMP priorities has been provided.
Members discussed concerns regarding the short-term nature of the FiPL programme as it ends on the 31 March 2024. Officers reported that FiPL has been well received and that an ... view the full minutes text for item 15/22
The meeting adjourned for a short break at 11.15 and reconvened at 11.25
The Head of Moors for the Future Partnership gave a brief introduction to items 6, 7 and 8 together.
This was the 10th time the annual Operational Plan had been reported to Committee.
Work was continuing to stretch the horizon past 2030 to avoid issues with staff on limited time contracts. Part of this was looking at both corporate and public donations, work which was being carried out with the British Mountaineering Club. In addition work was also continuing with partners in the North of England looking at flood issues in the uplands.
A short video was shown.
Members discussed concerns regarding long term sustainability of the work and enquired regarding any gain from the collaboration with the Great North Bog project. Officers clarified that the project, which was made up of six partners, 5 National Park Authorities and 3 Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, was still in its early stages but would be a coalition to enable approaches to government which would not be viable as single organisations.
Members thanked the Officers for the presentation and moved the motion as set out in the report.
The Head of Moors for the Future Partnership confirmed that a financial advisor was being used to provide additional skills relating to additional funding and that the focus was not only on carbon capture but on water resources which were likely to become more scarce in the future.
The motion as set out in the report was seconded, put to the vote and carried.
The MFFP Programme Manager - Conservation & Land Management introduced the report which proposed to extend vital peatland restoration works in the Dark, South and West Pennines working through the Environment Agency (‘EA’) funding route – Accelerated Flood Defence.
Members thanked Officers for the report which contained a clear recommendation and supported the bid for the Environment Agency funding. Officers confirmed that the delegated function to the Head of the Moors for the Future Partnership in consultation with the Head of Law and the Chief Finance Officer had previously been used to enable quick decisions which did not fit with the Committee meeting cycle. Regular reports would be submitted to the monthly Resources Management Meeting via the tracker and Members would be notified of work on the project via the Operational Plan.
The recommendation as set out in the report was moved and seconded, put to the vote and carried.
The Programme and Resources Committee supports the establishment of a new project authority for Moors for the Future Partnership (‘MFFP’) to continue working collaboratively with the Environment Agency (‘EA’) specifically in the development and delivery of peatland restoration work that by design will have Natural Flood Management benefits to many at risk communities across the Peak District, South and West Pennines areas that fall within MFFP’s core working area.
· Approval of acceptance of up to £776,297 from the Environment Agency for preparatory work and capital delivery of NFM projects between 2022-24 with acceptance of collaborative agreements delegated to the Head of Moors for the Future Partnership in consultation with Head of Law and Chief Finance Officer;
· Support for the further development of NFM relevant peatland projects to 2030 and the collaborative investigation of future funding routes to include the potential for accessing Flood Defence Grant in Aid Funding (FDGiA)
· Acceptance of subsequent related funding offers from the EA up to £5m to 2030 delegated to the Head of Moors for the Future Partnership in consultation with the Head of Law and Chief Finance Officer;
· Acceptance of new partnering agreements to deliver the projects within the fund delegated to the Head of Moors for the Future Partnership in consultation with the Head of Law and Chief Finance Officer;
· The Authority may, subject to compliance with its procurement standing orders, enter into contracts in order to spend funds and deliver the required outcomes of the grant agreements.
Cllr Furness left the meeting at 11.50. Cllr Heath left the meeting at 11.55
The Head of Moors for the Future Partnership introduced the report which highlighted the closer working with neighbouring partnerships. The project had received funding from Defra for the initial set up and was working with funding from the Esme Fairburn fund.
A legal agreement had been set up through the Authority’s Legal Team between the partners for the project to ensure that risk was shared and that funds could be moved between the partners.
The motion as set out in the report was moved, seconded, put to the vote and carried.
The Authority supported the proposed delegated function for fundraising and spending to support the setting up of the Great North Bog Initiative.
1. That the Authority supports the delegated function for the Head of Moors for the Future Partnership to bid for funds and accept funds to a maximum of £3 million in consultation with Head of Finance and Head of Legal services for the support and delivery costs of the Great North Bog Initiative.
2. That the Authority supports this delegated function to the Head of the Moors for the Future Partnership for a period leading up to 31.03.2030 in consultation with Head of Finance and Head of Legal services for the delivery and support costs of the Great North Bog Initiative.
3. That the Authority supports delegated function for the Head of Moors for the Future Partnership in consultation with Head of Finance and Head of Legal Services to enter into arrangements with the legal entities of the other five Peat Restoration partnerships (Yorkshire Peat Partnership, North Pennines AONB Partnership, Northumberland Peat Partnership, Cumbria Peat Partnership and the Lancashire Peatland Initiative). For both accepting funding and deliverables raised by one of the other Partnerships and for transferring funding and deliverables to one, or several of the other partnerships which has been raised by the Moors for the Future Partnership.
4. That the Authority may, subject to compliance with its procurement standing orders, enter into contracts for the delivery of project work arising from point 3.
Exempt Minutes of the Meeting held on 21st January 2022
The minutes for the meeting held on 21 January 2022 were agreed as a correct record.