Issue - meetings
Cabinet Commission - Restoring the Wye
Meeting: 29/09/2022 - Cabinet (Item 153)
Following the cabinet decision to establish a cabinet working group on 28th July 2022, Cabinet is asked to note the Terms of Reference and Membership for the 'Phosphates Commission - Restoring the River Wye’.
The cabinet member infrastructure and transport introduced the report and summarised the background to the establishment of the cabinet commission. Following rejection of a request to establish a water protection zone the council had explored what more it could do to address the pollution of the county’s rivers and associated issues. Following approval in principle at the cabinet meeting on 28 July work had taken place over the summer to scope the terms of reference. Commissioners had been nominated by both Powys and Monmouthshire County Councils. It was hoped that with positive engagement from national agencies and other stakeholders the commission would identify what more the local planning authority could do to move the planning regime for both agriculture and new housing development to demonstrate full Nutrient Neutrality for all new planning applications within the LPA area by April 2025.
Cabinet members discussed the report and noted that:
· National government policy needed to protect the environment and the council would continue to lobby for this;
· An equality impact assessment should be carried out at the beginning of the process;
· The council would look at using its wellbeing powers rather than regulatory powers to achieve change;
· The commission would work alongside the nutrient management board.
Group leaders presented the comments of their groups. The collaboration with neighbouring councils was welcomed and it was hoped that by working together more could be accomplished. In response to queries it was noted that:
· The motions agreed at Council relating to water quality would be considered as part of the work of the commission;
· The commission would not duplicate the work of the nutrient management board and would be able to do and look at things that the board cannot.
The chairperson of the environment and sustainability scrutiny committee spoke on the recommendations made by the committee and responses made by the executive. He reported that the scrutiny committee backed the establishment of the commission and was pleased to see the council taking this forward.
The interim delivery director waste transformation and wetland project explained that the commission was a voluntary piece of work by the council, which would have no statutory powers to direct agencies but could make recommendations following a call for evidence. The regulatory bodies, that is Natural England, the Environment Agency and Natural Resources Wales, were willing to work with the council so far as they could and the terms of reference for the commission had been discussed with them. There were concerns regarding duplication and how the commission would manage the emerging national policy framework, however the stated intention of the council was for the commission to work with the nutrient management board and for it to produce recommendations that were deliverable.
It was resolved that:
Cabinet agreed the Terms of Reference and the Membership for the ‘Cabinet Commission – Restoring the River Wye’.
The meeting adjourned at 4:33pm and resumed at 4:39pm.