Agenda and minutes

Venue: Herefordshire Council Offices, Plough Lane, Hereford, HR4 0LE

Contact: Simon Cann, Democratic Services Officer 

Link: Watch this meeting on the Herefordshire Council YouTube Channel

No. Item


Apologies for absence

To receive apologies for absence.



Apologies were received from Councillor Justine Peberdy and Ross Cook (Corporate Director Economy and Environment).


Named substitutes

To receive details of members nominated to attend the meeting in place of a member of the committee.




Declarations of interest

To receive declarations of Interests from members of the committee in respect of items on the agenda.




Minutes pdf icon PDF 333 KB

To receive the minutes of the meeting held on 27 November 2023.


The minutes of the previous meeting were received.


Resolved: That the minutes of the meeting held on 27 November 2023 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairperson.


Questions from members of the public

To receive any written questions from members of the public.


No questions had been received from members of the public.



Questions from members of the council

To receive any written questions from members of the council.


No questions had been received from councillors.


Nutrient Management Board pdf icon PDF 360 KB

For the committee to scrutinise the effectiveness and achievements of the Nutrient Management Board.



Additional documents:


The chair introduced the item and explained that the committee’s aim was to discuss the history and background of the Nutrient Management Board and to scrutinise what the board had achieved and delivered in relation to the council’s business priorities, particularly in terms of the River Wye and the nutrient recovery of the River Wye.


The committee proceeded to ask attending council officers, expert witnesses and the Cabinet Member Environment a number of pre-prepared questions:



What was the Council’s original purpose for setting up the Nutrient Management Board with key partners?

1.    The Cabinet Member Environment directed the committee’s attention to the Atkins paper that had been produced on behalf of the Environment Agency, Natural Resource Wales and Natural England in May 2014. The papers parameters outlined that the Environment Agency's review of consents process in 2010 should include a plan for the River Wye special area of conservation (SAC) to reduce current phosphate concentrations and comply with conservation objectives.

2.    The committee heard that in 2013 the Environment Agency and Natural England had issued a joint statement of intent to prepare a Nutrient Management Plan (NMP) for the River Wye SAC, which would also address predicted growth within the catchment. The Environment Agency and Natural England were working together to support Herefordshire Council, to develop a framework for determining planning applications, which were constrained by their habitats assessment process.

3.    The proposals informed Herefordshire Council's Core Strategy and other relevant development plans. The Core Strategy was adopted in 2015. These developments were occurring within the same timeframe, with the enabling of Herefordshire Council's Core Strategy and the putting into place of a plan for the recovery of the catchment to favourable conservation status. The inception of the board sat with the statutory agencies, not with Herefordshire Council.


Did the original terms of reference reflect this?

4.    The committee enquired if Herefordshire Council had had any input into the terms of reference or were they just prepared by the two agencies?

5.    The Cabinet Member Environment suggested that logically, at its inception, the members of the board would have needed to jointly and collectively adopt the terms of reference.

6.    The committee raised concerns about conflicts of interest arising between partners and whether or not they had all had a clear understanding of what was meant to be delivered.

7.    The committee heard that given the broad range of partners it was unlikely that each member would have had the same understanding of what was expected of the board. It was important to note that over time the board’s understanding of where the problem was coming from had changed.

8.    The committee heard that the Dutch judgement increased the relevance of the board, but created internal pressures on partners and exacerbated conflicting interests.

9.    The Interim Delivery Director for Environmental Transformation explained to the committee that the Nutrient Management Board did not have the power to direct activity and was more of a steering group. The board was a voluntary  ...  view the full minutes text for item 69.


Chair Update

To provide updates on developments and activity relevant to the committee’s remit. 


Executive Responses to Committee Recommendations

The chair noted that since the committee’s inception it had only received back one set of executive responses to the recommendations it had made, these were in relation to flood risk management.


The chair stated to the committee that he had personally forwarded recommendations on the local plan report (made back in 2022) to planners and would be expecting responses in due course. The chair also pointed out that responses to recommendations on: waste and recycling, river pollution and the environment act were still outstanding.


The chair expressed frustration at the lack of response from the executive and asked for approval from committee members to draft and send a letter to the democratic services manager urging that the two month deadline for returning executive responses to scrutiny committee recommendations be observed and adhered to.


Action: Chair to draft a letter to the democratic services manager requesting that executive responses to scrutiny committee recommendations be returned in accordance with the timeframes detailed in the council’s constitution.



Work Programme 2024/25

The chair discussed the need for the committee to draw up a work programme for the year 2024/25.


The committee proposed the following areas for consideration as part of the 2024/25 work programme

-       Public rights of ways /greenways policy.

-       20 mph speed limits.

-       Farming (Intensive livestock).

-       Farming (Land management practice).

-       Energy efficiency sufficiency (including retrofitting, insulation and renewable energy).

-       Resourcing towards net zero and environmental priorities.

-       Electric vehicles and quality of charging points in the county.

-       Agriculture (possible task and finish group).

-       Tree and hedgerow management policy/wildlife corridors.

The committee discussed the importance of being aware of and following best practice in relation to all of the above items.


It was agreed that an informal work programming meeting would be held during May 2024 in place of a formal committee meeting.


Date of the next meeting

Monday 25 March 2024 10am


Monday 25 March 2024 10.00 pm


**This has subsequently been rescheduled to Wednesday 27 March 2024 2.00 pm**