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Agenda Item No

 

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

 

Cabinet Meeting: 8th April 2013

 

Report of the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation.

 

Severn Estuary Partnership 2013/14 Membership

 

Purpose of the Report

1.         The report has been prepared to seek Cabinet approval for the 2013/14 contribution to the Severn Estuary Partnership.

Recommendations

1.         That Cabinet approve the membership contribution of £2,963.00 towards the 2013/14 membership of the Severn Estuary Partnership.

2.         That the Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation, be authorised in consultation with the Director of Development Services to agree future membership subscriptions of the Severn Estuary Partnership. 

Reasons for the Recommendations

1.         To ensure the continued involvement of the Council as a key estuary partner in the Severn Estuary Partnership for 2013/14.

2.         To enable future membership contributions to be agreed under delegated powers.

Background

2.         Established in 1995, the Severn Estuary Partnership (SEP) is an independent, estuary-wide organisation led by local authorities and statutory agencies that seeks to work with all those involved in the management of the Severn Estuary.

3.         As well as acting as an umbrella organisation for the various interest groups operating within the Severn estuary e.g. Standing Conference of Severnside Local Authorities (SCOSLA), the SEP also seeks to provide mechanisms to improve communication, to encourage a partnership approach in respect of the management of the estuary, to act as a focal point for research, to highlight examples of good practice and to source funding for new projects associated with the estuary.

4.         As a coastal authority with an inherent interest in the future management of the Severn Estuary, the Vale of Glamorgan Council has been a member of the SEP since its inception and has contributed financially to its operation by way of annual membership fees. Further, as a coastal authority the Council has a statutory duty to ensure that its operations comply with the Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2010, commonly known as the Habitats Regulations and this duty is being delivered throughout the estuary by the Association of Severn Estuary Relevant Authorities (ASERA) partnership, which is an important element coordinated by the SEP. ASERA membership is funded from a separate departmental budget.  

Relevant Issues and Options

5.         With heightened interest in the role of the Severn Estuary and indeed the marine environment, it is considered that continued membership of the SEP remains important as its independent status and wide ranging membership plays a vital role in ensuring a coordinated approach to proposals which affect the future of the Estuary.

6.         The SEP employs a project officer, one full time and one part time assistant based in Cardiff University (which also contributes to the operational requirements of the project by providing administrative assistance and financial support services) and is overseen by a management group drawn from the major funding partners.

7.         The SEP is a voluntary organisation and its strategies and action plans are advisory only and it does not seek to speak for its constituent members merely to act as a forum where discussions can take place and information sourced. Any future work or commitments in respect of the SEP or indeed in respect of issues within the estuary will of course be subject to further reports to this Cabinet for consideration as and when required.

8.         The Cabinet Member for Regeneration, Innovation, Planning and Transportation is currently the Council's appointed representative on the SEP Joint Advisory Committee.

9.         Funding for the SEP and the other estuary groups is via an annual membership fee and the Council has now been requested to confirm its membership of the SEP for 2013/14 at £2,963.00. It should be noted that the SEP is aware that funding for all organisations is difficult at the current time and membership contributions have therefore been retained at previous levels, a reduction in real terms on the last year's subscriptions.

Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

10.      The annual contribution for the SEP can be met from within current departmental budget. 

Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

11.      Continued membership of the SEP will assist in the Council in maintaining an awareness of the issues affecting the Severn Estuary and the habitats and species that inhabit it.      

Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

12.      The Severn Estuary Partnership is a voluntary organisation and its strategies and action plans are advisory only and any future work or commitments in respect of the Severn Estuary Partnership would be the subject of further reports to this Cabinet.

Crime and Disorder Implications

13.      None arising from this report. 

Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

14.      The Severn Estuary Partnership seeks through its approved strategy to guide the co-ordination of cross border estuary management between England and Wales and to ensure that the multi sectoral interests that surround the highly complex social, natural and political environment of the Severn Estuary are taken into consideration in all its work.

Corporate/Service Objectives

15.      Severn Estuary Partnership strategies may inform future Development Plan policy and planning decisions however, any strategies are subject to their own stakeholder (including voluntary sector) consultation and where these affect Local Development Plan preparation they will be subject to statutory consultation in accordance with the relevant Town and Country Planning Regulations.

Policy Framework and Budget

16.      This report is a matter for Executive Decision by Cabinet.

Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

17.      None as the report has an impact on all wards.

Relevant Scrutiny Committee

18.      Economy and Environment.

Background Papers

None.

 

Contact Officer

John Marks: Tel 01446 704629

 

Officers Consulted

Head of Legal Services

Head of Financial Services

Operational Manager Countryside and Economic Projects

 

Responsible Officer:

Rob Thomas - Director of Development Services

 

 

 

 

 

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