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Agenda Item No

The Vale of Glamorgan Council

Cabinet meeting: 17 June 2013

Report of the Cabinet Member for Leisure, Parks, Culture and Sport Development

Appointment of Biodiversity Champion

Purpose of the Report

1. To seek designation of a Cabinet Member as Biodiversity Champion for the Vale of Glamorgan.

Recommendations

1. That Cabinet nominates Councillor Rob Curtis, the Cabinet Member for the Environment and Visible Services as the Council’s Biodiversity Champion.

2. That the role of the Biodiversity Champion as outlined in the report be approved.   

Reasons for the Recommendations

1. To enable the Council to fulfil its duties under the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (NERC 2006) and to assist promotion of biodiversity across all Council functions. 

2. To agree the various issues and responsibilities associated with the role of Biodiversity Champion. 

Background

2. Council has a statutory duty under section 40 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 (NERC 2006) to show regard for nature conservation in all its functions and also to promote actions that fulfil the outcomes of the Wales Environment Strategy. The Biodiversity Champion has a key role in ensuring that biodiversity is considered in all Council functions and in the decision making process. For full details of the Wales Environment Strategy see the following link:-     wales.gov.uk/topics/environmentcountryside/epq/envstratforwales

Relevant Issues and Options

3. Cabinet are asked to note and approve the following functions associated with the role of Biodiversity Champion:-

  • To act as an advocate for biodiversity throughout the full range of local authority functions
  • To raise awareness of the importance of conserving the environment and protecting species
  • To promote the benefits of a healthy and sustainable environment
  • To ensure that biodiversity is properly considered in the decision making process and that it receives fair and open debate
  • To support the delivery of biodiversity action and conservation projects by the Council and outside bodies
  • To chair meetings of the Local Biodiversity Partnership and at other similar events
  • To liaise with other Biodiversity Champions across Wales and share in the promotion of regional activities relating to conservation and biodiversity generally

    4. The Biodiversity Champion will be provided with support from the Council’s Ecology Unit and the Wales Biodiversity Partnership in the form of advice, guidance and workshop events.

    5. It is recommended that Councillor Rob Curtis as the Cabinet Member for the Environment and Visible Services be nominated as the Biodiversity Champion. In this regard, Councillor Curtis has a significant interest in biodiversity matters and will bring energy and commitment to the role. In addition, given that biodiversity is not within his portfolio, this appointment will facilitate a wider understanding and appreciation of the importance of biodiversity across the Council in terms of services and projects.

    Resource Implications (Financial and Employment)

    6. None directly attributable to this report.

    Sustainability and Climate Change Implications

    7. The role of the Biodiversity Champion will be to raise awareness of environmental sustainability across all Council services, with a particular emphasis on biodiversity.

    Legal Implications (to Include Human Rights Implications)

    8. The Council has a duty to comply with relevant legislation including the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, Habitats Regulations 1994, Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000 and Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act (NERC) 2006 in all its activities. The NERC Act 2006 requires that ‘every public authority must, in exercising its functions, have regard, so far as is consistent with the proper exercise of those functions, to the purpose of conserving biodiversity’.

    Crime and Disorder Implications

    9. A number of Acts and Statutory Instruments provide legal protection to sites, habitats and species. Destruction, disturbance or harm may constitute a criminal offence that leads to prosecution.

    Equal Opportunities Implications (to include Welsh Language issues)

    10. None directly attributable to this report.

    Corporate/Service Objectives

    11. Conservation of biodiversity is a statutory requirement for all Council service areas and a key role of the Council as highlighted within the Corporate Plan. The Council’s Environmental Policy directly includes conservation of biodiversity.

    Policy Framework and Budget

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

    Consultation (including Ward Member Consultation)

    13. No Ward Member consultation has been undertaken as the report has implications for the Vale as a whole rather than a specific ward.

    Relevant Scrutiny Committee

    14. Economy and Environment

    Background Papers

    None.

    Contact Officer

    Erica Dixon Ecologist (01446) 704855

    Officers Consulted

    Operational Manager Countryside and Economic Projects

    Legal (Committee Reports)

    Senior Accountant

    Responsible Officer:

    Rob Thomas - Director of Development Services

     

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