Agenda and minutes

National Park Authority - Tuesday, 10th December, 2019 12.30 pm

Venue: Conference Room, Plas y Ffynnon, Cambrian Way, Brecon LD3 7HP. View directions

Contact: Julia Gruffydd or Angharad Hawkes  01874624337

Media

Items
No. Item

129/19

Correspondence

To receive and consider the attached Schedule of Correspondence and any recommendations thereon (below).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed all members and officers to the meeting as well as the public in attendance.

 

Apologies for absence were noted.

 

130/19

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of interest from Members relating to items on the agenda.  Members’ attention is drawn to the sheet attached to the attendance sheet and the need to record their declarations verbally and in writing, specifying the nature of the interest.

 

If Members have declared an interest in an item please ensure that you inform the Chair when you are leaving the room, so that this can be recorded in the minutes.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The following members appointed by Powys County Council declared a personal, non-prejudicial interest in item 11 (Candidate Sites) in light of three sites being in ownership of Powys Council Council:  Cllr G Ratcliffe and Cllr K Laurie-Parry.

 

131/19

Minutes pdf icon PDF 55 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:  To approve the minutes of the NPA held on 29 October 2019 and authorise the Chair to sign them as a true record.

 

 

 

 

 

132/19

Audit & Scrutiny Minutes pdf icon PDF 79 KB

To receive the minutes of the Audit & Scrutiny Committee that was held on the 26th of July 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: To receive the minutes of the Audit and Scrutiny Committee held on 26 July 2019.

 

 

133/19

Public Speaking

To give opportunity for members of the public to address the meeting in accordance with the Authority’s Public Speaking Scheme.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed Mrs Elizabeth Gibbs, representing the Brecon Beacons Park Society, who had requested to speak to item 10 on the agenda (Local Development Plan Preferred Strategy).  Mrs Gibbs would speak at the appropriate part of the agenda.

 

134/19

Chairman's Announcements

To receive a verbal report on meetings and events attended by the Chairman since the last meeting of the Authority.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair reported on meetings and events he had attended since the last Authority meeting, highlighting the National Parks UK Chairs’ Forum and an Army engagement day in Brecon where concerns about the future of the Barracks had been raised.  He advised that the Authority would need to be mindful of this as the Local Development Plan evolved.

 

135/19

Chief Executive's Announcements

To receive a report from the Chief Executive on meetings attended and progress made on Authority business since the last meeting of the Authority.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chief Executive had circulated his announcements to members.  A member suggested that more feedback from the National Parks Wales executive was needed and that this should be included in the plans for the seminar next October.  The Chief Executive advised that he saw no reason why the NPW executive minutes could not be circulated to members in future.

 

Cllr A James joined the meeting.

 

136/19

Establishment of a Policy Working Group pdf icon PDF 35 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered a proposal from the Governance and Member Development Working Group to establish a Policy Working Group, to take some of the work on the Local Development Plan and National Park Management Plan out of the Policy Forum which would create space for other business.  In response to a question she advised that this would replace the Key Work Area Groups but there was also potential to create a Delivery Working Group which would allow champions to work with officers to review wider policy or projects.  In response to another query she advised that the Policy Working Group could not become an executive as it would have no decision making powers and key work on the strategic plans would still be brought to all members via the Policy Forum.

 

The Chair of Policy Forum had been consulted on the proposals and had made some suggestions, some of which had been incorporated in the final draft terms of reference, but reminded members that while he acknowledged the urgency of producing the Local Development Plan and National Park Management Plan there were other constituent plans which could be monitored through a delivery group.  He particularly liked the idea of the Policy Working Group acting as a project board.

 

The Chair of Governance and Member Development Working Group advised that for the Policy Working Group and Policy Forum to work effectively there must be sufficient review of time and capacity of officers and members.

 

Ms D Perkin joined the meeting.

 

RESOLVED:

 

a)  To agree to establish a Policy Working Group;

 

b)  To agree terms of reference for the Policy Working Group;

 

c)  To appoint the following members to the Policy Working Group until the next Annual General Meeting of the Authority:  Mr J Marsden (as Chair of Policy Forum), Cllr G Thomas (as Deputy Chair of Policy Forum), Cllr E Durrant (subject to her agreement), Mr J Stedman and Mrs S Holden;

d)  That the Chair contact members not present at the meeting to seek additional volunteers.

 

 

137/19

Review of Personal Development Interview Policy pdf icon PDF 37 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Members considered some changes to the Personal Development Interview Policy as recommended by the Governance and Member Development Working Group.  The Chair of the working group supported the process which she felt was beneficial both to members and the Authority and stressed the importance of reviewing individual contributions.  The Chair of the Authority emphasised how the process had helped him develop and improve.

 

RESOLVED:

 

a) To agree changes to the Personal Development

Interview Policy for members;

 

b) To endorse the fact that all members are required to have a PDI each year.

 

138/19

Local Development Plan Preferred Strategy Consultation Responses pdf icon PDF 50 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mr I Rowat declared a personal interest in this item in his role as a trustee of the Campaign for National Parks, who shared the views of the Park Society.

 

The Principal Planning Officer (Policy) provided an overview of the key themes emerging from the consultation.

 

Mrs Elizabeth Gibbs addressed the Authority on behalf of the Brecon Beacons Park Society and set out its objection to the following statement in the Preferred Strategy ‘the need for development in the National Park to cater for the development needs of adjoining settlements, such as Abergavenny, will be reasonably considered.’

 

In response to Mrs Gibbs the officer advised that officers carried out regional working but had to recommend what was the most sustainable and appropriate option for the area; site specific questions also needed to be addressed.  A member pointed out that access to facilities often spanned local authority/Park boundaries and cited Bronllys and Talgarth as an example.

 

A member asked about the range of organisations who had responded to the consultation and was advised that the number was more than received during the consultation for the last plan, but that this was solely in response to the Preferred Strategy; more responses were anticipated in relation to candidate sites.  A member wondered how representative the groups were of the wider population in the Park, and stressed that decisions must be based on evidence.

 

A member suggested that officers needed to take a robust approach to the issue of single occupancy and second homes and the office acknowledged that this was an issue in rural areas which had an impact on the housing market.  A paper would be brought to the Policy Forum expanding on these issues.

 

A member expressed concern at new areas of work and queried the capacity to do this.  He asked whether funding was available in the budget to bring in external help.  The officer advised that resources were limited but discussions were taking place with the Chief Executive and Finance Manager about additional staff time and external consultants, as well as with Powys County Council.  The Chief Executive advised that he was meeting officers on a regular basis to review costs.

 

RESOLVED:

 

a) Members to review the Preferred Strategy

Consultation Responses;

 

b) Members to agree future areas of work for the Deposit Local Development Plan.

 

139/19

LDP2 Additional Candidate Site Consultation pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cllrs G Ratcliffe and K Laurie-Parry declared a personal interest in this item, as members of Powys County Council.

 

The Principal Planning Officer (Policy) presented details of additional candidate sites submitted as part of the consultation on the Preferred Strategy.

 

 A member queried the former Mid Wales Hospital site being described as the Black Mountains Business Park rather than the proposed Black Mountains College.  The officer advised that this was the last known purpose of the site.

 

RESOLVED:

 

a)    To endorse the first phase assessment findings relating to the additional candidate sites;

 

b) To approve the publication of the first phase additional candidate site register for the purpose of an 8 week public consultation.

 

 

140/19

BBNPA Position Statement on Climate Change and Nature Recovery pdf icon PDF 41 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Natural Resources Manager presented a final draft of the position statement, which had been considered by members at the Policy Forum.

 

A member felt that the language was still not as inclusive as it should be and could lead to failure to engage with some groups in the Park, although another member felt that the Authority could not wait to take others with it given the need for urgent action.  The officer confirmed that he would review the language but that this would not change the statement and members opted to adopt the statement on this basis.

 

RESOLVED:  To adopt the position statement on Climate Change and Nature Recovery.

 

 

141/19

Biodiversity & resilence of ecosystems duty report pdf icon PDF 61 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

The Ecologist presented the Authority’s first report required under the Environment Act (Wales) 2016. 

 

A member felt that the Authority should be more open about the state of nature in the Park, and also queried the statement about the Common Agricultural Policy as there was not a consensus about its benefit in Wales.

 

The Chair of Policy Forum asked to put on record the achievement of officers in preparing this by the deadline of 31 December when the guidelines were only recently available.  He raised a few issues in relation to the report, including the amount of money available post-Brexit, the need to include reference to barriers to action (which the Authority was aware of), the audit of the state of designated sites in the Park, the lack of evidence which would then dictate action, to be monitored and reported on.  The Authority needed to be clearer and more realistic about the allocation of resources and the outcomes.

 

The officer acknowledged the need for baseline evidence which was being explored through the development of the National Park Management Plan.  She would strengthen the language.

 

A member urged caution as the Authority should not give the Welsh Government the impression that it had the resources to carry out the necessary action, as this was not the case and the scale of the problem was huge.  The Natural Resources Manager advised that there was much work needed outside the scope of Section 6, for which resources are unclear.

 

A member summarised that the following needed to be included:  pressures and causalities with reference also to the agricultural community, state what we know (eg. State of Nature Report, condition statements of SSSIs in the Park) and most importantly the link to evidence and what action was needed, and an indication of the funding needed.  The Chief Executive advised that these points might be best achieved through a covering letter.

 

RESOLVED: To approve the Section 6 – The Biodiversity and Resilience of Ecosystems Duty report and its submission to Welsh Government.

 

142/19

Position Statement for Woodland Restoration and Expansion pdf icon PDF 40 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Natural Resources Manager presented the final draft of the position statement which had been discussed with members at the Policy Forum.  Members welcomed this and made a few suggestions: to get schools involved; to put more emphasis on the involvement of local communities in tree planting; to involve the farming unions as well as Farming Connect, and to encourage people to work with the Authority on woodland restoration and expansion.  It was also noted that the Sustainability Impact Assessment could have expanded more on the benefit to Welsh culture and communities.

 

RESOLVED:  To adopt the position statement for Woodland Restoration and Expansion.

 

Cllrs M Jones and A James left the meeting.

 

143/19

Member Champion Volunteer Report and Volunteer Policy pdf icon PDF 49 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Member Champion for Volunteers reported on his work with volunteers and the conclusions he had come to as a result of listening to their views.  He had also worked with officers on a volunteer policy.  A key conclusion was the benefit in pooling resources in future with organisations such as the National Trust and Canal and River Trust.  The need to encourage younger people to volunteer was also important.

 

The Chair welcomed the Sustainable Development Manager to what would be her last Authority meeting before she left to take up a post with the Canal and River Trust, and wished her well for the future.   Asked about remuneration the officer responded that some volunteers appreciated rewards while others did not.  The Chair advised that he was looking into setting up some Chair’s Awards in the New Year.  A member suggested that physical work was not for everyone and urged the Authority to consider other volunteering opportunities.  The Volunteer Champion cautioned against replacing paid posts with volunteers.

 

 

RESOLVED: 

 

a)         To agree the BBNPA Volunteer Policy;

 

b)     To accept the Member Champion for Volunteers report;

 

c)     To agree actions addressing the report’s recommendations:

 

                                                         i.      To explore opportunities for joint working with volunteers with other conservation bodies operating in the National Park, including training, joint tasks and social activities

                                                        ii.      To consider staff support for Volunteer Development as part of the BBNPA Change Programme;

                                                                                 iii.          To take action to enhance the online support for Volunteers and Volunteer Co-ordination.

 

144/19

Member Champion Reports

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no reports from champions.

 

145/19

Member Reports

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mr Rowat reported on the recent Campaign for National Parks Conference at which all Park Societies had been represented.  Julian Glover had been in attendance which had led to interesting debate, particularly on socio-economic issues.  He advised that he had been appointed Vice Chair of CNP.

 

146/19

Gifts & Hospitality

Additional documents:

Minutes:

No declarations were made.

 

147/19

Access to Information

RECOMMENDATION: to exclude the press and public from the meeting during consideration of item 20 in accordance with section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended, on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraph 14 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.

 

 

RECOMMENDATION: to exclude the press and public from the meeting during consideration of item 21 in accordance with section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended, on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 12 and 13 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED:

 

a)  To exclude the press and public from the meeting during consideration of item 20 in accordance with section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended, on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 14 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.

 

b)   To exclude the press and public from the meeting during consideration of item 21 in accordance with section 100A of the Local Government Act 1972, as amended, on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in paragraphs 12 and 13 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.

 

The Chair advised that there was no further business other than the exempt items and closed the public part of the meeting, wishing everyone a very happy Christmas and New Year.

 

148/19

Update on Foel Deg boundary management

Minutes:

Cllr K Madge declared a personal, non-prejudicial interest in this item.

 

The Natural Resources Manager updated members on progress with the Foel Deg Boundary management issues.  It was suggested that in view of the amount of staff time this issue was taking external advice should be sought.

 

Members felt that the recommendation was a little vague and the Chief Executive agreed that this should be better worded in light of agreement that the actions needed to be progressed.

 

RESOLVED:

 

a)    To note the work undertaken to date and the evidence and consultation responses gathered to date.

 

b)   To continue tp progress the five point plan and engage an external land agent to give the appropriate advice.

 

 

149/19

National Park Visitor Centre - a future plan

Minutes:

Members considered proposals for improving facilities at the National Park Visitor Centre.

 

After much debate members asked officers to withdraw the item for further consideration taking into account their comments.

 

150/19

Any Other Business

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There was no further business.  The Chair closed the meeting and wished everyone a Happy Christmas.