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Issue - meetings

Allocation of Community Infrastructure Levy Funding to manage phosphates in the River Avon Special Area of Conservation

Meeting: 05/01/2021 - Cabinet (Item 9)

9 Allocation of Community Infrastructure Levy Funding to manage phosphates in the River Avon Special Area of Conservation

      Report of the Chief Executive.

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Cllr Toby Sturgis, Cabinet member for Spatial Planning, Development Management and Property introduced the report which provided (i) confirmation of the Council’s strategic approach to securing phosphate neutral development in the catchment area of the River Avon (Hampshire) Special Area of Conservation to support delivery of development, particularly new homes; and (ii) to agree to ring-fence and commit a sum of money from the Community Infrastructure Levy strategic funds accrued for the delivery of mitigation measures and funding of project officer to secure phosphate neutral development in the period to 2026.

 

Cllr Sturgis explained that the funding will be directed to delivering a strategic programme to ensure phosphate neutrality in perpetuity, such as large-scale habitat schemes, which will in time replace the current less efficient approach of incrementally identifying small scale measures (e.g. woodland or wetland creation).

 

Cllr Ian Thorn, Leader of the Liberal Democrats raised questions about the acceptable level of phosphates, impact on Wiltshire watercourses from other areas, the use of CIL funds, and the impact on phosphates levels from developments. In response, Cllr Sturgis referred to the Habitat Regulations and securing phosphate neutral developments to the satisfaction of Natural England; that prioritisation CIL spending more generally is a Cabinet matter that he was the responsible member for; and other neighbouring Authorities such as Hampshire and Dorset are also impacted by phosphates.

 

In response to other general questions and comments, Cllr Sturgis explained that OFWAT reviewed water authorities pricing and investment in sewage treatment works which had implications for amount of phosphates removed; DEFRA requires farmers to maintain soil health and reduce fertiliser use; and the decision to accept the proposals would help to release some embargoed planning applications; He also noted that the report is specific to the River Avon Special Area of Conservation.

 

Resolved:

 

1.    Confirms that the Council will, until such time as the responsibility falls to others, adopt a strategic approach to secure in perpetuity measures to ensure development is phosphate neutral in the catchment for the River Avon (Hampshire) Special Area of Conservation; including short term temporary measures followed up by long term strategic mitigation measures, such as a large scale habitat creation scheme, to ensure in perpetuity phosphate neutrality;

 

2.    Confirms that the strategic approach will include monitoring with annual reporting, to take an evidence led approach to ensure that phosphate offsets arising from the measures secured keep pace with permissions granted;

 

3.    Agrees to ring-fence and commit an initial fund of £850,000 from the Community Infrastructure Levy strategic funds for the delivery of off-setting measures to achieve phosphate neutral development and fund a project officer to oversee delivery, monitoring and reporting; and

 

4.    Delegates authority for the Interim Corporate Director of Place and Environment in consultation with the Cabinet Member for Spatial Planning, Development Management and Investment and Interim Corporate Director of Resources to oversee the spending of this fund.

 

Reason for Decision:

To demonstrate the Council’s commitment to the delivery of, and allocation of funding for, a strategic  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9


 

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