Decision Maker: Cabinet
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Is Key decision?: Yes
Is subject to call in?: Yes
The City Council is aked to act as accountable body for a fund which a wide range of partnership organisations around the bay are to bid for. The fund will be for improvement projects relating to a wide range of nature conservation activities.
(Cabinet Member with Special Responsibility Councillor Hanson)
The Head of Regeneration and Policy Service presented a report to obtain the agreement of cabinet for the City Council as managing authority for the Arnside/Silverdale AONB to act as accountable body for the Morecambe Bay Nature Improvement Area (NIA) in the event of the funding bid being successful.
The options, options analysis, including risk assessment and officer preferred option, were set out in the report as follows:
Option 1 was for the Council to agree to act as accountable body, and to proceed with the bid for funding and in doing so aim to secure three years external funding for project work which could not normally be undertaken either in the AONB or outside the designated area. Insofar as the AONB is concerned project work would help to implement the local authority partners adopted Management Plan. In other areas improvements to the natural environment have been restricted due to reduction in public funding across a wide range of agencies and the success of this bid would help to replace some of those funds.
Option 2 was for the Council not to agree to act as accountable body, and therefore not to proceed with the application for funding. This would lose the opportunity to obtain external funding for the partnership bodies to invest in improvements to the natural environment. It would mean that the AONB Management Plan’s objectives would continue to be harder to achieve in the current financial climate.
Option 1was the preferred option as this presented a unique opportunity in the current financial climate to obtain external funding for projects to improve the very special areas which the City Council has a responsibility to manage, without any match funding burden on the council itself. It would therefore be in the City Council’s best interests to attempt to secure these funds and agreeing to act as accountable body was a reasonable action which reflected its leading role within the AONB partnership.
Councillor Hanson proposed, seconded by Councillor Leytham:-
“(1) That the recommendations, as set out in the report, be approved.”
Councillors then voted:-
(1) That Cabinet agrees to Lancaster City Council acting as accountable body for the Morecambe Bay NIA and signs the required Memorandum of Agreement by 31st January 2012.
(2) That the revenue budget and capital programme be updated accordingly in the event that the Stage 2 application is successful, subject to there being no impact on City Council resources and subject to detailed monitoring arrangements being agreed with the Head of Financial Services.
Officers responsible for effecting the decision:
Head of Regeneration and Policy Service
Head of Financial Services
Reasons for making the decision:
Management of the Arnside/Silverdale AONB is a statutory function for the City Council and partnership working to share facilities and access new areas of funding is a clear corporate priority for the council. The enhancement of the high quality environments in the district is important for the districts visitor economy and the Council’s reputation as a trusted custodian of the special landscapes around Morecambe Bay.
Report author: Andrew Dobson
Publication date: 25/01/2012
Date of decision: 17/01/2012
Decided at meeting: 17/01/2012 - Cabinet
Effective from: 28/01/2012