Environment Policy and Review Panel
Tuesday, 26th January, 2016 7.00 pm - Agenda and minutes

Venue: Princes Hall, Aldershot

Contact: Panel Administrator, Justine Davie  Tel. (01252) 398832, Email.  justine.davie@rushmoor.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

18.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 78 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 10th November, 2015 (copy attached).

Minutes:

   The Minutes of the Meeting held on 10th November, 2015 were approved and signed by the Chairman.

 

19.

THE COUNCIL'S CONSERVATION TEAM

To receive a presentation from Louise Piper, Planning Policy and Conservation Manager on the key work areas of the Conservation Team.  Paul Howe, the Council’s Ecology Officer will also give an overview of his area of work, in particular, the Council’s draft Biodiversity Action Plan (copy attached) which is out for public consultation until 1st February, 2016.

 

Minutes:

The Panel received a presentation from Ms. Louise Piper, Planning Policy and Conservation Manager, and Dr. Paul Howe, Biodiversity Officer.

 

Ms. Piper gave an outline of the work of the Planning Policy and Conservation Team.  In respect of planning policy, Ms. Piper gave details of the Team’s work on the following areas:

 

·      the Development Plan for Rushmoor

 

-     Core Strategy

-     New Rushmoor Local Plan

 

·      the wide scope of planning issues

 

-     housing: employment; transport; design; Farnborough Airport; and, the town centres

-     conservation: heritage assets, conservation areas

-     natural environment: biodiversity; countryside; green infrastructure, Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area; water and flooding

 

·      Supplementary Planning Documents (e.g. Buildings of Local Importance)

 

Ms. Piper advised Members of the work of the team in respect of conservation, trees and biodiversity.   It was noted that, in 2011, a shared service had been implemented with Hart District Council.   Rushmoor’s officers remained employed full-time, but some salary costs had been recouped through time spent working at Hart.   The shared service had impacted on the capacity of the Conservation, Trees and Biodiversity Officers at Rushmoor, however, the shared service had enabled Rushmoor to retain officer expertise and at less cost than previously and for less than employing consultants. 

 

In respect of conservation of the built environment, Ms. Piper advised the Panel that work was carried out providing advice on planning applications and also on listings, amendments and advice on planning applications in respect of nationally and locally listed buildings and heritage assets.   Advice was also given on pre-application enquiries (e.g. Cambridge Military Hospital and Louise Margaret Hospital).

 

Ms. Piper also gave an outline of arboricultural issues (Tree Preservation Orders, dealing with applications for tree works and providing advice and guidance at pre-application stage).   Work in connection with biodiversity issues included dealing with sites of nature conservation value at local level (Sites of Importance for Nature Conservation and Local Nature Reserves), national level (Sites of Special Scientific Interest) and international level (Thames Basin Heaths Special Protection Area – advice on mitigation/Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace).  Wherever possible, a partnership approach was adopted to protection and enhancement of the natural environment.

 

Dr. Paul Howe, the Council’s Biodiversity Officer, then gave a presentation on the Rushmoor Biodiversity Action Plan (B.A.P.)   The Panel was advised that the B.A.P. 2009 – 2014 had been adopted in 2009 and had included an audit of biodiversity in the Borough and set out a series of actions.  It provided a framework to deliver biodiversity enhancement and protection across Rushmoor.   The actions had been delivered through partnership work, planning, volunteer groups and other Council departments.   It was noted that the B.A.P. had four main delivery areas on which progress had been made over the five year Action Plan period:

 

·      protect and conserve the biodiversity resource

·      create new areas for wildlife

·      education and awareness (external and internal)

·      partnership work

 

Dr. Howe gave details of examples of projects that had been carried out by partners, including the Farnborough Community Centre pond, a Community Matters Partnership project, and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.

20.

CONSERVATION BODIES - UPDATES

To receive presentations from the following organisations on their activities and plans for the future, help needed from the Council and feedback on the Council’s draft Bio-Diversity Action Plan:

 

(i)      Rowhill Copse Nature Reserve (Mr. Roy Champion);

 

(ii)     Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership (Mr. Steve Bailey);

 

(iii)    Basingstoke Canal Authority (Ms. Fiona Shipp);

 

(iv)    Brickfields Park (Mr. Mike Hatch);

 

(v)     Cove Brook Greenway (Ms. Hilda Anscombe).

 

 

Minutes:

(1)       Rowhill Nature Reserve Society

 

The Panel received a presentation from Mr. Roy Champion, Chairman of the Rowhill Nature Reserve Society.  During the presentation, Mr. Champion advised Members that Rowhill Nature Reserve covered 55 acres and was now returning, in part at least, back into the working wood it had once been. Mr. Champion also made reference to the Society’s work in monitoring species at the Nature Reserve and the upgrading of paths, including an accessible trail. 

 

Mr. Champion answered Members’ questions on fence making, volunteering by corporate groups and working with children.

 

On behalf of the Panel, the Chairman thanked Mr. Champion for the Society’s on-going and valuable work for the community. The Chairman thanked Mr. Champion for his presentation and extended an invitation to attend a future meeting for a further update on the Society’s work. 

 

       The Panel NOTED the presentation.

 

(2)       Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership

 

The Panel received a presentation from Mr. Steve Bailey, Manager of the Blackwater Valley Countryside Partnership.   During the presentation, Mr. Bailey advised Members of the role played by the Partnership in co-ordinating projects and actions of all involved parties and stakeholders in the Blackwater Valley to increase sustainable usage of the Blackwater Valley, especially for informal outdoor recreation, and to ensure wildlife and landscape protection.  Mr. Bailey spoke about the work of the Blackwater Valley Countryside Trust, a charity which had been set up ten years ago and supported the work of the Partnership.   Mr. Bailey advised Members of the sites managed within Rushmoor and gave examples of works carried out in Southwood Woodland and Wellesley Woodlands.  Mr. Bailey also gave details of wider Blackwater Valley issues, including the Southwood Woodland extension, Farnham Quarry, North Camp recycling and Loddon Catchment Partnership.  

 

Mr. Bailey answered Members’ questions on engaging with local communities and Farnham Quarry.

 

On behalf of the Panel, the Chairman thanked Mr. Bailey for the Partnership’s excellent work in the community.  The Chairman thanked Mr. Bailey for his informative presentation and extended an invitation to attend a future meeting for a further update on the Partnership’s work. 

 

          The Panel NOTED the presentation.

 

(3)       Basingstoke Canal Authority

 

The Panel received a presentation from Ms. Fiona Shipp, Manager of the Basingstoke Canal Authority.  During the presentation, Ms. Shipp advised Members that the Basingstoke Canal was 32 miles long and was jointly owned by Surrey County Council and Hampshire County Council. The Basingstoke Canal Authority had been established to manage the Canal on behalf of the two County Councils.  During the presentation, Ms. Shipp advised Members of current work along the Canal: a tree-thinning project; the Ash Aqueduct inspection; a telemetry project to provide constant digital information on water levels; and, work to replace the cills at Ash Lock. 

Ms. Shipp also spoke about wildlife issues, including the need for good management of vegetation to encourage a wide range of wildlife and the problems caused by crayfish.  Volunteers were very important to the work of the Canal Authority and Ms. Shipp  ...  view the full minutes text for item 20.

21.

WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 188 KB

To note the Panel’s Current work programme (copy attached).

Minutes:

     The Panel NOTED the current work programme.