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Paper 4 - 24 March 2000 Meeting

ASSOCIATION OF HAMPSHIRE AND ISLE OF WIGHT LOCAL AUTHORITIES

24 March 2000

PARTNERSHIP WITH THE ENVIRONMENT AGENCY

Joint report by the Area Manager, Environment Agency and

the Policy Manager, HIOW

RECOMMENDATIONS

(1) That the developing partnership between the Environment Agency and the local authorities be welcomed.

(2) That the local action within the Environment Agency/Local Government Association five year plan set out in paragraph 5 be approved.

SUMMARY

This paper highlights the role of the Environment Agency and some of the key issues where the Agency needs to work closely with Local Authorities. The Environment Agency/LGA five year plan was agreed in November 1999. Specific initiatives are proposed to take forward this plan in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

BACKGROUND The Association's Action Plan has drawn attention to Local Agenda 21, Community Planning, and partnership working. The Environment Agency (EA) is responsible for the control of pollution affecting our air, water and land. It is a major partner for local authorities, and is now organised on a regional basis coinciding with Regional Assembly boundaries.

1. Last September, the Association noted the development at national level of the LGA/EA five year plan, and outlined the approach being taken locally, including the invitation to Peter Quarmby, Environment Agency Manager for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, to attend this Association meeting.

2. Peter Quarmby will draw out some of the key issues jointly affecting the Agency and Local Authorities:- Flood Defence - MAFF targets and funding; Housing numbers - impacts of developments; New EU Environment Legislation - joint responsibilities for Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control and contaminated land; water quality - bathing beaches; and air quality.

ENVIRONMENT AGENCY - LOCAL AUTHORITY LINKS

3. A close partnership has developed over many years and is strong at officer level. Successive re-organisations, stronger environmental legislation and the challenge of modernising government have left relationships in need of renewal at the strategic level. The main links are:

the Regional Environmental Protection Advisory Committee (REPAC) - Councillors M Cartwright (Hampshire County Council) and Mrs B Smith (New Forest District Council) represent Hampshire and the Isle of Wight.

Area Environmental Groups for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight including six councillors and four Local Authority officers.

The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Flood Defence Committee is an executive committee with levy and budget responsibilities. Councillors have the majority vote with representatives from the county and unitary authorities.

Regular liaison meetings between the Environment Agency and County/ Unitary authorities (individually).

Presentations by Environment Agency to District Councils.

Joint seminars, conferences and workshops eg Flood Plain seminar, environmental legislation seminar, Water conference (28 March 2000).

Joint public meetings eg concerning major planning applications such as waste incinerators.

Frequent officer level contacts, especially in planning, waste and environmental health matters.

The EA is a member of New Forest Committee and partner in many collaborative projects.

FIVE YEAR PLAN AND LOCAL ACTION

4. Attached is a summary of the EA/LGA five year plan. Below is a list of proposed local action:

(1) The Association agrees to adopt the EA/LGA five year plan. Ref C1.

(2) A local authority officer (Annie Righton, Environmental Health Manager (Environmental Protection), New Forest District Council) acts as a focal point for EA and HIOW issues and articles for appropriate dissemination and potential inclusion in newsletters. Ref C2.

(3) Annie Righton also acts as a focal point for REPAC issues and feedback. EA will supply briefings where requested. Ref C3.

(4) EA identifies a workshop/seminar programme for members and officers to extend the current member level contact achieved through EA committees, and presentations to Local Authority committees. Ref C4.

(5) The Association agrees to consider and adopt the protocols when approved and support EA staff and Local Authority officers working together in delivering joined up services. Ref C6, C8.

(6) EA and local authorities agree to exchange Geographic Information Systems (GIS) environmental data where legally possible. EA make widespread use of GIS on a daily basis for all functions - Contact Point is Kim Smith, Team Leader, Development Control. Ref C7.

(7) Local Authorities identify where EA involvement in Community Plans, external funding bids and partnership projects will add value. Ref C9, C10.

(8) Annual review of the plan to be reported to the Association together with reports-back from the Association's REPAC representative.

PETER QUARMBY
Area Manager, Environment Agency

NICK GOULDER
Policy Manager, HIOW

Date: 10 March 2000
Annex: 1
Contact: Nick Goulder - 023 8068 8431, E-mail hiowlang@hants.gov.uk

Copy of Annex available on request

Last update: 28/09/2000
Author: Nick Goulder, Policy Manager

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