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Waverley Borough Council Committee System - Committee Document

Meeting of the Executive held on 28/10/2003
Surrey Heathland Project - Formalising the Council's Involvement



Summary & Purpose
The purpose of this report is to inform the Executive of the Council’s involvement in the Surrey Heathland Project and to seek approval for formalising our continued involvement in the project.

Quality of Life Implications
Natural Resource Use
Pollution Prevention and Control
Biodiversity and Nature
Local Environment
Social Inclusion
Safe Communities
Local Economy
Natural
Resource Use
Pollution
Prevention and Control
Biodiversity
and Nature
Local
Environment
Social
Inclusion
Safe, Healthy
and Active
Communities
Local
Economy
N/A
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive
Positive


APPENDIX F

WAVERLEY BOROUGH COUNCIL

EXECUTIVE – 28TH OCTOBER 2003

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Title:
SURREY HEATHLAND PROJECT – FORMALISING THE COUNCIL’S INVOLVEMENT

[Wards Affected: All]
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Summary and purpose:

The purpose of this report is to inform the Executive of the Council’s involvement in the Surrey Heathland Project and to seek approval for formalising our continued involvement in the project.

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Quality of life implications – social, environmental & economic (sustainable development):

The Heathland project promotes the use of natural resources, prevents and controls pollution relating to the heathland sites and adds to the biodiversity and preservation of local habitats. The project also helps to maintain and improve the countryside areas it will encompasses and provides increased opportunities for people to visit the countryside. Finally, the project also provides employment and supports the local economy within Waverley as well as Surrey as a whole.

E-Government implications:

Details relating to the Heathland Project can be found on the internet at www.surreycc.gov.uk.

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Introduction

1. Lowland heath is a globally rare and unique habitat supporting a variety of specialised plants and animals. Due to urban development, forestry and neglect, loss of this habitat has been significant over the years. In fact, it is believed that less than a fifth of the heathland remains compared to some 200 years ago when heathland covered most of West Surrey. Recognising this, the Surrey Heathland Project has been set up and is being spearheaded by Surrey County Council. The Surrey Heathland Project carries out large-scale practical heathland management, utilising machinery, grazing animals and the invaluable contribution made by volunteers. It also promotes an awareness of the value of heathland, encourages good management by others and improves public access. Surrey County Council, Guildford, Waverley, Woking and Runnymede Borough Councils, English Nature, RSPB and Ewhurst, Witley and Wonersh Parish Councils support the project.

Resource and legal implications:

2. To date, Waverley has supported the project through its Sponsored Organisation Scheme and at its meeting on 18th February 2003, the Council approved funding for this project in the sum of 9,810 for the year 2003/4. For the year 2001/2 and 2002/3 the funding provided has been 9,250 and 9,530 respectively.

3. On 27th September 2002, Surrey County Council obtained grant funding from the Trustees of the National Heritage Memorial Fund in relation to this project. Nevertheless, contributions from Waverley and the other Project Members, both financially and in kind by way of volunteers, are still necessary for the success of this project. The provision of grant to Surrey County Council by the Fund was achieved by way of an agreement between the two. Under that agreement, the consortium members (the project members including Waverley) must act at all times in a manner consistent with the obligations of Surrey County Council under the grant agreement and any inconsistency by the consortium members may be taken as an action inconsistently taken by Surrey County Council. It has, therefore, been necessary for Surrey County Council (as the lead organisation) to formalise the involvement of the Member organisations in the project. The County is undertaking this by requesting all parties to sign up to a memorandum of agreement in which Waverley agrees to confirm its intention to maintain its level of support during the project (up until December 2007). Any agreement will be made under the Sponsored Organisation Scheme which is subject to annual agreement of budget by the Council.

Conclusion

4. The project is supported by a number of reputable organisations and English Nature’s involvement will ensure the project is carried out satisfactorily. Areas of land, which will benefit from the project within Waverley are Mare Hill, Blackheath (subject to a lease completion to Waverley by the owner), the Flashes and Churt. In signing up to this project, the Council will benefit financially from the amount of funding allocated to the work, which will be carried out under the project on Waverley’s countryside sites.

Recommendation

It is recommended that the Executive:-

1. authorises the Director of Environment and Leisure to enter into the necessary arrangements (including a memorandum of agreement) with Surrey County Council, to formalise its continued involvement in the Surrey Heathland Project; and 2. gives agreement in principle to support the project, subject to the level of funding being agreed each year as part of the sponsored organisation scheme process.

Background Papers (DoE&L)

1. Memorandum of Agreement
2. Heathland Project SOS application 2003/4
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CONTACT OFFICER:

Name: Julie Maskery Telephone: 01483 523432
E-mail: jmaskery@waverley.gov.uk

Raheem Ikram Telephone: 01483 523235
E-mail: rikram@waverley.gov.uk

comms/exec/03-04/298