Notes of Board Meetings
27 March 2014: Among the matters
- MCC had decided to employ the
Coordinator directly, rather than via Monmouthshire GreenWeb, because of
reduced NRW grant. GreenWeb to continue with a reduced website and
increasing reliance on volunteers.
- Plans for a bioblitz in mid May at
Abergavenny Castle Grounds and Meadows, potentially involving eight
- A sustainability-themed co-production
practitioners network meeting at Chepstow on 21 May featuring
Monmouthshire and Torfaen initiatives.
- Joint MCC/Blaenau Gwent BC guidelines
being produced for assessing the landscape impact of wind turbines, and
Monmouthshire solar farm issues.
- Plans for a strategic transport group
- Plans for various landscape-scale
biodiversity studies and improvements, and for project work on Local
- The Brecon Beacons National Park
- The Eco Open Doors weekend to be on 31
15 January 2014: The meeting
discussed the value of the Board in the context of a likely reduction from
£9k to £5k annual funding. The coordination, networking and small
partnership project work of the Board was agreed to be valuable,
particularly if a Natural Resources Wales representative chairs the Board
and has a place on the Local Service Board. Volunteer capacity
building is a new area of EPB interest linked to the Single Integrated
Plan (and Whole Place Plans), and MCC Countryside Service is exploring
collaborative projects in this area. It was noted that at a time
when volunteering is increasingly necessary the resources available to
support and coordinate this are being reduced. The next round of the
Rural Development Plan might assist. Other matters discussed
- MCC moves to establish a strategic level
transport group or forum and work with communities on local transport
- Plans for a bioblitz in the grounds of
Abergavenny Castle and Museum.
- The imminent adoption of the Local
Development Plan and an early start on the next one to meet needs up to
2031; the BBNP LDP has also been adopted and included community led
plans as supplementary planning guidance.
- A possible landscape improvement project
to extend the success of water vole reintroduction at Magor Marsh.
- Solar farm applications and MCC work on
supplementary planning guidance for renewable energy.
16 October 2013: A well-attended
meeting heard comprehensive presentations on the Single Integrated Plan
and Whole Place Plans (Will McLean, MCC), Community-Led Plans (Shirley
Hughes, Adventa) and Monmouthshire Action Plans for Sustainability (MAPS)
(Eileen O'Haire, RDP Vital Villages and Severn Wye Energy Agency).
Discussion focused on the increasing relevance of communities setting and
delivering their own agendas, help from MCC officers and others, and the
differences in the success of engagement at countywide, urban and rural
levels. Other matters included:
- Thanks to Sue Mabberley, EPB Chair since
2007, who is leaving NRW; it was agreed that her NRW successor should
inherit the Chair and be a member of the Local Service Board.
- A successful Compost It event had been
held at Chepstow, chaired by MCC Deputy Leader Phil Hobson.
- Current issues including the M4
Abergavenny and the National Cycle Road Race in 2014, the possibility of
another bioblitz in 2014, and the forthcoming Wye Valley AONB Management
17 July 2013: Clare Parsons from the
Brecon Beacons NPA described their Scrutiny Review of the Inspiration and
Benefit of Living in the Park, one of the goals of the Park's management
plan. Despite the difficulties of measurement, it was concluded that
53% were positive in their views and 36% negative, and an Action Plan had
been devised by Authority member Margaret Underwood particularly
emphasising improvements in communication with the local community and
community councils. Also:
- The Bioblitz at Caldicot Castle Country
Park, a partnership event arranged by the EPB Coordinator, had been
enjoyed by the public attending and recorded 214 species; other sites
showed interest in similar events.
- A community composting event is being
organised by MCC for 28 September, and MCC's new policy of licensing
suitable land for community food growing is progressing, as is a
reappraisal of roadside verge management policy with action for
pollinators in mind.
- The results of RegenSW research for
Welsh Government on installed renewable energy capacity and NRW research
on the cumulative landscape impact of smaller wind turbines would be
- The scope for partnership environmental
projects related to Whole Place Plans, village plans, etc needed
consideration at the next meeting.
24 April 2013: Rachel Jowitt gave a
presentation on Monmouthshire CC's household waste management review and
impending collection changes that are intended to reduce the amount of
recyclables in black bags and raise revenue from garden waste bag permits.
Over 70% of black bag contents are currently recyclable, half of this food
waste, providing considerable scope for improving the county's 54%
recycled rate. In discussion she admitted that in the future more
kerbside sorting was likely to be necessary to meet government targets.
The scope for secondary school use of the One Planet Centre at Llanfoist
was also discussed. Other matters included:
- The Dig It Monmouthshire event held in
April and attended by about 50, featuring a presentation on Incredible
Edibles Todmorden and MCC moves towards community group adoption of
unproductive council land.
- CCW (now NRW) support for the Board
would continue in 2013/14 but is not assured beyond that; funding the
Coordinator might then depend on securing grants for Board partnership
projects contributing to the Single Integrated Plan.
19 December 2012: Tom Clarke, CEO of
Gwent Wildlife Trust outlined the priorities of the Trust, fifty years old
in 2013 with 29 nature reserves, 432 active volunteers, 10,153 members and
24 staff. Among the Trust's current concerns are proposals for M4
relief, the Severn Barrage, waste incineration at Llanwern, the motor
racing circuit at Rassau and fracking. Projects include Living
Landscapes restoring and connecting habitats in the Usk to Wye area, the
Levels (the recent acquisition of Barecroft Common will enable habitat
restoration beyond the Magor Marsh reserve), and the Eastern Valleys, and
the Natural Assets programme with MCC and landowners establishing
voluntary reserves on small holdings. He regretted the difficulties
of liaison with the Glas Tir scheme for holdings over 3ha. Linkages
with the work of the EPB were noted. Other matters discussed
- A possible green volunteers event with
Tidy Towns, Vital Villages, the National Park and the AONB.
- A bioblitz event at Caldicot Castle and
- The need to ensure that environmental
issues are taken into account in the Single Integrated Plan.
- The forthcoming review of the AONB
- A second Eco Open Doors event in April
23 October 2012: A presentation by
the County Council's Waste Strategy and Resources Manager was full of
interesting facts on household waste production and recycling. Now
achieving 55% recycling rates, the Council has to reach 70% by 2024/25 and
has found that over half the contents of 'unrecyclable' black bags would
have been recyclable. A public consultation on a strategy to improve
performance is to start soon, and the Board discussed several relevant
issues. Other matters included:
- A review of Action Plan progress and the
need to retain, amend or delete actions.
- The prospects of environmental content
in the Single Integrated Plan.
- MCC work on resilience to climate
20 July 2012: The main topics were:
- The future of the smaller Local Service
Board and the Single Integrated Plan was described by Will Maclean of
the County Council. A new SIP document will be put forward for
comment in September and is likely to focus partnership working on low
earnings and the county's larger than average carbon footprint, partly a
result of rurality issues. The SIP will be based on a strategic
needs assessment leading to 3-5 priorities; environmental data evidence
is needed. The Board was pleased that Monmouthshire's SIP was
likely, like the Community Strategy, to include environmental measures
related to climate change and rurality.
- An EAW presentation on the Water
Framework Directive provided interesting information on Monmouthshire
issues and partnership working.
- The Welsh Government consultation on an
Active Travel Bill which was broadly welcomed with significant
reservations about the availability of resources for delivering the
- A Board response to the consultation on
a Sustainable Development Bill, also generally supportive.
18 April 2012: A presentation by the
Crucorney Energy Group demonstrated the breadth of activity that can be
achieved by a community of about 620 households - woodland management,
charcoal making, hurdle making, allotments and PV panels on the village
hall. A community electric car is being considered. Other
- Progress on some elements of the Board's
Action Plan and continuing concern that the Local Service Board's Single
Integrated Plan could sideline environmental issues and the Partnership.
However, the LSB's continuing interest in climate change adaptation and
resilience was welcomed.
- The Community Climate Champions' Eco
Open Doors event in March, which had resulted in over 200 visits to 28
properties and positive feedback, including 28 with firm plans to
install RE technology. Meet the Installer events had been less
- The cancellation, for lack of support,
of a Creating an Active Monmouthshire event for volunteers, and the need
to rethink and reschedule this for the autumn.
- The work of CMC2, the County Council's
community interest company, currently focusing on renewable energy
projects (possibly to include a trade food waste anaerobic digester) and
- A new Environment Agency Wales
funding scheme for improving the water
quality of rivers etc.
- The viability of Monmouthshire GreenWeb
if EPB funding is lost in 2013/14. Business plan consultants have
11 January 2012: The current Rural
Development Plan programme -
http://www.monmouthshirerdp.org.uk/ - was summarised by a member of
the new Monmouthshire Enterprise team before the Board considered inter
- Proposed revisions
to the Board's Terms of Reference (agreed) and a more focused approach
to the Action Plan via sub groups. (The Local Service Board has
since required that the Board develop the Outcome Based Accountability
approach so that it may be incorporated into a future Single Integrated
- Concern that the
Welsh Government's draft SIP guidance fell short of that for Community
Strategies and particularly failed to recognise the need to deal with
environmental issues. A Board response is to be made.
- Local Energy
Assessment Fund (LEAF) bids for an eco-homes open weekend and pilot home
improvements at Overmonnow (both subsequently successful);
- The probability that
sufficient CCW funding would be available in 2012/13 for the Board to
continue its work.
12 October 2011: Despite expected
CCW budget cuts, it was agreed that EPB coordination should continue to be
a priority, despite/because of Welsh Government aim to halve the number of
partnerships and integrate strategies. Other matters included:
- Available evidence (difficulties of
measurement noted) suggested that the Local Service Board's 10:10 target
had not quite been achieved. An Action Plan workshop on Changing
Climate, Changing Places is to be held. The Kafka RE project needs
a qualitative assessment to check whether front-line practice has
changed - still apparently inconsistent planning decisions? Still
more scope for promoting RE schemes.
- Proposed Single Environment Body for
Wales moving forward, but some Board members concerned that this would
result in unhelpful delays, lost opportunities and loss of local
- Community Climate Change Champions
planned RE event on 19 October and on Eco-homes in March 2012.
Abergavenny has produced
leaflet on householders who will show their green technologies by
- EPB Action Plan to be rationalised and
made more achievable.
- Wye Valley AONB 40th anniversary events
and progress including a Code of Conduct for Canoeists, the Overlooking
the Wye Project, a Sustainable Tourism Strategy, a Youth Ranger Scheme,
and an application with partners to run a Nature Improvement Area pilot
- Funding approval for the MCC
unimplemented consents project (see 13 July).
- MCC Green Deal progress on RE
installations on MCC buildings, community loans and a rent-a-roof
13 July 2011: We met at the
new £38m Mabey Bridge plant at Newhouse Farm, Chepstow, which already has
a capacity to make 450 steel wind turbine sections a year. The main
matters dealt with were:
- The commitment of the Local Service
Board making its climate change subgroup a standing, rather than
task-and-finish, group, following up 10:10 campaign monitoring, the
Kafka RE project and more work on climate change resilience and
- The EPB's contributions to the Creating
an Active Monmouthshire Plan aimed at increasing voluntary activity in
caring for green spaces and increasing awareness of the county's
biodiversity via an annual 'bio-blitz' event.
- Difficulties in adapting the EPB Action
Plan to the currently favoured Outcome Based Accountability approach.
- The County Council's pioneering
Biodiversity Action Plan for Rights of Way Maintenance and Enforcement.
- Gwent Wildlife Trust surveys to
identify, and give management advice for. Local Wildlife Sites, funded
via the Welsh Rural Development Plan.
- A cross-border response in the AONB to
England's Nature Improvement Areas.
- A possible project looking at the
potential impact of unimplemented past consents on more recent EU
- The Deposit Version of the Local
Development Plan, to be published for consultation in the autumn;
elected members had added the county's first 'green belt' at Chepstow.
13 April 2011: Dr Nicola
Perkins, Director, described recent and planned developments at Mulberry
House Environmental Study Centre, the venue for the meeting. The
main other matters dealt with were:
- Updates on the work of the Local Service
Board, its Kafka project, and MCC's Green Deal team.
- Possible initiatives to replace the
Board's Green Energy Area, such as a rural development event in
partnership with adventa or a funding fair with GAVO.
- The Business Breakfast Waste Forum, held
in partnership with the Board, which had conveyed valuable information
but been poorly attended by the business community.
- The need to adapt the Board's Action
Plan to the Outcome Based Accountability process; a training session is
to be arranged and a health-related outcome added to the Plan at CCW's
- The reduction of CCW funding support for
the Board from 2012/13.
- Recent partnership actions to deal with
fly-tipping on the A465 north of Abergavenny, in the Bulwark/Thornwell
area of Chepstow, and the Chapel Road area of Abergavenny, maintaining
the cooperation generated by the Tidy Towns project.
12 January 2011: This meeting
focused mainly on:
- The County Council's new Green Deal
programme which brings together the Council's dispersed sustainability
functions and especially concentrates on implementing renewable energy
technologies, raising income for the Council and creating jobs. A
partnership community energy saving programme will initially focus on
part of the Overmonnow ward at Monmouth. A Green Deal Project
Board of experts advises the Council, which is promoting photovoltaics
for 'quick wins'. The Board had some concern that the Green Deal
might overemphasise energy matters at the expense of other
- Draft proposals for restructuring the
Council's Policy and Partnership Team which could threaten the Council's
sustainable development work with communities. A response was
- Environment Agency Wales's staff
training on climate change which was considered an excellent model
worthy of adaptation for other bodies.
The meeting also decided that the Green
Energy Area at Usk Show would not be repeated in 2011 as there are now
other means of promoting the messages; the timing of a paper on climate
change for the Local Service Board and the forthcoming requirement that
organisations report on adapting to climate change risks to the Welsh
Assembly Government; and the Local Service Board's Kafka Brigade action
plan on reducing the barriers to micro-renewables.
20 October 2010: The main matters
- The WAG consultation on Living Wales - a
natural environment framework - an important document, if somewhat
challenging for non-specialists. Board response by 31 December,
depending on members' responses.
- Concern that the new Community Strategy
would lose the environmental strengths of the present strategy if it
focused on statutory strategies for community safety, health and
wellbeing and children and young people.
- Fly-tipping projects of the Environment
Agency on A4042 and, with MCC, at Thornwell, Chepstow. The Tidy
Local Communities project ends in March 2011.
- Updates on the Usk to Wye landscape
project, the Wildlife Trust Orchards and Living Churchyards projects,
and their roadside verges project in the Gwent Levels (aimed at
extending the range of the rare shrill carder bumblebee).
- The Local Service Board-led Kafka
Brigade project to overcome barriers encountered by renewable energy
schemes; case studies have been selected.
- The new MCC Chief Officer's report on
the New Green Deal. Ms Beirne to be invited to the Board's next
7 July 2010: The main agenda item
was a contribution to the review of the Community Strategy, expected to be
complete by April 2011. Board members felt that the seven strategic
outcomes put forward by the statutory partnerships were too broad, long
term and unspecific to Monmouthshire, and did not reflect challenges such
as peak oil. The need for 'continuous sustainable economic growth'
was questioned, as was the absence of reference to the rurality of
Monmouthshire and the need for effective public transport. The Board
hoped that the best features of the current Strategy would not be lost,
and agreed to contribute a paper on climate change adaptation to the
September meeting of the Local Service Board.
Other matters considered included:
- Further work on the review of the
Board's Action Plan, particularly enabling progress to be measured via
- The need for a Waste Forum meeting; a
business waste theme was agreed, but the need to re-establish
interaction between the County Council and community groups was raised.
- Every school now has an energy audit and
steps are being taken to train staff and governors.
- The Green Energy and Climate Change Area
at the Usk Show on 11 September.
- Reconsideration of the Usk to Wye
landscape project following an unsuccessful bid for Heritage Lottery
Fund support; the added value of the partnership will continue with
prioritised actions and EPB administrative support.
- The welcome WLGA Climate Adaptation
Guide for local authorities.
14 April 2010: A discussion on the
presentations at the February meeting centred on the barriers to the
development of renewables, such as planning and licensing requirements,
species protection and requirements that authorised contractors be used.
Some felt that these constraints deterred many vital small developments,
but others felt that the negotiating process in an area where gaps in
scientific knowledge invoked the precautionary principle worked well if
time-consuming. More guidance/encouragement is needed, and the Local
Service Board is starting a project that will establish conflict facts
and, if necessary, take these to WAG. The EPB Action Plan will be
amended to provide advice etc that will supplement the forthcoming Local
Most of the remainder of the meeting
reviewed the Board's Action Plan; a revised version will be available on
line in due course. Among the matters arising were:
- The need for the Waste Forum to consider
- A Transport Forum should be held in the
autumn of 2010.
- The need to strengthen the training
content of the plan and to make better connections with the Health and
17 February 2010: This meeting was
focused on the National Park's Green Valleys Project and the work of
Transition Chepstow and Transition Monmouth.
- Grenville Ham's presentation on the
Green Valleys Project described how it was a community-owned project
aiming to be self-financing within three years. At present it is
focusing on low risk, high return projects, mainly small hydro-energy
projects on mountain streams. The new feed-in tariff scheme
unfortunately requires accredited installations, where many locations
require tailor-made solutions. Other project work includes
allotments, a biodiesel club, community woodlands, and work in the
uplands to prevent carbon-releasing erosion.
- Marcus Perrin described Chepstow's aim
of making the town the most insulated in Britain and initiatives such as
fruit and nut tree planting, promoting fabric bags and inputting to the
Local Development Plan. They had unfortunately failed in the
British Gas Green Streets competition and, with MCC, the Low Carbon
Communities Challenge, but still hoped to make progress in some of the
- Simon Brown spoke for Monmouth, which
had similar projects to Chepstow. A community orchard is being
planted and they have worked on carbon calculation, not very
successfully, with schools; now to focus on businesses and other
organisations. Also unsuccessful with grant bids.
- Mary Kelly described the work of
Abergavenny Climate Action which has only just been formally launched.
- Discussion centred on the difficulties
of achieving behaviour change; social marketing has a lot to
offer. A 'sharing event' was suggested to help groups work
together. Also need to emphasise the Peak Oil dimension when
Climate Change is having a bad press.
- The 10:10 campaign work of the the Local
Service Board, focusing on partners' awareness and energy use in
buildings, the County Council, implementing their 2008 strategy,
Environment Agency Wales and CCW (travel reduction), were also reported.
Gwent Wildlife Trust has achieved Green Dragon Level 2 but have
difficulty in going further.
- George Ashworth of MCC is to be vice
chair of the Board.
13 October 2009: Unfortunately
illness prevented a talk on the Brecon Beacons National Park Green Valleys
Project. However, it was agreed that the next meeting should focus
on energy matters including this project and local Transition Town
projects. Other matters included:
- Sue Mabberley of CCW was elected chair
for a further two years; consideration will be given to the
election of a vice chair.
- MCC has registered interest in the Low
Carbon Communities Fund and meetings will be held to assemble a bid on
behalf of one or more communities in the county.
Usk to Wye
Campaign ecological connectivity partnership is to make a bid to the
Heritage Lottery Fund which could lead to the appointment of a
Waste Forum in July and continuing
controversy; Cllr Eric Saxon clarified the position of MCC.
- Schools have been offered sessions on
energy use and Owl energy monitors; MCC leisure centres are now
the subject of energy audits, second only to schools as energy users.
- On a trial basis all MCC Cabinet reports
will include a section on sustainability implications, based on a
checklist similar to that trialled by the Board in recent years.
- Several sources of advice on the
biodiversity impact of renewable energy schemes, and research
commissioned by the Bat Conservation Trust.
- The success of the Climate Change and
Green Energy Area at the Usk Show.
Advice for Communities First groups undertaking environmental
projects that may be useful more widely.
8 July 2009: The main matters
- Progress on the Local Development Plan.
EPB members welcomed the emphasis on sustainability and commended the
consultation process to others consulting the public, had reservations
about the ease of using the MCC web site, considered the 'candidate
sites' system confusing for the public, and welcomed an energy study to
be carried out in the autumn.
- The work of the Local Service Board on
climate change and the possibility of a joint LSB/EPB event on zero/low
- Updating on Action Plan projects
including the Usk to Wye landscape project which is now being
formalised, the Waste Forum planned for 9 July and related issues, MCC's
adoption of a Carbon Management Plan which aims to reduce carbon
emissions by 25% 2007-2012, and the Climate Change and Green Energy area
at Usk Show on 12 September.
29 April 2009: Subject to some
alterations, the Board's Environmental Objectives and Action Plan 2009/10
was agreed and will shortly be available here. Other matters
- Progress on the
Usk to Wye
landscape campaign following an EPB-supported conference in March.
- The need for a Waste Forum to respond to
today's launch of WAG consultation on a waste strategy for Wales.
- Measures to communicate green
information to schools.
- Progress on energy efficiency and the
case for a county Forum of Transition groups.
- Delays in progress on the Regional
Transport Plan, pending consultation on a WAG national plan this summer.
Four Monmouthshire Safe Routes schemes have WAG approval.
- Transfer of the EPB's Green Energy Area
from Monmouth Show to Usk Show.
- The recent Local Service Board Climate
Change conference and its outcomes, possibly including a Local Delivery
10 December 2008: Much of the
meeting was devoted to discussion of the need for a concise environmental
policy statement or non-statutory strategy for the county, and an action
plan in accordance with the Community Strategy. Initially a review
of relevant lower-order statutory strategies and plans will be conducted
to test a process for assembling an overall strategy. Other matters
- Involvement in a Local Service Board
Climate Change event being planned for March 2009.
- The likelihood of a Waste Forum being
held to tie in with a consultation on WAG's new Waste Strategy, expected
in Spring 2009.
- The potential of voluntary groups to
extend the labour-intensive Zero Waste approach to more communities.
- The growth of MCC and community
energy-saving and renewable energy activity; the need for an advice note
on avoiding any adverse impact on wildlife by small wind and hydro
schemes will be explored.
24 September 2008: Matters
- The future of the Board's Monmouth Show
Green Energy Area - whether to combine with 'Countryside Matters' as a
'Green Living' area; whether a presence at Usk Show would be feasible.
Coordinator to investigate options.
- The draft Regional Transport Plan:
The Board was generally supportive but felt that cross-border public
transport needed more attention and that projects such as Connect 2 at
Monmouth needed specific mention; some members strongly opposed to M4
relief road, without which more money would be available for sustainable
transport; a local transport plan for the county and an annual forum
- The new Tidy Towns initiative (in
Monmouthshire to be known as Tidy Local Communities - TLC) to be run
by RCA in association with Keep Wales Tidy. Members concerned to
avoid damage to protected species.
- An update on energy efficiency
incentives and reports on grants for hydro power in the Wye Valley and
the Big Green Challenge in the National Park and its margins.
- A draft action plan for the Board and
the need to extend its content.
18 June 2008: A well-attended
meeting considered a wide range of matters including:
- The work of the Monmouthshire Local
Service Board and its Community Strategy: It was felt that the role of
the LSB needed clarification and the EPB will ask how comments made on
the draft Strategy are to be dealt with. The LSB's intention to
refresh Open Strategy was welcomed (see note of EPB meeting on 11
January below). In order to assist its input to the Community
Strategy, the Board will assemble an Environment Action Plan bringing
together the main intentions of its partners and others. The EPB
also considered its response to a 'fit for purpose' questionnaire issued
by the LSB, usefully identifying areas for improvement.
- Progress on the Council's Energy and
Climate Change Strategy, the results of which are now posted elsewhere
on these EPB pages. MCC aims to reduce its carbon emissions from
buildings by 40% in five years.
- The likelihood that a consultation event
later this would consider the draft Regional Transport Plan, local needs
and demand for an annual consultative Transport Forum.
- The need to review the form of the Waste
Forum, possibly as an annual event. County Council and
Monmouthshire Community Recycling representatives gave detailed reports
on waste management progress, including the current pilot of co-mingled
collection and the need for a fair comparison of this with the black box
system. WAG policies are expected to be clearer in September.
- The Board will have an improved Green
Energy Area at the Monmouth Show on 28 August.
11 April 2008: Much of the
meeting was concerned with the Board's response to the Local Service
Board's draft Community Strategy. A report of the EPB 5 April
workshop on the subject was received. Members were generally pleased
that the Strategy had focused on the need for short-term action to tackle
climate change and issues relating to access to services and facilities
including transport, but felt that Sustainability should be a key focus
and regretted that the LSB had not adopted the 'overarching' approach to
the Strategy. A full response will be submitted before the end of
Other matters included:
- MCC progress with workshops (internal
and community) developing Climate Change and Energy action plans.
- The concerns of some members about MCC's
Medium Term Waste Strategy and the role of the Waste Forum. A
meeting is to be arranged with MCC.
- An environmental education showcase to
be held at Gilwern on 25 April.
- Progress on village hall energy audits
and action arising from these.
- Concern that the MCC 'Open Strategy' is
not adequately resourced or user-friendly and therefore its potential is
11 January 2008: The main
agenda item was County Council waste management policy, introduced by
Cabinet Member Eric Saxon. Most of the Council's consultative plans
to minimise waste going to landfill were welcomed, noting that MCC is one
of the leading Welsh authorities for diverting biodegradable waste from
landfill. Members were surprised to learn that 36% of household
waste, by weight, is food and green waste. Concern was expressed
that residual waste seemed likely to be incinerated in a regional
energy-from-waste plant rather than rely on solutions based on other
methods, but it was noted that no decision had been taken. Members
questioned a WAG waste collection target which conflicted with the
preferable option of home composting. The MCR Zero Waste project at
St Arvans achieves 95% participation, and there are now encouraging
results in Abergavenny's Communities First area. The importance of
taking every opportunity for public education was stressed.
Other environmental matters included:
- MCC has succeeded in a prosecution for
fly-tipping, a substantial fine being imposed, and is using road
planings for rural footpath improvement.
- The Board will assist the arrangement of
a Local Development Plan workshop and possibly another on the new
- MCC consultants will be holding
community workshops on the Climate Change Strategy in the Spring.
- A meeting for anyone involved in
education for sustainable development is planned for 25 April - contact:
- Energy audits for first village halls
completed for Rural Community Action.
- Further consideration of the possibility
of repeating the Green Energy Area, possibly at the Usk Show in 2008.
- Agreement that the Board's coordination
arrangement with Monmouthshire GreenWeb be extended to 2008/09.
- The Gwent Wildlife Trust has raised
funds to purchase Wyeswood Common, adjoining their Pentwyn Farm reserve,
and now seeks funds for land management.
5 October 2007: Among the
matters discussed and conclusions were:
- An update on the County Council's
measures to tackle fly tipping led to criticism of the Council's own
practice of depositing highway materials in rural lay-bys, especially in
the National Park. The matter will be raised with the Highways
Section, together with the scope for reusing waste materials.
- The Green Energy Area was considered
successful and worth repeating if funding can be found. A better
position on the showground is wanted.
- The County Council's Climate Change
Strategy had been welcomed in a Board response and it was hoped that the
Board might play a part in taking forward community-related aspects of
- The National Park's Planning Advisory
Note on solar and other renewables has encouraged more planning
- Concern was expressed that energy
efficiency standards in larger developments that are 'self-certified'
under building regulations may not always be adequately enforced.
- Rural Community Action in partnership
with the SE Wales Energy Agency are hoping to introduce a scheme to help
village halls save energy. Another SEWA project could promote
energy efficiency at a community level in Monmouthshire.
- The role of the Council's Open Strategy
project in the review of the Community Strategy was discussed and the
Partnership's input was examined 'live'. It was agreed to respond
to a WAG consultation on new Community Strategy guidance asking for
stronger emphasis on Sustainable Development and WAG's own Environment
Strategy, questioning the emphasis on collaborative projects seemingly
at the expense of others, and stressing the need for adequate resources
to assemble the Strategies.
- A meeting of relevant partners will be
arranged to consider the scope for a project relating to biodiversity
- The difficulties and controversies of
increasing use of biodiesel were discussed; a local voluntary project
based on researching the availability of used cooking oil seems unlikely
- It was hoped that MCC's appointment of a
Transportation Strategy Manager would enable progress on transport
matters, including a Transport Forum or Conference.
- The likelihood that Chepstow Town
Council would lead a Transition Town project encouraging
self-sufficiency and less reliance on fossil fuels.
6 July 2007: The main
matters discussed and conclusions were:
- The Board's energy efficiency sub group
should become more involved in the wider community actions of the
forthcoming MCC climate change/energy efficiency plan. This would
also be a topic for a Transport Forum if this is established.
- Following St Arvans' success, it was
noted that other communities in the AONB could apply for Sustainable
Development Fund grants for projects to minimise waste.
Monmouthshire Community Recycling are now focusing on the Communities
First area of Abergavenny.
- The Board learned about the Bryn y Cwm
Forum waste management proposals and that a Regional Waste Plan review
would be available for comment in the autumn.
- Several member organisations are now
looking into the use of biodiesel for their fleet vehicles; the EPB and
the AONB have grant-aided a green energy area at Monmouth Show (30
August); SWALEC are seeking a (gas-using) community of about 500 houses
for a community-led energy reduction project. (A Vale of
Glamorgan community was subsequently chosen.)
- The education for sustainable
development sub group is gathering information on existing provision -
ColetteMooney@monmouthshire.gov.uk. Over half of Monmouthshire
schools are now registered as Eco-schools, three with green flag awards.
- The Board will consider holding a public
event in 2008 with a planning and sustainability theme linked to the
Local Development Plan process.
- The Board will have a seat on the new
Local Service Board steering joint action on public sector projects
13 April 2007: The Board's
business was largely consideration of the results of the Waste and Energy
Workshops held on 19 March. The main conclusions of the meeting
- The Board should be represented at the
Council's mainly internal Climate Change Workshop on 18 May, which would
be considering energy efficiency measures.
- A sub group would consider the value of
planning for ecological connectivity corridors as a response to climate
- More guidance was needed on the
incorporation of Board projects into the Council's Open Strategy
- The Waste Forum should play a role in
community consultation on the Council's forthcoming review of its Waste
Strategy - to be discussed with Cabinet Member.
- The success of the St Arvans zero waste
project was welcomed and the potential of this growing to become a low
carbon community is to be investigated.
- Monmouth Friends of the Earth are
considering a biodiesel club based on recycled cooking oil.
- Consideration will be given to partners
arranging an energy zone, with advice and suppliers, at Monmouth Show.
- MCC would consider an agreement whereby
Monmouthshire GreenWeb would provide coordination and other services for