Members of the Board to update one another on key matters of importance arsing since the previous meeting.
Matt Whitney, Local Nature Partnership Manager provided a verbal update on current affairs and activity within the county which were relevant to the work of the LNP and which the LNP might wish to influence. This included a draft version of a ‘calendar of influence’ setting out consultation periods for various plans and strategies. The Board was informed that there would be a need to prioritise responses on key issues given the finite time and resources available.
To date, a response from the LNP had been made to the draft Oxford City Local Plan. It was expected that other Oxfordshire councils would be refreshing their local plans in the following 12 months.
ACTION: - LNP Manager to share the LNP response to Oxford City Local Plan consultation to all members of the Board.
It was suggested that in addition to the plans listed, there were two Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, (AONB) Management Plans which could be included. It was also noted that consultation would shortly be commencing on the North Wessex Downs and Chiltern Nature Recovery Plans and that these should also be added to the calendar.
ACTION: - LNP Manager to add potential responses to the Cotswold AONB Management Plan, West Oxfordshire Issues and Options Consultation, North Wessex Downs and Chiltern Nature Recovery Plans to the calendar.
A discussion took place on how the LNP could best formulate future consultation responses and draft responses shared. The Board was informed that a Policy Sub-Group was in development to draft responses and the Chair proposed that this group have delegated authority to draft responses on the Partnership’s behalf, but that Board members be copied in on the responses if they so request. The often short periods in which responses had to be formulated were acknowledged, but it was also noted that having responses available as early as possible was of benefit to the wider group of LNP stakeholders.
1) That the Policy Sub-Group be delegated authority to make consultation responses on behalf of the LNP.
2) That the Board be copied in on those responses where Board members express a preference to do so.
The Board noted that although there would always be some variations in response reflecting the nature of individual consultations, it ought to be possible to work towards largely common responses in many areas which could help with the resource implications. The Board was also informed that it was intended to share position papers on the LNP’s website once this was created.
It was suggested that whilst council Local Plans formed an important area for LNP influence, it was also important to consider seeking to influence council’s Corporate Plans when they were reviewed as these set out the strategic direction and priorities for funding decisions of those organisations. The importance of also considering responses to other consultations such as those relating to strategic highways, green infrastructure, and Active Travel was also highlighted.
1. LNP Manager to share LNP position papers on the LNP website when appropriate and possible to do so.
2. LNP Manager to include council corporate plans in the calendar of influence.