Reason for the decision:
To ensure the Council’s Environment Policy is brought in line with the latest environmental priorities for clean growth, clean air and the natural environment as set out in new Strategies and Plans issued by UK Government and at county level (e.g. the Kent and Medway Energy & Low Emissions Strategy and net-zero target commitments).
KCC is the lead partner in delivering the Kent Environment Strategy and the Kent & Medway Energy and Low Emissions Strategy and has had a publicly available Environment Policy since circa 2005. Since April 2009, all KCC services have been certified to the international Standard for Environmental Management ISO14001, which requires the organisation to approve and publish its commitment to prevent pollution and continually improve its environmental performance in the form of a Policy. There has been significant shift in the political and public focus on environmental matters since the last policy was published in 2017.
A. Retain existing policy which was last revised and published in March 2017.
B. Approve a revised policy, which reflects current priorities set out in new Strategies and Plans issued by UK Government and at county level.
Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Environment
Decision published: 09/10/2020
Effective from: 17/10/2020
The Cabinet Member for the Environment agrees to adopt a revised Environment Policy to be implemented through the Council’s established environmental management system, which is certified to the international Standard for Environmental Management, ISO14001:2015.
Division affected: (All Division);
Lead officer: Christine Wissink
Kent County Council has longstanding memoranda of understanding with the French Hauts-de-France region, the Pas-de-Calais Département, and the Belgian Province of West Flanders. These relationships have led to many joint initiatives over time – often supported by cross-border funding mechanisms - in areas such as trade, tourism, education, social care, transport and the environment.
Over the last three years, meetings between Kent County Council, its continental partners and other continental authorities have shown a desire to continue local-to-local cooperation where it may be of mutual benefit. Kent was encouraged by the UK diplomatic service to formalise this into a new relationship and, on 5th February 2020, Kent County Council signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with neighbouring French, Belgian and Dutch local authorities to create the Straits Committee.
The MOU commits the partners to develop a shared, forward-looking vision for the Straits area where cooperation may achieve tangible results. This may be in any area but the partners will pay particular attention to joint work on economic development and fluidity of trade, addressing climate change and clean growth, and supporting young people.
The MOU setting up the Straits Committee commits each authority to designating a cabinet member to take part in a cross-authority working group that will meet up to four times a year. This working group, known as the “Executive Committee”, is supported by officers in each participating authority who will prepare meetings and follow up agreed actions. In addition, the MOU also commits the signatory authorities to holding an annual public conference that will be open widely to stakeholders from across the Straits area and will look at opportunities for the area. The first conference is planned for 2021 and is due to take place in Kent.
· Do nothing: While the MOU does not place any legal requirements on Kent County Council (KCC), the failure to adopt this decision would call into question KCC’s ongoing involvement in the Straits Committee and ability to support joint initiatives, including related spend activity. This would lead to a weakening of relations with KCC’s European partners at a time when the UK is seeking close ties and friendly cooperation with neighbouring countries.
· Adopt a decision approving Kent’s involvement in the Straits Committee and associated budget (Preferred option): This would align KCC’s participation in the Straits Committee with KCC’s governance and provide a mechanism for supporting joint initiatives with spend activity.
How the proposed decision meets the objectives of ‘Increasing Opportunities, Improving Outcomes: Kent County Council’s Strategic Statement (2015-2020)’:
The Straits Committee forms an integral part of Kent’s policy response to its neighbourhood following the UK’s exit from the European Union. The creation of this new, member-led committee will help local authorities on both sides of the Dover straits maintain good neighbourly relations, navigate issues arising to help keep our border fluid, support our economies and tackle the grand challenges that we share.
Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Economic Development
Decision published: 08/10/2020
Effective from: 16/10/2020
The Cabinet Member for Economic Development is asked to:
a) Confirm the participation of Kent County Council in the Straits Committee, a new, voluntary partnership between Kent County Council and neighbouring Belgian, Dutch and French local authorities to pursue lasting good neighbourly relations and create opportunities for mutual benefit for businesses, residents, local stakeholders and communities;
b) Approve funding of £100,000 from reserves for activities in connection with the Straits Committee. These will include support to joint initiatives on economic development, tackling climate change, supporting young people and any initiatives in other policy areas as agreed within the Straits Committee, the development of a strategy for the Straits Committee, the hosting of a Straits conference in Kent and the setting up of a small project support scheme; and
c) Agree delegated authority for management of that funding to the Director of Economic Development.
Division affected: (All Division);
Lead officer: Dafydd Pugh
On 10th June 2020, the Government made a call to Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEP) for shovel-ready schemes that were able to spend in the next 18 months, as a way to stimulate economic recovery and help mitigate the impact that COVID-19 has had on employment levels.
Consequently, the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (KMEP), via the Kent and Medway Economic Partnership (KMEP), wrote to local stakeholders (including KCC) asking for their shovel-ready scheme suggestions. All forthcoming proposals were then submitted to Government, via SELEP, on 18th June 2020. The accumulated total of these SELEP suggestions equalled £573m.
On 3rd July 2020, the Government informed the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) that it would receive £85million of ‘Getting Building Fund’ (GBF) to deliver ‘shovel-ready’ schemes. GBF is capital grant funding.
The Government asked SELEP to prioritise its original scheme suggestions for inclusion within the £85m funding envelope. The SELEP Strategic Board met on 16th July 2020 to make its decision.
The SELEP Strategic Board chose seven Kent projects to be included within the £85m ask of Government. Three of these projects are to be delivered directly by Kent County Council and are covered by Decision 20/00085. Four projects are to be delivered by third-party promoters. These third-party schemes are:
First + Second Floors, Building 500, Discovery Park
Discovery Park Ltd
The Meeting Place, Swanley
Sevenoaks District Council
New Performing & Production Digital Arts Facility
North Kent College
Romney Marsh Employment Hub
Folkestone & Hythe District Council
The approval of Ministers to SELEP’s £85m list is awaited.
If Ministerial approval is granted, the business cases for these third-party projects will be presented to the SELEPAccountability Board in October or November 2020 for their approval of the funding award.
Subject to the necessary approvals being granted, SELEP will require Kent County Council to enter into a grant agreement with Essex County Council (which is SELEP’s accountable body) for all schemes awarded GBF by SELEP within KCC’s administrative boundary, whether the projects are Kent County Council projects, or alternatively projects promoted by a third party (e.g. a private sector business). For these projects, where Kent County Council is not the project promoter, Kent County Council is asked to enter a back-to-back grant agreement with the third party.
This key decision is therefore required to enable grant agreements to be entered into, so that funding may be secured for the Kent projects from the Getting Building Fund.
Options (other options considered but discarded)
If Kent County Council were to choose to not enter into a grant agreement for the GBF projects selected by the SELEP Strategic Board, the GBF funding could be either (i) retained by central government or (ii) reallocated by SELEP to another project(s). It is not clear at the time of writing if the project would be in Kent’s geographical area, or from another area of the SELEP.
Decision Maker: Leader of the Council
Decision published: 06/10/2020
Effective from: 14/10/2020
The Leader of the Council agrees to:
a) endorse the projects in Kent that the South East Local Enterprise Partnership’s Strategic Board has prioritised to receive Getting Building Funding (GBF) at its board meeting on 16 July 2020;
b) County Council acting as the accountable body for third-party projects within Kent’s geographical boundaries that are selected by the SELEP to receive GBF grant funding; and
c) Delegate to the Section 151 Officer the authority to sign on KCC’s behalf a grant agreement or equivalent, where this is required to draw down funds following business case approval.
The Cabinet Member for Economic Development is asked to give approval for the East Malling Advanced Technology Horticultural Zone project to be progressed through the next stages of development and delivery including authority for Kent County Council to enter into funding and legal contracts with the third party (NIAB EMR) who are delivering the scheme.
i) give approval to enter into Local Growth Fund funding agreement subject to the approval of the Corporate Director of Finance & Procurement
ii) give approval to enter into legal agreements with the third parties delivering the schemes to transfer the conditions of the LGF spend and project management to them
In the Growth Deal announcements in July 2014 (Round One) and January 2015 (Round Two), the Government allocated £482 million from the Local Growth Fund to capital projects across the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP) area.
As the end of the Growth Deal (March 2021) approaches; projects throughout the SELEP region have experienced delivery challenges; therefore £33.396m of funding, from these projects has been returned for reallocation through the LGF3b pipeline list. Through this process, an allocation has been made available for the East Malling Advanced Technology Horticultural Zone project. This scheme is being delivered by an external partner (NIAB EMR) and KCC will transfer the allocated funding onto the third party, for the delivery of the scheme.
It has been agreed with Government that SELEP and therefore Kent County Council will receive Local Growth Fund in quarterly instalments in advance in accordance with the scheme spending profiles, subject to completion of a Business Case for each project and the approval of the project by SELEP Accountability Board.
A Legal agreement has been prepared between KCC and NIAB EMR which will transfer all the LGF spend and project management responsibility on to them. This includes updating Kent County Council monthly on project progress and spend; as well as completing the post scheme monitoring required by SELEP.
The East Malling Advanced Technology Horticultural Zone will be delivered in line with the current governance arrangements under the Local Growth Fund (KCC and SELEP). Therefore, the scheme will carry out necessary consultation and equality impact assessments as part of the scheme progression.
The business case for the East Malling Advanced Technology Horticultural Zone (£1,683,600) was approved at SELEP Accountability Board on 3rd July 2020.
Before the legal agreement can be finalised for NIAB EMR; a key decision is required. The LGF cannot be spent until the Key Decision is in place.
The options considered for the East Malling Advanced Technology Horticultural Zone are set out in the business case document which can be accessed here:
East Malling Advanced Technology Horticultural Zone (pages 24-26)
Decision Maker: Cabinet Member for Economic Development
Decision published: 05/10/2020
Effective from: 13/10/2020
As Cabinet Member for Economic Development I approve the progression, via KCC’s Local Growth Fund arrangements, for the East Malling Advanced Technology Horticultural Zone, allowing it to progress to the stages of development and delivery.
To facilitate this, I agree:
- to confirm that KCC will act as the accountable body for the project;
- to enter into a Local Growth Fund (LGF) funding agreement; and
- to enter into legal agreements with the relevant third parties delivering the schemes to transfer the conditions of the LGF spend and project management to them
I also agree to delegate authority to Corporate Director of Growth, Environment and Transport, in consultation with the Corporate Directors of Finance and Strategic and Corporate Services, to enter into relevant legal agreements and take other actions necessary to implement this decision.
Division affected: Malling Central;
Lead officer: Tim Read
Cygnus Academies Trust occupy the majority of the property known as Westgate Primary School, Dartford, under the terms of a 125-year lease granted in 2016, when the School converted to an Academy. Part of the Primary School building has been occupied for over ten years by the adjoining Dartford Science and Technology College, which obtained Trust status in 2014. The College Trust need to be granted a lease of the accommodation occupied, having regard to their change of status.
Options (other options considered but discarded):
This Decision ensures that the County Council’s granting of the lease accords with the 2007 Regulations and regularises the College’s occupation of the County Council’s retained accommodation within the Primary School.
Decision Maker: Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services
Decision published: 29/09/2020
Effective from: 07/10/2020
Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Finance, Corporate and Traded Services to agree to grant a 99 year lease to Dartford Science and Technology College Trust to regularise their occupation of the County Council’s retained accommodation at Westgate Primary School, Dartford, having regard to change in status of the College and to delegate authority to the Director of Infrastructure to finalise and enter into any necessary legal agreements.
This is a lease of 99 years and therefore falls outside of the Delegated Powers set out in KCC’s Property Management Protocol.
Division affected: Dartford West;
Lead officer: Andrew White