The Cabinet Member for Environment is asked to:
· Delegate authority to Corporate Director of Growth, Environment and Transport to take relevant actions, including but not limited to, entering into contracts and other legal agreements, as necessary to implement decisions to spend the grant.
The scheme is due to start operating on the first of April 2021 with the first grants being processed in June 2021.
In the Agricultural Transition Plan the Government announced a new scheme for Protected Landscapes (AONBs and National Parks) to manage a grant scheme to support farm diversification, landscape enhancement, wider environmental enhancements and community engagement in the landscape.
Authority is needed to receive funding from Defra and for the Kent Downs AONB Unit, under the KCC Scheme of Delegations to disperse it to farmers and land managers in the Kent Downs AONB in accordance with Defra guidelines.
Since the UK left the EU a new series of funding structures are being put in place to support farmers and land managers. Rather than having a centrally managed farm subsidy based primarily on area payments the basis for future farm payments will be providing ‘public money for public good’. Public goods include carbon management and climate mitigation, public access to land, enhancement of biodiversity, enhancement of the water environment and provision of clean air. Funding can also be provided to support farm business diversification and green jobs.
The new funding arrangements will be provided under the banner of Environmental Land Management (ELM).
Decision type: Key
Reason Key: Expenditure or savings of more than £1m;
Decision status: Recommendations Approved
Notice of proposed decision first published: 11/03/2021
This decision will be taken under urgency procedures.
Reason for urgency:
The decision is urgent as it needs to be taken prior to the commencement of the pre-election period
Decision due: Not before 19th Mar 2021 by Cabinet Member for Environment
Reason: Semi-urgent - 5 clear working days' notice provided
Lead member: Cabinet Member for Environment
Department: Growth, Environment & Transport
no public consultation is planned by the AONB
Unit but it is a government scheme and will be managed in the
context of the Kent Downs AONB Management Plan which has undergone
substantial public engagement and consultation.
The proposed decision is being considered by Members of the Environment and Transport Cabinet Committee at their meeting on 18 March.
Which Divisions / Local Members are particularly affected:
This scheme is available in the Kent Downs AONB area only – the AONB covers around a quarter of Kent
Financial implications: This is entirely new funding coming from Defra and there is no call on KCC funds. The total new funding is expected to exceed £1m over 3 years. There will be new revenue funding available to support the management of this programme of grants as well as to provide new grants. The AONB Unit will work with (and pay for) the KCC External Funding Team in the management of this new grant scheme and to ensure the criteria are met, The AONB Unit has successfully managed similar grants in the past (the Sustainable Development Fund). Defra will provide guidance to assist the AONB Unit in managing this fund correctly.
Legal implications: The management arrangements of the grant scheme will be reasonable and prescribed by Defra; the Kent Downs AONB Unit is experienced in successfully delivering grant schemes. The Kent Downs AONB Unit will work closely with the KCC external funding team to ensure that all the due diligence is taken in the management of this grant scheme.
Equalities implications: The management of the grant scheme will be taken forward in the context of the Kent Downs AONB Management Plan for which there is a full and approved EQiA. DEFRA has undertaken an EQiA for the grant award Data Protection implications Some company data will be collected by Kent County Council as part of the application process. Applicants will be asked to provide consent as part of the application process for KCC to hold their data for the purposes of administering the grant scheme