Issue - meetings
REVIEW OF CABINET DECISION RELATING TO THE PROPOSES SCHEME OF DELEGATED DECISION MAKING FOR LAND ACQUISITION (FREEHOLD AND LEASEHOLD) FOR CARBON SEQUESTRATION AND ECOLOGICAL IMPROVEMENT PURPOSES
Meeting: 10/03/2022 - Communities Scrutiny Committee (Item 5)
5 REVIEW OF CABINET DECISION RELATING TO THE PROPOSES SCHEME OF DELEGATED DECISION MAKING FOR LAND ACQUISITION (FREEHOLD AND LEASEHOLD) FOR CARBON SEQUESTRATION AND ECOLOGICAL IMPROVEMENT PURPOSES PDF 206 KB
To consider a report by the Scrutiny Co-ordinator to review Cabinet decision (copy attached).
10.10 a.m. – 11.00 a.m.
- Annex A Call-In Report, item 5 PDF 361 KB
- Annex B Call-In Report, item 5 PDF 1 MB
- Webcast for REVIEW OF CABINET DECISION RELATING TO THE PROPOSES SCHEME OF DELEGATED DECISION MAKING FOR LAND ACQUISITION (FREEHOLD AND LEASEHOLD) FOR CARBON SEQUESTRATION AND ECOLOGICAL IMPROVEMENT PURPOSES
Prior to the commencement of this business item Councillor Huw Williams vacated the Chair as he was one of the signatories to the call-in request and was therefore required to take part in the discussion. The Vice-Chair, Councillor Graham Timms, took the Chair for this item of business.
The Vice-Chair informed the Committee that a notice of a ‘call-in’ had been submitted by 6 non-Cabinet councillors in accordance with the Council’s Constitution. The notice called for a review by one of the Council’s Scrutiny Committees of a decision taken by Cabinet on 15th February 2022 in relation to a proposed scheme of delegated decision making for land acquisition for environmental and ecological purposes. He proceeded to explain that the Cabinet decision had been published on the 17th February 2022. The ‘call-in’ procedure allowed non-Cabinet councillors 5 working days in which to submit a notice of ‘call-in’ to request that Scrutiny review the decision. Once invoked the decision-maker was not permitted to implement the decision until such time as Scrutiny had reviewed it and reported back to the decision-maker on the conclusions of that review. Scrutiny was expected to hold a meeting to review the decision within 5 working days of the valid ‘notice of call-in’ being received. However, as there was no immediate urgency for this decision to be implemented the decision-maker, Cabinet, had agreed that the Scrutiny review could be deferred until the next available Scrutiny Committee meeting, which was the current meeting. Councillor Merfyn Parry submitted a notice of ‘call-in’ electronically on 23 February. The request was supported (via individual e-mails) by five other non-Cabinet councillors, namely Councillors David G Williams, Melvyn Mile, Huw O Williams Rhys Thomas and Peter Evans, all of whom had been invited to attend the Committee meeting to outline their reasons for supporting the call-in request.
The Scrutiny Co-ordinator, Rhian Evans, introduced the report and appendices (previously circulated) which explained the background to decision taken by Cabinet and the grounds on which it had been called-in to Scrutiny for review. She then proceeded to detail the procedure that would be followed at the meeting for consideration of the decision called-in for review.
Councillor Merfyn Parry, as the lead signatory for the call-in, was invited to introduce the reasons why the signatories were seeking a review of the decision. In his address he advised that they had concerns that the Council would, if the decision was confirmed, be in a position to ‘land grab’ at auction potentially out bidding any local farmers or landowners. Whilst, they understood that the Council would not be interested in purchasing prime agricultural land, they did however feel that decisions to purchase land for carbon sequestration and ecological improvement purposes needed to be discussed with the local Member(s) and the local Member Area Groups (MAGs) pre-bidding, as it was important for the Authority to understand local knowledge and need prior to bidding for a parcel of land.
The Lead Member for Waste, Transport and the Environment, Councillor Brian Jones, was then invited summarise the discussion and decision taken at Cabinet on 15 February 2022. He outlined the consultation which had taken place to date and confirmed that there were no plans to purchase Grade 1 agricultural land for carbon sequestration and ecological improvement purposes.
Councillor Julian Thompson-Hill, Lead Member for Finance, Performance and Strategic Assets confirmed that the purpose of the proposed delegated decision-making process for this particular purpose was to make a small change to the current scheme to enable the Council to act quicker in future. He assured the Committee that local members would automatically ... view the full minutes text for item 5