Agenda item

Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) & HCF AONB Fund


We received the report regarding the AONB Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) and the Wye Valley AONB Fund with Herefordshire Community Foundation (HCF).


In doing so the following information was noted:


·          The Sustainable Development Fund (SDF) currently has £42,056 allocated from the £100,000 offered by Welsh Government for 2020/21, meaning there remains £57,944 available for applications and projects.


·          Herefordshire Community Foundation (HCF) has produced the latest accounts for the Wye Valley AONB Fund which was established with £10,000 for immediate funding alongside an Endowment Fund of £50,000.

Current balances are £6,776.51 and £52,045.26 respectively.


·          Applications are welcome for both sets of funding.


Having received the report, the following points were noted:


·         Concern was expressed regarding the integrity and sustainability of the River Wye due to phosphate pollution, climate change and the impact of droughts. It was considered that there was a need to address these issues so that we can, as suggested in the 25 Year Environment Plan, leave the river in a better condition than it currently is for future generations. Studies are ongoing with the Environment Agency which suggests that water can be stored in the upper catchments with the use of leaky dams and flood management techniques which would maintain the flow of the river, even in drought conditions.


·         It was noted that farmers in the Wye Valley take their responsibilities seriously and are encouraged to do so by the National Farmers Union (NFU). The NFU is encouraging the Environment Agency, Natural Resources Wales, the AONB and interested parties to identify where the phosphates are coming from.


·         The AONB Manager informed the Committee that the phosphate monitoring system changed four years ago and there hasn’t been consistent monitoring undertaken on the river Wye as previously carried out. About half of the issues relate to sewerage whilst the other half are coming from agriculture.


·         Farming advice is being administered in Herefordshire supporting farmers and land owners in improving land management techniques to reduce phosphate and water run-off.


·         Work is being undertaken to address these issues.


·         The nutrient Management Board for the River Wye had recommended that both Monmouthshire County Council, Forest of Dean District Council and the AONB Manager should have some level of observer status, to be kept abreast of developments.


·         Natural Resources Wales has been reviewing its phosphate monitoring procedures and will shortly be publishing its review.


·         Herefordshire Council is being very proactive regarding this matter. Representatives from Herefordshire Council had met with representatives of Herefordshire NFU and there is another meeting scheduled for Tuesday 3rd November 2020 to continue that dialogue.


·         The AONB Manager had planned for a representative from the Environment Agency or Natural Resources Wales to attend previous Joint Advisory Committee meetings to present information on the matter.  The AONB Manager will invite a representative to present an update report at the next meeting regarding this matter.


We resolved to receive the report and that the AONB Manager arranges a report to the next Joint Advisory Committee meeting regarding the phosphate monitoring and the condition of the River Wye.





Supporting documents: