To consider a report from the Executive Director – Economy & Infrastructure (copy enclosed)
Cabinet had before it a report from the Executive Director – Economy and Infrastructure which sought approval for Cumbria County Council to be the accountable body for the Cumbria Coastal Community Forest Project.
Cumbria County Council, Cumbria Woodlands and the National Trust had submitted a joint bid for Cumbria Coastal Community Forest (CCCF) to join the Trees for Climate Programme coordinated by England’s Community Forests (ECF).
In November 2021 the Council received confirmation that CCCF had been accepted on to the scheme and awarded an initial £220,000 boost to kick start the scheme, with the aim to plant 150 hectares of woodland by the end of March 2025. It was anticipated that further funding would be made available in future years to achieve this aim.
The Community Forests would help enhance Cumbria’s natural capital and provide more opportunities for residents to benefit from the direct and indirect values that the natural world provided. Helping to make the whole of Cumbria an ever more inviting place to live and visit.
Agreeing to be the Accountable Body for the CCCF would enable the ambitious programme summarised, helping residents to gain access to nature whilst significantly contributing to climate change adaption and mitigation in the area.
The project would lead to sustainable and systematic improvements in the lived experience of residents in coastal communities, and would support the Public Health Strategy; and help meet the ambitions of the Cycling and Walking Strategy.
The Cabinet Member asked for a slight amendment to recommendation 2 to include the words ‘in consultation with the Leader, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for the Environment’. This was agreed.
(1) Cabinet agrees in principle that the Council will act as accountable body for Cumbria Coastal Community Forest project.
(2) Cabinet delegates to the Executive Director of Economy and Infrastructure, in consultation with the Leader, Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member - Environment the acceptance and approval of the terms of the grant between the Council and Cheshire West and Chester (as the national accountable body).
(3) Cabinet delegates to the Executive Director of Economy and Infrastructure the acceptance on behalf of the Council as the accountable body, receipt of the initial grant funding of £220,000 (£170,000 capital funding and £50,000 revenue funding) in year one, from Cheshire West and Chester (as the national accountable body). Subsequent year’s funding will be brought back to Cabinet for acceptance. Once received this funding will be held on behalf of CCCF.
(4) Cabinet agrees to recommend to Council the addition of a new scheme of £220,000 to its Capital Programme 2021-2026 (Cumbria Coastal Community Forest) funded by the Nature for Climate grant received from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) – see figure 2 below for the governance.