To submit a report by the Chief Executive.
Submitted – the North Wales Economic Ambition Board - Progress Report Quarter 2 – 2023/2023.
The Chief Executive said that the Progress Report for Quarter 2 is submitted for information and provides an overview of progress on the Growth Deal Programmes and projects. The Quarter 2 report shows projects reporting against the revised portfolio delivery profile approved by the Ambition Board in September 2022. Three projects are reporting as Red in the report due to either risks to the project scope, or significant delays to project timescales:-
· Low Carbon Energy Centre of Excellence (Bangor University) – project under review due to change request for capital and revenue projections. The Portfolio Management Office is working with the project sponsor to explore options to accelerate delivery;
· Glynllifon Rural Economy Hub – planning permission to be secured and potential funding gap due to escalating capital build costs;
· Llysfasi Net Zero Farm – project has now been withdrawn and funding is now available to be reallocated and the process of expressions of interest for new projects will be invited.
The Leader of the Council said that some of the Growth Bids have been withdrawn due to detailed planning work undertaken and affordability due to the economic climate.
The Committee considered the report and raised the following main points:-
· Questions were raised as to whether the listed Growth Deals will not proceed is due to the increasing costs. The Leader of the Council responded that Business Cases as regards to each projects are lengthy and complicated and there are risks that the projects will not be achievable. She noted that the economic climate has changed over the last two years and a number of regions have submitted a request to the Government to revisit the Growth Deals as some projects are facing financial challenges. She referred to the Morlais project that has been reviewed so as to best use of European funding towards the project. The Chief Executive said that the rise in inflation has been a factor with increasing costs to projects;
· Reference was made to the Egnio Trawsfynydd project that has been announced recently and questions were raised as to whether this project will be part of the Growth Bid in North Wales. The Chief Executive responded that the Trawsfynydd project is part of the Growth Deal and capital funding is included and ring fenced towards the project. However, the funding towards the Trawsfynydd project is profiled towards the future when the developer is ready to develop the site;
· Comments were made as to the requirements of submitting the Progress Reports to the Scrutiny Committee on a quarterly basis. The Leader of the Council responded that the Governance Arrangements requires that the Quarterly Reports are submitted for scrutiny and to change this requirement would need to be discussed regionally and by both UK and Welsh Governments. The Chief Executive said that assurances are needed by both governments that there is a scrutiny process to challenge the Growth Deal and especially due to the new governance arrangements as regards to the CJC’s.
It was RESOLVED:-
· To note the progress made during the Quarter 2 – 2022/2023;
· That the process of submitting the quarterly report be discussed at the Chairs and Vice-Chairs Scrutiny Committee meetings.
ACTION : As noted above.