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The Minutes of the meeting held on 25th September 2008, having been printed and circulated, were taken as read and signed as a correct record.
The Board considered a report of the Strategic Director, Environment which informed Members of the satisfactory conclusion to the discussions and assessments made with officials at the Department for Transport (DfT) leading to the Programme Entry Approval being reconfirmed and the funding conditions revised.
The Board was advised that since the Mersey Gateway had received Programme Entry approval from Ministers in March 2006, Members had received regular progress reports dealing initially with the development of the new traffic model leading to applying the finished model in a revised appraisal of the proposed scheme. The funding agreement with Ministers required both value for money and deliverability to be reviewed prior to any Public Inquiry based on the results of the new traffic model.
The Board was further advised that the conclusions drawn by officials at DfT were reported to their Investment Decisions Committee in September, and last month the Authority received confirmation of the outcome. The Chief Executive received a letter on 23 October 2008 from Mr John Dowie, Head of Regional and Local Major Projects at DfT advising that the Minister
Mr Paul Clark had agreed to reconfirm Programme Entry for the proposed Mersey Gateway scheme following a review of the value for money.
(1) the progress made and the actions taken be noted;
(2) the Board agree, subject to receiving confirmation of the accounting treatment methodology explained in the report, the revised funding conditions be acceptable to the Council.
The Board considered a report of the Strategic Director, Environment which advised Members of the progress made in preparing for the Public Inquiry which had been announced.
The Board was advised that the formal objection period for the Orders and Applications submitted for Mersey Gateway had ended in July and on
30 September the Secretary of State had announced that a conjoined Public Inquiry would be held to consider these statutory applications. The announcement of the Public Inquiry had established the procedural timetable and the first key event took place on 11 November when the Council submitted its Statement of Case. All parties who wished to present evidence at the Inquiry are required to submit a Statement of Case.
The Board welcomed the preliminary proposal by the Planning Inspectorate to commence the enquiry on the 10th March 2009. It was noted, however, that this date was still to be confirmed.
RESOLVED: That the Board note the progress made in general and that the Council Statement of Case for the Inquiry has now been published.
Any matter decided by the Mersey Gateway Executive Board may be called in no later than