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Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority discuss future of virtual meetings

KEEPING the live-streaming of meetings post-covid is a desire of National Park members as plans for how committees will be held in future are developed.

Pembrokeshire Coast National Park Authority members expressed a mix of views about how meetings will be held once covid-19 restrictions are eased, with some favouring a hybrid option while others had a strong desire to see face-to-face meetings back.

Cllr Reg Owens said that virtual meetings had been started in an emergency and “served a purpose but it’s not ideal.

“The best place for meetings and democracy is around the table and the sooner we can get back to that the better.”

Others agreed especially when it comes to development management meetings where connectivity issues can result in members being unable to vote on an application, with the committee “possibly the most sensitive meeting we have from a public perception” said Cllr Michael Williams.

The costs savings of remote meetings as well as the reduction in travel and carbon emissions were highlighted as a positive to come from the situation with Cllr Di Clements saying nearly £10,000 had been saved in member travel expenses.

Dr Madeleine Havard said the live-streaming had “opened up” meetings to interested parties and Rachel Heath-Davies added future meetings aim to “keep things as flexible as possible” with a focus on ensuring suitable “kit” to allow better remote access.

Discussions and costings will be prepared regarding equipping the authority for video conferencing, potentially using Oriel y Parc as a meeting place rather than Llanion, for use in a hybrid situation and to allow live streaming of physical meetings.

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