Agenda and minutes

Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Monday 13th November 2017 7.30 pm

Venue: Council Chamber , Campus East, Welwyn Garden City, Herts, AL8 6AE. View directions

Contact: Marie Lowe Email: democracy@welhat.gov.uk 01707 357443 

Items
No. Item

25.

SUBSTITUTION OF MEMBERS

To note any substitution of Members made in accordance with Council Procedure Rules 19-22.

Minutes:

The following substitutions of Committee Members had been made in accordance with Council Procedure Rules 19-22:

 

Councillor H.Bower for J.Beckerman.

26.

APOLOGY

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor J.Beckerman.

27.

MINUTES

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 25 September 2017 (previously circulated).

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 25 September 2017 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

28.

ACTIONS STATUS REPORT pdf icon PDF 74 KB

Report of the Executive Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) lists the actions from previous meetings and their current status.

Minutes:

The status of actions agreed at the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee meeting on 25 September 2017 in the report of the Executive Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) was noted.

29.

CORPORATE ENFORCEMENT POLICY pdf icon PDF 173 KB

Report of the Executive Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) requesting that the revised policy be released for consultation.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report of the Executive Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) updated Members on the work which had been undertaken to produce a corporate enforcement policy covering the enforcement work of a number of Council service areas. 

 

The report requested that Members considered and agreed that the revised policy was released for consultation.  Members were invited to advise the Head of Public Health and Protection should they identify additional consultees who they considered should be part of the consultation process.  The results of the consultation would be bought back to the Committee for discussion and agreement for onward approval by the Council.   

 

Members expressed the view that the revised policy should make reference to the issue of risk for the Council, to recognise and give consideration to the different types of risks. 

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the draft corporate enforcement policy shown in appendix A subject to an amendment to include reference to risk and released for consultation to the stakeholders listed in appendix B of the report be agreed.

30.

EAT OUT EAT WELL HEALTHY EATING AWARD pdf icon PDF 183 KB

Report by the Executive Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) on the delivery of the award.

Minutes:

Report by the Executive Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) set out information regarding Eat Out Eat Well, a healthy eating award that Public Health and Protection were introducing with compliant food businesses to promote healthier food choices.  The report also provided further information about the delivery of the award and notification that Herts County Council were now promoting the award as the scheme of choice across Hertfordshire.

 

Members received a presentation on the Eat Out Eat Well Healthy Eating Award from Officers.

 

In response to questions from Members, Officers advised as follows.

 

        Funding had been received for promoting the award, which would be resourced in-house

        It was a volunteer scheme for businesses to sign up to.  It was anticipated that it would take some time to develop and roll out.  There were a number of different levels to the award for businesses to achieve. 

        The scheme had been successful in Surrey and research was ongoing to ascertain the impact on the residents and businesses.

        The number of businesses signed up to the scheme would be one way to measure its success.

        Obesity was a very complex subject and a direct comparison between different local authorities using the scheme would be difficult.

        The aim of the scheme was to assist residents when they ate out to make an informed choice.

        Hertfordshire County Council and Hertfordshire Trading Standards had met to discuss the promotion of the scheme. 

        Hertfordshire County Council were supporting the scheme.  Links with schools were being developed.  Discussions had been held with the contractors of school meals across Hertfordshire. 

        Hertfordshire County Council had undertaken work with children and families regarding their perception of normal, this work included parents.  Portion sizes and the mix of food groups would be discussed with the children and families. 

        Appropriate portion sizes for children would also be looked at, together with a healthy balanced plate and changes to some ingredients would be part of the assessment for the level of award.

        Training would be provided for those businesses who did sign up to the scheme, with staff giving prompts regarding appropriate portion sizes and achieving a healthy balance.

 

In summary Members welcomed the Eat Out Eat Well award initiative, the involvement of local businesses, raising awareness of food choices to families and the involvement of schools.  They were pleased to see that the level and effect of obesity was being looked into. 

 

Members recognised that both obesity and the effect of the scheme was difficult to evaluate.  However information needed to be available in the public domain to allow residents opportunities to make informed choices.  The scheme was not a measure to reduce obesity as it was too complex a problem but a report on the evaluation of the impact and the benefits of the scheme would be welcomed.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(1)     That the content of the report on the Eat Out Eat Well be noted.

(2)     That the Council continued to support  ...  view the full minutes text for item 30.

31.

PERFORMANCE INDICATOR REPORT pdf icon PDF 127 KB

Report of the Executive Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) and accompanying presentation providing performance indicator data collected for services within the Committee’s remit for Quarter 2 of 2017/18, along with comparative information. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Report of the Executive Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) and accompanying presentation provided performance indicator data collected for services within the Committee’s remit for Quarter 2 of 2017/18, along with comparative information where possible.

 

Members considered the performance indicators and raised the following points during the discussion which ensued.

 

Performance Indicator – 18 Percentage of household waste collected and sent for reuse, recycling and composting

 

Members expressed disappointment that the target had been set at a lower rate than the previous year as they would have expected it to have risen as a direct result of the introduction of the garden waste service charge.

 

Officers confirmed that this year the recycling target had been reduced to take account of the introduction of the garden waste collection service.  However the aim was to increase the amount of household waste being recycled year on year. This was the first year following the introduction of the garden waste collection service. 

 

Officers advised that there had been a reduction in total waste collected overall and various initiatives were being introduced to provide residents with opportunities to reduce food waste and home compost.

 

Performance Indicator – 22 - The percentage of reported / justified missed bins in the Borough

 

Members commented that the work to keep the number of missed bins to a minimum must not lose momentum as a lot of work had been done in this area and performance had been doing so well. 

 

The missed bins were considered to be as a result of large lorries being unable to gain access into narrower roads due to parked vehicles.  Members asked that the fleet of refuse trucks be reviewed as part of the procurement process with a view to the provision of smaller, narrower lorries being able to access the roads known to be problems.

 

Performance Indicator – 23 - Completion rate of all tree maintenance work within the planned programme

 

Members expressed the view that the results shown in the graph may be misleading as it did not state how many jobs had been completed within the last quarter.  Without specifying the amount it was not possible to carry out a comparison.

 

Members asked that the unsightly stumps of trees which had been felled be removed. 

 

Members were advised to report to Officers any tree stumps identified, who would arrange their removal.

 

The Chairman congratulated the team responsible for achieving the target 100% and asked that figures of the completion of all the tree maintenance work undertaken be provided in future.

 

However, some Members expressed disappointment that the target had been reduced without prior consultation or notification to Members of the changes.  Members were not aware when or by how much the targets had been reduced and were of the view that there had been a drastic reduction.  The target should be made more challenging.

 

Members went on to express the view that they should be informed of any significant changes to targets before implementation. 

 

The Chairman concurred with this view  ...  view the full minutes text for item 31.

32.

GARDEN WASTE SERVICE UPDATE pdf icon PDF 98 KB

Report of the Executive Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) providing an overview of the garden waste service to date, an outline plan for year two subscriptions and an update to the food waste collection.

Minutes:

Report of the Executive Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) providing an overview of the garden waste service to date, an outline plan for year two subscriptions and an update to the food waste collection.

 

In response to questions from Members, Officers confirmed that to date, just under 23,000 (60%) households had signed up to the garden waste service in the first year.

 

Officers informed Members that the message to residents regarding the changes to the collection service had been made.  These included a statement being made to the press, update of the Council’s website together with the script for the Council’s Contact Centre.  Those residents who had already subscribed to the service would be advised in the literature accompanying the subscription information.

 

The Chairman informed Members that, the Council had taken legal advice together with advice from Hertfordshire County Council, that it was now possible compostable garden and food waste could be placed in the brown bins, which the Council would collect, subject to the household having subscribed to the garden waste collection service.

 

The Tenant’s Panel Co-opted Member reported that a large number of tenants continued to be unclear as to the type of waste which could be placed into which bin.  Some tenants were not prepared to pay the subscription fees but those that did were confused about what could be recycled or composted.

 

Officers undertook to work with the communications team to improve communication with residents and provide a simple explanation on what could be recycled or composted and in which bin to place the items.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the outline plan for year two subscriptions; and clarification of the policy to allow residents to subscribe to the garden waste service to put food waste in their brown bin as outlined in the report of Officers be noted.

33.

COMMITTEE OVERVIEW WORK PROGRAMME 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 264 KB

The pro-forma which sets out the Committee’s overview work programme has been updated since the last meeting to enable forward planning of items to be considered to take place.  Items which the Committee agrees it would like to consider will be scheduled into the work programme.

Minutes:

The Committee received the tabled revised overview work programme for 2017/18, which included the item on the Hackney Carriage Review on 30 January 2018 and with the Street Trading Policy.

 

The Chairman stated that she would like to see Allotment Strategy be included in the Work Programme at some stage.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(1)     That the Allotment Strategy be reinstated in to the Work Programme be agreed

 

(2)     That the inclusion of the Allotment Strategy into the revised work programme be agreed.

34.

CONSIDERATION OF ITEMS FOR SCRUTINY

To consider

 

(1)       whether any Cabinet decisions should be scrutinised post-implementation (Paragraph 14.1 of the Overview and Scrutiny Procedure Rules)

 

(2)       whether any items which relate to areas covered by the Committee which a member of the Committee may wish to raise with a view to deciding whether an issue should be scrutinised.

 

The Administration and Opposition Groups each have the right within the Municipal Year to have one scrutiny topic referred to a Sub-Committee.

 

Where the Committee decides an issue should be scrutinised, a scrutiny Sub-Committee should be appointed to carry out the specific piece of scrutiny work (Paragraph 6.3 of the Procedure for the Operation of the Overview and Scrutiny Function).

Minutes:

It was proposed and AGREED that a Scrutiny Sub-Committee be appointed to scrutinise the prevalence of rats in the district and the methods of eradicating them.