Agenda and minutes

Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday 12th November 2019 7.30 pm

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

Contact: Helen Johnson 

Items
No. Item

33.

CHAIRMANS' ANNOUNCEMENT

Minutes:

The Chairman announced that due to Purdah it was not permissible to raise any issues through the course of the meeting which could be construed as promoting a political party or agenda.

34.

SUBSTITUTION OF MEMBERS

To note any substitution of Committee Members made in accordance with Council Procedure Rules.

Minutes:

Councillor H.Quenet for Councillor T.Jackson-Mynott.

 

Councillor J-P.Skozylas for Councillor P.Zukowskyj.

35.

APOLOGIES

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor T. Jackson-Mynott and Councillor P.Zukowskyj.

36.

MINUTES

To confirm as a correct record the Minutes of the meeting held on 23 September 2019 (previously circulated).

Minutes:

The minutes of the last meeting held on 23 September 2019 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

37.

ACTIONS UPDATE pdf icon PDF 193 KB

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

Minutes:

The report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) set out the status of actions from the meeting on 23 September 2019 and previous meetings.

 

Members commented that actions which minutes 21, and 23 referred repeated what was in the minutes.  It was agreed that in future that information circulated following a meeting would be recorded either in the minutes of the actions update and not both.

 

RESOLVED:

 

That the Committee note the status of actions outlined in the Actions Update report.

 

38.

GARDEN WASTE SERVICE REPORT pdf icon PDF 106 KB

The report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) provides an overview of the garden waste service to date and an outline plan for year 4 subscriptions.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) provided an overview of the garden waste service to date and an outline plan for Year Four subscriptions.

Officers reported a successful year with around 300 more subscribers than the previous year. In total 23,500 households had signed up to the garden waste services. There had been no increase in charges since the introduction of the chargeable garden waste service - the service cost £35 for one bin and additional £60 for another bin.

            RESOLVED:

That the Committee note the Garden Waste Service report, including Appendix 1.

 

39.

HEALTH AND WELLBEING STRATEGY UPDATE pdf icon PDF 124 KB

The report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) updates Members on the progress of the draft Health and Wellbeing Strategy, prior to consultation on key elements of the strategy.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

HEALTH AND WELLBEING STRATEGY UPDATE

 

The report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) provided a brief update on the progress made since a report was presented to the Committee in June 2019 which reported on the progress to renew the Public Health and Wellbeing Strategy including the results of the Health and Wellbeing Summit.

The priorities were presented and agreed at the previous meeting of the Committee. In order to ensure the strategy was relevant and transparent Officers intended to consult on specific elements of the initial draft document rather than on the final draft, which would inform a meaningful strategy and annual action plan.

The consultation paper was set out in Appendix One. It was proposed the consultation would start following purdah in mid-December 2019.

RESOLVED:

 

(1)  That the Committee note the progress on the Public Health and Wellbeing Strategy to date.

(2)  That the Committee approve the consultation process and its implementation for the Public Health and Wellbeing Strategy, to start following purdah. 

 

40.

TREE WORK PRESENTATION

The presentation of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) briefs Members on the work of the tree team including tree maintenance, suckers, the blocking of street lights and false acacias.

Minutes:

The presentation by the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) briefed Members on the work of the Tree Officers in the Landscape and Ecology team.

 

Members noted how risks from trees were managed, how trees were assessed, what the key issues and concerns were, how work was scheduled as well as the importance of the Trees and Woodland Strategy.

 

During discussion by Members the following points were made:

 

·           All trees were inspected every three years.  If there were concerns then trees could be given a higher priority and inspected sooner.

·           Epicormic growth on trees could be significant and members of the public, Tree Wardens as well as Councillors could advise the Tree Officers of any issues in between the three yearly cycle of inspections.

·           If significant risk was posed, such as the epicormic growth obscuring sight lines on road junctions then that work would be prioritized.

·           In comparison to other Councils, the Tree Officers planted a high number of trees each year, and managed young trees with watering for three years.   This in turn led to significant management of young tree stock, up to 900 young trees, during the summer months.

·           Following tree removal, there was a specification for contractors for stump grinding and back filling holes.  Any instances where a hole still remained, due to poor back filling or soil settlement, could be reported to the Tree Officers.

 

Members praised the team for their work.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

That the Committee note the work by the Tree Officers in managing trees and woodlands in the borough. 

41.

FLATS RECYCLING pdf icon PDF 125 KB

The report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) sets out the approach to roll out flats recycling which was agreed by both the cross party Streetscene Mobilisation Board and Climate Change Group.

 

Minutes:

The report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) briefed Members on the approach to roll out further flats recycling, which had been unanimously agreed by both the cross party Streetscene Mobilisation Board and Climate Change Group.

A summary of the discussions that had taken place with the two Cross Party Member groups was presented and would also be reported to Full Council in the new year (since the 25 November 2019 meeting of Full Council had been cancelled due to purdah).

Members noted that:

·           Recycling services existed for over 60% of flats in the borough and there were currently 8000 flats served by communal bin stores.

·           Urbaser would be starting on the Councils’ streetscene contact at the end of March 2020 and they were fully committed to working with the Council to improve recycling in flats. 

·           Both cross party groups had agreed that there would be no service changes for the first six months of the new contract to avoid any procurement challenge and ensure a seamless transition.

·           Both cross party groups had agreed that a phased approach would be adopted, starting with a collection of all baseline data covering all blocks of flats in the borough to be completed in summer 2020. The findings would then be reported back to both cross party groups.

·           The second phase would start in summer 2020 (six months after the start of the new contract) and Officers would work with Urbaser to review the information collection as part of round optimisation. The findings would then be reported back to both cross party groups.

·           The final phase would include a detailed plan of when the rest of the flat recycling service would be rolled out and any financial implications that would be associated with it.  The findings would again be reported back to both cross party groups and back to the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

The following points were raised by Members and discussed:

·           Further details on the financial and climate change implications would be known once the first phase of the project had been completed.

·           Contamination of recycling was a risk that could be managed, and the approach to this would be clearer once the first phase had been completed.

                        RESOLVED:

(1)  That the Committee note the phased approach to roll out flats recycling in the borough as shown in paragraphs 3.9-3.15 of the report which had been unanimously agreed by both the cross party Streetscene Mobilisation Board and the Climate Change Group.

(2)  That the Committee note that an update on Flats Recycling would be reported to Full Council in the new year.

 

42.

CLIMATE CHANGE GROUP UPDATE pdf icon PDF 153 KB

The report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) updates Members on the work undertaken since Full Council agreed a motion to declare a “climate emergency”. A copy of the motion is in appendix A. 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The report of the Corporate Director (Public Protection, Planning and Governance) updated Members on the work undertaken since Full Council agreed a motion to declare a “climate emergency”.  A copy of the motion was in appendix A.

 

Members noted the work that had taken place which included:

 

·           The Leader had written to the Secretary of State requesting that they provide the necessary power and resource to make local action on climate change easier. It was noted that the Council was waiting for a reply.

 

·           A cross party Climate Change Group had been set up to review the Councils’ Climate Change Policy with the aim of bringing a report to Council in autumn 2019 after consideration by the Committee.  It was noted that the report would now go to Full Council in the new year (since the 25 November 2019 meeting of Full Council had been cancelled due to purdah). 

 

During discussion Members commented on points contained within the 16 July 2019 minutes of the Climate Change Group.  Members raised the issue of Hertfordshire County Council reducing the bus subsidy and that an alternative would need to be provided. 

 

Officers confirmed that the Herts Warmer Home Scheme had ended and the Environmental Health team were looking at ways to continue to help those in fuel poverty. 

 

Officers also confirmed that the reference to supplementary planning documents in the minutes was with regards to the potential of using the planning system to encourage the use of greener technologies by developers.

 

A further point was raised on why maintaining meadow areas was more expensive than standard grass cutting, as detailed in the 9 September 2019 minutes of the Climate Change Group.  Officers confirmed that maintaining meadow areas was 19% more expensive over the year due to the labour intensive nature of it and providing the right environment for flowers.

 

AGREED:

 

(1)  That the Committee note the work to date on Climate Change.

 

(2)  That the Committee agree that an update be provided to Full Council in the new year.  

 

43.

PERFORMANCE INDICATOR REPORT

Minutes:

The report of the Corporate Director (Resources, Environment and Cultural Services) provided the Committee with the performance indicator data collected for those services that fell within its remit.  It provided Quarter Two along with comparative information where possible.

 

It was noted that all Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) had been met with the exception of KPIs 27 (The percentage of major planning appeals allowed against the Councils’ decision, as a percentage of the total number of planning appeals) and 58 (The percentage of minor planning appeals allowed against the Councils’ decision, as a percentage of the total number of planning appeals), for which a reason was given in the report.

 

During discussion, Members commented whether it was useful showing that a target of 100% had been met along with the bar charts. Officers confirmed that there were statutory penalties if 100% was not met on some of the KPIs, such as licensing.

 

RESOLVED:

 

(1)  That the Committee note the performance indicator data collected and reported for Quarter Two.

 

(2)  That the Committee discuss and agree any feedback to be provided to our service teams on the trends shown.

 

44.

COMMITTEE OVERVIEW WORK PROGRAMME 2019/20 pdf icon PDF 20 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 pro-forma set out the Committees overview work programme. It had been updated since the last meeting to enable forward planning of items to be considered to take place.

 

Members asked that the report on Retail Strategy and Return on Investment Analysis be brought forward and presented at the Committee meeting in January 2020.  Officers agreed that this would be considered.

 

Members also commented that the Food Safety Service Plan, Health and Safety Service Plan, Regulatory Services Standards Update and Pest Control Yearly Update scheduled for the Committee meeting in January could be moved back. Officers advised that deadlines for the Food Safety Service Plan 2020/21 and the Health and Safety Service Plan 2020/21 had to be met.  Officers agreed to consider whether the Regulatory Service Standards Update could be rescheduled.

 

Some Members were of the view that a report on Climate Change ought to be presented to the Committee in January 2020 as well as March 2020.  However it was agreed that the Climate Change Group minutes would be circulated to all Members of the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee to inform Members of its’ progress.

 

            RESOLVED:

 

            That the Committee note the work programme 2019/20.