Agenda and minutes

Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 18th July, 2017 10.30 am

Venue: Witham Room - South Kesteven House, St. Peter's Hill, Grantham. NG31 6PZ. View directions

No. Item



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    Members are asked to disclose any interests in matters for consideration at the meeting.


    None disclosed.



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    The Chairman asked the Committee if they agreed the action notes were a correct record.  One Member felt the notes did not reflect the whole conversation that had taken place around the content of the work plan.  Items that he had referenced such as energy efficiency in existing housing was not included.  He had also spoken about cost in relation to the Big Clean and had queried with the Cabinet Member how staff were being procured.  He had asked that priority be given to local staff and students.  He had been informed at the time of this suggestion that it was not possible to employ staff based on these preferences as this would be positive discrimination under Equity law.  He also referred to page seven of the action notes where it had stated that litter was not a major problem.    Another Member of the Committee and the Cabinet Member Environment both stated that when this reference had been made it had been in relation to a photograph of weed growth not litter.

    The Member also referred to issues that had been raised in relation to Highways and the A1.  The Committee was reminded that responsibility for such roads did not fall within the remit of South Kesteven District Council.






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    The Chairman informed the Committee that updates on topics would be dealt with during the course of the meeting.





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    Report LDS223 of the Chairman of the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee.



    The Community Engagement and Policy Development Officer presented report LDS233 on behalf of the Chairman.  At the Committee’s inaugural meeting a presentation had been given on potential items for consideration which could be included in the remit of the Committee.   Work had been undertaken to develop a remit for the Committee using this information and the remit of the Cabinet Member for Environment.  It was for Members to agree the remit and then more detail could be added to the topics to be included within the work programme.


    The Cabinet Member stated that he had an extensive portfolio but felt that specific topics such as Licensing did not need to be included within the Committee’s remit.  The work of the Licensing Committee was acknowledged and Members were reminded that these Committees were not responsible for determining policy.  Any policies introduced or updated that would determine how a Licensing Committee discharged its duties would be brought to the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee for recommendation to Council. 


    The Strategic Director Environment and Property indicated that there would be overlaps between the Overview and Scrutiny Committees.  Items such as energy efficiency in council owned dwellings would be more aimed at the Communities and Wellbeing Overview and Scrutiny Committee as this would be part of the HRA Business Plan, Asset Plan and Capital Investment.  The examples given in the remit were generic and a flexible approach should be taken.


    A reference was made to fly tipping/domestic waste.  Members were informed that these were part of street scene services and would therefore be covered under the appropriate remit item relating to waste and street scene.


    The recommendation contained within the report was proposed, seconded and agreed.




    That the remit as outlined within report LDS233 is agreed to allow for a detailed work programme to be developed for the remainder of the municipal year and beyond.





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    To consider the potential work programme for the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee



    A copy of a draft work programme was appended to the agenda.  The Chairman asked that if any Member had an item that they wished to be included on the agenda plenty of notice was required to enable relevant paperwork to be compiled.  Two or three days before the meeting was not enough notice.


    One Member referred to the item on the work programme concerning the use of DNA scheme to deter dog fouling.  He felt that this issue was a waste of time and that officers should not be tasked with looking into an issue that he felt was not a viable item and he proposed that it not be included on the work programme, his proposal received a seconder.


    A discussion then followed on the topic.  One example was given of dog fouling in Bourne Woods, however the Cabinet Member Environment stated that Bourne Woods came under the jurisdiction of the Forestry Commission and people did not have to clear up after their dogs, but were asked to flick the offending mess off the paths.  In some authorities they had changed legislation with regard to Public Space Protection Orders so that fines could be given in these areas which covered costs of dog fouling.  He felt that DNA testing was not necessarily a waste of time but should be included in discussions on the topic, it was an issue that was always raised a Parish Council meetings and should be debated together with all options available.  The Member who had made the proposal still insisted that DNA testing was a waste of time and officers should not waste time on it.


    The Cabinet Member Environment stated that it was important to recognise that DNA testing existed and that it was part of a larger discussion on the topic with all other options and ideas being looked at with a view to how best to tackle the problem of dog fouling.  


    It was proposed that rather than have DNA testing in the topic title that it be given a wider heading such as “options to deter dog fouling” would the Member be happy with this heading.  The Member was happy with the proposed title and withdraw his proposal.  Further discussion followed with other Members stating that it was an item that was consistently raised at Parish Council meetings.  Members felt that often the culprits were known by the Parish Council but nothing was done because they did not want to be the recipients of abuse.  Some Parish Councils had schemes in place where parish councillors were trained and licensed to issue fines and one Member asked how many had been issued.    The Executive Manager Environment said that he did not have that information however, Neighbourhood Teams did take note of dog fouling and if owners and addresses were available to them they did contact people and offer encouragement and education.   One Member asked if more bins could be made available within the district and another Member  ...  view the full minutes text for item 13.



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    A verbal update will be provided to the Committee on the Big Clean.


    Following on from the last meeting of the Committee and the decision made at Council the implementation phase was progressing.  Equipment and plant were being procured and the website was up and running, to the date of the meeting 335 issues had been notified.  44 people had been interviewed, the majority being local people.  Promotion work on volunteering was being undertaken and the Communication Team were working well to engage volunteer groups on social media.  The Cabinet Member Environment encouraged Members to get Parish Councils let us know where there were issues in the rural areas and to get involved. 


    The Big Clean was a large logistical exercise which was coming together.  Training was being undertaken at the beginning of August and risks were being managed.  The employment front was looking good with between 36 and 50 people being employed to cover the scheme who were locally based.  A significant logistical issue was an alternative site for storage of the site equipment although this had been addressed and there were no major issues.   A comment was made about people’s impatience and it was stated that communications were constantly up dated and an interactive service was available enabling people to see how issues were progressing.


    One Member commented that people could self-help, for example where weeds were situated on pavements fronting their property they could pull the weeds out.  The Cabinet Member Environment agreed, it was important that the project instilled a sense of pride in neighbourhoods so that everyone looked after their own patch, part of that engagement was also working with schools to educate both children and parents alike.


    Reference was then made to not just domestic properties but also shop fronts and fast food outlets work was being done to engage with businesses so that they took pride in their buildings and surroundings.   One Member stated that the proposed Big Clean had gone down well within Parishes but queried how the map on the website worked if it was for a large area.  A description field was included on the website and this should be completed accordingly and only necessitated one “pin” on the map for the area concerned.  A further question was asked about timescales and how much notice would be given to when work was carried out.  Currently a skeleton work plan had been made for every location.  Depending upon the speed that work was carried out and the number of areas to cover within each area the plan would be added to. The Communication section would be mailing messages to parishes updating them on progress, twitter feeds would be used also as well as before and after pictures.  The work plan at this stage was very much a work in progress.


    One Member thanked the Cabinet Member for attending a recent Market Deeping Town Council meeting and that he had volunteered.  He then asked what sort of issues that had been received that fell out of the scope.  Typical examples were given such as the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.



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    A verbal update will be provided to the Committee on Trade Waste.


    The Cabinet Member Environment gave a brief update on the position with regard to the Trade Waste contract.  Currently the Council was in a good position and hopefully a co-mingling agreement would be reached in due course.  Reference was made to the Waste Management Partnership meetings and it was confirmed that the minutes from the public meetings were available on the website.



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    Report FM0007 of the Cabinet Member for Environment on Street Lighting.


    Additional documents:


    The Cabinet Member Environment presented report FM0007 which concerned street lighting which came under the responsibility of the District Council.  The majority of the street lights were footway lights, 3,593 lights excluding those which came under the HRA.  A list of all footway lights that the district council had responsibility for was appended to the report.  It was for the Committee to discuss whether or not Value for Money was being had.  The report contained a number of options but it was open to discussion.  Currently the energy bill was approximately £121,000 per annum and the maintenance contract was £50,000 per annum. Within the maintenance contract all lamps were serviced and replaced every three years.  The contract had been carried out on a rolling basis since 2009.    Lincolnshire County Council had replaced their lamps with part night photocells recently.


    For clarity the Business Manager Venues and Facilities Management said that the district councils lighting also covered car parks and bus stations.


    Possible options were put forward such as replacing lamps with LED or rather than turning all lights off turn every other one off, or using dimmer LED’s which gave the feeling of light.


    Further discussion followed with Members commenting on what LCC had done, they had not communicated effectively about their proposals.


    Some of the new estates located in villages had both SKDC lights in the village and LCC lights on the estates, there was a mismatch.


    One Member commented that Bourne Town Council had asked LCC to consider turning the lights on one hour earlier for those people who were going or returning from work.


    Advances in technology such as part night photocells and time switches also gave flexible options.  Investigations with other contractors was also raised to see if the current contractor was the best VFM.


    It was intended that the list of SKDC lights appended to the report would be circulated to Parish Councils and also put on the website for clarity.


    The Committee accepted the recommendation shown in the report.




    That the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee consider the options available at a future meeting and review further analysis on the options in order to recommend a course of action to the Cabinet.



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    For the Committee to receive a presentation on Clean Air.


    A short adjournment took place between 11:55am and 12 noon)


    Members were given a presentation on Air Quality by the Executive Manager Environment and they were also circulated with Air Quality Annual Status Reports for 2016 for both Grantham and Stamford.


    The Executive Manager Environment gave a brief overview for Members putting air quality in perspective.   A draft Air Quality Plan had been published in May 2017 which contained actions designed to reduce the impact of diesel vehicles and accelerate the move to cleaner transport.  South Kesteven was not required to implement an air quality charging scheme it was more for large cities such as London the final plan was due to be published in July 2017.  The Executive Manager Environment introduced Pete Rogers who was a Principal Environmental Health Officer who dealt with air quality.   The draft National Plan contained proposals around diesel cars, taxation and retrofitting transport fleets.  It was unlikely that there would be a significant impact for our particular area but until the document was published we didn’t know what the impact, if any would be.


    Mr Rogers then referred to the plans that showed monitoring locations in Grantham and Stamford and he also circulated a diffusion tube which was used to collect nitrogen oxide data from car exhausts, diesel cars, buses etc. information was collected monthly and a report was compiled annually.


    Sites in Grantham and Stamford were actively monitored 37 total sites across the district.  The monitoring locations on the plans circulated showed a reduction over the years of nitrogen oxide levels at the diffusion tube locations.  Locations included base locations which were located away from town centres.


    An ongoing problem was located at Brook Street in Grantham which was a narrow street containing three sets of traffic lights in a short space of road, a school, a petrol station and shop.  There was heavy traffic including a large amount of buses dropping off and collecting school children at certain times of the day.    The Air Quality Management Area in Grantham ran from Wharf Road along the High Street and included Brook Street.  The Council had a statutory responsibility for the Air Quality Action zone and Plan which was approved in 2016 for Grantham.  The Highways Authority were the main body which could implement the Air Quality Action Plan Measures although one of the biggest solutions would be the delivery of the southern relief road which would take heavy duty traffic out of Grantham town centre. Improvement of traffic management systems also helped to reduce congestion along the Manthorpe Road corridor leading into Brook Street making the traffic more fluid.


    A Member asked what happened if the nitrogen oxide level exceeded 40 to which Mr Roger replied if they exceed 40 an air quality monitoring area would be declared and actions taken to reduce the levels. South Kesteven District Council’s Air quality action plan can be found on our website at


    A discussion then followed on when levels were monitored and whether they  ...  view the full minutes text for item 17.


Close of Meeting

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    The meeting closed at 12.35pm.