Agenda and minutes
Venue: Witham Room - Council Offices, St. Peter's Hill, Grantham. NG31 6PZ. View directions
The committee to be notified of any substitute members.
Members were notified that Councillor Linda Wootten was substituting for Councillor Wilkins.
An apology for absence was received from Councillor Jacky Smith, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing and Skills.
Disclosure of Interests
Members are asked to disclose any interests in matters for consideration at the meeting.
Action notes from the meeting held on 18th July 2017 were agreed subject to references to footway lights be amended to highway/footway lighting and the inclusion of the word “for” in relation to the Cabinet Member for Environment and a few typographical spelling errors to be corrected.
Updates from the previous meeting
Tender specifications had been sent to three contractors and it was agreed that the tender specification would be supplied to an interested Councillor by e-mail. Street lighting would be included on the Committee’s agenda for November 2017.
> Action Note
The specification for street lighting contract to be circulated by e-mail to Councillor Baxter
In response to the Chairman’s request that a new air quality information point be located in the St Mary’s Hill, members were advised that the necessary equipment had been arranged and a new site identified.
One Member sought clarity about the traffic flow in the Brook Street, Manthorpe Road area as traffic still backed up on Manthorpe Road. Adjustments had been made to the traffic lights to try and manage idling traffic in the narrow Brook Street area.
A further question was asked about taxis and idling to which it was stated that there was no legislation to require taxis to turn off their engines, it was a case of education and PR to encourage this to happen.
Report ENV670 from the Cabinet Member for Environment.
The Cabinet Member for Environment updated Members on the Big Clean project and budget information was circulated. The project provided an enhanced cleansing scheme that had not affected existing services. After the project had ended on 29 October 2017 a big clean team would continue to maintain villages and towns throughout the district. Outstanding work in Grantham and Stamford would continue once the villages had been completed.
Regular planning meetings had taken place throughout the project which included reports from customer service interface and volunteer updates. The halfway meeting had also included a review of lessons learned and how they could be applied including specifically communication with volunteers.
The following subjects were raised during discussion on the big clean project
· Feedback from customers and volunteers had been positive.
· It was anticipated that the project would be delivered within budget – the current approved spend was £887,000 with a current underspend of £49,270 compared with the profiled budget.
· The details of the project’s capital expenditure gave an overview of pending orders for plant and equipment.
· Some costs were reduced by procuring ex-demonstration equipment.
· Where customers provided their contact details they would be sent confirmation of whether it was within the scope of the project and when work would be scheduled.
· The use of agency staff and opportunities provided by the project to date for those who had been unemployed for a long period.
· The creation of a second team in April 2018 could provide longer term employment opportunities for those currently involved in the project.
· Security and insurance cover for plant and equipment
· One Member complimented the web interface.
· A weed ripper had been deployed which reduced the likelihood of re-growth – weed spraying was the responsibility of Lincolnshire County Council.
· Anti-graffiti paint was not used by the Council because of the sensitivity of some of the structures on which graffiti was prevalent.
· A comment was made about the use of anti-graffiti solution verses wipes – staff had been trained to use the solution.
· More notifications of graffiti had been logged than anticipated, it appeared that the Big Clean project had made the public more environmentally aware of their surroundings.
It was stressed that the steer had been for the Big Clean Project to undertake work over and above the existing cleansing scheme. The existing street services were not affected. It was about maintaining the standards once the main project had finished and using the lesson learnt to develop a street standards policy.
The Chairman thanked the Service Manager, Street Scene Services and the Big Clean team for all their hard work across the district.
The Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee noted the positive progress to date and supported future work to develop a South Kesteven Street Standards based on the lessons learnt from the Big Clean Project.
Report ENV665 from the Cabinet Member for the Environment.
The Cabinet Member for Environment presented report ENV665 on dog fouling which included a range of measures that could be deployed. The subject of dog fouling specifically in relation to DNA testing had been briefly discussed by the Committee and although Members were not keen on this aspect the Cabinet Member felt that DNA testing should be considered within the wider scope of options in respect of dog fouling.
· Dog fouling was a subject that was often brought up at Parish and Town Council meetings but not reflected in the number of reported instances to the District Council which were low with an average of 220 cases reported each year, about four per week.
· A survey of a small number of parish councils identified that dog fouling was raised with 40% on a consistent basis.
· Members recognised that a majority of dog owners were responsible.
· Erection of signage and reactive patrols targeted hotspots identified through intelligence from customers.
· Fixed Penalty Notices (FPNs) could be issued by authorised officers of the Council and others if they were designated to do so. (e.g. parish council representatives and private enforcement contractors).
· Police Community Safety Officers (PCSOs) were not able to issue FPNs for dog fouling under the existing dog control orders but would be able to issue FPN’s if a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) was in place although dog fouling was not a top priority for the police.
· No FPNs had been issued by the Neighbourhoods Team.
· Any PSPO would need proactive enforcement and resources would need prioritizing.
· Any PSPO needed to be prescriptive and supported by evidence.
· Parish and Town Councils could train staff to provide an enforcement resource.
· The only duty of the dog warden related to the collection of stray dogs.
· Members commented that additional bins should be provided in hotspot areas.
· A suggestion was made that a high profile DNA testing campaign could act as a deterrent.
The consensus of Members was to note the options listed in the report. The Committee recommended that priority should be given to increasing bins in dog fouling hotspots and the introducing of a PSPO for the whole of the district requiring dog walkers to carry a receptacle for disposing of dog waste. If they failed to produce one on request they would be issued with a fixed penalty notice.
Some Members did not support DNA testing because of the balance between the likely outcomes and the required resource and expense. One Member proposed that the Council should proactively engage with parish and town councils on parish council staff being trained to issue FPNs, however this was not supported by other Committee Members.
The Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee recommends that items 3 – 10 below are noted but that items 1 and 2 are looked at by the Cabinet as a priority in relation to dog fouling.
1. To increase the number of bins at hot spot locations.
2. To introduce a new public space protection ... view the full minutes text for item 25.
Report ENV668 from the Cabinet Member for the Environment.
In introducing report ENV668 the Cabinet Member for Environment highlighted the link to the previous agenda item and the wider enforcement agenda including the possibility of having an external or third party Company to carry out the enforcement function on behalf of the Council.
The use of specialist private companies to facilitate enforcement for medium level environmental crimes was accepted practice with other district councils and could release resources for use elsewhere.
Topics of discussion included:
· Whether proposed enforcement options would be self-financing
· Whether PCSOs could issue fines for littering
· There were five members of the Neighbourhoods Team who could issue fixed penalty notices, the total number issued for littering was low
· A majority of current enforcement issues related to fly-tipping
· Any individual designated by the Council to carry out enforcement would be acting on the Council’s behalf.
Members were advised that the report was asking them to consider the principle of a range of enforcement options.
Concern over the wording of the recommendation was discussed. In response to the Committee’s concerns about an “in principle” decision the Cabinet Member for Environment assured the Committee that no decision would be made before the committee had made any recommendation. Any option would also include a trial period.
Members agreed that the wording of the recommendation should be amended to say that the Committee recommended that Cabinet explore the options in detail for the engagement of an external company or third party to issue fixed penalty notices for littering and other associated environmental offences throughout the district and that collaborative options with other Councils were explored and also to review in-house options for enforcement.
The Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee recommends that Cabinet:
1. Explore the options in detail for the engagement of an external company or third party to issue fixed penalty notices for littering and other associated environmental offences throughout the District.
2. Explore collaborative options with other Councils
3. Review in house options for enforcement.
A verbal update will be provided to the Committee on Trade Waste.
The Cabinet Member for Environment informed the Committee that a co-mingling agreement for commercial waste had been secured and proposals would be progressed.
Close of Meeting
The meeting closed at 1:12pm.