Agenda and minutes

Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee
Tuesday, 26th November, 2019 10.30 am

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

Items
No. Item

The Chairman stated that the meeting was his first as the new Chairman of the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee. He wished to thank his predecessor, Councillor Trollope-Bellew, for the work she had contributed to the committee. He also introduced the council’s Scrutiny Officer who would be providing additional support to the Overview and Scrutiny Committees moving forward.  

20.

Apologies

21.

Disclosure of Interests

22.

Action Notes from the meeting held on 17 September 2019 pdf icon PDF 198 KB

23.

Updates from the previous meeting

    Minutes:

    During item 15 at the previous meeting, Members had asked that an Officer from the Planning department be invited to attend a future meeting of the committee, in order to provide further information regarding Tree Protection Orders. It was confirmed that the Planning department had been informed that an Officer would be required to attend. Once the committee had confirmed at which future meeting it wished to consider trees in further detail, an invitation would be extended to the relevant officer. The committee also requested an updated version of the ‘South Kesteven District Council Member Tree Notification Protocol’ document, following the implementation of the suggested amendments from the previous meeting.

     

    Action point

     

    Ø  An updated version of the ‘South Kesteven District Council Member Tree Notification Protocol’ document to be circulated to members of the committee

     

    Members asked when further information detailing the costs involved in the collection and disposal of food waste would be provided in the new year. The Chairman confirmed that this item could be added to the 25 February 2020 meeting.

     

    Action point

     

    Ø  ‘Food waste collection and disposal’ to be added to the Work Programme for the February meeting of the committee

24.

Position Statement on the Intentional Release of Sky (Chinese) Lanterns and Balloons pdf icon PDF 199 KB

    Report of the Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations introduced his report regarding the Council’s Position Statement on the Intentional Release of Sky (Chinese) Lanterns and Balloons, appended to which was the draft Position Statement. This had been developed in response to environmental concerns nationally surrounding the release of sky lanterns and balloons and the lack of control over where they land after release. Members were asked if they had any questions in relation to the report or the draft Position Statement:

     

    ·         Members asked whether the Position Statement was enforceable. The report stated that the statement would not be legally enforceable. The Cabinet Member for Commercial Operations explained that the aim of the Position Statement was to prevent the release of these items on Council-owned land in the first instance, therefore negating the need for any enforcement action to be taken.

    ·         Officers were asked if there had been any incidences of environmental impact as a result of the intentional release of sky lanterns or balloons in South Kesteven. It was explained that there had not been any known releases on Council-owned land in South Kesteven, but along with 84 other Local Authorities, the Council had considered the development of a Position Statement prudent as a preventative measure moving forward.

    ·         Members referred to the Equality Impact Analysis and asked if any of the affected minority groups had been consulted throughout the development of the Position Statement. Officers explained that as the Position Statement was currently a draft there had not been the need to consult on it. If Cabinet agreed to adopt the Position Statement, it would be consulted on at that stage.

     

    Recommendation

     

    ·         That the Position Statement on the Intentional Release of Sky (Chinese) Lanterns and Balloons is considered by Cabinet for adoption

    ·         That the minority groups potentially affected by the adoption of the Position Statement be consulted when the final document has been agreed

         

      

25.

Scrap metal dealers pdf icon PDF 197 KB

    Report of the Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations.

    Minutes:

    The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations presented the report providing an update on the Scrap Metal Dealers Act 2013. The report outlined the Council’s responsibilities under the Act, which had been introduced in response to the rising level of metal theft and required that all scrap metal dealers held a licence. Members were asked if they had any questions or comments arising from the report:

     

    ·         One Member noted that it could be difficult to identify whether a scrap metal collector was licenced from a windscreen sticker alone and asked about the potential for providing collectors with a licenced  identity card. Officers explained that the legislation dictated what form of verification mobile dealers needed to display and the only current requirement was for a licence to be displayed in the vehicle. It was highlighted that residents should always check that a person collecting scrap metal from them holds a collectors licence.

    ·         Members asked if there was any potential for the Council to collect scrap metal as an alternative to licensing mobile collectors. As South Kesteven District Council was a member of the Lincolnshire Waste Partnership, any waste collected would fall into the possession of the disposal authority, so there would be no potential for further revenue to be secured through a Council-run scheme. The Council did, however, provide alternative means for residents to dispose of scrap metal including the bulky household waste collection service and via the district recycling sites. 

    ·         Officer were asked if the Council charged for issuing scrap metal licences. The charges were outlined in the fees and charges policy and were incurred on a cost recovery basis.

    ·         It was also asked whether the Council carried out enforcement action for non-licenced scrap metal dealers. This was a joint responsibility between the Council and the Police.

     

    Recommendations

     

    ·         Officers and the Police were thanked for their hard work to reduce the level of metal theft in the district

    ·         Members note the report and request that an item be included in SK Today to inform residents about scrap metal disposal and householder responsibilities

     

26.

Grounds Maintenance Update pdf icon PDF 789 KB

    Update on the commissioned grounds maintenance service, its objectives and performance.

    Minutes:

    The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations presented the slides giving an update on the grounds maintenance service provided by EnvironmentSK. He explained that when EnvironmentSK became the Council’s grounds maintenance provider earlier in the year, in order to facilitate a smooth transition the maintenance specification was transferred from the previous contractor unchanged. There was now potential for opportunities to be taken to review the specification of the provision, in order to make budget savings or to complement the Council’s other initiatives. The Cabinet Member also highlighted the low level of complaints received since the contract had been taken over and reminded Members that roadside verges were not included in this contract; these were the responsibility of the Lincolnshire County Council Highways department. Members were asked if they had any questions arising from the presentation:

     

    Noting the Cabinet Member’s comment regarding roadside verges, Members commented on the disparity between verge maintenance in different areas of the district. Bourne Town Council had paid for extra cuts to be undertaken throughout the year. Members considered if extra cuts could be carried out in Grantham. The cost for this would need to be met by the Grantham Special Expense Area. It was noted that the overall Council Tax precept (which included SEAs) could not be raised over 5% without a district-wide referendum, so careful consideration would need to be given to any potential extra charges for Special Expense Areas.

     

    Members discussed the potential of introducing managed biodiversity areas, noting other areas where this had been successful, as well as instances where this had been less well-managed. Members were keen not to develop these areas simply by stopping grass cutting; close monitoring and management of any biodiversity sites would be required. It was noted that additional maintenance works such as this would be easier to facilitate under the new grounds maintenance provider, but the cost of introducing such areas would need to be established. Members discussed the small managed biodiversity area already in place at Grantham Crematorium, and asked if indicative costs could be produced based on the maintenance costs of that site. Officers explained that as Grantham Crematorium was already a heavily monitored and maintained site, costs could differ compared to the potential of introducing new sites elsewhere in the District. During discussion, Members questioned whether biodiversity areas could be encouraged in other areas such as new housing developments. The committee was reminded that the Council could only introduce or require such projects on its own land.

     

    Action point

     

    Ø  Officers to consult with EnvironmentSK and report back to the committee with examples and indicative costs for introducing managed wildflower biodiversity areas in the District, to begin with one area in each town

    Ø  The Chairman requested that any stakeholders are identified when investigating potential trial areas

     

    Recommendation

     

    ·         The Officers and Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations are thanked for the information provided

    ·         The grounds maintenance update is noted

    ·         The principle of increased tree planting and the introduction of managed biodiversity wildflower areas  ...  view the full minutes text for item 26.

27.

Climate Change

    Update on outcomes from the recently held Climate Change workshop and the first meeting of the Climate Change Action Task and Finish Group.

    Minutes:

    The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations presented the committee with the recommendations that had been forwarded from the Climate Change Action Task and Finish Group, as below:

     

    1. To recommend to Cabinet that in addition to the £50,000 funding already agreed at Council for climate change objectives, a further £20,000 reserve be established from the 2020/21 budget, for climate change action quick wins, smalls works and carbon efficiencies; this reserve could be drawn down from as specific initiatives are identified during the course of the Task and Finish Group’s work. 

     

    1. To recommend to Cabinet that the Council’s decision making and report templates are changed to include a ‘carbon and climate change impact assessment’ and that budget bids within the 2020/21 process are required to identify whether they are carbon positive, neutral or negative. 

     

    Members were asked if they had and questions regarding the first recommendation:

     

    ·         Members commented that in principle, the recommendation seemed a positive step which would support the Council in its climate change objectives by allowing immediate action to be taken once identified. Members asked how the use of the reserve would be scrutinised for value for money. It was explained that the Climate Change Task and Finish Group could not identify specific costs until the Council’s carbon baseline and management plan had been established. However, once this had been undertaken, further details of costs would be able to be shared with the Committee

     

    Members were then asked if they had any questions or comments on the second recommendation:

     

    ·         Members welcomed the recommendation and felt that including a climate change impact assessment on all reports would support the Council’s climate change objectives

     

    The Committee agreed to the recommendations as suggested by the Climate Change Action Task and Finish Group

     

    Recommendations

     

    • The Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee recommend to Cabinet that in addition to the initial £50,000 funding already agreed at Council for climate change objectives, a further £20,000 reserve be established from the 2020/21 budget, for climate change action quick wins, smalls works and carbon efficiencies; this reserve could be drawn down from as specific initiatives are identified during the course of the Task and Finish Group’s work. 
    • The Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee recommend to Cabinet that the Council’s decision making and report templates are changed to include a ‘carbon and climate change impact assessment’ and that budget bids within the 2020/21 process are required to identify whether they are carbon positive, neutral or negative.

    ·         If approved by Cabinet, any spend from the proposed £20k climate change reserve to be reported to future meetings of the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee.

     

     

     

28.

Textile Banks/Recycling

    Discussion item regarding the current provision for textile recycling in South Kesteven.

    Minutes:

    The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations gave a verbal explanation of the current provision for textile recycling in the district. As a waste collection authority, the Council did not allow textiles to be included in recycling bins as they were not classified as domestic waste. There was a requirement for the Council to provide licences for the charity street textile collections.

     

    One Member felt that the Council’s environmental credentials would be improved through involvement in textile recycling. He gave an example of a charity textile bank in a church car park that had been an easy initiative and had provided the church with a small source of income. He asked that the Committee consider the possibility of introducing charity textile banks on Council-owned land.

     

    Some Members of the Committee expressed concern as to the implications of over-filling textile banks and the potential cost to the Council for monitoring such sites. The Chairman also highlighted some ethical concerns regarding the recycling of textiles based on some information provided on the Bureau of International Recycling’s website. Whilst the Committee discussed the potential for introducing a number of trial sites, this was not upheld as a recommendation. 

     

    The subject of a Council-operated bag collection for textiles was discussed. Members felt that this might add a layer of trust to household collections and might give the Council greater influence over the location and destination of collected textiles. However, this option was not upheld as a recommendation.

     

    A vote was taken on providing Council-operated or controlled textile recycling facilities additional to the current third party collections and the Domestic Recycling Facilities, and was not upheld as a recommendation.

     

     

29.

Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy

    To seek volunteers for a Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy workshop.

    Minutes:

    The Chairman asked if any members of the committee wished to volunteer for the upcoming workshop regarding Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy. The following Members volunteered:

     

    ·         Councillor Nicky Manterfield

    ·         Councillor Gloria Johnson

    ·         Councillor Chris Benn

    ·         Councillor John Cottier

30.

Western Power Distribution - feedback from local investment workshop

    Discussion item based on slides shared from the recent WPD workshop attended by the Chairman.

    Minutes:

    The Chairman of the Committee gave a brief account of his attendance at the recent Western Power Distribution workshop in Grantham. It was felt that building further connections with such stakeholders would be advantageous for Councillors and the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee moving forward. A volunteer was sought to attend future meetings and liaise as necessary. Councillor Jacky Smith, a non-committee Member, volunteered for this role. It was noted that if a formal representative was requested by WPD, this would need to be formalised at Council. The Chairman reminded Members that all Councillors were free to attend WPD meetings if they were interested and wished to do so.

31.

Performance Indicators pdf icon PDF 929 KB

    Introduction to a new standing agenda item, to consider performance indicators relating to the remit of the Committee.

    Minutes:

    The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations presented the slides on waste management performance indicators. He explained that as a member of the Lincolnshire Waste Partnership (LWP), the Council’s waste management service was guided by the Joint Municipal Waste Management Strategy (JMWMS) and its associated targets. The targets measured by the JMWMS addressed the performance of the LWP as a whole, but the committee were asked to consider whether they also wished to introduce performance indicators to measure the performance of South Kesteven District Council as a collection authority individually. Examples of potential performance indicators were given. The committee was reminded that although it could be beneficial to measure performance by looking at specific targets locally, the Council would need to be pragmatic when identifying targets in order to differentiate between areas the Council could control directly and those which were influenced by external factors.

     

    The Chairman asked Members of the Committee to consider which performance indicators they would like to see presented at future meetings. Members felt that a bi-annual update would be sufficient for performance measures to be reported. Any ideas could be forwarded to the Chairman or Officers prior to the next meeting, when the item would be discussed in further detail.

     

    Action point

     

    Ø  Members to forward any ideas for potential waste management performance indicators in advance of the next meeting

     

    Recommendation

     

    ·         Waste management performance indicators to be presented to the committee on a bi-annual basis

     

        

32.

Work programme pdf icon PDF 114 KB

    Members to review the Committee’s work programme for 2019/20.

    Minutes:

    The Chairman decided to close the meeting at 12:52 to allow for another meeting to begin in the room.

     

    One Member felt that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee should take priority over other meetings and expressed concern over changes in location and times of meetings.   

     

    Action point

     

    Ø  The Work Programme to be circulated to Members of the Committee by email

    Ø  The date to be confirmed for an officer from Planning to attend a future meeting of the Committee