Agenda and minutes

Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 23rd June, 2020 10.30 am

Venue: This meeting will be held by remote conferencing using Skype for Business

Note: Due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, this meeting will be held remotely. Joining details are included on the agenda cover sheet 

Items
No. Item

Comments from the Committee

The Committee wished to have recorded their appreciation for the work undertaken by Councillor Chris Benn as the Chair of the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee.  The Committee wished him a speedy recovery.

45.

Register of attendance, membership and apologies for absence

    • Share this item

    Minutes:

    Councillor Benn had stood down as a Councillor.  An apology for absence was received from Councillor Nikki Manterfield. Councillors Ray and Linda Wootten attended the meeting as substitutes.

46.

Disclosure of Interests

    • Share this item

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

    Minutes:

    No interests were disclosed.

47.

Action Notes from the meeting held on 25 February 2020 pdf icon PDF 200 KB

    • Share this item

    For confirmation

    Minutes:

    Two Members referred to the action notes, noting that they did not recall asking for rewilding to be an item on the agenda and, recognised that it was agreed for one rewilding site per town, reiterating the request that was made for consultation to be undertaken.  A Member did not feel the point he had made had adequately been captured that there should be an expectation that mature or more established trees were replaced with something much more than simply one sapling for any such tree felled.

     

    Subject to the above changes, the action notes of the meeting held on 25 February 2020 were noted and agreed.

48.

Updates from the previous meeting

    • Share this item

    Minutes:

    The Chair noted that many of the actions from the notes of the previous meeting would not have been actioned due to officers dealing with the Covid-19 lockdown. The Committee heard that many of the initiatives that were discussed at the previous meeting had been suspended during this time.

     

    A Member asked whether the environmental performance indicators mentioned in the previous meeting had been created and when they would be brought to the Committee for scrutiny as well as whether he could receive feedback on his suggested indicators from the responsible officer before the next Committee meeting. The Cabinet Member replied that it was important that these indicators were created and noted that Members might not have been aware of the reduced resource available to the Council during the early stages of Covid-19.  Resources had been redeployed elsewhere which had meant that the creation of reports for Committees had not been a priority.

     

    Action:

    A performance report to be brought to a future meeting.

     

    Members asked if there was a resolution to the question of ownership in respect of the water fountain on Conduit Road and were informed that it was not owned by the Council.  It was also suggested that it might not be possible to restore it as it would not meet water hygiene standards. 

49.

Review of Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy pdf icon PDF 211 KB

    • Share this item

    Report detailing changes to the Hackney Carriage Licensing Policy, ahead of Cabinet approval for consultation

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Cabinet Member for Operations and Commercial introduced the report and reminded Members that the report would form part of the work going forward for consultation before it could be adopted. It was noted that the current policy was adopted on 1 April 2015. The Policy was fundamental to protecting public safety and keeping people from harm and provided the framework upon which the Authority delivered its statutory functions relating to hackney carriage and private hire licensing.  The current policy had been reviewed to ensure it reflected current guidance and continued to be fit for purpose, whilst also promoting improvements which supported environmental sustainability.

     

    The Committee was reminded that on 23 January 2020 Members of the Licensing Committee and the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee held a joint workshop to consider 3 key areas of the Policy; environmental sustainability; driver knowledge and language proficiency; and the use of e-cigarettes and vaping devices. The Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee received feedback from the workshop at their 25 February 2020 meeting. The revised draft policy encompassed this feedback together with other amendments with “tracked changes” was at Appendix 1. 

     

    The Cabinet Member provided a brief overview of the amendments previously suggested by the Committee. These included requirements for a language examination and to check whether action could be taken to prevent vehicles from idling. The Committee was informed of the proposed sanctions that drivers could receive for idling, initially with a warning but then subsequent issue of penalty points.  Should a driver accrue twelve penalty points within one year, they would be invited to attend a Licencing Committee who would consider and decide whether the driver was a fit and proper person to hold a licence.

     

    It was noted that whilst there was no legal duty placed on the Council to consult on this policy, it was good practice to do so and was in line with the Department for Transport’s ‘Taxi and Private Hire Vehicle Licensing: Best Practice Guidance’ (March 2010).  It was proposed that a 4-week public consultation would be undertaken and would focus on the hackney carriage and private hire trade alongside the general public and other relevant stakeholders, including the Authority’s Licensing Committee.

     

    Members discussed the difficulties of enforcing restrictions on idling but felt that the proposal was an important part in sanctioning repeat offenders. A Member asked what criteria was used to determine when idling was taking place and was directed to section 2.13 of the draft policy which stated: ‘Drivers are reminded that the Highway Code states that you must not leave a parked vehicle unattended with the engine running or leave a vehicle engine running unnecessarily while the vehicle is stationary on a public road.’

     

    Members unanimously agreed with the feedback and the proposed sanctions from the Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy Workshop.

     

    Recommendation:

    That following consideration of the draft Hackney Carriage and Private Hire Licensing Policy together with the feedback from the joint workshop, the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee agreed that  ...  view the full minutes text for item 49.

50.

Update from the Climate Change Task and Finish Group - 16 June 2020

    • Share this item

    Verbal Update from the Chair of the Climate Change Task & Finish Group, Councillor Dr Peter Moseley

    Minutes:

    The Cabinet Member for Commercial and Operations provided the Committee with an update from the recent meeting of the Climate Change Action Task and Finish Group. He noted that the Carbon Trust had been appointed to identify the potential work and areas of focus for the Council so they could address the proposed carbon footprint target set in September 2019 at Full Council.  Data had shown that the Council’s carbon footprint for the period 2018/19 had been calculated at 7,600tC02e.  This was calculated from 4 key emission categories; Fuel consumption (Council’s vehicle fleet); gas consumption (buildings); electricity consumption (buildings) and leased assets (such as leisure centres).  It was noted that just over 30% of the consumption emanated from Council buildings with a further 40% coming from leisure centres. 

     

    The Council’s pledge in September 2019 had been to reduce the carbon footprint by at least 30% by 2030 with the aim to become net zero carbon as soon as viable before 2050. 

     

    The Cabinet Member referred to the bold approach the Council had taken in calculating its emissions and including downstream carbon emissions such as leisure facilities in the total which did not have to be included. The aim of this approach was to help the Council show leadership by setting an example to other organisations and residents.

     

    The initial focus had been on Council buildingsand identifying projects that would help contribute to achieving the carbon reduction target. The Committee was reminded that during the collation of data, focus had been channelled down and had concentrated mainly on buildings, water, waste, vehicles and business mileage as these areas had been identified as the main areas of highest output. As a result, three hot spots were identified: Council Buildings, the Council’s Fleet of vehicles and leisure centres.  It was noted that some changes had already taken place such as installing LED lighting in some Council offices. The decarbonisation work being undertaken by the national electricity grid had also been referred and would also help reduce the Council’s carbon footprint.

     

    The following areas had been suggested as opportunities for the Council.

     

    Scope 1

    ·       Gas consumption for heating both space and water in buildings

    ·       Council fleet fuel consumption

     

    Scope 2

    ·       Electricity consumption in Council buildings

     

    Scope 3

    ·       Energy, waste and water consumption from leased buildings such as leisure centres

    ·       Upstream emissions from natural gas, electricity and vehicle fuel

    ·       Business travel in non-Council vehicles

    ·       Third-party disposal and treatment of waste generated in Council controlled operations

    ·       Supply and subsequent treatment of water consumed by the Council’s operations

     

    The Committee was reminded of the hard work ahead for the Council in tackling the climate emergency.  The significant impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the way the Council worked, had provided the Council with an opportunity to implement some changes that would reduce its carbon emissions. The Cabinet Member stated that caution was also needed due to the uncertainty of the situation and hoped to work closely with the Committee going forward.

     

    Members  ...  view the full minutes text for item 50.

51.

Re-wilding Pilot Scheme

    • Share this item

    A verbal update on consultations and progress on the re-wilding pilot scheme since the last meeting of the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee

    Minutes:

    The Cabinet Member referred to the Committee’s ambition to increase rewilding and biodiversity within the District. He commented on the suggestions from the previous Committee meeting that were incorporated into the report. The Committee had been provided with information about the consultation undertaken with ward members. Areas under consideration for rewilding together with the results of consultation with ward members were outlined.

     

    The Cabinet Member provided the Committee with a presentation of the Rewilding Pilot Scheme.  He noted the key stakeholders were, Town/Parish Councils, SKDC Ward Councillors, local interest groups and residents. 

     

    Areas considered for rewilding were parts of the recreation ground in Bourne, the Foxglove play area in Stamford, areas in Queen Elizabeth Park, Wyndham and Dysart parks in Grantham and Tattershall Drive in Market Deeping.

     

    Members were reminded of the types of rewilding being considered and potential benefits.

     

    Rewilding: Allowing nature to take back control, tall grasses and other plant species naturalise are permitted which encourages wildlife, insects, birds and mammals.

     

    Tiered land management: A method of providing multiple levels or tiers with differing levels of rewilding habits within the same area.

     

    Members were also provided with overview of the potential costs and savings for each proposed site. 

     

    Reference was made to how the success of the rewilding projects would require the support of both local Members and the local community.

     

    A Member questioned why, when examining the sites, the Jubilee Park site in Deeping St James had not been selected when it had been suggested as a possible site at the previous meeting. The Cabinet Member replied that he was unaware what criteria had been used to determine which site would be chosen but remembered that it was commented on at the time that there were two sites in the Deepings and it was agreed that there would only be one site per town.

     

    Action:

    That the criteria used for determining which site was to be chosen would be distributed to Members of the Committee together with an explanation of why Tattershall Drive was picked instead of Jubilee Park.

     

    A Member queried the work undertaken by Environment SK in the Frognall area and referred to a verge containing wildflowers that was maintained by the community but had recently been cut. The Cabinet Member replied that Environment SK was a commercial company and they would be expected to complete work they had been contracted to do.  It was suggested that the question would need to be directed to the organisation that raised the work order.  It was commented that this was likely to be the parish council.

     

    The Cabinet Member was also questioned about litter picking and cutting down of wildflowers on a roundabout in the Deepings area. The Cabinet Member replied that as far as he was aware South Kesteven had not been informed on the lane closures by Lincolnshire County Council’s highways department. Discussion also took place around planting licences that could be applied for verges in order to allow wildflowers to grow or flowers to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 51.

52.

2020/21 Committee Work Programme pdf icon PDF 103 KB

    • Share this item

    To populate the draft Work Programme for the Committee for the 2020/21 municipal year

    Minutes:

    The Committee considered the work programme and agreed that the following items be included:

     

    a)      Environment performance indicators.

     

    b)      A report on the work undertaken by the Chief Executive’s Climate Change Task and Finish Group to go to the next meeting.

     

    c)      Cycling and Single Use Plastics to be included in the workplan and brought to a future meeting.

     

    d)      A representative from the Internal Drainage Board to be invited to a future meeting.

     

    e)      The Committee to receive an update on Rewilding at the December meeting.

53.

Any other business which the Chairman, by reason of special circumstances, decides is urgent

    • Share this item

    Minutes:

    There was no other business.

54.

Close of meeting

    • Share this item

    Minutes:

    The meeting closed at 12:28.