Agenda and minutes

Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 14th March, 2023 10.00 am

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

Contact: Democratic Services 


No. Item


Public Speaking

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    The Council welcomes engagement from members of the public. To speak at this meeting please register no later than 24 hours prior to the date of the meeting via

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    Deanna Donovan – statement in relation to agenda item 8


    The stated purpose of the Strategy is to “provide a framework for action for South Kesteven to reduce carbon emissions and safely adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change”. With the vision of the Strategy largely focused on carbon management and decarbonization, its ambition for adaptation seems to remain just that.  While the words ‘adapt’ and ‘adaptation’ are repeated numerous times, they remain ill-defined and poorly delineated. Although the impacts of climate change are broadly set out, including implications, in Appendix A, what is proposed to encourage and ensure “adaptation to climate change is embedded” is unclear. This Strategy fails to address the issue of building communities resistant to climate change impacts and resilient to the disruption that is undeniably and inevitably coming.


    The proposed Strategy lacks the specificity to convince our citizens that adaptation is understood and that specific actions will be taken to enhance the resistance and resilience of our communities and economy to the pernicious impacts of climate change. Action within the specific focus areas outlined the Strategy seems fixated on decarbonization, ----yes, necessary but insufficient--- to build the required resilience. If you truly believe there is a Climate Emergency, then the priority should be the review and revision of SKDC policies, plans and programmes across the board, not only to incorporate but prioritize mitigation and adaptation objectives.


    You acknowledge the need to better understand the impacts of climate change on residents, businesses and other partners but so far, and despite past promises, you have failed to conduct the risk assessment and thorough analysis that would allow the appropriate authorities to prioritize specific subject or geographic areas for action. We know the broad scale of risks facing Britain, even England, but what of our corner of England? Within this county, and this district, what are the specific threats that endanger our communities? And where do the response responsibilities lie when climate chaos occurs? We should not have to wait until disaster is on the doorstep before we begin to plan our preparedness.


    As important as decarbonization is for all of us, you must recognize that the effect of your actions will have virtually no impact on the trajectory of environmental change as currently forecast. Given that the impacts of climate change are materializing faster than most climate scientists have projected, we no longer have the luxury of decades to prepare. If you truly want to minimize the loss, the suffering and the economic setbacks, you need to act now. The decarbonization and emissions reduction that you have set in motion over the past several years should be well on the way. Now you need to come up to speed with your ambition for adaptation.  The most urgent need is for a thorough and professional risk assessment which should enable all to focus minds, engage collaborators and unlock greater efficiencies.


    Climate change is a systemic risk requiring coordinated action, which you duly recognize. We all need to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 39.


Apologies for absence

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    There were no apologies for absence received.


    Councillor Ashley Baxter represented the Alliance SK vacancy at this meeting.


Disclosure of Interests

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

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    Councillor Ben Green declared that he was a full-time employee of the Woodland Trust and therefore would not participate in debate or vote on agenda item 9, Draft Policy on Tree Strategy.


Minutes from the meeting held on 23 November 2022 pdf icon PDF 177 KB

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    The minutes of the meeting held on 23 November 2022 were proposed, seconded, and AGREED as a correct record.


Minutes from the Joint Meeting of the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee and Rural and Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee held on 6 February 2023 pdf icon PDF 105 KB


Updates from the previous meeting pdf icon PDF 69 KB

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    To consider actions agreed at the meeting held on 22 November 2022.

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    Members noted the action sheet.


    One Member queried whether there was any potential new funding relating to the Environment Act. The Environment Act was due to implement an obligation for the Council to collect paper, card and food waste.


    The Cabinet Member for Waste Services and Climate Change highlighted that the Government had confirmed that the funding would become available, however, the amount of funding and the timeframe in receiving it had not yet been specified. An announcement in regard to food waste was expected within the coming weeks.


    ACTION: For the Cabinet Member for Waste Services and Climate Change to contact the relevant department in Government on further clarity around the funding.


    It was hoped that paper and card collection would be rolled out in early 2024.


    A query was raised on the action relating to the Work Programme and that some of the items requested at the previous meeting were not included within the agenda.


    The Chairman highlighted that the Animal Welfare Policy had been delayed in writing process due to unavoidable internal factors and demands of the department. It would be brought to the next meeting of the new Committee.


    It was confirmed that the new Committee would also discuss ammonia pollution and progress on street lighting.



Announcements or updates from the Leader of the Council, Cabinet Members or the Head of Paid Service

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    There were none.


    (Councillor Gloria Johnson joined the meeting at 10:25).




Climate Action Strategy pdf icon PDF 155 KB

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    The South Kesteven Climate Action Strategy sets out the Council’s proposed approach to addressing carbon emissions and climate change within the district of South Kesteven.


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    The Cabinet Member for Waste Services and Climate Change emphasised that this was first draft presented and comments from Councillors, public, people with expertise were welcomed.


    The Sustainability and Climate Change Officer provided a presentation to the Committee that outlined information in relation to the Climate Action Strategy:


    ·       South Kesteven District Council’s declaration of a climate emergency

    ·       Climate change impacts locally

    ·       Land projected to be below the annual flood level for 2025

    ·       Climate Action Strategy overview

    ·       The 2030 vision

    ·       Climate Action Strategy format

    ·       Climate Action Strategy structure

    ·       Key district information

    ·       Policy areas

    ·       Monitoring progress

    ·       Climate Action Plan

    ·       Next steps


    The Chairman suggested that the timeline of the document be amended to go out for public consultation initially before being heard by Cabinet. 


    The Cabinet Member for Waste Services and Climate Change confirmed that this was the first draft of the Strategy, and the next stage was public and professional consultation. It was suggested the document be brought back to the relevant Overview and Scrutiny Committee in the new term, before being heard by Cabinet and then Full Council.


    It was noted that the ‘monitoring progress’ section of the Strategy showed that carbon emissions had reduced over the last 15 years, however, the reality of the reduction was inflicted by heavy industries no longer burning solid fuels. It was suggested that the ‘monitoring progress’ section of the strategy be removed and replaced with targets on current carbon emission statistics and what the Council aim to achieve in a particular timeframe.


    The historic context of 38% carbon emission reduction achieved by the Council had been included within the Strategy. The national reduction in carbon emissions over the last 15 years had been due in large part to the introduction of low-carbon electricity generation across the UK. It was noted that the rate of the reduction percentage achieved to date would not meet the Government net-zero target by 2050, if it continued on the same trajectory.


    It was highlighted that the initial Strategy would have policies developed under the eight areas. At that point, specific projects would be taken forward and KPIs would be put into place.


    One Member noted that the Strategy seemed inadequate for short term and long term to meet the impending problem of climate change. Page numbering, grammar and format concerns of the Strategy document were also raised.


    A concern was raised that the Strategy lacked specificity and the Council had failed to conduct a risk analysis, particularly regarding adaptation to climate change. It was noted that meaningful smart targets were not included within the strategy for each of the eight areas outlined.


    One Member emphasised that the main reduction in carbon emissions for the Council was due to the pandemic, change of office buildings to the Picture House and the closure of Deepings Leisure Centre.


    It was clarified that all feedback was welcomed from Members, experts and public on the first draft provided of the Climate Action Strategy.


    One Member requested that the next draft of the document  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46.


Draft Policy on Tree Strategy pdf icon PDF 163 KB

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    To provide an update regarding a tree strategy for South Kesteven.


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    The Cabinet Member for Waste Services and Climate Change highlighted the report that outlined information relating to the draft tree strategy.


    The Sustainability and Climate Change Officer introduced the report which intended to provide an update around considerations for development of a tree strategy for South Kesteven.


    The Council were responsible for approximately 6000 trees on owned and managed public spaces. A tree strategy would set out a level of canopy cover within South Kesteven and plot out potential areas for development of more tree planting and woodland creation opportunities.


    The Council work closely with Lincolnshire County Council who had their own tree-planting target to cover the whole County area, with three quarters of a million trees by 2025. Lincolnshire County Council were intending to appoint 2 Woodland Creation Officer posts, who could assist in developing the Council’s tree strategy and following planting opportunities.


    One Member noted that 10,000 trees were planted in 2021/22 from funding given to Lincolnshire County Council. The funding had now been cut off; it was queried as to whether funding could potentially be requested from elsewhere.


    The Cabinet Member for Waste Services and Climate Change highlighted that the bid for funding was for planting trees and to support an officer post to develop a tree strategy. The Woodland Trust would not provide any funding for tree planting until the Council had a tree strategy.


    One Member raised concern over the loss of trees due to development, Environment Agency clearing river edges and Lincolnshire County Council removing trees and failing to replace them.


    It was suggested that the Council identify the location of all trees within the district, prioritise the protection of trees, enhance the tree protection order process, explore biodiversity impacts, require appropriate replanting when trees are lost and the protection of orchards.


    One Member expressed their disappointment on the time taken to start producing a tree strategy. It was suggested that the strategy be reduced in size for ease of reading.


    A query was raised on whether it was guaranteed that Lincolnshire County Council would allow their newly appointed specialist Officers to assist in developing the Council’s tree strategy.


    The Sustainability and Climate Change Officer confirmed that communication had taken place with Lincolnshire County Council. They had received the Woodland Creation funding which was intended for Officer posts. The intention of these posts was to develop woodland creation opportunities across Lincolnshire. Lincolnshire County Council had indicated that they would be open to working with South Kesteven District Council on development of policies and strategies and for planting opportunities.


    That the Committee:


    Notes the update regarding the development of a Tree Strategy for the district of South Kesteven.




Environmental Crime Partnership Update pdf icon PDF 154 KB

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    To provide the Lincolnshire Environmental Crime Partnership Annual Report (2022), which gives an overview of the achievements of the partnership over 2022 and the future ambitions.


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    The Public Protection Manager presented the report on behalf of the Cabinet Member for People and Safer Communities. The report outlined an update on the Lincolnshire Environmental Crime Partnership and their annual report of 2022, which provided an overview of the achievements of the partnership and future ambitions.


    The Lincolnshire Environmental Crime Partnership was formed in response to a noticeable rise in fly-tipping incidences across Lincolnshire over spring/summer of 2020, which included a large scale of more than 20 tonnes of fly tipping in South Kesteven.


    The aim of the Lincolnshire Environmental Crime Partnership was to reduce and prevent fly-tipping across Lincolnshire by bringing all relevant agencies together and working in partnership, seeking to find new and innovative methods for closer working.


    The partnership met 3-4 times a year and was governed by a term of reference, a key action plan and was formed by the Lincolnshire Waste Partnership in 2020.


    It was clarified that 4 fixed penalty notices were issued, rather than 5 as stated in the report.


    It was reported that South Kesteven had 1533 reports of fly tipping in 2022.


    One Member highlighted the difficulty of collecting evidence and successful prosecutions due to being unable to identify the individual that has fly tipped. It was suggested whether motion activated CCTV could be installed in particular fly tipping ‘hot spots’ to identify individuals or numberplates of vehicles.


    It was noted that regular fly-tipping took place from drivers on the A1 Road.


    The Cabinet Member for Waste Services and Climate Change noted that 2022 fly-tipping figures cost over £60,000 to the Council taxpayers of South Kesteven. The Council had a dedicated 2-person crew who worked 5 days a week, the £60,000 covered wage costs, vehicle costs and costs to wards identification.


    It was highlighted that where fly tipping evidence could identify an individual, prosecution would be given. If a householder had used an unlicensed waste carrier, they could face a fine. It was encouraged that householders requested to see a waste carriers license before their waste is collected.


    The Cabinet Member for Waste Services and Climate Change confirmed that a lane closure would have to be in place in order to clear waste on the side of the A1 Road. National Highways were due to close a section of the A1 Road for drainage works in summer 2023. The Council’s Waste Managers were currently liaising with National Highways in order to coincide the arrangement for operatives to volunteer to attend at night to collect waste from the side of the road.


    A query was raised on whether any enforcement action could be taken on unlicensed waste carriers that advertise on social media. It was further queried as to whether advertisements on social media were monitored. 


    The Public Protection Manager informed the Committee that if Officers became aware of an unlicensed waste carrier advertising on social media, it would be investigated.


    One Member congratulated the team on the improvement of response time to attending fly-tipping reports.


    Members highlighted fly-tipping issues  ...  view the full minutes text for item 48.


Work Programme 2022 - 2023 pdf icon PDF 187 KB

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    To consider the Committee’s Work Programme for 2022 – 2023.

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    The Committee noted the Work Programme 2022-2023.


    The Committee requested that the following items be included on the next agenda of the new Committee within the next term as an element of the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee:


    ·       Climate Action Strategy

    ·       Draft Policy on Tree Strategy

    ·       Renewal of the Animal Welfare Policy


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

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    The Chairman thanked all Committee Members, members of the public and Officers that helped in supporting the Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee.




Close of meeting

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    The Chairman of the meeting closed the meeting at 12:50.