Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Executive - Tuesday, 7th June, 2022 6.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, The Burys, Godalming

Contact: Louise Fleming  Democratic Services & Business Support Team Manager

Items
No. Item

EXE 1/22

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 144 KB

To confirm the Minutes of the Meeting held on 3 May 2022.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 3 May 2022 were confirmed and signed as a correct record.

EXE 2/22

DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS

To receive from members, declarations of interest in relation to any items included on the agenda for this meeting, in accordance with the Waverley Code of Local Government Conduct.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest raised under this heading.

EXE 3/22

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

The Chairman to respond to any questions received from members of the public for which notice has been given in accordance with Procedure Rule 10.

 

The deadline for receipt of questions is 5pm on Tuesday 31 May 2022.

Minutes:

There were no questions received from members of the public.

EXE 4/22

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE COUNCIL

The Chairman to respond to any questions received from Members in accordance with Procedure Rule 11.

 

The deadline for receipt of questions is 5pm on Tuesday 31 May 2022.

 

Minutes:

The Executive received the following question(s) in accordance with Procedure Rule 11:

 

1.    From Councillor Brian Edmonds, Farnham Wrecclesham and Rowledge ward:

 

The Government Policy is carbon neutrality by 2050 accelerating this programme brings additional cost and the need for explicit, deliverable plans. Recent webinars have revealed the difficulty in meeting zero carbon emissions such as Helsinki by 2040 and China by 2060. Ms Koskinen Helsinki’s head of the City’s climate unit states there will have to be a shift away from driving to reach zero emissions. It is not enough that you change your car to electric." This change at national and local level is likely to prove a difficult behavioural change and result in the loss of critical income streams.

 

A progressive start would be to encourage less consumption to reduce the 100 billion tonnes of stuff produced every year. Using less should also reduce the locality’s waste a strategy being used by Hong Kong. With a carbon at a nominal cost of £50 per tonnes can WBC deliver value for money.

 

It would be helpful to understand why funding is the critical issue. Please could Councillor Williams advise why he considers Waverley BC can achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 20 years earlier than the current UK target and why taxpayers should fund this accelerated local ambition.”

 

Reply from Councillor Steve Williams, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainability:

 

I thank Councillor Edmonds for the question and will answer the three parts of the question separately:

·         Why has Waverley Borough Council set an ambition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 rather than the current UK target of 2050?

·         Why should taxpayers fund measures to reduce the ambition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030?

·         What role do reducing consumption and changing behaviour have in reducing our carbon footprint?

 

Why has Waverley Borough Council set an ambition to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030 rather than the current UK target of 2050?

 

The simple answer is that the UK government’s target of carbon neutrality by 2050 is simply not ambitious enough.

To avoid catastrophic climate change, the world needs to be carbon neutral by 2050. Maintaining a UK target no more ambitious than 2050, passes the burden of holding the world to a 1.5 degree Celsius rise in global temperatures onto the shoulders of the poorest countries who did the least to cause the problem. In the 1850s, Britain was referred to as the workshop of the world, leading the industrial revolution. 170 years on, Britain needs to be in the forefront of the green revolution to save our planet. That is a challenge the present government has not taken up, but it is a challenge that many local councils have.

 

According to data from Climate Emergency UK,

336/409 councils across the UK have declared a climate emergency (82%)

316/409 councils have developed an action plan to take them on this journey (77%)

And 211/409 councils have set the ambition of becoming carbon neutral by 2030 (52%).

 

Despite the challenges faced  ...  view the full minutes text for item EXE 4/22

EXE 5/22

Leader's and Portfolio Holders' Updates

Minutes:

The Leader and Portfolio Holders gave brief updates on current issues not reported elsewhere on the agenda:

·         The Leader thanked all those involved in the organisation of events for the Queen’s jubilee weekend and praised the work of voluntary groups.  Surrey continued to lead the way in numbers of Ukrainian refugees being taken in, with Waverley being the largest recipient in Surrey.  The Leader was disappointed to hear that the Secretary of State had allowed the application for fracking in Dunsfold, which had been opposed by Surrey County Council and residents across the borough.

·         Councillor Williams expressed concern over the decision of the Secretary of State to uphold the appeal by UKOG to drill for hydrocarbons and fossil fuels in Waverley, which the Council had opposed this consistently since holding a consultation exercise with residents in 2019.  He was concerned over the impact on the natural environment, local transport and local residents and the Council would continue to oppose the drilling.  The Leader advised that the Council would seek to use all the levers at its disposal to oppose the drilling.

·         Councillor Mirylees echoed the comments made by Councillor Williams and updated the meeting on the leisure centre attendance numbers which, although improving, were still 20% below pre-pandemic levels.  Officers were working with the contractor on ways to attract more users into the centres.  The reopening of the Friday Night Projects in Farnham and Cranleigh was welcomed.  NoMowMay had completed and feedback had been largely positive.  The newly merged Tree and Greenspaces team was performing well and the increased resilience had been shown in the recent storm response.  The Film Waverley project would be launched at the University of Creative Arts on 29 June.

·         Councillor MacLeod supported Councillor Williams words on the decision of the Secretary of State; and talked about the high volume of work of the teams across the Council on enforcement issues.  More communications were needed to inform residents of the work being carried out.  There had been a letter published in the local press recently regarding complaints of noise from residents of Faulkner Court in respect of construction at Brightwells, however these complaints had already been dealt with.

·         Councillor Merryweather echoed the comments made in respect of the drilling at Dunsfold.  The Council’s external auditors had just completed their audit findings report for 2021/22 financial year and this would be reported to the Audit Committee in June.  The financial outturn report would be published shortly; and both the general fund and housing revenue account were within budget overall with a slightly better position than that was reported in Q3.

·         The Leader concluded by congratulating Councillor Liz Townsend for her award of a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s birthday honours list.

EXE 6/22

Approval of the Discretionary "Energy Rebate" Scheme pdf icon PDF 238 KB

In February 2022 the government announced a package of support known as the Energy Bills Rebate to help households with rising energy bills.  The scheme includes a £150 rebate to all properties in council tax band A-D with criteria set by the government (the main scheme). The announcement includes a discretionary fund to support other financially vulnerable energy bill payers not covered under the main scheme. This report sets out a local scheme to comply with the government guidance.

 

Recommendation

 

That the Executive approve the Discretionary Energy Rebate Scheme set out in this report.

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED that the Discretionary Energy Rebate Scheme set out in the report be approved.

 

Reason: Waverley has been allocated discretionary funding of £216,600 to support those suffering financial hardship as a result of the rising cost of living, but not eligible for the main energy rebate scheme.

 

Councils can decide locally how best to use the funding to support those suffering financial hardship as a result of the rising cost of living. This could include households living in property valued in council tax bands E to H that are on income related benefits or those where the energy bills payers are liable for council tax.

 

The discretionary fund should be paid out by 30th November, any remaining funding will be required to be returned to the government.

 

[Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee]

 

Minutes:

Councillor Merryweather, Portfolio Holder for Finance, Assets and Commercial, presented the report which set out a proposed discretionary energy rebate scheme, to support other financially vulnerable energy bill payers not covered under the main scheme.  The main scheme covered monies which the Council had been tasked by the Government with administering locally through the council tax system in line with criteria set by the Government to all properties within bands A to D.  All 9,000 eligible households which the Council did not hold bank details for had been written to and to date, 5,534 of those households had responded and their payments would be with them shortly  There were just over 26,000 eligible households for the main scheme of which £22,570 have been paid, representing 87%.

 

The discretionary scheme would cover up to 1,444 additional properties and would be targeted at vulnerable residents in bands E to H, as set out in the report and the Council would work with partners in the third sector.  Councillor Merryweather highlighted other sources of funding available and acknowledged the work of the team on administering the scheme.

 

Councillor Heagin spoke on the report, echoing the thanks to the team, and asked that the scheme be referred to as an Energy Rebate Scheme in communications with residents to avoid confusion.  The criteria were welcomed but there was concern that those who paid energy bills, but not council tax directly, for example through a private rent landlord, would miss out.  Councillor Heagin expressed some concern over the first come, first served approach but accepted that the money needed to be administered quickly.  It was important to ensure that the money was spent and did not have to be returned to the Government; and that all communications with residents should be clear.  Councillor Heagin suggested automatically crediting every eligible council tax account with £150.

 

The Leader shared Councillor Heagin’s comments on the clarity of information sent to residents.  The Strategic Director (s151) advised that the banding of properties was carried out by the Valuation Office on behalf of the Government, over which the Council had no control.  He undertook to investigate the point raised in respect of those residents in shared accommodation who did not pay council tax directly and if the Government criteria allowed the flexibility, then that would be incorporated in the Council’s scheme.  The Council did not have the authority to credit a council tax account directly, it could only make a payment.  He also highlighted the other sources of financial support available to residents.

 

The Leader reassured Councillor Heagin and that any money received from the Government would be distributed as soon as possible.

 

RESOLVED that the Discretionary Energy Rebate Scheme set out in the report be approved.

 

Reason: Waverley has been allocated discretionary funding of £216,600 to support those suffering financial hardship as a result of the rising cost of living, but not eligible for the main energy rebate scheme.

 

Councils can decide locally how best to use the funding to  ...  view the full minutes text for item EXE 6/22

EXE 7/22

Hackney Carriage Tariff Fare Scales - Review pdf icon PDF 260 KB

From time to time the Hackney Carriage trade requests that we, the Council, increase the amount that they can charge their customers, the last such request was in February 2014. This report sets out the recent history and current fare levels in Waverley.

 

The decision on whether to increase the maximum fare level is an Executive function. On the 29 March 2022 the Executive agreed to advertise/consult on a new maximum fare tariff.

 

Following consultation (from 01 April to 18th April) officers received 3 comments. The Executive is being asked to consider the 3 comments received and agree the new maximum fare tariff (with or without modifications) to come into effect on the 17 June 2022.

 

The Licensing & Regulatory Committee 23 May 2022 considered the report and recommended that the Executive agree the proposed advertised new maximum fare tariff (with the addition of a discretionary booking fee element of £1 modification) and to agree that the maximum fare tariff comes into effect on the 17 June 2022 (within 2 months of the first specified date  - last date for objections on the scale of fares consultation 18 April 2022). A copy of the minutes is attached at Annexe 6.

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that ….

 

2.1.      the Executive considers the comments, the Licensing & Regulatory Committee recommendation and agree the maximum fare tariff (with or without modifications).

 

2.2.      the Executive’s agreed maximum fare tariff comes into effect on the 17 June 2022 (within 2 months of the first specified date -last date for objections on the scale of fares consultation, 18 April 2022).

 

2.3     the Executive consider and decide the frequency of future reviews – (DFT current guidance consultation recommends every 12 months).

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED

 

1.         that the Executive considers the comments, the Licensing & Regulatory Committee recommendation and the maximum fare tariff (with modification to retain the existing 60p booking fee) be agreed.

 

2.         the agreed maximum fare tariff comes into effect on the 17 June 2022 (within 2 months of the first specified date - last date for objections on the scale of fares consultation, 18 April 2022).

 

3.         the frequency of future reviews in line with DFT current guidance consultation of every 12 months be agreed.

 

Reason: The recommendation is in response to the request from the Hackney

Carriage Operators for a review of fares and subsequent comments made

following consultation on the scale of fares. It is important to find a balance

between the income generated by Taxi Drivers, to cover their day to day costs

and the costs associated with the licensing process, as well as setting fares

which meet the needs of residents and visitors to the area.

 

The hackney carriage fare review process has been carried out historically on an ad hoc basis and upon request. Department for Transport guidance on ‘Taxi and private hire vehicle licensing: best practice guidance’ (March 2022) confirms that fare scales should be ‘designed with a view to practicality’ and it is good practice ‘to review the fare scales at regular intervals’. The guidance also suggests that ‘Authorities may wish to consider adopting a simple formula for deciding on fare revisions as this will increase understanding and improve transparency of the process’. Further, that in reviewing fares authorities should ‘pay particular regard to the needs of their travelling public, with reference both to what it is reasonable to expect people to pay but also to the need to give taxi drivers sufficient incentive to provide a service when it is needed’.

 

[Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee]

Minutes:

Councillor MacLeod, Portfolio Holder for Enforcement, Operations and Brightwells, presented the report which set out the responses to the consultation carried out on the review of Hackney Carriage tariff fare scales.  The Licensing and Regulatory Committee had recommended an increase of the booking fee to £1, however officers had advised that this would result in short journeys in the borough becoming more expensive and therefore it was proposed to retain the current 60p booking fee.

 

Councillor Clark spoke in support of the proposals, highlighting the vital transport service provided to residents by private hire vehicles and that this should remain financially viable in light of rising fuel costs.  It was also proposed that the DFT guidelines should be adopted to review the fares every 12 months.  The Leader echoed the comments made.

 

RESOLVED

 

1.         that the Executive considers the comments, the Licensing & Regulatory Committee recommendation and the maximum fare tariff (with modification to retain the existing 60p booking fee) be agreed.

 

2.         the agreed maximum fare tariff comes into effect on the 17 June 2022 (within 2 months of the first specified date - last date for objections on the scale of fares consultation, 18 April 2022).

 

3.         the frequency of future reviews in line with DFT current guidance consultation of every 12 months be agreed.

 

Reason: The recommendation is in response to the request from the Hackney

Carriage Operators for a review of fares and subsequent comments made

following consultation on the scale of fares. It is important to find a balance

between the income generated by Taxi Drivers, to cover their day to day costs

and the costs associated with the licensing process, as well as setting fares

which meet the needs of residents and visitors to the area.

 

The hackney carriage fare review process has been carried out historically on an ad hoc basis and upon request. Department for Transport guidance on ‘Taxi and private hire vehicle licensing: best practice guidance’ (March 2022) confirms that fare scales should be ‘designed with a view to practicality’ and it is good practice ‘to review the fare scales at regular intervals’. The guidance also suggests that ‘Authorities may wish to consider adopting a simple formula for deciding on fare revisions as this will increase understanding and improve transparency of the process’. Further, that in reviewing fares authorities should ‘pay particular regard to the needs of their travelling public, with reference both to what it is reasonable to expect people to pay but also to the need to give taxi drivers sufficient incentive to provide a service when it is needed’.

]

EXE 8/22

Appointment of Executive Working Groups pdf icon PDF 133 KB

At its meeting on 19 October 2021, the Council agreed to adopt a protocol for the establishment of Executive Working Groups. This report proposes the establishment of Cost of Living Working Group under that protocol.

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the Executive agree the establishment of Cost of Living Working Group as set out in paragraph 4.1 below and with the Terms of Reference attached at Annexe 1.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED that the establishment of a Cost of Living Working Group as set out in paragraph 4.1 of the report and with the Terms of Reference attached at Annexe 1, be agreed.

 

Reason: To establish a working group under the current protocol to investigating the impact of the cost-of-living crisis and make recommendations to the Executive as appropriate. 

 

[Resources Overview and Scrutiny Committee]

Minutes:

The Leader introduced the report, which proposed the establishment of a Cost of Living Working Group to address the impact on residents of the rising energy and food costs; rising inflation; increased use of food banks; supply chain issues; and the cost of providing services.

 

Councillors Clark, Merryweather, Mirylees, Williams and MacLeod spoke on the proposal.  The Leader summed up by highlighted that the pockets of deprivation in Waverley were comparable to any such area in the country.  The working group papers would made available to all councillors and that it would bring together Councillors, officers and representatives of the Council’s partners.

 

RESOLVED that the establishment of a Cost of Living Working Group as set out in paragraph 4.1 of the report and with the Terms of Reference attached at Annexe 1, be agreed.

 

Reason: To establish a working group under the current protocol to investigating the impact of the cost-of-living crisis and make recommendations to the Executive as appropriate. 

 

EXE 9/22

Electric Vehicle Strategy Update pdf icon PDF 189 KB

In April 2021 Waverley adopted a strategy that outlined how it would encourage the transitions from petrol and diesel to electric vehicles as part of a sustainable transport system. The purpose of this report is to provide an annual progress update in terms of EV charger installations in the borough as per the EV strategy in Annex 1.

 

At the end of 2021 there were 17 public EV charger and 1 private charger installed by Waverley and 10 public chargers installed by SCC. A further 18 public chargers are due to be installed by Waverley by the end of 2022 with a further 10 due to be installed by SCC as part of the joint on street pilot. 18 public and 48 private chargers will be installed at Brightwells. This will complete Phase 1 of the roll out.

 

By the end of 2023 it is expected that there will be a charging facility in all of the larger Waverley owned car parks including some Leisure Centre car parks.

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the Executive note the progress made to date on the delivery of the EV strategy as outlined in Annex 1. Subsequent progress updates will be incorporated within the annual Carbon Neutrality Action Plan progress reporting.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED that the progress made to date on the delivery of the EV strategy as outlined in Annex 1 be noted. Subsequent progress updates will be incorporated within the annual Carbon Neutrality Action Plan progress reporting.

 

Reason: To update the Executive on changes to the EV Strategy in the response to the increased  demand for electric charging and changes to the building regulations.

 

[This matter is for noting and is not subject to the call-in procedure.]

Minutes:

Councillor Williams, Portfolio Holder for Environment and Sustainability, presented the report which provided an update to the Electric Vehicle Strategy and thanked the officers involved. 

 

Councillor Seaborne spoke on this item, seeing clarification on the changes made and the consultation carried out.  He welcomed the changes but felt that more could be done on the financial and promotional aspects of the strategy.

 

Councillor Williams advised that the report provided an update, that consultation with stakeholders was ongoing and that the ongoing review of the strategy was included in the Carbon Neutrality Action Plan updates which were considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and the Climate Emergency Board.  Officers were working with Surrey County Council on implementation of the strategy.

 

The Strategic Director (s151) advised that the funding of the chargers varied, in some instances the funding came from the private sector and in some instances the Council needed to subsidise that funding.  The Council had its own Carbon Reduction Fund and this was topped up every time funding was received.

 

Councillor Merryweather spoke in support of the report, highlighting the section of the report which related to financial implications and that the social and environmental value of the chargers was also considered, not just their price.

 

The Leader clarified that this was a living document and that Overview and Scrutiny had the right to scrutinise any subject within its remit.

 

RESOLVED that the progress made to date on the delivery of the EV strategy as outlined in Annex 1 be noted. Subsequent progress updates will be incorporated within the annual Carbon Neutrality Action Plan progress reporting.

 

Reason: To update the Executive on changes to the EV Strategy in the response to the increased  demand for electric charging and changes to the building regulations.