Agenda and minutes

Overview & Scrutiny Committee - Environment
Monday, 2nd July, 2018 7.00 pm

Venue: Council Chamber, Council Offices, The Burys, Godalming. View directions

Contact: Fiona Cameron  Democratic Services Officer

Items
No. Item

1.

Appointment of Chairman for 2018/19

To confirm the appointment of Cllr Jerry Hyman as Chairman of the Committee for the 2018/19 Council Year.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that Cllr Jerry Hyman be appointed as Chairman of the Environment O&S Committee for the 2018/19 Council year.

2.

Appointment of Vice-Chairman for 2018/19

To confirm the appointment of Cllr Wyatt Ramsdale as the Vice-Chairman of the Committee for the 2018/19 Council Year.

Minutes:

RESOLVED that Cllr Wyatt Ramsdale be appointed Vice-Chairman of the Environment O&S Committee for the 2018/19 Council year.

3.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 85 KB

The Minutes of the meeting of the Environment Overview & Scrutiny Committee held on 19 March 2018 are attached, and Members are asked to confirm them as a correct record. 

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 19 March 2018 were confirmed as a correct of the meeting, and signed.

4.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND SUBSTITUTIONS

To receive apologies for absence and note substitutions.

 

Members who are unable to attend this meeting must submit apologies by the end of Monday 25 June 2018 to enable a substitute to be arranged, if applicable.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Denis Leigh.

 

Cllr Nabeel Nasir attended as a substitute.

5.

DECLARATIONS OF INTERESTS

To receive from Members declarations of interests in relation to any items included on the agenda for this meeting, in accordance with Waverley’s Code of Local Government.

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interests in relation to matters on the agenda.

6.

QUESTIONS BY MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

The Chairman to respond to any written questions submitted by members of the public in accordance with Procedure Rule 10.

Minutes:

There were no questions from members of the public.

7.

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS

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

Minutes:

There were no questions received from Members.

The Chairman advised the Committee that it would be necessary to go into Exempt session to discuss the update on the procurement of the waste, recycling and street cleaning contract (Agenda Item 10). The Committee agreed to move this item to the end of the agenda.

8.

Environment Corporate Priorities pdf icon PDF 66 KB

This report provides information on key corporate priorities that fall within the remit of the Environment Overview & Scrutiny Committee. 

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the Committee notes the progress on the Council’s corporate priorities, and considers whether there are matters in relation to these that they would like to add to the Committee Forward Programme, ensuring that the purpose for scrutiny is clearly defined and any proposal passes the work programme selection criteria flowchart.

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced the report, which summarised the progress on key Council priorities, and invited comments from Committee members.

 

Cllr Byham advised that Bramley’s Neighbourhood Plan was progressing well, and it was hoped to be ready for a parish referendum in May 2019. Cllr Foryszewski commended Gayle Wootton, Principal Planning Policy Officer, for her tremendous effort in helping the local communities maintain the momentum on their Neighbourhood Plans. It was a very long process, and Gayle had been a great support.

 

Elizabeth Sims, Head of Planning, suggested that the report to the Committee in September could include a more detailed update on the status of each of the Neighbourhood Plans currently under development, and the Committee agreed that this would be helpful.

 

In response to a question from the Chairman, Elizabeth Sims advised that the recent ‘Sweetman judgement’ in relation to Appropriate Assessments for developments in the vicinity of the Thames Basin Heaths SPA did not impact on the Local Plan Part 1, as this had already been the subject of an Appropriate Assessment. Confirmation was being obtained as to whether the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan would need an Appropriate Assessment.

 

Cllr Foryszewski expressed her disappointment at the ongoing legal challenges to the Local Plan Part 1 and the Dunsfold Park New Settlement planning permission, and the cost to Waverley council tax payers of defending the Council’s decisions.

 

The Committee noted the update report and that the report in September would include a more detailed update on the status of Neighbourhood Plans, and an update on the legal challenges.

9.

Air quality update

Richard Homewood, Head of Environmental Services to provide a verbal update on air quality monitoring and reporting.

Minutes:

Richard Homewood, Head of Environmental Services, gave a verbal update on air quality issues:

·         The police investigation in relation to the External Audit Report was continuing. The police had asked to review more data.

·         Amec Foster continued to provide monthly diffusion tube data and this was being published on Waverley’s website, with a warning that the raw data would be subject to the application of a bias factor in due course.

·         Positive engagement with stakeholders in Farnham, including the Farnham Society and Town Council,  was continuing via the Farnham Air Quality Working Group.

·         Work was progressing on the review by consultants of the air quality monitoring network, and the draft report had been reviewed.

·         A new national Clean Air Strategy had been published for consultation, and the themes would need to be reflected in the update to Waverley’s Air Quality Action Plan.

·         A new Deputy Environmental Health Manager had now started at Waverley, whose special area of expertise was air quality, and this would provide much needed additional resource to support this work stream going forward.

 

Committee Members recognised the chronic air quality problems in Farnham, but were also concerned about monitoring of air quality in other parts of the borough. Richard Homewood explained that the recent traffic congestion in Godalming had been caused by the closure of Pond Road whilst the railway bridge was replaced, and this should ease once the road was re-opened. The automatic analyser in Godalming had been damaged by a contractor but had now been replaced and would be back on line shortly. The automatic analyser in Farnham was working and the consultants would be asked to provide data to be published on line alongside the diffusion tube data.

 

There was no longer an Air Quality Management Area around the Hindhead crossroads, following the improvement in air quality after the tunnel was opened. However, the diffusion tube data showed that there were occasional exceedances of pollutants and this would be reviewed carefully once the full year’s data had been analysed.

 

The Committee noted the update on air quality issues, and that work continued to restore public confidence in Waverley’s air quality monitoring and reporting.

10.

Performance Management Report - Q4 and annual out-turn report for 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 130 KB

The attached report details the Council’s performance in Quarter 4 of 2017/18, as well as the annual outturn for services that fall within the remit of Environment O&S: Planning and Environmental Services. Annexe 1 to the report details performance against key indicators.

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the Environment Overview & Scrutiny Committee considers the performance figures for Quarter 4 as set out in Annexe 1, and

 

1.         agrees any observations or recommendations about performance and progress towards the targets it wishes to make to the Executive.

 

2.         endorses the proposed target change of the ‘residual household waste per household (kg)’ [NI191] from 85kg to 90kg and recommends the approval of the target change to the Executive effective from Q1 2018/19.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Nora Copping, Policy & Performance Officer, presented the Performance Management Report covering the performance for Quarter 4 of 2017/18 (January – March 2018) and the overall performance for 2017/18 for services within the remit of the Environment O&S Committee.

 

The Committee noted that the Council had performed well against the new statutory planning performance indicators in 2017/18, and therefore Waverley was not being considered for special measures. However, the local indicator on planning appeals allowed as a percentage of all appeal decisions received was 41% for the year against a target of 30%.

 

Elizabeth Sims, Head of Planning, reminded the Committee that additional training had already been provided to Planning Committee members on robust decision-making. The biggest positive impact on Waverley’s appeals performance had been the adoption of the Local Plan Part 1, but there would inevitably continue to be occasions when the view of the Council differed to that of the Planning Inspectorate on more subjective aspects of planning applications such as design or visual impact.

 

The Committee noted that the amount of residual household waste collected per household [NI191] continued to exceed the target of less than 85kg per quarter, and in fact had not met the target since the beginning of 2013/14, shortly after the collection of mixed dry recyclables was introduced.

 

The Portfolio Holder, Cllr Bolton, asked the Committee for comments on the proposal to relax the target to less than 90kg per quarter of residual waste per household. Whilst he was loathe to see the target relaxed, the track record of the last 5 years showed that the current target was not realistic.

 

The Committee had a wide-ranging discussion about the behaviour and understanding of residents about recycling, and the recent changes in the market for recyclables that had impacted negatively on the MRF rejection rate and consequently the amount of residual waste collected.

 

The Committee also noted the impact of residents’ confusion about the differences between County Council Community Recycling Centres (CRCs) and Waverley’s Bring Sites. Bring Sites were usually located in council car parks and accepted a limited range of recyclable materials, including some that were not currently collected at the kerbside, but there were no facilities for disposing of residual waste. CRCs provided facilities for residents to dispose of recyclable materials including garden waste as well as household residual waste. Increasingly, residents were leaving residual waste at Bring Sites, either by fly-tipping or through contamination of recycling containers. There was a cost to Waverley to have the contractor remove fly-tipped material, and there was an impact on the quality and value of recyclable material collected.

 

As part of the review of options for the procurement of a new waste and recycling contract, the Environment O&S Committee had recommended to the Executive that the Bring Sites be closed and kerbside collections be introduced for materials not currently collected as part of the recycling service. The Committee urged the Executive to re-consider its plans to retain the Bring Sites within the new contract  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Service Plans Annual Out-turn report for 2017/18 pdf icon PDF 96 KB

Service Plans are devised each year in order to deliver the Council’s corporate priorities.

 

This report gives the Committee the opportunity to scrutinise the end of the year outturn for each Service Plan for 2017/18 for the following service areas:

·         Environmental Services

·         Planning

·         Parks & Countryside

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the Environment Overview & Scrutiny Committee considers the progress against actions contained within the Service Plans set out in Annexe 1 to this report and agrees any observations or comments it wishes to make to the Executive.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Nora Copping, Policy & Performance Officer, presented the report on the Service Plans out-turn for 2017/18. Overall, there had been good progress on most of the Service Plan objectives for Environment and Planning. Where objectives had been delayed or only partially completed, the work was continuing in 2018/19. Key successes had been the adoption of the Local Plan Part 1, introduction of contactless card payments in the main car parks, and a comprehensive review of the options for the waste and recycling contract procurement.

 

In response to comments from Members regarding the use of car parks and affordability of parking for people working in the towns and villages, Richard Homewood advised the Committee that the 2018/19 Service Plan included a commitment to review the car park charging strategy. This would involve conversations with the town and parish councils to understand what the current needs were in particular areas, to help inform the strategy.

 

The Committee noted that Objective [ES4.1] to develop proposals and a programme for installing PV panels on Waverley’s Sheltered Housing Units had been cancelled as it had become financially unfeasible due to changes in the feed-in tariff. The Committee was disappointed that this had not been progressed. Cllr Byham reported that the improved efficiency of modern PV panels could off-set the reduction in the feed-in tariff, and suggested that this be re-visited.

 

In relation to Objective [P4.] Put in place adequate infrastructure to support new development, the Committee had a wide-ranging discussion about the way in which infrastructure to support development was funded and secured through the planning process.

 

The Committee felt that there was a lack of transparency about how S106 agreements were drawn up, how projects were identified to be included, and how funds were spent. There was some concern that there was not enough engagement at an early stage with Towns and Parishes, Waverley services, the County Council and other stakeholders to ensure that there were ‘shovel-ready’ projects identified that could be included in S106 agreements. The same concerns applied to how CIL income would be spent in a timely way to benefit communities where development was taking place.

 

The Committee noted that a S106 Officer had been appointed recently to support the S106 process from end-to-end, and that officers had begun drawing up a holistic statement of existing mechanisms and future opportunities for the provision of infrastructure.

 

The Committee agreed that their concerns about infrastructure delivery should be forwarded to the Executive, and consideration needed to be given to how to provide wider understanding and transparency of the infrastructure delivery framework. The Committee asked for a more detailed report at their meeting in September on how this could be achieved.

12.

COMMITTEE FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 123 KB

The Environment Overview & Scrutiny Committee, along with the O&S Coordinating Board, is responsible for managing the Committee’s work programme.

 

The current work programme (attached) includes items agreed at the O&S Coordinating Board and takes account of items identified on the latest Executive Forward Programme (Annexe 2) as due to come forward for decision.

 

Recommendation

 

Members are invited to consider their work programme and make any comments and/or amendments they consider necessary, including suggestions for any additional topics that the Committee may wish to add to its work programme.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee reviewed the forward work programme, and the items provisionally scheduled for the meeting in September.

·         An update on the Joint Enforcement Initiative was scheduled, to consider if the original objectives of the Initiative had been achieved, and to understand emerging enforcement issues. Cllr Foryszewski was particularly interested in the consultation on PSPOs in relation to dog fouling and dog control issues and how this would be taken forward.

·         The Committee felt that a report on the impact of changes to the Community Recycling Centres in September could be a little premature, and could be pushed back if there was more pressing business.

·         The Committee noted that a discussion about Place-shaping had not been scheduled yet, but there was some interest  in understanding in more detail the plans for the Weyhill Fairground car park, specifically whether it was intended to have parking on the site in the long-term, and whether plans would fit in with the Design Statement and Neighbourhood Plan. Richard Homewood advised the Committee that there was no planning application in progress for the site at this time. The Executive had authorised the submission of an application to de-register the Common Land, and Waverley was now awaiting to hear back from the Planning Inspectorate on the application. Current parking arrangements were unregulated and de-registration of the Common Land would enable the Council to ratify the current use and make much needed improvements to the car park. This was a very complex site, and there was a lot of local concern about the long term plans for the site. The Committee agreed that it would keep a watching brief on the strategic plans for the site, but there was not a need for a report in the short-term.

·         The Chairman asked about progress on reviewing the Thames Basin Heaths SPA Avoidance Strategy in the light of the Sweetman judgement. Elizabeth Sims advised that there would be some minor modifications to the Strategy to reflect the change in approach to carrying out an Appropriate Assessment, and the revised Strategy would come to Environment O&S Committee.

·         As previously discussed, the Committee was keen to have a better understanding of how S106 contributions had been spent and to demonstrate more transparency to the public that the benefits promised by developers were being realised. Cllr Ramsdale reiterated his concerns about the availability of ‘shovel-ready’ schemes to which funds could be allocated. Elizabeth Sims suggested that it would be timely to bring to the Committee in September a comprehensive report on the framework for infrastructure delivery and how the Council needed to position itself to obtain maximum benefit from funding opportunities available.

13.

EXCLUSION OF PRESS AND PUBLIC

To consider the following recommendation on the motion of the Chairman:

 

Recommendation

 

That pursuant to Procedure Rule 20 and in accordance with Section 100A (4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items on the grounds that it is likely in view of the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the public were present during the items there would be disclosure to them of exempt information (as defined by Section 100I of the Act), to be identified at the meeting.

Minutes:

At 8.55pm, the Committee RESOLVED that pursuant to Procedure Rule 20 and in accordance with Section 100A(4) of the Local government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items on the grounds that it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the public were present during the items, there would be disclosure to them of exempt information (as defined by Section 100I of the Act) of the description specified in paragraph 3 or the appropriate paragraph(s) of the revised Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act as follows:

 

            Information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information) (paragraph 3)

14.

Procurement of Waste, Recycling, and Street Cleaning Contract

To provide an update [to follow] for the Committee  on the procurement of Waste, Recycling and Street Cleaning services from the end of the current contract on 31 October 2019.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee considered the EXEMPT report to be considered by the Executive, and was very supportive of the recommended approach for the procurement.