Agenda and draft minutes

Overview & Scrutiny Committee - Environment - Monday, 13th January, 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: Committee Room 1, Council Offices, The Burys, Godalming. View directions

Contact: Kimberly Soane  Democratic Services Officer

Items
No. Item

41.

MINUTES pdf icon PDF 99 KB

The Minutes of the meeting of the Environment Overview & Scrutiny Committee held on 25th November 2019 are attached, and Members are asked to confirm them as a correct record. 

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Meeting held on 25 November 2019 were confirmed as a correct of the meeting, and signed.

42.

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 6 January 2020 to enable a substitute to be arranged, if applicable.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Michaela Martin.

 

No Cllr attended as a substitute.

43.

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 interest declared regarding items discussed at the meeting.

44.

QUESTIONS BY MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC

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

 

The deadline for submission of written questions for this meeting is Monday 6 January 2020.

Minutes:

There were no questions submitted by members of the public.

45.

QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS

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

 

The deadline for submission of written questions for this meeting is Monday 6 January 2020.

 

Minutes:

The following question has been received from Cllr Brian Edmonds:

 

“Considering that the Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs clean Air Strategy 2019 to progressively cut public exposure to particulate matter pollution levels as suggested by the World Health Organization. With the long-term objective to meet the World Health Organisation’s annual fine particle (PM2.5) mean guideline limit of 10 ?g/m3, whereas the current limit is 25?g/m3

 

It would be helpful to learn why fine particle levels (PM2.5) are not currently measured within the Farnham and Godalming Air Quality Management Areas and when the measurement will be available. The Air Quality Standard Regulations 2010 require that particulate matter limits do not exceed the limits listed in Schedule 2. It is not clear how this obligation is delivered if the values are not being measured.”

 

Response from Richard Homewood, Head of Environmental Services

Environmental and Regulatory Services

 

The Environment Act 1995 requires local authorities to review and assess air quality within their area. Where air quality objectives are not being achieved as set out in the Air Quality (England) Regulations 2000 (as amended) an air quality management area must be declared and an action plan put in place in pursuit of the objective.

 

PM2.5 has not been incorporated into the local air quality management regulations and there is no statutory requirement for local authorities to review and assess PM2.5. Please see Annex A (p47) of the Local Air Quality Management Policy Guidance (PG16), https://laqm.defra.gov.uk/supporting-guidance.html. It is important to understand that PM2.5 can travel long distances and it is estimated significant levels found in an area can be from sources outside a local authority’s area.

 

The Air Quality Standards Regulations 2010 transpose into English Law the requirements of Directives on ambient air quality. http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2010/1001/contents/made.

The competent authority is the Secretary of State. Please see Part 1 - 3 for details. The annual limit value set for PM2.5 is 25µg/m3 (Schedule 2), and there is also national exposure reduction target for PM2.5 (Schedule 7).

 

The Council measures PM10 as this pollutant is included in the local air quality management regulations. It is important to understand that PM10 measured will include PM2.5. The average ratio of PM2.5 to PM10 is 0.7. Please see Annex B of the Local Air Quality Technical Guidance (TG16) https://laqm.defra.gov.uk/technical-guidance/.

 

Annual average PM10 levels monitored in Farnham are considerably less than 25µg/m3. In 2018 they were 16µg/m3. In 2019 they were 19µg/m3. This would mean levels of PM2.5 in Farnham would likely have been in the region of (16 x 0.7) 11.2µg/m3 in 2018 and (19 x 0.7) 13.3µg/m3 in 2019. I would refer you to the Air Quality England website for further information on levels of PM10 measured in Farnham, https://www.airqualityengland.co.uk/site/latest?site_id=WA002.

 

Whilst PM2.5 is not formally incorporated into the local air quality management regulations it is important to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 45.

46.

SERVICE PLANS pdf icon PDF 70 KB

Summary & Purpose

 

This report presents the three-year rolling Service Plans for April 2020 to March 2023 for the service areas under the remit of this Committee, which are:

·         Planning & Economic Development Service Plan 2020-23 (except for Economic Development)

·         Environment Service Plan 2020-23 (except for Economic Development)

·         Green Spaces only from Commercial Services Service Plan 2020-23

 

Recommendation 

 

It is recommended that the Environment Overview & Scrutiny Committee considers the Service Plans for 2020-23 as set out at Annexe 1, and makes any observations or comments to the Executive.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

LN introduced the item explaining that the service plans were provided to members for them to understand the depth and breadth of work carried out in the areas within their remit.  She highlighted that these reports could provide members with potential areas to scrutinise.

 

Planning and Economic Development Service Plan (except Economic Development)

 

ZE gave an overview of the Planning Service plan.

 

Development Management

 

Key issues were to improve the quality of the service to increase customer and member trust and confidence in advice, this will be helped by the introduction of the Customer Service Centre.  Further training will be provided to members to increase knowledge base and understanding of planning issues.

 

Issues raised by members included:

 

·      More measurable targets needed in the actions/outputs of the plan.

·      Highlight what improvements required to meet targets.

·      Information on how well the targets were met on last service plan.

·      Information on how we are going to achieve targets.

·      The impacts on failure to achieve needs more depth.

·      The end dates need to be more specific e.g. will the target be met by this date or is it a rolling target.

 

 

Planning Policy

 

ZE explained that the plan for this area is based around LPP2.  The members were informed that the plan had been drafted by the previous Head of Planning and that there were some changes that would be made including some typographical errors that will be amended.

 

Highlights of the plan were:

?the introduction of CIL charging. 

?addition of the Annual Infrastructure Statement under objective P17.

?the implementation of the planning obligations supplementary document.

?updating LPP2 to include reference to reduction of CO2 emissions in response to the climate emergency.  

 

Issues raised by members included:

 

·      the chair advised members were waiting in anticipation for LPP2.

·      Training for members very important.  Members and officers need to work together especially on Neighbourhood plans.

·      Neighbourhood plans and planning statements need to be consistently referred to in planning reports

·      A protocol for pre applications is needed to engage members prior to the application being heard at committee.

·      Targets for Neighbourhood plans is needed.

·      Reviews of major sites is needed to identify issues and lessons learnt.

·      Objectives 12 and 17 both covered CIL and 106.  These need merging.

·      Objective 11.2 – Monitoring of historic 106 agreements.  How will this be achieved?  Officer in post who already does this.

·      Was there a way to monitor when conditions are met in same way as 106 monitoring?

 

ZE advised that member comments had been noted and would be addressed.

 

Environment Service Plan (Except Economic Development)

 

RH gave an overview of the Environment Service Plan.

 

Key areas include Food Safety, Environmental Health, Environmental Protection, Environmental Services, Parking Services, Emergency Planning, Corporate Health and Safety, Licensing team, Environmental Enforcement, Sustainability.

 

Key challenges for Environment are:

 

?Air Quality

o  An annual status report is submitted each year.

o  currently developing and revising a new action plan.

o  Two groups established to address this issue (Air Quality Steering Group and Farnham Air Quality Working  ...  view the full minutes text for item 46.

47.

PLANNING APPEALS PERFORMANCE AND COSTS ARISING FROM JUDICIAL REVIEWS pdf icon PDF 243 KB

This report has been prepared in response to Councillor interest in the cost implications of both planning appeals and judicial reviews relating to planning matters. It is intended to present this report to both the Value for Money and Customer Service and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committees in January 2020. The purpose of the report is to inform Members of the planning appeals process and the results of appeal decisions.  It further informs Members of the implications of appeal decisions for the Council and makes recommendations for improvements in respect of planning decision-making. Brief commentary is also provided in respect of the costs associated with the judicial review into the Waverley Local Plan Part 1.

 

Recommendation

 

It is recommended that the Committee notes this report and makes any observations.

Minutes:

ZE outlined the report attached to the agenda outlining the cost implications arising from planning appeals and judicial reviews.  He explained this report was also being presented to the Value for Money O&S who had also requested it.

 

Members were informed that appeals can proceed via a number of routes. Written representations, informal hearings and inquires.  Ultimately it is the inspectors decision which route it takes.

 

Costs can vary widely depending upon the route taken and costs can be awarded to the appellant if it is felt the councils behaviour was unreasonable.  The right for the council to request a cost award exists but is rarely invoked.

 

A table showing the costs for defending appeals since April 2018 was highlighted.  It has cost in excess of £100K in both 2018-19 and 2019-20.

 

ZE advised that there was an increasing amount of informal hearings being heard and more and more appellants are taking legal counsel with them.  Members were asked if they felt we should too?  Members felt this was not necessary if we have a strong case as to the decision.

 

The chair highlighted that the cost implications were not under the remit of this committee and we were more concerned about the reasons appeals were lost.  It was felt we are not highlighting our policies enough and that pre-apps were important to the process so the officers and members understood the issue before the application hearing.

 

Members were informed of the following proposed improvements:

 

?Quarterly appeals analysis being taken to JPC and possibly area committees.

?Summaries of inspectors decisions to be circulated for lessons learnt.

?Review of the pre-app process

?Review of the committee structures

?Review of the scheme of delegation.

?Further training for both officers and members

?Improving committee reports

 

Members were informed that the cost of the LPP1 judicial review was in the region of £105K.  Some of these costs will be reclaimed from the two groups involved as costs were awarded to WBC.

 

 

Cllr Gray asked why area committees were not encouraged to defer applications if they felt further information was needed rather than refuse.  He also felt there were too many ‘call-ins’ for insignificant matters. 

 

48.

LOCAL PLAN PART 2

It is intended that at the meeting Officers will give an oral update on progress with LPP2.  In particular, technical work is progressing specifically with regard to the site allocations and the implications of the declaration of a Climate Emergency for the development management policies that LPP2 will contain.”

 

 

Minutes:

GP and ME updated the committee on the progress with LLP2.    It was explained that LLP1 was the strategic plan and LLP2 was a more detailed plan which sits alongside Neighbourhood plans.  LLP2 will replace the retain policies from 2002.

 

An issues and options consultation has taken place and the team were now building on the areas that have not been resolved such as:

 

?  site allocations in certain areas. 

?  Working with town and parish councils

?  Gypsy/traveller allocations

?  Development management policies.

 

The draft plan will be delivered to Environment O&S when ready.

 

Issues raised by members:

 

·      Timings – when will plan be ready to come to committee?  GP - Hopefully by the summer 2020.

·      Since the consultation have the policies changed in light of the climate emergency?  GP- team are looking whether the issues should go through building regulations.

·      Is accessibility for an aging population being considered?  Is there a % of builds allocated for aged tenants?  GP – we do have this and need to maximise on it.

·      Keep in mind the need to balance policy changes with the impact on viabilities.

 

ZC advised that the last guidance update was in March 2019 so there should be some further guidance soon.

 

GP informed the committee that Neighbourhood Plans were crucial to LPP2.  Most were progressing well and the team were offering assistance wherever it was needed.

49.

BUDGET STRATEGY WORKING GROUP UPDATE

To receive a verbal update on the progress of the Budget Strategy review.

Minutes:

The committee were advised that the final report from the BSWG was now completed and was going to the CS & VfM O&S on the 20/01/2020.  All members had been invited to the meeting for consideration of the report.

50.

COMMITTEE FORWARD WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 80 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:

YM outlined the current work programme and the additions to the work programme following this meeting.

 

·      Pesticides Policy scheduled for March 2020

·      Draft Climate Emergency Action Plan  scheduled for March 2020

·      Car Parking Review possibly March 2020

·      LPP2 – March or June 2020.

·      Green Spaces Working Group Report – further meeting this Thursday (16/01/2020).  Report scheduled to come back to committee in March.

 

 

Further updates included:

 

·      Place shaping update – the PfH John Neale has embraced the suggestion of someone coming along to give the committee a talk. 

·      All members of the Environment O&S have attended the recent training sessions.  Members should raise any items in the service plans they feel should be added to the work programme.  JN felt electric charging should be added.

·      As part of the training session it had been suggested that work programmes should be dealt with at the beginning of the agenda and not left till last.  It was therefore agreed this would be actioned for future meetings.

·      The committee were reminded of the recommendation at the November meeting:

 

Action: Recommend to Executive to write to Secretary of State regarding the

expectations of housing delivery on Waverley and to keep up the

pressure to have this reviewed.

 

A letter had been sent to the Leader, signed by the chair and vice-chair asking him to action this recommendation.