Agenda and minutes

Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday 4 November 2015 10.00 am

Venue: Cabinet Suite - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions

Contact: Joanne Moore 01452 425005 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

To note any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllr Stan Waddington, (substituted by Cllr Brian Tipper); Cllr John Cordwell, (substituted by Cllr Jeremy Hilton); Cllr Paul Hodgkinson, (substituted by Cllr David Brown), and Cllr Iain Dobie, for which there was no substitution.  

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 103 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 14 September 2015.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 14 September 2015 were agreed and signed as an accurate record of that meeting.

 

It was noted that, at the meeting, representatives from Longney and Epney Parish Council; Elmore Parish Council and Arlingham Parish Council had been invited to express concerns about the impact of proposals to introduce automated bridge controls along the Gloucester to Sharpness Canal. 

3.

Declarations of Interest

To record any declarations of interest. Please refer to note (a) at the end of the agenda.

Minutes:

No declarations were made at the meeting.

4.

Summary of Actions

To update members on the actions from the meeting on 14 September 2015.

 

The committee to note the following updates:

 

a)    Canal and River Trust – a statement from Severn Voice was circulated to members on 22 October 2015;

 

b)    The Local Flood Risk Management Strategy Annual Progress and Implementation Plan was circulated to members for comment on 30 September 2015.

 

c)    Tidal Lagoon Presentation – Gloucestershire County Council to host a briefing for County Councillors, District Councils and representatives from neighbouring authorities in the Council Chamber at Shire Hall, Gloucester from 2.00 to 4.00 pm on Wednesday 4 November 2015. (The afternoon of the scrutiny committee meeting). The aim of the briefing will be to assist attendees better understand the potential benefits and impacts of Tidal Lagoon Power for Gloucestershire.

 

d)    Highways Seminar – the Highways Development Member Team to host an interactive seminar to enable members better understand current changes to planning legislation, and how Gloucestershire County Council undertakes its statutory consultee role as Highway Authority in relation to planning applications. The seminar will be held in the Council Chamber at Shire Hall, Gloucester from 2.00 to 4.00 pm on Monday 30 November 2015.

 

e)    Information relating to the number of outstanding ‘Definitive Map Modification Order Applications’ is reported at item 2.14 of the Commissioning Directors Report.

Minutes:

Members received a short update on the actions emerging from the previous meeting.

 

Key points included:

 

a)    Canal and River Trust - following a discussion on automated controlled bridges along the Gloucester and Sharpness Canal, the committee received a statement from the ‘Severn Voice Group of Parishes’, including recommendations expressing concerns about the impact of the proposals. (Statement attached). The committee noted the concerns, and agreed to await the outcome of the Sandfield Bridge Trial in January/February 2016 before making a judgement. The committee was advised of several positive outcomes following a recent meeting between Severn Voice and the Canal and River Trust, where it was suggested Cllr Mark Hawthorne meet with Severn Voice to consider local concerns. 

 

b)    Local Flood Risk Management Strategy Annual Progress and Implementation Plan - Gloucestershire County Council, as Lead Local Flood Authority, has a statutory duty to develop and maintain a Local Flood Risk Management Strategy (LFRMS). At the Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee meeting on 14 September 2015, members were reminded that the Strategy, adopted in February 2014, incorporated an ‘Annual Progress and Implementation Plan’, to be reviewed and updated every year. The Annual Progress and Implementation Plan 2015/16 was circulated to members for comment on 30 September 2015. The updated plan is published on the council website and can be viewed at the following link: http://www.gloucestershire.gov.uk/lfrms

 

c)    Tidal Lagoon Presentation – members were informed that Gloucestershire County Council would be hosting a briefing for County Councillors, District Councils and representatives from neighbouring authorities in the Council Chamber at Shire Hall, Gloucester from 2.00 to 4.00 pm on Wednesday 4 November 2015. (The day of the committee meeting). The aim of the briefing was to assist attendees better understand the potential benefits and impacts of Tidal Lagoon Power for Gloucestershire.

 

d)    Highways Seminar – members were also informed that the Highways Development Member Team would be hosting an interactive seminar to enable members better understand current changes to planning legislation, and how Gloucestershire County Council was undertaking its statutory consultee role as Highway Authority in relation to planning applications. The seminar was due to be held in the Council Chamber at Shire Hall, Gloucester from 2.00 to 4.00 pm on Monday 30 November 2015.

 

e)    Access to the Forest of Dean Task Group – at a task group meeting in September, members received a presentation from Highways England on the lifespan of the First Severn Bridge, including information on the future of the Severn Crossings and toll arrangements. During the meeting, the task group agreed to utilise the Forest of Dean extract of the Gloucestershire Local Transport Plan Consultation Document 2015-2031 to progress the review. The task group will meet again on 17 December 2015, and again in January and February 2016, where members will receive an update on the A40 at Highnam, information from Monmouthshire Council on the proposals for the Chepstow Bypass and presentations from Network Rail and Arriva Trains. The task group will present its final report, including recommendations,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Waste Presentation

Tony Childs from the Joint Waste Team to give an update on the waste recycling targets for Gloucestershire.  

Minutes:

Tony Childs from the Joint Waste Team gave an update on waste performance targets for Gloucestershire for the financial year 2015/16, including an update on performance against targets for recycling, residual waste and waste growth.

 

During the presentation, it was reported that the percentage of household waste sent for recycling had improved slightly in recent years, but was still below the 60 per cent target. The percentage achieved, however, was higher than the national average. The Joint Waste Team remained hopeful Gloucestershire would reach its 60 per cent recycling target by 2020 and a 70 per cent target by 2030. Such aspirations had not, as yet, been adopted by all partners.

 

In terms of residual household waste kg per household, Gloucestershire compared favourably with the other authorities in the South West but was below the national target. Members were advised that no authority was forecast to meet its residual household waste kg/per household target for 2015/16, with all areas anticipated to see an increase in per residual household waste compared to that reported in 2014/15. It was hoped, however, this would be addressed by various initiatives within the joint waste business plan, including a ‘bin sticker project’, and ongoing exploration of opportunities to recycle more waste from household recycling centres.

 

Responding to questions, members were informed that improvements would be made to the Hempsted Recycling Centre in compliance with legislation introduced in 2012. Noting members concerns, Tony Childs suggested the Joint Waste Team share the detailed plans for the site when submitting the necessary planning application. A request was made that the plans be also shared with Gloucester City Councillors.

 

Noting the challenges of communicating the value of ‘reuse and recycling’, particularly in urban areas, the committee requested further updates at 6 monthly intervals. It was suggested that the next update be made at the committee meeting on 18 May 2016.

6.

Chief Fire Officer Report pdf icon PDF 126 KB

The committee to note a report from the Chief Fire Officer, detailing information on the portfolio of services provided by the Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council. (Report attached).

Minutes:

The committee received an update from the Chief Fire Officer on the portfolio of services provided by the Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (GFRS) on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council.

 

Members noted progress on the GFRS Integrated Risk Management Plan 2015-18 and information on a recent warehouse fire at Gloucester Quays. Full details of the Chief Fire Officer’s Report (agenda item 6) can be viewed at the following link.

 

http://glostext.gloucestershire.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=673&MId=7858&Ver=4

 

Referring to the Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) 2015-18 that had been approved by Cabinet in April 2015, the Chief Fire Officer explained that a key objective for Year 1 of the plan was to undertake a fundamental review of ‘operational response’ across Gloucestershire. The review had completed and had undergone an external, independent analysis of the response data and modelling.

 

Two proposals from the review, for which public consultation would take place from 1 October 2015 to 4 January 2016, included: -  

 

Proposal 1

‘To reduce risk and deliver additional prevention and protection activities in Painswick and the surrounding communities, enabling Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service to provide future emergency response from Stroud and close Painswick Fire Station’.

 

Proposal 2

‘To change the way in which Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service provide staff at Cirencester Fire Station to deliver prevention, protection and emergency response using the two fire engines currently based at the station’.

 

It was noted that consultation was available for the public to complete online, and also available in hard copy format. In addition, seven consultation events, where members of the public would be invited to speak to the Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service, would be held at the following locations on the following dates: .

 

Mon 16th November - The Pavilion, Cheltenham                    

Tue 17th November - The Town Hall, Painswick          

Wed 18th November - Oxstalls Indoor Tennis Centre, Gloucester    

Thu 19th November - Town Hall (Corn Exchange), Tewkesbury

Mon 23rd November - Coleford Area MCTI Partnership, Coleford    

Thu 26th November - Subscription Rooms, Stroud                  

Fri 27th November - The Churn Project, Cirencester   

 

Responding to questions, the Chief Fire Officer encouraged members to express their views as part of the online consultation, the outcomes of which would be published on the Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service website and reported to the committee in early 2016.

 

The committee also noted the recent announcement of a government consultation on the future of the Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service in relation to the wider remit of the Police Crime Commissioner.

 

Members were advised that the Draft Statement of Assurance 2014/15 had been published in ‘Members Matter’. It was noted that this was the third year in which Gloucestershire County Council, as the Fire and Rescue Authority, had produced this retrospective report, bringing together key governance, performance, financial and operational information relating to the Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service during 2014/15.

 

7.

Commissioning Directors Report pdf icon PDF 75 KB

The Commissioning Director: Communities and Infrastructure to update the committee on current issues. (Report attached).

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Full details of the Commissioning Directors Report, (item 7 of the agenda), including an update on the Government’s Department of Energy and Climate Change Consultation Process on onshore oil and gas exploration can be viewed at the following link:

 

http://glostext.gloucestershire.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=673&MId=7858&Ver=4

 

Responding to questions, the following points were raised: -

 

a)    Commons and Rights of Way Committee

 

A total of 122 outstanding applications were reported, of which 28 had been determined and awaiting the next stage of the process; 38 were undetermined; and 56 had been archived pending commencement of the relevant provisions of the Deregulation Act 2015, (anticipated after April 2016). A further 4 to 5 new applications were also anticipated.

 

b)    A417 Missing Link Update

 

Highways England was developing a programme of works to deliver a solution to the A417 ‘Missing Link’. Meetings have taken place with the County Council and Cotswold Conservation Board and consultants have been commissioned by Highways England to aid delivery of the scheme. Gloucestershire MP’s had met with Transport Minister Andrew Jones on 8 September 2015 to identify if, and how, the pace of work could be increased. The latest position from Highways England had been to commence construction in 2020.

 

c)    Highways Local

 

At the beginning of the new financial year, (2015/16), 64 highways local minor works schemes remained outstanding from 2014/15. All of the schemes had now been delivered. In addition, good progress on other capital local schemes and local improvement works had been made with a number of schemes delivered.

 

 

8.

Motion from Full Council

To consider the following motion, referred to this committee by full Council on 23 October 2015. 

 

Motion 756 – Fracking

 

Proposed by Cllr Barry Kirby

Seconded by Cllr Lesley Williams

 

This Council believes that climate change is real and that it is a serious problem that affects our communities. We note fracking (hydraulic fracturing for shale gas) adds to climate change.

 

This Council further notes the recent protests against shale gas drilling outside Shire Hall.

 

This Council notes there are areas now available in Gloucestershire particularly the Forest of Dean for fracking. This Council also recognises the instability of the geology in the Forest of Dean. Furthermore this Council acknowledges that the process poses a significant risk to the local environment due to the unknown and commercially hidden information about the extraction process.

 

This Council resolves to write to the Secretary of State to remove the licensing areas within Gloucestershire with immediate effect.

 

Minutes:

At the Gloucestershire County Council meeting on 23 October 2015, councillors referred motion 756, detailing concerns about the impact of fracking, (hydraulic fracturing for shale gas), on climate change and the Forest of Dean District, to this committee to consider.

 

The motion outlined the following concerns: -  

 

Motion 756 – Fracking

 

Proposed by Cllr Barry Kirby

Seconded by Cllr Lesley Williams

 

This Council believes that climate change is real and that it is a serious problem that affects our communities. We note fracking (hydraulic fracturing for shale gas) adds to climate change.

 

This Council further notes the recent protests against shale gas drilling outside Shire Hall.

 

This Council notes there are areas now available in Gloucestershire particularly the Forest of Dean for fracking. This Council also recognises the instability of the geology in the Forest of Dean.

 

Furthermore this Council acknowledges that the process poses a significant risk to the local environment due to the unknown and commercially hidden information about the extraction process.

 

This Council resolves to write to the Secretary of State to remove the licensing areas within Gloucestershire with immediate effect.

 

Members noted that the council’s Minerals Local Plan was currently under review and expected to undergo public consultation in early 2016. Included within the updated version of the Minerals & Waste Development Scheme, (MWDS), was a timetable of proposed policy preparation, which would be available to view on the council’s website until the next required review in 2017.

 

Members were advised that, as ‘Mineral Planning Authority’, the council would be required to authorise planning permission for potential ‘hydraulic fracturing’ projects across Gloucestershire. Responding to questions, officers confirmed that the committee could, if it wished, relay any concerns about fracking by making a formal submission to the council’s Minerals Local Plan Consultation in the New Year.

 

Seeking a way forward on how best to consider the motion, it was agreed that an ‘all member briefing’ would be held at Shire Hall at 10.00 am on 13 January 2016, followed by the planned committee meeting at the slightly later start time of 1.30 pm. The aim of the briefing would be to assist members in their understanding of issues relating to hydraulic fracturing and other energy extraction options, (unconventional hydrocarbons), before debating the council motion later the same day.

9.

Work Plan pdf icon PDF 58 KB

To review the committee work plan and suggest items for consideration at future meetings.

 

a)    The committee to consider a one page strategy submitted by Cllrs Paul Hodgkinson and Nigel Moor requesting a scrutiny review of safety and congestion issues on the A429 Fosse Way.

 

b)    The committee to note the outcome of the motion from full council on 23 October 2015 (considered at item 8 of the agenda). 

Minutes:

a)    A429 Fosse Way

At the Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee meeting on 14 September 2015, members considered a request from Cllrs Paul Hodgkinson and Nigel Moor to undertake a task group review on congestion and road safety issues on the A429 Fosse Way in the Cotswold District. During the discussion, it was suggested Cllrs Paul Hodgkinson and Nigel Moor meet with officers outside of the meeting to consider an appropriate course of action.

 

Cllrs Hodgkinson and Moor subsequently met with officers from the Highways Commissioning Team, and Andrew Parker-Mowbray from the Gloucestershire Road Safety Partnership, where proposed terms of reference, (in the form of a one page strategy), were drafted. Inspector Kevin Roseblade from the Gloucestershire Police Constabulary was also in attendance at the meeting.

 

Having considered the objectives for the review, it was agreed that the committee would submit the one page strategy to the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee at its meeting on 20 November 2015, seeking to establish a task group from which to review safety and congestion issues on the A429 Fosse Way Highway.

 

b)    Local Transport Plan Review

It was agreed that the committee would receive an update on the Local Transport Plan Review at its committee meeting on 13 January 2016. The update to be incorporated within the Commissioning Director’s Report. This to be followed by consideration of a consultation report detailing the outcomes of the consultation ending on 5 February 2016 at the committee meeting on 9 March 2016.

 

c)    Cycling Update

An update to be incorporated within the Commissioning Director’s Report and considered at the committee meeting on 13 January 2016

 

d)    Waste Update

An update to be provided at the committee meeting on 18 May 2016

10.

Future meetings

13 January 2016

9 March 2016

18 May 2016

13 July 2016

21 September 2016

22 November 2016

 

Minutes:

13 January 2016

9 March 2016

18 May 2016

13 July 2016

21 September 2016

22 November 2016