Agenda and minutes

Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday 13 January 2016 1.30 pm

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

Contact: Jo Moore - 01452 324196 

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

To note any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Cllr Graham Morgan, (substituted by Cllr Lesley Williams), and Cllr Stan Waddington, (substituted by Cllr Brian Robinson).

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 109 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 4 November 2015.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 4 November 2015 were agreed and signed as an accurate record of that meeting.

 

3.

Declarations of Interest

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

Minutes:

No declarations of interest were made at the meeting.

 

4.

Motion from Full Council – Fracking

To consider the following motion, (756), referred to the Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee by Full Council at its meeting on 23 October 2015.

 

Motion 756 – Fracking (Unconventional Hydrocarbons)

 

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 Full Council meeting on 23 October 2015, councillors referred Motion 756, detailing concerns relating to the impact of fracking, (hydraulic fracturing for shale gas), on Climate Change and the Forest of Dean, to this committee to consider.

 

Details of the motion are recorded below:-

 

Motion 756 – Fracking (Unconventional Hydrocarbons)

 

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.

 

Seeking a way forward on how best to consider the motion, the committee requested an ‘all member briefing’ be provided 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 was to assist committee members in their understanding of issues relating to hydraulic fracturing and other energy extraction options, (unconventional hydrocarbons), before debating the council motion at the Environment and Communities Scrutiny Committee meeting the same day.

 

Having received in-depth presentations from the Director for Minerals and Waste and Director for Groundwater Science at the British Geological Survey, the Environment Agency and the Health and Safety Executive, (Oil and Gas Policy and Hazardous Installations Directorate), the committee considered the motion in detail, including the changes in circumstance since considered at the council meeting in October 2015.

 

Prior to the debate, members received a short overview on the council’s role as Minerals Planning Authority and its current position in terms of development of the Minerals Local Plan. Members were advised that the intention was for the council to undergo further public consultation on the draft plan, which will be presented to Cabinet and Full Council later in the year.

 

Having noted the minutes from the previous meeting, including confirmation that the committee could make a formal submission to the public consultation on the Minerals Local Plan, members sought clarification on the process for consultation, and enquired whether it would receive sight of the draft plan before making its submission. Officers stated that, in addition to members making individual submissions to the public consultation, there would also be an opportunity for the committee and/or public to comment on the draft plan before presentation of the report to Cabinet.

 

At the previous meeting, members had been informed that, as the ‘Minerals Planning Authority’, the council was required to determine  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Chief Fire Officer Report pdf icon PDF 260 KB

The committee to note an information report from the Chief Fire Officer on the portfolio of services provided by the Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service on behalf of Gloucestershire County Council.

 

To assist in facilitating the items for consideration at this meeting, plus the items to be considered in conjunction with the meeting, members are requested to submit any questions relating to the attached report in advance of the meeting to jo.moore@gloucestershire.gov.uk. A written response will be provided, and recorded in the minutes of the meeting.

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, including proposals relating to Cirencester and Painswick Fire Stations following full public consultation.

 

The Chief Fire Officer reminded members that the Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Authority had a legal obligation to produce an Integrated Risk Management Plan, (IRMP), outlining the authority’s plans to manage fire and rescue service locally by matching resources with current and future risks.

 

In April 2015, the County Council, in its role as Fire and Rescue Authority, approved an Integrated Risk Management Plan, (IRMP), for the Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service. A requirement of the IRMP had been to produce an accompanying three-year action plan, for which the first year of the plan had focused on undertaking a thorough and extensive review of emergency response in Gloucestershire, combining quantitative and qualitative research. Included in the IRMP 2015-18, was a commitment to the residents of Gloucestershire to undertake further consultation on any changes that might significantly impact on local communities.

 

In fulfilling this commitment, the fire authority commenced an extensive 90 day county-wide public consultation, ending on 4 January 2016, including consultation on the proposed closure of Painswick Fire Station and changes to the operational management of Cirencester Fire Station. The consultation included six public drop-in sessions, face to face meetings, electronic and paper surveys, and direct contact with partners.

 

Outlining some of the key information from the consultation, the Chief Fire Officer confirmed the number of respondents responding to ‘what extent residents had agreed with the proposal to deliver additional prevention and protection activities in Painswick, emergency response cover from Stroud, and closure of Painswick Fire Station’ was 254, of which, 67 per cent had either strongly agreed or agreed with the proposal, and 15.5 had either strongly disagreed or disagreed.

 

The number of respondents responding to ‘what extent residents had agreed with the proposal to change the way the Fire Service provided staff at Cirencester Fire Station’ was 248, of which 69 per cent had either strongly agreed or agreed with the proposal and 14 per cent had either strongly disagreed or disagreed.

 

Responding to comments, the Chief Fire Officer confirmed that the responses from the RFU, (Retained Firefighters Union), had been taken into account, but reflected different perspectives, namely to stop fires, as opposed to preventing and protecting communities.

 

Several members expressed concerns about the proposals, whilst others upheld reservations about the number of responses on which the proposals would be based.

 

Seeking clarification on the number of responses received, one member questioned the Fire Service taking such a significant decision based on a low number of responses. The Chief Fire Officer assured members that every effort had been made to engage with the local communities concerned, and confirmed that the response to the Gloucestershire consultation had been much higher  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Commissioning Director's Report pdf icon PDF 78 KB

To note an information report from the Commissioning Director: Communities and Infrastructure.

 

Members will be required to consider the following updates as part of the report: -

 

a)    Cycling Update

 

b)    Environment and Communities Scrutiny Performance Scorecard (Quarter 2) 2015/16

 

To assist in facilitating the items for consideration at this meeting, plus the items to be considered in conjunction with the meeting, members are requested to submit any questions relating to the attached report in advance of the meeting to jo.moore@gloucestershire.gov.uk. A written response will be provided, and recorded in the minutes of the meeting.  

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Full details of the Commissioning Director’s Report, (item 6 of the agenda), including information on the council’s progress in meeting its carbon reduction target, and information reported in the Quarter 2 Performance Scorecard 2015/16, can be viewed at the following link: -

 

http://glostext.gloucestershire.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=673&MId=8223&Ver=4

 

In response to questions, the following information was noted: -

 

a)    Commons and Rights of Way Committee

 

A total of 122 outstanding applications were reported, of which 31 had been determined and were awaiting the next stage of the process, (up on the number reported last month); 36 were undetermined, and 55 had been archived pending commencement of the relevant provisions of the Deregulation Act 2015, (anticipated after April 2016). A further 3 new applications had been received.

 

b)    A417 Missing Link

 

A series of meetings have been held to take the programme of work in delivering a solution for the A417 Missing Link forward, including meetings with Highways England and the Cotswold Conservation Board. The latest position from Highways England is that it aims to commence construction in 2020. A meeting also took place with the Director for Transport’s Director for Strategic Roads and Highways England, where both parties were keen to maintain the momentum and to continue with discussions on whether the County Council might fund or part fund the strategic modelling works in partnership with Highways England. Responding to concerns about variations in the updates being received, the Commissioning Director confirmed he shared members frustrations and would continue to put pressure on the relevant agencies and organisations concerned. He also made a commitment to ensuring regular updates were made to District and Parish Councils.

 

c)    GFirst LEP (Local Enterprise Partnership) Ltd

 

It was noted that the GFirst LEP was fully operational as a Community Interest Company (CIC), with Cllr Mark Hawthorne, (as Leader of the Council), representing the Council on the GFirst LEP Board. More information on this matter can be found at http://wwwgfirst.co.uk  

 

d)    Gloucestershire Local Transport Board

 

The Gloucestershire Local Transport Board (GLTB) will cease to exist from 31 March 2016, when all major transport priorities will be transferred to the GFirst LEP Board, who will be responsible for all decisions regarding the funding of the schemes from 1 April 2016.  No further GLTB meetings were scheduled.

7.

Work Plan pdf icon PDF 50 KB

To review the committee work plan and suggest items for consideration at future meetings. (Work plan attached).

 

 

 

Minutes:

The committee noted a proposal from Cllr Iain Dobie for the council to consider appointing a Member Champion from which to promote the benefits of cycling in Gloucestershire.

 

9 March 2016

 

The outcomes of the Local Transport Plan Review Consultation to constitute the main item at the committee meeting on 9 March 2016.

 

The committee received updates on the ‘Access to and from the Forest of Dean Task Group’, the ‘A429 Fosse Way Task Group’ and the ‘Cotswold Flood Action Group’. The final report of the Access to the Forest of Dean Task Group would be presented at the committee meeting on 9 March 2016, plus an interim report on the work of the A429 Task Group at the same meeting. Cllr Vernon Smith, Cabinet Member for Highways and Flood to be invited to give a verbal update on the work being undertaken to control flooding in the Cotswold District at a future meeting.

 

Members were informed that the Climate Change Task Group would present its final report, including recommendations, to the committee meeting on 9 March 2016.

 

18 May 2016

 

The committee considered a proposal from Cllr Dobie proposing that the committee consider replacing the council's diesel fleet with less damaging automotive technology. Speaking in support of the proposal, the committee requested a paper on the Gloucestershire County Council’s activities to promote electric vehicle use in Gloucestershire at the committee meeting on 18 May 2016. It was suggested that the relevant cabinet portfolio holder attend the meeting to answer questions.

 

A waste update to be provided at the committee meeting on 18 May 2016.

 

 

 

8.

Future meetings

9 March 2016

18 May 2016

13 July 2016

21 September 2016

22 November 2016

Minutes:

9 March 2016

18 May 2016

13 July 2016

21 September 2016

22 November 2016