Agenda and minutes

Environment Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday 17 July 2019 10.00 am

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

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies

To note any apologies for absence.

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Cllrs Keith Rippington, Stephen Hirst and Suzanne Williams.

 

Cllrs Phil Awford and Robert Vines were present as substitutes.

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 96 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 22 May 2019.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 22 May 2019 were approved and signed by the Chair.

3.

Declarations of interest

Members of the Committee are invited to declare any pecuniary or

personal interests relating to specific matters on the agenda.

 

Please see note (a) at the end of the agenda.

Minutes:

Cllr Phil Awford declared that he chairs the National Flood Forum and is the representative for Wessex/Severn Wye at the Regional Flood Defence Committee.

4.

Draft Climate Change Strategy pdf icon PDF 131 KB

The Committee to consider a report on the draft Climate Change Strategy and proposed engagement approach.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

4.1       Peter Wiggins, Outcome Manager for Community Infrastructure, opened the item with a presentation which went through:

·         The background of where the Climate Change strategy has emerged from;

·         what the Council has already done and its achievements; and

·         what the new strategy will cover and it’s timeline going forward.

 

4.2       The Committee were reminded that on May 15th 2019, the Council declared a Climate Change Emergency by passing motion 836. The main objectives of the motion were to reduce corporate carbon emissions by at least 80% by 2030, with the remaining being offset and creating a carbon neutral County by 2050, working with partners to secure an 80% reduction by 2030.

 

4.3       A graph was shown to illustrate for Gloucestershire’s emissions the original UK target under the Climate Change Act 2008 of an 80% reduction by 2050, the new national target of carbon neutral by 2050, and Gloucestershire’s new target of an 80% reduction by 2030. All trajectories are taken from a 2005 baseline figure.

 

4.4       A graph was then shown of the Council’s emission reduction performance against the 2006/07 baseline.

 

4.5       Members noted that the Council has been involved in climate change initiatives since 2005 with the Carbon Management Programme (CMP). The declared 10% emission reduction by 2010 was reached early and GCC had actually reached 12% by the target year.

 

4.6       Again in 2011, the CMP target was refreshed to a 60% emission reduction by 2020/21. Looking at the 2018 figures, GCC has already reached a 55% reduction and is therefore on target to reach 60% by 2020/21.

 

4.7       The Committee heard examples of the many energy-efficient changes the Council has made to date, including its £13.7m programme of LED street lighting across the County (50% reduction), and the Shire Hall refurbishment programme (57% reduction). Since the baseline 2006/7 figures, GCC has reduced its CO2 emissions from 26,820 (tonnes) to 12,060.

 

4.8       Members were then shown the proposed trajectory for reaching the 80% reduction by 2030 and ideas for how this may be reached. It was advised there was potential to look at additional office improvements, staff travel and renewable energy generation, for example.

 

4.9       Looking forward to the new Climate Change Strategy, members were advised this would be a 5 year rolling action plan, to include a review of the forthcoming year each time.

 

4.10    As part of the engagement on this the strategy’s development, there will be a questionnaire out to the public over the summer, to include questions on what the public considers needs to change, and what GCC can do to support these changes.

 

4.11    In addition the Committee heard an update from Gloucestershire’s Climate Change Summit on 21st May 2019. The outcomes and actions from this day included to:

·         Develop an engagement plan, including setting up a Youth Climate Panel.

·         Use the outcomes from the summit to develop a revised Climate Change Strategy for Gloucestershire and the council, for public consultation in the summer.

·         Take the strategy to the Council’s Cabinet  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Director's Report, Communities & Infrastructure pdf icon PDF 101 KB

Colin Chick, Strategic Adviser (Communities & Infrastructure) to update the Committee on current issues.

Minutes:

5.1       Colin Chick, Strategic Adviser (Communities & Infrastructure), updated the Committee on current issues. In particular, members noted that:

 

·         At 2.3 the project remains  on track and the purchase of necessary property at Hatherley Lane is about to complete.

·         The assessment meeting for Junction 10 went well, but officers were informed the decision is likely to be closer to Christmas than the autumn. The project is still on schedule to meet the 2024 deadline, if funding is approved.

·         The Junction 9 scheme is at a critical stage. As stated in the report no funding has yet been approved, but the scheme is vital for several other departments including Homes England and Highways England. As no one department can afford the scheme alone, officers are currently exploring the option of taking a presentation to the Houses of Parliament for the day to promote the need for joined up Government to deliver it.

·         Rail improvements are being to gain traction. It is vital that rail becomes a viable alternative for travel in the county, our tracks run alongside the m5 and yet they service 1% of all trips. This is because many services are unattractive, especially for work commutes.

·         The first stage of improvements are set to see a direct hourly services to London from December, allowing 2,500 extra seats going both ways each day and improved peak hour service availability. From 2021 a 30 minute frequency to Bristol and an improved service from North Cotswolds into London by the end of 2019.

·         The second stage will be building the infrastructure to connect growth areas in a sustainable way.

·         Javelin Park is now taking waste from all authorities.

 

5.2       There was a question on when the LED street lighting programme was due to complete. It was advised that there was a small proportion left to complete, mostly in tricky locations. A member asked for feedback on an area which had not been yet been completed.

 

ACTION:       KATH HAWORTH

 

5.3       On questioning, the Committee were informed that if the Junction 10 bid is unsuccessful, the Council cannot afford to fund the scheme alone. There could be an option of using the County’s bid to Government through the Great Western Powerhouse.

 

5.4       There was a discussion about making rail use more attractive to run alongside all the improvements. Members advised the need to look at parking solutions for the County’s rail stations, as well as making pubic transport a more cost effective option. If there were to be a  significant increase in people using rail stations, this would create enough people for bus companies to consider extra services/new routes.

 

5.5       A member paid thanks to officers involved with all continuing flood alleviation works. There was a request to circulate the Environment Agency National Flood and Coastal Erosion Risk Management strategy consultation response.

 

ACTION:       SIMON EXCELL

 

5.6       There was a question regarding electric vehicle charging points in Gloucestershire. The Committee heard a programme is being developed but there was nothing definitive to feedback yet.

 

5.7       There  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Task Group requests pdf icon PDF 51 KB

The Committee to consider the following task group requests presented by Cllr Eva Ward:

 

·         Single-use Plastics

·         Javelin Park

Additional documents:

Minutes:

6.1       The Chair invited Cllr Eva Ward to present both task group requests.

 

6.2       Cllr Ward first introduced the Single-use Plastics one page strategy advising of its origin and took the document as read.

 

6.3       Cllr Nigel Moor, Cabinet member for the Environment and Planning, welcomed the request and advised the Committee it would bring a good focus to an important issue.

 

6.4       The Committee unanimously agreed to approve that the Single-use Plastics Task Group be formed.

 

ACTION:       DEMOCRATIC SERVICES

 

6.5       Secondly, Cllr Ward introduced the Javelin Park one page strategy, advising this was on behalf of Cllr Rachel Smith who was unable to attend the meeting.

 

6.6       Members of the Committee made the following comments:

·         The one page strategy referenced no time span for the task group to run;

·         As Javelin Park was not yet fully operational, it would be too soon for data to be available that’s requested in the strategy;

·         If the request were to be approved, the project should be referred to as the Energy from Waste Plant not the incinerator; and

·         The use of language throughout the strategy is suggestive towards a negative view of the scheme and should be more impartial.

6.7       From the officers’ perspective, the Committee were advised that it would be too soon to provide data and evidence that is being requested, and many questions in the strategy would only have speculative answers at this stage. It would also require support from the same team of officers who now need to provide support to the Single-use plastics task group that has just been approved.

 

6.8       In conclusion, the Committee unanimously agreed this was not the right time for this task group request and should be delayed for at least 6 months to 1 year. Cllr Ward agreed to feedback to Cllr Smith of the Committees verdict.

7.

Work Plan pdf icon PDF 54 KB

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

Minutes:

7.1       The Chair advised for the Committee’s next meeting on 18th September, there has been an agreement that it will take the form of a joint meeting with Economic Growth Scrutiny Committee (EGSC), to allow both Committees to receive the report on the Local Transport Plan.

 

7.2       This agreement had been made following discussions at the EGSC about the overlap of interest for both committees on particular items, currently identifying the Local Transport Plan as one of them. The Chair had discussions with the Chair of EGSC and it was agreed a joint committee meeting would allow both Committees a fair chance of scrutiny over this item.

 

7.3       This would therefore mean that the Biodiversity task group feedback currently on the work plan for September would be delayed until November.

 

7.4       A member asked what would happen to the Committee’s Directors report for September. It was advised this report will be emailed to members for review and any member questions to be facilitated through Democratic Services. This will be subsequently published.

 

7.5       In addition, the following request were made:

 

·         A report, as requested, on the electric vehicle programme to be added to the work plan for November.

·         An update on the A429 Task Group for the January meeting.

8.

Future Meetings

18 September 2019

26 November 2019

Minutes:

18 September 2019

26 November 2019

15 January 2020

4 March 2020

20 May 2020