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Gloucestershire County Council
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Agenda item

Motions

For debate and decision on the day, unless the Chairman decides otherwise.

 

The closing date for the receipt of motions was 10am on Monday, 13 January 2014.

 

The following motions have been received:

 

Motion 694 - Javelin Park Inquiry

 

This Council notes that the inquiry into the siting of an Energy from Waste facility at Javelin Park is underway. This is a consequence of this Council’s own Planning Committee’s unanimously rejecting the original application, and is in line with the public opposition to the incinerator proposed.

 

This Council therefore resolves to:

 

a)    Note the strength of feeling within the community who are opposed to incineration of residual waste within Gloucestershire;

 

b)    Reiterate its instruction that legal representatives robustly defend the Planning Committee’s decision against the appeal being mounted by Urbaser Balfour Beatty (UBB); and

 

c)    Endorse the view of the Planning Committee given on 21 March 2013 and instructs our Chief Executive as part of the inquiry process to write to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to strongly reiterate that view.

 

Proposed by Cllr Barry Kirby

Seconded by TBC

 

Motion 695 - Rewiring Local Government Funding

 

This Council notes  that by the end of this Parliament Local Government will have been cut by 33 per cent. In comparison, Whitehall departments will have faced reductions of 12 per cent. This Council further notes the Chancellor’s intention to cut a further 10% from the Department for Communities and Local Government resource budget as outlined in the Government’s Spending Review for 2013.

 

This Council agrees with the Conservative Local Government Association Chair, Sir Merrick Cockell, that “This cut will stretch essential services to breaking point in many areas.” This Council also recognises the concern raised by the Society of Local Authority Executives that has stated local authorities are “running out of ways to save money, and that puts the future of local services on the line”.  

 

The Council believes that devolving money from Whitehall to local areas will increase cooperation between public agencies, save money and improves services.

 

This Council therefore resolves to support the LGA's case made in Rewiring Public Services for local government finance to be put on a sustainable and independent footing in the future and will work with the LGA to achieve that.

Proposed by Cllr Lesley Williams

Seconded by Cllr Steve Lydon

 

Motion 696 - Oversight for the Strategic Economic Plan for Growing Gloucestershire

 

This Council recognises the importance of developing and delivering a Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) for the people of Gloucestershire and their businesses.

 

This Council notes that Gloucestershire’s SEP was submitted to Government on the 19 December 2013 in draft form; further notes the creation of a Statutory Joint Committee comprised of Local Authority Leaders and Chief Executives to work with the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to deliver the SEP.

 

This Council resolves to create a cross county scrutiny committee to evaluate and monitor the work and progress of the LEP and the Statutory Joint Committee in delivering the SEP.  

 

Proposed by Cllr Lesley Williams

Seconded by Cllr Barry Kirby  

 

Motion 697 – River dredging to reduce the risk of flooding

 

This Council recognises the excellent work of Gloucestershire County Council and other public sector staff during the recent flooding.  This Council further notes the continuing impact of the Council’s decision in 2007 to invest in flood protection measures across the county, which, last year, the Environment Agency attributed with preventing over 500 Gloucestershire houses from flooding. 

 

However, as a Council it is important we keep working to improve flood protection for local people, along with partners like the Environment Agency.  Rivers like the Severn continue to play a key role in flooding.  Given the increased role that fluvial flooding is playing, not only in Gloucestershire, but across the country, this Council mandates the Chief Executive to write to the Secretary of State for the Environment, asking him to reassess the Environment Agency’s long-standing policy of not using river dredging as a means to reduce the risk of flooding. 

 

Proposed by Cllr Vernon Smith

Seconded by Cllr Shaun Parsons

 

Motion 698 – Badger cull

 

This Council notes that the Government’s badger cull has now ended. In Gloucestershire 921 badgers have been culled, 32% of the Government’s target. For each badger shot, it has cost the tax payer £4,121.

 

This Council further notes that the badger cull has placed a significant strain on local communities and the Police and it has caused considerable animosity between farmers and animal welfare campaigns.

 

To establish the social and economic impact of the cull on Gloucestershire and to identify lessons that should be learnt, this Council resolves to create a Badger Cull task group that will invite evidence from individuals, communities, the Police and other groups affected by the cull in order to compile a report that will be presented to full Council and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

 

Proposed by Cllr Paul McMahon

Seconded Cllr Graham Morgan

 

Motion 699 – Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service

This Council notes that under the Fire & Rescue Services Act 2004, a non-metropolitan county council is the fire and rescue authority for that county. In Gloucestershire, this means Gloucestershire County Council is the fire and rescue authority.

 

This Council notes the innovative and collaborative approach that Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service has pioneered with the other two blue light services in the county and with neighbouring fire and rescue services, whilst retaining its independent governance.

 

This Council confirms its intention to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of its fire and rescue service, supporting close collaboration with other blue light services and fire and rescue services where this can provide a better response to emergencies.

 

Moreover, this Council notes that a new Chief Fire Officer will soon be in post and agrees to give them the assurance that we will continue to provide a county fire and rescue service under the direct governance of Gloucestershire County Council.

 

Proposed by Cllr Jeremy Hilton

Seconded by Cllr Nigel Robbins

 

Motion 700 – Badger cull

This Council notes last year’s highly controversial trial badger cull that happened in both West Somerset and West Gloucestershire.

 

This Council is aware of the disruption caused and the high policing costs that resulted from a badger cull which failed to achieve the expected outcomes.  

This Council resolves to write immediately to the Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food requesting that last year’s badger cull is not extended to other areas and that Gloucestershire should not be used as a trial area again.

 

Proposed by Cllr Paul Hodgkinson

Seconded by Cllr Colin Hay

 

 

Minutes:

The Chairman advised that at the Council briefing Group Leaders had agreed the indicative times to be spent on each motion. 

 

Motion 694 - Javelin Park Inquiry (30 minutes)

Before the start of the debate, the Chief Executive provided some background information for members.  The Planning Committee on 21 March 2013 had rejected the application to build an Energy from Waste (EfW) facility on the grounds of its impact on the landscape, amenity and heritage, and nothing else.  The decision was not related to the need or to the technology proposed in the application. 

 

The Council delegated its powers for determining planning applications to the Planning Committee.  The Planning Committee was therefore ‘the Council’ for that purpose.  The applicant had appealed against the Planning Committee’s decision, and the Council was robustly defending the Planning Committee’s position. 

 

The purpose of the Chief Executive’s briefing was to set out any implications of a debate on this subject happening in parallel to the live Planning Inquiry, and to pose the question of whether this could be inappropriate, or even lead to a perverse outcome. 

 

Because the proposers of the motion had shared in advance a draft with the Chief Executive, this had offered an opportunity to seek advice from an external planning barrister on the implications of debating such a motion.

 

This advice included the need for caution such that a Council debate was not seen as reopening the reasons for rejecting the Javelin Park application. With the Planning Inquiry now taking place, which is a quasi-judicial process, further discussion by the Council on the planning application would be a breach of propriety. 

 

The second issue concerns how the Planning Inspector might receive such second thoughts by the Council.  The risk was that the Council might transmit the message that our existing grounds for rejection were insufficient, hence it was trying to strengthen them.  The advice was that this could weaken the current defence of the appeal.

 

Lastly was the issue as to where any Council approved motion should be sent.  For instance, the planning appeal would be determined by the Secretary of State, and a letter containing the motion that was sent separately to the Secretary of State would be outside of normal process and potentially increase the risk of challenge. 

 

The motion as presented for debate had carefully steered through these issues and did not, in itself, expose the Council to these risks, but amendment or debate regarding planning conditions might well do so.

 

A member queried why the advice was being given by the Chief Executive on the day.  Another member felt that this comment was unfair as the Chief Executive had been asked to provide advice to one of the political groups in drafting the motion. 

 

Answering a question regarding future planning applications at Javelin Park, the Head of Legal Services stated that members would need to consider any applications on their merits at that time.  She said that it was for individual members to decide whether they should participate in the debate.

 

Cllr Robert Vines stated that he was a member of the Planning Committee and would take no further part in the debate.  He left the Council Chamber.

    

Cllr Barry Kirby moved and Cllr Brian Oosthuysen seconded the following motion:

 

This Council notes that the inquiry into the siting of an Energy from Waste facility at Javelin Park is underway. This is a consequence of this Council’s own Planning Committee’s unanimously rejecting the original application, and is in line with the public opposition to the incinerator proposed.

 

This Council therefore resolves to:

 

a)    Note the strength of feeling within the community who are opposed to incineration of residual waste within Gloucestershire;

 

b)    Reiterate its instruction that legal representatives robustly defend the Planning Committee’s decision against the appeal being mounted by Urbaser Balfour Beatty (UBB); and

 

c)    Endorse the view of the Planning Committee given on 21 March 2013 and instructs our Chief Executive as part of the inquiry process to write to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to strongly reiterate that view.

 

In moving the motion, Cllr Barry Kirby questioned why the Council had decided to buy the site at Javelin Park and to enter into a contract with Urbaser Balfour Beatty before planning permission had been granted. He said that the whole issue was proving to be an embarrassment for the Council with over 4,000 objections received to the planning application.  He was anxious that the Council’s legal representatives robustly defended the decision of the Planning Committee to refuse the application. 

 

In seconding the motion, Cllr Brian Oosthuysen stated that he had been strongly opposed to an incinerator since 2005.  He was concerned that the agreement between the legal teams on common ground had resulted in the Council’s legal representatives being severely constrained in defending the Planning Committee’s decision.

 

A member spoke strongly against the motion.  He said that the inquiry was nearing its end and the Council, the applicant and other parties had been given an opportunity to present their case.  The Planning Inspector would make a judgement based on the evidence presented and he believed that it was wrong for the council to be debating the issue at such a late stage.

 

Cllr Colin Hay moved and Cllr Jeremy Hilton seconded the following amendment (changes highlighted in shaded text):

 

This Council notes that the inquiry into the siting of an Energy from Waste facility at Javelin Park is underway. This is a consequence of this Council’s own Planning Committee’s unanimously rejecting the original application, and is in line with the public opposition to the incinerator proposed.

 

This Council also notes the disappointment that the previous Cabinet entered a contract, which means that this Council is now paying for both sides of the enquiry.

 

This Council therefore resolves to:

 

a)    Note the strength of feeling within the community who are opposed to incineration of residual waste within Gloucestershire;

 

b)    Reiterate its instruction that legal representatives robustly defend the Planning Committee’s decision against the appeal being mounted by Urbaser Balfour Beatty (UBB); and clarifies the statement given to the inquiry that incinerator is the preferred option and should have included that the technology neutral position of the Waste Core Strategy should be maintained.

 

c)    Endorse the view of the Planning Committee given on 21 March 2013 and instructs our Chief Executive as part of the inquiry process to write to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to strongly reiterate that view.

 

Cllr Colin Hay believed that it was important that the decision of the Planning Committee to refuse the application was robustly defended.  He was anxious that the position was clarified in respect of any statements made by the Council’s legal representatives at the inquiry that an incinerator was the ‘preferred’ technology. An officer from Legal Services had subsequently confirmed to a member that combustion EfW was not ‘preferred technology’ and the Council’s position remained technology neutral. 

 

In seconding the amendment, Cllr Jeremy Hilton stated that the project had been a disaster and if an incinerator was built it would result in a £500 million liability for the Council.   

 

Following an adjournment, the Chief Executive said that he was not convinced that a mistake about the technology had been made at the inquiry.  He had been advised that combustion EfW had been referred to as the ‘preferred’ technology only for the purposes of the inquiry, that is the technology of the application, and the Council’s position remained technology neutral.  This matter would be made clear in the closing statement by the Council’s barrister at the end of the inquiry.

 

On being put to the vote, the amendment was not supported.

 

A member referred to the history of the project.  The Waste Local Plan had been adopted by the Council in 2004 under a Labour and Liberal Democrat administration.  Javelin Park had been identified at that time as the only site suitable for all forms of residual waste disposal.  In 2006, the Council had embarked on a technology neutral project to find a solution for the disposal of residual waste.  The Government had decreed that for Private Finance Initiative (PFI) credits to be awarded an authority had to provide a site and so in 2009 the Council had purchased the Javelin Park site.  In 2012, the Council adopted a Waste Core Strategy following a public inquiry.  In March 2013, the Planning Committee had refused the application for a residual waste facility at Javelin Park, none of which were based on technology. The applicant had subsequently appealed against the decision and the Council’s defence was based on the reasons given for the refusal. 

 

He questioned the value of the motion when the planning inquiry was underway.  The independent Planning Inspector was expected to submit their report in May 2014 and the Secretary of State would then determine the application. 

 

Another member raised concerns regarding the proposal for an incinerator at Javelin Park.  She said that it would not be possible to use the residual heat generated, the technology proposed was not the best in terms of carbon dioxide emissions, the outline business case had identified two different technologies, waste arisings were falling and there was over-capacity for residual waste disposal in the South West.

 

The original motion was put to the vote and it was

 

RESOLVED that

 

This Council notes that the inquiry into the siting of an Energy from Waste facility at Javelin Park is underway. This is a consequence of this Council’s own Planning Committee’s unanimously rejecting the original application, and is in line with the public opposition to the incinerator proposed.

 

This Council therefore resolves to:

 

a)    Note the strength of feeling within the community who are opposed to incineration of residual waste within Gloucestershire;

 

b)    Reiterate its instruction that legal representatives robustly defend the Planning Committee’s decision against the appeal being mounted by Urbaser Balfour Beatty (UBB); and

 

c)    Endorse the view of the Planning Committee given on 21 March 2013 and instructs our Chief Executive as part of the inquiry process to write to the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to strongly reiterate that view.

 

Motion 695 - Rewiring Local Government Funding (15 minutes)

Cllr Lesley Williams moved and Cllr Steve Lydon seconded the following motion:

 

This Council notes that by the end of this Parliament Local Government will have been cut by 33 per cent. In comparison, Whitehall departments will have faced reductions of 12 per cent. This Council further notes the Chancellor’s intention to cut a further 10 per cent from the Department for Communities and Local Government resource budget as outlined in the Government’s Spending Review for 2013.

 

This Council agrees with the Conservative Local Government Association Chair, Sir Merrick Cockell, that “This cut will stretch essential services to breaking point in many areas.” This Council also recognises the concern raised by the Society of Local Authority Executives that has stated local authorities are “running out of ways to save money, and that puts the future of local services on the line”.  

 

The Council believes that devolving money from Whitehall to local areas will increase cooperation between public agencies, save money and improves services.

 

This Council therefore resolves to support the LGA's case made in Rewiring Public Services for local government finance to be put on a sustainable and independent footing in the future and will work with the LGA to achieve that.

In moving the motion, Cllr Lesley Williams stated that local government could not go on with continual reductions in funding and it was time to take a stand.  She noted the effect on the Council with around 2,500 staff fewer staff and a significant funding gap still to be met in coming years.  Cllr Steve Lydon expressed serious concern that local government powers and finance were being increasingly limited.  He  believed that it was time for an all party campaign to show the value of public services.

 

A member referred to the democratic deficit and the need for the role of councillors as local representatives to be recognised.  Other members noted the efficiency savings achieved by local government over a long period and they believed that it was time for the Government to look towards other departments for savings. They hoped that this message would be reinforced by Members of Parliament in Gloucestershire.  A member suggested that there might be some value in undertaking a piece of work to look at how well public agencies worked together and the action which could be taken to accelerate shared working arrangements.

 

The following resolution received unanimous support.

 

RESOLVED that

 

This Council notes that by the end of this Parliament Local Government will have been cut by 33 per cent. In comparison, Whitehall departments will have faced reductions of 12 per cent. This Council further notes the Chancellor’s intention to cut a further 10 per cent from the Department for Communities and Local Government resource budget as outlined in the Government’s Spending Review for 2013.

 

This Council agrees with the Conservative Local Government Association Chair, Sir Merrick Cockell, that “This cut will stretch essential services to breaking point in many areas.” This Council also recognises the concern raised by the Society of Local Authority Executives that has stated local authorities are “running out of ways to save money, and that puts the future of local services on the line”.  

 

The Council believes that devolving money from Whitehall to local areas will increase cooperation between public agencies, save money and improves services.

 

This Council therefore resolves to support the LGA's case made in Rewiring Public Services for local government finance to be put on a sustainable and independent footing in the future and will work with the LGA to achieve that.

 

Motion 696 - Oversight for the Strategic Economic Plan for Growing Gloucestershire (15 minutes)

Cllr Lesley Williams moved and Cllr Barry Kirby seconded the following motion:

 

This Council recognises the importance of developing and delivering a Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) for the people of Gloucestershire and their businesses.

 

This Council notes that Gloucestershire’s SEP was submitted to Government on the 19 December 2013 in draft form; further notes the creation of a Statutory Joint Committee comprised of Local Authority Leaders and Chief Executives to work with the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to deliver the SEP.

 

This Council resolves to create a cross county scrutiny committee to evaluate and monitor the work and progress of the LEP and the Statutory Joint Committee in delivering the SEP.  

 

Cllr Lesley Williams believed that a scrutiny committee similar to the Health and Care Scrutiny committee with county and district representatives, would provide an effective means of monitoring the work of the LEP and the Joint Statutory Committee in delivering the SEP.

 

In seconding the motion, Cllr Barry Kirby referred to the importance of the SEP with 90 per cent of government funding in future years being channelled through the LEP.  He said that the Council needed to have confidence in how the money was being spent and the scrutiny committee would provide an important ‘check and balances’ by elected members. 

 

Other members spoke in support of the motion, recognising that it was important to ensure that a robust scrutiny process involving county and district councillors was in place.  They noted the significance of the SEP in terms of land use planning and developing the county’s skills base. Some concern was expressed at the poor quality of careers’ advice in the county and it was hoped that steps would be taken to address this at the earliest opportunity. 

 

One member noted that under the proposals for developing the SEP some people would have more than one role.  She believed that in the first instance a scrutiny group should be set up to consider who should be represented on the various bodies associated with developing the SEP. 

 

The following resolution received unanimous support.

 

RESOLVED that

 

This Council recognises the importance of developing and delivering a Strategic Economic Plan (SEP) for the people of Gloucestershire and their businesses.

 

This Council notes that Gloucestershire’s SEP was submitted to Government on the 19 December 2013 in draft form; further notes the creation of a Statutory Joint Committee comprised of Local Authority Leaders and Chief Executives to work with the Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) to deliver the SEP.

 

This Council resolves to create a cross county scrutiny committee to evaluate and monitor the work and progress of the LEP and the Statutory Joint Committee in delivering the SEP.

 

Motion 697 – River dredging to reduce the risk of flooding (15 minutes)

Cllr Vernon Smith moved and Cllr Shaun Parsons seconded the following motion:

 

This Council recognises the excellent work of Gloucestershire County Council and other public sector staff during the recent flooding.  This Council further notes the continuing impact of the Council’s decision in 2007 to invest in flood protection measures across the county, which, last year, the Environment Agency attributed with preventing over 500 Gloucestershire houses from flooding. 

 

However, as a Council it is important we keep working to improve flood protection for local people, along with partners like the Environment Agency.  Rivers like the Severn continue to play a key role in flooding.  Given the increased role that fluvial flooding is playing, not only in Gloucestershire, but across the country, this Council mandates the Chief Executive to write to the Secretary of State for the Environment, asking him to reassess the Environment Agency’s long-standing policy of not using river dredging as a means to reduce the risk of flooding. 

 

Cllr Vernon Smith stated that the ditch and gully clearing and flood alleviation schemes supported by the County Council had made a real difference in preventing flooding over recent weeks.  He noted the good work of the Environment Agency in providing flood defences and weather alerts, but he felt that more could be done, particularly relating to main river dredging.  Dredging was common practice in the US, France, Holland and Belgium where the funding for the equivalent of the Environment Agency was significantly less.  He said that the normal depth of the Mill Avon in Tewkesbury was around 32 feet but that had significantly reduced in recent years.  River dredging allowed faster flows and if it was undertaken in the right places it would alleviate flooding. 

 

In seconding the motion, Cllr Shaun Parsons stated that the motion was not a universal call for river dredging but was asking the Environment Agency to reassess its long-standing policy of not using dredging.  He recognised that dredging would be more effective in some areas than others so every case would have to be considered on its merits.  He called for the Environment Agency to reinstate flood defences to ensure that homes were protected. 

 

A member paid tribute to Council staff and those working for other agencies who had been dealing with flooding incidents over recent weeks.

 

Another member doubted whether the necessary funding would be made available to allow the Environment Agency to begin river dredging.  He said that his biggest concern was simply that not enough money was being spent on flood defence schemes.  He questioned how the Environment Agency could advise developers on new housing schemes if their resources were being cut back.  Referring to sustainable urban drainage systems (SUDS), he noted that their effectiveness depended on regular maintenance and some local schemes had not received any attention for more than 10 years.

 

Other members recognised the need to involve other government departments such as DEFRA so that the impact of farming practices could be considered. They noted that local people doing their bit in clearing water courses and drainage ditches was important in preventing flooding.  In supporting the motion, they recognised that the potential impact of increasing river flows on downstream areas needed careful consideration. Serious concern was expressed at the impact of new development on flooding.

 

RESOLVED that

 

This Council recognises the excellent work of Gloucestershire County Council and other public sector staff during the recent flooding.  This Council further notes the continuing impact of the Council’s decision in 2007 to invest in flood protection measures across the county, which, last year, the Environment Agency attributed with preventing over 500 Gloucestershire houses from flooding. 

 

However, as a Council it is important we keep working to improve flood protection for local people, along with partners like the Environment Agency.  Rivers like the Severn continue to play a key role in flooding.  Given the increased role that fluvial flooding is playing, not only in Gloucestershire, but across the country, this Council mandates the Chief Executive to write to the Secretary of State for the Environment, asking him to reassess the Environment Agency’s long-standing policy of not using river dredging as a means to reduce the risk of flooding.

 

Motion 698 – Badger cull (30 minutes - refer to motion 700)

Cllr Paul McMahon moved and Cllr Graham Morgan seconded the following motion:

 

This Council notes that the Government’s badger cull has now ended. In Gloucestershire 921 badgers have been culled, 32% of the Government’s target. For each badger shot, it has cost the tax payer £4,121.

 

This Council further notes that the badger cull has placed a significant strain on local communities and the Police and it has caused considerable animosity between farmers and animal welfare campaigns.

 

To establish the social and economic impact of the cull on Gloucestershire and to identify lessons that should be learnt, this Council resolves to create a Badger Cull task group that will invite evidence from individuals, communities, the Police and other groups affected by the cull in order to compile a report that will be presented to full Council and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

 

In moving the motion, Cllr Paul McMahon stated that a task group would provide a valuable opportunity to learn from the experience of the recent cull.  He believed that the Council needed to do this following concerns expressed by the local community. 

 

Cllr Graham Morgan noted that it had come to light that tests for Bovine TB were not always accurate.  He said that it was right for a county council covering one of the pilot cull areas to look into the issue. 

 

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson moved and Cllr Colin Hay seconded the following amendment (changes highlighted in shaded text):

 

This Council notes that the Government’s badger cull has now ended. In Gloucestershire 921 badgers have been culled, 32% of the Government’s target. For each badger shot, it has cost the tax payer £4,121.

 

This Council further notes that the badger cull has placed a significant strain on local communities and the Police and it has caused considerable animosity between farmers and animal welfare campaigns.

 

This Council is aware of the disruption caused and the high policing costs thatresulted from a badger cull which failed to achieve the expected outcomes.  

This Council resolves to write immediately to the Secretary of State for theDepartment of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Minister of State for Agriculture and Food requesting that last year’s badger cull is not extended to other areas and that Gloucestershire should not be used as a trial area again.

 

Cllr Paul Hodgkinson stated that the cull had failed, millions of pounds had been wasted and the result might even be a wider spread of Bovine TB.  Statistics indicated that only 5.7 per cent of outbreaks of Bovine TB were the result of badgers.  Vaccination and better bio-security offered the best ways forward.  As the member for Bourton and Northleach, he said that he represented a very rural area and farmers he had spoken to recognised that culling was not the right approach.  Time was of the essence as the Government had invited areas to come forward for the next cull.  He believed that the Council should be sending a strong message to the Government that the trial had failed and no further culling should take place.

 

In seconding the amendment, Cllr Colin Hay stated that it was clear that the cull had failed.   He said that it was not necessary to set up a scrutiny task group to find out information that everybody already knew.  He questioned how the task group’s findings could change government policy.  He believed that unless the Council sent a strong message to the Secretary of State now it would miss its opportunity. 

 

A member who had initially supported the trial cull said that he had subsequently changed his mind because it was clear that it had failed. 

 

Another member said that the Government had lost the argument on the cull,  both in terms of the science behind it and the level of infection.

 

Other members believed that there was value in setting a scrutiny task group.  This would allow members to gain a better understanding of all the issues and provide an opportunity to gather evidence to form the basis of a report to the Secretary of State.   

 

On being put to the vote, the amendment was not supported and it was

 

RESOLVED that

 

This Council notes that the Government’s badger cull has now ended. In Gloucestershire 921 badgers have been culled, 32% of the Government’s target. For each badger shot, it has cost the tax payer £4,121.

 

This Council further notes that the badger cull has placed a significant strain on local communities and the Police and it has caused considerable animosity between farmers and animal welfare campaigns.

 

To establish the social and economic impact of the cull on Gloucestershire and to identify lessons that should be learnt, this Council resolves to create a Badger Cull task group that will invite evidence from individuals, communities, the Police and other groups affected by the cull in order to compile a report that will be presented to full Council and the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

 

Motion 699 – Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service (15 minutes)

 

Councillor Jeremy Hilton moved and Councillor Nigel Robbins seconded the following motion, the wording of which was revised following the Council briefing (changes highlighted in shaded text):

 

This Council notes that under the Fire & Rescue Services Act 2004, a non-metropolitan county council is the fire and rescue authority for that county. In Gloucestershire, this means Gloucestershire County Council is the fire and rescue authority.

This Council notes the innovative and collaborative approach that Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service has pioneered with volunteer organisations such as SARA, British Red Cross and Raynet, as well as the other two blue light services in the county and with neighbouring fire and rescue services, whilst retaining its independent governance.

This Council confirms its intention to continue to improve the effectiveness of its fire and rescue service, supporting close collaboration with volunteer organisations, other blue light services and fire and rescue services where this can provide a better response to emergencies.

Moreover, this Council notes that a new Chief Fire Officer will soon be in post and agrees to give them the assurance that GCC will support them in delivering an effective service and to implement the lessons learned out of the recent Fire Service Peer Review; and that the Council notes the current strength as provided by the county fire and rescue service model as operated in Gloucestershire.

 

Cllr Jeremy Hilton believed that the Council should be proud of its Fire and Rescue Service which was recognised as one of the most efficient and effective in the country.  He said that there were significant benefits of the service staying within the control of the Council and working alongside the other bluelight services at the Tri-service Centre at Waterwells.

 

In seconding the motion, Cllr Nigel Robbins noted that in other areas, the loss of local control and merger with neighbouring services had resulted in poor response times.  He believed that it was vitally important that the Fire and Rescue Service did not lose the managerial control of the Council.

 

Other members referred to the efficiency and effectiveness of the service with its dedicated staff and excellent leadership.  They noted that innovative partnerships had been made with volunteer organisations such as the Severn Area Rescue Association, the British Red Cross and Raynet.  The Council would need to look at the best way of providing the service in future years including opportunities arising to work with partner organisations. 

 

The following resolution received unanimous support.

 

RESOLVED that

 

This Council notes that under the Fire & Rescue Services Act 2004, a non-metropolitan county council is the fire and rescue authority for that county. In Gloucestershire, this means Gloucestershire County Council is the fire and rescue authority.

This Council notes the innovative and collaborative approach that Gloucestershire Fire & Rescue Service has pioneered with volunteer organisations such as SARA, British Red Cross and Raynet, as well as the other two blue light services in the county and with neighbouring fire and rescue services, whilst retaining its independent governance.

This Council confirms its intention to continue to improve the effectiveness of its fire and rescue service, supporting close collaboration with volunteer organisations, other blue light services and fire and rescue services where this can provide a better response to emergencies.

Moreover, this Council notes that a new Chief Fire Officer will soon be in post and agrees to give them the assurance that GCC will support them in delivering an effective service and to implement the lessons learned out of the recent Fire Service Peer Review; and that the Council notes the current strength as provided by the county fire and rescue service model as operated in Gloucestershire.

 

Motion 700 – Badger cull

At the Council briefing, it had been agreed that this motion would be dealt with as an amendment under motion 698.  The motion proposed by Cllr Paul Hodgkinson and seconded by Cllr Nigel Robbins was therefore withdrawn.

 

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