Agenda and minutes

Environment Scrutiny Committee - Monday 29 November 2021 10.00 am

Venue: Council Chamber - Shire Hall, Gloucester. View directions

Items
No. Item

2.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 125 KB

To confirm and sign the minutes of the meeting held on 9 September 2021.

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 9 September 2021 were approved

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:

No declarations of interest were received.

4.

Climate change pdf icon PDF 212 KB

To understand whether Gloucestershire is on track to meet its commitments and if the plans are ambitious enough to address the crisis at hand.

 

REPORT TO FOLLOW

 

Minutes:

4.1       Philip Williams, Lead Commissioner for Community Infrastructure, introduced this item. Members noted the following points:

·         The Council declared a Climate Emergency in May 2019, and in December 2019 Cabinet agreed the Climate Change Strategy for GCC, alongside the first set of resources to help deliver its objectives.

·         Cabinet also confirmed a commitment to consider an annual review on the Strategy’s progress. This was now confirmed on the Council’s Forward Plan and the next review was due at Cabinet on 22 December 2021.

·         The Lead Cabinet Member wanted to use today’s opportunity to gain feedback from scrutiny prior to the Cabinet consideration later next month.

·         It had been a difficult year for staffing in the department, the Lead Officer had unfortunately been off for most of the period, which meant an already very big and growing portfolio had to be covered through existing resources.

·         During this time however, three new and additional posts were successfully appointed to. The team welcomed Kelly Osbourne and Emily Woodger-Smith as Sustainability and Engagement officers and Hannah Jacobs was the new Climate Change and Air Quality officer. Interviews were also due in the next few weeks to appoint to a post focused on the tree planting strategy.

·         In terms of the climate change goals for the Council as an organisation, the cut in emissions was almost at 80% which meant it was well ahead of the projected path for net zero by 2030.

·         The challenge was now trying to apply this learning to how the Council can engage more broadly across Gloucestershire, to ensure the county can reach its net zero target by 2045. This remained a very difficult task and there was a long way to go.

·         The recent COP26 was important for the county as it showed the commitments in terms of policy, funding, and the transfer of power local authorities need to get from central Govt. to help achieve its targets.

·         The team were also working with the newly appointed Afriqnmun Lovejoy, who was the Countywide Climate Change Coordinator, to engage more broadly and work in partnership across the county under Climate Leadership Gloucestershire.

·         There had been some good ‘on the ground’ progress this year such as, tree planting via the Ash Dieback programme and wider, cycling infrastructure, improvements to public transport services and electric vehicle investment and infrastructure.

·         The report also recorded those areas of work that still remained a challenge such as delivering local heat networks.

·         Overall, there had been good progress on many areas but there remained a huge challenge that relied very much on partners and national government providing a coordinated effort.

·         The Committee also noted a presentation from Afriqnmun Lovejoy on the set up and workings of the new Climate Leadership Gloucestershire group. Details can be found in the attached PDF document.

 

Questions

 

4.2       Noting how impressive the statistics looked for GCC’s emission reductions since 2006/7, it was stressed that if Gloucestershire was going to take a national lead, it would be important to share with other  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Motion 876 update pdf icon PDF 124 KB

To receive an update report on actions agreed at the Committee meeting on the 9 September 2021.

Minutes:

5.1       Members noted that the attached report included a table of actions that were approved at the meeting in September, and any additional requests following the Committee’s discussion. Officers had made progress on most of them to date and the key points were as follows:

 

·         There was a Road Safety workshop taking place on 15 December 2021 which members will have been invited to, it would cover all topics on this issue including those raised in motion 876.

·         The questionnaire to the district and parish councils was due to be sent out in January 2022 and would include questions such as; the effectiveness of any existing 20mph zones in their localities, whether there had been any community engagement on this issue and whether their council had recently passed a similar motion.

·         The questionnaire would form part of the useful guidance for GCC officers in their future planning.

 

5.2       The Committee were reminded that a full response to the actions outlined in this report would be brought to their meeting in January and this item was a brief update on the position.

 

5.3       Members stressed that the questions in the questionnaire needed to be sufficiently open and include an ask for those councils receiving it to carry out consultation on the issue within their communities.

 

5.4       It was noted that the questionnaire was just one of the actions being used to produce this piece of work and inform any future policy. Questions had been left general in order to avoid expectation as this more about gaining an understanding of people’s views at this stage.

 

5.5       There was a discussion about potential cost savings for localities through the use of batching. Some members were keen to have this information as upfront as possible as it may be that many localities were put off the idea of TRO schemes at the moment due to the cost.

 

5.6       As any future policy had not yet been worked up, it was difficult to comment on exact costings at this stage, however, a general example would be that to raise one legal order for a TRO cost around 10K and then the associated works to implement the change cost anything upwards from 5K. The benefit of batching may be a reduction in the initial legal order cost. Any associated works costs would remain the same regardless.

 

5.7       In exploring this point, a member suggested that if this was a GCC policy in the future, would it not be that the expense of the legal TRO would be borne by GCC as the policy implementer. It was confirmed that once the policy had been finalised, it would be up to Cabinet to discuss any finance attached to it, plus further approval from full Council to be implemented. It was not a case of applying blanket funding approaches, the policy as it stood was safety led and any money spent on such schemes needed to go through priority assessments prior to approval.

 

6.

Work Plan pdf icon PDF 49 KB

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

Minutes:

Members noted the future items in the attached work plan and suggested the following to be added:

 

·         School street trials

·         Climate Leadership Gloucestershire update

·         E-scooter trial update

·         Restoring our Rivers Task Group update (to note)

·         Natural Flood Management