Agenda and draft minutes

Place, Sustainability & Climate Change Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 11th March, 2024 10.00 am

Venue: Chamber - County Hall, Carmarthen. SA31 1JP and remotely. View directions

Contact: Janine Owen  01267 224030

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors S. Allen, P. Cooper, J. James, T.A.J. Davies and T. Higgins.

 

2.

DECLARATIONS OF PERSONAL INTEREST INCLUDING ANY PARTY WHIPS ISSUED IN RELATION TO ANY AGENDA ITEM.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of any prohibited party whips.

There were no declarations of interest made.

 

3.

PUBLIC QUESTIONS (NONE RECEIVED)

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Minutes:

The Chair advised that no public questions had been received.

 

It was raised that, as this item, was a standing agenda item, more promotional work to encourage public questions should take place.  The Cabinet Members to work with the Communications team to consider promoting the areas for scrutiny in accordance with the Committee’s Forward Work Plan.

 

4.

2023/24 QUARTER 3 - PERFORMANCE REPORT (01/04/23-31/12/23) RELEVANT TO THIS SCRUTINY pdf icon PDF 112 KB

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Minutes:

 

The Committee received a performance report which provided the progress at the end of 2023/24 Quarter 3.  Members as part of their role to scrutinise performance considered the progress on the actions relevant to this Committee which were linked to the actions and measures linked to the Corporate Strategy 2022-2027 and Well-being objectives.

 

Cabinet Members for Climate Change, Decarbonisation and Sustainability and Transport, Waste and Infrastructure Services presented the areas within their portfolio.

 

The following queries were raised in relation to the report:-

 

·       Reference was made to the complaints section on page 2 of the report.  It was commented that as the figures were off target was there something that could be done to improve these?  The Head of Environmental Infrastructure stated that a number of complaints were complex in their nature these often took longer to investigate which then would go beyond the 14-day target.  Members were assured that the complainant was kept informed at all times of the complaint timeline.

 

·       Reference was made to action 16559 - Implement updated Highway Management System to deliver a risk-based inspection and repair policy.  It was asked since the implementation of the system, had the repair programme improved?  The Cabinet Member for Transport, Waste and Infrastructure Services explained that the existing highway management system had been updated to implement the risk-based approach for inspection and repair in line with the Highways Asset Management Plan (HAMP) which sets out the prioritisation of the repairs of the road network. 

 

A concern was raised that the target of 90 days to repair a defective road complaint was too long and that a review of this was needed as the rural roads in particular were suffering.  An additional comment was raised in support that a lot could happen in 90 days which extended the risk of liability to the Authority escalating potential insurance claims.

 

·       Reference was made to the number of stage 1 complaints cited on page 2 of the report.  Disappointment was expressed in regard to the figures cited - out of 253 complaints only 161 were dealt with on time.  In addition, in regard to stage 2 complaints – off target, it was commented that the statement provided was not a remedial action - ‘it is not possible for senior officers to complete the investigation’.  It was felt that this was another way of saying that there were not enough resources to manage the situation.  The Business Improvement Manager agreed that the data in relation to stage 1 complaints was not ideal however, in acknowledging that the demand on officer’s time was causing an issue it was currently being reviewed.  As stated earlier, complaints in the stage 2 phase were more complex taking longer to investigate however, this was negotiated with the complainant.

 

·       In addition to the acknowledgement of the continued deterioration of unclassified roads, focus was drawn to the 3 quarters of the reports that were on-target and praise was conveyed to the team in this achievement.

 

·       In response to a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

POTENTIAL DEVELOPMENT OF IN-HOUSE PEST CONTROL AGENCY pdf icon PDF 118 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report which provided information in regard to the potential development on an In-House Pest Control Agency. 

 

The Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Decarbonisation and Sustainability, in presenting the report asked the Committee to provide their views on whether officers should prepare a detailed business case as part of the pre-decision process for policy development prior to submission to Cabinet.

 

The following comments/queries/observations were raised in relation to the report:-

 

·       Positive feedback was provided in regard to the idea and content of the report, it was felt that a development of an in-house pest control service would be beneficial and have a positive outcome.

 

·       It was commented that whilst not all private companies consider the wider holistic reasons as to why a rat problem is an issue, this was an area that the Council could achieve.


 

·       It was proposed that the developed business case be provided to the Scrutiny Committee for further consideration.  This would allow the Committee to consider the detail including costs and resources.  This was duly seconded.

 

·       It was raised that in developing a business case, the service provided by the Authority needed to be a more responsive holding its own against any commercial provision and agreed that the holistic approach is an important factor.

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED TO RECOMMEND TO CABINET that:- 

5.1 a detailed business case for the development of an in-house Pest Control Agency as part of the pre-decision process for policy development be undertaken.

5.2 the development of the detailed business case be provided to Scrutiny for consideration.

 

6.

SHORELINE MANAGEMENT & COASTAL ADAPTION IN CARMARTHENSHIRE pdf icon PDF 103 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Committee received a report on the Shoreline Management & Coastal Adaption in Carmarthenshire for comment.

 

The Cabinet Member for Climate Change, Decarbonisation and Sustainability highlighted that whilst Members had previously received the report for scrutiny by e-mail later in October and November of last year, it was placed on the formal agenda for further comment. 

 

The following comments/queries/observations were raised in relation to the report:-

 

·       The Chair reminded Members that a letter had been sent to the Minister for Climate Change on behalf of the Committee seeking additional funding in the quest to help fight against adverse rainfall and storm conditions as a result of climate change.

 

·       In recognising that the Carmarthenshire had a 90km of coastline to manage, a number of comments were made in regard to the difficult decisions that had to be made to spend money on defences.  Balancing the need for hard-engineering or managed realignment was a difficult decision with circa 2300 residential homes at risk from coastal erosion.


 

·       In order to show Members the defence work that in place and the issues arising, it was suggested that the Committee consider arranging a site visit to observe areas where work has been undertaken in terms of coastal defence and what was deemed dangerous awaiting work.  Officers would consider appropriate sites for the Committee to visit.

 

·       Reference was made to page 4 of the report.  In regard to the procurement of the topographical survey of the coast, it was asked if other Authorities had paid for this work to be undertaken or had this Authority purchased on a stand-alone basis?  The Flood Defence and Coastal Protection Manager explained that whilst the Welsh Coastal Monitoring Centre (WCMC) commission a baseline survey this Authority had requested some additional work predominantly due to the complexity of the three rivers area to ensure full coverage.

 

·       Reference was made to point 6, page 6 of the report.  In respect of Engaging with landowners and developers of industrial and former industrial sites it was asked if more information could be provided in regard to the nature of the engagement with landowners.  The Flood Defence and Coastal Protection Manager explained that funding had been received for a new Coastal Adaption Officer.  The aim of this role would be community based, liaising with those communities at risk of flooding discussing and sharing what actions they would like to achieve and implement. 


 

7.

FORTHCOMING ITEMS pdf icon PDF 88 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Due to technical difficulties, this item was considered at the reconvened meeting on 22nd March 2024

8.

TO SIGN AS A CORRECT RECORD THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE COMMITTEE HELD ON THE 30TH JANUARY 2024 pdf icon PDF 132 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Due to technical difficulties, this item was considered at the reconvened meeting on 22nd March 2024