Agenda and draft minutes

Environmental & Public Protection Scrutiny Committee - Monday, 4th October, 2021 2.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting. View directions

Contact: Janine Owen  01267 224030

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

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Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor P. M. Edwards.

2.

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

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Minutes:

 

There were no declarations of prohibited party whips.

 

Councillor

Minute Item(s)

Nature of Interest

J. Gilasbey

6.             6 -2021/22 Quarter 1 Performance Report (1st April to 30th June 2021)

 

An action within the report includes a reference to a school located within her ward in which she has an interest.

She has dispensation to speak but not vote

 

3.

PUBLIC QUESTIONS (NONE RECEIVED)

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Minutes:

The Chair advised that no public questions had been received.

 

4.

EXPLANATION FOR NON-SUBMISSION OF SCRUTINY REPORT pdf icon PDF 97 KB

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Minutes:

 

The Committee received an explanation for the non-submission of the following scrutiny report:

 

·     Highway Asset Management Plan (HAMP)

 

Members noted the revised submission date of 25th November 2021.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the explanation for the non-submission be noted.

 

5.

EMERGENCY FLOOD RESPONSE - STORM EVENT ARRANGEMENTS pdf icon PDF 418 KB

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Minutes:

The Committee received a report on the Emergency Flood Response Storm Event Arrangements.  The report, presented by the Cabinet Member for Environment provided detailed information on how the Council currently deals with and responds to storm events that cause widespread flooding and included the actions that could be expected of the Council.

 

Committee members considered the principles that were set out in the report for responding to flood events during the emergency response phase.

 

Members noted that the pattern of more frequent winter storms that required an emergency response had escalated over recent years.

 

The report concentrated on the main aspects of the operational emergency response phase and information relating to the immediate physical clean-up operation which was part of the recovery phase and in addition, it made reference to the wider aspects of the post event recovery response phase.

 

In response of a storm event resulting in significant flooding, the following distinct phases to manage such an event was reported:

 

· The pre-storm planning phase;

·Reactive immediate response phase during a flood event;

· A recovery response phase immediately following the event.

 

Members considered the following content within the report:

 

·       Partner agencies

·       Carmarthenshire County Council’s Emergency Flood Event Teams(overview)

·       Statutory Responsibilities and Functions (flood related)

·       Carmarthenshire County Council’s Planned Flood Response Process.

·       Private Property Owners Responsibility

·       Post-storm Long Term Actions

 

The following comments/queries were raised on the report:-

 

·       Thanks was expressed to Officers for compiling a comprehensive report which provided information which had been clearly set out.

 

·       Clarification was sought on the level of responsibility that Welsh Government and Natural Resource Wales (NRW) had on the river which caused the significant flooding in Pensarn, Carmarthen.  The Head of Waste and Environmental Services clarified that in general terms, main river flooding resides under the responsibility of the NRW under the umbrella of the Welsh Government’s flood and wider environmental functions.  In relation to the flooding incidents in Pensarn, it was reported the flooding was caused by a combination of factors including the fact that rainwater was not able to discharge from behind the flood defence due to high river water level of the river Towy.  The Head of Waste and Environmental Services informed the Committee that the Council were pursuing Welsh Government funding in order to undertake further work to explore what can be achieved to alleviate the flooding issues within the area of Pensarn, Carmarthen.

 

·       A comment was raised that the information reported in terms of the increase in the number of storms and the subsequent impact on communities was distressing and was likely to be attributed to climate change. 

 

It was raised that whilst householders and businesses had their own responsibilities it was asked what work was being undertaken to encourage communities and in particular vulnerable communities to have an emergency plan and trained emergency wardens?  The Head of Waste and Environmental Services agreed that it was important that communities should aim to be in a strong position to organise self-help and explained that following Storm Callum, engagement took place  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

2021/22 QUARTER 1 PERFORMANCE REPORT (1ST APRIL TO 30TH JUNE 2021) pdf icon PDF 569 KB

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Minutes:

(Note: Councillor J Gilasbey earlier declared an interest in an action within this item).

 

The Committee received the 2021/22 Quarter 1 Performance Report for the period 1st April to 30th June 2021 presented by the Cabinet Members for Environment, Public Protection, Communities and Rural Affairs and Social Care and Health in respect of the areas falling within their portfolios and the Committees remit.

 

The report detailed the progress made against the actions and measures within the Corporate Strategy and on the delivery of the 13 Well-Being Objectives. The Committee noted that 2021/22 was the first year the Council would self-evaluate and report on under the terms of the Local Government and Elections (Wales) Act 2021, especially Part 6 relating to Performance and Governance.

 

The following comments/queries were raised on in relation to the actions attributed to the Environment portfolio:-

 

  • In response to a query raised in regard to action PAM/043, the Cabinet Member for Environment confirmed that the increasing targets were due them being a cumulative quarterly target.

 

  • Reference was made to the fire at CWM Environmental materials recovery facility, Nantycaws, Carmarthen. It was asked if the insurance would cover any fine incurred subject to any targets not being met?  The Cabinet Member for Environment confirmed that the insurance would not cover any fines incurred however, reassured members that strong discussions would take place with the Welsh Government at the end of the year, if necessary. 

 

The Director of Environment informed Members that insuring against matters which were a legal/statutory requirement was not permitted.  In addition, she reported that insurers for CWM Environmental Ltd had accepted liability in relation to the fire and that negotiations were currently taking place.  Furthermore, the Welsh Government had been advised of the situation and the current position and whilst a target league table would continue to be reported, due to the steps in place to correct matters a fine was unlikely.

 

  • The Head of Highways and Transportation, in response to a query raised in relation to gully cleansing stated that the Council currently operate within the budget allocated and currently there was a compliment of 2 full-time and 2 part-time gully cleansing operatives to cover Carmarthenshire.  In response to a further query regarding the allocated budget, the Head of Highways and Transportation stated that in addition to managing the programme of pre-planned inspections there were reactive situations in the main attributed to the weather.

 

  • It was commented that in relation to previous observations regarding setting relevant targets, it was observed that the current targets did not seem to set ambition or strive to improve process or performance by continuing to do what was always done.  The validity of the targets quoted was questioned.

 

 

 

  • Reference was made to action number 14813 cited on page 38 of the agenda pack ‘Deliver Re:fit Cymru (Energy Efficiency) Phase 1 project to achieve energy / carbon savings (NZC-01)’.  Clarity was sought in relation whether this action should read ‘off target’ as the comment stated ‘Phase  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.

7.

FUTURE WASTE STRATEGY pdf icon PDF 495 KB

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Minutes:

The Committee considered the Future Waste Strategy report which was presented by Cabinet Member for Environment.

 

The report information on the proposed future strategy, actions and considerations for the Waste Service, in order to achieve 70% recycling by 2024/25 and provide a base for improvements to achieve zero waste by 2050.

 

The following comments/queries were raised on the report:-

 

·       Reference was made the Service Comparison and Performance Section of the report.  In relation to the table which depicted the performance against collection methodology of the 22 Welsh Authorities in 2019/20, it was observed that the percentage rate of the average reuse, recycling and composting rate across the Authorities seemed to portray little difference despite some already having adopted the Blueprint methodology.  The Cabinet Member for Environment emphasised that the Welsh Government would only provide the necessary funding if the Authority adopted the Blueprint methodology. 

In addition, it was explained to Members that this methodology would facilitate cleaner materials lessening contamination enabling expediate recycling within the UK.  The Head of Waste and Environmental Services explained that the difficulties in relation to the comparison table was that the baseline where Local Authorities started prior to the adoption of the Blueprint methodology was not identified.

 

Furthermore, Members were informed that fundamentally the Blueprint methodology embraced a circular economy, enabling better use of existing materials and adopting better quality of materials supporting the composition of the circular economy.

 

·       In order to raise awareness and inform householders of what material to place in which colour bag and to promote recycling, it was suggested that a leaflet be distributed alongside the annual deliveries.  The Environmental Services Manager stated that in respect of both black bag and blue recycling bag collections, educational letters would be distributed to households where an issue had been identified, this would be supported by a visit if necessary.

 

·       It was asked if the Blueprint methodology were to be adopted, would the glass recycling centres remain in situ as they were a vital service for all communities?  The Environmental Services Manager explained that the current network of Glass Bring Sites would be reduced which would be considered on the basis that the most utilised site would be retained. However, this process would not take place until the weekly glass kerbside collections were in place across the County in 2024.

 

·       A concern was raised echoing the concerns raised within the Waste Collection Engagement Thematic Analysis appended to the report regarding the collection of 3 black bags every three weeks and the possibility that the proposal would increase the likelihood of vermin, odour and fly-tipping in communities.  The Cabinet Member for Environment referred a section within the report, which stated that in 2017, Carmarthenshire County Council commissioned a waste analysis survey to identify the recyclable element of residual waste disposed of through the kerbside residual waste collections.  The results from this study presented in the table, exhibited that 46.1% the contents of residual waste bags (black bag) comprised of recyclable material, food waste and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - ACTION UPDATE pdf icon PDF 114 KB

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Minutes:

The Committee received a report detailing the progress achieved in relation to requests or referrals emerging from previous meetings during 2020/21 and 2021/22 respectively.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the report be received.

 

9.

REFERRAL FROM THE COMMUNITY AND REGENERATION SCRUTINY COMMITTEE - PROVISION OF PAVEMENTS IN RURAL AREAS pdf icon PDF 300 KB

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Minutes:

The Committee received a report for consideration in relation to a referral from the Community and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee in relation to the provision of pavements in rural areas. 

 

Community and Regeneration Scrutiny Committee Members noted during the consideration of the Council’s Draft Annual Report for 2020/21, at its meeting on 1st July, 2021 made reference to the increase in walking and cycling during the pandemic and to the lack of pavements on public highways in many rural areas to facilitate safe walking, with there being over 300 applications for pavements currently outstanding. A view was expressed that the Authority should examine this position, possibly via a Task and Finish Group. As this matter did not fall within the Committees remit Members of the Community and Regeneration Scrutiny committee agreed to refer the matter to the Environment and Public Protection Scrutiny Committee.

 

In addition, the report also included information of a discussion that took place within the Policy and Resources Committee on 21st July 2021 which expressed concern over the backlog of requests for the provision of pavements in rural areas.

 

In acknowledgement that this matter did fall under the remit of this Committee it was raised that this matter was a significant concern which needed to be explored further.  It was therefore proposed that this Committee accept the referral and in order for the Committee to consider the matter appropriately, it was proposed that a report be included on the Committee’s Forward Work Programme to provide background information and the current position in relation to the provision of pavements in rural areas.  This was duly seconded.

 

UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that:

9.1      the Referral from the Community and Regeneration Scrutiny       Committee be received and accepted;

9.2      a report be included on the Committee’s Forward Work Programme to provide background information and the current position in     relation to the provision of pavements in rural areas

 

10.

FORTHCOMING ITEMS pdf icon PDF 199 KB

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Minutes:

The Committee received a list of forthcoming items to be considered at its next meeting to be held on the 25th November 2021.

 

RESOLVED that the list of forthcoming items for the Committee meeting to be held on the 25th November 2021 be agreed.

 

11.

TO SIGN AS A CORRECT RECORD THE MINUTES OF THE MEETING OF THE COMMITTEE HELD ON THE 2ND JULY 2021 pdf icon PDF 439 KB

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Minutes:

RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting of the Environment and Public Protection Scrutiny Committee held on the 2nd July, 2021 be signed as a correct record.