Agenda item



The Committee received a report presented by Councillor C. Campbell, Executive Board Member for Communities and Rural Affairs providing an update on the Council’s Corporate Strategy for 2018-23, as at April 2021.


The report detailed the progress being achieved against the Council’s Well Being objectives adopted in June 2018, as amended to reflect developing priorities and the impact of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, Brexit and climate change.


The Committee noted that while it was considered good practice to ensure the Corporate Strategy was up to date and resources allocated to priorities, the Improvement Objectives must be published annually in accordance with both the Local Government (Wales Measure 2009) and The Well-being of Future Generations Act.


Supporting presentations were also made by Executive Board Members Councillors H. Evans, Executive Board Member with responsibility for Environment and P.M. Hughes, Executive Board Member for Public Protection in relation to their specific portfolios.


The following questions/issues were raised on the report:-


·      Reference was made to Well-being objective 8 - Support community cohesion, resilience & safety.  In relation to the statistic that five years ago 73% of Carmarthenshire residents felt they lived in a cohesive community, concern was expressed that this had reduced to half (51.5%).  It was asked, if there was an explanation for the significant reduction?  The Executive Board Member for Communities and Rural Affairs explained that a report was recently presented to Executive Board on work surrounding social cohesion.  Following extensive consultation, it was evidenced that tensions had arisen around the Brexit debate, which had divided families, friends and communities.  In addition, the report recognised that the Covid-19 pandemic was also a contributing factor as well as the public debate on the Black Lives Matter movement.


It was requested that the abovementioned report to Executive Board be forwarded to Committee Members.  This was duly noted and would be actioned accordingly.


·      Reference was made to Community Resilience (WBO 8).  Whilst acknowledging that the pandemic was a significant challenge which brought communities together, however there was an escalating issue in Carmarthenshire due to climate change, the consequences of which had resulted in reoccurring examples of flooding.  It was asked if the Council was able to learn from this period in order to build more community resilience? The Executive Board Member for Communities and Rural Affairs explained that during the pandemic many communities worked together to help the most vulnerable.  In relation to flooding specifically, it was accepted that flooding incidents were occurring more frequently, highlighting that due to the complexity of the of the issues it was suggested that the best way to tackle the reoccurring issues would be to develop a strategic long-term solution by working together with the Welsh Government, Natural Resource Wales (NRW), Carmarthenshire Council and Farmers Unions.


Whilst understanding the challenges, it was raised that it would be beneficial for more opportunities to be available for communities to work alongside 3 sector organisations, particularly in the recovery process.


·      Reference was made to WBO 10.  It was raised if the role of ‘Plastic Free Carmarthenshire’ should be present in this objective as a Healthy and Safe Environment and is the Council still working towards this?  The Executive Board Member for Communities and Rural Affairs stated that the Council had passed a policy to cease ‘Single Use Plastics’ and that whilst there were discussions currently taking place with other public bodies it was acknowledged that there was still a lot of work to be achieved. However, it was further reported that by now, many of the schools throughout Carmarthenshire would be plastic free.  The Executive Board Member for Environment added that following a brief hiatus on this matter due to the pandemic the Council was now actively working towards the goal of discontinuing sourcing all Single Use Plastic.  In relation to the question of including with WBO 10 this would be considered.


·      In reference to WBO 11 and the section of improving transport to school, it was asked if there had been any progress made with the Welsh Government on changing the distances for home to school transport?  The Executive Board Member for Environment explained that the Welsh Government had asked all Local Authorities for detailed feedback and that she was waiting for the results to be published.


·      It was asked if the Committee would consider setting up a climate commission similar to some other councils who were working with the Climate Foundation.  It was suggested that a feasibility study could be undertaken to look into forming a climate commission





·      Reference was made to WBO 7 – Live Well – Help people live health lives. In relation to substance misuse it was asked if consideration had been made into looking into safe places/rooms for individuals to go to in desperate need.  Executive Board Member for Public Protection stated that there were a number of safe places available for individuals who substance misuse to utilise.  The Executive Board Member for Community and Rural Affairs explained that there was a very effective organisation called DDAS who provide support for drug users and provide safe places.  Following a recent meeting with the Chief Superintendent specifically about drugs where it was reported that there was a significant problem with County lines all across Carmarthenshire.  In light of this information, the importance of DDAS and other such organisations who currently provide invaluable support was highlighted.


·      With regard to the flooding issues, it was commented that in years gone past gravel was removed from the riverbeds to prevent rivers overflowing.  It was suggested that that reintroducing dredging of the rivers to make room for the water would serve as preventative measure to avoid further flooding incidents. The Executive Board Member for Environment stated that NRW were currently investigating the possibility of reintroducing the method of dredging rivers.


·      In response to a query raised regarding the impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on the air quality in Carmarthenshire, the Executive Board Member of Public Protection stated there had been a significant improvement in the air quality since the beginning of the pandemic.  A report will be presented to the Committee at the next meeting which will refer to this information.


·      Reference was made to the key success measures of WBO 10 located on page 34 of the report.  It was suggested to include an additional key success measure in relation to the energy reduction.  The Executive Board Member for Communities and Rural Affairs agreed with the suggestion as a significant amount of work had been undertaken to reduce carbon emissions and the inclusion of this key measure would show the success in many aspects of the work. 


UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the Corporate Strategy 2018/23 Update April 2021 report be received.


Supporting documents: