The Committee received a report, presented by the Cabinet Member for Transport, Waste and Infrastructure Services, which provided key information in relation to the Street Cleansing Strategic Management Plan 2023. The report presented the way in which the Council would review and improve its cleansing service delivery whilst meeting the legislative requirements of the Environmental Protection Act 1990. The Plan would shape the future of the service to deliver the needs of the Local Environmental Quality Management Plan and duties discharged upon the Authority through the Code of Practice on Litter and Refuse and Associated Guidance 2007.
The following queries were raised in relation to the report:-
· Reference was made to paragraph 1.19 of the report which cited that ‘The All-Wales Cleanliness Indicator for 2022-23 is 68.8 and Carmarthenshire currently have a rating of 67.4 placing us 14th overall in Wales.’ In response to a query raised, the Cabinet Member stated that there was confidence that the new Cleansing Service together with collaborative working would further improve upon the All-Wales Cleanliness Indicator in future.
· It was raised that Councillors receive many e-mails from residents reporting full bins which require emptying. In recognising these were often dealt with by local litter picking teams and therefore it was commented that this issue was under-reported having not gone through the Democratic Services reporting channel. The Interim Head of Waste stated that as part of the efficiency savings litter bin receptacles would be reduced by 20% across the County and encouraged members to feed into the monitoring process. In response to a query, the Interim Head of Waste stated that the litter bin receptacles identified for removal throughout the County would be communicated to the respective ward member together with the rational.
· A query was raised regarding the educating the public in respect of the Strategy. The Interim Head of Waste explained that separate to the Street Cleansing Strategic Management Plan there was a robust education and awareness programme which was set out within the Local Quality Environment Plan. In addition, key work was being carried out along side other local Authorities in respect of a developing an All-Wales approach as part of the Caru Cymru project.
· In response to a query raised regarding raising awareness and education through the attendance of shows/fetes/events, the Interim Head of Waste explained that it was not possible to attend all shows/fetes/events, however a list of planned attendance would be shared with members and consideration would be given to developing a process whereby Members could request attendance at local shows/fetes/events should resources allow.
· It was reported that Members would be in attendance at the Urdd Eisteddfod to educate children on reducing waste and recycling.
· Clarity was sought in relation to the strategy to improve upon the current stage on the All-Wales Cleanliness Indicator rating and in striving for improvement included an increase in staffing levels and if so, would the dependency of agency staff be reduced and costs offset? The Interim Head of Waste reported that as part of the strategy, staff would be employed and the reliance on agency staff would be reduced which would take place over the next 3 months.
UNANIMOUSLY RESOLVED that the Report on the Street Cleansing Strategic Management Plan 2023 be received.
At this point, Councillor John James addressed the Committee to inform Members that this meeting was his last meeting as Chair of the Scrutiny Committee. Councillor James having been the Chair of the formerly named Environmental and Public Protection Scrutiny Committee transitioning to the more recently named Place, Sustainability and Climate Change Scrutiny Committee over the last 6 years, extended his appreciation to all Members of the Scrutiny Committee past and present, Vice Chairs, Cabinet Members and Officers for their hard work, support and dedication.
Cabinet Members, Committee Members and Officers extended their gratitude and heartfelt appreciation to Councillor John James for his invaluable years of service. Councillor James’ dedication, passion and leadership to the Committee, had been instrumental in driving the Committee forward for the benefit of the communities within Carmarthenshire.