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Agenda and minutes

Venue: Council Chamber - County Hall, Bythesea Road, Trowbridge, BA14 8JN. View directions

Contact: Stuart Figini  Email: stuart.figini@wiltshire.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

70.

Apologies

To receive any apologies or substitutions for the meeting.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Apologies have been received from Cllr Dr Nick Murry.

71.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting

To approve and sign the minutes of the Environment  Select Committee meeting held on 9 November 2021.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

The minutes of the Environment Select Committee meeting held on 9 November 2021 were approved and signed.

72.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable interests or dispensations granted by the Standards Committee.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest.

73.

Chairman's Announcements

To receive any announcements through the Chair.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Recent meetings

The Chairman commented on meetings he had attended since the last Environment Select Committee meeting in November 2021. The Chairman had attended two Financial Planning Task Group meetings on 26 November 2021 and 7 January 2022. The Vice Chairman also attended the meeting on the 7 January.

74.

Public Participation

The Council welcomes contributions from members of the public. To ensure Wiltshire Council COVID-19 public health guidance is adhered to, a capacity limit for public attendance at this meeting will be in place. You must contact the officer named on this agenda no later than 5pm on Monday 10th January 2022 if you wish to attend this meeting. Places will be allocated on a first come first served basis and all requests may not be accommodated if there is high demand.

 

Statements

Members of the public who wish to submit a statement in relation to an item on this agenda should submit this electronically to the officer named on this agenda no later than 5pm on Monday 10th January 2022. Up to 3 speakers are permitted to speak for up to 3 minutes each on any agenda item. Please contact the officer named on the front of the agenda for any further clarification.

 

Questions

To receive any questions from members of the public or members of the Council received in accordance with the constitution.

 

Those wishing to ask questions are required to give notice of any such questions in writing to the officer named on the front of this agenda no later than 5pm on the 5th January 2022 in order to be guaranteed of a written response. In order to receive a verbal response questions must be submitted no later than 5pm on7th January 2022. Please contact the officer named on the front of this agenda for further advice. Questions may be asked without notice if the Chairman decides that the matter is urgent.

 

Details of any questions received will be circulated to Committee members prior to the meeting and made available at the meeting and on the Council’s website.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

 

There was no public participation.

 

 

75.

Climate Emergency Task Group

To receive an update from the Task Group on its work since November 2021.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Cllr Graham Wright, Chairman of the Task Group, who provided an update on the work of the Climate Emergency Task Group since November 2021. The task group has met with external experts and received presentations from officers on the Green and Blue Infrastructure Strategy. The Task Group has worked to note public concerns and identify areas where quick wins could be achieved. They have identified overwhelming support to provide low carbon housing. It was also mentioned that the group would compare Wiltshire Council with other council’s progress on tackling the climate emergency. Cllr Wright thanked officers for their work to produce real results and thanked task group members for their enormous efforts.

 

There was a question on where the council stands with regards to wind turbines and wind power. The Chairman of the Task Group clarified that the task group does not make decisions but has raised this.

 

A question was also raised on whether there was any progress on policy going forwards on Wiltshire farms and ear marking land for solar panels. It was clarified that there were discussions happening surrounding this and it had been raised with the cabinet member. It was raised that the people farming the land currently would soon need to become part of this conversation. The Chairman of the Task Group offered to put this up on the agenda and report back at the next Environment Select Committee meeting.

 

Resolved:

 

1.    To note the update on the Task Group activity provided.

2.    That the Task Group will update the select committee regarding council farms and renewable energy.

76.

Highways Annual Review of Service 2021

To receive the Highways Annual Review of Service 2021. 

The performance of the Council’s contractors and their supply chains are important inmaintaining thecondition ofthe highwayassets andensuring anefficient andeffective highways service.Their performance is continuously monitored and is reviewed andreported annuallyto the select committee.

 

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member Transport Waste Street Scene and Flooding, Cllr Dr Mark McClelland, introduced the report. He highlighted the decrease in the number of potholes as a key success but acknowledged road surface skidding resistance, condition of traffic signals and ash die back as areas of concern. Head of Highways Asset Management & Commissioning, Dave Thomas, presented the report. Key points covered included:

 

·       The LED streetlights project was nearly finished, which would result in a monetary saving of £1.5 million per year on electricity costs.

·       The network management permits scheme had dealt with 5,567 applications.

·       The serious reduction in number of people killed and seriously injured on Wiltshire’s roads, although it was acknowledged that this could be due to coronavirus restrictions however collision rates did not bounce back.

·       The considerable reduction in capital fund money.

·       The number of potholes had dropped, but public perception of work against potholes had gotten worse.

·       Public satisfaction had gone from amber to red.

 

Questions and comments on the report followed which included the following points:

 

·       Decisions about how to deal with potholes based upon inspection. Progress made this year to improve speed of reaction to potholes. It was explained that the area teams now have iPads to allow potholes to be dealt with in real time and streamline classification process.

·       Increased need for drain and gully clearance due to adverse weather, with more reports of localised flooding. The discretionary reactive service very finite, considerable pressures getting to villages in rural communities. This was recognised but noted that over next few years there would be more funding from the council to address flooding issues at prioritised sites. It was also highlighted that the flood working group were investigating this and work with landowners to prevent water leaving their land and entering highways.

·       Kerbside degradation. The officer highlighted the annual programme that deals with this especially on the rural network. Intelligence gathered by local highways teams on where to target degradation, could always do more, but restricted by lack of resources. 

·       The potential to use waste plastic to fill potholes. Northumberland Council were keen on this idea but found early failure on the areas where this was used as in very cold conditions plastic becomes very brittle and cracks. To ensure longevity officers recommended looking at use of old vehicle tires instead.

·       Road resurfacing is currently green but lower budgets mean that we would need to move from better more expensive treatments to cheaper treatments that lack that longevity, potentially resulting in shortfall down the road. 

·       Whether there is a cheaper option of highways contractor to counter capital concerns. The officer highlighted that performance was also important and lower costs aren’t worth it if the service is poor. It was also noted that current industry prices are stratospheric due to uncapped gas prices for industry so there was great deal of price uncertainty. The committee were also assured that a robust process is in place to assess next contract.

·       Approach to active travel and balancing interests of  ...  view the full minutes text for item 76.

77.

Streetscene and Grounds Maintenance Contract Procurement Update

To receive a report updating the Committee on the scope, procurement details and key operational decisions taken to ensure an effective and robust service whilst also achieving key carbon reduction targets and budget savings.

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

The Cabinet Member Transport Waste Street Scene and Flooding introduced an update on the Streetscene and grounds maintenance contracts procurement. He detailed that it would entail a large restructure and stated that the cabinet was committed to devolving more responsibility to Parish and Town Councils. 

 

The update was then delivered by Head of Highway Operations, Adrian Hampton. He clarified that the contract will be put to tender on 1st of March with the aim of a new provider in December. It was explained that the contract focused on flexibility and cost efficiency, with decisions on output from Wiltshire Council and decisions on how to achieve this efficiently by the contractors. Where Wiltshire Council had the expertise, this would not need to be covered by the contractors. The new contract would utilise officer’s experience to ensure the best provision for Wiltshire Council and deliver savings of 10% per anum (£400,000 per anum).

 

The Head of Highway Operations and Cllr Dr McClelland responded to a number of questions and comments from the Select Committee which included the following areas:

 

·       Whether Wiltshire Council have the equipment to encourage wildflower growth. It was clarified that there would be flexibility in the new contract to decide how that land would be managed and the ability to plan with local communities.

·       The service delegation of play areas to Parish and Town Councils, as out of 1,050 play areas only 50 are still run by Wiltshire Council. It was highlighted that there are grants available for these transfers and officers can assist with the handover.

·       The cost of fly-tipping and how the contract would improve transparency on this and speed up clearing of fly-tipped waste to improve satisfaction.

·       The need to improve communication regarding verge cutting between Wiltshire Council and parish councils to ensure sufficient space to walk. It was clarified that this comes under highways not Streetscene but would be fed back to the right team.

·       That the identified sheltered areas will not be part of the contract or depo occupation going forward. It was clarified that funding has previously been allocated for a Depo Strategy Review.

 

Resolved:

 

That the Committee:

 

1.    Notes the content of this report which updates and details the procurement activities underway for a new streetscene and grounds maintenance contract including:

a.    the increased focus on environmental prerequisites and achieving carbon reduction targets

b.    the review of service operations with possible scope to be included in the contract

 

2.    Requests that an update report comes back to the select committee in November 2022.

78.

Fly-tipping Enforcement in the Wiltshire Council area

To receive a briefing note updating the Select Committee on the council’s current approach and ongoing continual development to the enforcement of fly-tipping in Wiltshire.

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

A briefing note on the council’s approach to fly-tipping in Wiltshire was presented. The Cabinet Member Transport Waste Street Scene and Flooding, Cllr Dr Mark McClelland, emphasized the council’s commitment to tackling fly-tipping. He explained that work was being done to highlight the consequences and improve communication about the topic, although accepted the need to go much further on enforcement including both covert and overt measures. It was also clarified that this is a heavily regulated area which impacts the way that actions can be taken. 

 

Enforcement Officer, Pete White, provided more detail on this. He explained that Wiltshire Council as an enforcement authority have to follow same procedures as police do in investigation of fly-tipping offences. It was clarified that fly-tipping is on a downward trend, as of December the lowest since 2013 and that there were 22% less fly tips this year as opposed to last year. The Enforcement Officer explained that work was being done to clear the backlog of investigations caused by the pandemic. He also stated that work needed to be done to stop fly-tipping at the source through ensuring people do not give their waste to fly-tippers.

 

The Enforcement Officer then responded to questions and comments from the Select Committee which included the following areas:

 

·       The considerable amount of evidence that is required to for a criminal conviction for fly-tipping.

·       That Wiltshire Council is not responsible for clearing fly-tipped waste from private land.

·       Whether alternative options for seized fly-tipping vehicles could be explored, for example sale of the vehicles to recover costs.

·       Cllrs thanked the Enforcement Team for their amazing work and acknowledged the difficulty of the role in a large rural county.

·       The potential for use of covert or overt cameras to gather evidence against fly-tippers in fly-tipping hotspots. Issues mentioned included the approval process for covert cameras and risk of destruction of overt cameras. 

·       The potential to look holistically at fly-tipping in all the forms it takes, enforcement and prevention.

 

Resolved,

 

That the Committee notes:

 

1.    The content of this report which updates and details the current procedures regarding fly tipping enforcement.

2.    The continued service development which maintains and enhances the environmental enforcement service delivery to combat fly tipping.

3.    And requests that a holistic view is taken to fly-tipping across the council and that lessons from the work of other local authorities are taken into account.

79.

Forward Work Programme

To note and receive updates on the progress of items on the forward work programme.

 

Under the revised Overview and Scrutiny (OS) arrangements there is now a single OS work programme controlled by the OS Management Committee, linked to priorities in the Business Plan.

 

Therefore it should be noted that, whilst any matters added by Members are welcome, they will be referred to the OS Management Committee for approval before formal inclusion in the work programme for the Environment Select Committee.

 

A copy of the Overview and Scrutiny Forward Work Programme for the Environment Select Committee is attached for reference.

 

 

Supporting documents:

Minutes:

Resolved:

 

1.    To approve the Forward Work Programme, subject to any additional items agreed by Committee at today’s meeting.

80.

Urgent Items

Any other items of business which the Chairman agrees to consider as a matter of urgency.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no urgent items.

81.

Date of Next Meeting

To confirm the date of the next scheduled meeting as 10.30am Tuesday 8 March 2022.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The next meeting of the Environment Select Committee will take place at 10.30am on 8 March 2022.

 

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