Agenda and draft minutes
Venue: Council Chambers, Woodgreen, Witney, OX28 1NB
Apologies for Absence and Temporary Appointments
Councillor Michele Mead substituted for Councillor Norman MacRae, Councillor David Jackson substituted for Councillor Alaric Smith and Councillor Gill Hill substituted for Councillor Martin McBride.
To approve the minutes of the meeting held on 7 April 2022.
In the minutes held on the 23 May 2022, Councillor Coles noted that Councillor Graham was quoted as speaking where it was Councillor Goodwin that spoke. The minutes were corrected, approved and signed by the Chair as a correct record.
Committee appointments and start time for civic year 2022/23
1. Confirmation of appointment of Chair and Vice-Chair for the Committee, civic year 2022/23.
2. Members to agree start time of the Committee for civic year 2022/23.
1. The committee confirms appointment of Chair and Vice-Chair for the Committee, civic year 2022/23.
2. Members to confirm start time of the Committee for civic year 2022/23.
1. Councillor Fenton proposed Councillor Norman MacRae, this was seconded by Councillor Mead, was duly put to the vote which was unanimous and therefore
Resolved that Councillor Norman MacRae be elected as Chair of the Committee.
The Vice-Chair asked for proposal for the Vice-Chair of the Committee, Councillor Goodwin proposed Councillor Charlie Maynard, this was seconded by Councillor Ashton, was duly put to the vote which was unanimous and therefore
Resolved that Councillor Charlie Maynard be elected as Vice-Chair of the Committee.
2. The Vice-Chair informed the committee that Councillor Norman MacRae had suggested that the committee in the civic year 2022/23 should start at 2pm.
Councillor Ruth Smith stated that due to commitments she would prefer start time to be 3:30pm.
Councillor Mead proposed that the start time for the committee should be 2pm, this was seconded by Councillor Alaa Al-Yousuf, was duly put to the vote.
10 votes were in favour of 2pm, two votes against, and one abstention. Resolved the start time for the committee for civic year 2022/23 will be 2pm.
To receive any announcements from the Chair of the Committee.
The Vice-Chair Councillor Charlie Maynard welcomed members, officers, speakers from the Environment Agency, officers from Oxfordshire County Council and members of the public to the committee, and thanking them all for attending.
The Vice-Chair introduced key attendees that were attending outside of West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC):
Evie Kingsmill and Joe Cuthbertson represented the Environmental Agency (EA)
Nick Mottram and Alice Dimaline attended remotely from Oxfordshire County Council.
William Wareing represented the Witney Flood Mitigation Group.
The Vice-Chair informed the committee that he had prepared three slides which would be shown during agenda item 7.
Declarations of Interest
To receive any declarations from Members of the Committee on any items to be considered at the meeting.
There were no declarations of interest received.
To receive any submissions from members of the public, in accordance with the Council’s Rules of Procedure.
The Vice-Chair welcomed William Wareing to the meeting.
Mr Wareing representing the Witney Flood Mitigation Group (WFMG), addressed the Committee, and focussed on:
· Good Maintenance leads to Flood Risk Prevention
· Multi Agency Meetings
· Emergency Planning
· Councillor Engagement
A copy of Mr Wareing’s transcript is attached to these minutes.
The Vice-Chair thanked Mr Wareing for his participation.
To provide the Committee with Witney Flood Report update.
That the Committee notes the report, and provides comment and feedback where needed.
The Vice-Chair asked Environmental Agency (EA) for an update on the Witney Flood Report.
Joe Cuthbertson from EA provided a high level update to the committee, as one of the many agencies involved. The EA role is the organisation that has the strategic overview of all sources of flood risk, which means we support and work with risk management authorities like local flood and highways authorities to ensure that flooding from rivers, drains, road drains and sewage is managed effectively. The operational responsibility for managing response to each of those flood types falls with different organisations. The lead local flood authority would lead on the smaller rivers and surface flood waters. The EA would lead on the main rivers which Witney has and the EA has a role.
In response to the report Mr Cuthbertson briefed on the following:
· Flood warning was late – upgrades have been done to flood warning arrangements, to enable an earlier and more reliable warning in the future. The breach threshold has been lowered, upstream the flow gauge has an alarm fitted to ensure earlier warnings.
· Engagement with the Witney Flood Mitigation Group – meetings have occurred and EA will commit to continue engagement.
· Medium term – EA have made bids for funding for river maintenance for example removing some of the larger blockages, river banks are cleared, this is in addition to the maintenance plan. This is a limited source of funding and staffing to carry out maintenance, which has been extended for Witney, which is in place for this financial year, work has begun.
· Looking at riparian owners’ rights – owners that have properties that back onto the banks of rivers, it is their responsibility to keep it clear. Working with the Witney Flood Mitigation Group to identify these owners. EA will advise these owners on how they can maintain the river banks to keep them clear.
· Longer term – EA are updating the modelling which informs the EA flood mapping which is published online. Updating this modelling for Windrush and smaller tributaries. This will give more accurate representation of what arears are likely to flood and when. Looking at levels of rainfall that are likely to cause flooding. New modelling expected early 2024, there is a limited team working on this for the whole country. EA is exploring every avenue it can to assist Witney residents. An economic assessment will then be made following the update to see what could be put in place for Witney.
The Vice-Chair thanked Mr Cuthbertson for the update and went onto announced that Councillor Enright was organising an Emergency Flood Planning meeting on 6 July, which will focus on human side of emergency planning, which all present was invited to. Today however should be focused on the division of responsibilities between the parties present at the committee in terms of maintenance of the rivers rather than the emergency actions, which will be Councillor Enright’s focus on 6 July.
The Vice-Chair slides were then shown at the ... view the full minutes text for item 7.
To provide the Committee with a report on projects to be scrutinised during 2022/23.
That the Committee notes the report, and provides comment and feedback where needed.
The Vice-Chair introduced the Climate Change Manager (WODC), Land, Legal and Property, Ness Scott.
Ness Scott gave the committee a verbal update on the Annual Carbon Action Plan 2022/23.
The Annual Carbon Action Plan is focused on decarbonising the Councils estate and reaching the target of carbon neutral by 2030. Within the plan WODC looked at scope 1 emissions, scope 2 emissions, and some of scope 3. Primarily all the councils fossil fuel, and gases and fuels used in the councils buildings and operations, including vehicle fleets, staff travel, business travel, Councillor travel, everything that will be included in the carbon account each year.
Carbon action plan split into three sections:
· council offices, property and sites
· leisure centre buildings
· waste vehicle fleet, machinery and all other vehicles owned by the council
The measures to decarbonise those areas are being carried out by teams that work across those service areas.
Each year the Council looks at how the carbon account figures have changed year on year, that work is being pulled together at the moment, hopefully figures to be completed by end of the summer.
Council offices decarbonisation the main areas are energy sustainability, will be fed into agile strategy, work is in progress as part of the agile project. There will be an impact where staff have been home working and some will continue to do so, also commuter mileage is taken into account. Encouraging staff to cycle or to walk to work, Publica have announced staff salary sacrifice for the purchase of low emission vehicles.
Carbon offsetting strategy, the team are looking at certified schemes to put into place for offsetting carbon.
Leisure focus is on the age of the heating system in our centres. Carterton Leisure Centre heating system approaching end of life. A successful bid for 1.3million contribution to heat pump alternative, with solar panels on the roof has been secured, in the process of developing a business case.
Council Waste Service review working with the management as new service will have a carbon impact and a key driver.
Climate change Strategy that was published last February, for example some of the works included the park and charge work that has just been completed,
Carbon Action Tool Kit has been put forward for an award with LGC Awards 2022.
Bia diversity on land management, great achievements this year, taking forward nature conservation for the councils estates, working with schools and communities, and in the autumn hedgerow planting.
The Vice-Chair thanked Ness Scott for the update and asked for councillors questions.
Councillor Goodwin asked about homeworking using more carbon at home and how that was being addressed.
The Climate Change Manager confirmed there was a balance to be struck, started with question and answer sessions with staff, posted advice to staff on how to reduce energy and how to save on bills at home. Publica have been really open and will support staff with options either working at home or within the offices.
Councillor Goodwin enquired if WODC ... view the full minutes text for item 8.
To provide the Committee with a presentation on the Environmental Services Innovation Programme (ESIP) 2021-22 (Case Study), and benefits delivered by the Litter Bin Placement and Renewal Programme (Case Study).
That the Committee notes the presentation, and provides comment and feedback where needed.
Scott Williams the Business Manager - Contracts, Environmental Services Manager and assisted by Louise Oddy – the Service Designer, gave two slide presentation to the committee. The first on Environmental Services Innovation Programme (ESIP), followed by the Waste Bin Placement and Renewal Programme.
Environmental Services Innovation Programme (ESIP) is a partnership between Cotswold District Council (CDC), Forest of Dean District Council (FoDDC), West Oxfordshire District Council (WODC), Publica and Ubico to deliver shared innovation projects.
Bill Oddy, the Group Manager - Commercial Development, Leadership and Management Team, added that WODC were spending £7.5 million per year and the service has an the impact on climate change.
The Contracts Business Manager focused on the main priority areas and ESIP Year 1 (2021-22) achievements, concluding that the initial targeted £400k worth of additional income/savings and have achieved £850k.
The next presentation was on the Waste Bin Placement and Renewal Programme, focusing on the programme, challenges and year 2 (2022/23) key projects.
Copy of the slides are attached to these minutes, with a copy of the case studies.
Following the presentations Mr Williams invited the committee to ask questions and comment on the service.
Councillor Coles thanked Scott Williams and Louise Oddy for their work and commitment, however he was not convinced that the service was not as successful as we thought, given the savings could more bins be provided. He did not believe the message take litter home was getting through, especially dog waste and questioned accuracy of the recycling waste as it was deposited into the same bin. Councillor Coles also reported that a resident had informed him that a call to WODC re bins was referred to Town Council. Problem is residents are being told to refer to Town Council and then Town Council are referring back to WODC. Councillor Coles also confirmed he had offered to meet Ubico to show them where a bin is desperately required near Springfield Oval.
The Service Designer clarified that waste was in clear bags so that when collected recyclable waste could be clearly visible, and therefore checked and can be delivered to recycling.
The Group Manager – Commercial Development stated all the bins are paid for, supplied by and installed by WODC, whether they are highways (responsibility of Town/Parish council), or on private land. Confusion may lie where bins lie on private land, collections are paid by Town/Parish Council but still done by Ubico. There has been an increase in capacity to reduce overflow bins and the data available suggests there is a dramatic reduction in reports of overflowing bins, so this is working. New dog waste bins are 90 litres, whereas the old ones were only 30 litres. Ubico will continue to look at locations to improve services as an on going process. In residential areas, a significant number of bins were located in ex council estates. The councils new policy is to encourage residents to take litter home, if there is a particular problem in a certain area we ... view the full minutes text for item 9.
To give the Committee the opportunity to comment on the Q4 Performance Monitoring Report.
That the Committee decides whether to express a view to the Cabinet on the Q4
Performance Monitoring Report.
Bill Oddy the Group Manager - Commercial Development, introduced the quarter four Service Performance Report. He advised the Committee to focus on page 81/82 and 96, on the end of year report 2021/22. He added that there were challenges during the pandemic but it was good to see missed bin collections were reducing.
The Vice-Chair asked the committee if they had any questions on the report.
Councillor Coles noted that there were increases in fly tipping. The Group Manager – Commercial Development remarked it was most probably due to council sites being closed during the pandemic.
Councillor Jackson enquired if Councillors could be informed if bins were missed so that they could be pre warned before residents contacted them.
The Group Manager – Commercial Development confirmed that with the new in cab technology they were starting to use smart systems and were working towards Ward Councillors could be informed in future of missed collections. At present it is on the Council website, in the future we should be able to email individual residents.
To give the Committee the opportunity to comment on the Cabinet Work Programme 2022/23.
That the Committee decides whether to express a view to the Cabinet on relevant
issues in its Work Programme.
The Group Manager – Commercial Development, Bill Oddy guided the committee to focus on the PSDS 3 Carterton, which was a huge project. Cabinet will also need to make decisions on the Waste Contract review, this scrutiny committee should will need to scrutinise that piece of work, as a priority, and probably for Finance Management Overview and Scrutiny committee.
The Vice-Chair noted that the contract partnership was a huge expenditure and was due for review, could there be a joint Committee meeting, between Climate and Environment and Finance Management scrutiny committees.
The Group Manager – Commercial Development reminded Councillors they could attend the finance Management Scrutiny committee if they wanted to.
The Climate Change Manager did not think PSDS 3 Carterton was ready yet to go to Cabinet in July so there was time.
Councillor Al-Yousuf reminded members that there had been a joint Economic and Environment Committee meeting earlier in the year, however there could be constitutional reasons why committees are separated, it would need to be looked into.
Councillor Coles reminded the committee they could have an additional committee meeting if necessary. Also this committee should look at approval of funding for West End Link, as there is a flood plain in the meadow for example which falls into this committees remit. Councillor Brooker and Councillor Pearson also referred to West End Link, and the Local Plan.
To provide the Committee with an updated Work Programme for 2022/23
That the Committee notes the work programme and provides comment where needed
The Vice-Chair looked at the provisional plan set out at the moment, but asked for suggestions from the committee for additional items to be added.
Councillor Goodwin raised that the Climate Action Working Group used to be a meeting on its own, separate from the scrutiny committee, he did not feel 25 minutes did the Carbon Action Plan justice, and wanted a separate meeting again for two hours where all climate issues could be focussed on.
Councillor Al-Yousuf informed the Committee that there had been several discussions on Councillor Goodwin’s point. This committee if it feels it wants it could dedicate a meeting to one topic, or have additional meetings. It’s a decision for the whole committee to decide. Additionally to form a separate working group is difficult in getting staff, and councillors together all at one time.
Councillor Ruth Smith knows the Cabinet member for Climate Change was asking how climate Change should be approached, so this committee could liaise or recommend suggestions to the Cabinet member.
The Vice-Chair asked the Group Manager – Commercial Development what his guidance would be with the Committee Work Programme. The Group Manager – Commercial Development eluded to the committee looking at cost, issues, procurement, and climate change decisions for the Work Programme. The committee here, is to add significant value and scrutiny to anything that comes its way, not to look into all the detail, the officers do that, but to scrutinise the higher level decisions. The Group Manager – Commercial Development also suggested that the Committee could if it wanted to, set up a small working group to work with the officers to report back to this Committee, that is all in the committees power to do so, however officers are more than capable in dealing with the detail and reporting back to the committee.
Councillor Coles added that the reason the Climate Action Working Group was set up, it emerged from a motion, and that motion has now concluded with the setting up of the Climate Action Plan.
Councillor Mead added that a working group is a task and finish group, there are no minutes that go out to the public domain, therefore you lose transparency and you are unable to have public engagement. Whereas this committee allows open and honest transparency and public engagement.
Councillor Goodwin hoped that the Cabinet Member for Climate Change would set the agenda for this so that it can be scrutinised.
Councillor Booker, stated that in September there are already many items on the agenda. Perhaps there could be one for Climate on its own once the Cabinet Member for Climate Change has announced the agenda.
The Vice-Chair stated these were pencilled in but it is open for discussion what the Committee wants to review in September and beyond.
The Group Manager – Commercial Development expected the Council to review its corporate plan, clearly that will have elements within it that the Committee should be looking at. That is a significant policy decision, and ... view the full minutes text for item 12.
To receive any questions from Members of the Committee
Councillor Coles raised the following question:
“The last Air Quality records were published in June 2021. Could the Committee be given an expected date when the next one is due for publication please, bearing in mind that these records are always for the previous year?”
1. The Air Quality report is operates on a calendar year basis. .All Air Status Reports (ASR) should be submitted by June 30th each year. The report covers January –December of the previous year. So, this year’s reports, which are in the process of being submitted, cover Jan-Dec 2021.
2. The WODC Team finalise a draft for DEFRA submissions by 30th June
3. DEFRA typically reverts within 1-3 months
4. WODC publishes the results by September/October