To receive an update from the Cabinet Member for the Environment on area’s within his portfolio.
The Committee had before it and NOTED a report of the Cabinet Member for the Environment providing an update on areas within his portfolio.
The Cabinet Member for the Environment was welcomed to the meeting and invited to address the committee. He then outlined the contents of the report stating that he reiterated the Leader’s speech to the Council thanking all the staff for their continued hard work, dedication and diligence to deliver a valued service during these testing times. The work was appreciated and on target. He then referred to the following:
· Managing littering and fly tipping which had increased during the summer months of last year and that there would be a strategic review to reduce littering and fly tipping in the community through education and awareness, better cleaning and infrastructure and the improvement of enforcement.
· Transport issues and that the authority was now into the second year of the partnership with Specialist Fleet Services Limited to continue to provide the supply and maintenance of around 210 vehicles; this reflected good economic and climate change practices.
· Utilising the Community Payback Service and the need for members to notify the service of projects to take forward.
Consideration was given to:
· A strategic review of littering, when would this take place and in what format and who by? - work was taking place with the recycling officers to identify those who were not recycling and providing an education programme, this was work in progress.
· With regard to the proposed 3 weekly collection trial, there were concerns that savings had been shown in the budget for this project and therefore was the project being predetermined before a trial had taken place – the Cabinet Member stated that the outcome of the trial would not be pre-empted, it was proposed that the trial would commence from 21 June (if Covid restrictions allowed)
· With regard to the number of fly tipping offences and whether there were
any outstanding prosecutions – a written response would be provided in the absence of the Operations Manager for Streetscene.
· Specific fly tipping of tyres in Stoodleigh and littering on the A396 and A361 and that discussions were taking place with the Highway Authority with regard to this – the Cabinet Member stated that littering issues on the highways should be reported via the DCC portal alternatively he would be happy to take this up.
· The impact of 3 weekly collections in town centres because of the lack of storage facilities – the Cabinet Member stated that this was being considered.
· The current recycling rate and whether a target of 60% was unrealistic – the 60% was a strategic target for 2025 and was work in progress.
· The recycling of small metal items – there had been problems with capacity (mainly because of the success of the WEE scheme)
· The need to reduce dog fouling – this would be progressed when the PSPO had been finalised.
· Problems with littering of cigarette ends and the need to commend the work of the street cleaners – the Cabinet Member stated that any littering in specific areas should be reported.
· Funding had been sought for dual bins in the town centres.
· Whether the free parking initiatives that had been put in place following the last lockdown and increased footfall and trade in the town – a report had been requested from the Town Centre Partnership
· The areas identified for the 3 weekly recycling trial – this was being worked up but would be urban and rural areas and would be reported to members.
· The reduction in the number of reminders sent as part of the garden waste scheme – this had been reduced to 2 rather than 3.
· The community payback scheme and whether there was any restriction on parish councils seeking to provide work for the scheme – the Cabinet Member directed the member to the officer.
· Whether the community payback scheme could be used for tree planting – landscaping had been identified as part of the scheme
· Issues with requesting to take part in the garden waste scheme – the Cabinet Member requested details and would follow this up.
· Engagement with local supermarkets with regard to recycling – the Cabinet Member was working with officers on this matter and would be writing to local supermarkets.
· Supporting local people who could not make contact with the authority’s online services – assistance was available by telephone.
The Cabinet Member informed the meeting that at the previous meeting he had stated that he would report on the timescales for a costed climate change plan, he was now able to do that: the work would be undertaken by the new climate and sustainability specialist officer and that the plan would be split into work streams and by budget year end. The first report would be provided in May 2021 on the budget outturn, this would be followed by reports in July, September and December 2021 where costs to targets would be provided. Asked whether this work would include housing assets, the officer stated that each section of the work stream would be looked at in time and as much information as possible would be reported.
The Cabinet Member had also attended a meeting with regard to the analysis of the Devon Carbon Plan and a report would be circulated to members of the Environment Policy Development Group and would be shared with other members on request.
The Chairman thanked the Cabinet Member for his attendance.
Note: *Report previously circulated, copy attached to the minutes.