Agenda and minutes
Venue: Herefordshire Council Offices, Plough Lane, Hereford, HR4 0LE
Contact: Simon Cann, Democratic Services Officer
Apologies for absence
To receive apologies for absence.
Apologies were received from Cllr Ellie Chowns, Cllr Gemma Davies and Cllr Jennie Hewitt.
To receive details of members nominated to attend the meeting in place of a member of the committee.
Cllr David Hitchiner substituted for Cllr Ellie Chowns.
Declarations of interest
To receive declarations of interests in respect of Schedule 1, Schedule 2 or Other Interests from members of the committee in respect of items on the agenda.
To receive the minutes of the meeting held on 18 November 2022.
The minutes of the meeting held on 18 November 2022 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
Questions from members of the public
To receive any written questions from members of the public.
There were no questions received from members of the public.
Questions from members of the council
To receive any written questions from members of the council.
There were no questions received from Councillors.
An update on the implementation of the Waste Management Review and the Executive Response to the Waste Management Review Scrutiny Report and Recommendations carried out in 2021
The Committee agreed to look at the item in in the context of the waste hierarchy and divided it into three sections for discussion:
Section 1 - Household waste and the front end of the waste hierarchy (reduce and reuse).
The Committee noted that progress was being made and accepted assurances that the Council was on track to meet the targets within the strategy. Some members questioned the inclusion of the words ‘significant’ and ‘ambitious’ within recommendation (a) and suggested they came across as self-congratulatory.
The Committee suggested that the content of paragraph 19 of the strategy (particularly points 19A and 19C) needed to be stronger and felt greater emphasis should be placed on the circular economy. As an example of how recycling could be encouraged, the Committee pointed to a household recycling centre (HRC) in the neighbouring authority of Monmouthshire, which contained an off-ramp from the main HRC, leading to a repurposed building, where anything with a useful onward life could be deposited for recycling and purchased by the public. It was pointed out that there was no equivalent service within Herefordshire and that the situation should be rectified, temporary classrooms could potentially be repurposed and located at local HRCs where practical.
The Committee acknowledged the benefits of pop-up recycling shops, but highlighted the inconsistency associated with such stores. The Committee stated that charity shops regularly lacked the capacity to process items and that a dedicated on-site recycling building (including a shop that was accessible to the general public) would be a quick and cost-effective way to boost recycling in the county. The Committee requested that an update be provided on 19A and 19C.
The Committee agreed that in relation to reducing waste, the Council needed to get its own house in order and point to what it was doing to encourage the public and local community to follow its example. A joined up approach within the waste hierarchy was needed with all players engaged and the Committee enquired when a waste analysis of residual waste would be available.
The Committee expressed its concerns about reports from Welsh Water in relation to the damage from overflow from blocked pipes, a significant factor in many of these blockages was the incorrect disposal of non-flushable items such as kitchen towels and wet wipes. Education on correct disposal of these and other such items would be crucial in tackling this problem and the Committee suggested that the Council could consider working together with Welsh Water on this issue.
Members of the Committee pointed out that quite often charity shops would not accept certain items and that encouraging and assisting people/communities to set-up and staff repair shops could be something for the Council to incorporate in its strategy.
The Committee enquired about facilitation and how much was being done to bolster the infrastructure to allow people to reuse, repair and reduce waste once they had been educated.
The Committee suggested that the recycling centre booking system presented an excellent opportunity to challenge what ... view the full minutes text for item 37.
An update on the implementation of the Executive Response to the Climate and Ecological Emergency Review Scrutiny Report and Recommendations carried out in 2021.
The Chair noted that the report had already been discussed during previous General Scrutiny meetings and the report was taken as read. Committee members were invited to make general points about the report.
The Committee members made a number of points during the discussion:
· There was a need for greater visibility of manure management plans on planning websites.
· There was a need for KPIs within the delivery plan for neighbourhood development plans (NDPs).
· The work of the Herefordshire Biological Records Centre (HBRC) was praised. It was also suggested that publicity should be given to the fact that members of the public are able to come forward and upload their own data onto the HBRC system.
· A lack of consistency in relation to language was noted and that jumping between terms such as ‘net zero, net neutral and carbon neutral’ should be avoided where possible.
· Concerns were raised regarding enforcement of legislation and regulations in relation to significant hedgerow removal.
The head of environment climate emergency and waste services) and the service manager built and natural environment, responded to the Committee:
· It was pointed out that manure management plans were published as a planning condition.
· Regarding neighbourhood delivery plans it was explained that these would vary from area to area, but that the inclusion of KPIs within the deliver plan could be discussed with the planning team.
· The praise for the HBRC was welcomed.
· The head of environment climate emergency and waste services accepted comments in relation to inconsistent language and terminology and gave an assurance this would be addressed.
· The service manager for built and natural environment acknowledged hedgerow legislation enforcement was challenging and resource heavy, but explained that the planning and ecology teams were working closely together to tackle the issue. There was now a graduate in post and an apprentice due to start who would be focusing heavily on hedgerow legislation enforcement going forward. Improved information on the website regarding where and how members of the public could report breaches of hedgerow regulation was also something that could be put in place to make the process more efficient.
The Committee raised a number of further points:
· It was noted that partners had received an update on the Nature Strategy, but the Committee had not had sight of it. This was seen as part of a wider failing in terms of the Committee not being kept ‘in the loop’ and updated on relevant reports and activity.
· The Committee noted that at Scrutiny Management Board many of the highest scoring business cases for retrofitting had been rejected on affordability grounds. A ‘blue sky’ approach was required and the Council needed to look at everything available in its ‘tool box’. For example, looking into building carbon negative houses upon green areas.
· There was a no evidence of a biodiversity net gain option and there should be a recommendation included on this.
· The Committee asked if there was a mechanism in place for the monitoring of manure management plans. What assurances were ... view the full minutes text for item 38.
This report provides a brief summary update on issues previously considered by the Environment and Sustainability Scrutiny Committee, including responses to information requests made by the Committee, updates on resolutions made by the Committee, including agreeing and signing-off reports and recommendations to the Executive and the Executive response and Executive decision(s) made in respect of scrutiny reports and recommendations.
The Committee took reports on the local plan for Herefordshire and local flood risk management strategy action plan as read. A discussion took place in relation to water course consent forms and the flood risk management action plan, an addition to the existing findings was proposed and approved
It was resolved that:
1) The scrutiny report on the Local Plan; a review of the development of a new Local Plan for Herefordshire, at Appendix 1, is approved by the Environment and Sustainability Scrutiny Committee for submission to Cabinet for consideration.
2) That the Environment and Sustainability Scrutiny Committee’s findings at Appendix 2 in relation to the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy Action Plan be approved and submitted to Cabinet for consideration.
(a) The following finding be added to Appendix 2 of the Local Flood Risk Management Strategy Action Plan:
“Herefordshire Council reviews the water course consent form and involves the ecology team and looks at the connections and linkages between the flood risk management and the nature strategy and the Habitats Regulation Assessment (HRA).”
To consider the work programme for the committee.
The Committee gave consideration to its Work Programme as set out on pages 83-90 of the agenda.
In respect of a potential item on greenways, assurances given to the Chair by Cllr John Harrington in relation to consultation with small business’ on this matter, prompted the Committee to place the item on the reserve list.
The Committee felt that a proposed item on farming was too broad and generic and following discussion on the subject the Committee opted to instead focus on the supplementary planning document (SPD) on agriculture.
The Committee also planned to include the Commission on the River Wye as an item in its next meeting.
It was resolved that: The committee work programme be noted.
Date of the next meeting
Friday 10 March 2023 10.30am
The Committee noted its next meeting date as 10 March 2023.