Agenda and minutes
Contact: Democratic Services
Declarations of Interest
No declarations of interest were made.
Public Open Forum
The Chair introduced Mr. D. Jackman, Mrs A. Jackman and Mrs. M. Collins, members of Crucorney Environmental Group, who addressed the Select Committee in respect of the item to consider the draft Litter Strategy.
Mr. Jackman explained that the Group:
· Has many volunteers who are involved in litter picking and other environmental activities in the Crucorney community, collecting 350-400 bags of litter annually;
· Is frustrated at the lack of support received from the Council;
· Wants more prominent signage to seek the co-operation of visitors to the National Park to maintain the natural beauty of the area; and
· Asks that the council fulfils its responsibilities to keep its roads and land clean and litter free.
The Group requested that the Council uses its authority and resources to deliver a more effective anti-litter strategy to include:
· Education – aimed at secondary schools and colleges in particular;
· A publicity campaign to raise public awareness of the menace caused by littering and the cost to the environment;
· Wardens and Police Community Support Officers to be given powers and training to enforce fixed penalty notices for littering (research confirms that enforcement and penalties must be part of any effective litter prevention campaign);
· Partnership with local businesses to show a united front against litter (particularly fast-food, convenience shops, supermarkets and service stations); and
· A measure of litter that is better than LEAMS to include rural areas.
To undertake scrutiny of service delivery across Public Protection services in the first six months of the 2018/19, with comparison to previous years. The Public Protection division comprises of Environmental Health, Trading Standards & Animal Health and Licensing.
1. To consider and comment on the contents of the report entitled ‘Public Protection Performance report 2018/19, first 6 months’.
2. Members receive one annual performance report in future years, to be scheduled in May of each year. In this way, Officers will be able to avoid duplication by sourcing performance information from annual statutory returns. The Division’s 2018/19 performance would therefore be reported to this Committee in May 2019.
3. Members receive one further report each year, to focus on a specific area of interest, adding value to service prioritisation. Officers will be guided by Members as to their particular areas of interest. On this occasion, a service focus on a Trading Standards topic will supplement the six month performance report.
1. In January 2015 Cabinet requested that Public Protection performance was reviewed regularly by this Committee to assess progress over time. As a consequence six monthly reports have been provided to Strong Communities Select committee, together with annual reports to Licensing & Regulatory committee. As per recommendation 2.1 above, it is suggested this becomes one annual report, noting services are largely compliant with regulatory expectations,
and customer satisfaction levels are typically high.
2. The attached report summarises performance over the first six months of 2018/19, and highlights the following:
· The four service teams, for the vast majority of the services they deliver, meet the Authority’s legal obligations in relation to Public Protection services.
· As detailed in Appendix A, there has been an increase in reactive work over the first months of 18/19, to the detriment of some of our proactive work. An example would be a 29% increase in Public Health service requests equates to less proactive private water supply work, (as both functions provided by same Officers). Managers will continue to prioritise workloads and improve performance where required.
· Annual reports will continue to be made to this Committee to assess performance over time and help inform future priorities, noting the competing demands.
· Services may struggle to take on any new statutory duties that protect the public and the environment, and therefore funding must be sought to support any new work.
· Future strategies for sustaining Public Protection services will be developed, (to include further income generation and collaboration), locally, regionally and nationally.
· Services will improve linkages to the Authority’s Corporate Business Plan 2017/22 and other key drivers, for example the Chief Medical Officer Wales’ priorities. The Head of Public Protection and the Trading Standards and Animal Health Manager provided a presentation summarising the performance report and focussing on scams in particular.
The Chair acknowledged the wide portfolio held by the team and the increased pressures and demands that they face. Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking was highlighted as a future item.
· Reporting: The proposal to ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
To present to the Select Committee a draft of a new Litter Strategy and to obtain support and direction on priority areas for work so that the strategy can be finalised for submission to Cabinet.
For Members to provide guidance to Officers on the areas within the action plan that should be prioritised over the next three financial years.
1. In recent years, public concern about the impact on litter has increased as have the public demands on the county council to improve its performance in managing litter. This increase in demand reflects changes in the types of litter, the causes of litter, and wider understanding of the impact of litter on the environment, economy and wellbeing.
2. Despite best efforts in constrained times, last year the independent audit of street cleanliness in the county identified an increase in litter in our communities for the first time in a decade. Given the challenges faced by the Waste and Street services department over the last five to ten years, performance has held up well. However, with further cuts expected and increasing calls for action from the public, the department has reviewed its activity to ensure that its work appropriately targeted the challenges of today and in the coming years.
3. The outcome of the departmental review is to produce a litter strategy. Currently, there are national litter strategies for England and Scotland but not for Wales. Furthermore, this will also be the first publicly available local authority litter strategy in Wales.
The representatives of the Crucorney Environmental Group, having addressed the Select Committee in the Public Forum, remained for consideration of this item.
Questions were asked of the Group by Members as follows.
· Signage: A Member asked the Crucorney Environmental Group where a sign could be best placed to indicate the location of the National Park. It was responded that there are already signs in place but they should be more prominent and contain information about maintaining the special characteristics of the National Park.
· Bins: A Member enquired if bins are available on the route in question. It was responded that bins had been set up by the Environmental Group in laybys and litter hotspots. Volunteers monitor them and empty as necessary. It was explained that the Group funded four bins, McDonalds a further three bins and Landmark (Llwyn Celyn) funded one bin. The Head of Operations confirmed that bins are provided by the Council but it is also arguable that provision does not encourage refuse to be taken home and may encourage fly tipping. Trunk roads don’t have bins provided.
The Recycling Strategy Manager, Environmental Officer and Education and Awareness Officer provided a presentation on the Litter Strategy and Members asked questions as follows:
· Bins: Members considered if provision of bins was the Council’s responsibility noting that town and community councils often provide them. A Committee Member encouraged all Members to have a good relationship with their area supervisors who can advise on sites ... view the full minutes text for item 4.
Usk in Bloom - Performance Report
The Chair welcomed Mr. A. Kear, Usk in Bloom Chairman, and Cath Fallon, Head of Enterprise and Community Development who provided feedback on the success of the organisation over many years focussing on the £3000 one off contribution from the Council.
The Committee congratulated Usk in Bloom on its most recent accolade of being the Winner of Communities in Bloom (World) Small International Category 2018 awarded in Canada which was won on first time entry. It was agreed that this was an amazing achievement that puts us on the world stage and has increased visitor numbers to our county.
· Members paid tribute to the hard work of the Usk in Bloom volunteer team, appreciated the work with the children at Usk Church in Wales Primary School and the rebranding to Town of Flowers. It was suggested that there is an annual contribution as there is a great return on the investment.
· A Member asked for advice for other towns and villages that wish to participate and was informed that it has to be a shared community goal, and that the project is paid for through the goodwill of volunteers, work in kind and the support of businesses.
· It was noted that Llanbadoc Community Council contribute financially.
· A Member expressed interest in a peat free and bee friendly approach and was advised that Usk in Bloom has links with Bee Friendly and the Civic Society, and liaison with the County Council encourages a bee friendly environment in the town.
The minutes of the last meeting were confirmed and signed as a true record.
The Head of Operations referred to an action point from the last meeting following a presentation by Mr. Rogers regarding large vehicles in narrow lanes. It was explained that following correspondence, the local member and Head of Operations had met with Mr Rogers and a decision was taken to not impose any limit on the road. There was further correspondence via the complaints procedure, with Welsh Government and the Countryside Division. Correspondence continues and the Committee will be kept updated.
A Member was interested in the solution to this issue as there is a similar problem in Manson Lane, Monmouth.
The Chair commenced by stating that Officers are reminded to provide presentations suitably in advance of the meeting (so that e.g. font size can be checked) and preferably circulated with the agenda papers.
The next meeting on the 6th December 2018 will be to consider Waste and Recycling only.
Suggestions for the forward work plan include:
· Highways Management Plan ~ Paul Keeble
· Large vehicles on small roads policy
· Chepstow and Monmouth Wye pedestrian
· Open Space Review ~ review of open spaces and the prioritisation and management of highways ~ strategic review rather than operational.
· Gwent Refugees and Asylum Seekers ~ progress report ~ Scrutinised by CYP Select on 29th November 2018. Committee to attend.
· Modern Day Slavery and Human Trafficking ~ topic raised by the Chair for in-depth scrutiny. The Chair and relevant Officer to meet initially with a view to initiating further work in the new year.
· Rights of Way – approval of review after formal consultation in spring ~ scrutiny of the policy that is likely to fall out of the review – prioritisation for public path orders; modification orders.
· Cremations and Burials
· Strategic Equality Report ~ 18th April 2019
· Welsh Language Monitoring Report ~ 6th June 2019
· Fire Service ~ Review by Welsh Government of the governance and funding ~ implications for Monmouthshire.
· Review grounds maintenance service
Thursday 29th November 9.30a.m.-4.30p.m: Visit to an anaerobic waste digestion facility and recycling processing plant (Open to all members).
An update was provided on the Speeding workshop attended by members to assess a process developed by the Road Safety Speed Steering Group. This work now needs to be completed.
It was explained that the authority will undertake more work to co-ordinate enquiries between the Police, Go Safe and Council. This will provide a better opportunity to manage enquiries better. The completed work will be considered again by the steering group before returning to Strong Communities Select Committee for scrutiny. Additionally, the Head of Operations explained about a pilot scheme in Gloucestershire that links automatic number-plate recognition and speed cameras. It was agreed that this may be of interest in Monmouthshire in the future.
The Cabinet and Council forward work programme was noted.
To note the date and time of next meeting as Thursday 6th December 2018 at 10am