Agenda and minutes
Sustainability & The Living Environment Scrutiny Panel
Monday, 14th November, 2011 7.30 pm
Venue: Conference Room, Civic Centre, Silver Street, Enfield, EN1 3XA. View directions
Contact: Elaine Huckell
WELCOME AND APOLOGIES
Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Yusuf Cicek and Councillor Chris Bond (Cabinet Member for Environment)
Members are asked to declare any personal or prejudicial interests on items on the agenda. A flowchart is attached for guidance.
Councillor Sitkin declared a personal interest in item 4 – “Clean Water presentation from Thames21” as he is a member of one of the local “Friends groups” which may be calling on Thames21’s services.
ENERGY FOR LONDON (7.30 - 8.00)
To receive a presentation on Wind Turbines and Solar Panels
The Panel received a presentation from Mr Syed Ahmed, Director Energy for London on New Energy Opportunities for Local Authorities.
The following points were highlighted
· The challenging target under the 2007 Renewable Energy Directive, was that the UK should aim to source 15% of its energy from renewable sources by 2020. This figure was currently 3.3%
· The UK was on course to meet its carbon reduction targets by 2020, as required under the Climate Change Act. However there would need to be significant changes to meet the carbon reduction targets required after 2020 (from 2023-2027 there should be an emissions cut of 50% vs the 1990 levels)
· Fuel poverty was a cause for concern - the Hills Fuel Poverty report published October 2011 stated that a disproportionate number of Londoners were affected (584,000). One explanation was the link to the cost of housing.
Mr Ahmed discussed Local Authority involvement in energy efficiency including
· As part of the 2003 Energy White paper, the previous Government set out a strategy for future energy policy to include targets, and action plans on how local authorities would deliver objectives on energy.
· A ‘Memorandum of Understanding’ from March 2011 between the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and Local Authorities set out a series of actions between local, central government and industry to promote renewable and low carbon energy.
· The Mayor of London’s Climate Change Mitigation and Energy Strategy published in October 2011, made a £100m London Energy Efficiency fund available to improve public buildings.
The main areas where Local Authorities could progress were:
· Ensure low carbon building by working more closely with developers
· Increase energy efficiency by improving building insulation. Residents should be reminded that EDF energy were offering free insulation to consumers. They should also be reminded to compare energy tariffs from suppliers and take advantage of current opportunities for increased insulation installation.
· Ensure residents receive information on benefit entitlements relating to fuel poverty issues.
· Monitor public sector buildings for energy efficiency (e.g. Carbon Trust/ Salix)
· Work with companies and communities on energy efficiency issues including the investigation of renewable energy sources.
Next year would be significant for Local Authorities due to phasing out of the Feed in Tariff (FIT), implementation of Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI), development and launch of the New Nottingham Declaration for councils to commit to actions on climate change, and Green Deal, which is expected to be introduced autumn 2012.
· Jeff Laidler, new Head of Sustainability would have discussions with Syed Ahmed from Energy for London and a copy of the presentation would be circulated to members of the panel and officers.
· Documents detailing work that the borough had done on this issue, which included the March 2011 Enfield Heat mapping study which identified clusters of buildings with large annual heating demands across the borough.
· Discussions about the need for a super-grid and different forms of energy. Energy sources were not always located at the point of consumption, with over ... view the full minutes text for item 434.
CLEAN WATER (8.00 - 8.30)
To receive a presentation from Thames21 on pollution in Enfield waterways.
The Panel received a presentation from Theo Thomas and Aimee Felus of Thames 21, an environmental charity that works with local people to support water systems.. Further details could be found on their website at http://www.thames21.org.uk/news/latestnews.html .
The following issues were highlighted
· That Thames21 has a link with the University of London and they were in the process of testing water from local rivers which appear to be in very poor condition. The Lee Valley is particularly affected and reference was made to their ‘Love the Lea’ campaign
· Results had shown how polluted the river is and the harm caused by ongoing sewage overflows from misconnected pipes from people’s homes (along with suspected sporadic runoff from the Deephams Treatment Works). Another source of pollution is when rain flushes chemicals off roads and into rivers.
· It was important that rainwater be dealt with more effectively
· Essential that sewage system is upgraded and public made aware of need to use phosphate- free dishwasher tablets.
· Water from 3 to 4 points on each of the tributary rivers would be tested on the 21.11.11, as data did not currently exist. They would also be tested for oxygen levels and e-coli bacteria (which is evident in sewage).
· A public event to clear the Pymmes Brook on the 19.11.11 and Councillors and members of the public were invited to take part.
· The Environment Agency’s involvement in the cleaning of local rivers was questioned. It was hoped that an ‘0800’ telephone number would be used by the Environment Agency in future, to allow free phone calls. This number should be advertised to enable the public to report problems directly to the Environment Agency.
· Local Authority’s main area of intervention may be examining drainage misconnections throughout the Borough.
· In the United States, the Environment Protection Agency was able to take polluters to Court, and large fines can be assessed. Unfortunately this was not the case in the UK.
· There was a danger of Weil’s disease, caused by infected animal urine in water. Also a danger of gastroenteritis from river water.
· Water should be used more intelligently, with rainwater draining into the ground rather than into sewers and water butts being used in parks. It was important not to overload sewage systems.
Theo Thomas and Aimee Felus of Thames 21, were thanked for their presentation
A report has been circulated from the Director of Environment on the Trading Standards Service and time has been allocated for questions to be answered on this subject.
A report had been circulated from the Director of Environment on the Enfield Trading Standards Service and the impact of the budget reductions and future service delivery proposals.
The Panel would consider this item at the next meeting of the Sustainability and the Living Environment Scrutiny Panel on the 16 January 2012.
To receive a report from Bob Griffiths, Assistant Director of Planning & Environmental Protection
A briefing was received from Sue McDaid, Head of Trading Standards & Licensing and Bob Griffiths, Assistant Director of Planning & Environmental Protection, which outlined how the Council investigates and takes action with regards to untidy land in the Borough.
The following points were highlighted:
· ‘Dumped rubbish’ often attracted further dumping, hence the need to react quickly. In some cases the Council could recoup the cost of its work subsequently.
· Although people could be prosecuted for dumping rubbish and fined up to £50,000, fines were usually much lower and often do not cover costs incurred when bringing the prosecution.
· Flyposting, Estate Agent Boards and Graffiti should all be removed within 24 hours. Racist graffiti should be dealt with even more quickly.
· Under certain conditions, LBE could deal with rubbish and other eyesores on private land. However current legislation requires the Council to serve long notices before intervening.
· It can take around 3 to 4 months or longer to serve notices. Any subsequent appeals add a further 4 months to the process
· A resident referred to a long standing problem of rubbish/ debris spilling out in front of a property. Although photographs had been taken, the absentee landlord had not rectified the problem and neighbours were very concerned about what could be done. It was suggested that the resident speak to his ward Councillors and the officer concerned
· Problems with absentee landlords, were discussed. It was thought that, in some cases, details published in the local press may embarrass people to take personal responsibility for their actions and remedy the situation.
· In the present economic climate unsightly problems may occur where developers have bought a site but are then unable to carry out building works.
· Alley-gating had helped to prevent flytipping. Surveillance methods can help in prosecution cases.
· The Graffiti team were congratulated for their good work.
· Concerns were expressed that some of the litter wardens may be over zealous at times, but it was confirmed that any penalties from littering would go towards service costs.
The Panel noted the report.
To receive a briefing report from Nicky Fiedler, Head of Policy & Partnership, Waste Services.
A report was prepared by Nicky Fiedler, Head of Waste Services and presented by Neil Isaac, Assistant Director Waste and Parks on the responsibilities of local businesses regarding their waste service.
The following was highlighted:
· The Council has a duty to collect waste from public households but not from commercial enterprises. We could, however carry out this service if requested and subsequently charge the company.
· It is the responsibility of the business to ensure it had used followed correct procedures when arranging for waste to be disposed of by a private contractor. Alternatively it could transfer the waste to a person authorised to dispose of it.
· We can sift through flytips to find where the rubbish originated. It was confirmed that flytipped rubbish can be recycled.
· Neil Isaac confirmed that the ‘Metal Matters’ recycling scheme has been investigated and that we intend to get more deeply involved in future.
· Discussion about whether a developer was considered to be a private party or a business. It was confirmed that property building phase effluents are considered construction waste. However, waste from properties where development work has been completed would then be domestic waste
· In the future, we would aim for contractors to collect their waste on the same day.
· Builders Skips must have a skip licence when they were on the public highway. Most of the contents in a skip would be recycled – the householder was duty bound to ensure this waste is disposed of correctly
· Answering to a member of the public, it was confirmed that we have weekly waste collections and would continue to do so.
The Panel noted the report.
At Council on 4th May 2011 it was agreed a single theme should be identified, for integration across each of the Panels remits. The theme will directly relate to the Council’s priorities. As an example, please find attached a summary and recommendations from the Islington Fairness Commission report, for information. Each Panel is asked to provide possible themes relating to their remit to inform the Commission.
The Panel were asked to provide possible themes to inform the Commission, these were considered and the following suggestions made
· That the A10 road boundary could be looked at with a view to it being ‘softened’ and more yielding to allow for more movement between the east and west area of the Borough.
· That all areas of the borough should have equal access to a cleaner and greener environment.
The panel is asked to consider the work programme for the remainder of the municipal year.
That the report on Trading Standards should be considered at the next meeting of the Panel on the 16 January 2012.Also that an item on Fireworks should be included in the work programme for 2012/13.
Minutes of the previous meeting
To agree the minutes of the Sustainability & the Living Environment Scrutiny Panel held on the 20 September 2011
The minutes of the meeting held on 20 September 2011 were agreed as a correct record.
ITEMS TO BE REFERRED TO OVERVIEW AND SCRUTINY COMMITTEE
To agree any items to be referred to Overview and Scrutiny Committee
There were no items referred to Overview and Scrutiny Committee
ITEMS TO BE REFERRED TO CABINET
To agree any items to be referred to Cabinet
There were no items referred to Cabinet.
DATE OF NEXT MEETING
To note the dates of the meetings for the municipal year as follows:
Monday 16th January 2012 and
Monday 19th March 2012
The dates of meetings for the municipal year were as follows:
Monday 16 January 2012 and
Monday 19 March 2012
EXCLUSION OF THE PRESS AND PUBLIC
If necessary, to consider passing a resolution under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972 excluding the press and public from the meeting for any items of business moved to part 2 of the agenda on the grounds that they involve the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in those paragraphs of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act (as amended by the Local Government (Access to Information) (Variation) Order 2006).