Agenda and minutes

Environment & Climate Action Scrutiny Panel - Thursday, 8th February, 2024 7.00 pm

Venue: Conference Room, Civic Centre, Silver Street, Enfield, EN1 3XA. View directions

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No. Item




The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting. Apologies for absence were received from Enfield Youth Parliament Representatives, Cllr Destiny Karakus, and Cllr Maria Alexandrou, who was substituted by Cllr Michael Rye OBE.



Members are asked to declare any disclosable pecuniary, other pecuniary or non-pecuniary interests relating to items on the agenda.


There were no declarations of interest received regarding any item on the agenda.



To receive and agree the minutes of the meeting held on Tuesday 24 October 2023.


AGREED the minutes of the previous Environment & Climate Action Scrutiny Panel meeting held on Tuesday 24 October 2023.


An update on actions from the previous meeting was received.


Rewilding pdf icon PDF 142 KB

To provide an update on rewilding including the beaver reintroduction project, tree planting, wetlands and conservation grazing being carried out as part of the Enfield Chase Landscape Restoration project.


Additional documents:


Items 4 and 5, rewilding and cattle grazing respectively, would be reported on/ considered together.


Ian Russell and Cheryl Headon introduced and highlighted the key aspects of the report, including but not limited to: beaver reintroduction, cattle grazing at Forty Hall, wetlands, landscape recovery projects, woodlands, footpaths/cycleways, work with farmers, Enfield Chase landscape and biodiversity. 


In response to Members enquiries regarding tree planting and maintenance, officers advised that a percentage of loss was always going to take place, and trees were particularly vulnerable in their first few years, but if they survived this, they would be more resilient in the future. They said that whilst watering during periods of significant heat was unrealistic; new full-time operational positions and grants/ external funding had been secured which provided options that would allow for better control and maintenance. It was expressed that officers were speaking to/ working with external experts and had taken away lessons from last year. Officers advised that planting during the right conditions, and putting down mulch/ tree bark could improve survival rates/ chances. Officers felt that some of the external auditing/ performance reviews had not been entirely accurate, and pointed out that the benefit realisation for such projects was not immediate.


In response to Members questions relating to revenue/ budgetary pressures, officers advised that feasibility studies had been conducted and a variety of funding streams were available to them. They advised that they had just gone through a feasibility study with Natural England for Countryside Stewardship, which generated funding for land management practices with around £40,000 per annum achieved. Officers expressed there had been an increase from 5 to 18 parks which would generate a breadth of income, and aftercare periods had been included to ensure maintenance was budgeted for. They added that business cases were being carefully crafted and scrutinised to make sure the funding for such projects were fully considered and built in.


In response to Members queries regarding wetland maintenance, officers advised that it could take some time for wetlands to establish, and that they try to engage with local residents on the work that they are doing. A ditch at Cheyne Walk was said to be overgrown and have a blocked drainpipe, which officers were trying to clear to prevent flooding on the path; some of the issue had been resolved but work was still ongoing. Officers were said to have been on site the day after the last large downpour, and a communication piece could be picked up with residents around the work being done. Officers agreed to visit Little Bury Road and come back to with a plan of action regarding the fencing. It was described how the service restructure would ensure there were enough staff and a change in method would see teams responsible for the maintenance of such projects.


In response to Members enquiries relating to beavers, officer advised that they had worked with the Beavers Trust and incorporated their expertise into the project; the beaver enclosure was said to be  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.


Cattle Grazing pdf icon PDF 217 KB

To provide an update on the conservation grazing trial being carried out as part of the Enfield Chase Landscape Restoration project.


Additional documents:


This item was considered alongside item 4.


Park Management & Biodiversity pdf icon PDF 392 KB

To provide an update on Parks Management and Biodiversity, including toilet cleaning & signage, Café in parks, grass cutting, the move to tennis courts booking systems, illegal tenting and fishing at Groveland’s Park, Parks and verges management.



Marcus Harvey and Cheryl Headon introduced and highlighted the key aspects of the report; including but not limited to: public toilet facilities, café leases/marketing, parks, grass cutting and verge maintenance, tennis improvements, the service restructure and a change in method, Countryside Stewardship, introduction of digital technologies, and transparency.


In response to Members questions relating to grass cutting, officers advised that during the rain they would not cut the grass, due to the weight of the machinery and the additional mess created from cuttings, but that where this was the case, officers would be redeployed to maintain green spaces in other ways. Officers added that the Countryside Act limited what shrubbery they could cut during nesting season, but that if there were health and safety concerns or public enquiries, officers would investigate the site and could take a decision, if necessary, to cut it back. They explained that their learning had allowed for problem areas to be identified and highlighted as priorities which were being targeted prior to the nesting season. Being displaced from Trent Park last year provided a challenge in accessing the Western corridor, and now that they were back at the depot, the team were in a better position. Members highlighted that the green at Old Forge Road was never cut as it was not included in the Council’s original list; officers agreed to ensure this was programmed into the new system.


In response to Members queries regarding public toilets, officers advised that closing the toilets an hour before parks closed may be counterproductive and it would be looked at with corporate health and safety colleagues, but there were lone worker issues given the risk at later hours with anti-social behaviour. They added that refurbishments had been undertaken at 3 locations; colleagues had been at Oakwood Park the day before the meeting regarding the broken window, and Bury Lodge Gardens toilets had been escalated to the Property Director/ Facilities Management team. Toilets were said to be closed when it was beyond the finances available to fix them, and or had continued/repetitious anti-social behaviour problems. Officers would come back to Members with the East-West split of public toilet facilities in the borough.


In response to Members enquiries relating to digital technologies, officers advised that this technology would allow for service performance to be fed into the website, and allow them to scrutinise it which would help to make the service more efficient. Officers expressed that they would be starting workshops with the supplier shortly, and that once this had started, they would welcome councillors’ involvement in understanding the technology. They added that technology had been acquired which would help track usage and visits to open spaces across the borough. This insight would allow for conversations with public health colleagues which could feed into workshops and class programmes to target the social and physical wellbeing of young people in the borough, in a similar to schemes like Active Through Football.


In response to Members questions regarding tennis facilities, officers advised  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


WORK PROGRAMME 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 90 KB

To note the Environment & Climate Action Work Programme for 2023/24.


Members noted the Environment & Climate Action Scrutiny Panel Work Programme for 2023/24.



To note the dates of the future meetings as follows:


Tuesday 12th March 2024

Thursday 18th April 2024.




Members noted the dates of future meetings as set out in the agenda.


The Chair thanked Members and officers for their time and contributions, and the meeting ended at 21:07.