Agenda and draft minutes

Environment Forum - Tuesday, 18th August, 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: Virtual Meeting - Please use the link on the front page of the agenda to access the meeting

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome and Apologies

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed everyone to the first meeting of the Environment Forum. 

 

She went through some basic housekeeping rules and apologised to those who were only able to dial into the meeting, assuring members that this would be resolved for the next meeting. 

 

Everyone participating in the meeting introduced themselves. 

 

Claire Johnson (Head of Governance and Scrutiny) advised that the Environment Forum was a new advisory body with a broad remit:

 

·         To advise and comment on policies and strategic issues that affect the built and natural environment

·         To encourage community initiatives that improve sustainability

·         To enable information exchange and networking among members and supporters in Enfield

·         To scrutinise and monitor the progress of the Local Plan

 

The forum will cover issues concerning the green belt, conservation of the borough and public transport.  The terms of reference were agreed at Annual Council and were included in the Council’s Constitution.  Copies were available on the Council website or on request. 

 

Concern was expressed by Dennis Stacey (former Chair of the Conservation Advisory Group) that the new body had been set up using an old Conservation Advisory Group membership list and had not included representative from the Lakes Estate Conservation Study Group, the Hadley Wood Association Study Group and the Winchmore Hill Green and Vicars Moor Lane Study Group who had been active members of the Conservation Advisory Group.  Names of several of the groups mentioned were inaccurate.  He was however pleased to acknowledge that representatives from the three groups mentioned above had been invited to this meeting. 

 

Other bodies including the Georgian Group and the Enfield Archaeological Society had also been members of the Conservation Advisory Group and it was hoped that invitations could also be extended to these organisations. 

 

The Chair advised that she was looking to carry out a full review the membership of the Environment Forum and would be consulting with the Director of Law and Governance on the best way to do this.

 

The current membership asked to see the draft of the new membership proposals before they were considered at full Council. 

 

Apologies for absence were received from Denise Gandhi. 

 

 

2.

Declaration of Interests

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

Minutes:

Councillor Anne Brown, Councillor Lindsay Rawlings, Dennis Stacey, Chris Horner declared non-pecuniary interests in Item 3, Changes to Concessionary travel, as they had freedom passes. 

3.

Changes to Concessionary Travel pdf icon PDF 126 KB

To discuss changes to concessionary travel in London. 

 

Minutes:

David Taylor (Head of Traffic and Transportation) gave a presentation on Concessionary Travel.  Copies of the slides were available on the Council website or from the Committee Secretary. 

 

He highlighted the following:

 

·         The presentation covered four separate concessions: under 18 free travel, the Transport for London Oyster card, the freedom pass and special needs educational travel. 

·         Young people living in London had been able to travel in London for free since free travel was introduced in 2005.  This was not so in the rest of the country. 

·         The free travel was funded by Transport for London.  The government was now proposing to temporarily remove or restrict free travel, arguing that there was a need to discourage people from traveling on public transport, and encourage more walking and cycling, because of reduced capacity, resulting from Coronavirus restrictions. 

·         The Mayor of London funded the Transport for London Oyster card for all Londoners over the age of 60. This did not apply in the rest of the country.

·         The Freedom pass was a concession that was available to everyone over retirement age across the country.  The costs of this were shared by the Government, Transport for London and the borough.  It cost the Council £11.5m a year. 

·         The Council has a statutory duty to fund Special Educational Needs Travel.  This was a significant cost and there was no extra support for it. 

 

The Chair introduced Amma Coleman-Green from Transport for London who gave a verbal presentation.  The key points were as follows: 

 

·         As part of its agreement to provide funds to make up for the loses caused by the Coronavirus, the Government have asked Transport for London to temporarily suspend free travel for under 18’s. 

·         This would take effect after the October half term, in the first week in November. 

·         There were some exceptions and free travel would continue for under 10s, for 11-17 year olds who live more than 2 miles from their school or college, for 11-17 year olds who live less than 2 miles if they were under a social worker, have an educational health and social care plan, attend alternative provision, if there were no safe walking routes to school or they couldn’t walk because of a physical disability. 

·         Discussions with the Government were continuing.  There were still some technical complexities still to be worked out.

·         The aim was to prevent overcrowding and facilitate social distancing on public transport.

·         The same aim was behind the decision to temporarily remove free peak time travel for the Over 60 Oyster card and Freedom Pass holders, which had been implemented on 4 June 2020. 

·         Transport for London had contacted all in receipt of these passes to inform them of the changes and had written to health bodies, supermarkets and other organisations to ask them to give priority to over 60s for appointments and for priority access out of peak hours.

·         Over 10,000 older people in Enfield would have been affected.  An equality impact statement was being carried out. 

·         To mitigate the impact  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Work programme for 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 115 KB

To consider and agree a work programme 2020/21 for the Environment Forum.

 

A draft programme including some suggestions is attached. Further suggestions welcome. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Sarah Cary, Executive Director Place gave a presentation on a proposed work programme for the Environment Forum including Council priorities and the impact of the Coronavirus pandemic.  Copies of the slides were available on the Council website or from the Committee Secretary. 

 

Key points of the presentation were as follows: 

 

·         Enfield had approximately 330,000 people and 125,000 households.  It has a housing crisis with average cost of housing 12.3 times average salary, relatively high levels of unemployment compared with the London average, a good cultural offer with lots of theatres, parks, open spaces and libraries and a wealth of cultures and languages, that enliven the borough.

·         The Council’s overriding aim was to create a lifetime of opportunities for everyone including three key priorities: good homes in well connected neighbourhoods; safe healthy and confident communities and an economy that works for everyone. 

·         The priorities involved planning to build more and better homes for residents, to invest and improve Council homes, to deliver household and regeneration schemes and to drive investment to deliver good growth for London, being open, supportive and welcoming to new developments.  

·         The Council was working towards being free from crime, inspiring people to meet their potential, delivering essential services to vulnerable residents and creating healthy parks and community spaces. 

·         The Council wanted to provide an economy that worked for everyone, by providing high quality employment, enhancing skills, developing the town centres and crafting a good cultural offer.  The Council was also prioritising the issue of climate change and was always concerned to provide value for money. 

·         The Council faced significant challenges as a result of the Coronavirus crisis. So far, the Council had responded well, keeping schools open, redeploying staff, supporting vulnerable local people, organising the delivery of food parcels and medicines. 

·         The country was now formally in recession 49,000 in Enfield were on furlough (about 35% of the borough’s work force).  Not all would be able to return to work so unemployment would increase.  Footfall in town centres was down 60-80%.  The Council was preparing for the possibility of local lockdowns, a potential second wave of infection and an increase in demand for social services while also continuing to find significant extra savings to maintain a balanced budget. 

·         To note that a draft work programme had been circulated with the agenda.  Items put forward had been grouped under four headings Sustainable Transport, Climate Action, Environment, Heritage and Design.  The topics suggested were as follows:

 

·         Sustainable Transport

Ø  Under 18s and Freedom Passes: concessionary travel

Ø  Further rail devolution; TfL taking over GTR services

Ø  Bus Economics: Cost of running services

Ø  Impact of Covid 19 on bus and rail services

Ø  Expansion of the ULEZ to the north circular

Ø  Public realm changes to support cycling and walking and better air quality

 

·         Climate Action

Ø  Community initiatives promoting environmental sustainability in support of the Climate Action Plan

Ø  Government housing retrofit programme

Ø  Refurbishment and retrofit in schools

 

·         Environment

Ø  Air quality in the borough

Ø  Enforcement  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Dates of Future meetings

To note the dates scheduled for future meetings of the forum:

 

·         Thursday 1 October 2020

·         Tuesday 27 October 2020

·         Wednesday 25 November 2020

·         Thursday10 December 2020

·         Wednesday 13 January 2021

·         Tuesday 16 February 2021

·         Tuesday 30 March 2021

·         Wednesday 28 April 2021

Minutes:

Noted the dates scheduled for future meetings of the forum:

 

·         Thursday 1 October 2020

·         Tuesday 27 October 2020

·         Wednesday 25 November 2020

·         Thursday 10 December 2020

·         Wednesday 13 January 2021

·         Tuesday 16 February 2021

·         Tuesday 30 March 2021

·         Wednesday 28 April 2021