Agenda and draft minutes

Environment Forum - Tuesday, 30th March, 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: Click on the Link on the front of the agenda to view meeting

Contact: Penelope Williams - Email: penelope.williams@enfield.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

1.

Welcome and Apologies

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting.

 

Apologies for absence were received from Councillor Aksanoglu, Dennis Stacey and Juliet Barnett.

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:

There were no declarations of interest. 

3.

Rewilding and Tree Planting pdf icon PDF 5 MB

To receive a presentation on rewilding and tree planting plans for the borough. 

Minutes:

The forum received a presentation from Ian Russell on rewilding and tree planting schemes in the borough. 

 

1.            Presentation

 

The following points were highlighted during the presentation: 

 

·         The key definition of rewilding is the largescale restoration of ecosystems to the point where nature can take care of itself. 

·         A good example of this is the reintroduction of the beaver into areas where it had been extinct.  Their habit of damning rivers helps to prevent flooding and creates new habitats bringing in other species.  Other examples include wild pigs rooting round in the soil encouraging worms.  Smaller creatures provide food for predators. 

·         Aspirations include reversing the loss of biodiversity, restoring ecosystems, reigniting passions for the natural world, providing opportunities for diversification and revitalisation of local economies, reintegrating nature for the benefit of all and reintroducing key species where it makes sense.  These are part of the London Plan good growth policies. 

·         In 1700 large parts of the borough were forested as part of Enfield Chase.  Only small fragments of this ancient woodland still exist but the Council owns areas of farmland, parks and golf courses in the North West of the borough and some of these areas could be turned back into woodland. 

·         Today much of the farmland is currently bare brown soil – desert like.

·         In Epping Forest rewilding techniques have been used to reintroduce cattle to manage the open parts of the forest.  A forest is not just a close canopy of trees, but also glades and open meadows.   

·         Rivers are key to managing flood risk. The borough has three major water ways, Turkey Brook, Salmons Brook and Pymmes Brook which cross the borough from west to east, feeding into the River Lee.  If the farmland in the north west is not drained appropriately it will create flood risks in Edmonton in the South East.  Natural flood management holds water on the land and prevents flooding.  Straightening parts of rivers, which was often carried out in the past, means that the water flows more quickly and also increases flood risk.  Work is being done in Enfield parks to create wetlands and restore meanders to help soak up water, as well as creating more diverse habitats. 

·         Woodland recreation is also key.  With the help of the GLA, the National Lottery, Thames 21 and the Forestry Commission the Council is planting over 100,000 trees along the London Loop.  Originally it had been hoped to involve the public in the tree planting, but this had not been possible up until now because of the pandemic. 

·         There were multiple benefits of rewilding in terms of public health, increasing biodiversity, reducing flood risk, restoring heritage landscapes, reduced pollution and increasing carbon capture. 

·         The Enfield Chase tree planting project will on average capture 234 tonnes of carbon every year contributing to Enfield’s Climate Change Action Plan targets. 

 

2.            Questions/Comments

 

2.1       The trees being planted were very small and would not be able to capture a lot of carbon in their early years but will capture  ...  view the full minutes text for item 3.

4.

Local Plan Policies pdf icon PDF 391 KB

To receive a presentation from Helen Murch (Head of Strategic Planning and Design) on local plan policies including housing types.  

Minutes:

The forum received a presentation on the work being done to draw up a vision for the Local Plan. 

 

1.            Presentation

 

Ed Jones, Principal Planner in the Plan Making Team, highlighted the following from his presentation: 

 

·         The vision for the Local Plan was a succinct framing statement, supported by several strategic objectives and underpinned by four guiding principles. 

·         It had been put together following a series of engagement workshops including with the youth parliament held in February.

·         A survey was also carried out to capture a wider range of views. 

·         Wider Council strategies were also taken into account. 

·         Members told the team that Enfield offered the best of town and country and needed to remain a place of green attractive neighbourhoods with a good quality of life.  Growth should be focused on quality and be supported by infrastructure.

·         The Youth Parliament felt that Enfield should be a place of future opportunity where east/west disparities could be addressed, a green place with access to nature.

·         There were 278 responses to the survey; 65% of these were from white British and over the age of 50.  This was not representative as only 31% of Enfield residents are over 50 and 35% estimated to be white British. 

·         In the survey 72% supported the view of a deeply green Londoner and 63% a family retreat.  There was least support (12%) for a self-sufficient borough. 

·         Sustainable movement was a clear priority.

·         Sixty six percent wanted Enfield to meet all the housing needs.  More people than not wanted to meet the Mayor of London’s housing target. 

·         Environmental aspirations were strong.  Sixty six percent thought that Enfield should be an intergenerational place.

·         Sixty one percent thought that built heritage should be prioritised with 49% supporting a mix of suburbs, town centres and regeneration areas.  There was least support for tall buildings. 

·         The most popular choice in setting a spatial vision was for improved biodiversity and networks of green spaces to improve health and wellbeing.

·         The least popular choices were for providing housing even if it meant building tall buildings, providing industrial and logistics needs if it meant building on countryside areas and intensifying our town centres. 

·         There was support for meeting needs in principle but not necessarily for the spatial consequences of meeting the needs. 

·         There were only 15 responses from the under 30s and only twelve from councillors. 

·         The emerging vision was that by 2039 Enfield will have grown to be a place of opportunity for future generations, the green heart of London where new homes and jobs will help our communities thrive. 

·         The draft vision would be made up of four threads: a deeply green place; the workshop of London; a distinct and leading part of London; and a nurturing place. 

 

2.            Questions/Comments

 

2.1       Concern that not many of the members had completed the survey and that this was perhaps because it was not easy to provide answers to the questions posed.  It was felt that there should be more space to provide a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Retrofitting - Domestic and Council Buildings pdf icon PDF 447 KB

To receive a presentation on retrofitting Council buildings – recent progress and next steps. 

Minutes:

The forum received a presentation from Dominic Millen, Group Leader Transport Planning and Policy on retrofitting in domestic and council buildings. 

 

1.            Presentation

 

Dominic Millen highlighted the following in his presentation:

 

·         In the Climate Action Plan the aim is for the Council to be carbon neutral by 2030 and for the whole borough to be by 2040. 

·         Retrofitting buildings involves making changes to improve energy efficiency, decarbonise heat and increase renewables and offsetting.

·         Carrying out retrofitting is challenging but very worthwhile as buildings are responsible for most of the Council’s carbon emissions. Borough wide housing on its own is responsible for 38% and retrofitting leads to healthier and wealthier neighbourhoods. 

·         There are specific challenges when dealing with conservation areas and heritage buildings, which might require different skills and approaches.

·         The Council is joint lead borough for Retrofit London (alongside Waltham Forest), which is an opportunity to deliver retrofitting measures at scale across the capital. 

·         The Government Green Homes Grants Voucher Scheme was meant to support home-owners in carrying out their own retrofitting projects, although the take up has been lower than expected.    

·         Two retrofit pilot projects are taking place in Edmonton: one in thirty six individual homes using the Energiesprong model and another in a twenty two storey block, which includes replacing cladding combined with environmental and fire safety measures.  

·         The outcomes would be reduced running costs, improved health, the opportunity to test the approach and identify retrofit archetypes for future use. The challenges involved securing funding, delivering with the residents in situ and timescales and sector capacity. 

·         The possible expansion of the Energetik network into other boroughs will increase its reach. A retrofit pilot is looking to connect around 20 existing properties to the network. 

·         There is a long-term programme of investment in corporate retrofit including in schools, corporate buildings and leisure facilities. 

·         Recently Enfield had secured £3.8m from the Government for decarbonisation of corporate buildings.   The main investment is likely to be at the Civic Centre but with various other sites also benefiting.

·         Work was also proceeding on offsetting and renewables.  The Council was helping to restore woodland in the North of the borough, investing in more street trees, looking at the approach to renewables in the community and taking part in the solar together group buying scheme. 

·         The priorities for 2021 were the delivery of the existing projects, council housing asset management sustainable strategy implementation, development of a pipeline of corporate retrofit projects including in schools, the retrofit London programme (with delivery of the related action plan starting in the Autumn) starting in the Autumn and lobbying government for funding and powers.   

2.            Questions/Comments

 

2.1       The material used to replace the cladding on buildings affected are the most effective materials from both a fire safety and retrofitting perspective.

 

2.2       A Schools Climate Action Network has been set up to support their journey to climate neutrality.

 

2.3       The current civic centre works involved the replacement of rotten wooden window frames along D block which is locally listed. 

 

2.4  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

6.

Minutes from the Meeting held on 16 February 2021 pdf icon PDF 214 KB

To receive and agree the minutes of the meeting held on 16 February 2021. 

 

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 16 February 2021 were received and agreed as a correct record. 

7.

Review of Work programme 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 61 KB

To note the revised work programme for 2020/21.

Minutes:

The Forum noted the current work programme.

 

Suggestions were made that the following topics be included in next year’s workprogramme: 

 

·         Tree Preservation Orders

·         Electric Vehicle Charging Points

·         Whitewebbs Park

8.

Any Other Business

To consider any other items put forward for discussion. 

Minutes:

1.            Electric Vehicle Charging Points

 

The Climate Action Plan indicated that there would be 250 additional charging points in the borough by 2025.  As demand increased the Council will install more points.  There is a project to provide charging points in lamp columns. People can lodge an expression of interest via the Council’s website: https://new.enfield.gov.uk/services/roads-and-transport/electric-vehicle-charging/. Rapid charging is part of the solution and may be provided in supermarket petrol stations and in town centre locations.  There was also a requirement in the London Plan for developers to provide charging points in new developments.  Further information could be provided at a future meeting of the forum.

 

2.            Whitewebbs Park

 

Sarah Cary reported that the Council was close to making a decision on the future of the golf course in Whitewebbs Park, but an announcement had been held back due to purdah restrictions.  A report would be back to a future meeting of the forum. 

9.

Dates of Future Meetings

To note the dates agreed for future meetings of the Forum: 

 

·         Wednesday 28 April 2021

 

 

Minutes:

The forum noted the dates agreed for future meetings: 

 

·         Wednesday 28 April 2021