Agenda and minutes

Environment Select Committee
Wednesday, 5 December 2018 10.00 am

Venue: Meeting Room 1,Wray Park Centre, Surrey Fire and Rescue Service HQ, 70 Wray Park Rd, Croydon Rd, Reigate RH2 0EJ

Contact: Huma Younis 

Items
No. Item

9.

Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

10.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting: 06 September 2018 pdf icon PDF 96 KB

    The minutes of the previous meeting as a true and accurate record of proceedings.

    Minutes:

    Councillor Essex commented that whilst there seemed to be a clear action plan in place to address air quality issues, this did not seem to be the case with carbon emission issues and asked for the inclusion of this comment within the 6 September minutes. The Chairman agreed to take this forward with the Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport who assured the Committee that recruitment would be taking place to ensure an officer was in place to support the delivery of both the low emissions and electric vehicle strategy.

11.

Declarations of Interest

     

    All Members present are required to declare, at this point in the meeting or

    as soon as possible thereafter:

     

    i.       any disclosable pecuniary interests and / or;

     

    ii.      other interests arising under the Code of Conduct in respect of any item(s) of business being considered at this meeting

     

    NOTES:

     

    ·        Members are reminded that they must not participate in any item where they have a disclosable pecuniary interest;

     

    ·        as well as an interest of the Member, this includes any interest, of which the Member is aware, that relates to the Member’s spouse or civil partner (or any person with whom the Member is living as a spouse or civil partner); and

     

    ·        Members with a significant personal interest may participate in the discussion and vote on that matter unless that interest could be reasonably regarded as prejudicial.

     

    Minutes:

    There were none.

12.

Questions & Petitions pdf icon PDF 58 KB

    To receive any questions or petitions

     

    Notes:

     

    1.    The deadline for Member’s questions is 12.00pm four working days before the meeting (29  November 2018).

     

    2.    The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting (28 November 2018).

     

    3.    The deadline for petitions was 14 days before the meeting, and no petitions have been received.

    Minutes:

    1.    A Member question was received from Councillor Povey. The question and response is attached to the minutes.

    2.    Councillor Povey thanked the Chairman and officers for the response stating that his local CRC in Cranleigh was under threat of closure. With regards to the recycling rates for district and boroughs for 2017/18, Councillor Povey queried why recycling figures between each of the authorities was so varied.

    3.    The Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport stated that kerbside waste collection was the responsibility of district and boroughs and these recycling rates had been taken forward with each authority to understand what could be done to improve rates. Work was being undertaken by the Surrey Waste Partnership (SWP) to address this issue. The Cabinet Member added that if recycling rates increased there would be a bigger saving to be made with reduced waste disposal costs

    4.    The Committee relayed their concerns around the recycling rates for district and boroughs to the Cabinet Member. Officers agreed to provide Members with data displaying recycling rates for district and boroughs over recent years.

     

    Actions:

          I.        For officers to provide the Committee with district and borough recycling rates covering the last five years.

13.

Response from the Cabinet to Issues Referred by the Select Committee pdf icon PDF 72 KB

    Recommendations from the Select Committee meeting on 6 September regarding the Low Emissions Transport Strategy and Electric Vehicle Strategy were submitted to Cabinet for consideration on 27 November 2018. A response from the Cabinet Member for Environment and Highways is attached.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Chairman informed the Committee that she had attended the Cabinet meeting where the Low Emissions Transport Strategy and Electric Vehicle Strategy was considered. She added that the Committees recommendations regarding the strategies had been endorsed by the Cabinet Member.  

14.

Concessionary Travel Funding Consultation Update pdf icon PDF 87 KB

    Purpose of the Report:This report outlines the concessionary travel funding consultation process to date and gives an overview of the responses received so far.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

    The Chairman declared a personal interest in that her husband holds a disability pass.

     

    Witnesses:

    Paul Millin, Strategic Transport Group Manager

    Jason Russell, Executive Director for Highways, Transport and Environment

    Mike Goodman, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

    1. A Member of the Committee stated that removing free concessionary travel for disabled pass holders before 09.30 and after 23.00 Monday to Friday would impact on those disabled people who needed to travel to and from work. Those disabled people receiving the minimum wage would also be impacted by the removal of this concessionary fare. The Chairman explained that Central Governments statutory scheme requires that qualifying older and disabled people be allowed to travel for free on buses after 09:30 and before 23:00 Monday to Friday, plus all day on Saturdays, Sundays and Public Holidays. It was added that the costs of providing the additional travel concession on bus services outside the statutory hours have been subsidised by Surrey tax payers for many years.
    2. The Strategic Transport Group Manager explained that as of 4 December 2018, just over 1,500 responses had been received for the consultation. Key themes emerging from the consultation are included in Annex 1 of the agenda report. Discussions would be taking place with a number of advocacy groups that represent the views of disabled people to understand the implications of the potential removal of the two additional concessions and possible mitigation measures.
    3. There was a short discussion around the impacts of removing the additional concessionary fare offer on the state benefit system. It was queried if officers had information on the number of Surrey disabled bus pass holders who received state travel benefits. Officers explained that this was not information they had access to nor collected. 
    4. The Committee agreed that if there was a removal of free concessionary bus travel for disabled people then more would need to be done to ensure those affected were made aware of the state benefits and support in place for them. The Strategic Transport Group Manager explained that officers had engaged and publicised the concessionary bus travel public consultation through a number of different formats including producing hard copy brochures, large print and easy read documents and offering residents a text service. 
    5. A Member commented that removing free concessionary bus travel before 09.30 and companion passes would not support the council’s sustainable travel agenda and would also impact on elderly people who rely on companions to travel with. There was a concern that many elderly residents would be left house bound because of this. In terms of the estimated annual saving to be achieved from this removal, some Members were of the view that this saving should be sought elsewhere in the Council. The Executive Director explained that work was being undertaken by the service to review areas of statutory and non-statutory spend as a means of addressing the current budget situation. It was added that the areas of statutory and non-statutory spend  ...  view the full minutes text for item 14.

15.

Shaping Surrey's Community Recycling Centres pdf icon PDF 177 KB

    Purpose of the Report:To provide an opportunity for the Committee to comment on the proposed changes at Surrey’s Community Recycling Centres (CRCs).

     

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

    None

     

    Witnesses:

    Richard Parkinson, Waste Operations Group Manager

    Jason Russell, Executive Director for Highways, Transport and Environment

    Alan Bowley, Interim Head of Environment

    Mike Goodman, Cabinet Member for Environment and Transport

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

    1. The Cabinet Member provided the Committee with an update on the ongoing CRC consultation. The Interim Head of Environment explained that a Resources and Waste Strategy was due for publication by Defra in late December 2018. It was further explained that the strategy would have implications for local authorities waste and recycling policies. It was agreed for a meeting to take place in January 2019 to consider the CRC public consultation feedback and receive an update from officers on the impacts of the Resources and Waste Strategy on Surrey County Council. The Interim Head agreed to send the Committee the Resources and Waste Strategy once published.
    2. A Member of the Committee explained that some of her residents were confused around the size of the ‘bags’ that could be taken to CRCs as part of the waste charging scheme. The Cabinet Member stated that once changes to CRCs were agreed, a communications campaign would be underway to clarify with residents the policies in place at CRC’s. It was added that the Surrey Waste Partnership (SWP) would support this campaign.
    3. A number of questions and comments were raised by the Committee. Officers agreed to provide a response to the questions raised. The following questions were asked, and comments made,
      1. It was queried if there was an opportunity for a volunteer or community group to operate a Surrey CRC as the Charity Newmarket Open Door had done in Suffolk,
      2. Has the authority considered that charging for construction wood will lead to increased fly-tipping,
      3. It would be useful for Members to be provided with a breakdown of recycling rates for each Surrey CRC and operating costs at each CRC,
      4. In relation to paragraph 7 in the report, can officers explain how ‘reasonably accessible’ is measured in relation to accessing CRCs in Surrey and the impact of CRC closures on residents who use public transport to access the CRCs,
      5. For Members to be provided with enforcement and prosecution numbers for fly-tipping in each Surrey district and borough,
      6. Members welcomed extended opening hours in larger CRC’s if some smaller CRC’s were too close,
      7. Has the Council ever considered a free kerbside collection as is done by Yarra Ranges Council in Melbourne, Australia,
      8. With the possible closure of CRC’s, it was important that traffic measures at each of the remaining CRC’s is reviewed with the possible increase in traffic movements.

     

    Resolved:

                          I.        That the Committee review the CRC public consultation feedback and receive an update from officers on the impacts of the Resources and Waste Strategy on Surrey County Council in early January 2019.

                        II.        The Interim Head to send the Committee the Resources and Waste Strategy once published.

                       III.        Officers provide a response to the questions raised (a-h) by Members in the meeting.

     

     

16.

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) Performance and Transformation Update pdf icon PDF 93 KB

    Purpose of the Report: To provide the committee with details of the transformation programme being undertaken within the Surrey Fire and Rescue Service to ensure that the service is aligned with good practice for a modern Fire and Rescue Service.

     

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Declarations of interest:

    None

     

    Witnesses:

    Steve Owen-Hughes, Director of Community Protection and Emergencies

    Jason Russell, Executive Director for Highways, Transport and Environment

    Denise Turner-Stewart, Cabinet Member for Community Services

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

    1. The Director of Community Protection and Emergencies presented the Committee with a presentation which detailed proposals for service wide transformation of the Surrey Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS). A detailed presentation is attached as Annex 1 to the minutes. The Committee were informed that the publication of Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Constabulary and Fire & Rescue Services (HMICFRS) inspection report on the Surrey Fire and Rescue Service had been delayed to 14 December 2018.

     

    Councillor Heath left the meeting at 12.30

     

    1. The Chairman raised concerns around plans to consult the public on a new Integrated Risk Management Plan (IRMP) during the purdah period in 2019. To ensure the service improves and savings are achieved, the Executive Director explained that transformation work would need to take place as a matter of urgency. It was agreed that details and timelines for the public consultation would be shared with the Committee once finalised. 
    2. There was a short discussion around possible income generating opportunities for the SFRS and activities that could be charged for. The Director of Community Protection and Emergencies explained that one of the key responsibilities of Fire and Rescue Authorities is to protect life and it was therefore difficult to charge for activities when risk of life was paramount.  
    3. Although there had been a reduction in the number of fires over the last ten years, the Director of Community Protection and Emergencies explained that this number was now increasing.
    4. With regards to Initial Response Vehicles (IRVs), it was explained by officers that these vehicles were widely used all over Europe. Surrey County Council had been using these on a trial basis but this model of service delivery was not supported by the Fire Brigades Union (FBU). Although the concept was still valid, IRVs would not be utilised by Surrey going forward. The Executive Director further added that £6m savings enlisted for the service had been predicated on the introduction of IRVs. 
    5. The Cabinet Member recognised that a number of changes were required to improve SFRS and these were supported by the Cabinet. There would be investment made to the service to ensure improvements could take place. The Cabinet Member reinforced the importance of scrutiny during the period of transformation.
    6. It was explained that the Fordbridge fire station in Ashford would be opening in January 2019 and both Staines and Sunbury fire stations would be vacated by this date. 
    7. The Chairman proposed that a Member Reference Group is convened to support the SFRS transformation programme.
    8. A Member of the Committee stated that the Summary Full Business Case included within the agenda item was very high level and a simpler version should be made available for public consumption. The Director of Community Protection and Emergencies confirmed that a copy of the Full Business Case had been shared with  ...  view the full minutes text for item 16.

17.

Actions and Recommendations Tracker & Forward Work Programme pdf icon PDF 72 KB

    The Select Committee is asked to review its Actions and Recommendations Tracker and approve its draft Forward Work Programme, providing comment as required.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Key points raised during the discussion:

    1.    The Actions and Recommendations Tracker & Forward Work Programme were agreed by the Committee. The Chairman added that the transformation projects within the Committees remit would be mapped alongside the 2019 Select Committee work programme. 

     

    Resolved:

    That Committee agreed its forward work programme and reviewed its recommendation tracker.

     

18.

Date of the Next Meeting

    The next meeting of the Select Committee will be held on 22 February 2019 in the Ashcombe Suite at County Hall.

    Minutes:

    The next meeting of the Environment Select Committee will be held on 22 February 2019 at 10.00am in the Ashcombe Suite, County Hall, Kingston upon Thames.