Agenda and draft minutes

Environment Select Committee
Friday, 22 February 2019 10.00 am

Venue: Ashcombe Suite, County Hall, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey KT1 2DN. View directions

Contact: Vicky Hibbert  Email: vicky.hibbert@surreycc.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

19.

Apologies for Absence and Substitutions

20.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting: 5 December 2018 pdf icon PDF 2 MB

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

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    1.    A Member of the Committee raised an issue with the formatting of the Surrey Fire and Rescue Service Performance and Transformation Update presentation, which had been attached to the minutes of the previous meeting on 5 December 2018 as Annex 1. The Chairman told the Committee that the formatting will be corrected and attached to the minutes of the 22 February 2019 meeting as Annex 1.

    2.    The minutes were then agreed by the Committee.

21.

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:

    1.    Mr Jonathan Essex informed the Committee that he is a member of the Campaign to Protect Rural England.

    2.    A discussion was had about those Members of the Committee who are also members of the Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT). The Chairman stated that membership would not represent a conflict of interest.

22.

Questions & Petitions

    To receive any questions or petitions

     

    Notes:

     

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

     

    2.     The deadline for public questions is seven days before the meeting (insert date).

     

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

    Minutes:

    None were received.

23.

A Joint 25 Year Strategy for Surrey's Countryside Estate pdf icon PDF 709 KB

    Purpose of the Item:

     

    ·        To update the Members of the Committee on the development of a joint 25 year strategy with the Surrey Wildlife Trust for Surrey’s Countryside Estate.

     

    ·        Share outputs from engagement with the public and other key stakeholders.

     

    ·        Set out the framework for the strategy and invite comments to help develop the final strategy.

     

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

     

    Mike Goodman, Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste

    Lisa Creaye-Griffin, Countryside Group Manager

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    The Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste explained the background to the Strategy and discussed the public consultation which was scheduled to go live in May 2019.

    2.    The Committee heard from the Countryside Group Manager, who presented a slideshow (attached as Annex 1) on the strategy. The officer explained that the Strategy engagement process started by working with members of the community such as major landowners and community liaison groups and ran a Caring for the Countryside survey between September and December 2018.

    3.    The Countryside Group Manager then went on to discuss the feedback gathered through focus group workshops, which showed a difference in the views of younger and older users. This was particularly evident on the issue of car parking charges, with younger users showing a greater willingness to pay.

    4.    Discussing emerging themes, the Countryside Group Manager told the Committee that the feedback gathered showed a desire from users to know more about the sites and what they offer. As a result, Highways, Transport and Environment (HTA) were looking at ways to increase interaction with users and help join up sites across the county. The Countryside Group Manager also spoke about the importance of supporting the farms and businesses that are based on the Countryside Estate.

    5.    The Countryside Group Manager went on to speak about the structure of the Strategy and asked the Committee for their advice on whether it was moving in the right direction. The officer also talked about the desire to get communities more involved in running their local sites and potential areas of local collaboration moving forward.

    6.    The Chairman spoke about her disappointment with the Strategy and the lack of clarity contained within the feedback. While the Strategy indicated that there was a strong desire from residents for the Surrey countryside to be protected and maintained, the Chairman said that she felt there was a misunderstanding with residents over the management of the sites and the related costs.

    7.    Two Members of the Committee expressed their concern that the SWT were not present.

    8.    Responding to a Member’s question about disability access at the Countryside Estate, the Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste spoke about the improvements that had been made to trails and car parks but agreed that more needed to be done. He then told the Committee that a section of the final Strategy would be dedicated to the issue.

    9.    A discussion was had about the demographics of those who had responded to the consultation laid out in the report, with one Member saying they found it difficult to provide adequate feedback due to the small number of participants. Speaking about the annual costs of maintaining the estates, the Countryside Group Manager told the Committee that the estates are managed as a whole and have a central cost, which made it difficult to break down the  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23.

24.

Surrey Fire and Rescue Service Transformation Working Group Scoping Document pdf icon PDF 137 KB

    Purpose of the Item: The Committee is asked to review and agree the scoping document for the Surrey Fire and Rescue Service Transformation Working Group before submission to the Corporate Overview Select Committee for comment and final sign off.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Witnesses:

     

    Denise Turner-Stewart, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Fire and Resilience

    Steve Owen-Hughes, Acting Chief Fire Officer

    Jason Russell, Executive Director (Highways, Transport and Environment)

     

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1. Before hearing from officers, the Chairman informed the Committee about an error contained in the original Surrey Fire and Rescue Service Transformation Working Group Scoping Document, which had been released to the public. A corrected version was tabled at the meeting and is attached to the minutes as Annex 2.
    2. Discussing the scoping document, the Acting Chief Fire Officer explained that it reflected how fast things were moving in the Surrey Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) and welcomed the formation of a Working Group.
    3. Responding to a question about SFRS adjusting the delivery of its service to the amount of money available, the Acting Chief Fire Officer discussed the financial budget that they will be working to. He went on to say that he hoped efficiencies and effectiveness would allow further reinvestment in the service and the possibility for the Council to invest in similar services if outstanding funds remained after that. The Executive Director then went on to discuss the extensive nature of the service’s transformation and the need for money to be invested. The Committee was informed that a claim had been put in for transformation funding amounting to approximately £900,000 and that additional claims would be tabled if needed.
    4. A Member of the Committee asked the Acting Chief Fire Officer about SFRS now being both a fire and rescue service and the possibility for more information about the rescue side of the operation being included in the scoping document. They then went on to question SFRS’s ability to cooperate with other organisations so that the Member Reference Group were able to better understand the context in which the scoping document had been formulated. In response, the Acting Chief Fire Officer discussed the change in legislation through the Fire and Rescue Services Act 2004 and the work undertaken by SFRS through the coordination of services managed by the local resilience forum. The Executive Director also discussed the relationship between fire and rescue services and told the Committee that the aim was to further the connection between the two so that there was greater integration with wider Surrey services and partners.
    5. The Chairman questioned the possibility of emergency planning leaving the scrutiny of the Environment Select Committee and moving to another, and the Executive Director informed Members that no decision had yet been made but that it was a case of which committee it would best work under. A discussion was then had about the potential for a co-opted place to be left on the Environment Select Committee if emergency planning scrutiny was moved from its remit.
    6. Returning to the cooperation undertaken between SFRS and its partner organisations, the Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Fire and Resilience highlighted the extensive work done by speaking about projects with the Royal National Lifeboat Institution and the Environment Agency.
    7. The Vice-Chairman  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

25.

Recommendations Tracker and Forward Work Programme pdf icon PDF 113 KB

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

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Key points raised during the discussion:

     

    1.    The Chairman informed the Committee that the only change they needed to be informed of was concerned with a new community recycle centres working group that had been requested by the Cabinet Member for Environment and Waste. This would be chaired by Dr Andrew Povey, who would report to the Environment Select Committee before going to Cabinet.

    2.    The Chairman discussed the two items on the recommendations tracker and told the Committee that these would be chased up as they are yet to be completed.

26.

Date of the Next Meeting