Agenda and minutes

Environment, Economic Growth and Transport Scrutiny Committee - Thursday, 27th April, 2023 10.30 am

Members of the public are welcome to attend our meetings to watch them in person at any of the venues across the County. Publicly accessible meetings held in County Hall will be webcast, which means they are available to be watched live or recorded on our website. Please see our webcasting notice here. The Committee may, in certain circumstances, resolve to hold part of the meeting in private. If this is the case, you will be required to leave the meeting.

Venue: Committee Room 'B' - The Diamond Jubilee Room, County Hall, Preston. View directions

Contact: Gary Halsall 

Media

Items
No. Item

The Chair announced that Item 6 - Net Zero - Decarbonisation of Lancashire County Council Estate would be taken after Item 9 – Date of Next Meeting.

1.

Apologies

Minutes:

Apologies were received from County Councillor Anne Cheetham.

2.

Disclosure of Pecuniary and Non-Pecuniary Interests

Members are asked to consider any pecuniary and non-pecuniary interests they may have to disclose to the meeting in relation to matters under consideration on the agenda.

Minutes:

None were disclosed.

3.

Minutes of the Meeting Held on 16 March 2023 pdf icon PDF 305 KB

Minutes:

Resolved: that the minutes of the meeting held on the 16 March 2023 be approved as an accurate record.

4.

Lancashire County Council Environment and Climate Strategy pdf icon PDF 375 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed to the meeting County Councillor Shaun Turner, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, Andrew Mullaney, Director of Environment and Planning and Debbie King, Acting Head of Planning and Environment.

 

The Committee was presented a report which gave an overview of the county council's Environment and Climate Strategy, which set out ongoing and planned activity to achieve the strategy's ten key objectives. An update on activity being undertaken to transition the Lancashire economy away from carbon by 2030 was also provided.

 

A presentation to compliment the report was delivered at the meeting, and a copy is set out in the minutes.

 

Comments and queries raised by the committee were as follows:

 

·  It was recommended by officers that queries over LED lighting brightness levels were taken to the Highways Department to investigate further. The committee was informed that street lighting was there to illuminate traffic and not as a crime prevention measure. Officers agreed to follow up the impact LED lighting had on criminal activity and report back to the committee.

·  Officers clarified that under the Cosy Homes Scheme, technical surveys were conducted on a residential property before cavity wall insulation was installed, to prevent damp from occurring in properties could be deemed structurally unsuitable for the scheme.

·  It was noted that homes which had structural problems from older schemes in place before the Cosy Homes Scheme was introduced could be reported to Trading Standards.

·  On the use of the Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Fund (LEVI) to develop electric vehicle charging in library car parks, it was explained the funding could not be used for destination or workplace charging as it was intended for on-street residential areas.

·  Officers were looking into additional options for on street electric vehicle charging and other suitable locations to establish electric vehicle charging hubs to service multiple residential properties.

·  On whether the Woodland Accelerator Fund would be used to replace trees that had damaged public footpaths, officers explained that the policy was being updated to ensure the right tree was planted in the right place. Additionally, a specialist council tree team had been created to provide advice and creative solutions and to ensure the correct tree was planted to prevent damage in residential areas whilst providing a green amenity.

·  Capability funding had been made available from central government to help improve local authorities' ability in specialist areas such as woodland planting, electric charging and nature recovery. The recruitment of four woodland officers through capability funding would help to provide access to specialist Grants from the Forestry Commission.

·  A request was made for the tree policy to be amended so that trees were planted in the highway rather than on pavements. It was noted that planting new trees within vehicle carriageways would present a number of challenges, as this could take up residents' parking spots but also cause issues with utilities such as underground sewage pipes, water networks and cables.

·  In response to a query on the low number of electric vehicle charging points  ...  view the full minutes text for item 4.

5.

Changes to Waste services pdf icon PDF 268 KB

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed to the meeting County Councillor Shaun Turner, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change and Steve Scott, Head of Service Waste Management.

 

The committee was presented a report which provided information on two key issues that would force change within the council's Waste service in coming years:

 

·  The end of the council's existing landfill contract in 2025

·  The Environment Act 2021

 

In anticipation of these changes the Waste service team, had developed a waste processing strategy. Details of the wider implications for the council were also provided.

 

Comments and queries raised by the committee were as follows:

 

·  It was noted that a report seeking approval to modify waste facilities to process food waste through anaerobic digestion methods, would now be considered by Cabinet at its meeting scheduled on 6 July 2023.

·  Whilst nationally consistent waste collection processes would become a legal requirement, the challenges for the council included whether adequate funding would be available and the equal distribution of monies. It was noted that the collection authorities (district councils) had different collection arrangements in place and different contracting arrangements.

·  On the amount of food waste likely to be collected and the large distances travelled to then process it, it was felt smaller and more local food waste processing plants would be more appropriate. It was explained that officers hoped to expand the waste processing facilities at Farington Waste Recovery Park. Whilst officers could use modelling techniques to help indicate the amount that might be collected, it was not clear how well the public would buy in to this process. Officers would monitor the amounts being processed to help determine whether there was a business case to expand the facilities at the Thornton Waste Recovery Park.

·  On communicating waste collection changes with the public, the committee was informed that a back to basics campaign would be launched in the first instance to refresh the public's knowledge and understanding of what can and can't be recycled.

·  It was confirmed that Lancashire County Council did not have a binding contract to collect a specific quantity of food waste, as the food waste recovery parks were owned by the Council.

·  Officers noted that the waste recovery parks could be offered commercially to companies if food collection was lower than the capacity available to process food waste.

·  It was queried whether the anaerobic digestion technology for processing food waste was already installed. The technology was in place and needed minor modifications to process food waste. The cost to purchase the modifications for Farington waste recovery park was around £1m. It was noted that the savings as a result of the energy production would significantly outweigh the capital investment needed to modify the facilities at Farington.

·  The Lancashire Waste Partnership had received presentations from WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme Charity) and LARAC (The Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee) on modelling potential amounts of food waste that took into account findings from what had occurred in Wales and other areas.

·  On applications  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.

7.

Work Programme 2022/23 pdf icon PDF 150 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The committee was presented a report which provided members of the Environment, Economic Growth and Transport Scrutiny Committee with the committee's work programme for 2022/23.

 

Resolved: That the Environment, Economic Growth and Transport Scrutiny Committee's work programme for 2022/23 be noted.

8.

Urgent Business

An item of urgent business may only be considered under this heading where, by reason of special circumstances to be recorded in the minutes, the chair of the meeting is of the opinion that the item should be considered at the meeting as a matter of urgency. Wherever possible, the chief executive should be given advance warning of any member's intention to raise a matter under this heading.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

9.

Date of Next Meeting

The next meeting of the Environment, Economic Growth and Transport Scrutiny Committee will be held on Thursday 29 June 2023 at 10:30am in Committee Room B – The Diamond Jubilee Room, County Hall, Preston.

Minutes:

The next meeting of the Environment, Economic Growth and Transport Scrutiny Committee would be held on Thursday 29 June 2023 at 10:30am in Committee Room B – The Diamond Jubilee Room, County Hall, Preston.

6.

Net Zero - Decarbonisation of Lancashire County Council Estate pdf icon PDF 355 KB

Please note that Appendix 'B' to this report is in Part II and appears as Item No. 11 on the Agenda.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed to the meeting County Councillor Shaun Turner, Cabinet Member for Environment and Climate Change, Mel Ormesher, Head of Service Asset Management, Paul Binks, Highway Asset Manager and Denise Jepson, Energy Team Manager.

 

A report was presented to the committee which provided information on the strategy being created to work towards achieving net zero carbon emissions for the Lancashire County Council estate. A copy of the draft Energy Strategy 2024-28 was included under Part II of the agenda at Item 11 - Appendix B to Item 6 - Net Zero - Decarbonisation of Lancashire County Council Estate.

 

Comments and queries raised by the committee were as follows:

 

·  It was confirmed that over 600 school buildings were not included in the decarbonisation of Lancashire County Council Estate strategy, as responsibility for decarbonisation was delegated to other educational authorities such as school governing bodies, trusts and dioceses.

·  It was suggested that the Tree Maintenance Strategy 2023 should be brought to the committee, before it was put to Cabinet towards the end of 2023. In considering the suggestion it was felt that the matter be considered at the work programming session for potential inclusion on the committee's work programme for 2023/24.

·  The committee was informed that, following the installation of Photovoltaic Arrays (PV) in Clough, Leyland and Garstang libraries, that there were plans to utilise this technology in more libraries within the council's portfolio. The committee was informed that in the first instance, the policy was to undertake a fabric first approach and review requirements around insulation and maintenance of buildings and then switching out fossil fuel systems. A bid for funding from the Skills Fund setup by the Department for Energy Security and Net Zero had been submitted to obtain support for detailed surveys to be carried out on council buildings and some libraries were included in the list. The outcomes of those surveys would help inform design schemes in readiness to procure suppliers and to then submit a bid from the Department's Capital Fund.

·  It was noted that due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and change in working practices, energy usage within the county council buildings had reduced in recent years.

·  The council was working with LASER to review land assets and the potential for energy generation. In addition, the council was looking specifically at the opportunities for the installation of renewables within the Lancashire County Council's operational property portfolio.

·  LASER also provided technical expertise and advice to assist the council in submitting strong bids for additional funding.

 

Resolved: That; the report on Net Zero - Decarbonisation of Lancashire County Council Estate and appendix B be noted.

 

10.

Exclusion of Press and Public

The Committee is asked to consider whether, under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act, 1972, it considers that the public should be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items of business on the grounds that there would be a likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the appropriate paragraph of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act, 1972, as indicated against the heading to the item.

Minutes:

Resolved: That under Section 100A(4) of the Local Government Act 1972, the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following item of business on the grounds that there would be a likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in the appropriate paragraph of Part I of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972.

 

11.

Appendix B to Item 6 - Net Zero - Decarbonisation of Lancashire County Council Estate

Exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972. The report contains information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information). It is considered that in all the circumstances of the case the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

Minutes:

Exempt information as defined in Paragraph 3 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Local Government Act 1972. The report contained information relating to the financial or business affairs of any particular person (including the authority holding that information). It is considered that in all the circumstances of the case the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

Resolved: That Appendix 'B' to Item 6 – Net Zero – Decarbonisation of Lancashire County Council Estate, be noted.