Agenda and minutes

Venue: Assembly Hall - Birkenhead Town Hall

Contact: Anna Perrett, Principal Democratic Services Officer  tel: 0151 691 8564 email:

Note: Public seating is limited therefore members of the public wishing to attend are asked to register their attendance in advance by emailing 


No. Item



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The Chair welcomed attendees and viewers to the meeting and reminded everyone that the meeting was webcast and retained on the Council’s website for two years.



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Councillor Naomi Graham sent apologies. Councillor Ed Lamb was in attendance as substitute.



Members are asked to consider whether they have any disclosable pecuniary interests and/or any other relevant interest in connection with any item(s) on this agenda and, if so, to declare them and state the nature of the interest.

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Members were asked to declare any disclosable pecuniary interests and any other relevant interest and to state the nature of the interest. There were no declarations of interests.


Minutes pdf icon PDF 306 KB

To approve the accuracy of the minutes of the meeting held on 20 September 2023.

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The Head of Legal Services advised Members that due to the volume of public questions received at the September meeting of this committee, written responses were provided outside of the meeting, and it was agreed that these responses would be included in the minutes.


Unfortunately, due to an administrative error, one question and response was not included. In order to correct this, it was proposed that this be included in the minutes of this meeting.


Resolved – that the minutes of the meeting held on 20 September 2023 be approved as a correct record with the above correction.



Please telephone the Committee Services Officer if you have not received an acknowledgement of your question/statement by the deadline for submission.

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Public Questions pdf icon PDF 200 KB

Notice of question to be given in writing or by email by 12 noon, Wednesday 18 October 2023 to the Council’s Monitoring Officer via this link: Public Question Form and to be dealt with in accordance with Standing Order 10.


For more information on how your personal information will be used, please see this link: Document Data Protection Protocol for Public Speakers at Committees | Wirral Council


Please telephone the Committee Services Officer if you have not received an acknowledgement of your question by the deadline for submission.


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The following questions were received from members of the public.


Jim Cadwallader asked a question regarding what steps the Council were taking to reuse older assets, such as train tracks, in an effort to reduce the carbon footprint.


The Chair responded that the current railway structure is inaccessible and not fit for purpose. This is covered in the Birkenhead 2040 Framework in the creation of Dock Branch Park, which will see such assets transformed into an appealing natural and practical park space.


Barbara Gleave asked a question regarding reducing the speed limits on minor roads and country lanes to 40mph, in order to promote safety for cyclists.


The Chair responded that a Road Safety Strategy had been adopted y the Liverpool City Region. Recommendations identified by the strategy include a review of existing speed limits on all A, B and C roads. Vulnerable road users are part of the review.


Anne Adern asked a question regarding the publicity approach to making the public aware of quieter electric vehicles.


The Chair responded that this topic would be included on all road safety interventions that would be delivered and national campaigns would be supported where possible.


Jane Turner asked a question regarding the possibility of Council officers investigating options to improve pedestrian and disabled access, in co-operation with Natural England, to the tidal area of Hoylake Beach. Also requesting for this to be considered before a final beach management plan is implemented.


The Chair informed that the Council has a duty under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 to conserve and enhance diverse geological features, therefore anything that may cause damage to such features would be an offence. Natural England had advised that a Habitat Regulations Assessment must precede any work as well as an Equalities Impact Assessment. The Committee have also requested two further options be explored following the 2022 consultation. The Council will also continue to monitor changes at Hoylake following the implementation of the Beach Management Plan and will consider the provision of such boardwalks if necessary. 


Rosemary Chandler asked a question regarding what percentage of waste is recycled in Wirral and what can be done to improve this statistic.


The Chair responded that the rate of recycling in 2022/23 was 31.2%. The Environment Act 2021 includes a mandate for recycling kerbside waste. The Resources and Waste Strategy 2018 also includes targets for recycling collections. An upcoming DERFA consultation is likely to inform the basis of regulation and guidance for recycling collection. Wirral has also partnered with the Liverpool City Region districts n the Merseyside Recycling and Waste Authority Strategic Waste Partnership. This partnership has detailed an action plan which works toward the Zero Waste Strategy. This work will take some years to implement, but in the meantime work is going toward behaviour change and education campaigns.


Don Naylor asked a question regarding areas of sewage slicks and environmental hazards in water, specifically the River Dee in Chester, and if it would be possible for the Council to sign  ...  view the full minutes text for item 44a


Statements and petitions

Notice of representations to be given in writing or by email by 12 noon, Wednesday 18 October 2023  to the Council’s Monitoring Officer ( and to be dealt with in accordance with Standing Order 11.1.


Petitions may be presented to the Committee if provided to Democratic and Member Services no later than 10 working days before the meeting, at the discretion of the Chair. The person presenting the petition will be allowed to address the meeting briefly (not exceeding three minute) to outline the aims of the petition. The Chair will refer the matter to another appropriate body of the Council within whose terms of reference it falls without discussion, unless a relevant item appears elsewhere on the Agenda. If a petition contains more than 5,000 signatures, it will be debated at a subsequent meeting of Council for up to 15 minutes, at the discretion of the Mayor.


Please telephone the Committee Services Officer if you have not received an acknowledgement of your statement/petition by the deadline for submission.


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Katy Davies presented a petition in relation to 20mph speed limits on China Farm Lane.


Gail Jenkinson presented a petition in relation to the ceasing of a school bus service from West Kirby Grammar School to Thingwall and Irby.


Questions by Members

Questions by Members to be dealt with in accordance with Standing Orders 12.3 to 12.8.

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There were no questions by Members.



Biodiversity & Net Gain Strategy pdf icon PDF 485 KB

(The PDF file may not be suitable to view for people with disabilities, users of assistive technology or mobile phone devices. Please contact to request this document in an accessible format)


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The Assistant Director of Parks and Environment introduced the report of the Director of Neighbourhood Services to the Committee. The report explained that the Biodiversity & Net Gain Strategy had been developed as a proactive response to the growing environmental challenges, emphasising the conservation and enhancement of biodiversity within Wirral and its neighbouring regions. The strategy outlined a set of priorities and objectives aimed at protecting and enhancing biodiversity, ensuring its long-term survival, and fostering wider environmental benefits. It encouraged the involvement of a broad range of stakeholders, including local communities, businesses, and wildlife organisations, in achieving the outlined objectives.


Members thanked officers for the report and extended thanks to community and voluntary groups who work with officers on Biodiveristy. Queries were raised about the biodiversity action plan, management plans and enforcement action as well as monitoring of Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSIs). Members queried and were informed of the biodiversity working group which will work on the action plan as well as work being undertaken on SSSIs. Also queried was the reach of the consultation with Members noting that many people were contacted as part of the consultation but chose not to respond. Members considered the possibility of developers degrading possible sites and were informed that any available data is used to investigate this. Members asked for clarification on SSRI site status to come back to committee and asked that Elected Members be part of the working group. Also requested was a tab of the Members Portal for re-wilding requests.


Resolved – That the Biodiversity & Net Gain Strategy be approved.


Winter Service Plan pdf icon PDF 412 KB

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The Assistant Director of Highways and Infrastructure introduced the report of the Director of Neighbourhood Services to the Committee. The purpose of the report was to notify the Committee that the Highway Winter Service Operational Plan, detailing the manner in which the Council’s highway winter service operations will be carried out during the winter period 2023/24 had been approved, and to provide details of the plan.


Members discussed the disappearance of gritting bins and particular routes not being gritted, despite requests. Officers responded to state that requests could be taken for grit bin locations, but they would revue requests using more evidence and risk-based positions. Members were also infirmed that there was a limit to what is logistically possible, but suggestions would be considered. Also discussed was the variances of British Weather and differences in routes between standard and mini gritters. Members also requested that the grit bin location map be reinstated on the website and were informed this would be possible, but that the location of bins was under review. Also discussed was active travel routes and the environmental impact of gritting salt.


Resolved – That officers be thanked for their work and the contents of the report be noted.


Weed Treatment Provision pdf icon PDF 170 KB

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The Assistant Director of Parks and Environment introduced the report of the Director of Neighbourhood Services to the Committee. The report proposed a new weed control contract for a two-year period, commencing in March 2024 until March 2026, following the end of the previous contract. This was to allow time for an alternative approach to weed control to be considered, budget approved and for implementation.


Members discussed the safety and environmental impact of the various options including Nomix Duel with Members being assured that this product was safe. Also discussed were issues raised in wards such as areas not being treated and areas such as grass verges and front gardens being sprayed which had caused damage. Members were informed that weather played a part in weed treatment and that issues of damage should be reported to officers who will review it with the contractor. The Chair proposed to Members that given the strength of feeling a working group be formed to consider options further.


On a motion by the Chair, seconded by Councillor Steve Foulkes it was,


Resolved – That,


(1) An open competitive tender process be commenced to secure the future supplier of the weed control service, for the period March 2024 to March 2026;

(2) the Director of Neighbourhood Services be authorised to award the contract to the highest scoring tender within approved budget and in accordance with the Most Economically Advantageous Tender ‘MEAT’ criteria.

(3) a working group be established comprising of one Member from each political group, officers and relevant stakeholders to investigate the options for the future of the service in more detail. 


Carbon Literacy pdf icon PDF 296 KB

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The Climate Emergency Manager introduced the report of the Director of Neighbourhoods Services to the Committee. The report supported the Wirral Plan 2021-2026 sustainable environment priority by ensuring council officers were knowledgeable and aware of the impacts Climate Emergency had on a local and global scale. It then challenged officers to commit to change on a personal and professional level using knowledge and skills developed through their training.


Members discussed the benefits of taking the course, and making the pledge stating that there were topics discussed during the training which had stuck with them. Also noted was the request from the Climate Emergency Team that Committee report writers were given training and possible legal challenge towards the council if Climate Emergency targets were not met. Members thanked Lucy Northey, the Climate Emergency Manager for her work on the carbon literacy programme and the report.


Resolved – That the report be noted.


Work Programme pdf icon PDF 377 KB

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The Head of Legal Services presented the report and advised Members that the Committee in co-operation with the other Policy and Service Committees, is responsible for proposing and delivering an annual committee work programme. This work programme should align with the corporate priorities of the Council, in particular the delivery of the key decisions which are within the remit of the Committee.


Members noted slippage of work programme items such as Active Travel Strategy and asked for assurance that it would be coming to committee in 2024.

Also discussed was an item on flood risk and Members involvement in regards to the Bio-diversity action plan and requested updates on the allotment task and finish, land availability for tree planting and re-wilding and sale of assets which can be utilised for this.


Resolved – That the work programme be noted with the above additions.