Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: Floral Pavillion

Contact: Mike Jones, Principal Democratic Services Officer 

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

17.

WELCOME AND INTRODUCTION

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chair opened the meeting and reminded everyone that the meeting was being webcast and a copy is retained on the Council’s website.

18.

APOLOGIES

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillors Andy Corkhill and Les Rowlands had given apologies for absence and were deputised by Councillors Alan Brame and Helen Cameron respectively.

19.

MEMBERS' CODE OF CONDUCT - DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

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.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

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.

20.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 116 KB

To approve the accuracy of the minutes of the meeting held on Monday 14 July 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Resolved (by assent) –

That the minutes of the meeting of the Environment, Climate Emergency and Transport Committee held on 14 June 2021 be approved and adopted as a correct record.

21.

Public Questions pdf icon PDF 1 MB

Notice of question to be given in writing or by email by 12 noon, Thursday 2September 2021 to the Council’s Monitoring Officer (committeeservices@wirral.gov.uk) and to be dealt with in accordance with Standing Order 10.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Question 1 from Sally Scott

Re: Declaration of Climate Emergency and Carbon Literacy Training

In July 2019 Wirral Borough Council was one of the early Local Authorities to declare a Climate Emergency. This Declaration affects every area of Council responsibility.

It is significant that The Declaration made by WBC in July 2019 includes a commitment to become a Carbon Literate Organisation - with all elected and employed members of the Council undergoing Carbon Literacy Training.

Two years on, it is increasingly clear that catastrophic, global climate change is already upon us, and academic climate researchers, meteorologists, and economists, in fact experts from many different disciplines are calling for an urgent scaling up of Climate Crisis Action.  Action is needed at every level of society, with an increasing number of ‘ordinary’ citizens ready to do their part.

The Committee for Climate Change, who advise the Government, have stated very clearly that Local Authorities are well placed to play a major part in the action, as they have local knowledge and understanding of their area and are probably very well motivated to help their own residents – this was shown to be true during the pandemic and can be true again.

The importance of Carbon Literacy is that if Councillors, especially decision makers, need to be aware of the realities of Climate Change to avoid supporting ill-advised, and possibly, costly policies, which unintentionally making the Climate Crisis worse.

Council staff use procedures to ensure that Council’s policies are in place, but if staff are not carbon literate bad-information mistakes will be made… There is a case for saying that all employed staff should be required to undertake professional training as part of their job.

As the Crisis deepens, Wirral Borough Council needs to become more active in fulfilling their stated commitment to Carbon Literacy.  

The reality that finances are very tight for Local and Regional Authorities makes any significant contribution towards Climate Change a very big ASK – but with, or without, improved financial support, progress towards dealing with Climate issues requires a widespread and high degree of Carbon Literacy.

 As a resident of Wirral I would like to know….

1.  How many present WBC councillors have already undertaken, or are booked into, a Carbon Literacy Training course?

2.  Is it possible to know which councillors have not yet taken, or signed up to, Carbon Literacy Training?

3.  What proportion of WBC’s employed staff have already undertaken, or are booked into, such a course?

4.  What contractual precautions are in place to ensure that workers in companies contracted to work on behalf of the Council are required to operate in a climate sensitive way?

5.  How will WBC mount a public information campaign about Climate Action to help members the public to appreciate Council strategies, which of course, need to be visible and verifiable?

Significant strides have already been made towards to the goal of the Council being/becoming Carbon neutral by 2030 … however the increasing impact of Climate Change is here  ...  view the full minutes text for item 21.

22.

Statements and petitions

Notice of representations to be given in writing or by email by 12 noon, Thursday 2September 2021 to the Council’s Monitoring Officer (committeeservices@wirral.gov.uk) and to be dealt with in accordance with Standing Order 11.1.

 

Petitions may be presented to the Committee. The person presenting the petition will be allowed to address the meeting briefly (not exceeding one 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. Please give notice of petitions to committeeservices@wirral.gov.uk in advance of the meeting.

.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Liz Grey made the following statement to the Committee and presented Members with books she had purchased.

 

We are not moving far or fast enough on the environment and climate emergency crisis and this is deeply frustrating. In many cases it is not down to lack of political will and I believe that when we declared an environmental and climate emergency in July 2019 it was heartfelt for most of us. But when Councillor Brame quoted Greta Thunberg he really meant it and when Tony Norbury referred to the critical choices we face regarding a habitable or uninhabitable planet in the future that was also from the heart. I know that when I said we needed to learn from the war generation on how to live within our means or rather within our planetary boundaries I certainly hoped we would have achieved more than we have now as a Council, as a country and as an international community. In July 2019 the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said we had a decade to sort things out before they became irreversible and catastrophic. They have recently declared that humanity is on red alert - code red for humanity. The Intergovernmental Panel on biological diversity and ecosystem services has also said that time is running out to stop a mass extinction all around us. Both climate change and biodiversity loss are devastating life on earth. I know how hard our officers have been working on this and just how committed most off them are. But this is something for us to be thinking about now. We should be rightly proud of what we have done as a Council but we need to do more. We are the ones as elected Members who need to give a steer on policies. At this critical juncture before as we head towards COP 15 and COP 26 are we going to guide the Council to do the right thing in transport and environment policies or not? Are we going to make the difficult decisions and explain to our residents why we must make sacrifices in our daily lives now to ensure that our children and grandchildren have a recognisable safe and viable planet on which to live in the not too distant future? COP 15 on biodiversity is still going ahead soon though fragmented and online at first. COP 26 on climate change is still being planned and each of these conferences needs to make radical promises for all our sakes. Our governments then need to act. We can’t save the world just from this Committee but we absolutely must do everything within our power We have a variety of really experienced Councillors around the table here in all parties bringing all kinds of life experience and understanding to this Committee and we need to harness that and work together. Remind me if you get political. I’m just as prone as everybody else to party politics and I urge you and your parties not to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.

23.

Questions by Members

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

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Questions were invited from Members which related to matters which the Council has powers or duties or which affected the Borough fell within the terms of reference of the Committee.

 

Councillor Helen Cameron asked if Carbon Literacy training could be held in the evening. Officers promised to look into this.

24.

Road Safety Programme Update pdf icon PDF 184 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Simon Fox, the Assistant Director for Highways and Infrastructure presented this report which provided an update on the Council’s road safety programme, strategy and policy as well as progress with resolutions agreed by the Environment, Climate Emergency and Transport Committee on 16 March 2021, which included recommendations from the Road Safety Working Group and the Combined Authority Transport Plan Integrated Block programme. A future report would include a full schedule of locations requested by various people with evidence, budget allocation and a proposed programme of implementation for 2022/23. The report highlighted key achievements against the recommendations of the Working Group, including six pilot 20 mph schemes, the vision zero pledge on road casualties and vehicle activated speed warning signs.

 

Members questioned detail in the report which established:

·  Surveys were carried out following schemes to assess their success

·  Some schemes had been postponed because of the Covid-19 pandemic which affected finances and officer time

·  Variable speed limit signs were most effective if used sparingly but required set criteria to be installed

·  Behavioural science was utilised and more information on this would be shared with Members

·  There was a time lag between a Committee decision and implementation

·  Satnav companies were informed of changes in speed limits

·  Schemes connected with schools had been delayed whilst schools were not operating consistently although an externally funded School Streets Officer was being appointed to help implement schemes

 

Councillor Liz Grey proposed additional text to the recommendation. This was seconded by Councillor Allan Brame.

 

Resolved (7:4)

That

(1)  the various workstreams included within the Council’s programme of road safety improvements and the proposed mechanisms for the delivery of this programme in 2021-22 and beyond be noted;

(2)  the cttee request the officers focus on delivering each of the road safety working groups recommendations as an urgent priority and asks that officers provide clear feedback on each recommendation before the end of this calendar year detailing progress made in planning, funding and implementation

(3)  Committee notes that 4.24 of this report omits full reference to the Department for Transport guidance on implementation of 20 mph which can be implemented on roads with average speeds above 24 mph. Committee also notes that 4.25 of this report does not acknowledge that the data on collisions can never reflect the extent to which road safety fears drive behaviour choices in local travel. Roads may appear safe in terms of collision data because people are too scared to walk or cycle along them. Committee wishes these factors to inform the rollout of 20 mph zones.

25.

Weed Control Options Appraisal pdf icon PDF 101 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Mike Cockburn, Assistant Director for Parks and Environment, introduced this report which provided an overview of the appraisal exercise undertaken to consider options for future weed control across the borough.

 

Members discussed the options and explored a further option of having an in-house service to cover a variety of tasks. There were concerns over the financing and recruitment this would require and it was estimated that it would take a year to plan and implement. The existing contract could be retendered with an option for extension if an in-house service proved to be uneconomic.

 

Councillor Michael Collins proposed a motion to have a reduced term contract to allow for investigations and planning for an in-house service.

 

Resolved:

That the Committee does not support the option presented in the report to procure a weed control contract for a term of up to 4 years and wishes to have more information before deciding on a long term option for weed control.

Committee would like further information on a fully integrated in-house service, covering all aspects of edge of highways and street maintenance including but not necessarily limited to grass cutting and weed control.

Committee therefore requests that the Director of Neighbourhoods reports back to the Committee as soon as possible with the above information. In the meantime the Committee agrees to the commencement of a tender process for the procurement of a weed control services contract for a period of one year with an option to extend for 1 year.

The Committee also agrees to give delegated authority to the Director of Neighbourhoods to award the one year contract with an option to extend for 1 year within approved budget and in accordance with the Most Economically Advantageous Tender (MEAT) criteria.

26.

QUARTER 1 BUDGET MONITORING pdf icon PDF 126 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Sarah Cox, Senior Finance Business Partner, presented this report which set out the financial monitoring information for the Committee as at quarter 1 (Apr – Jun) of 2021-22. A revenue shortfall was largely due to car parking income note being realised, and the Capital programme also showed an adverse position as several schemes had slipped into the next financial year after not being progressed during the pandemic. 

 

Resolved:

That

(1)  the projected year-end revenue forecast position of £0.850m adverse, as reported at quarter 1 (Apr – Jun) of 2021-22 be noted

(2)  progress on the achievement of approved savings and the projected year end forecast position at quarter 1 (Apr – Jun) of 2021-22 be noted

(3)  the reserves allocated to the Committee for future one-off commitments be noted.

(4)  the projected year-end capital forecast position of £1.143m adverse, as reported at quarter 1 (Apr – Jun) of 2021-22 be noted.

27.

Appointment to Hilbre Island Nature Reserve Management Committee pdf icon PDF 80 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Vicky Shaw, Head of Legal Services, introduced this report which was to enable the Committee to review the continuing need for the Hilbre Island Nature Reserve Management Committee and if necessary to appoint Members, and possibly named deputies, to serve on it in 2021/2022.

 

Members discussed the membership of the Committee and whether political proportionality should be considered.

 

Due to the lack of consensus, Councillor Liz Grey proposed taking the matter to Policy and Resources Committee. This was seconded by Councillor Chris Cooke.

 

Resolved:

That Policy and Resources Committee be recommended to:

authorise the Monitoring Officer as proper officer to carry out the wishes of the Group Leaders in relation to the matter of Councillor membership of the Hilbre Island Nature Reserve Management Committee.

28.

Work Programme Update pdf icon PDF 86 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Environment, Climate Emergency and Transport Committee was responsible for proposing and delivering an annual committee work programme. This work programme was to align with the corporate priorities of the Council, in particular the delivery of the key decisions which are within the remit of the Committee. 

 

Councillor Liz Grey proposed that Active Travel be restored to the Committee’s Work programme. This was seconded by Councillor Steve Foulkes.

 

Resolved:

That the proposed Environment, Climate Emergency and Transport Committee work programme for the remainder of the 2021/22 municipal year be noted and that active travel items removed after the Committee voted to keep them be restored to the Work Programme of this Committee including active travel funding and strategy.