Agenda, decisions and draft minutes


Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday 6 September 2022 6.30 pm

Venue: Bodicote House, Bodicote, Banbury, Oxon OX15 4AA

Contact: Emma Faulkner / Lesley Farrell, Democratic and Elections  Email: democracy@cherwell-dc.gov.uk, 01295 221953 / 01295 221591

Media

Items
No. Item

18.

Declarations of Interest

Members are asked to declare any interest and the nature of that interest which they may have in any of the items under consideration at this meeting. 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no declarations of interest

19.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 218 KB

To confirm as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 28 July 2022.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on 28 July 2022 were agreed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

 

 

20.

Chairman's Announcements

To receive communications from the Chairman.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman made one announcement

 

1.    Democratic and Elections officer Lesley Farrell would be retiring from the council this month. On behalf of the committee the Chairman thanked Lesley for her tireless work and support and wished her a happy retirement. On a personal note the Chairman stated that Lesley had been a great help, particularly in his first year and that she would be greatly missed.

21.

Urgent Business

The Chairman to advise whether they have agreed to any item of urgent business being admitted to the agenda.

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no items of urgent business.

 

22.

Climate Change update pdf icon PDF 216 KB

Officers will give a comprehensive update on the Climate Change work taking place across the Council, and seek Committee’s agreement to the establishment of a Climate Change working group.

 

Terms of Reference for the working group are currently being drafted, and will be circulated shortly.

 

Recommendations

 

The meeting is recommended:

 

1.1      To approve the establishment of a Climate Change Working Group

 

1.2     To delegate authority to the Assistant Director Law, Governance and Democratic Services (interim), in consultation with the working group Chairman, to finalise the scoping document.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved

 

(1)           That the establishment of a Climate Change Working Group be approved.

 

(2)           That authority be delegated to the Assistant Director Law, Governance and Democratic Services (Interim), in consultation with the Working Group Chairman and Overview and Scrutiny Committee Chairman, to finalise the scoping document.

Minutes:

The Chairman introduced Councillor Dan Sames, Portfolio Holder for Cleaner and Greener Communities, the Corporate Director of Communities and the Assistant Director Environmental Services to provide an update on the climate change work, carbon management plans and draft terms of reference for the climate action working group.

 

The Assistant Director Environmental Services had submitted a report which set out the Carbon Management Plans for the period 2022-2025 to guide the Council towards its net zero target. Draft terms of reference for the Climate Activity Scrutiny Working Group had been published as a supplement to the agenda.   

 

In introducing the report, the Assistant Director Environmental Services explained that there were four main sources of carbon emissions across the council: corporate buildings, leisure centres, vehicle fleet and staff travel. Staff travel contributed less than 2% of the total emissions, with the largest contributor being leisure centres. From 2008-09 financial year to 2020-21 financial year, Council emissions had reduced by 51%.

 

The council had received £6m funding from the public sector decarbonisation scheme, which had been used for the installation of air source heat pumps, a solar array at Woodgreen Leisure Centre that was used to heat the swimming pool and photovoltaic arrays had been installed at Bicester Leisure centre. Emissions at council owned leisure centres had subsequently reduced.

 

Smaller elements had also been implemented, such as LED lighting and a battery storage facility at Thorpe Lane depot that meant energy generated by solar panels could be stored for later use.

 

The project had been delivered on time at a cost of £5.2 million, therefore under budget.

 

In response to Members’ questions, the Assistant Director of Environmental Services explained that a reduction of emissions across the vehicle fleet would be difficult to achieve rapidly. Whilst 10% of the fleet had already been converted to electric vehicles, the larger refuse vehicles were the biggest emission contributor at 35 to 40 tonnes per vehicle.  However, the majority had Euro 6 engines which meant the existing fleet was clean by diesel standards. The cost for electric refuse vehicles was currently approximately £250,000, a significant increase on a diesel equivalent, and most were currently speed limited to 40mph and therefore not suitable to drive on the motorway which was necessary to reach the waste facilities at Ardley

 

In addition to cost, the charging infrastructure currently in place at Thorpe Lane Depot would mean that the larger batteries on the refuse vehicles would take two days to fully charge. The Assistant Director Environmental Services explained that the electricity supply at the depot would be improved in the coming months. 

 

Regarding public use charging points, the Assistant Director Environmental Services advised the Committee that a number of charging points were being installed in council owned car parks, that would be available for the public to use to charge their vehicles. Car parks close to terraced houses and flats had been targeted for an initial installation, and further charging points would be installed over the coming months.

 

In response to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 22.

22a

Climate Change - Carbon Management Plans pdf icon PDF 363 KB

Report of Assistant Director Environmental Services.

 

***Please note this report will be to follow***

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved

 

(1)          That the significant progress in the Council moving towards net zero by 2030 be noted.

 

(2)          That the proposed carbon management plans in making further steps to reach net zero by 2023 be noted.

23.

Air Quality Update pdf icon PDF 291 KB

Report of Assistant Director Regulatory Services and Community Safety

Purpose of report

This report provides Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee with an update on the air quality monitoring carried out across the district in 2021 and the air quality data obtained, the current district Air Quality Action Plan, and other air quality related matters. Air quality monitoring data shows significant air quality improvements over the last 5-year period in the air quality management areas of the District.

 

The Council’s Business Plan includes a specific commitment to “Work with partners to improve air quality” within the Supporting Environmental Sustainability priority.

Recommendations

The meeting is recommended:

 

1.1          To note the work undertaken by the Council and its partners in relation to air quality in the District and the 2021/22 air quality monitoring data.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved

 

(1)          That the work undertaken by the Council and it partners in relation to air quality in the District and the 2021/22 air quality monitoring area be noted.

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed the Assistant Director Regulatory Services and Environmental Protection and the Environmental Protection Officer to present an update on Air Quality across the district. 

 

The Assistant Director Regulatory Services and Environmental Protection had submitted a report which provided an update on the air quality monitoring carried out across the district in 2021 and the air quality data obtained, the current district Air Quality Action Plan, and other air quality related matters. Air quality monitoring data showed significant air quality improvements over the last 5-year period in the air quality management areas of the district. The Council’s Business Plan included a specific commitment to “Work with partners to improve air quality” within the Supporting Environmental Sustainability priority.

 

In response to questions from the Committee regarding Hennef Way in Banbury having a red status for Nitrogen Dioxide monitoring, the Environmental Protection Officer explained that the road was close to junction 9 of the M40 and was also a main route into Oxfordshire. A high number of HGVs used the road alongside private vehicles,  and this contributed to the higher levels.

 

With regard to post-covid monitoring levels, the Environmental Protection Officer explained that figures hadn’t increased much during 2021 when lockdowns ended, and people started travelling more. 

 

The Committee emphasised the need for planning policy to be an essential factor in improving air quality moving forward. The Committee also highlighted that the accumulation of planning developments had had a significant impact on the level of emissions in the community. In response officers explained that that there were requirements in planning policy documents regarding air quality, and these were reflected in the air quality management plans. When planning applications were submitted for areas close to or impacting on an existing air quality monitoring area, an air quality impact assessment was requested.

 

The Environmental Protection Officer added that consideration of the cumulative impact of new developments would be an area of discussion for the Climate Action Working Group. 

 

Resolved

 

(1)          That the work undertaken by the Council, and it partners in relation to air quality in the district and the 2021/22 air quality monitoring area be noted.

24.

Cost of Living update pdf icon PDF 213 KB

Officers will give a comprehensive update on work taking place across the Council regarding the cost of living crisis.

 

The update will include details on actions to address fuel poverty, and progress regarding the food poverty motion that was adopted at Full Council on 18 July 2022.

 

The Committee are asked to approve the establishment of a food poverty working group. Terms of Reference for the working group are currently being drafted, and will be circulated shortly.

 

Recommendations

 

The meeting is recommended:

 

1.1      To approve the establishment of a Food Poverty Working Group

 

1.2     To delegate authority to the Assistant Director Law, Governance and Democratic Services (interim), in consultation with the working group Chairman, to finalise the scoping document.

 

 

 

 

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved

 

(1)           That the establishment of a Food Insecurity Working Group be approved.

 

(2)           That authority be delegated to the Assistant Director Law, Governance and Democratic Services (Interim), in consultation with the Working Group Chairman and Overview and Scrutiny Committee Chairman, to finalise the scoping document.

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed the Chief Executive, Corporate Director Resources and Assistant Director Wellbeing and Housing to the meeting to present a comprehensive update on work taking place across the council to support residents with the cost-of-living crisis.  

 

The Corporate Director Resources explained that the presentation covered three key areas; finance, housing and food poverty, and each area would be introduced by relevant officers.

 

The Assistant Director Finance updated the Committee on various government backed financial schemes, including the Council Tax Energy Rebate, Housing Benefit and Council Tax support. In addition to national government schemes, the council also administered discretionary local schemes, such as the Household Support fund.

 

In response to questions from the Committee regarding the deadlines for the various schemes, the Chief Executive advised that the District Councils Network, of which Cherwell District Council was a member, was in discussion with central government regarding extensions, ring-fencing arrangements, and eligibility criteria.

 

The Assistant Director Wellbeing and Housing introduced the Community Development Manager, who gave an overview of the Brighter Futures Partnership. The Programme had operated for 11 years and focussed on the 17 most deprived areas of Banbury, as identified via Office for National Statistic (ONS) figures.

 

The Community Development Manager advised the Committee that the Programme had secured funding from the “contained outbreak management fund” and was running additional programmes to support residents alongside the long-standing cookery skills programme and Growing Spaces project. 

 

The Environmental Health Officer for Housing explained the variety of housing initiatives and warm spaces programme being developed as part of the cost-of-living support.

 

The Environmental Health Officer explained that the council worked with the organisation ‘Better Housing Better Health’, which was a programme aimed at improving housing conditions for residents with long term health conditions.

 

The council also administered CHEEP grants to assist with energy efficiency of housing, and tenancy support packages for residents at risk of homelessness.

 

Following the recent announcements regarding the increase in the energy cap, the council was working with local partners to create a warm spaces network. The network would involve publicising community venues that would be open and welcome local residents to spend some time in a warm place and take part in various activities.

 

The Assistant Director Wellbeing and Housing explained that a raft of work was underway in relation to food poverty. Whilst the work had been referred to as food poverty to reflect the motion that had been approved at the 18 July 2022 Council meeting,but could also be described as food insecurity.

 

A map of community food provision had been established during the Covid pandemic, as more residents had needed to access food banks or community larders as a result of furlough or reduced working hours during the pandemic. 

 

At their 6 June 2022 meeting, the Executive l had endorsed and committed to the new Oxfordshire Food Strategy with this council joining with partners in its adoption and delivery. To support this work, it was proposed to establish a Food Poverty scrutiny Working Group to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

25.

Work Programme 2022/2023 pdf icon PDF 297 KB

There are two documents for the Committee to consider:

 

Appendix 1 – indicative work programme 2022-23.

Appendix 2 – update on items previously considered.

 

Recommendations

 

The meeting is recommended

 

1.1          To consider and agree the indicative work programme 2022-23.

 

1.2          To consider and comment on the items previously considered by Committee.

Additional documents:

Decision:

Resolved

 

(1)           That the update on the 2023/23 work programme be noted and the work programme agreed.

 

(2)           That, having given due consideration, the update on items previously considered be noted.

Minutes:

 

The Democratic and Elections officer provided a brief update to the committee on the indicative work programme for 2022/2023.

 

 

Resolved

 

(1)          That the update on the 2023/23 work programme be noted and the work programme agreed.

 

(2)          That, having given due consideration, the update on items previously considered be noted.