Agenda, decisions and minutes

Regeneration and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee - Tuesday, 29th September, 2020 5.30 pm

Venue: To be held remotely

Contact: Su Booth - 07814 073884 

No. Item


ALTERNATE MEMBERS (Standing Order 34)

The City Solicitor will report the names of alternate Members who are attending the meeting in place of appointed Members. 



Apologies were received from Councillor Riaz Ahmed.  Councillor Stubbs in attendance as Alternate.



(Members Code of Conduct - Part 4A of the Constitution)


To receive disclosures of interests from members and co-opted members on matters to be considered at the meeting. The disclosure must include the nature of the interest.


An interest must also be disclosed in the meeting when it becomes apparent to the member during the meeting.




(1)       Members may remain in the meeting and take part fully in discussion and voting unless the interest is a disclosable pecuniary interest or an interest which the Member feels would call into question their compliance with the wider principles set out in the Code of Conduct.  Disclosable pecuniary interests relate to the Member concerned or their spouse/partner.


(2)       Members in arrears of Council Tax by more than two months must not vote in decisions on, or which might affect, budget calculations, and must disclose at the meeting that this restriction applies to them.  A failure to comply with these requirements is a criminal offence under section 106 of the Local Government Finance Act 1992. 


(3)       Members are also welcome to disclose interests which are not disclosable pecuniary interests but which they consider should be made in the interest of clarity.


(4)       Officers must disclose interests in accordance with Council Standing Order 44.



In the interest of transparency the following declaration was made:


Councillor Joanne Dodds declared that a member of her immediate family was a Neighbourhood Warden (minute no. 12)



(Access to Information Procedure Rules – Part 3B of the Constitution)


Reports and background papers for agenda items may be inspected by contacting the person shown after each agenda item.  Certain reports and background papers may be restricted. 


Any request to remove the restriction on a report or background paper should be made to the relevant Strategic Director or Assistant Director whose name is shown on the front page of the report. 


If that request is refused, there is a right of appeal to this meeting. 


Please contact the officer shown below in advance of the meeting if you wish to appeal. 


(Asad Shah - 01274 432280)



There were no declarations of interest in matters under consideration.



Any referrals that have been made to this Committee up to and including the date of publication of this agenda will be reported at the meeting.


There were no referrals to the Committee.



The report of the Strategic Director, Place (Document “F”) is to brief the Committee on the Service’s response to date with regards to the additional demands and operational difficulties encountered due to the Covid19 pandemic and its effects within the District.


Recommended –


Members are asked to consider this report and the obstacles that Waste Services have had to overcome to maintain this essential operation. Any recommendations to further aid with service provision are welcome.


(Richard Galthen – 01274 431217)






Resolved –


(1)  That the obstacles that staff have had to overcome during the Covid-19 pandemic be noted and the deep gratitude of Members be expressed to them for all their hard, and continued, work during the current pandemic.


(2)  That it be noted that Members expressed their support for a reward for staff across Waste Services in recognition of their efforts during the Covid-19 pandemic.



ACTION: Strategic Director, Place  


(Richard Galthen – 01274 431217)






The report of the Interim Strategic Director, Place was submitted to brief Members on the Service’s response to date in relation to additional demands and operational difficulties encountered due to the Covid-19 pandemic and its effects within the District.  Along with colleagues seconded from Leisure and Theatres, services had been maintained throughout the crisis using innovative methods to ensure social distancing was maintained by crews.  Bulky waste collections were also maintained and were undertaken by a council contractor.  Planning was already underway to maintain provision of services and protect staff going forward.  There was an increase in the tonnage of waste collected during the lockdown period but although this had decreased by August, it was still higher than average.   It was noted in the Officers briefing to Members that waste collection teams were supported by other council departments. 


Four household waste and recycling centres had been re-opened in May with the phased opening of the remainder shortly afterwards.  Officers wished to note that staff were working to ensure that systems were safe with only essential personnel working from offices, and that recognized trade unions had been involved throughout.  Risk assessments had been carried out to ensure that COVID-19 guidance was followed.  A vehicle sanitisation scheme was put in place, and whilst there had been staffing issues, the utilisation of agency staff had been minimal. 


The number of garden waste subscription customers had risen to 42,000 residents paying in but the recyclables market remained volatile.  The contamination of recyclable materials was an on-going problem.  Senior Officers wished to emphasise the massive efforts made by staff during such an unprecedented situation.


Members commented on the following:


·         A Member wished to thank staff for their efforts and asked whether the issue with contaminated recyclables was due to less separation of items and had it affected how much material had been recycled?   Officers advised that dropping off of recyclables was still possible at the start of lockdown and whilst sites had been rearranged, the options for separating was still available – they also acknowledged the significant support given by highways and Traffic Management, which had not been evident in other local authorities.  Senior Officers were keen to recognise the efforts of staff and had already passed on their gratitude by means of notices.


·         Another Member also stated that staff had worked well in adverse circumstances.  The question of vehicle sanitisation was raised and Officers were asked if it would continue.  In response, Officers confirmed that decontamination of vehicles would continue.


·         In relation to trade waste collections – as the demand was not so great, could the frequency of collections be reduced?  In response, Officers advised that tonnages were increasing and there was a new trade waste payment system being introduced.  Collection routes would be managed to be efficient and collections would be halted if payment was not received.  Payments would be based on weight collected using an onboard weighing system as per agreed contracts with the business being serviced.  It was also pointed out  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.



The report of the Strategic Director, Place (Document “G”) provides an update on Environmental Enforcement and provides information on the number of fly tips reported to the council and an analysis of relevant waste data.




That the Committee continue to receive an annual update on fly tipping and enforcement actions for consideration.


The the 2021/22 update be scheduled for January 2022 and every year thereafter to allow future briefings to include benchmarking data and trend analysis drawn from DEFRA’s annual release which normally occurs in Oct/Nov of each year.


(Amjad Ishaq – 01274 431066, Stuart Russo – 01274 437146)





Resolved –


That the 2021/22 annual update be scheduled for January 2022 and every year thereafter to allow future briefings to include benchmarking data and trend analysis drawn from DEFRA’s annual release which normally occurs in Oct/Nov of each year.



ACTION: Strategic Director, Place


(Stuart Russo – 01274 437146)





The Environmental Enforcement Manager and the Senior Technical Officer both attended the meeting and presented the report of the Strategic Director, Place (Document G) which provided an update on Environmental Enforcement and information on the number of fly tips reported to the Council plus an analysis of relevant waste data.


Whilst fly tipping had increased in June, July and August, it was now reducing again and Officers were waiting for the annual statistics from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) to compare with national figures.  Local statistics suggested that the majority of residents were disposing of waste appropriately but the composition of waste had changed since the previous year.  The number of enforcement staff had been affected as they were deployed elsewhere during the COVID-19 pandemic including the set up of local support hubs.  Additional details were provided to the Committee around the work undertaken and the impact on enforcements and prosecutions due to staffing and reduced capacity in the court system.  Interviews had also ceased until risk assessments could be completed.  Officers advised that fly tipping was difficult to prevent and cameras which monitored the issue had been removed.


Members commented on the following:


·         Were risk assessments complete in view of further lockdowns as there were no details of these in the report?  In response, Officers advised that the principle was similar to that in waste management and risk assessments were carried out at each site.  Due to the backlog in the courts system, only the most serious cases were being heard so processes had been adapted accordingly.  Additional wardens were recruited with staff working from home or in COVID-19 safe buildings giving the flexibility needed to respond.


·         A Member stated that this was another service which had adapted with staff working to keep it going and wished to thank the staff involved.


·         In relation to previous years’ figures, it was felt that it would be useful to have information to show performance and to see the outcomes of warning notices and details of the outcomes of actions taken in relation to illegal waster traders.  In response, Officers advised that previous performance figures could be included going forward and explained a dip in performance in the prevailing year was due to new staff and the impact of the need to train and gain knowledge and experience.  Explanations were also given around the scope of available actions which were taken which had produced significantly positive outcomes.


·         Would enforcement around fly tipping of domestic waste in bin bags be rolled out and what was the outcome if the offence was not admitted?  In response, Officers advised that some work by wardens using bodycams had been undertaken with Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) interviews held on doorsteps.  Work of this nature could be carried out once additional training had been completed by more Wardens.


·         Crime scene tape and notices to say that the Council were aware of the issue, were used for fly tipping, could this be used  ...  view the full minutes text for item 12.



The report of the Chair of the Regeneration and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Document “H”)presents the Committee’s Work Programme 2019-20.


Recommended –


That the Work programme 2019-20 continues to be regularly reviewed during the year.


(Caroline Coombs – 07970 413828)



Additional documents:




Resolved –


That the Work Programme 2020-21 continues to be reviewed throughout the year.


ACTION: Scrutiny Lead


The Scrutiny Officer presented the work plan of the Chair of the Committee.


Resolved –


That the Work Programme 2020-21 continues to be reviewed throughout the year.


ACTION: Scrutiny Lead