Agenda and draft minutes

Venue: West Faversham Community Centre, Bysing Wood Road, Faversham Kent ME13 7RH

Contact: Democratic Services, 01795 417330  Democratic Services Officer

Media

Items
No. Item

109.

Emergency Evacuation Procedure

The Mayor will advise the meeting of the evacuation procedures to follow in the event of an emergency. This is particularly important for visitors and members of the public who will be unfamiliar with the building and procedures. The Mayor will inform the meeting that: There is no scheduled test of the fire alarm during this event. If the alarm does sound, please leave the building quickly without collecting any of your possessions, using the doors signed as fire escapes, and assemble in the car park at the front of the building. Await instructions from the Fire Marshal before entering the building. Should anyone require assistance in evacuating the building, please make the volunteer staff in the front office aware of any special needs so that suitable arrangements may be made in the event of an emergency.

Minutes:

The Mayor outlined the emergency evacuation procedure.

110.

Minutes

To approve the Minutes of the Annual Council Meeting held on 26 May 2021 (Minute Nos. 1 - 14) as a correct record.

Minutes:

The Minutes of the Annual Council Meeting held on 26 May 2021 (Minute Nos. 1 - 14) were taken as read, approved and signed by the Mayor as a correct record.

111.

Declarations of Interest

Councillors should not act or take decisions in order to gain financial or other material benefits for themselves or their spouse, civil partner or person with whom they are living with as a spouse or civil partner.  They must declare and resolve any interests and relationships.

 

The Mayor will ask Members if they have any interests to declare in respect of items on this agenda, under the following headings:

 

(a)          Disclosable Pecuniary Interests (DPI) under the Localism Act 2011.  The nature as well as the existence of any such interest must be declared.  After declaring a DPI, the Member must leave the meeting and not take part in the discussion or vote.  This applies even if there is provision for public speaking.

 

(b)          Disclosable Non Pecuniary Interests (DNPI) under the Code of Conduct adopted by the Council in May 2012.  The nature as well as the existence of any such interest must be declared.  After declaring a DNPI interest, the Member may stay, speak and vote on the matter.

 

(c)           Where it is possible that a fair-minded and informed observer, having considered the facts would conclude that there was a real possibility that the Member might be predetermined or biased the Member should declare their predetermination or bias and then leave the meeting while that item is considered.

 

Advice to Members:  If any Councillor has any doubt about the existence or nature of any DPI or DNPI which he/she may have in any item on this agenda, he/she should seek advice from the Monitoring Officer, the Head of Legal or from other Solicitors in Legal Services as early as possible, and in advance of the Meeting.

Minutes:

No interests were declared.

112.

Mayor's Announcements

Minutes:

The Mayor announced that he had opened the Light Cinema and bowling alley in Bourne Place, Sittingbourne on 27 May 2021 and spoke positively about the visit.  He said the entertainment venue and restaurants were an asset to Sittingbourne and provided good family entertainment.

 

The Mayor invited Councillor James Hunt to pay tribute to former Councillor and Mayor of Swale, Lesley Ingham who had sadly passed away recently.  In his tribute, Councillor Hunt said that in Lesley’s term as Mayor, Council meetings were never dull and she was the best Mayor in his time as a Councillor.  He said that with Lesley’s daughter Ashlee as Mayoress, they had made a strong Mayoral team and he spoke of the positive impact and memories she had made.

 

The Leader spoke fondly of Lesley, and of her friendliness to others.  He said she was a good Mayor who was firm and fair, and he sent his condolences to her family.

 

All those in attendance paid tribute to former Councillor and Mayor of Swale, Lesley Ingham, with a minute’s silence.

113.

Leader's Statement

Minutes:

The Leader started his statement by explaining that Central Government were looking again at the expired legislation that allowed remote decision making, and said it should have been considered by Government before it had expired.

 

He referred to the introduction of Cabinet Committees which were commencing in July 2021 and said that whilst there would likely be teething problems, he hoped all members would treat this initiative in the right spirit and with intelligence so it would be a progressive change to the Council.  He said the change would make the role of every Councillor more representative. The Leader said that the Committees were only advisory, but they would involve Members in a way the Cabinet-only structure did not and if after this year Council were minded to move to a full Committee system, then decisions would then be made by Members representing all parts of the Council.

 

The Leader was pleased to confirm that Larissa Reed had completed her probation as Chief Executive to which Members applauded.

 

Referring to the announcement in the Queen’s speech that there were further measures planned to diminish the role of local councils in the planning process, the Leader said that this came on top of the excessive housing target figures for the South East of England, and London, and caused intense anger from politicians of all parties and communities.

 

The Leader said that  lockdown conditions did not end, as expected, on June 21 2021 and that this was bad news for the many entertainment and hospitality businesses in Swale who were planning around this date.  He said this news was exacerbated by the need for continued financial backing without any guarantee of those finances. In particular, he drew attention to the Light Cinema investment in Sittingbourne.

 

The Leader said this had a great launch and it was sad that it could not immediately meet the very high level of demand. For many reasons he wanted this to succeed, not least because of the serious level of risk invested in it by the Council.

 

Drawing attention to the recovery, the Leader said that Swale Borough Council (SBC) had a cardinal role in achieving recovery from the pandemic and this meant support to the economy but also support for individuals and groups who had suffered in a variety of ways, from homelessness to an increase in other health conditions, not least in mental health.  He said it was not just getting back to where we were but making economic improvements and reaching out.  There were a range of potential resources that the Council hoped to turn to over in the next two years.  The Leader said the Council had its own already dedicated funds, funds that could not, even if it wanted to, be used to sustain the base budget. There were also Government recovery funds which the Council were vigorously applying for:

 

The Communities Renewal Fund for £3 million, submitted on SBC’s behalf by Kent County Council (KCC) but with a steer from a  ...  view the full minutes text for item 113.

114.

Questions submitted by the Public

To consider any questions submitted by the public.  (The deadline for questions is 4.30 pm on the Wednesday before the meeting – please contact Democratic Services by e-mailing democraticservices@swale.gov.uk or call 01795 417330).

 

 

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that there were 2 questions from public.  Mr Kay was not present at the meeting and his question was read out by the Mayor.  The question and response were circulated to Mr Kay after the meeting.

 

Question 1 – Mr Collins

 

Policy DM3 of the Local Plan states at some length the areas in which development proposals are expected to contribute to the Council's net-zero carbon by 2030 targets.  There is little detail:   Has the Council produced specific requirements of new housing stock in the light of the climate and ecological emergency, for example in terms of minimum thermal insulation standards, proportion of roof given to solar panels, installation of EV charging points: How is developers’ conformity to such requirements monitored, how are the results to be made public and what sanctions are employed in the event of a company disregarding what the Council has decided?

 

Response – Cabinet Member for Planning

 

The Council has worked with the Consultancy Square Gain to produce a set of Sustainable Design & Construction Standards to inform the Local Plan Review and in particular Policy DM3. This document can be found here:

 

https://services.swale.gov.uk/assets/Planning%20Policy%202019/Square%20Gain%20Policy%20Recommendations%20table%20FINAL%20January%202021.pdf


The document sets out the specific standards sought (eg for operational energy, operational carbon, renewable energy and carbon offsetting as well as Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) and Home Quality Mark standards) and the mechanisms for measuring and monitoring.

With regards to EV charging, the approach is set out in the Swale Borough Council Parking Standards Supplementary Planning Document, here:

 

https://services.swale.gov.uk/assets/Planning-Forms-and-Leaflets/Supplementary-Planning-Documents/SBC-Parking-Standards-May-2020.pdf#:~:text=This%20Supplementary%20Planning%20Document%20%28SPD%29%20provides%20guidance%20on,issues%20relating%20to%20new%20development%20across%20the%20Borough.

 

Chapter 8 of the emerging Local Plan Review  The Swale Borough Local Plan Review February 2021 explains the approach to monitoring policies in the Local Plan (through the Authority Monitoring Report) and Appendix I sets out the indicators and targets for each Local Plan policy, including DM3.

Standards would be enforced through regular Planning and Building Control enforcement procedures.

 

Supplementary question

 

Does the Council have a programme to retrofit Council-owned properties with high levels of insulation and where suitable, heat pumps?  Is it enforcing minimum energy efficiency standards in the private-rented sector?

 

Response

 

A written response would be provided.

 

Question 2 – Mr Kay

 

In view of reports that SBC is to provide £75,000 in a grant to the West Faversham Community Association to fund its expansion plans:

 

·                 The Association’s financial statements have been published on the Charity Commission website charity shown an adverse record (even before COVID-19

 

·                 Over the past three years they have had a net negative movement in funds of over £499,000 and this is prior to impact from COVID-19

 

·                 At 31 March 2020 the net current assets of the Association were £20,266 in deficit and the Association had £206,628 of loans repayable over future years

 

·                 The cash and loans position of West Faversham was £157,974 worse in just one year (even before COVID 19)

 

·                 The last published financial statement shows a figure for prior year adjustments of £29,406 and the explanation suggests that the organisation’s administration is unsatisfactory

 

·                 The plans are  ...  view the full minutes text for item 114.

115.

Questions submitted by Members

To consider any questions submitted by Members.  (The deadline for questions is 4.30 pm on the Monday the week before the meeting – please contact Democratic Services by e-mailing democraticservices@swale.gov.uk or call 01795 417330).

 

Minutes:

The Mayor advised that 3 questions had been received from Members.  Each Member was invited to put their question which was responded to by the relevant Cabinet Member.  The questioner was then invited to ask a supplementary question. 

 

Question 1 – Councillor Alistair Gould

 

Is it possible to state how much of the waste from recycling bins in Swale goes to incineration as opposed to truly being recycled? And how much CO2 equivalent this represents?

 

Response – Cabinet Member for Environment

 

Swale Borough is the waste collection authority whereas Kent County Council (KCC) is the waste disposal authority and is responsible for the contracts for processing of waste. The detail below has been provided by KCC.

 

The dry mixed recycling that was collected in Swale and was accepted as such at the Sittingbourne transfer station totalled 15,043 tonnes in 2020/21. Of this collected material, 611 tonnes were rejected on arrival at the Viridor Crayford materials recycling facility (MRF) due to being too contaminated to be processed at the site. A further 1,701 tonnes of the accepted material delivered to Viridor was calculated (based on legislated sampling procedures) to be materials that could not be recycled e.g. sanitary/nappy waste.

 

We do not have information on the CO2 equivalent for the disposal of the contaminated materials.   There are many factors that determine this calculation. Those rejected, contaminated materials are sent to facilities to provide ‘energy from waste’ which acts as a fossil fuel replacement for the production of electricity. The energy from the waste facility that receives the highest proportion of this contaminated waste, undertakes further sorting on-site in order to recover recyclable materials and therefore maximise recycling.

 

Supplementary Question

 

Is there an audit trail following the material that goes to the recycling unit to check it is recycled further down the line?

 

Response

 

In the information that KCC have provided, they gave assurances about how the disposal of waste wass handled:

 

“The disposal and receipt of waste is highly regulated by legislation and environmental regulations.  KCC Waste Management works closely with its contractors, Viridor, to ensure that materials processed on behalf of the Council are ethically handled by responsible companies. Viridor’s senior commercial teams visit the end destinations in the UK and overseas and remain committed to the high standards and ethical conduct”

 

Question 2 – Councillor Mike Whiting

 

My residents in Heron Fields would like clarity as to whether the Cabinet Member wants to see the Northern Relief Road built and, if he does, when his new local plan will deliver it?

 

Response – Cabinet Member for Planning

 

As the Councillor will know, KCC have stated that they see no economic case to justify the Northern Relief Road, and that they cannot envisage it being paid for out of public funds. Despite a significant amount of hyperbole from some quarters since that time, I am not aware of any document that changes KCC’s fundamental position.

Delivery of such a road on the back of thousands of extra  ...  view the full minutes text for item 115.

116.

Motion to support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill

Motion to Support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill Council notes that

 

(i)            This council declared a climate and ecological emergency on 26th June 2019;

(ii)          Many local authorities are playing an important role in the UK taking action to achieve net zero

(iii)         There is a Bill before Parliament—the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (published as the Climate and Ecology Bill)—according to which the UK Government must develop an emergency strategy that:

 

a. requires that the UK plays its fair and proper role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with at least a 66% chance of limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures; this corresponds to the most ambitious global mitigation pathway available according to the 2018 IPCC 1.5C Report.

b. ensures that all the UK’s consumption emissions are accounted for, including international aviation and passenger shipping;

c. ensures that steps to mitigate emissions do not damage ecosystems, food and water availability, and human health;

d. ensures that steps taken to increase the health, abundance, diversity and resilience of species, populations and ecosystems follow the mitigation and conservation hierarchy - avoid, minimise, restore and offset;

e. restores and expands natural ecosystems, and enhances the management of cultivated ecosystems to protect and enhance biodiversity, ecological processes and ecosystem service provision, including optimising the state of resilient carbon sinks;

f. includes measures to protect, restore and enhance ecosystems in the United Kingdom and elsewhere, where activity is generated from within the United Kingdom that is harmful to ecosystems;

g. ensures an end to the exploration, extraction, export and import of fossil fuels by the United Kingdom as rapidly as possible; and

h. sets up an independent citizens’ assembly, representative of the UK’s population, to engage with the UK Parliament and UK Government to help develop the emergency strategy.

 

Council therefore resolves to:

1. Support the Climate and Ecological Emergency (CEE) Bill;

2. Inform the local media of this decision;

3. Write to local Members of Parliament, asking them to support or thanking them for supporting the CEE Bill; and

4. Write to the CEE Bill Alliance, the organisers of the campaign for the Bill, expressing its support (campaign@ceebill.uk)

 

Proposed by:  Councillor Tim Valentine

Seconded by:  Councillor Alastair Gould

Minutes:

In proposing the motion to support the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill, Councillor Tim Valentine spoke of the continued climate crises and stressed the urgency to take action. He referred to the Government’s spending plans on infrastructure and development including 300,000 new houses per year, many built to inadequate efficiency standards. Councillor Valentine explained the Government’s new target, set in December 2020, to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 78% by 2035 and a ten point plan for a green industrial revolution but said the strategy for delivery lacked detail.  He explained that the current target for carbon reduction gave the world a 50% chance of limiting global heating to only one and a half degrees if every country delivered on its pledges.

 

Councillor Valentine referred to the Climate and Ecological Emergency declared by SBC in June 2019 aiming for the Borough to be net zero by 2030.  He spoke of the work and monitoring SBC had carried out but said that the Council lacked the power and budget to do all that was necessary.

 

Finally Councillor Valentine explained what would be required of the Government in the Bill, as set out in the Agenda. He highlighted the ecological, health and financial benefits, and sought Members’ support to agree the motion.

 

In seconding the motion, Councillor Alistair Gould reserved his right to speak.

 

The Leader said that the Climate and Ecological Emergency could not be relegated to the side-lines and had to be tackled globally.

 

The Leader of the opposition said everyone had a responsibility to act.

 

Councillor Alistair Gould spoke of the urgent need to take action and the impact if no action was taken.

 

There was full support for the motion from all groups.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)  That Council notes this Council declared a climate and ecological emergency on 26 June 2019.n

 

(2)  That Council notes that many local authorities are playing an important role in the UK taking action to achieve net zero

 

(3)  That Council notes there is a bill before Parliament – the Climate and Ecological Emergency Bill (published as the Climate and Ecology Bill) according to which the UK Government must develop an emergency strategy that:

 

a.     Requires that the UK plays its fair and proper role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions consistent with at least a 66% chance of limiting global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial temperatures; this corresponds to the most ambitious global mitigation pathway available according to the 1018 IPCC 1.5C Report;

b.    Ensures that all the UK’s consumption emissions are accounted for, including international aviation and passenger shipping;

c.     Ensures that steps to mitigate emissions do not damage ecosystems, food and water availability and human health;

d.    Ensures that steps taken to increase the health, abundance, diversity and resilience of species, populations and ecosystems follow the mitigation and conservation hierarchy – avoid, minimise, restore and offset;

e.     Restore and expands natural ecosystems, and enhances the management of cultivated ecosystems to protect and enhance biodiversity, ecological processes and ecosystem service  ...  view the full minutes text for item 116.

117.

Motion - Vaping

This council agrees to extend its Smoking at Work Policy so that it also applies to Members and to amend paragraph 3.1 of the Policy to read as follows:

"3.1  This policy applies to all Members, employees and agency staff.  It also applies to consultants and contractors whilst they are working for the Council.  It also applies to visitors and members of the public whilst they are in Council buildings or Council vehicles. "?

 

Proposed by Councillor Mike Whiting

Seconded by Councillor Alan Horton

Minutes:

In proposing the motion to extend the Council’s Smoking at Work Policy so that it also applied to Members and to amend 3.1 of the Policy as set out on the Agenda, Councillor Mike Whiting said he hoped the motion would be well received.  He added that it was wrong to set Councillors above staff and visitors to Swale House and Councillors should seek to lead.

 

In seconding the motion, the Leader of the opposition suggested that the wording of the existing policy might have been caused by a simple drafting error and it was not the intention to put Councillors above staff.  He added that morally, the proposed amendments were the right thing to do.

 

The Leader spoke in support.

 

Resolved:

 

(1)  That this Council agrees to extend its Smoking at Work Policy so that it also apples to Members and to amend paragraph 3.1 of the Policy to read as follows:

 

“3.1    This policy applies to all Members, employees and agency staff.  It also applies to consultants and contractors whist they are working for the Council and visitors and members of the public whilst they are in Council buildings or Council vehicles.”