Agenda item

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 or call 01795 417330).



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?




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 housing is not an approach that this Council has deemed appropriate, and consequently it is not in the Local Plan.

Instead, there is a recognition that residents in Great Easthall and Heron Fields need a safer and more environmentally appropriate access to the A2 and the Council have committed to investigating potential opportunities to seek effective connections between Stones Farm and Great East Hall to the A2 that would avoid the considerable increase in traffic pressures on Teynham, Ospringe and Bapchild that traffic modelling has shown a Northern Relief Road would cause.  


Supplementary Question


What mitigation is there for the increase in traffic through Sittingbourne and Teynham that the Northern Relief Road will bring and is the Cabinet Member ruling out a Southern Relief Road through to the M2?




The Mayor suggested a written response was appropriate.


Question 3 – Councillor Mike Whiting


Your planning team invited a number of landowners, agents and developers within the so-called "Teynham Area of Opportunity" to a meeting on 28 April 2021, to discuss your administration's aspirations for the future of Teynham and Lynsted. My colleague, Councillor Lloyd Bowen, and I requested to attend the meeting, but it was subsequently cancelled.


?In correspondence with Lynsted with Kingsdown Parish Council, the Chief Executive wrote, "this meeting is not to brief developers and landowners on the Council’s aspirations for thefuture of Teynham and Lynsted.”


However, the invitation letter sent from your officer to agents, developers and landowners states:

“I am trying to organise a meeting of relevant agents/developers/landowners within the Teynham Area of Opportunity for 10am on Wednesday 28th April.  This will be to discuss the Council’s aspirations for the future of Teynham and Lynsted.”


Can you explain this clear difference of opinion about the reason your officers were calling the meeting and can you also explain why the meeting was cancelled? 


Further, is it not the case that your aspirations for the future of Teynham and Lynsted should be discussed with ward councillors and the Parish Council prior to your officers' private meetings with local agents, developers and landowners, and if not, why not?


Response – Cabinet Member for Planning


Thank you for your question. I have spoken to the Chief Executive and her officers and they are all in agreement as to the purpose of the meeting. As an ‘Area of Opportunity’, the various landowners and associated interests would be required to work with the Council in developing a masterplan Supplementary Planning Document (SPD).  It is anticipated it could take several years to undertake all the preliminary work (which includes the preparation of further evidence) to support and inform a draft masterplan.   The purpose of the meeting was toupdate attendees on the process of the Local Plan and discuss with the landowners the need for collaborative working with a view to establishing a co-ordinated work programme and framework for moving the Masterplan SPD forward. As we have said repeatedly to the Parish Council, the Council is committed to liaising with the local Parish Councils at the appropriate time to seek their views on how best to progress work on the SPD.  


The original meeting with landowners was cancelled in response to the concerns expressed by the Parish Councils and to reconsider the way forward in the light of the representations received during the Regulation 19 consultation. 

As the Councillor ought to be aware, such meetings are very much the usual practice of Planning and to portray them as anything different only causes unnecessary concern and anguish to the public. Indeed, in the first 5 months of 2019 under the previous administration there were 5 such meetings, none of which involved Ward Members.


It is increasingly noticeable that certain members of the opposition are demanding of this administration actions that they themselves never engaged with or supported whilst they were in power.

I would of course be happy to meet with the two Ward Members for them to express their views on the way forward should they wish to do so.?


Supplementary Question

I welcome the invitations.  I was recently invited to a pre-app meeting with a developer looking to develop land in Teynham and it would have been helpful to include Ward Members in any discussions.