Agenda, decisions and draft minutes

Cabinet Panel on the Environment - Wednesday, 11th January, 2023 7.30 pm

Venue: Remote Meeting

Media

Items
No. Item

55.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE

Members are required to notify any substitutions by midday on the day of the meeting.

 

Late substitutions will not be accepted and Members attending as a substitute without having given the due notice will not be able to take part in the meeting.

Decision:

Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Juan Cowell and Michael Muir.

Minutes:

Audio recording 2 minutes 56 seconds

 

Apologies for absence were received by Councillor Michael Muir and Councillor Juan Cowell. 

 

56.

MINUTES - 19 OCTOBER 2022 pdf icon PDF 328 KB

To take as read and approve as a true record the minutes of the meeting of the Committee held on the 19 October 2022.

Decision:

RESOLVED: That the Minutes of the Meeting of the Committee held on the 19 October 2022 were approved as a true record of the proceedings and be signed by the Chair.

 

 

Minutes:

Audio recording 3 minutes 5 seconds 

 

Councillor Amy Allen proposed and Councillor Steve Jarvis seconded and it was:

RESOLVED:   That the Minutes of the  Meeting  of  the  Committee  held  on  19  October  2022  be approved as a true record of the proceedings and be signed by the Chair. 

 

57.

CHAIR'S ANNOUNCEMENTS

Members are reminded that any declarations of interest in respect of any business set out in the agenda, should be declared as either a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest or Declarable Interest and are required to notify the Chair of the nature of any interest declared at the commencement of the relevant item on the agenda.  Members declaring a Disclosable Pecuniary Interest must withdraw from the meeting for the duration of the item. Members declaring a Declarable Interest, wishing to exercise a ‘Councillor Speaking Right’, must declare this at the same time as the interest, move to the public area before speaking to the item and then must leave the room before the debate and vote.

Decision:

(1)  The Chair welcomed those present at the meeting, especially those who had attended to give a presentation;

 

(2)  The Chair advised that, in accordance with Council Policy, the meeting would be audio recorded;

 

(3)  The Chair drew attention to the item on the agenda front pages regarding Declarations of Interest and reminded Members that, in line with the Code of Conduct, any Declarations of Interest needed to be declared immediately prior to the item in  question.

 

Minutes:

Audio recording – 3 minutes 41 seconds

 

(1)   The Chair welcomed those present at the meeting, especially those who had attended to give a presentation;

 

(2)   The Chair advised that, in accordance with Council Policy, the meeting would be audio recorded as well as filmed; 

 

(3)   The Chair drew attention to the item on the agenda front pages regarding Declarations of Interest and  reminded  Members  that,  in  line  with  the  Code  of  Conduct,  any  Declarations of Interest needed to be declared immediately prior to the item in question. 

 

 

58.

NOTIFICATION OF OTHER BUSINESS

Members should notify the Chair of other business which they wish to be discussed at the end of either Part I or Part II business set out in the agenda. They must state the circumstances which they consider justify the business being considered as a matter of urgency.

 

The Chair will decide whether any item(s) raised will be considered.

Decision:

There was no other business notified.

Minutes:

Audio recording – 4 minutes 28 seconds

 

There was no other business notified.

59.

CABINET PANEL ON THE ENVIRONMENT - INFORMATION NOTE pdf icon PDF 224 KB

To highlight proposed items scheduled in the work programme for the Cabinet Panel on the Environment for 2022/23, agreed at the initial meeting. The Work Programme/Action Tracker at Appendix A allow the scene to be set for evaluation of such actions, and the agreement of topics for 2022/23 civic year.

 

Additional documents:

Decision:

RESOLVED: That the Committee noted the information report.

 

Minutes:

Audio recording 4 minutes 42 seconds

 

The Chair invited Georgina Chapman, Policy Officer, to present.

 

Ms Chapman thanked the Chair, gave a presentation and advised:

 

·       The Hertfordshire Climate Change and Sustainability Partnership (HCCSP) is made up of ten districts, Hertfordshire County Council and the Local Enterprise Partnership.

·       HCCSP had asked the Council to review the four action plans for Water, Biodiversity, Carbon Reduction and Transport and to present the updated version of the plans.

·       This update would include updated contacts, archived actions and delivered actions. All of the targets will be updates using the SMART format.

·       The Council had also reviewed the Climate Strategy Plans of other Local Authorities to see how we can partner with local community action groups.

·       NHDC was leading in the biodiversity sub-group. We have created a new plan of action and meetings would reconvene on Wednesday 18January 2023.

·       North Hertfordshire’s Solar Together bulk scheme had now ended. As a district, there had been 2,262 expressions of interest, which was one of the highest rates in the area.

·       Out of those expressions of interest, 410 people had accepted offers and installations had started.

·       All installations would be completed by April 2023, and weekly updates covering installation and issues would be received.

·       107 people who already had solar panels installed expressed interest in battery storage. Eighteen of those also accepted their offer.

·       As a county, Hertfordshire had  10% more  expressive  interest than  was  expected which totaled  around 13,000 expressions of interest.

·       The Council was awaiting data from iChoosr, the company running this scheme with Local Authorities. This data would illustrate the locations of interest and acceptance within the District.

·       The Heritage Foundation had an additional application process for any residents interested in Solar Panels.

·       The Behaviour Change subgroup was continuing its work and are due to take a paper to HCCSP.

·       The Adaptation subgroup is continuing to identify Climate risks across different areas in the County whilst working with relevant Councils.

·       The Council has looked to produce a summary of the Council’s Carbon Emission reports completed over the last couple of years. This will give the Council a baseline of Carbon Emissions. This summary would give a baseline for carbon emissions in an accessible format with current Carbon-saving figures. This would be presented to the Cabinet Panel on completion.

·       Some items on the Action Tracker were on hold due to the COVID pandemic. This would be reviewed at the start of the Civic Year in May, in collaboration with other Cabinet Panels to find the best way forward.

 

In response to a question from Councillor Chris Hinchcliff, the Policy Officer advised that iChoosr had collected data as to why some residents rejected their Solar Panel offers.

Overall, cost was the largest factor affecting participation in the Scheme.

 

RESOLVED: That the Committee note the information report.

 

 

60.

PUBLIC PARTICIPATION

To receive petitions, comments and questions from the public.

Decision:

Presentations were received by the Cabinet Panel including from: 

 

·         Roger Pitman – Air Quality Consultant

·         Matthew Clark – Clean Air Programme Manager

 

Minutes:

Audio Recording-  13 minutes 30 seconds

 

The Chair invited Matthew Clark, Clean Air Programme Manager, to give a presentation.

 

Mr Clark thanked the Chair and gave a presentation, with slides and advised:

 

·       Hertfordshire County Council (HCC) had a commitment to clean air. There were currently 22 Air Quality Management Areas (AQMAs) in Hertfordshire, which are areas likely to exceed legal pollution levels.

·       In Hertfordshire, Nitrogen Dioxide levels exceeded the legal limit by 40%. Vehicle use was the biggest contributor to this.

·       Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM2.5) exceeded the legal limit of 10?g in some areas of Hertfordshire.

·       PM2.5 levels had significant and long-term impacts on health and exposure had been linked to certain cognitive impairments such as Dementia, skin conditions, lower sperm quality and was also known to both cause and exacerbate respiratory illnesses such as Asthma and COPD.

·       Off the back of The Environment Act 2021, the UK Government had set a target of 10?g of PM2.5 as an annual average by 2040.

·       Transport accounted for over 70% of PM2.5 in Hertfordshire with construction, manufacturing and domestic burning also contributing.

·       HCC were currently running a part DEFRA funded communications campaign, called ‘Lets Clear the Air’.

·       The campaign included new graphics being added to buses in Hertfordshire to combat Car Idling, as well as posters to discourage Fuel Burning. Information the public of a free Air Pollutant Alert service run by HCC was also added.

·       HCC was also in the final development stages of producing a county-wide Air Quality Model. The Model will give Nitrogen Dioxide, Particulate, and Carbon emission predictions across Hertfordshire, and would provide a baseline for pollutants across the county. The model would also give residents a clear view of what air quality would look like in 15 years if no action is taken.

·       This Air Quality Model would be available for all districts and boroughs in Hertfordshire.

·       HCC had also produced a comprehensive Air Quality Action Prioritization map of the North Hertfordshire District. This map would be of use to groups such as the County Council’s Targeted Highway Urban Tree Planting team.

·       HCC continued to act against air pollution through measures such as considering such as cleaner air action, air purification trials and AGMA management schemes.

·       In addition to this, the Countryside and Rights of Way had approved and prioritised the planning of a new active-travel off-road route for the Highfield school in Letchworth. The route would reduce the exposure children have to air pollution from the main road.

·       Further information can be found on ‘Let’s clear the air’ webpages.

 

The following Members and members of the public asked questions:

 

·       Roger Lovegrove

·       John Webb

·       Gilly Chegwyn

·       Councillor Gerald Morris

·       Councillor Steve Jarvis

 

 

In response to the questions, Mr Clark advised:

 

·       The PM2.5 pollution guideline limit was currently set at 2.5 microns and below. As of 2021, the legal limit in the UK for PM2.5 pollution was 10?g per cubic meter, which must be achieved by 2040. There was no safe level for particulate pollution.  ...  view the full minutes text for item 60.