Agenda and draft minutes

Environment and Community Services Policy Development and Scrutiny Committee - Thursday 7 September 2023 7.00 pm

Venue: Bromley Civic Centre

Contact: Stephen Wood  020 8313 4316

Items
No. Item

23.

APOLOGIES FOR ABSENCE AND NOTIFICATION OF SUBSTITUTE MEMBERS

Minutes:

Apologies were received from Councillor Colin Hitchins and Councillor Mark Brock attended as substitute.

 

Apologies were received from Bromley Youth Council representative Dragos Puiu and Tommy Velvick attended as substitute.

24.

DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST

Minutes:

Councillor Alison Stammers declared an interest as the Secretary of the Friends of Chislehurst Recreation Ground.

 

Councillor Nicholas Bennett declared an interest as a Board Member of ReLondon.

25.

MINUTES OF THE MEETING HELD ON 29th JUNE 2023 (Excluding Exempt Information) pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting that was held on 29th June 2023 were agreed and signed as a correct record.

26.

QUESTIONS FROM COUNCILLORS OR MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC FOR THE CHAIRMAN

In accordance with the Council’s Constitution, questions that are not specific to reports on the agenda must have been received in writing 10 working days before the date of the meeting.  Questions that were not specific to the agenda papers should have been received by the Democratic Services Team by 5pm on 23rd August.

 

Questions specifically relating to reports on the agenda should be received within two working days of the normal publication date of the agenda.  Please ensure that questions specifically regarding reports on the agenda are received by the Democratic Services Team by 5pm on 1st September 2023.

 

Members of the public are entitled at ask one question each. Please indicate if the question is for written or oral response.

 

 

Minutes:

One written question was received for the Chairman, and this has been published on the Council website.

 

The question and responses are appended to the minutes.

 

27.

ORAL QUESTIONS FROM MEMBERS OF THE PUBLIC TO THE PORTFOLIO HOLDERS

Minutes:

Five oral questions were received by the Portfolio Holders from members of the public:

 

The questions and responses are appended to the minutes.

 

28.

ORAL QUESTIONS TO THE PORTFOLIO HOLDERS FROM COUNCILLORS

Minutes:

Three questions were received by the Portfolio Holders from Councillors. The questions and responses are appended to the minutes.

 

29.

WRITTEN QUESTIONS TO THE PORTFOLIO HOLDERS FROM THE PUBLIC

Minutes:

Six written questions were received for the Portfolio Holders from members of the public. The questions and responses are appended to the minutes.

 

 

30.

WRITTEN QUESTIONS FROM COUNCILLORS

Minutes:

There were five written questions received from Councillors. The questions and responses are appended to the minutes.

31.

MATTERS ARISING AND WORK PROGRAMME pdf icon PDF 390 KB

Minutes:

CSD23116

 

It was agreed that an update on Ring-Go would be added to the Work Programme for January 2024.

 

It was noted that the new Road Safety Document had not yet been published, however it was anticipated that this would be actioned by the end of the month.   

 

A Member asked why the report regarding the Depot Infrastructure Capital Works Project had been moved from November to January. It was explained that this was because more detailed survey work was being undertaken with the Environment Agency. Updates had been disseminated to residents regarding the proposed works.

 

A discussion took place regarding the update on the EV Charging Pilot Scheme. This had been scheduled for January 2024. The Director for Environment and Public Protection said that it was his wish (and that of the Portfolio Holder) that the update be provided as soon as possible, but it was important that enough time be allowed to get things right. 

 

RESOLVED that the report be noted and that an update on Ring-Go be brought to the January 2024 PDS meeting. 

 

 

32.

GLENDALE ANNUAL CONTRACT PERFORMANCE REPORT 2022/23: ARBORICULTURAL SERVICES pdf icon PDF 554 KB

Minutes:

ES20298

 

The report reviewed the 2022/23 annual performance of the contract for arboricultural services with Glendale Ltd.

 

Jason Kinsella (Regional Director-South Thames) attended to represent Glendale along with Hannah Jackson,  LBB Assistant Director Environment (Carbon Management & Greenspace).

 

The Chairman stated that in his view, Glendale’s performance had fallen below the required standard. In mitigation, Mr Kinsella responded that there had been an increase in the volume of work that had proved challenging. There had also been extensive changes in Glendale’s senior management team. Glendale were now working closely with the Council to understand and resolve issues. Recruitment had been another hurdle to overcome as there was a lack of suitably qualified staff. Resultantly, Glendale were looking at various recruitment options which included apprenticeships, fast-tracking trainees and the use of third party agencies.

 

Members were informed that Glendale had submitted an improvement and recovery plan which set out key actions. The Chairman stated that the Committee were expecting to see improvements and queried if the contract was too large for Glendale to handle.

 

It was noted that Glendale contracted out work to suitably qualified local businesses.

 

A Member raised the matter of tree felling. She asked if too many trees were being felled because the maintenance of said trees was too difficult to manage. The Assistant Director Environment (Carbon Management & Greenspace) explained that it was LBB Tree Officers who would use their expertise to identify necessary tree works. This was undertaken in line with the Council’s Tree Management Strategy. Any works required would be notified to Glendale. If required, Tree Officers would be able to provide reports concerning any recommended tree works.

 

It was noted that trees were inspected all year round and that the number of Tree Officers was now four; one post was still being recruited to.

 

The Chairman concluded by thanking Mr Kinsella for attending the meeting and by saying that he was expecting to see a serious improvement in Glendale’s performance.

 

RESOLVED that the Glendale Annual Performance Report be noted. 

 

 

33.

VEOLIA ANNUAL CONTRACT PERFORMANCE REPORT: 2022:23 pdf icon PDF 994 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

ES20305

 

Attending to present the report from the London Borough of Bromley were Catherine Cook, (Head of Environment Strategy, Technical Support and Commissioning) and the Assistant Director for Environment, Mr Peter McCready.  Representing Veolia was Regional Manager, Mr Ben Velmans.

 

The report was presented to the committee to provide a review of the 2022/23 annual performance of the three environmental services contracts managed by Veolia ES UK Limited. The committee was recommended to review and comment on the contents of the report.

 

The Chairman stated that he was pleased with the report and with Veolia’s performance. He asked if Veolia’s previous  industrial relations issues had now been resolved and the response was affirmative. 

 

A discussion took place regarding recycling in general and particularly with respect to flats above shops. It was noted that the previous recycling pilot in Penge and Cator Ward  for flats above shops had failed. A  Member commented that the scheme was too complicated and that there should have been just one bag for recycling and then one other bag for all other waste. The Council would provide bins where required for recycling, but sometimes there were problems if the area was commercial land. A recent visit had been undertaken with Clarion on the Ramsden Estate to discuss areas that could be used for bins. 

 

The Head of Environment Strategy, Technical Support and Commissioning said that recycling and waste collections from flats above shops was problematic due to the lack of space--both internally and externally. ReLondon were currently conducting trials in other London boroughs and testing different collection methods for flats above shops. LBB would consider the report once it was released, to see whether the Council could use any of the findings in developing its own scheme.

 

It was noted that 100% of waste was processed either in the UK or Europe depending on the location of the appropriate infrastructure. Much paper recycling was taking place in Belgium and it was now the case that no paper was being lost.   

 

Mr Velmans said that with respect to missed collections, Veolia was seeking to increase resilience and had spent six months giving consideration as to how this could be achieved in the spirit of continuous improvement. 

 

The matter of POPs was discussed (Persistent Organic Pollutants) and it was noted that items that may contain these pollutants would be incinerated.

 

The Chairman thanked Mr Velmans for attending and for answering questions.

 

RESOLVED that the Environment and Community Services PDS Committee note the report. 

 

 

34.

UPDATE FROM THE PORTFOLIO HOLDER FOR TRANSPORT, HIGHWAYS AND ROAD SAFETY

Minutes:

A written update was circulated to Members by the Portfolio Holder. A Member queried if the Council liaised with the police regarding the vandalism of ULEZ  cameras. The Portfolio Holder stated that this was a matter for TfL as the cameras did not belong to the Council. It was noted that the vandalism of ULEZ cameras was an act of criminal damage, and could result in as much as a 10 year prison sentence. The Portfolio Holder commented that TFL vehicles should also obey the law as there had been instances of them parking illegally.

 

A mention was made of E-bike rentals but the Portfolio Holder’s view was that they were not economically viable and that there was little demand in the Borough for these. A Member commented that the gulley trial was a good project and she hoped that it would indeed be rolled out. She commended the ‘Driven by Consequences’ production that had been presented in certain schools and she expressed the view that it should be mandatory in all Bromley secondary schools.

 

The view was expressed that the frequency of bus routes needed to be improved and that new transport corridors and interchanges were required.

 

RESOLVED that the update from the Portfolio Holder for Transport, Highways and Road Safety be noted.

35.

UPDATE FROM THE PORTFOLIO HOLDER FOR SUSTAINABILITY, GREEN SERVICES AND OPEN SPACES.

Minutes:

The Portfolio Holder for Sustainability, Green Services and Open Spaces had tabled a written update for the attention of the committee. A Member asked if new tree pits would be installed in high streets and the Portfolio Holder said that there was no budget for this.

 

A new press release had been released with respect to progress regarding Kelsey Park Bridge, along with a video on social media. The design work for a new bridge was near completion and it was anticipated that the tender process would be completed by the end of this year. It was hoped that work on the new bridge would be completed by Summer 2024.

 

It was noted that the Passenger Transport Forum would be meeting in the Council Chamber on 10th October.

 

RESOLVED that the update from the Portfolio Holder for Sustainability, Green Services and Open Spaces be noted.

36.

ECS PERFORMANCE OVERVIEW pdf icon PDF 390 KB

The associated performance overview data sheet has been published as an Information Briefing on this occasion: See agenda item 14 and the associated web link.

Minutes:

ES20290

 

A Member asked if any more information was available concerning the cost of using an additional contractor to deal with potholes. The Director said that as it stood, the additional contractor was operating within the annual budget that had  been agreed with the original contractor.

 

The Portfolio Holder for Transport, Highways and Road Safety said that details could be provided privately to Members if requested, as this was commercially sensitive information.

 

RESOLVED that the ECS Performance Overview update be noted.

37.

QUESTIONS REGARDING THE INFORMATION BRIEFING.

ECS Performance Monitoring Data Briefing:

 

This briefing is circulated for information only, but issues can be debated at the meeting at the request of any member of the Committee. Such requests should be made to the Democratic Services Officer at least 24 hours before the meeting and should set out which aspects of the information briefing need to be discussed.

 

Members have been provided with advance copies of the briefing via email.  The briefing is also available on the Council’s website at the following link:

 

https://cds.bromley.gov.uk/ieListDocuments.aspx?CId=559&MId=7770&Ver=4

 

Printed copies of the briefing are available on request by contacting the Democratic Services Officer.

Minutes:

No questions had been received regarding the Information Briefing.

38.

PRE-DECISION SCRUTINY OF REPORTS TO THE ENVIRONMENT AND COMMUNITY SERVICES PORTFOLIO HOLDERS

Portfolio Holder decisions for pre-decision scrutiny.

38a

QUARTER ONE BUDGET MONITORING REPORT: 2023/24 pdf icon PDF 483 KB

Minutes:

FSD23048

 

A Member noted the fall in car parking income and enquired how this loss could be mitigated, and whether or not there would be a reduction in car parking capacity. The Director responded and said that this was a complex question with a number of variables to consider. The Council was reviewing car parking policy and need. There were no plans to change car parking policy at the moment, but ultimately any decision would be a decision for Members.

 

A Member highlighted that there had been a 350% increase in providing business support for markets. He wondered if the Council was therefore budgeting correctly. The Director pointed out that COVID regulations concerning how much could be charged for market licences still applied, which had reduced the amount of income received by the Council.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1)  The Portfolio Holders endorse the 2023/24 revenue budget monitoring position for the Environment and Community Services Portfolio.

 

2) The Portfolio Holders agree the release of the amounts carried forward from 2022/23 as set out in section 3.5 of the Budget Monitoring report. 

38b

CAPITAL MONITORING REPORT pdf icon PDF 311 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

FSD23053

 

It was noted that the Council’s gritting fleet was maintained by Riney and that the fleet would be fully ready to grit the Borough’s roads in the Winter. Some of the fleet may need replacing in due course and various options such as leasing were being considered.

 

RESOLVED that the Portfolio Holders note and acknowledge the changes to be put to the Executive on 20th September 2023.   

39.

ENFORCEMENT OF BLUE BADGE MISUSE pdf icon PDF 260 KB

Minutes:

ES20306

 

The report set out the process used since 2020 to enforce Blue Badge misuse and recommended that the process be retained.

 

It was explained that the revenue from court fines was paid to the Ministry of Justice. The prosecuting Council could apply for costs. In the past, it was often the case that only token costs were reimbursed, but now Bromley would be pressing for full costs to be awarded.

 

RESOLVED that:

 

1) The Portfolio Holder for Transport, Highways and Road Safety be recommended to agree that the process adopted for enforcing against the misuse of Blue Badges in the Borough since 2020 be retained, as set out in Section 3 of the report.

 

2) The Portfolio Holder for Transport, Highways and Road Safety is recommended to delegate any minor changes needed in the coming years to the Director, after ongoing discussion with the Portfolio Holder.

39a

LOCAL ROAD SAFETY AND HIGHWAY IMPROVEMENT INITIATIVES pdf icon PDF 446 KB

Minutes:

ES20307

 

The Chairman stated that due to a request from Petts Wood Councillors that Birchwood Road be removed, he was recommending that the following clause be added to the end of recommendation 2.2: ‘and subject to consultation between the Portfolio Holder and Ward Councillors 

 

A Member requested that Clarendon Way, Chislehurst,be added to list of roads benefiting from new measures.

 

The Portfolio Holder commented that all the schemes that had been listed were good schemes and were worth spending money on. He said that there had been a little local difference in Petts Wood between three Members. He urged that all colleagues in Wards agree with each other before making submissions.   

 

A Member commented that she had previously highlighted that in Plaistow Lane (by the Green), tactile paving was located incorrectly, and was therefore dangerous. The Assistant Director for Traffic and Parking said that a walk around would be conducted in that area later in the month, and he would have a look at the Member’s specific concern regarding the tactile paving at that time. 

   

RESOLVED that:

 

1) The Portfolio Holder for Transport, Highways and Road Safety be recommended to allocate £150k from the Members’ Initiative Earmarked Reserve for Environmental Projects, to facilitate the introduction of low cost, locally requested road safety and highway improvement interventions, as set out in section 3 of the report.

 

2) The Portfolio Holder for Transport, Highways and Road Safety be recommended to delegate the programming and delivery of these road safety measures over the next 24 months to the Director of Environment & Public Protection after ongoing discussion with the Portfolio Holder and also subject to consultation with Ward Councillors.

40.

POLICY DEVELOPMENT AND OTHER ITEMS

40a

TREEMENDOUS: YEAR 2 UPDATE pdf icon PDF 297 KB

Minutes:

ES20297

 

The report provided an update on the delivery of the Council's ‘Treemendous’ tree planting programme following the second year of delivery.

 

Members were informed that the QR codes on the trees were now working on IOS and would be working on Android devices shortly. It was noted that 2500  of the planned 5000 trees had been planted and that there was sufficient funding available to complete the project. If Members wished to report an issue regarding a tree, then they should do that primarily via the QR code and secondarily via FMS.

 

Suggestions for new tree-pit locations could be forwarded, but sometimes the siting of new tree pits could be a difficult process. It was noted that trees designated as ‘distressed’ had been allocated onto this year's tree maintenance programme and it was further noted that the spread of fungal tree spores was difficult to contain.

 

RESOLVED that the Environment and Community Services Policy Development and Scrutiny Committee note the progress made in the second year of the Treemendous tree planting programme and the revised communications programme to encourage more community led watering.

40b

ANNUAL STATUS REPORT FOR YEAR 2022 - REPORTING ON BROMLEY'S AIR QUALITY pdf icon PDF 228 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

ES20303

 

The report was drafted to advise on the air quality monitoring results from the Council's monitoring equipment and to demonstrate the progress made delivering actions against the Council’s Air Quality Action Plan 2020-25.

 

The Assistant Director for Public Protection briefed the committee that Bromley had good air quality, and more air quality monitoring stations now than at any time in the past. Concentration of PM2.5 was noted at 10.6 against an objective of 40 so this was good. Indeed, all locations within the Borough were complying with national air quality objectives and standards. The permanent air quality monitoring station at Harwood Avenue had showed that nitrogen dioxide had not exceeded the relevant levels. The Council’s Air Quality Action Plan had been positively received by the GLA and had been published on the Council website.

 

A Member commented that hopefully with the introduction of ULEZ, there would be further improvements in air quality. The Assistant Director for Public Protection said that the trend across the Borough was downward and that there were other measures to consider in addition to ULEZ that could positively affect air quality in Bromley.

 

A Member commented that the introduction of ULEZ in Bromley would only result in a 3% enhancement to the air quality, and actually the air quality was 70 times worse on the Tube in inner London. He queried if PM10 was a valid measurement, as PM10 incorporated PM2.5; he also wondered if PM2.5 was composed of naturally occurring particles like pollen, which would mean that Bromley (being a ‘green’ Borough), would see an increased level of these.

 

A Member asked how many times the permanent monitoring station in Harwood Avenue had gone down. The Assistant Director for Public Protection responded that she would look into this and provide a response outside the meeting.

 

RESOLVED that the Environment and Community Services, Policy Development and Scrutiny Committee note the contents of the Annual Status Report for the year 2022.

41.

RISK REGISTER UPDATE REPORT pdf icon PDF 602 KB

Minutes:

ES20292

 

The Committee reviewed the Environment and Community Services Risk Register update report.

 

RESOLVED that the report and the appended Risk Register be noted.   

42.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT ACT 1972 AS AMENDED BY THE LOCAL GOVERNMENT (ACCESS TO INFORMATION) (VARIATION) ORDER 2006, AND THE FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT 2000

The Chairman to move that the Press and public be excluded during consideration of the items of business listed below as it is likely in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings that if members of the Press and public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information.

43.

EXEMPT MINUTES FROM THE PREVIOUS MEETING

Minutes:

The Committee noted the exempt minutes of the previous meeting and agreed that they could be signed as a correct record. 

QUESTION TO THE CHAIRMAN pdf icon PDF 104 KB

ORAL QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC pdf icon PDF 267 KB

ORAL QUESTIONS FROM COUNCILLORS pdf icon PDF 416 KB

WRITTEN QUESTIONS FROM THE PUBLIC pdf icon PDF 194 KB

WRITTEN QUESTIONS FROM COUNCILLORS pdf icon PDF 294 KB