Economic Development and Corporate Issues Scrutiny Panel – 29 March 2010
PRESENT: Councillor Smith in the chair.
Councillors Glover (vice-chair), Ali, Barkworth, Berry, Davison and Wardle.Councillor Wells attended the meeting in accordance with Procedure Rule 1.37b.
The panel met at Pittwood House, Scunthorpe.
141 DECLARATIONS OF PERSONAL OR PERSONAL AND PREJUDICIAL INTERESTS AND DECLARATIONS OF WHIPPING ARRANGEMENTS (IF ANY) – The following member declared a personal interest in the following matter:
Subject & Nature of Interest
|Councillor Ali||General||Licence Holder|
|Councillor Berry||145 & 146||Resident of South Killingholme|
No whip was declared.
142 MINUTES – Resolved – That the minutes of the proceedings of this panel held on 15 March 2010, having been printed and circulated amongst the members, be taken as read and correctly recorded and signed by the chair.
143 PUBLIC SPEAKING – There were no requests received.
144 ‘GREENING THE WORKPLACE’ REVISIT – (i) Discussions with Tim Allen, Environment Team Manager – The Chair welcomed Tim to the meeting and invited him to address the panel and advise them of the progress so far.
Tim explained that greening the workplace comprised of two closely linked elements, energy management and carbon management. Currently North Lincolnshire was producing 30,600 tons of carbon emissions each year. This was made up of 25,000 tonnes from buildings and the rest being transport related. The council would be liable for payments under the Carbon Reduction Commitment (CRC) scheme for all its building related emissions.
The panel was advised that as from 1 April 2010, all authorities that qualified would enter into the CRC scheme. The scheme would come into fruition as from 1 April 2011, with national league tables being published as from October 2011. The scheme would involve the council having to purchase carbon credits for every tonne of CO2 it emits. Each carbon credit would cost the council £12 during the introductory phase (up to 2013). After this date carbon credits would be subject to open market forces and it was expected that the price of carbon could increase dramatically. This would have a significant effect on the council’s cash flow. The council’s position in the league table would be determined ultimately by its ability to reduce carbon emissions. This would also affect the financial position, as the recycling payments from central government would also be determined by the ability to reduce the council’s emissions. If the council consistently failed to reduce its emissions it would run the risk of having recycling payments reduced by 10 per cent per year. By the fifth year of the scheme this could be costing the council £150,000 in lost recycling payments. It was stressed therefore that it was essential that the council acted now to reduce emissions.
Members discussed the council’s energy costs, the expected rise in fuel prices and the financial impact this would have with ever increasing energy consumption. Tim explained that continuing as we are today would increase the councils energy costs to £8.7 million over the next 5 years. He also explained that by committing to a 33 per cent reduction the council would be on target to reduce its energy costs.
Tim explained that the council had now signed up to the carbon management process and had set a target of reducing its emissions by 33 per cent over the next five years. This had identified that considerable investment would be needed in the council’s buildings to reduce both energy costs and carbon emissions. In addition staff needed to understand the implications of not meeting the targets, and how with a change in attitude and also improvements in house, a 10 per cent reduction could easily be achieved. Members agreed that an internal hard hitting campaign along the lines of ‘save energy, save money and save jobs would be the right approach at this time.
Further discussions highlighted some of the highest carbon emitting buildings, the need to drive forward schemes such as the renewable heat incentive and the feed in tariffs, which would enable buildings to generate their own heat and power. Under both these schemes the government would pay a guaranteed amount of money depending on the technology being used for 20 years. Tim explained that schools would be well placed to benefit from incentives such as this, with solar panels producing energy throughout the summer and with very low consumption, especially during the school holidays.
The panel was advised that a pot of money had been allocated through the carbon management plan process to make improvements to the council’s buildings. It was suggested that a small team involving Tim, the energy manager and financial representatives be put together to manage the central fund. Members suggested that the central co-ordination should involve some union representation and that the Cabinet Member for Highways and Planning should be represented and coordinate the approach. It was suggested that reporting be established through the Cabinet Member for Highways and Planning and the Climate Change Steering Group.
Resolved – (a) That Tim Allen be thanked for attending the meeting and for engaging in such informative discussions, and (b) that the position be noted.
145 (ii) Next Stages – The Service Director Legal and Democratic confirmed that the Service Director Neighbourhood and Environment, an officer from Fleet Management, and also the Head of Travel Choice and Team Manager, Transport Planning would be attending future scheduled meetings to address and respond to issues raised.
Resolved – That the position be noted.
146 (22) PERFORMANCE MONITORING – QUARTER 3 LOCAL AREA AGREEMENT DATA 2009/2010 (ECONOMIC BOARD) – The Chair welcomed Marcus Walker, Head of Strategic Regeneration, Housing and Development to the meeting and invited him to present the quarter 3 performance figures for the economic board.
The Head of Strategic Regeneration, Housing and Development answered questions relating to a number of the performance indicators, specifically focusing on NI 151. Marcus explained the progress made with the South Humber Gateway development and also the factors that had resulted in unexpected delays.
Members discussed the South Humber Bank project and the impact that this would have on creating approximately 5,000 new jobs in the area, the infrastructure and the recent decision from central government for additional funding.
Further discussions focused on the Lincolnshire Lakes development, which had attracted national recognition for currently being the biggest and best development project within the United Kingdom.
Members received further information on the improvements to be made to Scunthorpe town centre, the anticipated arrival of Primark and the potential to attract other popular retailers.
Discussions ensued around the funding that had been provided by Yorkshire Forward, the apportionment of this investment throughout the Yorkshire and Humber region, the projects that were being given priority and also concerns that North Lincolnshire may not have received its fair share of investment. Members requested that a delegate from Yorkshire Forward be invited to attend a future meeting of the panel to discuss.
Resolved – (a) That Marcus Walker be thanked for his attendance at the meeting, (b) that the Service Director Legal and Democratic invite Yorkshire Forward and the Chief Executive, North Lincolnshire Council to attend future meetings of the panel, and (c) that the information presented be noted.
147 ADDED ITEM REQUESTED BY A MEMBER – Update on the A160 upgrade – Marcus Walker, Head of Strategic Regeneration, Housing and Development had agreed to provide an oral update on the A160 following a meeting with the Highways Agency.
Marcus explained that since that meeting, £120m had been awarded from central government for the upgrade of the A160. This had been awarded to enable the regeneration of the area to proceed, and it was envisaged that work would start within the next year.
Members discussed the preferred option, whether the concerns of the public, residents and industries in the area had been considered and what would be the most appropriate way to ensure that concerns were addressed.
It was agreed that Marcus liaise with Councillors Berry and Wardle who had both expressed concerns over the planned route.
Resolved – (a) That Marcus Walker meet informally with Councillors Berry and Wardle to discuss options on how to address the public concerns, and (b) that the position be noted.
148 (23) LEADER OF THE COUNCILS FORWARD PLAN – APRIL TO JULY 2010 – The Service Director Legal and Democratic circulated the Leader of North Lincolnshire Council’s Forward Plan for April to July 2010.
The plan contained details of all matters and issues likely to be the subject of key decisions for a period of the next four months, updated on a monthly basis.
Resolved – That the Leader of the Council’s Forward Plan for April to July 2010 be noted.
149 ADDED ITEM – There was no added item for discussion at this or a future meeting.