Issue - meetings

Environmental Sustainability

Meeting: 10/09/2020 - Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Item 24)

24 Q1 2020/21 performance report pdf icon PDF 297 KB

To consider the Performance Report for Quarter 1 (2020/21) and to make any observations.

Additional documents:


Members considered the Performance Report for Quarter 1 (2020/21) which looked at Key Performance Indicator reporting, as well as revenue and capital budget monitoring for the three months from 1 April to 30 June 2020.

Cllr V. Lewanski, Portfolio Holder for Corporate Direction and Governance, gave an overview of progress on the Key Performance Indicator (KPIs). A cross-party member working group in the last financial year had developed the 2020/21 indicators which were approved by the Executive at its meeting on 25 June 2020. Cllr V. Lewanski thanked Members for their valuable input into updating the new KPIs. A new reporting template with additional narrative had been developed and was available at Annex 1.

Ten KPIs were reported on in Quarter 1 2020/21, six were on target and one (KPI 8 – Performance in Local Environmental Quality Surveys) could not be reported on due to resources focused on responding to the COVID-19 crisis.

The three red-rated KPIs were: KPI 6 – Net housing completions, KPI 7 – Net affordable housing completions and KPI 10 – Recycling performance (Q4 2019/20). Housing completions were off target due to the slowdown in the construction sector as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this there were currently over 2000 units under construction and over 300 were affordable.

KPI 10 – the Council’s recycling performance indicator that measures the percentage of household waste that is recycled and composted was affected by seasonable fluctuations and reduction in garden waste collected at the kerbside. However, it remained in line with the same quarter reported the previous year. Overall, the final year’s recycling rate in 2019/20 of 54.2% was the Council’s second-best reported rate.

Cllr N. Harrison thanked the projects and business assurance team for the new report format including the additional analysis in the report.

Members made the following observations and comments:

·         Housing completions – it was noted that COVID-19 lockdown had effectively halted housing construction work for two months, so the red-rated status was to be expected. It was anticipated that this would improve in the next quarter of the year.

·         Recycling – there was a downturn in recycling performance in quarter 4 2019/20 due to the seasonal variations in collecting garden waste. Due to the COVID-19 lockdown there had been significant increases in collection of food waste, mixed paper and card and mixed glass. There will be an impact to this KPI in quarter 1 due to the garden waste service being temporarily suspended. However, this is expected to  improve in quarter 2 following the garden waste service restarting and the continued increase in mixed recycling materials. Members asked about increased public engagement and education so residents understood what can be recycled. It was noted that these were part of ongoing discussions with the Surrey Waste Partnership.

Members noted that the Borough Council target for recycling had increased to 60% which was set out in Surrey’s Joint Waste Management Strategy. They asked for a written answer about the plan in place to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24

Meeting: 27/08/2020 - Overview and Scrutiny Committee (Item 18)

18 Call-in of Environmental Sustainability Executive Decision made on 28 July 2020 pdf icon PDF 2 MB

Report to follow.


Chair, Cllr N. Harrison, welcomed Members to the meeting and introduced the procedure to consider the call-in request of the Executive Decision ‘Environmental Sustainability’ made on 28 July 2020.The call-in was therefore the only substantive item of business on the agenda. The purpose of this meeting was for the Committee to scrutinise a decision which those members who signed the call-in request believed to be contrary to the authority’s decision-making principles rather than to scrutinise the strategy. It was confirmed that the environmental sustainability strategy and action plan would come for scrutiny at Overview and Scrutiny Committee at its meeting on 9 December 2020.

The call-in organiser, Cllr J. Essex, presented the call-in, and set out his reasons for calling in the decision for review. The signatories to the Call-in were: Cllr H. Brown, Cllr J. Essex, Cllr S. Kulka, Cllr S. McKenna, Cllr S. Sinden and Cllr R. Ritter. Scientists had reported recently that one trillion tons of ice (equivalent to an area the size of the UK) have melted worldwide since 1994. Increasing global temperatures every decade required an urgent response.

The call-in form was provided to the Committee and set out in Annex 2 of the report. In summary, the reasons for the call-in were that the decision was not taken in accordance with the decision-making principles that were set out in the Constitution:

·         Presumption in favour of openness (Article 14.2.4) – no council scrutiny of item, no wider sight of minutes to cross-party task group meetings, no evidence of public consultation on the action plan.

·         Clarity of aims and desired outcomes (Article 14.2.5) – not clear how the action plan meets overarching objectives and query on adequacy of targets.

 The Caller-in included the following points:

·         The paper to Executive on 28 July 2020 did not respond directly to the climate change emergency motion that was presented at Full Council on 26 September 2019.

·         Minutes of meetings of the cross-party task group and evidence of public consultation on the strategy before it went to Executive (separate to the Corporate Plan consultation) had not been made available.

·         The strategy and action plan should be benchmarked against sustainability action plans in other councils such as Waverley Borough Council and Stroud District Council.

The Executive Member for Neighbourhood Services Cllr N. Bramhall, responded to the Caller-in and included the following points:

·         February’s meeting of Overview and Scrutiny included a full review of the Neighbourhood Services portfolio including an update on environmental sustainability strategy, with the offer to come back to present an update at a future meeting.

·         No responses had been received on the environmental sustainability draft strategy when it had been sent to all Members for comment.

·         Objectives to respond to environmental concerns were included in the report.

·         The task group meetings had been well attended by Members. Environmental consultants had engaged openly with Members and spoken at the Member briefing. It was confirmed that the task group minutes would be shared and circulated. Pressure of work responding  ...  view the full minutes text for item 18

Meeting: 28/07/2020 - Executive (Item 23)

23 Environmental Sustainability pdf icon PDF 200 KB

To consider the report of the Executive Member for Neighbourhood Services.

Additional documents:




1.       That the Executive recognises the need for urgent action on climate change and environmental sustainability issues

2.       That the Environmental Sustainability Strategy (Annex 1) and accompanying action plan and performance measures (Annexes 2 and 3) be approved for publication and implementation

3.       That the Head of Corporate Policy be authorised, in consultation with the Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhood Services, to make any additional minor amendments to the Environmental Sustainability Strategy to ensure factual accuracy and clarity prior to publication

4.       That the Executive agrees to continue with the cross-party member task group to review and feed back on the implementation of the Environmental Sustainability Strategy, and that progress in delivering the strategy will be reported annually.

5.       That the Executive supports the overall approach within the recently adopted Surrey County Council Climate Change Strategy and commits to continue to work with the County Council and other Surrey boroughs and districts to develop a jointly owned action plan and achieve shared climate change objectives.


The Executive Member for Neighbourhood Services, Councillor Bramhall, described how the Environmental Sustainability Strategy committed the Council to undertake activities across three themes:


·       Energy and carbon

·       Low impact consumption – (the consumption of natural resources); and

·       Biodiversity and the natural environment


The themes were then translated into actions which would help the Council, and the borough, become more environmentally sustainable, and to move toward a reduction in net carbon emissions.


Councillor Bramhall cautioned that the Council’s continuing response to the Covid-19 emergency (and any future waves) may impact on the staff or financial resources available to deliver the action plan, which would be regularly reviewed. The emergency also presented an opportunity to change the way people live and work, and those opportunities would be further explored as part of the Council’s recovery work.  Additional resources would be required to deliver the Strategy and initial provision had already been made in the 2020/21 budget.


Councillor Bramhall stressed that contextually, as a second tier authority, there were limits to the powers that were available to generate change. Therefore, it was important that the Council continued to work closely with Surrey County Council and the other Surrey boroughs and districts to agree a jointly owned action plan, which would enable the best use of the powers and resources that were available, and provide a stronger voice to lobby for more.


Progress in delivering the Environmental Sustainability Strategy would be reported annually to the Overview & Scrutiny Committee, and the established cross-party task group would continue to review progress.


The Leader of the Council, Councillor Brunt, commended the Strategy and emphasised that it set out the ambition of the Council, and reaffirmed the need for urgent action on climate change and environmental sustainability issues, as previously identified in the Corporate Plan.


In response to questions and observations from Visiting Members, Executive Members explained that:


·       The Council was already demonstrating its commitment to environmental sustainability through, for example, working with partners in relation to the Green Homes Initiative, the local cycling plan, the introduction of electric vehicles; and the recruitment of a dedicated resource to drive the delivery of the strategy

·       A climate conference would be a meaningful engagement opportunity in the future and resident feedback was already being sought via the Surrey Greener Futures tool

·       The Council would continue to seek external funding opportunities

·       Subject to clarification from Officers, the notes of the cross-party task group would be made available on the Council’s website

·       Whilst some Councils had declared a climate emergency, they may not have a strategy or action plan to achieve change

·       Training on environmental sustainability would be provided for Planning Committee Members

·       A written response to a query about the funding of Reigate Baths would be provided to Councillor Sinden. 




1.       That the Executive recognises the need for urgent action on climate change and environmental sustainability issues

2.       That the Environmental Sustainability Strategy (Annex 1) and accompanying action plan and performance measures (Annexes 2 and 3) be approved for publication  ...  view the full minutes text for item 23