Agenda and minutes

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Venue: Committee Room 1, Town Hall, Chorley

Contact: Nina Neisser  Email: nina.neisser@chorley.gov.uk

Items
No. Item

19.OS.14

Minutes of meeting Thursday, 7 November 2019 of Overview and Scrutiny Task Group - Developing the Council's Green Agenda pdf icon PDF 82 KB

Minutes:

The minutes of the meeting held on 7 November 2019 were approved as a correct record.

19.OS.15

Declarations of any Interests

Members are reminded of their responsibility to declare any pecuniary interest in respect of matters contained in this agenda.

 

If you have a pecuniary interest you must withdraw from the meeting. Normally you should leave the room before the business starts to be discussed. You do, however, have the same right to speak as a member of the public and may remain in the room to enable you to exercise that right and then leave immediately. In either case you must not seek to improperly influence a decision on the matter.

Minutes:

Councillor Mark Clifford declared an interest in the Woodland Trust.

19.OS.16

Discussion with Lindsey Blackstock (Open Space Strategy Officer - Chorley Council)

Members of the Task Group identified tree planting as one of the schemes they would like to consider as part of the inquiry.

 

Lindsey Blackstock, Chorley Council’s Open Space Strategy Officer will be attending the meeting to discuss the Council’s planned tree planting work with the Task Group.

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed everyone to the meeting and introduced Lindsey Blackstock, Open Space Strategy Officer. 

 

Threats to woodland, wildlife and the wider environment are growing.  Our trees and woods face a challenging combination of pressures, including:

·                climate change

·                inappropriate development

·                pollution

·                a growing population in a predominantly urban environment

·                attack from deadly tree diseases and pests.

 

Ancient woods and trees in particular are some of our most valuable natural assets.  They are irreplaceable and home to many vulnerable and threatened species.  Trees bring nature to the heart of our communities, help clean and cool the air, reduce flooding, and improve people’s physical and mental health.  Urban trees in particular play a pivotal role in creating healthy and economically successful communities and places for people and wildlife to live.

 

The Environment Bill was published by the Government in October 2019.  This policy statement puts the environment at the centre of policy making.  The Environment Bill engages and empowers citizens, local government and businesses to deliver environmental outcomes and create a positive legacy for future generations.  The Bill has had it’s second reading in the House of Commons. 

 

In recent years the Government have strengthened protections for ancient woodlands, veteran trees and other irreplaceable habitats in the revised national planning policy framework and provided almost £6 million to the new Northern Forest.  In the 25 Year Environment Plan; Government pledged to plant 11 million new trees and one million urban trees.  The Environment Bill introduces ‘Duty to Consult’ which will give the public the opportunity to understand why a street tree is being felled and express any concerns regarding this.  The Bill also introduces Forestry Enforcement Measures which strengthens the Forestry Commission’s power to clamp down on illegal tree felling across England, ensuring the Commission has the powers to continue to protect and maintain our forests.

 

The Woodland Trust, which planted half of the new broadleaf woodland for England last year, called for much greater government support for tree-planting.  Local tree strategy guidance is to be published to help local authorities plan for the future.  In Chorley planting more trees is at the heart of the Council’s ambition to protect the environment for future generations.

 

Background about Chorley

Chorley Borough is semi-rural covering 80 square miles of land.  In the past it was a mining and mill area and there are still remnants of the industrial heritage including chimneys, mill buildings, capped mine shafts and open quarries.  Much of the Borough is wooded valley and farmland owing to the River Yarrow, Black Brook and River Chor along with other tributaries which also flow into the River Lostock and River Douglas. 

 

Chorley has in fact got the greatest proportion of Ancient Woodland by area of any other Lancashire authority.  These areas of flood plain and valleys are thankfully protected from development owing to their topography.  In the 1970s through to the 1990s much of Chorley was developed as part of the New Town Commission and vast areas were planted with shelterbelts as new  ...  view the full minutes text for item 19.OS.16

19.OS.17

Feedback on Findings

Members will provide feedback on any findings since the last meeting. The following meetings have taken place since the Task Group last met:

 

·         Meeting with officers regarding Town Centre/Markets (Tuesday, 19 November)

·         Site Visit to Lancaster City Council (Thursday, 21 November)

·         Site Visit to GA Pet Food Partners Manufacturing site (Monday, 25 November)

·         Meeting with Parklands High School students (Friday, 29 November)

Minutes:

Meeting with officers regarding Town Centre/Markets (Tuesday, 19 November)

There is more that the Council can do to encourage independent traders and market stall holders to engage with the green agenda, although there are examples of good practice already.  Many of the larger companies are already engaging on a national footprint. 

 

It was suggested that the Council could introduce a green accreditation scheme to highlight to shoppers where traders are engaged. 

 

Site Visit to Lancaster City Council (Thursday, 21 November)

The City Council began their efforts with their leisure centres.  They highlighted the need to work in partnership to achieve significant reductions in the carbon footprint. 

 

Site Visit to GA Pet Food Partners Manufacturing site (Monday, 25 November)

GA have won a regional award for their environmental work.  They have used innovative methods to dispose of their waste and are aiming to become self-sufficient.  A visitor’s centre is currently under construction to share their expertise with others. 

 

Meeting with Parklands High School students (Friday, 29 November)

It is encouraging to see young people with aspirations and expectations.  The meeting highlighted the need for the Council to communicate with the community about the work it is doing on the green agenda. 

19.OS.18

Draft Recommendations

To discuss and consider the draft recommendations for the Draft Report going to Executive Cabinet in the New Year.

Minutes:

Vicky Willett, Service Lead for Transformation and Partnerships, explained that in order for the initial recommendations to be fed into the budget cycle it is proposed that an interim report be presented. 

 

The recommendations so far include:

1.         To identify dedicated officer resource to coordinate development of the council’s green agenda and roadmap to becoming carbon neutral. 

2.         To consider the additional resources needed to deliver the action plan which could include funding for specialist knowledge, additional expertise or specific projects. 

3.         To embed green considerations in all decision making by including a space for an environmental impact comment on all committee reports. Also review the sustainability element of the existing Integrated Impact Assessment.

4.         To write to the Executive Member responsible and to LCC to request that greater clarity be provided on recycling, advising further on what can be recycled and how.

5.         To develop a campaign and action plan to raise awareness of the council’s current climate change activity and educate residents on what they can do, as well as sources of support.

 

Members noted that Chorley Green Living have been successful in taking forward a pop-up shop in Market Walk following their meeting with the Task Group. 

 

Other suggestions for future recommendations included

·                A green hack event within the Lancastrian

·                An event to encourage businesses to engage with the green agenda

·                The development of a green app

19.OS.19

Date of the Next Meeting

Thursday, 9 January 2020 at 6pm.

Minutes:

Thursday, 9 January 2020 at 6pm.

 

It was agreed to invite Councillor Susan Jones – Cabinet Member (Environment) at South Ribble to attend a future meeting.