Agenda and minutes

Council
Tuesday, 28th January, 2020 10.00 am

Venue: Civic Centre, Hanbury Road, Pontypool NP4 6YB

Contact: Jacquelyn Tranter  Senior Business Support Officer - Democratic Services

Items
No. Item

1.

Attendance / Presenoldeb

Minutes:

Officers on the dias

 

Nigel Aurelius, Assistant Chief Executive (Resources)

Delyth Harries, Monitoring Officer & Assistant Chief Legal Officer

Jacquelyn Tranter, Senior Business Support Officer (Democratic Services)

Alison Ward, Chief Executive

 

Other Officers attending or observing from the gallery for parts of the meeting

 

Richard Davies, Head of Revenues, Benefits & Customer Services

Rachel Jowitt, Chief Officer Neighbourhood Services, Planning & Public Protection

Dermot McChrystal, Chief Officer Education & Lead Director Children & Young People

Jason O’Brien, Head of Children’s Services

Andrew Osbourne, Group Leader Economy, Environment & Culture

Nansi Salkeld, Acting Head of Democratic Services

 

Other people attending

 

Neil Jones, (in the public gallery)

Press

 

2.

Apologies for Absence / Ymddiheuriadau am absenoldeb

Minutes:

2.1       Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Glyn Caron, Kathy Evans, Joanne Gauden, Raymond Mills, and Alan Slade.

 

3.

Declarations of interest / Datganiadau o fudd

Minutes:

3.1       The MO&ACLO stated that she would advise members about declarations in respect of agenda item 18 when the item is being discussed.

 

3.2       There were no other interests declared.

 

 

4.

Confirmation of Council minutes - 22/10/19 & 09/01/20 / Cadarnhau cofnodion y Cyngor - 22/10/19 & 09/01/20 pdf icon PDF 668 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

4.1       Council CONFIRMED the minutes of the meeting held on 22nd October 2019 as an accurate record.

 

4.2       Council CONFIRMED the minutes of the meeting held on 9th January 2020 subject to a correction to minute 3.2 to read:

‘During the meeting Councillor Robert Kemp declared a personal interest as a private sector landlord.’

5.

Updates on actions / Y diweddaraf ar y camau gweithredu pdf icon PDF 193 KB

Minutes:

5.1       Council NOTED the action sheet.

6.

Receipt of petitions / Deisebau a dderbyniwyd

Minutes:

6.1       There were no petitions submitted for this meeting.

7.

Public Question Time / Cwestiynau gan y Cyhoedd

Minutes:

7.1       There were no public questions.

8.

Announcements from the Leader or Chief Executive / Cyhoeddiadau gan yr Arweinydd neu'r Prif Weithredwr

Minutes:

8.1       The Leader echoed the sentiments expressed by the Reverend Harald Thomas during prayers in respect of Holocaust Memorial Day. He thanked members for attending the service at Crane Street Baptist Church and was pleased the day had been suitably recognised by Torfaen.

 

8.2       The Leader also paid tribute to the late former Councillor Margaret Pead who had recently passed away and was remembered with much respect and affection. On behalf of the Council he expressed condolences to the family.

 

8.3       He also expressed condolences to former Councillor Lewis Jones and Community Councillor Janet Jones at such a difficult time for them and their family.

 

8.4       The Chief Executive, on behalf of Council officers, added sympathy and best wishes to the bereaved families.

 

 

9.

Council Tax Reduction Scheme / Cynllun Gost wng Treth y Cyngor pdf icon PDF 291 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

9.1       The ACER presented a report on the Council Tax Reduction Scheme (CTRS) for 2020/21.

 

9.2       Council APPROVED:

 

·         To continue to note the making of the Council Tax Reduction Scheme and Prescribed Requirements (Wales) Regulations ("the Prescribed Requirements Regulations") 2013 by the Welsh Government on 26 November 2013 [see appropriate links contained in report].

·         The adoption of the provisions within the Prescribed Requirements Regulations above together with the Amendment Regulations in 3.4 in respect of its Scheme for the financial year 2020/21;

·         the discretionary elements in 5.2 as the Council’s local scheme from 1st April 2020.

·         To affirm that should there be any further uprating amendments during the year these will be carried out without a requirement to adopt the whole Council Tax Reduction Scheme.

 

 

 

10.

Petition to stop spraying our towns with glyphosate / Deiseb i roi'r gorau i chwistrellu glyffosad yn ein trefi pdf icon PDF 495 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

10.1    A report on Council’s response to the petition received at Council on 24th September 2019, from Torfaen resident Louise Kirby, asking Council to ‘Stop spraying our towns with probable cancer causing glyphosate’ was presented.

 

10.2    The Executive Member for Environment, Councillor Fiona Cross commented as follows:

·         Glyphosate is the main ingredient in ‘Roundup’ and is a household weed killer also commonly used for agriculture and is the most commonly used herbicide in the world. It’s used on weeds and crops – it’s on our food and we consume it;

·         The International Agency for Research on Cancer, an inter-governmental agency, forming part of the World Health Organisation of the United Nations, in 2015 classified glyphosate as a probable carcinogenic to humans. Other items in this category include processed meat and red meat;

·         Different agencies set varying permissible levels of glyphosate that can be consumed by humans without causing notable health risks;

·         Trace amounts have been found in food and drink we consume daily including some organic products;

·         In America the permissible amount of consumable glyphosate is 1.75mg/kg of person’s body weight/day; the European Union is 0.5mg and in Torfaen glyphosate is mixed with water and is equivalent to 0.028mg /litre  and this is sprayed directly onto the  plant, not consumed and this is less than deemed safe for a person to consume according to the European Union;

·         A study on the impact of glyphosate on bee health was also referred to in the report, the study had been undertaken near agricultural sites, not urban and used a much higher ration of glyphosate;

·         Torfaen uses the spray just twice a year, some neighbouring authorities spray as much a six times a year;

·         WeedIt’ technology spot sprays and targets green foliage which is a super fine spray that dries in seconds to prevent run off into water courses;

·         Hand held devices with low doses are used to treat areas that are not easily accessible such as curb-sides;

·         blanket spraying is not used, which is the agricultural method of distribution:

·         It is the only effective treatment of knotweed at this time;

·         As advised by APSE, the amount used in Torfaen has been reduced; 

·         a meeting with the petitioners was held to better understand the data they had provided and ensure a decision would be based on accurate information to protect our communities;

·         The Welsh government and European Union continue to endorse this product:

·         The peer reviewed study by the European Food Safety Authority states

“The report concludes that glyphosate is unlikely to pose a carcinogenic hazard to humans and proposes a new safety measure that will tighten the control of glyphosate residues in food.”

·         more studies are needed that specifically explore urban usage, however even the agricultural studies with far higher levels used still state “could”, possible, might be harmful etc. 

·         the report is comprehensive and fair in its conclusion at this time based on the information and evidence we currently have.

 

10.3    The CONPPP stated that the report contains  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.

11.

Solar Farm: Capital Funding / Fferm Solar: Cyllid Cyfalaf pdf icon PDF 419 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

11.1     The CONPP presented a report on capital funding for the Ty Coch Solar Farm. The key messages outlined in the report were highlighted and members were reminded that Cabinet had agreed to support h Final Business Case, attached as Appendix B to the report.

 

11.2       Members commented on the report, in summary as follows:

 

·         The business plan is flawed with too many omissions result in costs to the taxpayer. Trees should be planted on the site instead to improve our carbon footprint and enhance bio diversity;

·         The site was a tip, pre-asbestos and Japanese Knotweed would not grow in the most toxic parts of the site, trees would not grow;

·         The solar farm would generate a third more CO2 savings than trees;

·         This is an innovative project to protect future generations and produce energy in a safe way;

·         This is potentially a good that will generate a small amount of money and goes a little way towards discharging our obligations on climate change;

·         Tree planting schemes are welcome and are being considered in collaboration with community councils;

·         The profit is a side benefit, the obvious benefit are around the reduction in carbon dioxide and providing energy security, hopefully this is the start of similar projects across Wales;

·         The Cleaner O&S Committee considered this in detail;

·         Mining former landfill sites to remove and recycle plastics was suggested as another innovative project for Councils. The CONPP explained that the UK government currently has no intention of opening such sites due to contamination and exposure;

·         Reserve levels would not sustain the levels of finance required.

 

11.3       In response to member questions the CONPP stated that the project is conservative and if the procurement process comes forward and there is a zero financial gain or negative, the project will go back to cabinet to decide if the scheme should continue in light of the climate change emergency. These comments were endorsed by the Leader;

 

11.4       Council APPROVED the inclusion of the development of a 3.04MW solar farm at the former Ty Coch landfill site, Cwmbran, into the capital programme subject to the procurement costs being within the agreed budget of £2.45million and as outlined in the Cabinet report of 7th January 2020. If the parameters are not as agreed by Cabinet a special emergency Cabinet will determine if the project is to proceed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

12.

Political Balance, Committee Chairs and Membership of Committees / Cydbwysedd Gwleidyddol, Cadeiryddion Pwyllgorau ac Aelodau Pwyllgorau pdf icon PDF 120 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

12.1    The AHoDS presented a report informing members of a change in political balance requirements and sought agreement to the political balance for the remainder of the year ahead until annual Council in May 2020.

 

12.2    Council AGREED:

 

·         The change in political balance and adopted the political balance calculations attached as Appendix A to the report;

·         Appointed / removed the following members to /from committees affected by this change:

Planning Committee – appoint Councillor Jason O’Connell (Labour seat), remove Councillor Richard Overton;

Licensing Committee – appoint Councillor Christopher Tew, remove Councillor Nicholas Jones;

Cleaner Communities O&S Committee – appoint Councillor Richard Overton.

 

12.3    The Deputy Leader informed members that Labour Group members had volunteered to sit on Planning Committee but because of the regulation (The Size and Composition of Local Planning Authority Committees (Wales) Regulations 2017 - ‘where wards have more than one elected member, only one member may sit on the planning committee, in order to allow other ward members to perform the representative role for local community interests’ it was not possible to appoint a Labour group member. Therefore, he proposed, as portfolio holder with responsibility for Economy, Skills and Regeneration, to write to Welsh ministers advising them that this regulation was nonsensical as it impeded the operation of planning committees, particularly in light of the proposed reduction in elected members and larger member wards in the next local government election.

 

13.

Cardiff Capital Region City Deal - Joint Overview & Scrutiny Committee / Bargen Ddinesig Prifddinas-Ranbarth Caerdydd - Cydbwyllgor Trosolwg a Chraffu pdf icon PDF 247 KB

Minutes:

13.1    The AHODS presented a report asking for a nomination and appointment of a representative for Torfaen on the Cardiff Capital Region City Deal Joint Overview and Scrutiny Committee. (CCRCD JOSC).

 

13.2    Members noted that following the resignation of the Executive Member for Corporate Governance and Performance, the Council’s nominated representative on the CCRCD JOSC took up a position on the Council’s Executive and is therefore required to step down from the position on the CCRCD JOSC.

 

13.3    Councillor Veronica Crick was nominated and seconded as the new representative.

 

13.4    The Leader thanked Councillor Crick for taking up the position and commented that the committee would benefit from her experience and ability and provide a better gender balance.

 

13.5    Council AGREED the appointment of Councillor Veronica Crick as the Council’s representative on CCRCD JOSC.

 

 

14.

Motions on Notice / Cynigion â rhybudd

Minutes:

14.1     There were no motions on notice.

15.

Member Question Time / Cwestiynau gan yr Aelodau pdf icon PDF 97 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

15.1     Members questions with replies are set out in Appendix A to these minutes.

 

 

16.

Cabinet decisions - 19/11/19 & 7/1/20 / Penderfyniadau'r Cabinet - 19/11/19 & 7/1/20 pdf icon PDF 282 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

16.1     Council NOTED Cabinet decisions.

17.

Exclusion of the Press and Public / Gwahardd y Wasg a'r Cyhoedd

The following report is not for publicationunder Paragraph 12 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) as the report contains information identifying individuals which should not be made available to the public in accordance with the local resolution protocol adopted by the council and the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

Ni chaniateir cyhoeddi'r adroddiad dan Baragraff 12 o Atodlen 12A Deddf Llywodraeth Leol 1972 (fel y'i diwygiwyd) gan fod yr adroddiad yn cynnwys gwybodaeth sy'n enwi unigolion felly ni ddylai fod ar gael i'r cyhoedd yn unol â'r protocol datrys lleol a fabwysiadwyd gan y cyngor, a bod eithrio er budd y cyhoedd yn gorbwyso budd y cyhoedd pe byddai'r wybodaeth yn cael ei datgelu

 

 

Minutes:

17.1    The Chair excluded members of the press and public as the following report was not for publication under Paragraph 12 of Schedule 12A of the Local Government Act 1972 (as amended) as the report contains information identifying individuals which should not be made available to the public in accordance with the local resolution protocol adopted by the council and the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information.

 

18.

Outcome of Complaint under Local Resolution Protocol / Canlyniad y gwyn o dan y protocol datrys lleol

Minutes:

18.1    The Council accepted the decision of the Ethics & Standards Committee in relation to a complaint made under the Local Resolution Protocol.

19.

Date and time of next meeting 03/03/20/ Dyddiad ac amser y cyfarfod nesaf 03/03/20

Minutes:

19.1    Council NOTED that the next meeting was scheduled for 10.00a.m. on Tuesday 3rd March 2020.