Venue: Council Chamber, Civic Centre, Hanbury Road, Pontypool, NP4 6YB
Contact: Rachel Beale Senior Business Support Officer - Democratic Services
Welcome & Apologies / Croeso ac Ymddiheuriadau
The Chair welcomed Councillor Gaynor James to her
first Cleaner Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
Apologies for absence were received from Councillors
Stuart Ashley, Huw Bevan, Stuart Evans, Jason O’Connell and
Declarations of Interest / Datganiadau o Fuddiant
2.1 The Chief Legal Officer reminded Members that if they felt that they had an interest to declare in any items, they should do so and record it on the Declarations of Interest pro forma provided.
2.2 There were no interests declared.
3.1 The minutes of the meeting held on 2nd May 2018 were confirmed as an accurate record.
4.1 Members noted the action sheet.
5.1 The Chair welcomed the Assistant Chief Officer Technical Services and the Waste & Streetscene to the meeting.
5.2 Members reviewed the progress update for each proposal for Improvement made by the Wales Audit Office and asked Officers a number of questions.
5.3 In response to Members questions, the Officers gave the following replies:
· The Department had not yet appointed an external consultant to develop a single integrate strategy for the Waste Management Service. The brief was currently in a final draft stage, the award criteria had to be agreed, when it was agreed the Department would be going out to tender. Officers would bring the draft strategy back to Committee this year.
· Officers promoted key messages from the service standards to residents. One of the main issues currently was residents not using nets on the recycling boxes which resulted in items falling out or being blown around the streets. The crew staff were informed that if they dropped any items they were to pick them up, however when Officers carried out mystery shopping they often found there were items being blown around before the crews had arrived. There was only 20% of residents using nets. Officers were looking to do a campaign this year to try and encourage residents to use nets. When any new recycling boxes were delivered, nets were already attached by cable ties ready for residents to use.
· The Department was progressing with becoming less reliant on agency staff. Officers had undertaken a number of scenarios to test whether it would work both financially and operationally and were satisfied that it would.
· The Chief Officer had spent time with all staff in Neighbourhood Services to encourage them to feedback ideas on how to do things differently and more efficiently. The crews had raised the issue regarding agency workers, which was being addressed. The service area had full time staff to cover all positions, agency staff were only used to cover holidays, sickness or in the interim period between someone leaving the authority and the recruitment process being carried out. Officers were in the process of looking at introducing a pool of permanent staff which would be additional positions and would cover holiday and sickness periods. Following feedback from the crews, a number of the loaders were trained to become HGV drivers which would enable them to cover and kept the skills within the workforce.
· The HGV drivers from the Waste Team were taken from the Waste Section during bad weather to help with the snow clearance to keep to streets in Torfaen open and safe. Officers were looking at how to make the Department more resilient and reduce the reliance on the Waste Section during winter service operations.
· The training of the loaders to become HGV drivers had made a huge operational difference to the Service Area. Before the loaders were trained Officers had to contact an agency who often did not have HGV drivers available which resulted in either not being able to do an individual ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
6.1 The Chair welcomed the Assistant Chief Officer Technical Services, the Property Management Group Leader, the Energy Manager and Expert Advisor on Solar Renewable Technology for Local Partnerships to the meeting.
6.2 The Assistant Chief Officer Technical Services introduced the report highlighting in particular the following:
· The Council had been working with Local Partnerships to undertake an as asset review of land within the Council’s ownership. The review identified 20 potential locations, following site analysis and inspections 5 sites were shortlisted and Ty Coch was identified as the preferred option.
· Ty Coch had the potential to provide long term income to the Council and deliver on a number of the Councils strategies for carbon reduction.
· Alongside the Local Partnership the Council had produced an Outline Business Case which followed the 5 case business plan.
· The Outline Business case identified the preferred option of a 3.85MW solar farm on the Ty Coch site.
· The report included a table of the sites assessed against the critical success factors from the high level screening.
· The report also included a table which listed the opportunities and constraints of the Ty Coch site.
· A grid connection for the site had been secured with Western Power.
· The financial case for Ty Coch solar farm in principal demonstrated a fundable and affordable deal for the Council, however financial work was still ongoing, and the impacts on the Council’s income and expenditure would need to be considered.
· Consultation had been undertaken with the relevant Senior Officers and the Council Leader.
· There was a National need for renewables and the Council already had a number of smaller renewable projects.
6.3 Members asked a series of questions and the following responses were given by Officers and the Expert Advisor:
· A lot of the information provided in the report was based on forecasts, however Officers were using National recognised forecasts. Officers felt that it was an exciting scheme and the figures showed that it would be fundable. </AI7><AI8>
· Officers were currently looking at a potential arrangement with Welsh Government which would provide a guaranteed level of income and also the forward price forecasting.
· Officers were confident with the level of income that could be generated from the output of the panels.
· It was difficult to forecast the capital cost up front, however it would become clearer the further into the process and the nearer towards a full business case.
· High Level assessments were still being undertaken on the site and until the outcome of the assessments had been received the total capital costs were not known.
· A Grid Connection with Western Power had been secured and the Council had received the cost for that, however Officers were investigating another option of a lower grid connection with Western Power which would be better value.
· Officers would be asking Western Power to make a request for a Statement of Works to the National Grid, which would need to be costed.
· Ground investigations and Ecology Studies were currently being undertaken on ... view the full minutes text for item 6.
Date of Next Meeting / Dyddiad y Cyfarfod Nesaf
7.1 Members were reminded of the Cleaner Communities O&S Committee - Visioning Session being held on Wednesday 27th June 2018.