Agenda and minutes

Cleaner Communities Overview & Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 23rd January, 2019 1.30 pm

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

Contact: Rachel Beale  Senior Business Support Officer - Democratic Services

No. Item


Welcome & Apologies / Croeso ac Ymddiheuriadau


1.1       Apologies for absence were received from Councillors Ron Burnett, Giles Davies and Gaynor James.


Declarations of Interest / Datganiadau o Fuddiant


2.1       There were no interests declared.


Minutes 14/11/2018 / Cofnodion 14/11/2018 pdf icon PDF 439 KB


3.1       The minutes of the meeting held on 14th November 2018 were confirmed as an accurate record.


3.2       Officers agreed to enquire whether the Council had progressed with joining the Amenity Forum on a year’s free trial.


3.3       The Co-opted Member pointed out that in the minutes of the last meeting Members agreed not to invite the Executive Member to the next meeting and queried what had changed since, as the Executive Member was due to attend the meeting. 


3.4       The Chair responded by stating that there had been a recommendation from the Wales Audit Office which stated that the Committee where possible should invite the relevant Executive Member to attend. The Chair added that he had emailed Members of the Committee who had not raised any objections to the Executive Member being invited.


Action Sheet / Taflen Weithredu pdf icon PDF 106 KB


4.1       In reference to the update on the first action, it was asked whether the 11% of Glyphosate used on Japanese Knotweed was sprayed or injected. The Senior Improvement & Scrutiny Officer had been informed by the relevant Officer that the Japanese Knotweed was injected. Members asked that action sheet be updated to reflect that.


4.2       In reference to the second update on the action sheet, it was asked whether the Council was still considering the integrated approach which included sweeping after the use of glyphosate or had the cost of over £54,000 be deemed too high to carry out. Officers would liaise with the department and provide the answer.


4.3       Members noted the action sheet.


Torfaen Waste Strategy / Strategaeth Gwastraff Torfaen pdf icon PDF 176 KB

Additional documents:


5.1       The Chair welcomed Councillor Fiona Cross, Executive Member for Environment, the Chief Officer Neighbourhoods, Planning & Public Protection, the Waste & Streetscene Group Leader and Nicola Peake from WRAP to the meeting.


5.2       Councillor Cross gave an introduction commenting on the importance of the document which gave a clear direction and vision. It was an ambitious strategy which provided a recycling opportunity for everyone.


5.3       Members asked a series of questions and the Waste & Streetscene Group Leader, Chief Officer Neighbourhoods, Planning & Public Protection and Nicola from WRAP gave the following responses:


           Officers did not intend to do anything different to engage with residents regarding recycling and currently did a lot of communication via Social Media, Leaflets and Roadshows which would continue, however they were looking to change the way they approached engagement to tailor the message in communities to encourage behaviour change. Officers were working with Local Community Groups to promote the message of recycling locally and work was ongoing with the Welsh Government and WRAP on the behaviour change initiative.

           The strategy recognised the need to work more closely with businesses and schools to encourage recycling, the action plan for the year ahead included reviewing the trade waste offer including the vehicles and receptacles used. 

           The strategy included an action plan over a long period and commitment to adhere to the practical approach which was focused, value for money, and maximised the benefits of National Initiatives.

           Schools did not have to use the Council’s waste or recycling services, however many of them did. It was a commercial service and the costs had to be covered and the Council was competing with the Private Sector. The Council’s cost were sometimes higher than the Private Sector which was a result of the Council paying the living wage and paying higher pension contributions. The household waste vehicles were not suitable for trade waste collections and the modelling of trade waste services was very different. Officers would continue to promote the Council’s trade waste service to both businesses and schools.

           All schools in Torfaen apart from two used the Council’s recycling service.  Schools have reported that the Council’s service was reliable and many of the other contractors had hidden costs. There had been occasions where some schools had stopped using the Council’s Service in favour of a Private Sector business, however had reverted back to using the Council.

           The Council had a designated Officer who visited the schools to help them improve their recycling performance which would reduce their costs.

           The Council’s trade waste was currently unable to collect cardboard or food waste as the vehicles were not equipped to collect those materials, however this would be looked at when the vehicles were replaced. The Private Sector trade waste companies did not offer cardboard or food collection neither.

           As schools food waste was currently unable to be collected it was going into residual waste. The new vehicles would be equipped to collect food waste which would  ...  view the full minutes text for item 5.


Item for Next Meeting / Eitem ar gyfer y Cyfarfod Nesaf pdf icon PDF 348 KB


6.1       The Chair asked the Head of Business Support and Intelligence to present the additional report which was added to agenda, which sought agreement to establish a Task and Finish Group to review the proposed budget mitigation for Cwmbran Farm and to look at options for implementation and to define the preferred service model.


6.2       The Head of Business Support & Intelligence presented the report commenting in particular on the following:


           One of the recommendations made by the Cross-Cutting Resources and Business Overview & Scrutiny Committee to Cabinet was that the proposal to reduce the level of in subsidy to Cwmbran Farm was supported in principle, however a Task and Finish Group be formed to look at the implementation of that proposal.

           The report seeks approval to form a Task and Finish Group.

           It was recommended by Officers that the Group should undertake their work with a view to make recommendations before Council AGM. The Task and Finish Group would need to be agile and fast paced to enable recommendations to be presented to Cabinet on 9th April, to allow the Service Area enough time to look for an alternative saving should the proposal not be supported.

           Nominations of no more than five members would need to be put forward to form the Task and Finish Group.

           The meetings would be proposed to take place on a weekly basis and a lot of the information would be circulated via email or presentations.

           The constitution stated that Task and Finish Groups did not have to publish agendas, reports or minutes which would give the required agility to undertake the work in an informal and timely way. Any findings would need to be reported back to the Committee, highlighting what work had been undertaken and what conclusion had been made. The final findings would need to be brought to committee for full ratification before being presented to Cabinet.


6.3       In response to questions and concerns raised, the Head of Business Support & Intelligence gave the following responses:


           Each table at the Cross-Cutting Resources and Business Overview & Scrutiny Committee Workshop considered the budget proposal and at the end of the meeting the Members remaining reached a consensus that the proposal would be agreed in principle subject to the establishment of a Task and Finish Group.

           The remit of the Task and Finish Group would be to consider what options were available to the Council to operate Cwmbran Farm with the proposed reduction in subsidy. The findings would be presented to the Cleaner Communities Overview & Scrutiny Committee and the preferred option would be presented to the Executive for implementation.


6.4       The Chair responded to comments stating his disagreement that the decision was politically driven as Members from all parties supported the approach. He did agree that the Task and Finish Group should be Cross Party.


6.5       The following nominations were put forward for the Cross Party Task and Finish Group:


           Councillor Peter Jones (Labour)

           Councillor Dave Thomas (Labour)

           Councillor  ...  view the full minutes text for item 6.


Date of Next Meeting - 06/03/2019 / Dyddiad y Cyfarfod Nesaf - 06/03/2019


7.1       The next meeting was scheduled to take place on Wednesday 6th March 2019.