Venue: Remote Meeting held via Microsoft Teams
Contact: Daniel Harry 01609 533531
Introductions and apologies for absence
County Councillor Stanley Lumley welcomed everyone to the meeting and read out the following statement:
You will have seen the statement on the Agenda front sheet about current decision-making arrangements within the Council, following the expiry of the legislation permitting remote committee meetings. I just want to remind everyone, for absolute clarity, that this is an informal meeting of the Committee Members. Any formal decisions required will be taken by the Chief Executive Officer under his emergency delegated decision-making powers after taking into account any the views of the relevant Committee Members and all relevant information. This approach has been agreed by full Council and will be reviewed at its May 2022 meeting.
Members of the Transport, Economy and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee were also reminded of the ongoing pre-election period and not to publicise themselves, any candidates standing for election or any political party during the meeting.
Executive members County Councillor Carl Les and County Councillor Derek Bastiman were welcomed to the meeting.
As it was the final meeting of the Transport, Economy and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee in this Council term of office, County Councillor Stanley Lumley thanked committee members and officers for their support in scrutinising a range of topics over the last five years, such as: vehicle activated speed signs, 20mph speed limits, single use plastics, waste and recycling, rural bus services, broadband and mobile phone coverage, as well as flood prevention and management.
Apologies for absence were received from County Councillor Robert Heseltine.
The Minutes of the meeting held on 20 January 2022 were confirmed and signed by the Chairman as a correct record.
Declarations of Interest
There were no declarations of interest to note.
Public Questions or Statements
Members of the public may ask questions or make statements at this meeting if they have delivered notice (to include the text of the question/statement) to Will Baines of Legal and Democratic Services (contact details below) no later than midday on Friday 8 April 2022. Each speaker should limit themselves to 3 minutes on any item. Members of the public who have given notice will be invited to speak:-
· at this point in the meeting if their questions/statements relate to matters which are not otherwise on the Agenda (subject to an overall time limit of 30 minutes);
· when the relevant Agenda item is being considered if they wish to speak on a matter which is on the Agenda for this meeting.
If you are exercising your right to speak at this meeting, but do not wish to be recorded, please inform the Chairman who will instruct those taking a recording to cease while you speak.
No public questions or statements were received.
Considered – A report by Mark Kibblewhite, Senior Policy Officer, Business and Environmental Services and Liz Small, Growth and Heritage Services Manager, Business and Environmental Services. The report outlined the delivery of the Council’s Plan for Economic Growth achieved in 2021/22.
The key points are summarised below:
· The overall health of the economy in North Yorkshire is returning to pre-pandemic levels of productivity, with the hospitality sector proving to be resilient and recovering strongly.
· The rate of unemployment and claimant count in North Yorkshire remains significantly below regional and national averages. Richmondshire is currently the lowest in the county, with Scarborough showing the highest claimant count rate in North Yorkshire, but these are still below regional and national averages.
· At the height of the pandemic, the number of furloughed workers in the County was among the highest in the North of England. However, towards the end of the furlough scheme, this had reduced to below national averages.
· Constrained labour supply will be a limiting factor on future growth opportunities.
· There remains long standing wage discrepancies between different parts of the County and between the wages of residents and of workers within an area.
· The Government’s business support programmes have so far been successful in protecting jobs and businesses through furlough support.
· An emerging effect of the pandemic is that of sharply rising inflation which, exacerbated by war in Ukraine, is forecast to reach up to 8%.
Activity over the last year in relation to the Economic Growth plan included:
· The development of the Harrogate 47 commercial units at the A1(M) junction in Flaxby, with NYCC supporting the transport infrastructure to enable the scheme to progress.
· £32 million secured for Harrogate, Selby and Skipton through the Transforming Cities Fund to improve the town centres.
· Support to Scarborough Borough Council to progress Towns Fund investment of £37.3m in Scarborough (£20.2m) and Whitby (£17.1m).
· Development of a Cultural Framework for North Yorkshire was recently agreed by the Executive, supporting economic growth, transformation and social cohesion.
· Transport maintenance is very important to keep everyone moving, for example Kex Gill A59 improvements.
· Development of cycling and walking infrastructure plans to support active travel
· Working with the LEP to help grow the skills agenda (17k supported over 7 years).
· Development of a Skills Strategy for North Yorkshire with City of York Council and looking post-Covid at the future skills needs of the economy in North Yorkshire with the University of York.
· NYCC have spent £215m with local businesses in the county on goods and services. Preston is an example of a local authority that has made a commitment to buy local. It is felt there will be a bigger opportunity to buy local more as part of the new unitary council.
· Supporting Government plans around ELMS (Environmental Land Management Scheme) to help reduce carbon emissions and help the development of an environmentally friendly future.
· Enhanced broadband connections for residents, with town centre Wi-Fi now up and running across the county (21 in total), ... view the full minutes text for item 154.
Considered – A report by Michael Leah, Assistant Director, Travel, Environment and Countryside Services at the County Council regarding the waste collection and treatment in North Yorkshire.
It was noted that the Government is still in the process of responding to consultations in this area, so the plans are not fully finalised at the moment.
The key points from the presentation of the report are as summarised below:
· There are three main ways of collecting waste from the kerbside in North Yorkshire: co-mingled, twin stream and multi-stream. The borough and district councils each use one or a combination of these methods, there is no uniformity currently.
· At a national level no method is seen as the best way to collect waste. The existing methods used are based on the challenges for particular locations, with lots of variety across North Yorkshire between rural and urban areas.
· The Resources and Waste Strategy for England will be enacted as part of the Environment Act. The Government undertook three consultations last summer, on extending producer responsibility, introducing a deposit return scheme and consistency in collection.
· As part of the Environment Act, core recycling materials will be defined for local authorities to collect for recycling or composting, and these must be collected separately, taking into account the economic and environmental implications.
· It is expected that there will be a mandate for food waste to be collected separately.
· As part of the Local Government Reorganisation process, officers are working towards a single, uniform service solution for North Yorkshire, which will aid clear communications to residents across the county and expected to lead to waste minimisation.
· There should be benefits of this through economies of scale in terms of vehicles and bins, route optimisation and consolidation of the processing of collected material. With a consistent approach, this should lead to savings with reduced support required from the back office.
· There is expected to be significant environmental benefits to implementing a consistent collection service across the county.
· There remains a lack of clarity around the Resources and Waste Strategy, therefore officers are working with district and borough council colleagues to progress options quickly ahead of any Government announcements.
· On waste treatment, there are three approaches to consider: Reconfigure the existing mechanical treatment at Allerton Waste Recycling Plant, looking at merchant facilities such as an Anaerobic Digester, or procuring new facilities to carry out the changes.
· The Government response to the Extended Producer Responsibility (ERP) consultation to transfer the cost of packaging material to the manufacturer is awaited. Therefore, when designing those products the manufacturers design it with less waste, but delayed 12 months until 2024.
· It is expected that the proposals set out in the Deposit Return Scheme and the Consistency of Collections consultations will be going ahead, which means a mandatory weekly food waste collection. It is anticipated that the money raised from the ERP will go towards funding the food waste collections.
· Other changes include mandatory introduction of an in-store take back of disposable cups and ... view the full minutes text for item 155.
Daniel Harry introduced the report. Committee members reviewed the work programme and commented upon it to hand over to the new committee members and see if any issues need to come back.
A standard report will be going to the next Transport, Environment and Economy Overview and Scrutiny Committee in July following the elections to set out the initial work programme for the Committee.
1) That the work programme be noted.
Any Other Business
At the invitation of the Chairman, County Councillor Carl Les addressed the meeting, expressing his thanks to County Councillor Stanley Lumley for chairing the committee and the Scrutiny Board. It is hoped the new members of the Transport, Economy and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee will continue the good scrutiny work of the current committee members.
County Councillor Derek Bastiman agreed with the comments from the Leader and thanked the Democratic Services officers involved in the scrutiny committees.
In closing the meeting, County Councillor Stanley Lumley thanked all officers and committee members for their contributions to the Transport, Economy and Environment Overview and Scrutiny Committee.