MINUTES OF A MEETING OF THE ENVIRONMENT AND TRANSPORT SELECT COMMITTEE HELD AT COUNTY HALL, NEWPORT, ISLE OF WIGHT ON FRIDAY, 19 DECEMBER 2003† COMMENCING AT 9.30 AM
Mr G P Price (Chairman), Mr J R Adams, Mr A C Bartlett, Mrs B D Clough, Mr J Effemey, Mr J F Howe (deputising for Mr R C Richards), Mr A J Mundy
Portfolio Holder :
Mrs T M Butchers, Mr E Fox
Mr M J Cunningham, Mrs M J Miller, Mr V J Morey, Mr R C Richards, Mr R A Sutton†††††††††††††††††††††††
THAT the Minutes of the meeting held on 25 November 2003 be confirmed.
44. DECLARATIONS OF INTEREST
No interests were declared at this stage.
45. URGENT BUSINESS
The Chairman agreed to an urgent item of business being raised relating to the announcement, that week, that the Councilís submission for special transport grant relating to works at Undercliff Drive, Ventnor, amounting to £12.1m, and bridge works, amounting to £750,000. The Portfolio Holder indicated that the Council had also been granted an additional £370,000 grant because of its performance during 2003/04 on the implementation of schemes in accordance with the Local Transport Plan.
††††††††††† THAT the matter be noted.
46. INTEGRATED WASTE MANAGEMENT CONTRACT
(During the course of the debate on this item Mr A J Mundy and Mr G P Price declared a personal interest in aspects of waste management)
The Chairman welcomed Mr B Gilmore, General Manager of Island Waste, to the meeting. The Select Committee was advised by the Head of Engineering Services of the key aspects of the operation of the Integrated Waste Management Contract since members last debated the matter in December 2002. The background to the contract, which started in October 1997, was outlined. This had allowed a substantial investment to be made in the Islandís waste management infrastructure. This had enabled high levels of recycling to be achieved, although these had been affected since October 2002 following the closure of the power plant operation adjacent to the processing plant in Forest Road, Newport. Island Wasteís parent company, Biffa, were in negotiations to acquire the facility.
Members were advised of some of the Best Value Performance Indicators relating to waste services. This identified the Island as a high achiever in respect of recycling and diversion of waste from landfill. However, as a result the recycling targets set for the Council by the Government were proportionately higher than for other lower achieving Councils. This placed an additional burden on the Council to divert still higher amounts of material. The collection of trade and commercial waste did not form part of the contract and was† undertaken by other licensed operators including Biffa.
The Select Committee viewed a video describing the waste collection, management and street cleansing operations undertaken by Island Waste on behalf of the Council.
The Select Committee clarified elements of the contract. The contract was for a back door collection service. Whilst there were problems with black plastic sacks splitting any change to an alternative form, such as wheelie bins, would be the subject of negotiations between the Council and Island Waste. Collections were also not to commence before 6.00 am. Mr Gilmore advised that Island Waste employed 135 staff in its operation. When the company first took over operations it had 78 staff transferred from the Council.
The former landfill site at Lynnbottom had been progressively restored to return the area to heathland. Additional works had been recently undertaken with both the National Trust and the Forestry Commission to further develop areas of the restored site. In addition a gas utilisation scheme had been developed, in conjunction with Island Waste and BETEC (a subsidiary of Biffa) to utilise landfill gas from Lynnbottom and Standen Heath landfill sites, which would use a waste product to produce electricity.
THAT the targets being achieved under the Integrated Waste Management Contract be welcomed.
47. LOCAL AGENDA 21
(During the course of the debate Mr G P Price declared a personal interest in a domestic appliance industry project)
The Chairman welcomed Mr J Fawcett, the newly appointed Principal Policy Officer with responsibility for Health and Sustainable Development.
The Select Committee was reminded of the extensive community involvement in the Councilís Agenda 21 Strategy. It was necessary for the Council to take on a leadership role so to encourage the adoption of its principles across all sectors on the Island. The four priority areas were Environmental Stewardship, Sustainable Economy, Sustainable Transport and Sustainable Resource Management. Work on these required close working with the Isle of Wight Primary Care Trust.
Linked in with the aspirations of the Agenda 21 Strategy were the Ecological Footprint, Green Island Awards and the Renewable Energy Strategy. There was a need to recognise that all policies should take into account initiatives contained in these. The Select Committee was advised that the strategies would have to be amended to reflect changes brought about by new advancements and changing circumstances.
The Portfolio Holder for Sustainable Development, Environment and Planning Policy referred to the work required to raise the profile of Agenda 21 across all Council Services. The principles involved were widely supported but this had to be reflected in positive action being taken. Members were made aware that the Best Value Review of procurement, currently being undertaken, looked at sustainability of supplies. It was also noted that the Council now purchased all its energy supplies from renewable sources.
THAT the Select Committee consider progress being made by the Council on the four priority areas identified within the Local Agenda 21 Strategy in 12 months time.†
48. MEMBERSí QUESTION TIME
Mr J Effemey submitted three written questions in relation to the capital scheme at Ventnor Haven, bus lane at St Maryís Hospital and the Forest Road junction with the main Newport to Cowes Road. A copy of the questions and replies given are contained in the Members' Question Register.