Venue: Council Chamber, County Hall, Lewes. View directions
Contact: Martin Jenks Senior Scrutiny Adviser
9.1 The Committee RESOLVED to agree the minutes of the meeting held on 14 July 2023 as a correct record.
Apologies for absence
10.1 There were no apologies for absence.
Disclosures of interests
Disclosures by all members present of personal interests in matters on the agenda, the nature of any interest and whether the member regards the interest as prejudicial under the terms of the Code of Conduct.
11.1 Councillor Alan Hay declared a personal non prejudicial interest under item 7, Electric Vehicle Charging verbal update, as he is a Project Lead working for National Grid. Councillor David Tutt declared a personal non prejudicial interest under item 8, Work Programme, as he sits on the Consumer Council for Southern Water.
Notification of items which the Chair considers to be urgent and proposes to take at the appropriate part of the agenda. Any members who wish to raise urgent items are asked, wherever possible, to notify the Chair before the start of the meeting. In so doing, they must state the special circumstances which they consider justify the matter being considered urgent.
12.1 There were none.
Report by the Chief Executive.
13.1 The Senior Scrutiny Adviser introduced the report which summarises the Committee’s involvement in the RPPR process and outlines the further meetings planned during the Autumn. The report provided the Committee with an opportunity to consider what further work or information is required to support the Committee’s input into the RPPR budget setting process for the financial year 2024/25 and beyond.
13.2 The Committee discussed the report and raised a number of points which are summarised below.
13.3 The Committee members highlighted further areas of work or where more information is required as part of the work on the RPPR process. These included:
13.4 The Director of Communities, Economy and Transport (CET) outlined that air quality monitoring is the responsibility of District and Borough councils and sought clarification as to whether the Committee was suggesting that East Sussex County Council (ESCC) starts monitoring air quality. It was clarified that the Committee was asking for information on which areas of East Sussex do not have PM2.5 monitoring. Committee members also commented that information on air quality is important when considering 20mph zones and Active Travel interventions such as School Streets, so that it can be considered when making decisions about Active Travel in the future.
13.5 Some Committee members commented on the tone of the wording in the State of the County report regarding the ageing population in East Sussex and the pressure on services this may lead to. The Committee noted that many older people contribute positively to the local economy and community life in East Sussex and asked if the State of the County report could mention their positive contribution to the County.
13.6 The Committee asked if the position regarding the forecast budget deficit of £28.4 million in 2024/25 is likely to improve or get worse. The Committee also asked if inflationary pressures on highway maintenance had been taken into account. The Chief Finance Officer outlined that the Quarter 1 Council Monitoring report shows the financial pressure the Council is under, with significant pressure on social care. There will be more clarity later in the year on the Council’s budgetary position, but the position at present is challenging. The inflationary pressures on the highway maintenance budget have been built in and recognised in the budget forecasts.
13.7 The Committee noted the anticipated delays in the Government announcement on ... view the full minutes text for item 13.
Food Waste & Environment Act 2021 - Verbal update
Verbal update from the Director of Communities, Economy and Transport / Justin Foster, Waste Team Manager.
14.1 The Waste Team Manager provided a verbal update of the implications the Environment Act 2021 and the requirement to collect food waste. Since the last report to the Committee there have been a number of delays by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) in the announcement of details of the requirements of the food waste collection service.
14.2 It is understood that the Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging (EPRP) reforms, which were originally planned for 2024, will be delayed by a further year to October 2025. The decision to delay the EPRP reforms comes alongside the decision to delay consistent household recycling plans (until after EPRP). It is expected that the introduction of mandated food waste collection will also be delayed, as it was previously indicated that guidance would follow EPRP reforms and is likely to be sometime after 2026.
14.3 The recycling consistency programme will now be known as ‘simpler recycling’, and this includes food waste collections. The District and Borough councils who will be responsible for collecting food waste are awaiting details on the timelines and funding. Further details are also awaited on what kerbside recycling materials will have to be collected and what bins will need to be provided. This may have an impact on ESCC as the Waste Disposal Authority (WDA), if there are new materials that have to be recycled. It is also expected that there will be some clarity on charges for garden waste as this varies from council to council.
14.4 In terms of residual ‘black bag’ or ‘black bin’ waste there may be limits to the frequency of collections required. However, food waste will be collected weekly. The Council already has the Woodlands composting facility that processes all the councils garden waste and the food waste from Lewes District Council. The team is waiting for clarity on the changes to food waste collections before going ahead with any changes to this facility and modifications to waste transfer stations needed to deal with additional food waste.
14.5 The Waste Team Manager extended an invitation to all Committee members to visit the various waste disposal facilities, to get an appreciation of the work the Team undertakes.
14.6 The Committee discussed the update and asked a number of questions. A summary of the comments made is given below.
Timescales for the introduction of food waste collections
14.7 It was clarified that the Extended Producer Responsibility for Packaging (EPRP) reforms have been pushed back to 2025 and the introduction food waste collections will follow some time in 2026. It is not possible to charge for food waste as it is part of residual waste, which has to be collected free of charge. Food waste collections will be weekly.
Garden waste collections
14.8 It was also clarified that the collection of garden waste is discretionary. The Waste Team Manager commented that all the District and Borough councils in East Sussex (who are the waste collection authorities) currently charge for collecting garden waste, but ... view the full minutes text for item 14.
Electric Vehicle Charging - Verbal Update
Verbal update from the Director of Communities Economy and Transport / Ian Glover, Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project Manager.
15.1 The Electric Vehicle Infrastructure Project Manager gave verbal update on the progress being made to install a network of public electric vehicle (EV) charging points across East Sussex. An initial study was undertaken with the Strategic Property Asset Collaboration in East Sussex (SPACES) Partnership with work centred around five key stages:
15.2 The work has taken a multi-step process to identify potential on-street and mixed hub locations for EV charging points. This has looked at information from a range of sources including Census data to identify areas of housing (such as terraced houses and flats) which do not have off-street parking, and existing charge point locations. This resulted in the identification of 52 priority on-street charging areas covering more than 350 streets, and 51 feasible sites for charging hubs (including the County Hall public car park).
15.3 Following the identification of the initial list of sites, consultation was undertaken with the District and Borough councils and UK Power Networks to further refine the list of locations taking into account factors such as:
15.4 As a result, more than 280 potential locations have been identified that are able to host over 2,000 charging points to provide good coverage across the county. A final assessment of the locations will be undertaken by the provider once they have been procured. The network of on-street charging points will be in addition to the EV charging facilities being provided by the District and Borough councils as well as those on private property such as supermarkets, rail stations, petrol station forecourts and privately run car parks.
15.5 Funding has been secured through the Local Electric Vehicle Infrastructure (LEVI) scheme and East Sussex has secured an allocation of £4.441million in funding flowing an expression of interest application that was made in March 2023. East Sussex is in tranche 1 and will be paid 90% of the funding in 2023/24 after submitting a second stage business plan application by the end of November 2023. The other 10% will be released after approval of the procurement contract with the provider. In addition £586,000 enabling funding has been provided by the Government to pay for project management resources and support for the procurement and implementation of the project.
15.6 The are two options for the operating model for the delivery of the charging point network:
15.7 The intention is to procure the EV charging point network as a concession during 2023/24 with a 12 - 30 month ... view the full minutes text for item 15.
16.1 The Committee discussed the work programme and any items that it might wish to include in the future scrutiny work of the Committee. The Committee agreed that it would be good to prepare some written questions for Southern Water in advance of the update on storm overflows and sewage spills at the next meeting in November. The Committee noted that the Wealden District Council Overview and Scrutiny committee had recently received a presentation from South East Water on the interruption of water supplies in the north of the county that occurred earlier in the year. The Committee asked if it would be possible to distribute a copy of the minutes of this meeting to the Committee for information.
16.2 The Committee also discussed having an update report of the Bus Service Improvement Programme (BSIP) as some Committee members had noticed a decline in the reliability of services and there was a wish to have an evaluation of the Flexibus service (also discussed under the RPPR item earlier on the agenda).
16.3 The Committee agreed to hold further detailed discussions on the work programme at the work planning Away Day, which was being held after the Committee meeting.
Reference Group and Review Board Updates
16.4 The Committee received verbal updates from Cllr Paul Redstone, Chair of the Local Transport Plan (LTP) Reference Group and from Cllr Ian Hollidge, Chair of the review board undertaking the Scrutiny Review of Pothole Management.
Hailsham Wastewater Treatment Works site visit
16.5 Councillor Steve Murphy provided a verbal update on the site visit to Southern Water’s Hailsham North, Wastewater Treatment Works (WTWs) attended by four members of the Committee. The site visit was very interesting and provided a lot of answers to questions about wastewater treatment. It was pleasing to hear about the £30 million investment that had been made in additional sewage treatment units at both Hailsham North and Hailsham South WTWs. It was evident that staff continually seek ways to improve the service and if there are any spills, enquiries are held to establish the reasons for the spill and identify any actions or lessons learnt.
16.6 The Committee RESOLVED to:
1) Agree the amendments to the work programme contained in paragraphs 13.8, 16.1 and 16.2 above;
2) Note the upcoming items on East Sussex County Council’s (ESCC) Forward Plan in appendix 2 of the report; and
3) Note the updates from the Review Board, Working Group and Reference Groups contained in section 3 of the report.