Agenda and draft minutes

SWT Community Scrutiny Committee
Wednesday, 25th May, 2022 6.15 pm

Venue: The John Meikle Room - The Deane House. View directions

Contact: Sam Murrell, Email: s.murrell@somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk and Jess Kemmish, Email: j.kemmish@somersetwestandtaunton.gov.uk 

Webcast: View the webcast

Items
No. Item

1.

Appointment of Vice-Chair

2.

Apologies

3.

Minutes of the previous meeting of the Community Scrutiny Committee pdf icon PDF 181 KB

4.

Declarations of Interest

    To receive and note any declarations of disclosable pecuniary or prejudicial or personal interests in respect of any matters included on the agenda for consideration at this meeting.

     

    (The personal interests of Councillors and Clerks of Somerset County Council, Town or Parish Councils and other Local Authorities will automatically be recorded in the minutes.)

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Members present at the meeting declared the following personal interests in their capacity as a Councillor or Clerk of a County, Town or Parish Council or any other Local Authority:-

     

    Name

    Minute No.

    Description of Interest

    Reason

    Action Taken

    Cllr M Barr

    All Items

    SCC & Wellington

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr C Booth

    All Items

    Wellington and Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr S Coles

    All Items

    SCC & Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr D Darch

    All Items

    SCC

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr T Deakin

    All Items

    SCC & Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr D Johnson

    All Items

    SCC

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr R Lees

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr L Lisgo

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr M Lithgow

    All Items

    Wellington

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr J Lloyd

    All Items

    Wellington & Sampford Arundel

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr D Mansell

    All Items

    SCC

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr R Tully

    All Items

    West Monkton

    Personal

    Spoke and Voted

    Cllr B Weston

    All Items

    Taunton Charter Trustee

    Personal

    Spoke

    Cllr L Whetlor

    All Items

    Watchet

    Personal

    Spoke

     

5.

Public Participation

    The Chair to advise the Committee of any items on which members of the public have requested to speak and advise those members of the public present of the details of the Council’s public participation scheme.

    For those members of the public who have submitted any questions or statements, please note, a three minute time limit applies to each speaker and you will be asked to speak before Councillors debate the issue.

    We are now live webcasting most of our committee meetings and you are welcome to view and listen to the discussion. The link to each webcast will be available on the meeting webpage, but you can also access them on the Somerset West and Taunton webcasting website.

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    There were no requests for public participation.  

6.

Community Scrutiny Request/Recommendation Trackers pdf icon PDF 9 KB

7.

Community Scrutiny Forward Plan pdf icon PDF 195 KB

    To receive items and review the Forward Plan.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    It was asked if an update on funds developers were asked to put towards developing sports pitches could be given to the Committee. Officers responded that there was a live list of such contributions, which were Community Infrastructure Levy or Section 106 payments, published on the council’s website. An update could also be brought to a committee meeting as well if the Committee wanted a more detailed update.   

     

    It was raised that a report on homelessness would be beneficial given that Cannonsgrove would be closing in March 2023. The Chair responded that they believed that an update report was scheduled. 

     

    The Chair noted the Community Scrutiny Forward Plan.   

     

8.

Executive and Full Council Forward Plans pdf icon PDF 202 KB

9.

Somerset West and Taunton, Department for Transport Escooter Trial pdf icon PDF 378 KB

    This matter is the responsibility of the Executive Member for Climate Change.

    Report Author: Sue Tomlinson, Programme Manager for Climate Change.

     

    The escooter trial in Somerset West and Taunton is an approved scheme which forms part of the Department for Transport escooter trials, launched in July 2020.

    The Department for Transport is collecting data from all trial areas and this data will inform decision making regarding any new legislation.

    The Somerset West and Taunton trial went live 30 October 2020 in Taunton and 5 June 2021 in Minehead. All trials are due to end 30 November 2022.

    This report provides an update on the scheme based on questions raised by the Community Scrutiny Committee.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Portfolio Holder introduced the report and raised the following points:  

    ·                   E-scooters had become increasingly familiar to everyone over the past few years and were often a topic of discussion. 

    ·                   The report contained a significant amount of data on the progress of the e-scooter trial in Somerset West and Taunton. 

     

    The Programme Manager for Climate Change delivered a presentation:  

    ·        There was an incident last week involving a collision between an e-scooter and a female pedestrian in Taunton which resulted in the police being called and the female pedestrian being taken to hospital. The report was submitted prior to that incident.  

    ·        The report was for information only to provide an update on the e-scooter trial. 

    ·        In July 2020 the Department for Transport brought forward their e-scooter trials as part of initiatives to support a green travel restart during the Covid-19 pandemic. Usage data was being collected during the trials, which 31 local authorities are participating in. The data collected would help to inform decisions around whether e-scooters would be legalised in future.  

    ·        Somerset West and Taunton’s trial began in October 2020 in Taunton and in Minehead in June 2021. All trials around the country would end on 30 November 2022. 

    ·        The trial scheme was managed by Zipp on behalf of the council.  

    ·        The e-scooters were tracked by GPS and geo-fenced so that they would not work outside of a certain area. There were also no-go zones where the scooters would not work and slow zones where the speed of scooters were limited to 8mph. Outside of slow zones the e-scooters were limited to 15.5mph.  

    ·        The trial to date had been very successful. There were 12,364 users in Taunton and 7506 in Minehead. There had been 92,618 rides in Taunton and 19,550 rides in Minehead.  

    ·        People aged between 21 and 30 rode the e-scooters the most, followed by the age bracket of 16-20.  

    ·        Although the legal age fore riding an e-scooter was 16 there were very few 16-year-olds registered to use the e-scooters.  

    ·        Operating hours were from 05:00am to 10:30pm. 74% of rides occurred during daylight hours.  

    ·        14.4 tonnes of carbon savings were estimated to have been achieved in Taunton and 1.4 tonnes of carbon savings in Minehead based on journeys on e-scooters where users had specified that if they had not used an e-scooter they would have driven.  

    ·        The trial started in Taunton with 25 e-scooters, now had 100 e-scooters in Taunton and the trial started with 15 in Minehead and now had 50.  

    ·        E-scooters had registration numbers on them so they could be identified by the public. Each e-scooter also had a safety sticker and there were safety notices on lampposts.   

    ·        There had been a number of reports to the police regarding e-scooters, some about e-scooters which were privately owned and some Zipp owned e-scooters. Most reports to the police are not about misbehaviour or misuse but are incidental or calls relating to people stealing or damaging parts of the e-scooters.  

    ·        Some users had been banned from using the e-scooters  ...  view the full minutes text for item 9.

10.

Ecological Emergency Action Plan pdf icon PDF 289 KB

    This matter is the responsibility of the Executive Member for Climate Change.

    Report Author:  Katherine Church, Project Manager, Climate Change.

     

    The Ecological Emergency Vision and Action Plan (EEVAP) is a joint initiative between Somerset West and Taunton and Sedgemoor District Councils. The vision sets out our ambitions for nature recovery and the action plan is the framework through which we will deliver these ambitions. This work builds on the nature-based actions listed within the Carbon Neutrality and Climate Resilience Action Plan (CNCR) with a particular focus on nature recovery.

    If approved, the vision and action plan will embed ecological actions across work streams and will deliver ecological enhancement and protection across the two districts and beyond. In the advent of unitary, the EEVAP sets a precedent and a template for collaboration which can be duplicated across the county after vesting day.

     

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    The Portfolio Holder for Climate Change introduced the report:  

    ·        In September 2020 the Council declared an ecological emergency.  

    ·        The previous Carbon Neutrality and Climate Resilience Plan (CNCR) contained many actions linked to the ecological emergency, but this Ecological Vision and Action Plan expanded upon those actions.  

    ·        The Council had been working with Sedgemoor District Council since August 2021 on Climate Change and had worked with Sedgemoor to formulate the vision and action plan.  

     

    The Project Manager for Climate Change introduced the report:  

    ·        The vision and action plan completed the commitment made by the Council following the declaration of an ecological emergency in 2020.  

    ·        The vision and action plan had been formulated with input from members. 

    ·        The vision document was a strategic piece setting out the Councils’ ambitions for tacking the ecological emergency.  

    ·        The action plan set out how targets and ambitions would be achieved. Some actions were specific to only one council, and some applied to both Sedgemoor and Somerset West and Taunton.  

    ·        This financial year no additional resource or budget was being requested. However, some statutory requirements could result in additional resource being required.  

    ·        There was a joint climate change delivery partnership with Sedgemoor. This had enabled collective work and set a good precedent for the new unitary council.  

    ·        Working with partnership organisations such as the Somerset Wildlife Trust would be required to meet the ambitions laid out in the report. Going forward the Council was in discussions to take the emergency vision and action plan into the new unitary council.  

     

    During the debate the following points were raised:  

    ·        It was asked about the action plan and the action around species on the red threatened species list and whether there should also be an ambition to avoid amber list species from becoming red list species. Officers responded that adding this to the action plan could be looked at, the aim was to protect all wildlife. 

    ·        Support for the action plan was given.  

    ·        It was asked why there was a joint plan with Sedgemoor and not with other Councils. It was responded by officers that this partnership had been formed before the unitary decision was taken.  

    ·        Both the local and global perspectives of the report, vision and action plan were praised.  

    ·        It was acknowledged that partnership working would be important.  

    ·        The intent to cease using peat in the Council’s nurseries was praised as was the intent to restore peatland.  

    ·        Some areas where more could be done such as around coastal areas were highlighted.  

    ·        It was raised that it would be good to add an explanation of COP26 to the report.  

    ·        It was asked if a definition of further afield could be made clearer at the start of the vision document and instead replaced with ‘and to lessen our impact on the natural world’. Officers responded that they would review the wording in the decision document.  

    ·        The Chair thanked the portfolio holder and Project Manager for Climate Change. 

     

    Councillors Richard Lees, Simon Coles and Janet Lloyd left the room during this  ...  view the full minutes text for item 10.