Agenda item

To consider Reports from Executive Councillors - Councillor Dixie Darch


To consider reports from Executive Councillors on their respective Portfolios;


i.                  Councillor Dixie Darch – Climate Change


3.2 of the Scrutiny Terms of Reference state that the Scrutiny Committee may review and scrutinise and ask questions of the Leader, lead Councillors, the Executive in relation to their portfolios.




Partnership working is extremely important in the delivery of the Climate Change Action Plan, especially as SWT moves towards incorporation into the new Somerset Council. Building on existing relationships and forging new ones with parish councils, will be a cornerstone in tackling the bigger climate change issues. It will also be easier to share resources and learning once the five councils combine, especially around the weightier areas of highways, transport and built environment.


Cllr Tully said it was important that the Somerset Council contacted the parishes and didn’t isolate them from the issues. He had particular areas of concern in Monkton Heathfield around the canal and associated attenuation ponds. Any foreseen work should be discussed with the parish council, so that they could inform residents and offer insight into local issues.


Cllr Mark Lithgow said that he had read concerns about the increased weight of electric vehicles affecting the stability of levels in multi-storey car-parks. The battery engine was much heavier than traditional car models and would increase the weight lode on each floor. Was this something that was being factored into future engineering plans and or was there a contingency being drawn up to mitigate this? At the present time, it was not being explored, but no doubt as electric vehicles become more popular it may have to be looked at in the future. There has been an increase of 19% in the take-up of electric vehicles in the last year.


Cllr Brenda Weston – How will terraced housing with no off-street parking deal with electric vehicle charging in the future? They are at an obvious disadvantage, because they would have to run cabling across pavements and streets. A trial is taking place in another part of the country to address this issue. Gullies are being dug through the pavement so that the cable can be sunk and not provide a trip hazard. Some government funding has been made available to specifically address the problem of those properties which have no offstreet parking (LEVI fund).


Cllr Dave Mansell – SWT has been very progressive in promoting cross party working and allowing other members to work with officers to participate in the formation of policies and practice as part of the main administration. Will the new Somerset Council administration allow for this? Cllr Dixie Darch felt that this was a political question rather than an operational one and said that she would feed this request/question back to the Somerset County administration for comment.


Cllr Whetlor asked how the National Grid will cope if there was suddenly an upsurge in electric vehicle take-up? There are lots of different types of charger with different wattage and this could put undue pressure on the electricity supply in specific areas. 7Kilowatt is sufficient for overnight charging of a domestic electric vehicle and would not overload the grid. The danger comes when everyone plugs in at the same time on a higher wattage, which would have a similar effect to several households boiling a kettle at the same time. It is important that the infrastructure is in place to protect the source.

Supporting documents: