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ANGUS COUNCIL

MINUTE of MEETING of the ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONSUMER PROTECTION COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 8 April 1997 at 4.15 p.m.

Present: Councillors Mrs KATHLEEN RITCHIE, HELEN ANGUS, IAN ANGUS, WILLIAM CROWE, MRS RENATE LAMONT, GLENNIS MIDDLETON and THOMAS I N YOUNG.

Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Councillors GEORGE ALLAN, FRANK ELLIS, IAN HUDGHTON, WALLIE LEASK, STEWART MOWATT and RICHARD SPEIRS.

Councillor Mrs RITCHIE, Vice-Convener, in the Chair.

1. MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 18 February 1997 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

2. E COLI 0157 - OUTBREAK CONTROL TEAM REPORT - INCIDENT AT CAIRNIE LOAN NURSING HOME, ARBROATH

There was submitted Report No 370/97 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection regarding the recent outbreak of E Coli 0157 at Cairnie Loan Nursing Home, Arbroath.

The Report advised that a copy of the full version of a Report entitled "E Coli 0157 (VTEC) Outbreak at Cairnie Lodge Nursing Home, Arbroath", which had been compiled under the direction of Dr Mike Roworth, Consultant in Public Health Medicine (CD and EH), was now available. It was intended that the Major Outbreak Control Plan be updated to reflect lessons learned from this outbreak and from the Pennington Report.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the detailed findings of the Report by the Outbreak Control Team; and

(ii) to note that a review of the Tayside Health Board Major Outbreak Plan would now take place to consider any necessary changes to the Plan.

3. PROMOTION OF NUT ALLERGY AWARENESS

There was submitted Report No 371/97 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection which outlined the promotional role of his Department in bringing to the attention of food manufacturers, caterers and retailers within Angus, the problems associated with nut allergies.

The Committee approved the terms of the Report and agreed that the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection provide food business proprietors with information on the dangers of nut allergies in order to increase their awareness of the potential severe allergic reactions that could affect sufferers.

4. PARTNERSHIP - FOOD HYGIENE ADVICE

There was submitted Report No 372/97 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising the Committee that, in the light of the recent E Coli 0157 outbreaks, there was a need for more information to be made available to the public regarding good and bad practices relating to hygiene. To this end, an information leaflet entitled "Food Hygiene Advice for Shoppers" which was appended to the Report, had been prepared to encourage increased vigilance in hygienic food handling techniques.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to promote the proposal to improve shoppers’ awareness of food hygiene good practice and to encourage food traders and retailers to respond positively to the initiative; and

(ii) that the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection publish the public information leaflet "Food Hygiene Advice to Shoppers" and make this available to shoppers through appropriate outlets, including schools.

5. CHANGES TO THE ELECTRICITY MARKET FROM APRIL 1998

There was submitted Report No 373/97 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection describing the impact of the opening up of the "below 100 Kw" electricity market to increased competition from April 1998. For the first time organisations (known as second tier suppliers) other than the local public electricity supplier (Hydro-Electric) would be able to supply domestic customers with electricity.

The Report noted that there was a need to ensure that customers had reliable information on the changes and it was hoped that the North of Scotland Electricity Consumers' Committee, which covered the Hydro-Electric area and of which Jim Matthew, Head of Consumer Protection was a member, would take a lead in making such information available.

The Committee agreed to note:-

(i) the likely impact of the opening up of the electricity market from April 1998 which would allow second tier suppliers, such as supermarket chains, to retail electricity to customers; and

(ii) that Angus Council's Head of Consumer Protection, who had been a member of the North of Scotland Electricity Consumers' Committee since 1995, had been invited by the Director General of Electricity Regulation to serve on the Committee for a further two years until 31 March 1999.

6. MAKING FRIENDS WITH YOUR ENVIRONMENT 1997

There was submitted Report No 374/97 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection regarding the local annual exhibition "Making Friends with your Environment 1997" which was to be held at the Northern College of Education in Dundee between 28-30 May 1997, to coincide with the National Environment Week.

The Report advised that the exhibition was designed to raise awareness of the environment for school pupils and staff who would attend from schools all over Angus and Dundee, the targeted pupils being primary 6 and 7 and lower secondary (S1). A wide range of agencies concerned with the environment would also be represented at the event with stands and displays offering information and advice.

The Committee noted the terms of the Report and that the Environmental and Consumer Protection Department was to participate in the event.

7. PACKAGING WASTE REGULATIONS - IMPLICATIONS FOR COUNCILS

There was submitted Report No 375/97 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising members of new Regulations which required packaging producers to recover and recycle packaging waste and highlighting how Councils could benefit or suffer from the introduction of the Regulations.

The Report indicated that the Regulations had been designed for commercial businesses and made it a legal obligation on manufacturers of packaging, packers and fillers and certain retailers to recover and recycle packaging wastes.

The Committee noted the contents of the Report and agreed:-

(i) to support COSLA and the Working Group on the Packaging Waste Regulations in their efforts to seek the best deal for Councils through partnership with the packaging industry and to generate income to Councils to sustain local authority recycling; and

(ii) to ask the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection to examine the practicalities and costs involved in the introduction of a Materials Transfer Note or Certificate System.

8. FIREWORKS PROSECUTION

The Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection informed the Committee that a Montrose trader had recently been fined £350 at Arbroath Sheriff Court for storing 11/2 tonnes of fireworks in his terraced home.

The Committee noted the position and commended the Department on its swift action in bringing this case to court.

9. FUNDING FOR ANGUS CITIZENS ADVICE BUREAU

There was submitted Report No 383/97 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection regarding funding for Angus Citizens Advice Bureau.

The Committee agreed that this Report be referred to the Policy and Resources Committee on 6 May 1997.

10. ANGUS COUNCIL - THE FIRST YEAR

With reference to Article 3(b) of the minute of the meeting of the Council of 27 March 1997, there was submitted Report No 360/97 by the Chief Executive setting out the main achievements of Angus Council over its first year in office.

The Committee congratulated the Environmental and Consumer Protection Department on its achievements throughout the year, including the opening, jointly with Contract Services, of a purpose designed permanently manned Recycling Centre at Balmachie Road, Carnoustie and on winning the "Loo of the Year" awards for its Superloos at Arbroath, Brechin, Forfar, Kirriemuir and Montrose.

11. EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS

The Committee resolved, in terms of Standing Order 27(2), that the public and press be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following items to avoid disclosure of information which was exempt in terms of Paragraphs 1, 6, 8, 9 and 10 of Part 1 of Schedule 7A to the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973.

12. VEHICLE TENDERS

There was submitted Report No 376/97 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection on tenders received and accepted for the purchase of vehicles amounting to £254,251 as detailed in the Report.

The Committee agreed to homologate the action of the Convener in authorising acceptance of the tenders.

13. ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONSUMER PROTECTION DEPARTMENT: REVIEW OF THE ADMINISTRATION FUNCTION AND THE CLIENT SERVICES SECTION

There was submitted Joint Report No 377/97 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection and the Director of Personnel which proposed amendments to both the administrative support function and the client services section of the Environmental and Consumer Protection Department.

The Committee noted and approved the terms of the Report for its interest and referred the matter to the Personnel and Property Services Committee.