Angus CouncilTel: 03452 777 778

ANGUS COUNCIL

MINUTE of MEETING of the ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONSUMER PROTECTION COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 10 November 1998 at 4.00 pm.

Present: Councillors STEWART MOWATT, STEWART McGLYNN, GEORGE ALLAN, WILLIAM G CROWE, FRANK ELLIS, Mrs RENATE LAMONT, GLENNIS H MIDDLETON, RICHARD B SPEIRS and THOMAS I N YOUNG.

Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Councillors HELEN ANGUS, IAN ANGUS, KATHLEEN RITCHIE and DAVID SELFRIDGE.

Councillor MOWATT, Convener, in the Chair.

1. MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 29 September 1998 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

2. REVENUE BUDGET 1999/2000

There was submitted Report No 1158/98 by the Director of Finance advising of the latest position with regard to the preparation of the Environmental and Consumer Protection Departmental 1999/2000 Revenue Budget and associated issues. An Appendix to the Report summarised the Departmental provisional base budget for 1999/2000 as submitted to the Director of Finance and subsequently reviewed by the Technical Validation Group.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the contents of the Report for its interest, and

(ii) to note that more detailed Reports with specific recommendations would be brought forward later in the budget cycle.

3. YEAR 2000 COMPLIANCE PROGRESS PLAN

There was submitted Report No 1154/98 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection outlining the steps being taken by the Environmental and Consumer Protection Department to tackle the Year 2000 compliance problem in relation to certain items of essential operating equipment, including computers, which contained an embedded chip which used two digits for year recognition rather than four digits. The Department was carrying out risk assessments of the potential problems and, if replacement equipment could not be funded from the revenue budget, a further Report would be submitted on any financial implications.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of Report No 1154/98 for its interest.

4. REFUSE AND WASTE PAPER COLLECTION ARRANGEMENTS

CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR HOLIDAY ARRANGEMENTS

There was submitted Report No 1155/98 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection proposing arrangements for refuse and waste paper collection over the Christmas and New Year holiday period.

In this connection, the Convener advised that a low cost adaptation had been carried out to a refuse pick up truck in order to gain access to eighteen houses at Easthaven for the purpose of refuse collection.

Following discussion on the desirability of keeping to a minimum the length of time between collections at this time of year, the Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the improved refuse collection arrangement at Easthaven; and

(ii) to delegate to the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection, in consultation with the Convener, authority to make the best possible arrangements for refuse and waste paper collections over the festive period.

5. FIREWORKS SAFETY

There was submitted Report No 1156/98 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection outlining the features of the 1998 Firework Safety Campaign and the steps taken in Angus to promote increased safety. Press releases had been issued in the lead up to 5 November and inspections of retail outlets had been undertaken to ensure that fireworks complied with the new laws relating to the sale of bangers and mini rockets.

The Report set out the safety facts and figures for 1997, but stressed that, although there had been a drop in injuries from fireworks, the number of reported injuries was still much too high. The Report also highlighted the fact that sparklers caused more injuries than any other firework.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of Report No 1156/98 for its interest and urged parents to take responsibility for the safety of their children and follow the "Firework Code".

6. STUBBLE BURNING

It was reported that, although the stubble/straw burning season was now over, there had been a few complaints regarding smoke and smell nuisance over the harvest period resulting from this activity. The Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection urged the farming community to take note of the NFU rules on good practice to avoid repetition of these incidents. He also stressed that enforcement powers lay with the Police as well as Environmental Health Officers.

The Committee agreed to note the position and sought the co-operation of the farming community in complying with the NFU Code of Practice on stubble burning.

7. MOVE IN SAFETY - SAVE A LIFE CAMPAIGN

There was submitted Report No 1157/98 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection providing an update on the progress of the "Move in Safety; Save a Life" campaign. The campaign was sponsored by the Health and Safety Executive to promote safety in the workplace in relation to vehicle movement. Since the campaign had begun in April 1998, a total of 33 workplaces had received the campaign booklet titled "Managing Vehicle Safety at the Workplace". A press release had been issued which contained advice to employers on vehicle safety and risk assessment and the Department's staff had highlighted transport risks when inspecting premises.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the terms of Report No 1157/98 and the progress of the "Move in Safety; Save a Life" campaign in Angus; and

(ii) to support the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection and his staff in promoting this workplace initiative.

8. INFLUENZA PANDEMIC

It was reported that earlier this year, the Scottish Office had issued an Influenza Pandemic Plan to be used by Health Boards in developing local arrangements which would come in to play should an influenza pandemic develop. The Plan, which involved all Tayside Environmental and Consumer Protection Departments, had now been developed under the leadership of Dr Mike Roworth, Community Medicine Specialist, Tayside Health Board and would apply, if necessary, in the Angus area.

The Committee agreed to note the position.

9. RECYCLING CENTRES - CHARTERMARK APPLICATION

It was reported that an application for Chartermark Status had been made for the facilities provided at the Council’s five Recycling Centres. The Chartermark Assessor had now visited Angus and the outcome of the application should be known by the end of the current year.

The Committee agreed to note the position.

10. IMPORTED SOFT DRINKS

It was reported that the Local Authorities Co-ordinating Body on Food and Trading Standards (LACOTS) had recently issued an Advice Circular to all U.K. Food Authorities on foreign language labelled soft drinks. The advice suggested that Food Authorities might wish to remind wholesalers and retailers of their legal requirement not to sell foreign language labelled soft drinks. The Food Labelling Regulations 1996 (as amended) required foods sold in the UK to be labelled in English.

In order to inform the retailers etc in Angus, a press release relating to the subject had been issued to the local media. In addition, any complaints regarding illegally labelled food would be investigated by the Environmental and Consumer Protection Services staff and appropriate action would be taken.

The Committee agreed to note the position.

At the request of the Convener, the Committee agreed to consider the following items in view of recent press announcements.

11. "LOO OF THE YEAR" AWARDS 1998

The Convener advised the Committee of the Council's success in achieving a number of awards in the National "Loo of the Year" Award sponsored by the Tourist Boards of England, Wales and Scotland.

In the municipal category, Angus had received the following awards:

Church Street, Brechin - Area Award
Castle Street, Forfar - Area Award
Reform Street, Kirriemuir - Area Award
Town House, Montrose - Area Award
Market Place, Arbroath - Commended

The Committee to congratulate the staff involved and noted that Angus Council had maintained its position as an authority providing consistently high standards of public toilets.

12. LITTER NUISANCE AND DOG FOULING

The Convener referred to the recent appointment of Compliance Inspectors within the Environmental and Consumer Protection Department to enforce various provisions in legislation dealing with litter offenders. He advised that, in the past week, 8 fixed penalties had been issued.

The Committee noted the continuing drive by Angus Council and Tayside Police against litter nuisance and dog fouling.