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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 24 February 1998 at 4.00 pm.

Present: Councillors STEWART MOWATT, STEWART McGLYNN, GEORGE ALLAN, HELEN ANGUS, IAN ANGUS, WILLIAM CROWE, FRANK ELLIS, Mrs RENATE LAMONT, GLENNIS MIDDLETON, Mrs KATHLEEN RITCHIE, DAVID SELFRIDGE, RICHARD SPEIRS, and THOMAS I N YOUNG.

Councillor MOWATT, Convener, in the Chair.

 

1. EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS

The Committee resolved, in terms of Standing Order No 27(2), that the public and press be excluded during consideration of item 2 below so as to avoid the disclosure of information which was exempt in terms of Schedule 7A of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, paragraphs 6, 8 and 9.

2. VEHICLE TENDERS

There was submitted Report No 218/98 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection on tenders received for the supply of various vehicles.

The Committee approved the terms of the Report and agreed:-

(i) to note the tenders received; and

(ii) to authorise the acceptance of the tender for the supply of nine Ford Transit 100 KWB semi-high roof diesel vans from Clanford Motors Limited, Paisley, in the amount of £13,898 each;

(iii) to authorise the acceptance of the tender for the supply of one Iveco 59.12 Hi cube van with tower platform from A M Philip Limited, Muiryfaulds, by Forfar, in the amount of £41,600;

(iv) to authorise the acceptance of the tender of the supply of one Massey Ferguson 362 H tractor with power loader and bucket from Reekie Grampian Limited, Laurencekirk, in the amount of £21,550; and

(v) to authorise the acceptance of the tender for the supply of two Landrover Defender 90 Hard Top vehicles from Town and County Limited, Aberdeen in the amount of £13,786 each.

3. MR DAVID SHAW

The Convener advised the Committee that Mr David Shaw, an employee within the Environmental and Consumer Protection Department, had been appointed Principal Trading Standards Officer.

The Committee congratulated Mr Shaw on his appointment.

4. MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 13 January 1998 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

5. NATIONAL SCOOPY THE DOG PROMOTION

Members were advised that, although all local authorities campaigned to promote responsible dog ownership, there was currently no recognisable national identity. The messages and issues on responsible dog ownership remained very much localised. In recognition of this, the Scottish Environmental Health Promotions Network had announced the launch, on Thursday, 23 April 1998 , of a National Campaign based on a character "Scoopy the Dog".

Following discussion of the limited powers of the Council’s dog wardens and the responsibility of the public in promoting responsible dog ownership and the use of dog litter bins, the Committee agreed:-

(i) to note that the Department of Environmental and Consumer Protection would contribute to the Campaign; and

(ii) to urge members of the public to bring incidents of dog fouling to the attention of the appropriate authorities.

Councillor Young declared an interest in the following item and took no part in the discussion thereon.

6. SEED CRUSHERS, ELLIOT, ARBROATH

With reference to Article 15 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 13 January 1998, there was submitted Report No 219/98 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection, indicating that a public inquiry was to be held in Arbroath on 28 April 1998 to consider an appeal by Seed Crushers (Scotland) Limited, Elliot Industrial Estate, Arbroath against conditions which the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) had imposed on the operation of the plant. However, its remit would be restricted to examining certain aspects of the two original operating conditions and two conditions which had been varied.

The Report advised that Dr Mike Roworth, Community Medicine Specialist, Tayside Health Board, had agreed to approach the Arbroath General Practitioners to seek support in updating his report entitled "A Study of Perceptions of the General Practitioners on Consultation Rates, possibly related to Oil Seed Crushing activity in Arbroath". Dr Roworth intended to make the updated study available to elected members, prior to the public inquiry date of 28 April 1998.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the contents of the Report; and

(ii) to ask for a further report updating the position following the conclusion of the public inquiry.

7. HEALTH AND SAFETY

There was submitted Report No 220/98 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection, (a) advising that all Scottish Councils had been requested by COSLA to enforce relevant statutory provisions in a spirit of partnership with the Health and Safety Executive to ensure consistency and good practice in the enforcement of health and safety law, and (b) commenting on a "Memorandum of Understanding" endorsed by the Health and Safety Executive, the Public Protection Committee of the Local Government Association and COSLA.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the contents of the Report; and

(ii) to instruct the Director of Law and Administration to forward a copy of Report No 220/98 to COSLA as Angus Council’s comment.

8. THE FOOD STANDARDS AGENCY

There was submitted Report No 221/98 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising that the Government had, in January 1998, issued for consultation a White Paper entitled "The Food Standards Agency - A Force for Change" and that Angus Council had been invited to respond to this document by 16 March 1998. The Report highlighted the key issues raised in the document and set out the terms of a response which welcomed the continued enforcement role of local authorities, but expressed regret that there would be no separate food standards agency for Scotland.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the contents of the Report; and

(ii) to instruct the Director of Law and Administration to forward a copy of paragraph 5 of Report No 221/98 to the Scottish Office as the Council's response to the consultation.

9. FOOD SAFETY - IMPLEMENTATION OF PENNINGTON

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 30 September 1997, there was submitted Report No 222/98 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection (a) indicating that further guidance had been received from the Scottish Food Co-ordinating Committee which would enable Councils to formulate a suitable policy regarding the enforcement of the Food Safety (Food Hygiene General) Regulations 1995; and (b) seeking approval of the policy attached to the Report which would enable Angus Council to demonstrate to the Scottish Office that, by March 2000, it would secure compliance of high risk food businesses, with Regulation 4(3) of the Regulations.

The Committee agreed to approve the implementation of the policy concerning the enforcement of Regulation 4(3) as set out in the document attached to Report No 222/98.

10. MICROBIOLOGICAL EXAMINATIONS - SERVICE AGREEMENT

There was submitted Report No 223/98 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising that for many years, the microbiological testing of foods and water had been undertaken for Angus Council by the Angus NHS Trust laboratory at Stracathro Hospital. However, from later this year, all laboratories would require NAMAS accreditation for the scope of microbiological analysis required. The Stracathro Hospital laboratory did not intend to pursue such accreditation and, as a consequence, the Report recommended that the work be transferred to Dundee City Council Scientific Services.

The Report detailed, in an appendix, the proposed service agreement between Angus Council and Dundee City Council Scientific Services for microbiological examinations of foods and water. The total annual cost for the services on a price per sample basis was estimated to be £18,143 and this amount could be met from the Department's budget for bacteriological testing.

In this connection, the Convener and Councillor Ritchie praised the level of service previously carried out by the laboratory at Stracathro Hospital and expressed regret that this was no longer an option available to Angus Council.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to engage Dundee City Council Scientific Services to undertake a programme of food and water microbiological examinations for Angus Council in terms of the service agreement appended to Report No 223/98;

(ii) to note that such examinations would be undertaken in a laboratory which met the requirements of a quality assurance scheme recognised by the Public Health Laboratory Service and was NAMAS accredited for the scope of microbiological analysis required; and

(iii) to approve the programme of food and water tests being undertaken for an annual fee of £18,143, subject to an annual review and increase aligned to the Retail Price Index.

11. APPOINTMENT OF FOOD EXAMINER

With reference to Article 10 above, there was submitted Report No 224/98 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising of the legal requirement to appoint a Food Examiner and recommending for the reasons outlined in the Report, the appointment of the Microbiologist, Dundee City Council, Scientific Services Department.

The Committee agreed to appoint the Microbiologist, Dundee City Council, Scientific Services Department to be the Food Examiner for Angus Council, being a person in possession of the relevant qualifications prescribed in the Food Safety (Sampling and Qualifications) Regulations 1990.

12. SUPPLIER CONTRACT - BRITISH GLASS RECYCLING

There was submitted Report No 225/98 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection (a) advising that Angus Council had been participating in a glass recycling initiative, (b) indicating that British Glass had offered a suppliers contract to Angus Council, (c) highlighting the advantages to the Council of being contracted to supply glass cullet to the British Glass Recycling Plant at Alloa, and (d) recommending that the offer be accepted in order to secure the long term future of glass recycling in Angus.

The Committee agreed that the Council enter into a contract to supply and deliver raw glass cullet to the Alloa Plant of the British Glass Recycling Company Limited.

13. FEES AND CHARGES

(a) Review of Fees and Charges - Weighing and Measuring Equipment etc.

There was submitted Report No 226/98 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising of guidance received from LACOTS on charges for weights and measure services provided by local authorities which suggested increased fees and charges for testing and calibration of weighing and measuring equipment etc for 1998/99. The overall increase detailed in the Schedule and Appendix to the Report would amount to approximately 3%, in line with inflation, giving an estimated income to the Council of £6,300.

The Committee agreed that the fees and charges detailed in the Schedule and Appendix to Report No 226/98 be adopted by the Council for introduction on 1 April 1998.

Councillor Young declared an interest in the following item and took no part in the discussion thereon.

(b) SEPA - Proposed Fees and Charges

There was submitted Report No 227/98 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection (a) setting out a proposal by SEPA to increase its fees and charges for waste management licences by 20% from 1 April 1998, (b) analysing the implications for Angus Council of the increase in charges and current levels of SEPA inspection and (c) setting out an alternative proposal.

Following discussion, and having heard concerns expressed regarding the detrimental effect on the departmental budget as a result of the proposed increase in charges by SEPA, the Committee agreed:-

(i) that the proposal by SEPA to increase charges by 20% be opposed by Angus Council;

(ii) that Report No 227/98 be forwarded to SEPA and COSLA as the Council’s views; and

(iii) that Report No 227/98 be forwarded to the Secretary of State urging him not to approve the new charging scheme and instead to approve a scheme based on a fee per inspection reflecting actual costs.

14. E COLI 0157 - UPDATE

The Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection reported that a quantity of minced beef, which was known to have been contaminated with E-Coli 0157, had been accidentally dispatched to school kitchens in Tayside, including most of the Angus Schools. He indicated that the standard cooking procedures operated by Tayside Contracts had prevented any problems and outlined the subsequent action taken by Tayside Contracts and by the Directors of Environmental and Consumer Protection in Perth and Kinross, Dundee and Angus.

He concluded that no cases of food poisoning had occurred as a result of the careful training which Tayside Contracts had undertaken with their staff. However, important lessons had been learned from the incident and Tayside Contracts would carry out an internal review of their procedures.

Following discussion, the Committee agreed to note the action taken by all those involved and particularly Tayside Contracts for their part in preventing a possible outbreak of food poisoning in schools in Angus.