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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 23 February 1999 at 4.00 pm.

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

Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Councillors STEWART McGLYNN and RICHARD B SPEIRS.

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 Part 1 of Schedule 7A of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973, paragraphs 6, 8 and 9.

2. VEHICLE TENDERS

There was submitted Report No 199/99 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection on tenders received for the supply of car based vans.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the tenders received; and

(ii) to approve the acceptance of the tender for the supply of six Vauxhall Astra vans from Fisken Motor Group, Forfar in the sum of £10,336.46 each.

3. MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 12 January 1999 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

4. FOOD STANDARDS AGENCY

(a) The Draft Food Standards Agency Bill

With reference to Article 8 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 24 February 1999, there was submitted Report No 200/99 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising that the Government had recently issued a Bill to establish a new Food Standards Agency to regulate food safety issues in the UK. The Report outlined the main functions of the Agency as detailed in the Bill and set out a proposed response from Angus Council, supporting the proposals but expressing regret that there would not be a separate Agency for Scotland.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the contents of Report No 200/99; and

(ii) to forward, by 24 March 1999, copy of Report No 200/99 to the Scottish Office as Angus Council’s response to the proposals set out in the draft Food Standards Agency Bill.

(b) Levy Scheme

With reference to Article 8 of the minute of meeting of this Committee on 24 February 1999, there was submitted Report No 201/99 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising that the Government had recently issued a consultation document on proposals for a scheme to levy charges on certain food premises to recover some of the costs associated with the new Food Standards Agency. The Report highlighted the key issues arising from the implementation of the scheme and set out a response from Angus Council expressing concerns regarding the proposed single levy for food businesses.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note the content of Report No 201/99; and

(ii) to forward, by 24 March 1999, a copy of the Report to the Scottish Office as Angus Council’s response to the proposals.

5. THE BEEF BONES REGULATIONS 1997 – SCOTTISH OFFICE LETTER

With reference to Article 10 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 12 January 1999, there was submitted a letter dated 4 February 1999 which had been received from the Scottish Office Agriculture, Environment and Fisheries Department intimating that the Beef Bone Regulations were to remain in place for the time being. The letter also stated that a further review of the need for these controls would be undertaken in six months from 1 February 1999. Meantime, as these Regulations were to continue in place, it was expected that they would be fully complied with and enforced by Councils.

The Committee agreed to the note the terms of the letter.

6. THE SEVENTH FOODLINK NATIONAL FOOD SAFETY WEEK

There was submitted Report No 202/99 advising that Angus Council had again been asked to participate in the National Food Safety Week which was due to take place from 7 to 13 June 1999. The Report indicated that the key focus of the event would be to highlight the dangers of cross contamination, and that this provided a particular opportunity in relation to the provision of food at public events such as street parties organised to celebrate the millennium.

The Committee agreed to support the National Food Safety Week campaign, and noted that the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection intended to target voluntary groups and individuals who would be undertaking catering as part of the millennium celebrations.

7. SALE AND ADVERTISING OF TOBACCO

There was submitted Report No 203/99 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising that the Government had recently issued a White Paper entitled "Smoking Kills" which set out their strategy to combat smoking and tackle tobacco advertising, with respect, in particular, to young people.

The Report indicated that COSLA’s Protective Services Forum was currently collating responses from local authorities on the sale and advertising of tobacco as part of the "Smoking Kills" initiative. The Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection had responded to COSLA highlighting certain difficulties experienced by Trading Standards Officers in relation to enforcement issues in the sale of tobacco.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of Report No 203/99 for its interest.

8. CONTAMINATED LAND: THE INTRODUCTION OF THE NEW REGIME

There was submitted Report No 204/99 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising that the Scottish Office had issued to local authorities details of a scheme for dealing with contaminated land.

The Report outlined the proposed scheme which would place the primary regulatory role with local authorities who would be asked to produce a strategy report by October 2000 for dealing with the identified areas of contaminated land. It was proposed to appoint the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection as regulator in consultation with the Director of Planning and Transport. The Public Analyst would also be appointed to take on the role of Scientific Advisor.

The Report concluded that, at this stage, there was not thought to be a large scale problem with contaminated sites in Angus although there would be some resource implications for the Council budget. Once these had been fully identified, a further report would be placed before the Committee.

The Committee agreed:-

(i) to note:-

(a) the intention of the Secretary of State to legislate to introduce a scheme for remediation of contaminated land in terms of the Environment Act 1995;

(b) that the primary regulatory role under the contaminated land regime would rest with local authorities;

(c) that the new contaminated land provisions were scheduled provisionally to come into force in July 1999; and

(d) that Angus Council was currently expected to produce a strategy report by October 2000;

(ii) to appoint the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection to act as regulator in consultation with the Director of Planning and Transport; and

(iii) to extend the remit of the Public Analyst to include the provision of scientific services to assist the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection and the Director of Planning and Transport in the duties of assessment of potential problem sites.

9. NATIONAL SPRING CLEAN APRIL 1999

There was submitted Report No 206/99 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising that the Keep Scotland Beautiful premier campaign entitled "National Spring Clean" would take place in April 1999. The aim of the campaign would be to raise awareness of the litter problem in Scotland and encourage clean up action. Last year, every local authority in Scotland had participated in this event and 400,000 people had taken part, clearing 2,000 tons of litter from the country’s urban and rural environments.

Having heard various members encourage schools, community groups, individuals and companies to become involved, the Committee agreed to support the National Spring Clean 1999 campaign.