Angus CouncilTel: 03452 777 778

ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONSUMER PROTECTION

MINUTE of MEETING of the ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONSUMER PROTECTION COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 22 May 2001 at 4.00pm.

Present: Councillors SHEENA WELSH, STEWART McGLYNN, BILL CROWE, FRANK ELLIS, ALISTAIR GRAY, JOHN HENDERSON, IAN MACKINTOSH, PETER MURPHY, ROBERT MYLES, PETER NIELD and BILL ROBERTON.

Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Councillors IAN ANGUS and JOY MOWATT.

Councillor WELSH, Convener, in the Chair.

1. 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 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. RESTENNETH LANDFILL SITE ­ LANDFILL PROTECTION WORKS PHASE I

With reference to Article 3 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 9 January 2001, there was submitted Report No 603/01 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising that National Power had taken over the interests of Biogas Technology in providing a gas harvesting and energy generation scheme at Lochhead/Restenneth landfill site, and recommending that the provision of the landfill gas control scheme be negotiated on the same terms as the offer originally submitted by Biogas Technology.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to finalise the alternative offer by National Power on the installation of a gas harvesting and gas migration prevention scheme for the landfill site at Lochhead/Restenneth with electrical generation; and
  2. to instruct the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection, the Director of Finance and the Director of Law and Administration to negotiate a contract with National Power to facilitate the installation of the scheme.

3. MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 10 April 2001 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

4. REVIEW OF THE SPECIAL WASTE REGULATIONS 1996

There was submitted Report No 605/01 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising that the Scottish Executive had circulated a consultation paper, proposing changes to the way in which hazardous waste was managed. The Report commented on the proposals and indicated that the changes envisaged were likely to lead to the repeal and replacement of the existing Special Waste Regulations.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to submit the Report to the Scottish Executive as Angus Council's response to the consultation; and
  2. to forward a copy to COSLA for information.

5. WORKING WITH HM CUSTOMS AND EXCISE ON SMUGGLED TOBACCO ENFORCEMENT

There was submitted Report No 604/01 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising the Committee that, although HM Customs and Excise had primary responsibility for enforcement of the Tobacco Products Duty Act 1979, they had sought assistance from local authorities to combat sales of smuggled tobacco products through LACOTS (Local Authorities Co-ordinating Body on Food and Trading Standards). The Report proposed that Angus Council should co-operate with HM Customs and Excise and highlighted the need to authorise local authority enforcement officers for this purpose.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report; and
  2. to authorise the Council's Trading Standards Officers and Trading Standards Advisers under the relevant sections of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979, for the purpose of assisting HM Customs and Excise in detecting smuggled tobacco products and, in particular, such products subject to "Fiscal Marking" (duty paid).

6. PREVENTING AT-WORK ROAD TRAFFIC ACCIDENTS

There was submitted Report No 608/01 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection reporting on a discussion document published by the Health and Safety Commission on the prevention of "at-work" road traffic accidents. The Report indicated that the views of local authorities had been sought on the proposal that employers should manage "at-work" road risks and that local authorities should be responsible for enforcement, in terms of Health and Safety legislation.

The Report concluded that employers should be doing more with regard to traffic incidents and their employees but the issue of resources would arise, should the Council be required to investigate these incidents. The Report therefore proposed that, should such investigation become a legal duty, Central Government should fund the additional resources which would be required.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to submit the Report to the Health and Safety Commission as Angus Council's response to the consultation; and
  2. to forward a copy to COSLA for information.

7. ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONSUMER PROTECTION THREE YEAR SERVICE PLAN 2001-2004

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 23 May 2001, there was submitted Report No 606/01 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection outlining the three year Service Plan for the Environmental and Consumer Protection Department for 2001/2004.

The Service Plan had been updated to reflect alterations and improvements to the aims of the Department, including future plans up to 2004. The Plan would be used to help focus all staff in the Department to develop high quality services. Personal Action Plans for senior officers, along with targets, would be developed within the Plan.

The Committee agreed to approve the Environmental and Consumer Protection 3 Year Service Plan for 2001/2004.

8. ESTABLISHING THE EUROPEAN FOOD AUTHORITY (EFA)

There was submitted Report No 607/01 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection reporting on further consultation by the Food Standards Agency (Scotland) on the mission of the proposed European Food Authority (EFA) in relation to the provision of scientific advice and support. The Report considered the political and managerial issues including (a) the structure of the EFA, and in particular, the management board, (b) risk communication regarding food and feed safety, and (c) the relationship between the EFA, Member States and the European Parliament with regard to Scientific Opinions.

The Report concluded that there had been too many mixed messages relating to food issues in Europe, and that, if there was to be an improvement in consumer confidence in the food chain, it would be necessary to establish close communication links between the proposed EFA, the European Commission and Member States.

Having heard Councillor Myles on the need to implement legislation evenly across Europe, the Committee agreed:-

  1. to submit the Report to the Food Standards Agency as Angus Council's response to the consultation; and
  2. to forward a copy to COSLA for information.

9. MEASURES TO PREVENT DIVERSION OF UNFIT MEAT INTO THE FOOD CHAIN

There was submitted Report No 609/01 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising that, following the high profile "Rotherham" case, when quantities of unfit poultry meat had been diverted back into the human food chain, the Food Standards Agency was conducting a consultation exercise on the control of criminal practices by improving the way unfit meat was dealt with. The Report detailed the current legislation on the disposal and handling of animal by-products and set out various options for improvement, including the staining of unfit poultry and red meat by-products.

The Report concluded that, whilst it was accepted that the Food Standards Agency must act in a manner proportionate to the risk involved, Angus Council, as a local authority food regulator should support the staining of all types of unfit poultry and red meat in the interest of safeguarding the health of consumers. In this connection, the Convener gave an assurance that recovered meat and soya would not be used in school meals in Angus.

Having heard Councillors Myles and Crowe welcome the Report, the Committee agreed:-

  1. to submit the Report to the Food Standards Agency as Angus Council's response to the consultation; and
  2. to forward a copy to COSLA for information.

10. FOOD SERVICE PLAN 2001-2002

There was submitted Report No 610/01 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection referring to the White Paper "The Food Standards Agency ­ A Force for Change" which indicated that the Food Standards Agency had a key role in monitoring the enforcement activities in Food carried out by local authorities.

The Report indicated that, as part of a Framework Agreement on Local Authority Food Law Enforcement, Angus Council was required to devise a Food Service Plan which would be reviewed on an annual basis. Accordingly, the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection had prepared such a plan for 2001/2002 which followed the recommended format set out within the Framework Agreement.

The Committee agreed to adopt the Food Service Plan 2001-2002, a copy of which had been placed in the Members' Lounge.

11. NATIONAL FOOD SAFETY WEEK

The Committee agreed to note that National Food Safety Week 2001 would be held on 11?15 June and that this year's message was "Wash your Hands".

12. FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE ­ REFUSE COLLECTION IN RURAL AREAS

It was reported that, following discussions with the Scottish Executive Rural Affairs Department (SERAD) and the National Farmers Union (NFU) the Refuse Collection Services, which had been limited to public road uplifts, had returned to normal collection points with effect from 21 May 2001, but that any farmer or landowner who did not want the Refuse Collection Vehicle to traverse their farm access road would have their instructions respected.

The Committee agreed to note the position and joined with the Director in thanking all people dwelling in rural areas who had been inconvenienced, for their support during the period of restricted service due to the outbreak of foot and mouth disease.

Get Adobe Reader Adobe Reader is required to view the PDF documents on this page. If you don't have it, download it free from www.adobe.com.