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ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONSUMER PROTECTION

MINUTE of MEETING of the ENVIRONMENTAL AND CONSUMER PROTECTION COMMITTEE held in the Town and County Hall, Forfar on Tuesday 25 September 2001 at 4.00pm.

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

Apology: An apology for absence was intimated on behalf of Councillor STEWART McGLYNN.

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, 9 and 10.

2. VEHICLE TENDERS

With reference to Article 3 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 7 August 2001, there was submitted Report No 1045/01 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection detailing tenders received for various vehicles.

The Committee agreed to note the tenders received in respect of vehicles individually valued up to £30,000 for which the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection had delegated authority to act in terms of Section 16 of Financial Regulations and his acceptance of the following tenders, namely:-

  1. the contract hire of four Ford Transit 280L vans from Lex Vehicle Leasing at a cost of £3,044.88 per year per vehicle for a six year period;
  2. the purchase of two Ford Transit minibuses from A M Philip, Forfar at a cost of £19,880.00 per vehicle; and
  3. the purchase of two Iveco Double Cab Tippers from A M Philip, Forfar at a cost of £19,990 per vehicle.

3. MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 7 August 2001 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

4. CONTAMINATED LAND STRATEGY ­ FINAL CONSULTATION

There was submitted Report No 1046/01 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising the Committee that the external final consultation of the Angus Council Contaminated Land Strategy document was underway with the final version due to be published during October 2001.

The Report indicated that, in July 2000, a new statutory regime for the identification and remediation of contaminated land had been enacted. In terms of Part II A of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and Section 27 of the Environmental Act 1995, local authorities were required to produce a strategy to show how they would deal with contaminated land within their area. This strategy was to be adopted, approved and published by October 2001.

In terms of the Community Plan, Local Agenda 21 and Environmental Strategy, there was a commitment to improve the environment and quality of life in Angus and it was intended that the Contaminated Land Strategy would build upon these aims. To this end, a Strategy Working Group, chaired by the Principal Environmental Health Officer (Waste Strategy), and involving staff members from Planning and Transport, Economic Development, Law and Administration, IT, Property Services, Roads and Cultural Services Departments, had drawn up a draft Strategy for consultation which outlined the actions proposed by Angus Council. The Council was required to consult a number of defined bodies but it was also stressed that it was important that local interest was considered and an opportunity was being given for this input.

Following discussion, the Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Final Consultation Document, a copy of which was available in the Members' Lounge; and
  2. to authorise the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection to publish the finalised version of the Angus Council Contaminated Land Strategy by October 2001.

5. DOMESTIC USE OF ADDITIONAL WHEELED BINS

There was submitted Report No 1047/01 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising the Committee of proposed changes to the current policy governing the issuing of additional wheeled bins.

The Report indicated that the wheeled bin refuse collection system had been operating in Angus communities now for as much as 16 years. By various means of acquisition of the bins, a number of householders were utilising multiple bins for their waste that originated from commercial premises or for garden use. It was Angus Council policy to encourage recycling of garden waste at its seven "bring" Recycling Centres and to make charges (which it was legally obliged to do) for commercial waste. It was also current policy to provide and service an additional bin where there were six or more people permanently resident at an address.

The Report proposed, in the interest of ensuring equality of level of service to all domestic refuse collection customers, that an extra bin emptying fee would be levied. This would be equivalent to the commercial charge for the bin of equal size plus an administration fee of £20 per bin per year. The fees would apply to the complete year and seasonal arrangements would not apply. The total cost per uplift would be £1.77 plus VAT assuming 50 uplifts per year. Stickers would be provided to identify the "paid up" additional bins.

Following discussion, the Committee agreed:-

  1. that the policy of issuing an additional wheeled bin and emptying it weekly be only applied to a household who could demonstrate six or more persons permanently resident at that address;
  2. that any other resident who wished to utilise additional wheeled bins for garden or commercial waste be charged the appropriate commercial waste rate plus an administration fee of £20 per annum for each bin utilised; and
  3. to instruct the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection to write to the Scottish Executive regarding the income from the Landfill Tax and how Angus Council might gain additional benefit from it.

Thereafter Councillor Myles requested that his dissent be recorded in terms of Standing Order 15(9)(ii).

6. BEST VALUE SERVICE REVIEW ­ RECYCLING

There was submitted Report No 1048/01 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising the Committee of the outcome of the Best Value Service Review into Angus Council's Recycling Initiative and outlining the Improvement Plan, a copy of which was appended to the Report.

The Report indicated that this had been a joint service review on the recycling of waste involving the Environmental and Consumer Protection Service and Contract Services. Angus Council had adopted a hierarchy for waste which was: (a) encouragement of waste minimisation at source; (b) recycling whenever possible; (c) waste to energy generation at DERL; and (d) landfill. The recycling service was an integral component of the present waste disposal for Angus and would form an essential part of the Area Waste Strategy Plan currently under development in conjunction with SEPA and neighbouring local authorities.

The Report advised that a customer consultation system based on a user database had been established for users of the Recycling Centres. There had been three surveys of users to date with a further survey being planned. The service also provided performance indicator returns and these showed that the percentage of household waste recycled in Angus had risen from 10.7% in 1996/97 to 13.5% in 1999/2000, which compared favourably with other local authorities, Angus having the third highest percentage of household waste recycled.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report; and
  2. to approve the implementation of the Improvement Plan for the jointly provided recycling service as outlined in the Appendix to the Report.

7. DELIVERY OF DOMESTIC WASTE TO RECYCLING CENTRES

There was submitted Report No 1049/01 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection outlining proposals which would clarify the rules regarding delivery of domestic waste to Angus Council's Recycling Centres, where vans were used by customers.

The Report indicated that in the past difficulties had been experienced at Angus Council Recycling Centres by traders depositing commercial and trade waste in the household bulky waste skips to avoid payment of waste disposal charges for commercial waste. As the Council was legally obliged to charge for the disposal of commercial and trade waste, charges had been introduced at the Recycling Centres through a permit scheme with a fee payable by the customer. This arrangement met the duty of care responsibilities placed on both the waste carrier and the Council. The charges included all vans and larger trailers which were being used to deposit bulky waste.

To assist in the management of the Recycling Centres, anyone using a van or larger trailer to deposit domestic waste would now be asked to complete a self-declaration permit which would state that the waste originated from their own domestic residence. The permit, a copy of which was appended to the Report, would include the name and address of the driver, the number of the vehicle and a brief description of the waste. This would allow a screening process which would assist the management of these busy Recycling Centres.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of the Report.

8. REFUSE COLLECTION AND WASTE MANAGEMENT ETC ARRANGEMENTS ­ ST ANDREW'S DAY HOLIDAY 2001

With reference to Article 9 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 26 September 2000, there was submitted Report No 1050/01 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising the Committee that, due to the Council wide staff holiday for St Andrew's Day on Friday 30 November 2001, it would be necessary to alter the refuse collection and other waste and cleansing services during that week. The Report set out proposals to deal with the situation which would cause the minimum possible disruption.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to approve the adjustments to the days of refuse and waste paper collections, as detailed in Section 2 of the Report; and
  2. to approve the arrangements for other cleansing and waste management services, as outlined in Section 3 of the Report.

9. TAYSIDE AREA WASTE PLAN ­ PROGRESS REPORT

With reference to Article 11 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 9 January 2001, there was submitted Joint Report No 1085/01 by the Director of Planning and Transport and the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection updating the Committee on progress being made by the Tayside Area Waste Member/Officer Group towards the preparation and publication of a Draft Area Waste Plan.

The Report indicated that the Group had been working for some time, assembling the raft of technical data and information required as background to the Area Waste Plan preparation process. From this, the Group had developed a series of options for the management of waste within the Tayside area. These had subsequently been tested against a life cycle assessment tool and against the set of nationally agreed objectives. These objectives included the key outcomes to be achieved from integrated waste management systems and issues such as environmental protection, social and economic benefits, including employment and support to local industry. This stage had now been completed and an options paper would be published in early October for wider consultation purposes. Once this stage had been completed and the consultation responses assessed, a final waste management option would be selected and a Draft Area Waste Plan published.

The Report concluded that the development of an Area Waste Plan would assist in establishing a sustainable approach to waste management in Tayside and contribute to achieving the landfill directive targets required by the UK Government by 2020. The publication of the options paper and the subsequent consultation Draft Area Waste Plan would give all stakeholders and the general public the opportunity to comment on the approach being suggested for the Tayside area. The opportunity would be available for Angus Council to make comment and response at various stages of this process.

The Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

  1. to note the progress to date towards the preparation of a Draft Area Waste Plan for Tayside and in particular the forthcoming publication of an options paper for wider community consultation purposes; and
  2. to remit to the Conveners of the Environmental and Consumer Protection and Development Control Committees (the member representatives on the Area Waste Group) to agree the final editorial content of the Draft Area Waste Plan, which would be published for consultation purposes only, towards the end of 2001.

10. FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE

With reference to Article 11 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 7 August 2001, the Committee was advised that the Scottish Executive Rural Affairs Department (SERAD) had now taken responsibility for licensing the movement to slaughter of cattle and sheep from local authorities. Councils were now responsible only for licence to slaughter of pigs, wild boar and deer and this service continued to be provided.

The Forfar Mart was operating twice weekly as a collection centre for sheep aggregations en route to slaughter and sales of cattle and sheep were due to begin on 15 September 2001.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the position and to welcome the fact that Scotland had now been declared a foot and mouth disease free zone; and
  2. to instruct the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection to write to the Scottish Executive and Central Government requesting that a Public Enquiry be held into the current outbreak of the foot and mouth disease.

11. NEW HEALTH AND SAFETY COMMISSION GUIDANCE TO LOCAL AUTHORITIES

There was submitted Report No 1052/01 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising the Committee that new guidance on health and safety enforcement under Section 18 of the Health and Safety at Work Act had been issued by the Health and Safety Commission. This replaced all guidance from the Health and Safety Commission made under this Section and a copy of the full guidance document was available in the Members' Lounge.

The Report indicated that local authorities were required to make adequate arrangements for the enforcement of Health and Safety legislation and to perform these duties in accordance with guidance from the Health and Safety Commission. The Commission believed that publication of the guidance was very timely since it supported the contribution by local authorities to the Government and the Health and Safety Commission document entitled "Revitalising Health and Safety Strategy Scotland" which had been published in June last year. The Commission hoped that it would provide an appropriate profile for health and safety enforcement and secure an appropriate level of resources locally.

The Report concluded that, whilst the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection supported the thrust towards uniformity and transparency in health and safety enforcement, there were concerns regarding available resources.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report; and
  2. to instruct the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection to prepare plans to ensure that Angus Council met the statutory responsibility placed upon it as an enforcement authority in terms of the new guidance on health and safety enforcement under Section 18 of the Health and Safety at Work Act.

12. TASK FORCE REPORT ­ BURDENS OF FOOD REGULATIONS ON SMALL BUSINESSES

There was submitted Report No 1053/01 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection summarising and commenting on the recent report of the Task Force on the Burdens of Food Regulations on Small Businesses.

The Report indicated that the Task Force had been established by the Food Standards Agency in June 2000 to examine whether, for small businesses, existing Regulations were disproportionate either in their nature or in their enforcement. Their approach had been to consult with 495 Trade Associations and 140 other bodies, with representatives visiting 30 small businesses across the UK. The Report's findings were therefore based on consultation with Trade Associations rather than actual small businesses.

The Task Force's Report noted that the broad picture drawn from the consultation was that food safety legislation did not impose a particularly onerous burden on small businesses. A number of issues of concern had emerged and these were outlined in the Report together with Angus Council's response to the Task Force Report.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report;
  2. to support any review which was undertaken by the Food Standards Agency into enforcement as a result of the recommendations made by the Task Force; and
  3. to note that the contents of Report 1053/01 should form the basis of Angus Council's response to the Task Force Report.

13. PRESENTATION ON WASTE STRATEGY

The Committee heard a presentation by Craig Anderson, Client Services Manager and Alan Milne, Waste Strategy Officer on various Waste Strategy issues.

Following questions being asked and answered, the Convener, on behalf of the Committee, thanked Mr Anderson and Mr Milne for their interesting and informative presentation.

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