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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 6 November 2001 at 4.00pm.

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

Apologies: Apologies for absence were intimated on behalf of Councillors IAN ANGUS and BILL ROBERTON.

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 2 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 25 September 2001, there was submitted Report No 1243/01 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection detailing tenders received for various vehicles.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. 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 tenders for the contract hire of one Ford Focus from Lex Vehicle Leasing, Stirling at a cost of £3,368.28 per year for a three year period;
  2. to approve the purchase of one Sneddon Atkinson 6 x 2 Chassis Cab vehicle from Central Motors, Airdrie, at a cost of £45,850; and
  3. to approve the purchase of one Terberg Topload 28 Split Refuse Collection body system from Central Motors, Airdrie, at a cost of £34,740.

3. MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 25 September 2001 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Convener.

4. 2002/2003 REVENUE BUDGET

There was submitted Report No 1244/01 by the Director of Finance advising the Committee of the latest position with regard to the preparation of the Environmental and Consumer Protection Department 2002/2003 revenue budget and associated issues. Appended to the Report was a summary of the departmental provisional base budget for 2002/2003 as submitted to, and subsequently reviewed by, the Director of Finance.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report for its interest at this stage in the budget process; and
  2. to note that more detailed Reports with specific recommendations would be brought forward later in the budget cycle.

5. 2001/2005 FINANCIAL PLAN AND 2002/2003 CAPITAL BUDGET

There was submitted Report No 1245/01 by the Director of Finance advising the Committee of the latest position with regard to the preparation of the 2001/2005 Financial Plan (incorporating the 2002/2003 capital budget) for the Environmental and Consumer Protection Department. Appended to the Report were the departmental Financial Plan submissions for 2001/2005 as returned to the Director of Finance and subsequently reviewed by the Capital Budget Sub-Group.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report for its interest at this stage in the Financial Plan process; and
  2. to note that more detailed reports with specific recommendations would be brought forward later in the Financial Plan cycle.

6. FIRST FOOD STANDARDS AGENCY AUDIT

With reference to Article 12 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 7 November 2000, there was submitted Report No 1246/01 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising the Committee that the Food Standards Agency had carried out their first audit of Angus Council's Food Enforcement activity during September 2001. The Report also outlined the methodology used by the Food Standards Agency and the Executive Summary of Angus Council's performance.

The Report indicated that the audit system had been put in place to assess the quality of food safety enforcement across Scottish local authorities. Each authority would be partially audited each year with all activities undertaken being audited over a three year period when a complete audit picture would emerge. Before the audit began, an extensive pre-audit questionnaire had been completed, the auditors had pre-planned areas to be examined, interviewed targeted members of staff and requested specific records. The on-site part of the audit had taken place over two days in September.

Following the audit, an Executive Summary had been provided to the Director with the main comments detailed in the Report, including the service's strengths and the key areas for improvement. The summary stated that, overall, Angus Council was providing a good level of food law enforcement and the service had demonstrated a commitment to continuous improvement to achieve compliance with food standards.

The Committee agreed to note the outcome of the 2001/2002 Food Standards Agency Audit of Food Standards enforcement by the Environmental and Consumer Protection Department.

7. DISPOSAL OF FRIDGES AND FREEZERS

There was submitted Joint Report No 1247/01 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection and the Contract Services Manager advising the Committee on the provisions contained in EC Regulation No 2037/00 controlling ozone depleting substances which would take effect from 1 January 2002. These provisions required that the installation panels used in most fridges and freezers be removed at the end of the appliances' life to ensure that the CFCs contained in the insulation did not damage the ozone layer.

The Report indicated that, for a number of years, fridges delivered to Angus Council waste disposal points had been de-gassed wherever possible and the CFCs disposed of through the chemical industry arrangements. In terms of Regulation 2037, from 1 January 2002 all end of life fridges had to have all CFC refrigerants and gas from foam used as insulation removed before final disposal. Currently, there were no facilities available in Scotland to deal with such insulation foam removal and, until facilities were available, fridges would require to be stock piled in secure stores.

From a projected 4,000 fridges replaced per year in Angus, about 50% of those were currently dealt with by the Council. The Scottish Executive expected this percentage to rise to 75% as retailers found cheaper options for disposal were no longer open to them. It would appear that the overall cost to Scottish local authorities could be £3m to £4.5m per annum, with Angus Council's share being £60,000 to £75,000 for gate fees alone, and licensing, collection, storage and haulage costs estimated at a further £40,000 per annum. At the COSLA Waste Management Forum held on 27 September 2001, reassurances that the full costs of the additional burdens would be met by Central Government were given, but it was not clear how these would be arrived at.

The Report concluded that there was a clear new burden placed upon local authorities as a result of Regulation 2037 with the cost to Angus Council likely to be around £100,000 per annum and new funding was required to meet this cost. The relevant part of the Regulation would come into effect on 1 January 2002 and there could be a cost arising in the current financial year to securely store appliances entering the domestic waste stream. Existing storage resources were limited and would need to be augmented to store this material in a secure and environmentally safe manner. Facilities would need to be found or developed in key burghs close to existing Council resources. It was therefore important to press the Scottish Executive for new funding to be made available as soon as possible as any costs arising in the current financial year would otherwise have to be accommodated within existing budgets.

Following discussion, the Committee, for its interest, agreed:-

  1. to instruct the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection to ensure that all fridges and freezers collected in the municipal waste stream were dealt with in accordance with Regulation 2037/00;
  2. to note that the Contract Services Committee would instruct the Contract Services Manager to put a scheme in place to ensure that all fridges were separated from the waste collected and that they were securely stored pending treatment to remove CFCs; and
  3. to continue to press the Scottish Executive for new funding to meet the cost of this new burden placed upon local authorities as a result of Regulation 2037/00.

8. EC WASTE ELECTRICAL AND ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT DIRECTIVE

There was submitted Report No 1248/01 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising the Committee on the implications of the EC Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive which was likely to require that 65-80% of waste electrical equipment be recycled. This meant that increased reprocessing costs would impact on future Waste Management budgets.

The Report indicated that, as part of the EC thrust towards improved recycling of consumer durable appliances, the EC Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive was likely to be ratified by the European Parliament by Autumn 2002, following which EC member states were likely to have 18 months to implement the Directive. As the details of implementation of the Directive emerged, further Reports would be made to Committee. There would, however, be a cost impact on local authorities which would require to be built into Angus Council's Waste Management base budget from 2003/2004. In this connection, statements made by the Scottish Executive that GAE for Waste Management would increase significantly over the short to medium term were highly relevant and it would be important to ensure that all new burdens were properly recognised and funded. Compliance with the Directive would have financial implications for departmental revenue budgets when disposing of departmental waste electrical equipment and in some cases there would be additional costs for some property related projects.

The Committee agreed to note the contents of the Report which would have Waste Management budget implications for future years from 2003/2004 onwards.

9. BUTCHERS' LICENCES

With reference to Article 13 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 7 November 2000, the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advised the Committee that 19 Butchers' licences had been issued out of a total of 22 applications received prior to the deadline on 21 August 2001. Two butchers had been refused a licence and were in the process of reapplying. One business which had applied for a licence had since made the commercial decision not to sell open raw meat and therefore did not require one.

The Committee agreed to note the position.

10. FIREWORKS

The Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advised the Committee that "Fireworks are Explosives. Get Wise or Get Hurt" had been the theme for this years fireworks safety campaign and the clear message from the Department of Trade and Industry. It had also been the message echoed by all Environmental and Consumer Protection Departments, Fire Brigades, Health Promotion Units and Police Forces throughout the country.

This year, Angus Council's Trading Standards Section had paid a visit to all traders registered to store explosives and those traders suspected of storing fireworks without a registration. Also, all schools in the area had been leafleted in a bid to spread the knowledge of how dangerous fireworks could be and to deter school pupils from attempting to buy them.

In 2000, there had been 972 injuries and 2 deaths as a result of fireworks misuse with private parties and incidents in the street being the leading locations. However, there had been only 5 minor incidents in the Angus area and enforcement and education were the key to keeping incidents this low.

The Trading Standards Section of the Department had also been involved in partnership with Tayside Fire Brigade and Tayside Police in holding a fireworks safety poster competition for Angus primary schools. The competition had been targeted at children in the Primary 7 age group and had aimed to increase awareness in the potential dangers of fireworks. A selection of the entries had been displayed at Lothian, Borders and Angus Co-op Stores in Angus. It was hoped that the policy of enforcement and education, along with a responsible attitude from adults and children alike in Angus had made this year's activities even more enjoyable than previous years.

The Committee agreed to note the position.

11. CLEANSING AND WASTE MANAGEMENT SERVICES ARRANGEMENTS ­ CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR HOLIDAY PERIOD

With reference to Article 10 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 7 November 2000, there was submitted Report No 1249/01 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection proposing arrangements for refuse and waste paper collection over the Christmas and New Year holiday period. The Report advised that, due to staff holidays within Contract Services (Cleansing), the arrangements for the various cleansing services, including refuse collection, required to be altered.

The Committee agreed to approve the adjusted rotas for refuse and waste paper collections and other cleansing services over the festive period, as detailed in the Report.

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