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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 11 January 2000 at 4.00 pm.

Present: Councillors STEWART McGLYNN, 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 SHEENA WELSH.

Councillor McGLYNN, Vice-Convener, in the Chair.

Prior to the commencement of the meeting, Councillor McGlynn commended the residents of Angus for the responsible way in which they had managed their household refuse over the festive period.

1. MINUTE OF PREVIOUS MEETING

The minute of meeting of this Committee of 9 November 1999 was approved as a correct record and signed by the Vice-Convener.

2. BEST VALUE SERVICE REVIEW

  1. Metrology

    There was submitted Report No 4/00 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising the Committee of the outcome of the Best Value Service Review of the metrology function of the Consumer Protection Section, a copy of which was appended to the Report.

    The Review had concluded that Angus Council was working well with the two neighbouring authorities to maintain a high quality service and that there was a high customer satisfaction level, although customer consultation could be improved.

    The Committee agreed:-

    1. to note the content of the Best Value Service Review of the Metrology function of the Environmental and Consumer Protection Department; and
    2. to approve the implementation of the recommendations of the Review by 1 April 2000.
  2. Food Safety/Health and Safety

    There was submitted Report No 5/00 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising the Committee of the outcome of the Best Value Service Review of the food safety and health and safety functions of the Environmental and Consumer Protection Department.

    The Review had concluded that there had been positive development of the services provided since 1996 with significant changes to risk assessment and inspection. Performance in the food sector was similar to other authorities, with the business community highly satisfied with the service. However, performance in health and safety could be improved and specific areas for investigation and improvement had been identified.

    The Committee agreed:-

    1. to note the contents of the Best Value Service Review of the Food Safety and Health and Safety functions of the Environmental and Consumer Protection Department; and
    2. to instruct the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection to implement the Improvement Plan detailed in Appendix 10 of the Review Report.

3. HEALTH AND SAFETY STATISTICS 1998/99

There was submitted Report No 6/00 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising the Committee that the Health and Safety Commission had recently published their Annual Report on injuries associated with work activities for 1998/99. The Annual Report had been compiled from the Reports to the Health and Safety Executive under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995 (RIDDOR). From the statistical data, it was evident that slips, trips and falls continued to be the largest cause of injury in the workplace.

The Report concluded that the long-term trend in rates of non-fatal injury accidents was downward. The Health and Safety Executive, local authorities and employers had worked together to improve the level of reporting but it was evident that workplace accidents continued to be under-reported in terms of RIDDOR.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report;
  2. to support the Health and Safety Executive's initiatives to improve the reporting of workplace injuries by employers in Angus;
  3. to support the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection and his staff in enforcing the provisions of the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 1995; and
  4. to support the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection in educating employers in the need to control the common causes of accidents in the workplace.

4. RECRUITMENT AND TRAINING OF TRADING STANDARDS STAFF

There was submitted Report No 7/00 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection outlining funding difficulties in relation to the recruitment of trainees and staff training within the Trading Standards Service and describing an initiative from the Government to assist local authorities by way of an external funding offer. The Report concluded that, in the present financial climate, local authorities should take every opportunity to attract available Government funding to assist with the recruitment and training of professional staff. The Report detailed proposals for the employment of a Trainee Trading Standards Officer within Angus Council's Environmental and Consumer Protection Department, in the event of Government funding becoming available.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report for its interest;
  2. to authorise the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection to actively explore the identification of match funding to attract external Government support for training, as described in the Report; and
  3. to support COSLA in its aim to ensure that an equitable share of Government funding should reach Scottish local authorities.

5. LOO OF THE YEAR AWARDS 1999

The Committee was advised of the Council's success in achieving a number of awards in the National "Loo of the Year" Award sponsored by the Tourist Boards of England, Wales and Scotland.

In the municipal category, Angus had received the following awards:-

The Committee congratulated the staff involved and noted that Angus Council had maintained its position as an authority providing consistently high standards of public toilets.

6. BREEDING AND SALE OF DOGS (WELFARE) ACT 1999

With reference to Article 4 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 28 September 1999, there was submitted a response from the Scottish Executive which indicated that identification of dogs by micro-chipping would not be permissible under the Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999. However, the provisions in the Act would be kept under review by the Scottish Executive and, should it transpire that they were not effective, or were being circumvented, appropriate consideration would be given to amending the legislation.

The Committee agreed to note the response from the Scottish Executive.

7. BEEF BONES SCOTLAND REGULATIONS 1999

With reference to Article 5 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 23 February 1999, it was reported that there had been widespread publicity regarding a recent change in legislation which had enabled consumers to buy beef on the bone.

The Regulations, in summary, from 17 December 1999:-

Having heard Councillor Myles welcome the change in legislation, the Committee agreed to note the position.

8. EXTENSION TO VOLUNTARY AGREEMENT ON GM CROPS

With reference to Article 7 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 25 May 1999, there was submitted Report No 8/00 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection advising the Committee that the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions (DETR) had recently announced a voluntary agreement on genetically modified (GM) crop evaluation over the next three years and setting out the principal terms of the agreement.

The Committee agreed to note that a voluntary agreement between the Government and industry on the conduct of farm scale GM crop evaluation was now in place.

9. ARRANGEMENTS FOR "HOUSEHOLD" ASBESTOS WASTE

There was submitted Report No 9/00 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection detailing arrangements for dealing with the Council's statutory responsibility for organising a scheme for removal and disposal of asbestos waste which was deemed to be of "household" origin.

The Report indicated that, in order to facilitate a professional service to householders utilising licensed asbestos removal contractors, an agreement had been reached with two local contractors to undertake this work. The customer would be charged the full cost of the work plus a 10% administrative fee. The Report concluded that this practical arrangement would fulfil the Council's statutory obligation to provide a service for removal of this type of waste from householders.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to implement the scheme for removal and disposal of household asbestos, utilising a licensed asbestos contractor from the Council's tender list; and
  2. to pass the full charge for removal and disposal of the household asbestos onto the person requesting, or ordering, the service.

10. BRECHIN CIVIC AMENITY SITES

With reference to Article 9 of the minute of meeting of this Committee of 25 May 1999, there was submitted Report No 16/00 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection outlining recent developments in improving the current bulky item/waste recycling arrangements in Brechin. The Report advised the Committee that SEPA had indicated in a letter dated 14 December 1999 that they expected all upgrading and provision of manning at the Brechin Amenity Sites to be in place by 31 December 2000.

A site in the ownership of the Council at Commerce Street, Brechin had been identified in the Angus Local Plan for the construction of a Recycling Centre to replace the existing civic amenity skip sites. Given the timescale indicated by SEPA, the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection intended to develop, as soon as possible, a costed proposal for the development of this site.

Having heard various local members welcome the provision of the new site, the Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report;
  2. to instruct the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection to bring forward a costed proposal for a Recycling Centre development at Commerce Street, Brechin; and
  3. to instruct the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection to send a copy of Report 16/00 to SEPA as a response to their letter of 14 December 1999.

11. THE LANDFILL DIRECTIVE ­ A CONSULTATION

There was submitted Report No 10/00 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection which formed the Angus Council response to the Scottish Executive consultation exercise on the Landfill Directive. The Directive was aimed at limiting landfill of biodegradable municipal waste within the EC. The consultation document, a copy of which had been placed in the Members' Lounge, discussed the implementation of the Directive in Scotland, described the targets for reductions in the landfill of biodegradable municipal waste and set out the possible options for putting these targets in place.

The Report explored some of the advantages and disadvantages of the various options and concluded that, due to the DERL Waste to Energy Project, Angus Council was one of only a few Councils in Scotland who were well placed for meeting the requirements of the Landfill Directive. Responses to the document would be taken into account by the Scottish Executive in developing a statutory instrument for limiting the use of landfill to meet the EC Landfill Directive targets in Scotland.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to note the contents of the Report; and
  2. to instruct the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection to submit Report 10/00 to the Scottish Executive as Angus Council's response to the Landfill Directive consultation.

12. LAUNCH OF SEPA'S NATIONAL WASTE STRATEGY

There was submitted Report No 11/00 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection outlining the issues developed in SEPA's National Waste Strategy which had been launched on 9 December 1999. The purpose of the National Waste Strategy Scotland was to provide a framework within which Scotland could reduce the amount of waste which it produced and deal with the waste which had been produced in more sustainable ways. The Strategy had taken account of the "polluter pays" principle, whereby the polluter should bear the full cost of the consequences of their actions. During the preparation of the Strategy, SEPA concluded that it should be developed through groupings of Councils which would form Waste Strategy Areas responsible for the development of Area Waste Plans.

Having heard various members support the "polluter pays" principle, the Committee agreed:-

  1. to generally welcome the National Waste Strategy, a copy of which had been placed in the Members' Lounge, as providing a strategic framework underpinning waste management issues for Scotland;
  2. to support the COSLA view that:-
    1. resources must be found nationally to allow development of the Strategy to provide 21st Century waste management solutions for Scotland;
    2. Councils had a central role in making the Strategy a reality and that demand should be made for sufficient resources in order that Councils could meet these aspirations; and
    3. detailed explanations were required on how the area waste planning processes were to be developed; and
  3. to instruct the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection to submit a copy of the Report to COSLA as Angus Council's response to the launch of the National Waste Strategy.

13. "REMADE" RECYCLING MARKETING PROGRAMME

There was submitted Report No 12/00 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection proposing that Angus Council support the Remade Recycling Marketing Programme and that a contribution from Landfill Tax credits be made to the project. COSLA had played a key role in developing this initiative and the distribution of recommended funding between Councils was outlined in Appendix 1.

The Committee agreed:-

  1. to support the Remade Programme to improve markets for recycled materials ;
  2. to contribute £1,000 to the first year of the Programme from Landfill Tax credits; and
  3. to support, in principle, the Programme in the second and third years from Landfill Tax credits, subject to positive progress being made in the first year.

14. EXCLUSION OF PUBLIC AND PRESS

The Committee resolved, in terms of Standing Order 27(2) that the public and press be excluded during consideration of Item 15 below so as to avoid 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.

15. ACCEPTANCE OF TENDERS

Items (a) and (c) below were, on the determination of the Convener, dealt with as matters of urgency, in order to obtain timeous approval for the commencement of the contracts.

  1. Restenneth Landfill Development ­ Engineering Works Phase 2A

    There was submitted Report No 13/00 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection giving details of the tenders received for the construction and civil engineering works required to effect Phase 2A of the landfill works at Restenneth Landfill Site, near Forfar.

    The Committee agreed to approve the acceptance of the lowest arithmetically corrected tender for the prescribed works being that submitted by Moulding Contracts Ltd in the adjusted amount of £307,395.20.

  2. Refuse Collection Vehicles ­ Tenders

    There was submitted Report No 15/00 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection on tenders received for the supply of two refuse collection vehicles.

    The Committee agreed:-

    1. to note the tenders received; and
    2. to approve the acceptance of the tender for the supply of two Iveco Daily Double Cab Tippers from A M Phillip Ltd, Muiryfaulds, Angus in the sum of £18,650 each.
  3. Replacement of Fleet Vehicles

    With reference to Article 24 of the minute of meeting of the Policy and Resources Committee of 7 December 1999, there was submitted Report No 60/00 by the Director of Environmental and Consumer Protection recommending that, for reasons outlined in the Report, the procurement of two vehicles be exempted from normal tender requirements in terms of Financial Regulation 14(3).

    The Committee agreed:-

    1. to extend the tender approved by the Policy and Resources Committee on 7 December 1999 to include the procurement of a further Landrover Defender 90 (Hardtop) from Parks of Hamilton Motor Group, Ayr in the amount of £14,272;
    2. to extend the tender approved by the Policy and Resources Committee on 7 December 1999 to include the procurement of a further 1.5 Tonne Dumper Truck from North British Tractors Limited, Aberdeen in the amount of £8,600; and
    3. to exempt this procurement from normal tendering procedures in accordance with Financial Regulation 14(3).
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