Agenda and draft minutes

Council
Wednesday, 9 December 2020 7.00 pm

Venue: Virtual

Contact: Steven Corrigan, Democratic Services Manager 01235 422526 Email: steven.corrigan@southandvale.gov.uk 

Items
No. Item

123.

Apologies for absence

To record apologies for absence.

Minutes:

None.

124.

Minutes pdf icon PDF 235 KB

To adopt and sign as a correct record the Council minutes of the meetings held on 7 and 22 October 2020 - attached. 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

RESOLVED: to approve the minutes of the meetings of Council held on 7 and 22 October 2020 as correct records and agree that the chair sign these as such.

 

125.

Declarations of disclosable pecuniary interest

To receive any declarations of disclosable pecuniary interests in respect of items on the agenda for this meeting.  

Minutes:

None.

126.

Urgent business and chair's announcements

To receive notification of any matters which the chair determines should be considered as urgent business and the special circumstances which have made the matters urgent, and to receive any announcements from the chair. 

Minutes:

The chair provided general housekeeping information and advised there were no items of urgent business.  

 

127.

Public participation

To receive any questions or statements from members of the public that have registered to speak. 

Minutes:

No members of the public had registered to registered to ask a question or make a statement to Council.

128.

Petitions

To receive any petitions from the public. 

Minutes:

None.

129.

Civil parking enforcement pdf icon PDF 162 KB

Cabinet, at its meeting on 4 December 2020, will consider a report on the formal application to the Department for Transport to implement civil parking enforcement in the district.

 

The report of the head of housing and environment, which Cabinet will consider on 4 December, is attached.

 

Cabinet’s recommendations will be circulated to all councillors.

 

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Cabinet, at its meeting on 4 December 2020, considered the report of the head of housing and environment on the formal application to the Department for Transport to implement enforcement in the district. Cabinet resolved to support an application by Oxfordshire County Council for the introduction of a Special Enforcement Area and bus lane enforcement powers across the districts of Cherwell, South Oxfordshire and Vale of White House to provide civil parking enforcement and to support the proposal for Oxfordshire County Council to manage civil parking enforcement. Cabinet authorised the head of housing and environment, in consultation with the head of legal and democratic, to negotiate and enter into any formal legal agreements required between Vale of White Horse District Council and Oxfordshire County Council.

 

RESOLVED:to approve the addition of a new civil parking enforcement scheme in the approved capital programme of £60,000 as the council’s contribution to Oxfordshire County Council’s implementation costs, and to approve a revenue supplementary estimate of £30,000 in the 2020/21 budget for costs to be incurred by the council. 

 

 

130.

Treasury management mid-year monitoring report 2020/21 pdf icon PDF 543 KB

Cabinet, at its meeting on 4 December 2020, will consider a monitoring report on the treasury management activities for the first six months of 2020/21 and an update on the current economic conditions with a view to the remainder of the year. 

 

The Joint Audit and Governance Committee considered the report at its meeting on 26 November 2020. The committee resolved to note the treasury management mid-year monitoring report 2020/21 and was satisfied that the treasury activities are carried out in accordance with the treasury management strategy and policy.

 

The report of the interim head of finance, which Cabinet will consider on 4 December 2020, is attached.

 

Cabinet’s recommendations will be circulated to all councillors.

 

Minutes:

Council considered Cabinet’s recommendations, made at its meeting on 4 December 2020, on the treasury management mid-year monitoring report for the financial year 2020/21.

 

The Joint Audit and Governance Committee and Cabinet had considered the head of finance’s report and were satisfied that the treasury activities had been carried out in accordance with the treasury management strategy and policy.

 

RESOLVED: to

 

1.    note that the Joint Audit and Governance Committee is satisfied that the treasury activities have been carried out in accordance with the treasury management strategy and policy; and

2.    approve the treasury management mid-year monitoring report 2020/21.

 

 

 

131.

Council Tax Base 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 133 KB

Cabinet, at its meeting on 4 December 2020, will consider a report on the council tax base for 2021/22.

 

The report of the interim head of finance, which Cabinet will consider on 4 December, is attached.

 

Cabinet’s recommendations will be circulated to all councillors.

 

Minutes:

Council considered Cabinet’s recommendations, made at its meeting on 4 December 2020, on the council tax base for 2021/22.

 

RESOLVED:

 

1.    approve the interim head of finance’s report to Cabinet on 4 December 2020 for the calculation of the council’s tax base and the calculation of the tax base for each parish area for 2021/22;

 

2.    agree that, in accordance with The Local Authorities (Calculation of Council Tax Base) (England) Regulations 2012, the amount calculated by Vale of White Horse District Council as its council tax base for the year 2021/22 is 53,919.1; and

 

3.    agree that, in accordance with The Local Authorities (Calculation of Council Tax Base) (England) Regulations 2012, the amount calculated by Vale of White Horse District Council as the council tax base for the year 2021/22 for each parish be the amount shown against the name of that parish in Appendix A of interim head of finance’s report to Cabinet on 4 December 2020. 

 


 

 

132.

Report of the leader of the council

1.    To receive the report of the leader of the council.

 

2.    Urgent cabinet decisions

 

In accordance with the Scrutiny Committee Procedure Rules, a Cabinet or Cabinet member decision can be taken as a matter of urgency, if any delay by the call in process would seriously prejudice the council’s or the public’s interest or that the decision cannot reasonably be deferred.  Treating the decision as a matter of urgency must be agreed by the chair of the Scrutiny Committee and must be reported to Council, together with the reasons for urgency.

 

Council is requested to note the details of the following urgent decision.

 

 

Additional Restrictions Grant

 

On 13 November 2020, Councillor Bethia Thomas, Cabinet member for Community Engagement, took a decision to approve the Vale of White Horse District Council’s Additional Restrictions Grant Scheme attached in appendix A to the decision notice and authorise the interim head of development and regeneration, in consultation with the Cabinet member for community engagement, to determine the use of remaining funding.

 

The chair of the Scrutiny Committee agreed to waive call in due to the Government requirement for the grant fund to open and weekly update reports to be provided by mid November 2020.

 

           

Minutes:

Councillor Emily Smith, Leader of the council, provided an update on a number of matters. The text of her address is available on the council’s website.

 

Council noted the details of an urgent decision taken by Councillor Bethia Thomas, Cabinet member for Community Engagement, to approve the Vale of White Horse District Council’s Additional Restrictions Grant Scheme.

 

 

133.

Questions on notice pdf icon PDF 99 KB

To receive questions from councillors in accordance with Council procedure rule 33. 

 

Question from Councillor Paul Barrow to Councillor Catherine Webber, Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency and Environment

 

“Given the aspirations outlined in the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and Defra’s Biodiversity 2020 Strategy, what is being done or is planned for the next five years in terms of increased biodiversity and nature recovery in the Vale?”

 

Minutes:

Question from Councillor Paul Barrow to Councillor Catherine Webber, Cabinet Member for Climate Emergency and Environment

 

Given the aspirations outlined in the Government’s 25 Year Environment Plan and Defra’s Biodiversity 2020 Strategy, what is being done or is planned for the next five years in terms of increased biodiversity and nature recovery in the Vale?

 

Answer

 

1)    What is being done?

·         A draft Nature Recovery Network map has been produced for Oxfordshire by a partnership of organisations including Officers from all Oxfordshire Local Authorities, wildlife charities and statutory bodies.

·         A feasibility study into the potential for the Vale to get involved in Habitat Banking is underway.

·         The Vale is actively involved in ongoing work to re-establish a Local Nature Partnership for Oxfordshire.

·         A Tree Opportunities Map is being prepared (joint funded by Vale and all Oxfordshire LPA’s). This will be a resource available to all to help identify suitable tree planting opportunities. The project will develop maps showing not only where trees might be established but also where they would have the
highest impact. They will cover the placement of trees in both rural and urban areas and in the widest variety of forms - as trees in or outside of woodlands; hedgerows; orchards; agroforestry; parks; and gardens.  

·         The Vale is delivering biodiversity net gain for all major developments. Each application is assessed for its impacts on biodiversity which are measured using a metric. All development proposals are then required to deliver more biodiversity than is lost when planning permission is granted. 

·         Work is underway to develop projects to be funded from s.106 money from the Grove Airfield development. This is being developed in partnership with the Freshwater Habitats Trust.

·         A Guide to Planting Trees for Community Groups has been produced and is available on the Councils web site.

·         The Council has a District Licence for Great Crested Newts which has delivered 14 new ponds and 74 Ha of high-quality terrestrial habitats in the last year.

 

2)    What is planned for the next 5 years?

·         The Strategic Property Review will consider all the Vale’s landholdings and will link in with the production of an Open Spaces Strategy to determine where there are opportunities for biodiversity enhancements and tree planting.

·         The Oxfordshire Local Nature Partnership will be formally established. The LNP will seek to:

o   Develop a Nature Recovery Strategy for Oxfordshire

o   Develop a biodiversity net gain targeting strategy.

·         Develop and deliver a Tree Planting Programme on Council owned land to enhance biodiversity and sequester carbon

·         The Council is working with the Letcombe Brook Project and the Environment Agency to deliver biodiversity enhancements at Willow Walk in Wantage.

 

3)    What else Could the Council do to help meet the targets in the Corporate Plan, these projects would be subject to further agreement and appropriate resourcing?

·         Develop a Biodiversity Steering Group involving both key officers and members to oversee and develop the Councils approach to nature’s recovery.

·         Develop a district wide tree planting programme to deliver projects such as ‘Tiny Forests’  ...  view the full minutes text for item 133.

134.

Motions on notice

 

Motion to be proposed by Councillor Bob Johnston and seconded by Councillor David Grant

 

Council notes the growing popularity of wild swimming, paddling, kayaking and paddle boarding in the River Thames and its tributaries and, more importantly, the intrinsic value of clean water and healthy, biodiverse rivers.

 

The UK water companies are permitted to release raw sewage into waterways in specific circumstances, under licence from the Environment Agency.  Regulators rely on self-reporting on the part of the water companies and there is no way for river users to know in real time when these Controlled Sewage Overflows (CSO’s) happen.

In 2017 Thames Water received the largest fine ever handed to a water utility for an environmental disaster after it spilled raw sewage into the Thames, with the judge stating that the company had a history of non-compliance.  However, the issue of water cleanliness persists.  Data from the River Trust revealed that Thames Water’s sewage treatment works spilled raw sewage into the upper Thames, between Lechlade and Reading, more than 1,300 times in 2019, for 17,000 hours in total.

Hundreds of beaches around the UK have Bathing Quality Water status, this ensures that the Environment Agency monitors and reports on water quality throughout the bathing season.

Only a handful of inland lakes, and no rivers, have Bathing Quality Water status.

Recognising the intrinsic importance of the river Thames as a natural asset of national significanceand its value to our communities, this Council:-

 

  1. Asks officers to work with appropriate partners such as the Environment Agency, the Rivers Trust and Surfers against Sewage to begin the process of applying for Bathing Quality Water status for the river Thames in the Vale of White Horse.
  2. Commits to taking part in the meetings of councils from along the River that are being hosted by South Oxfordshire District Council’s Thames Champion, Councillor Jo Robb, to discuss opportunities for our council to join others in promoting and working towards cleaner rivers.
  3. Asks the Leader to write to Thames Water calling on them to (a) draft and implement an action plan for the elimination of CSO’s across its sewage treatment network and (b)to provide accurate, real-time publicly available information about CSO’s into the Thames and its tributaries.
  4. Asks the Leader to write to the Vale’s two MPs asking them to support Philip Dunne MP’s Sewage (Inland Waters) Bill when it has its second reading in Parliament on 15 January 2021. 

5.    Aims to build on opportunities to influence Thames Water’s practices – such as our successful application to become a strategic partner in Thames Water’s Surface Water Management Programme for 2020-2025.

 

 

Minutes:

Councillor Bob Johnston moved, and Councillor David Grant seconded the motion as set out in the agenda at agenda item 12.

 

Those councillors who expressed a view spoke in support of the motion. The reduction in funding for the Environment Agency had reduced its capacity to enforce regulations resulting in an increase in pollution incidents and a reduction in the number of prosecutions. Bathing Quality Water status would improve the quality of the water and address concerns regarding the health of people who swim in the water contaminated with sewerage and improve the biodiversity of the river.

  

On being put the motion was declared carried.

 

RESOLVED:

That Council notes the growing popularity of wild swimming, paddling, kayaking and paddle boarding in the River Thames and its tributaries and, more importantly, the intrinsic value of clean water and healthy, biodiverse rivers.

 

The UK water companies are permitted to release raw sewage into waterways in specific circumstances, under licence from the Environment Agency.  Regulators rely on self-reporting on the part of the water companies and there is no way for river users to know in real time when these Controlled Sewage Overflows (CSO’s) happen.

In 2017 Thames Water received the largest fine ever handed to a water utility for an environmental disaster after it spilled raw sewage into the Thames, with the judge stating that the company had a history of non-compliance.  However, the issue of water cleanliness persists.  Data from the River Trust revealed that Thames Water’s sewage treatment works spilled raw sewage into the upper Thames, between Lechlade and Reading, more than 1,300 times in 2019, for 17,000 hours in total.

Hundreds of beaches around the UK have Bathing Quality Water status, this ensures that the Environment Agency monitors and reports on water quality throughout the bathing season.

Only a handful of inland lakes, and no rivers, have Bathing Quality Water status.

Recognising the intrinsic importance of the river Thames as a natural asset of national significanceand its value to our communities, this Council:-

 

  1. Asks officers to work with appropriate partners such as the Environment Agency, the Rivers Trust and Surfers against Sewage to begin the process of applying for Bathing Quality Water status for the river Thames in the Vale of White Horse.
  2. Commits to taking part in the meetings of councils from along the River that are being hosted by South Oxfordshire District Council’s Thames Champion, Councillor Jo Robb, to discuss opportunities for our council to join others in promoting and working towards cleaner rivers.
  3. Asks the Leader to write to Thames Water calling on them to (a) draft and implement an action plan for the elimination of CSO’s across its sewage treatment network and (b)to provide accurate, real-time publicly available information about CSO’s into the Thames and its tributaries.
  4. Asks the Leader to write to the Vale’s two MPs asking them to support Philip Dunne MP’s Sewage (Inland Waters) Bill when it has its second reading in Parliament on 15 January 2021. 

5.    Aims to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 134.