Agenda and minutes

Climate Emergency Advisory Committee
Monday, 7 September 2020 6.00 pm

Venue: virtual meeting - access link to follow with the papers

Contact: Candida Mckelvey, Democratic Services Officer  07895213820

Items
No. Item

18.

Chairman's announcements

To receive any announcements from the chairman and general housekeeping matters.

Minutes:

The Chair welcomed everyone to the committee. There had been a change to the membership of the committee. Chair thanked Councillor Max Thompson for his service and input to the committee. Councillor Bob Johnston was welcomed to the committee as a new member, replacing Councillor Max Thompson.

 

There were a few items from the one year work programme to update the committee on:

A Greentech report is due in December.

Opportunities for off-site solar energy are being investigated.

The role of Climate Change Lead officer is advertised now for people to apply.

 

There is an LGA webinar on scrutinising climate change, on 18th September. The council is a member of LGA so it is free for councillors to sign up.

19.

Apologies for absence

To record apologies for absence and the attendance of substitute members.

Minutes:

Apologies were given from Councillor Amos Duveen.

20.

Declarations of interest

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

Minutes:

Councillor Hayleigh Gascoigne declared an interest in item 7 of the agenda, as she is an investor in the Low Carbon Hub. She would not take part in this discussion.

21.

Urgent business

To receive notification of any matters which the chairman determines should be considered as urgent business and the special circumstances which have made the matters urgent.

Minutes:

There was no urgent business.

22.

Minutes of the last meeting pdf icon PDF 117 KB

To review the minutes of the last meeting on 01 July 2020, and for the Chairman to sign them as a correct record of the meeting.

Minutes:

The minutes of the last meeting on 01 July 2020 were declared as a correct record. The chair will sign them as such.

23.

Public participation

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

Minutes:

There was no public participation.

24.

Power Purchase Agreement pdf icon PDF 190 KB

For the committee to review the opportunity to enter into negotiations with the Low Carbon Hub and other Oxfordshire Councils, on a potential Power Purchase Agreement. Committee to make recommendations to Cabinet

Minutes:

Corporate energy officer Heather Saunders introduced the report to the committee.

 

The paper is for the committee’s consideration. A Power Purchase Agreement, or PPA, could be an element, along with a broad portfolio of projects, to help achieve the council’s carbon neutral target.

The first priority, from our climate emergency one-year work programme, is that we will aim to reduce energy use from our operations, and to install renewable technologies on site. These actions alone are unlikely to bring our carbon emissions to zero, so further options need to be considered. A PPA is a mechanism for matching zero carbon electricity generation at a new renewable energy asset with the council’s energy use. It then allows us to declare zero carbon emissions for the contracted energy. If a new renewable energy asset is in South Oxfordshire, this also has additional local benefits. We therefore wish to enter into discussions with other Oxfordshire Councils and other external parties to identify the opportunities available.

As written in the report, there will be a range of financial and procurement issues to resolve, so no commitment has been made yet.

There is no conflict between these proposals and the parallel process of procuring gas and electricity for the council’s properties.

We realise this is a complex proposal, and we have set out the key issues in the paper, and we welcome questions.

 

Councillors commented on the following:

           The difficulty of being truly green.

           Sleeving was discussed, we need to find out if the costs are viable. Sleeving has to happen as there has to be a third party for balancing, the energy can’t just come from the generator.

           It was asked if battery storage could be counted towards this. The officer confirmed that this report is not about investing, the report is about enabling our emissions to be carbon neutral by contracting with an asset that hasn’t allocated its emissions to another party.

           How are discussions with other parties going? Are Parish councils included? Officer confirmed there has been one meeting so far with Oxfordshire County Council (OCC). It will be reported back to the chair when it is confirmed that discussions have been had with Chief Financial Officers.

           What is the benefit of having a local supplier? Officer confirmed we have Oxfordshire targets, so a local supplier benefits that, and the local economy. It was confirmed that if contracting with a wind farm further away, we could still benefit from the certification, but we will look at local options first. Locally sourced assets reduces transmission losses.

           Point 24 in the report – regarding 70% of council’s energy demand is from leisure centres. Our contractor pays the energy bills for leisure centres. We include leisure centres in our emissions. Our demand is currently small. If we can add the leisure demand we can have a more complex arrangement with investment and a PPA in the same project. Investment takes several years, but right now we aren’t responsible for  ...  view the full minutes text for item 24.

25.

England's Economic Heartland - transport strategy consultation

For the committee to review the transport strategy consultation materials and consider their input to Cabinet and planning policy officers, for inclusion into the Councils submission into the consultation.

Consultation documents are located here:

http://www.englandseconomicheartland.com/Pages/transport-strategyconsult.aspx.

Minutes:

Andrew Lane from Planning Policy gave an introduction to the consultation of the draft transport strategy.

England’s Economic Heartland is a partnership of local transport authorities and Local Enterprise Partnerships (LEPs).

The consultation covers the Draft Transport Strategy, the Integrated Sustainability Appraisal, and the Proposal to Establish a Statutory Sub-national Transport Body. The end date for the consultation is 6 October 2020.

The website (link provided in the agenda) is very helpful and the final strategy is planned for the beginning of 2021.

Cabinet member sign off is the expected process for the response from the council.

The strategy’s draft vision is “to realise sustainable growth opportunities and improve quality of life and wellbeing for Heartland residents and businesses, by harnessing the region’s globally renowned centres of innovation to unlock a world class, de-carbonised transport system”.

Draft key principles are:

  • The strategy touches on the impact of Covid-19 and how we can do things differently in the future.
  • Achieving net zero carbon emissions from transport by 2050.
  • Accessibility and inclusivity – improve quality of life to all.
  • Support the regional economy by connecting people and businesses to markets and opportunities.
  • Ensuring the Heartland works for the UK by enabling the efficient movement of people and goods.

The consultation is asking for comment on the vision, key principles, having a step-change approach, 30 policies over 4 themes, and implementation and delivery pipelines supported by the Integrated Sustainability Appraisal.

There is no specific mention of the Ox-Cam Expressway. Policy 12 mentions the ARC with travel from Oxford to Milton Keynes is mentioned as a strategic issue to resolve.

 

The proposal to establish a Statutory Sub-national Transport Body – views are sought on whether to become statutory (currently operates as non-statutory). This would give more powers to create policy and be consulted on rail franchises, road infrastructure strategy and procuring bus services.

 

The chair welcomed comments and questions and spilt the discussion into two parts. First, to comment on the strategy:

  • Seems very high level – not much to object to.
  • Welcomed the recognition of home working
  • East -West Rail - not hard enough on that. Need to consider that franchises are no longer.
  • Integration of bus and rail – need more on this. E.g Tyneside integrated metro and buses was popular.
  • OCC are developing LTP5 – Local Transport Plan – need to integrate this strategy with County plans
  • Ox-Cam ARC and EEH – how will these two bodies work together – want more on this. Not clear on this.
  • The strategy would benefit from clarity on the relationship with planning at the district level.
  • Councillor Gascoigne asked why parking lorries was flagged – Officer added that freight is an important element of movement and economy in the region. Councillor Johnston added that the British Road Federation is putting on pressure to provide more lorry parks.
  • Chair mentioned that pages 22-23 lists areas, and some local areas/towns are not listed – Abingdon, Wantage, Faringdon – can these be listed in a category, so  ...  view the full minutes text for item 25.

26.

Updates from the Task and Finish groups

Committee to be updated on task and finish group meetings that have taken place, including the design guide and biodiversity.

Minutes:

Councillor Gascoigne informed the committee that two task and finish groups had been held, to brainstorm and talk in detail. No decisions are made at these meetings.

The topics were:

1.     The design guide: This was a chance to learn from planning officers. It is a guide for those putting in permissions – what does the council want to see in terms of building materials, look, energy efficiency etc. There is an update planned for the current version, therefore a chance for the councillors to feed into it. Planned to be a joint South and Vale district council document.

2.     Biodiversity: There is a policy in place – we need to have a net gain in biodiversity when developing land. Onsite is better than offsetting. There will be a tree planting guide. The group learned more about the nature recovery strategy. Councillor De La Harpe asked if the presentation could be made public as it was very interesting.

27.

Any other business

Minutes:

There was not AOB.

The meeting was closed at 18:58pm.