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Disclosures of Interest & Whipping Declarations
In accordance with the Council's Code of Conduct, Councillors of the Council are reminded that it is a requirement to declare interests where appropriate.
Councillors must also declare if they are subject to their party group whip in relation to any items under consideration.
The following disclosure of interest was made:
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the Climate Change Scrutiny Panel held on 30 June 2020.
The minutes of the meeting of the Climate Change Scrutiny Panel Committee held on 30 June 2020 were approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair.
The Panel has invited representatives from Manor Royal Business District (MRBD) and CBC to help inform their investigation.
Steve Sawyer (Executive Director, MRBD), Nigel Sheehan (Head of Major Projects and Commercial Services, CBC) and Graham Rowe (Partnership Services Manager, CBC) have been invited to offer views on commercial services/facilities achieving a low-carbon footprint within the town, together with understanding the challenges faced – now and in the future.
Councillor Peter Smith as the Cabinet Member for Planning and Economic Development, together with Councillor Chris Mullins as the Cabinet Member for Wellbeing have also been invited.
Whilst the individuals named above identifies those witnesses anticipated to speak at the meeting, this may change subject to availability and, at the discretion of the Chair. Further witnesses may be called in addition or instead of those listed above should they be unavailable.
Due to the nature of the discussions within the above item, should Councillors wish to scrutinise financial issues or aspects of any contractual arrangements in specific detail, the meeting may need to move to Part B (Exempt item) as this may be viewed as financially/commercially sensitive.
The Chair provided some background information on the Panel and then witnesses were asked for their views on commercial services and facilities achieving a low-carbon footprint within the town, together with understanding the challenges faced – now and in the future.
Steve Sawyer (Executive Director, MRBD), Nigel Sheehan (Head of Major Project and Commercial Services) and Graham Rowe (Partnership Services) from Crawley Borough Council updated the Panel that:
· It was acknowledged that during lockdown people had attached increasing value to their environment: People had been shopping local and enjoying green and open spaces. Arguably climate change had become more important.
· How people use a space was important; safe, welcoming, well maintained. Quality green and open spaces were maintained within the Business District to assist in people’s health and enhancing the maintenance within Manor Royal so people enjoyed spending time in the space, rather than just passing through.
· It was important to consider what kind of transport was necessary – there was a need to have a place shaping role to look at how an area functions and how to add value to key partners to achieve its potential.
· Re-Energise Manor Royal Project was a vision to create a more sustainable business park. The aim was to increase all forms of renewable energy on Manor Royal. The energy supply would be more sustainable, secure and locally generated, reducing the carbon footprint and lower the cost for businesses.
· A more sustainable Business Park relied on co-operation in order for it to be a success.
· There was an acknowledgement that an innovative approach was needed in the future.
Panel Members raised a number of queries. The issues raised and the key responses included:
· Resulting from the pandemic it was acknowledged that companies were encouraging employees to return to the office, however some were on a phased return. The future for office accommodation use remained, but the demand criteria had altered.
· The Re-energise Manor Royal was an exciting project. It would be able to share locally generated, locally distributed and traded energy between the companies that generate it and those that need it. It would allow energy and heat to be traded between companies or sites. The business case and governance model was currently being documented. It was acknowledged that it came with risk but also reward.
· In terms of future plans, encouraging more people to take up active travel behaviours would be paramount in the future, along with actively promoting and facilitating investment by developers to result in the best, most efficient and most sustainable buildings into Manor Royal.
· It would be beneficial in the future to see electric vehicle infrastructure along the highways.
In addition, it was noted by Councillor P Smith that:
· 80% of people travel by car into Manor Royal, as the town had its challenges: parking, congestion, pollution, Air Quality Management Area.
· There was a need to find ways to encourage and incentivise schemes such as solar panels on sustainable new builds. Whilst the council’s policies such as ... view the full minutes text for item 3.
General Updates and Actions for Next Meeting
a) To receive any relevant updates/information from Officers and Panel Members.
b) Update on correspondence with requesting attendance at the forthcoming meeting in October.
The Chair updated Panel Members on work that had been recently undertaken:
· Additional information had been provided in relation to the West Sussex Pension Fund. Whilst the borough council already had its Ethical Investment Policy, the West Sussex Pension Fund had itself chosen to invest responsibly rather than divest or restrict the investment opportunities. Climate Change was one of the environmental matters under consideration by the fund managers as part of the investment process.
· The date of the next meeting would be Monday 10 October 2020 on the Council’s Domestic Buildings (residential) activity. Witnesses for next session -
o Head of Crawley Homes
o Housing Enabling & Development Manager
o Cabinet Member for Housing