· Brief introduction to the Review
· Agree the draft Scoping Framework as attached.
· To be followed by a discussion on any background information and the Review timescales.
Councillor Jaggard welcomed the Panel to the first meeting of the Climate Change Scrutiny Panel that recognised the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report together with the consequences of climate change. It was noted that there was a responsibility on every individual to make changes, but that local government had a duty to lead the way.
The Democratic Services Officer explained that Overview and Scrutiny Commission had been requested to set up the Scrutiny Panel and highlighted the composition of the Panel. The Chair then explained that the first meeting was an administrative one and its focus was to agree the Scoping Framework and there would be no public question time. Disappointment was conveyed from the public gallery at the lack of public question time. The Chair emphasised the format of the first meeting, and at future meetings it was Chair’s discretion to allow for this (for which there would be a set format).
Councillor Jaggard reminded that Panel that its remit was quite specific. The purpose of the Panel was “to investigate and make recommendations focusing on the council’s workings and activities relating to carbon emissions and report to Council as soon as practicable” in order to reduce carbon emissions from the council’s activities by 45% by 2030 and to zero by 2050.
Whilst the Full Council notice of motion included 7 clear points, it was specific in that the scrutiny panel should focus on the activities and workings of the council relating to the reduction of carbon emissions.
Panel Members discussed the draft scoping framework. The key objectives had been documented as follows:
1) Audit the Council’s workings and activities across the various services in relation to reducing carbon emissions.
- Work is currently underway in producing an audit surrounding the council’s current facilities and it would be important to identify a baseline. It was acknowledged this current audit work would be finalised early in 2020.
- Annual government data is broken down into 3 key areas (industry/commercial, domestic, transport) for each authority and is comparable with others. Whilst aviation currently is not included (due to flight destination), the effects on local infrastructure could be incorporated to demonstrate the impact.
2) Establish a carbon emissions baseline for the town and review data to quantify the challenges that Crawley faces as it progresses towards the 2030 target and beyond.
3) Investigate best practice across other local authorities, learn from best practice in other towns and cities.
- There was a Sussex wide group already established representing districts and boroughs across East and West Sussex (Sussex Climate Emergency Local Authorities Group). This currently shares best practice and it was suggested that perhaps the Panel could either feed into this or perhaps the Group could share presentations or reports to the Panel.
4) Research and engage with key officers and partners, particularly regarding the future establishment of “green infrastructure”.
- It was commented that green open spaces were paramount and balance was needed between green space and maintaining housing need, particularly through the planning process.
5) Consider how recommendations would reduce carbon emissions, to be developed in the context of environmental and social responsibility, economic prosperity and development management in the context of the emerging Local Plan.
- The Crawley Local Plan 2020-2035 was due to undergo a 6 week statutory public consultation period between January – March 2020 and it would be beneficial for Panel Members to have discussions on Strategic Planning aspects.
As a result of some preparatory work that had been undertaken, Members acknowledged the background papers. It was acknowledged that some of these were detailed documents and merely referenced for information allowing Panel Members to understand different ways information could be structured for future action plans.
Panel Members then discussed the possible approach to be adopted. It was proposed that the Review be undertaken as a “themed” approach in order to cover the work – along with witness sessions
- Support delivery mechanism for the audit/link to local resources.
- Sustainability Manager CBC
- Head of Economy & Planning CBC
- Cllr P Smith
3. Commercial and Business
- Executive Director of Manor Royal Business District (MRBD)
- K2 Crawley
- Tilgate Park
- Partnership Services Manager CBC
4. Domestic Buildings
- Head of Crawley Homes CBC
- Housing Enabling & Development Manager CBC
- Head of Crawley Homes CBC
5. Green Infrastructure / Local Plan
- Crawley’s green and blue infrastructure
- Planning Policy Manager CBC
It was agreed that it would be beneficial to focus discussions on:
- Where we are currently
- What we can do
- What we can influence
It was queried whether in terms of best practice witness sessions could be held with other local authorities and these could be identified through the audit. Alternative methods of comparison could involve telephone or email surveys which Panel Members may undertake. In terms of community engagement, the Sustainability Manager updated the Panel that an independent environmental group had been established in October and there may be potential for community engagement should the Panel decide this may be beneficial in the future.
The Panel considered its focus in terms of promoting the need to reduce carbon emissions. It was concerned that whilst the notion of motion covered 7 key points, the Panel’s focus was quite specific and needed to concentrate on where it could add value and also influence organisations/individuals. It was recognised that individuals may not always be willing to make changes when costs were involved and it can be difficult to strike a balance.
1. That evidence gathering interviews be arranged with the following:
· Sustainability Manager – CBC (data session/audit)
· Head of Economy & Planning – CBC (data session/audit)
· Metrobus - Transport
· Councillor P Smith
2. That the scoping framework was agreed as set out as an appendix to these minutes.