At Full Council on 17 July 2019 it was requested:
“That the Overview and Scrutiny Commission (OSC) urgently sets up a Scrutiny Panel to look into and make recommendations focusing upon the workings and activities of Crawley Borough Council relating to carbon emissions and to report to Council as soon as is practicable”.
(Should anyone wish to register their interest, please use the contact email on the front of the agenda).
Councillor Jaggard thanked the public, interested parties and organisations for attending and commented that it was now their opportunity to inform the Panel on the areas identified within the agreed scope and objective set by Full Council and what they felt could be improved in this respect. The public were reminded of the Panel’s scope focusing upon the workings and activities of Crawley Borough Council in relation to carbon emissions.
Following a request from a member of the Public, the Head of Economy and Planning explained the role of the Scrutiny Panel which had the ultimate remit to develop recommendations to assist the Council in identifying its action plan. It was emphasised that the Panel itself does not have the ability to implement any changes directly, instead its role was to produce evidence based recommendations. The remit of the Panel was to look into and make recommendations focusing upon the workings and activities of Crawley Borough Council relating to carbon emissions and to report to Council as soon as is practicable, (via the Overview and Scrutiny Commission and normally the Cabinet).
Listed below were many of the key issues and themes that were raised during the consultation:
· The need for replacement trees once others were felled. It was noted there was current planning policy surrounding the investment and replacement of trees. Furthermore the draft Local Plan which was currently out for consultation, had been revised with regards to the protection and enhancement of biodiversity.
· Recognition that changes in transport provision needed to reflect a variety of issues; those in transport poverty, isolation of people on low income, young, elderly, disabled, together with the condition of streets.
· There was support for community garden projects and potential links to working with the voluntary sector and obtaining future funding.
· It was queried whether the Council could obtain its energy through green energy.
· There was a keenness to work with the Council to progress actions and it was suggested the Council consult and compare with other Councils. It was confirmed that the Panel had and were continuing to investigate other councils and undertake further research.
· It was felt by some that reducing the target date for cutting carbon emissions from 2050 to 2030 would highlight ambition, intent and commitment. However it was stressed that it was important to have the finances and resources to deliver the changes.
· It was hoped the climate change agenda would feature highly throughout each area of the council’s work.
· It questionable how much influence and power the Council had with partners, stakeholders and businesses.
· Confirmation was provided that any action plan needed to be practical in terms of what the Council could achieve and actually deliver with assistance with partners and stakeholders. It was anticipated this would be costed and combine CBC and private funds. The action plan would be available for consultation as and when available.
The Chair thanked the public for attending and expressing their views and it was re-iterated that what had been discussed would certainly help shape the Scrutiny Panel’s recommendations.