To consider report OSC/292 of the Chair of the Climate Change Scrutiny Panel.
The Commission considered report OSC/292 of the Chair of the Climate Change Scrutiny Panel, Councillor K L Jaggard.
The Climate Change Scrutiny Panel was established to “look into and make recommendations focusing upon the workings and activities of Crawley Borough Council relating to carbon emissions”. It further requested that OSC co-opted a member or members of the Youth Council to the Scrutiny Panel. However despite repeated requests, unfortunately a co-optee was not forthcoming from the Youth Council.
The Scrutiny Panel’s recommendations reflected the motion unanimously agreed by Full Council in July 2019 and outlined proposals to help the Council to achieve the ambition to reduce carbon emissions generated by Crawley Borough Council activities by at least 45% by 2030 and to zero by 2050.
Councillors made the following comments:
· General support for the report and the Panel’s work. Panel members and officers were thanked for a thorough and comprehensive report.
· It was considered that the Panel’s recommendations to be very practical and thought the idea of the climate change impact assessment document on any new project/change in policy or service to be very important.
· It was disheartening that there had been a lack of response from co-optees but the public attendance pre-Covid and witness sessions had been positive and engaging.
· Acknowledgement there was the option to share best practice with other districts and boroughs.
· Recognition that in order to reach its carbon emissions target the council may have to lead by example and change the way it works and adapt.
· It was commented that the heating of the pool at K2 Crawley was the major consideration of energy consumption and the Panel had fully recognised there were industry standards and there were mixed views from individuals on the pool temperature. However it strongly wished for the recommendation to be considered.
· Support for the Climate Emergency Action Plan to be regularly reported back to OSC and Cabinet. The Climate Emergency Officer Advisory Group would consider options for reporting and report back as part of actions. The officers’ group was best placed to have the expert knowledge and skill to identify actions, activities and timescales within the council’s services. The action plan was set to identify resources, sources of funding and timescales for completion of actions in order to ensure the council remained on target. Led by the Climate Emergency Officer Advisory Group who have in-depth, enhanced expert knowledge of specific projects and have a crucial view on the council’s services.
· Whilst there was general support for the recommendations from the majority of members, there was concern raised from some regarding recommendation ‘q’ and paperless meetings, particularly the need to read reports thoroughly and length of time on devices. In contrast, there was recognition of the large environmental and financial benefits together with the availability of additional equipment along with further training. It was acknowledged the Cabinet Member for Resources took the decision that any newly elected councillor would be paperless from May 2018, whilst remaining compliant under the Equality Act.
· During the debate Councillor Lanzer (seconded by Councillor T Belben) moved a proposed amendment adding a further recommendation:
2.3 c) Request the Governance Committee look at the future format of the Council’s formal and informal meetings to consider which should be face to face, virtual or hybrid.
No objection was expression by the Commission and the inclusion of Recommendation 2.3c was therefore declared to be Carried.
That the Commission notes the report and requests that the views expressed during the debate, are fed back to the Cabinet through the Commission’s Comment sheet, with the additional recommendation noted above.