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There were no apologies for absence received.
RESOLVED that the minutes of the meeting held on 18th March 2021 (circulated previously) be approved as a correct record and signed by the Chair subject to the following amendment on page 11:
“That the reference to public payment for public goods was the wrong way around and should state:
“public goods for public payment”.
Councillor Bulled abstained from the vote as she was not present at the meeting.
Order of Agenda
The Chair advised that following a request from Councillor Biederman, item 7 would be considered prior to item 6 on the agenda.
Declarations of Interest.
(Please telephone the Corporate and Community Services team to prepare a form for your signature before the meeting. Interests must be re-declared when the item is called, and Councillors must leave the room if necessary).
There were no declarations of interest received.
Notice of Motion from Councillor Biederman to Full Council on 24th February 2021 in relation to the proposal for the development of a Dog Strategy (attached) together with Minute extract of Full Council held on 24th February 2021 (attached) and briefing paper by the Service Lead for Environmental Protection (to follow).
The Committee considered a Notice of Motion from Councillor Biederman to Full Council on 24th February 2021 in relation to the development of a Dog Strategy (circulated previously) together with minute extract of Full Council held on 24th February 2021 (circulated previously).
The Committee received a presentation from the Service Lead for Environmental Protection regarding the work that the Council currently undertook in relation to the roles and responsibilities for the management of dogs within the North Devon area.
He drew the Committee’s attention to the following:
Ø 2.5 Environmental Health / Protection Officers , which were responsible for the areas of nuisance, noise, bonfires, odours, drainage, air quality, industrial pollution control, contaminated land, anti-social behaviour, planning / licensing consultations.
Ø 3 Neighbourhood Officers, two of which were apprentice Environmental Health Officers and were responsible for the areas of littering, fly tipping, dog control / fouling and stray dogs.
Ø 1 Private Water Sampling Officer.
Ø 1½ Case Officers, who were responsible for administrative Support, Environmental permitting, public health and funerals.
The Council had a duty under s149 (1) of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 to appoint an Officer for “the purpose of discharging the functions for dealing with stray dogs found in the area of the authority”. This function was incorporated into the role of the 3 Neighbourhood Officers.
There was a stray dog contract in place with two kennelling providers to support this service, which included out of hours collections. When reports of strays were received, these reports were always prioritised with engagement with the local community in whatever means possible, which included social media to enable the owner to be quickly identified and ensure the safe return of the dog.
A consultation exercise was held in 2020 to help establish the level of community need in relation to anti-social behaviour associated with irresponsible dog ownership, which generated 3,000+ responses. In early 2021, a Public Spaces Protection Order (PSPO) was adopted to implement a series of measures, which supported the views of the consultation. These measures included restrictions on some local beaches.
The dog waste service, which was previously operated by Environmental Health was now being managed by Operational Services. However, it was recognised that the service could be delivered differently, which could provide improvements to efficiency and customer services.
The Environmental Protection team utilised a number of tools to engage with the community in relation to promoting responsible dog ownership – including using social media, education initiatives, vehicle branding, maintaining close working relationships with partners and progressing work in relation to the delegation ... view the full minutes text for item 5.
Notice of Motion from Councillor Mack to Full Council on 7th April 2021 in relation to voting procedures (attached) together with Minute extract of Full Council held on 7th April 2021 (attached).
The Committee considered a Notice of Motion from Councillor Mack to Full Council on 7th April 2021 in relation to voting procedures (circulated previously) together with Minute extract of Full Council held on 7th April 2021 (circulated previously).
Councillor Mack addressed the Committee and stated that with local government reorganisation was on the horizon there might be an opportunity explore options in relation to the voting system. He added that the single transferrable vote appeared to be the preferred system, in Wales each local authority can choose which process they would like to use. The Committee discussed the various different systems that could be utilised.
The Committee discussed the various different proportionate systems and Councillor Mack added that the proportional system was used across Europe and enabled more collaborative working across the various parties, increasing the interest in voting and allowing residents to feel involved in the process.
The Chief Executive provided clarity in relation to the various election system processes adding that delays were inevitable under any system. He explained that there were a number of different systems currently in place together with various different systems across wales, adding that there was advantages and disadvantages to both.
The Committee discussed the voting system in Australia whereby all residents had to vote by law and questioned whether England should explore the option of mandatory voting.
That the Council write to the government to bring forward legislation to allow local authorities in England to choose to their own voting system; and
That paragraph three of the original Notice of Motion to Full Council be re-worded once the legislation to allow local authorities to change their voting system to the proportional Single Transferable Vote system had been established in Wales.
Adjournment of Meeting
ADJOURNMENT OF MEETING
RESOLVED, that the meeting be adjourned to allow for a five minute comfort break.
RESOLVED, that the meeting be reconvened to allow for the remaining business to be transacted.
Landscapes Review: Final report - Summary of Findings. Chief Executive to report. Link to summary document (attached).
The Chief Executive advised that the reason the item had been brought to the Committee was to make Members aware of the report following much publicity by Dartmoor National Park Authority. He added that the report was published in September 2019.
He outlined the proposal that all National Parks and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) be managed under one national service or body. He explained that the Council should wait for the publication of the government proposals prior to taking any action and that the proposals were due for publication towards the end of June 2021.
He advised that an officer from Exmoor National Park Authority was happy to attend a future meeting of the Committee once the government’s proposals had been announced and the purpose of presenting to the Committee was to draw Member’s attention to its existence.
Following a suggestion from the Chair, the Committee agreed to invite the AONB to the same meeting.
Policy Development Committee - 18th March 2021: Outcomes from the meeting
Committee to discuss the outcomes of the meeting held on 18th March 2021, please refer to minutes attached under item 2 on the agenda.
The Chair advised that the Clerk to the Committee had made contact with the representative from the National Farmers Union (NFU) to request clarification regarding the recommendations that they wished the Council to proceed with. On 26th May 2021, the NFU replied and the Chairman read the representative’s response to the Committee. The Clerk also forwarded the email onto the Members of the Committee present.
In response to a number of questions, the Chief Executive advised that a whole range of issues were discussed at the meeting and that the Clerk had approached the representative of the NFU to ascertain which specific areas they wished the Council to canvass the government on.
The areas highlighted were as follows:
North Devon Council:
· Help co-ordinate broadband for those rural areas that were still struggling.
· Promote the British/buy local message at any opportunity. E.g. if the NFU funded them would planners allow messages along those lines in fields adjoining major routes?
· Work with farm businesses on farm modernisation plans that would increase productivity and reduce impact on environment.
· Spread the message of Countryside Code
· Champion Great British food at home and abroad and ensure standards were protected by not agreeing to FTAs without adequate protection.
· Rural proof all primary legislation- empowering and engaging rural voice was vital if levelling up to be achieved.
· Amplify green growth by ensuing country wide connectivity for all – 40% of farmers surveyed believe there broadband to be insufficient.
· Work with farmers to enable them to become global leaders in climate friendly farming.
The Committee discussed the various requests and how best to approach each one.
That the Chief Executive respond to the representative of the NFU to set out what support the Council could provide as an authority;
That as part of the Council’s response to the NFU, identify any Devon County Council (DCC) specific areas that should be raised by the NFU to DCC directly;
That the Chief Executive send a separate letter to the government to highlight the issues identified.