Agenda and draft minutes

Climate and Environment Advisory Committee - Tuesday, 21 June 2022 10.00 a.m.

Venue: Council Chamber - South Cambs Hall. View directions

Contact: 01954 713000 Email: Democratic.Services@scambs.gov.uk 

Media

Items
No. Item

1.

Apologies and Introductions

Minutes:

Officers and Councillors introduced themselves to the meeting.

 

No apologies were received as all members of the Committee were present.

2.

Declarations of Interest

Minutes:

Councillor Shrobona Bhattacharya declared an interest as she had started an environmental group called Serve the Planet, which would soon be registered with the charity commission.

 

Councillor Martin Cahn declared an interest as a member of the Wildlife Trust, an organisation which was mentioned during the meeting.

3.

Minutes of the Previous Meeting pdf icon PDF 144 KB

To agree the minutes of the meeting held on 7 March 2022

Minutes:

The Minutes of the meeting held on 7 March 2022 were agreed as a correct record.

4.

Matters Arising from the Minutes

Minutes:

There were no Matters Arising.

5.

MJ Award for Leadership in Responding to the Climate Emergency

Minutes:

The Development Officer, Climate and Environment reported that the Council had been shortlisted for the Municipal Journal’s annual award for Leadership in Responding to the Climate Emergency for its Green to our Core programme. It was noted that the Chair will represent the Council with two officers at the awards ceremony on Friday 24 June.

 

The Chair reported that earlier in the year the Council’s Green to Our Core programme had been shortlisted for the iESE’s 2022 Green Public Service Award and had been awarded silver. The Chair suggested that members change their e-mail signature to include the fact that they represented a Council, which had achieved this recognition.

6.

Annual Progress Review of Zero Carbon and Doubling Nature Action Plan pdf icon PDF 501 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Development Officer, Climate and Environment presented this report on the review of the Zero Carbon and Doubling Nature Action Plan as at the end of the 2021/22 financial year.

 

The Chair decided that the Committee would receive the next report on Greenhouse Gas Emissions Accounts for the Council’s Estate and Operations, 2021-22 and then Committee Members would be invited to ask questions on both agenda items.

7.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Accounts for the Council's Estate and Operations, 2021-22 pdf icon PDF 250 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Project Officer, Climate, Environment and Waste presented this report which updated the Committee on the greenhouse gas emissions for the Council’s estate and operations for 2021-22. It was understood that the data was collected in line with Government guidance. It was noted that South Cambridgeshire’s population had grown by 2.15% the Council’s emissions had decreased by 13.1%.

 

Transport

The Development Officer, Climate and Environment explained that the Council’s Planning Policy section could influence the transport policies that affected the District. The transport data came from the Government and was eighteen months old when received. The Development Officer, Climate and Environment did not believe that the information could be divided into public transport vehicles, private vehicles and freight but she agreed to check this and report back to the Committee. It was also hoped that officers could provide separate data on local traffic in the district and national traffic that was passing through the district, which the Council could have no real influence on.

[Following the meeting the Development Officer, Climate and Environmental ascertained that the Council has data on CO2 emissions from diesel railways, road transport (subdivided into A roads, minor roads and motorways) and ‘other’.  For 2020 the data for South Cambridgeshire is as follows (all figures are tonnes CO2):

Diesel railways:  3.6

Road transport

 A roads 328.1

 Minor road 99.9

 Motorways 116.4

Other transport emission 7.0

Note that the Government considers all except Motorways to be under Local Authority influence.]

 

 

Energy use at South Cambs Hall

The Project Officer, Climate, Environment and Waste explained that the Council was reducing carbon emissions from its main office building through the installation of a ground source heat pump, solar car port and the use of lower energy LED lightbulbs. It was noted that energy use by staff who worked from home could be estimated by using the LGA accounting tool.

 

It was understood that the renovations at South Cambs Hall, including the installation of the ground source heat pump, would be completed by the end of the month. The Head of Climate, Environment and Waste explained that the increase in energy costs meant that the pay back period for the capital investment had reduced from around 15 years to around 10 years due to the increase in energy costs. He stated that the maintenance costs of the heat pumps were less than the maintenance cost of a conventional boiler. He agreed to arrange a tour of the building for members to see the energy saving improvements that had been implemented.

 

The Development Officer, Climate and Environment explained that it was difficult to find out whether the energy used by the ICT shared service could be divided by each individual local authority. She agreed to report back on this issue at the next meeting.

 

It noted that although the Council’s electricity tariff was certified as renewable, it was not possible to determine whether the power came directly from only renewable resources.

 

Reducing energy use when collecting waste

The Project Officer,  ...  view the full minutes text for item 7.

8.

Update on Electric Vehicle Charge Points pdf icon PDF 161 KB

Minutes:

The Project Officer presented this report, which updated the Committee on the electric vehicles charge points infrastructure in the District. It was noted that chargers had been installed at the Business Park in Cambourne and were due to be installed at Sheltered Housing estates in the District and the Babraham Road Park and Ride Site.

 

Cost of installing chargers

The Project Officer agreed to investigate reports that Ofgem were working to ensure that the cost of installing rapid chargers would not fall disproportionately on those who first paid to install the charger in a particular area.

 

Installing chargers at supermarkets and garages

In response to a query about the challenges in finding a location for charge points, the Project Officer explained that chargers had been installed at Morrisons supermarket in Cambourne and Tesco supermarket in Milton. Installing rapid chargers at petrol stations was also being delivered.

 

Chargers as revenue generators

In response to the suggestion that coverage would inevitably improve when charging points become clear revenue generators, the Project Officer stated that the Council could focus on attempting to remove barriers to revenue generation but the initial plan was to install chargers at the lowest possible cost.

 

Charging at home

It was noted that it was cheaper for electric car owners to charge their cars at home but charging points needed to be available for the estimated 25% of residents who were unable to do this, as they did not have access to private parking. Charger sharing was a potential solution that could be investigated at the forthcoming workshop, along with other ways to increase the number of chargers in the District.

 

Working with partners

The Project Officer explained that the Council was working with parish councils in trying to identify appropriate sites for chargers. Councillor Dr Tumi Hawkins suggested that parish councils would be aware of businesses that could install charging points in their villages. It was noted that the Council was working in partnership with the Greater Cambridge Partnership, the County Council and the Combined Authority on this issue, particularly regarding the challenge of grid capacity. The County Council were considering the use of electric buses and had agreed to install chargers at their Babraham Road Park and Ride site.

 

The Chair suggested that the Council should promote the locations of chargers in the District and help to address any areas which had no chargers. Steps could also be taken to ensure that chargers were installed in new developments such as Waterbeach and Northstowe.

 

The Committee noted the report.

9.

Guidance to Parish Councils on Declaring a Climate and Ecological Emergency pdf icon PDF 211 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Project Officer, Climate, Environment and Waste presented this report, which updated the Committee on the guidance available to parish and town councils on declaring Climate and Ecological Emergencies. Committee members were invited to review the proposed webpage in Appendix A to the report and suggest any amendments.

 

Wildlife Trust

The Chair explained that the Wildlife Trust had recently carried out a survey on the bio-diversity in the area and she requested this be referred to on the proposed webpage. It was agreed that the Wildlife Trust should be invited to explain their work, the data that they gather and what has been achieved in Cambourne to the Committee.

 

Emissions data

In response to the suggestion that targets could be expressed in terms of the number of tonnes of emissions that needed to be reduced instead of percentages, the Project Officer, Climate, Environment and Waste explained that a link could be sent to parish councils on how to calculate their own emissions. The aim was to get to net zero by 2050.

 

Preserving green spaces

The Project Officer, Climate, Environment and Waste recognised the importance of green spaces to local communities and its preservation could be encouraged through the Zero Carbon Communities Programme.

 

Green Connect Webinars

The Project Officer, Climate, Environment and Waste explained that six Green Connect Webinars had been held this year and more would be arranged from September. Committee members were invited to suggest topics for these webinars.

 

It was agreed that the Committee would discuss this matter further at its forthcoming workshop.

10.

Project Update: Waterbeach Renewable Energy Network (WREN) pdf icon PDF 216 KB

Minutes:

The Green Energy Investment Manager presented this report, which updated the Committee on the Waterbeach Renewable Energy Network project, which was being developed to respond to the plan to replace the diesel waste collection vehicles with cleaner vehicles including electric ones, which will require an upgrading of the infrastructure to generate the necessary electricity. It was noted that the costs would be shared between this authority and the City Council, with additional funding provided by Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority.

 

In response to questioning the Green Energy Investment Manager explained that the seasonal variances in the power generated by solar panels had been factored in. Ground mounted solar panels could be optimally positioned to generate more energy than roof mounted panels although on occasion, energy from the grid would still be required.

 

The Green Energy Investment Manager agreed to check that the increasing energy demands from the new town at Waterbeach would not adversely affect the project and its own demands on the grid.

 

It was noted that Cabinet had approved funding of the project and would be asked to consider a recommendation on the business plan later this year.

 

The Committee noted the report.

11.

An Interim Approach to Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) Including Offsite Provision pdf icon PDF 135 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Natural Environment Team Leader presented this report, which invited the Committee to recommend the proposed interim approach of guiding principles for siting biodiversity net gain for developments within the District to Cabinet. It was noted that all planning permissions agreed by local authorities would have to deliver 10% biodiversity net gain from November 2023. The interim guidance was expected to be used before this date. Further guidance on this was expected in November 2023 from the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA).

 

Delivering Biodiversity Net Gain outside the planning area

Councillor Tumi Hawkins, Lead Cabinet Member for Planning, thanked the Natural Environment Team Leader and his team for their work on this. She hoped that the biodiversity offsetting would take place in the same area as the development but she warned that this could be difficult, especially with the smaller developments. The Natural Environment Team Leader explained that in cases where the bio-diversity enhancements were taking place outside the planning area, the aim would be to ensure that area enhanced was of a similar habitat to the area being developed. If this proved impossible then the bio-diversity net gain would have to be delivered locally and managed by a non-commercial organisation like a parish council or community group. A national credit system where the developer could purchase “credit” from the Government was the last and least attractive option. The Built and Natural Environment Manager added that given the size of the District and the number of developments taking place all the options were likely to be used at some point. The Natural Environment Team Leader assured the Committee that the establishment of strategic sites was preferable to identifying sites outside the development area or the developer purchasing credits.

 

Chalk streams

The Natural Environment Team Leader agreed that chalk streams were vital habitats that had to be managed carefully but they it was difficult to enhance their biodiversity.

 

DEFRA’s regulations and criteria

The Natural Environment Team Leader explained that the guidelines provided by DEFRA necessitated careful consideration and a holistic approach when considering the use of brownfield sites and land that had become contaminated for biodiversity net gain. He added that the Council had already responded to a consultation on biodiversity net gain regulations from DEFRA. It was noted that all sites would need to be assessed using the DEFRA criteria to establish the baseline data of the area before development. This was essential in calculating the percentage biodiversity net gain.

 

Locating sites

The Chair recommended that officers liaise with parish councils and community groups to inform them of the forthcoming legislation and invite them to identify areas that could benefit from biodiversity net gains. The Built and Natural Environment Manager explained that the Council would work with local groups to identify sites that could be enhanced but these would not always be in the same area as the development. It was agreed that site visits should be organised for members to areas that could be enhanced.

 

Doubling  ...  view the full minutes text for item 11.

12.

Forward Plan

Minutes:

The Committee noted that a workshop meeting would be held on Tuesday 5 July to discuss areas of key focus for the Committee.

·         Green Connect/ZCC programme planning

·         Food security/sustainability

·         Household composting of green waste

·         Developing repair workshops in the District.

·         EV infrastructure plans

·         How will we achieve our doubling nature aspirations?

13.

Date of Next Meeting

Tuesday 4 October 2022 at 2 pm.

Minutes:

It was noted that the next meeting would be held on Tuesday 4 October at 2 pm.