Agenda and minutes

Council
Tuesday 2nd March, 2021 7.00 pm

Venue: Online meeting - Livestreamed. View directions

Contact: Katie Mogan  Tel: (01279) 502174 Email:  katie.mogan@eastherts.gov.uk

Media

Items
No. Item

387.

Chairman's Announcements

To receive any announcements.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman welcomed Members to the Council meeting being held as a virtual meeting on Zoom. He also welcomed those that there were watching the meeting live on the East Herts District YouTube channel.

 

The Chairman advised that the Local Authorities and Police and Crime Panels (Coronavirus) (Flexibility of Local Authority and Police and Crime Panel Meetings) (England and Wales) Regulations 2020 came into force on Saturday 4 April 2020 to enable councils to hold remote committee meetings during the Covid-19 pandemic period. This was to ensure local authorities could conduct business during this current public health emergency.  This Council meeting was being held remotely under these regulations, via the Zoom application and was being recorded and live streamed on YouTube.

 

The Chairman asked that Members use the raised blue hand function to indicate if they wished to speak. Due to a Zoom update, the raise hand function would now be used to vote on items. The Chairman said he would call out ‘for’, ‘against’ and ‘abstain’ and members would need to raise their virtual hand at the appropriate moment and the result be declared at the end.

 

The Chairman introduced and welcomed Harvey Moore OBE to Members. The Chairman said that Mr Moore had been awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours List for his role in leading the resilience response to Covid-19 at the Ministry of Defence.


Harvey Moore OBE addressed the Council meeting and gave Members an outline of his role which had involved planning for resilience and response during Covid-19, and then setting up for the recovery phase. He had engaged with medics, HR, the defence industry and military commanders. He said it had been a huge challenge, but one that was rewarding and it had given him a good insight in dealing with people.

 

The Chairman thanked Members for donating over £350 for his chosen charity at the last Council meeting where members wore Christmas Jumpers.

 

 

388.

Apologies for Absence

To receive any Members’ apologies for absence.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

An apology for absence was received from Councillor McAndrew. Upon taking a roll call of Members, it was established that Councillor Ranger was absent.

 

 

389.

Minutes - 13 January 2021 pdf icon PDF 95 KB

To approve as a correct record and authorise the Chairman to sign the Minutes of the Council meeting held on 13 January 2021.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Fernando proposed, and Councillor Alder seconded, a motion that the Minutes of the meeting held on 13 January 2021 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman. 

 

The motion to approve the Minutes being put to the meeting, and a vote taken, it was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED – that the Minutes of the meeting held on 13 January 2021 be confirmed as a correct record and signed by the Chairman.

 

 

390.

Declarations of Interest

To receive any Members' declarations of interest.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Snowdon declared an interest in the Treasury Management and Annual Investment Strategy item (at minute 404). He did not vote on the item.

 

391.

Petitions

To receive any petitions.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

There were no petitions to consider.

 

392.

Public Questions pdf icon PDF 115 KB

To receive any public questions.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Chairman invited Jill Goldsmith to ask her question.

 

Jill Goldsmith asked the Executive Member for Wellbeing the following question:

 

“I note the proposed Cultural Strategy references on page 67 a number of partners involved in the development of the strategy and that more are being signed up all the time. Could the Councillor responsible for this Strategy confirm:

a)     Whether and when the team developing the strategy had contact with arts organisations in Bishop’s Stortford to seek their engagement;

b)     What responses the Strategy group got from Bishop’s Stortford arts organisations to feed into the strategy;

c)     Which Bishop’s Stortford arts organisations the Strategy team are now in contact with”

 

Councillor E Buckmaster responded as follows:


“Thank you for the question Jill.  I need to address the points more broadly than how they are asked in order to explain our approach. For the first part of your question 2020 was the designated Year of Culture (YOC). We sent 200 invitations to organisations across the District for the launch and around 35 attended. Like everything else YOC was impacted by Covid.  We then set up a year of culture support group which had representatives from around the District and including Bishop’s Stortford Town Council and BS Library, Clarion Housing and an artist and a sculptor from Bishop’s Stortford, along with some East Herts members. I can forward the list of attendees from other parts of the District over that period. Over many months I worked with our officers towards achieving the basic framework of the draft cultural strategy which was always intended to be inclusive, open to all regardless of setting, location or ability. To reach those for whom it may be difficult to participate or engage.”

“The survey was therefore aimed at the whole of East Herts, it is a strategy to inspire, connect and - above all - create great cultural experiences for all, and was an early sense check of the basic principles”


“The survey was published on our website, went out through our communications team to social media channels and I asked every member of the council to share the link to the survey with their local networks. The point is that organisations that are not specifically involved in the arts are still able to deliver art and culture and we wanted as broad a view as possible along with those already operating.

You can see from the list of partners so far on page 67 there are many community based organisations.”


“For the second part of your question we received a total of 51 responses.
There were three named organisations from Bishop’s Stortford:

·          Parsonage Resident Association

·          Mondo Comico

·          Bishop’s Stortford Library

·     There were 16 anonymous responses and 8 named individuals with no contact details.  It is not clear whom they represented and where they are from.

·        3 Village Hall & Community Buildings

·        Bishop’s Stortford Town Council – we also requested them to forward it to their local contacts/groups

·        8 via the Community Grants Alert  ...  view the full minutes text for item 392.

393.

Members' questions pdf icon PDF 46 KB

To receive any Members' questions.

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Frecknall asked the Executive Member for Wellbeing the following question

 

“In a recent publication by The Lancet, 1 in 6 young people reported mental health problems - an increase from 1 in 10 in 2017. This figure, based on results from England's Mental Health of Children and Young People Survey (MHCYP), brings into stark reality the often unseen impact of the pandemic on the youngest members of our society. Children with probable mental health problems are more than twice as likely to live in households newly falling behind with their bills, rent, or mortgage payments and that one in ten children and young people reported that during the pandemic their family did not have enough to eat or have had an increased reliance on foodbanks when compared with before the pandemic. While much of the responsibility of Child Mental Health commissioning rests with HCC, what help or support networks are available from East Hertfordshire District Council to help protect the mental health of our future generations?”

 

Councillor E Buckmaster responded as follows:

 

“Thank you to Councillor Frecknall for the question. I am going to take that as networks open to East Herts residents since the District Council does not directly commission mental health services, and Children’s services come under County. I’ll try to give some background and pointers about what may be available generally and then some interactions with East Herts. 90% of the funding for mental health comes from the NHS and there is an emotional and mental health wellbeing board which is cross agency and monitors that delivery and funding.

My main message is that it is important for members to subscribe to bulletins or notifications so that we are aware of initiatives and programmes promoted by various organisations and agencies. Very often these are promoted via communications bulletins or on social media and which we can onward share among our communities.”

“The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Hertfordshire and Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation Trust, CAMHS and HPFT cover services that support the emotional and mental health of children and young people like school counselling, play therapy and more specialist teams like the eating disorder service and theyhave strong links with Children’s Social Care and Education Services with teams made up of a wide variety of professionals and specialist nurses.”

“Ahead of the return to school last autumn a really useful document was issued by Hertfordshire to support transition back to school following the Covid-19 outbreak and contains some useful links to support Information and Advice Helplines. This document is designed for school leaders to support the emotional wellbeing of staff and students in returning to school following Covid-19 lockdown arrangements. It’s designed to help schools put in place steps to support the wellbeing needs of all staff and pupils and plan more targeted support for vulnerable students. The main concerns of school staff and parents include social aspects of school, reluctance to return to school, academic progress, and the mental health of children and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 393.

394.

Executive Report - 24 November 2020 pdf icon PDF 65 KB

To receive a report from the Leader of the Council and to consider recommendations on the matters below:

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader presented a report setting out recommendations to the Council made by the Executive at its meeting on 24 November 2020. Minute 258 in the Executive minutes referred to the item on which recommendations were made.

 

395.

Gilston Area Community Engagement Strategy

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader presented the recommendation, which was referred to in the Executive report of 24 November 2020, regarding the Gilston Area Community Engagement Strategy. The Leader said that this was an important document and she was proud to present it to Council.

 

Councillor Goldspink said that the Liberal Democrat group were always in favour of community engagements and the group was happy to support the recommendations.

 

Councillor Haysey proposed that the recommendations in the Executive report (at minute 258) be supported. Councillor Devonshire seconded the proposal. The motion to support the recommendation having been put to the meeting, and a vote taken, was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED – that (A) the Gilston Area Community Engagement Strategy be approved as a material consideration in the production of planning policy/guidance documents and the processing of planning applications associated with the Gilston Area; and

(B) the Gilston Area Community Engagement Strategy be published alongside the other planning guidance documents that support implementation of the District Plan.

 

 

396.

Executive report - 19 February 2021 pdf icon PDF 72 KB

To receive a report from the Leader of the Council and to consider recommendations on the matters below:

 

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Leader presented a report setting out recommendations to the Council made by the Executive at its meeting on 19 February 2021. The Executive Minutes 376, 377 and 378 referred to the three items on which recommendations were made.

 

397.

Cultural Strategy

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Wellbeing proposed the recommendations made by the Executive, as referred to in the Executive report of 19 February 2021, regarding the adoption of the Cultural Strategy. Councillor Buckmaster said that the report had been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and he had proposed an additional recommendation (B) to put the mechanics in place to move the strategy forward. He thanked staff in the Wellbeing team for putting the strategy together. Councillor Stevenson seconded the recommendations.

 

Councillor Goldspink said that the Liberal Democrat group were happy to support the recommendations.

 

Councillor Wilson said that the strategy was an excellent piece of work and gave credit to the officers who had worked on it. He raised an issue regarding the LGBTQ community mentioned on page 69 and 100 where it stated that it was a high priority to engage with those individuals. He asked for an amendment to page 70 to include the LGBTQ community alongside residents of all religious and cultural backgrounds.

 

Councillor E Buckmaster said that an amendment was not necessary as the LGBTQ community were referred to heavily in the document. He said that the strategy will be inclusive for everyone.

 

The motion to support the recommendations, having been proposed and seconded, was put to the meeting and upon a vote being taken, it was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVEDthat (A) the draft Cultural Strategy, incorporating the feedback from the public engagement exercise and the Overview and Scrutiny Committee, be considered and adopted; and

(B) the multi-agency strategic and delivery group to which the report refers be formed and the drafting of the detailed action plan be prioritised to ensure swift commencement of the vital work of the Cultural Strategy.

 

 

398.

Sustainability Supplementary Planning Document – Final for Adoption

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Planning and Growth proposed the recommendations made by the Executive, as referred to in the Executive report of 19 February 2021, to adopt the Sustainability Supplementary Planning Document (SPD). Councillor Goodeve said that this had been a comprehensive piece of work and had received a huge number of responses from interested parties. The SPD would be carried forward for strategic sites and it would make an important impact moving forward. Councillor Wyllie seconded the recommendations.

 

Councillor Goldspink confirmed that the Liberal Democrat group was happy to support the recommendations. She complimented the idea of having a checklist for all applicants and developers so they would be able to see what the council’s agenda was and the improvements it would be looking for.

 

Councillors Beckett and Crystall congratulated the officers involved in producing the SPD.

 

The motion to support the recommendations, having been proposed and seconded, was put to the meeting and upon a vote being taken, it was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED – that (A) the responses to the consultation be noted and the officer responses and proposed changes to the Sustainability Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) be supported;

(B) That the Sustainability Supplementary Planning Document (SPD), as detailed at Appendix A to this report, be agreed for adoption; and

(C) in accordance with the Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004 it has been determined that a Strategic Environmental Assessment of the Sustainability Supplementary Planning Document (SPD) is not required as it is unlikely to have significant environmental effects beyond the District Plan policies.

 

399.

Planning Enforcement Plan – Review and Update

Additional documents:

Minutes:

The Executive Member for Planning and Growth proposed the recommendation made by the Executive, as referred to in the Executive report of 19 February 2021, to adopt the Planning Enforcement Plan. Councillor Goodeve confirmed that the report had been considered by the Overview and Scrutiny Committee and a review would be conducted into the plan after one year. Councillor Page seconded the recommendation.

 

Councillor Goldspink thanked officers for their work on the report and confirmed that the Liberal Democrat group were happy to support the recommendations.

 

The motion to support the recommendations having been proposed and seconded, was put to the meeting and upon a vote being taken, it was declared CARRIED.

 

RESOLVED – that the Planning Enforcement Plan 2021, be adopted.

 

400.

Millstream Business Plan 2021/22 and Council Cashflows pdf icon PDF 127 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Williamson, the Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Financial Sustainability, submitted a report in respect of the Millstream Business Plan 2021/22 and Council Cashflows. He reminded members that the property investment company was formally established in February 2018 to generate revenue for the council and was in its third year of trading. The company was looking ahead at further growth by investing in more property. However, the plans had been put on hold as the government changed the rules on public borrowing in November 2020 which had prohibited borrowing with the primary aim of generating yield.

 

Councillor Williamson said that the company was required to update its business plan annually and the council, as a shareholder, must approve it.

 

Jonathan Geall, Director of Millstream, gave an update to the council. He thanked members of the shareholder group and the Head of Strategic Finance and Property for their guidance in developing the business plan. He confirmed that the council had asked Millstream to pause any proposed acquisitions in 2021/22 pending further counsel advice on the government changes. The business plan proposed to continue to manage the properties it currently holds with no acquisitions proposed for 2021/22 and assured members, on behalf of the company, that the business plan would deliver income to the council as assumed in the 2021/22 budget.

 

Councillor Williamson proposed and Councillor Deering seconded, a motion that the recommendations be supported. A motion to support to the recommendation having been proposed and seconded, was put to the meeting and a vote taken. The motion was declared CARRIED.

 

 

RESOLVED – that the Millstream Property Investment Ltd’s 2021/22 30 Year Business Plan be approved.

 

401.

Budget 2021/22 and Medium Term Financial Plan 2021-24 pdf icon PDF 292 KB

Additional documents:

Minutes:

Councillor Williamson, the Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Financial Sustainability, submitted a report on the Budget 2021/22 and Medium Term Financial Plan 2021-2024. The budget proposals contained revenue budgeting, funding through council tax, review of fees and charges, use of reserves and the capital programme. The report also contained plans for how the council intended to prepare for future financial challenges. He referred back to 2020, where it was identified that £4 million of savings needed to be found over the next three years and the Leadership Team were asked to present ideas for savings within their services to meet the saving targets and the set of preferred option were listed in Appendix A. He confirmed that the proposal to charge for green waste collections had been approved by Council in January 2021 and sign ups to the scheme were progressing well and meeting the expectation contained in the Medium Term Financial Plan. At the time of speaking, 9,550 households had already signed up which represented a third of all households.The savings would be introduced in stages over the next three years, with the savings proposals published filling the budget gap in 2021/22 but leaving £200k in 2022/23 and £1 million in 2023/24 to find.

 

Councillor Williamson referred to the New Homes Bonus which had been scaled back over the last three years and explained that its future looked doubtful with the government having launched a consultation on proposals to replace it. A proportion of this bonus used to be distributed to Town and Parish Councils on a discretionary basis. This budget proposed that they would be able to request funding up to the level which they would have previously received for community projects.

 

Councillor Williamson outlined that the council had, in previous successive years, frozen or had limited increases in council tax. Three years ago, the government made clear that they expected local authorities to become financially self-sufficient and accepted need to increase Council Tax to the maximum allowed without a referendum. He explained this position had not changed and Council Tax would be increased each year in the life of the Medium Term Financial Plan which was equivalent of £5 a year on a Band D property and this would generate critical additional revenue every year.

Councillor Williamson outlined the fees and charges, another key source of council income which had been reviewed annually and a 2.5% increase in line with inflation was built into the budget.

 

Councillor Williamson said the financial challenges were not new and the council had endeavoured to become more entrepreneurial and less dependent on central government funding. Good management of reserves were vital and would be reviewed regularly.

 

Councillor Williamson said that the Hartham Leisure Centre and Hertford Theatre projects as part of the capital programme had been progressing well and their business cases had been refreshed last year. The final business case for the Old River Lane project would be presented to Council on 18 March 2021.

 

Councillor Williamson looked  ...  view the full minutes text for item 401.

Recorded Vote
TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
Budget 2021/22 and Medium Term Financial Plan 2021-24 Resolution Carried
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  • 402.

    Council Tax 2021/22 - Tax Setting Formal Resolution pdf icon PDF 158 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Councillor Williamson, Deputy Leader and the Executive Member for Financial Sustainability, submitted a report on proposals to set Council Tax for 2021/22. He proposed a motion to support the recommendations, which required a recorded vote. This was seconded by Councillor Snowdon.

     

    A recorded vote was taken, the result being:

     

    FOR

     

    Councillors Alder, Andrews, Bolton, Boylan, E Buckmaster, R Buckmaster, Bull, Burmicz, Crofton, Crystall, Curtis, Cutting, Deering, Devonshire, Drake, Fernando, Frecknall, Goodeve, Hall, Haysey, Hollebon, Jones, Kemp, McMullen, Newton, Page, Pope, Reed, Rowley, Ruffles, Rutland-Barsby, Snowdon, Stowe, Symonds, Ward-Booth, Williamson and Wyllie.

     

    ABSTAIN

     

    Councillors Beckett, Bell, Brady, Corpe, Dumont, Goldspink, Kemp, Redfern and Wilson.

     

    For: 37

    Against: 0
    Abstain: 9

     

    RESOLVED that

    (A)the Council Tax resolution, as now submitted, be approved;

    (B) the local precepts as set out at Appendix ‘A’ be noted; and

    (C) the Hertfordshire County Council and Hertfordshire Police Authority precepts be noted.

     

     

    Recorded Vote
    TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
    Council Tax 2021/22 - Tax Setting Formal Resolution Resolution Carried
  • View Recorded Vote for this item
  • 403.

    Capital Strategy and Minimum Revenue Provision Policy 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 63 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Councillor Williamson, the Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Financial Sustainability, submitted the Capital Strategy and Minimum Revenue Provision Policy report. He said that the council was required to produce the report following strengthening of guidance from Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG) and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). He said that the Capital Strategy was helpful as a high level document and it pulled together and considered a range of both internal and external factors and how these inter-relate with policy and decision-making in respect of capital investment.

     

    Councillor Crystall commented on Priority 3 ‘encouraging economic growth’ in the Corporate Strategic Plan on page 722. He was delighted to see a focus on a green agenda for investment purchases. He said he appreciated this was due to a shift in government policy but he thought this change in course was welcome and overdue. He said he fully supported it and highlighted it as a good example of where things are moving in the right direction.

     

    Councillor Wilson referred to page 732 and said it implied that the council did not have a strategy at the moment and again questioned why the council had embarked on four capital projects at once without a long term capital strategy.

     

    Councillor Williamson explained that the requirement to produce this document was only introduced in the last few years.

     

    Councillor Williamson proposed and Councillor Kemp seconded, a motion that the proposals be supported. A motion to support the recommendation having been proposed and seconded, was put to the meeting and a vote taken. The motion was declared CARRIED.

     

    RESOLVED – that the Capital Strategy and Minimum Revenue Provision Policy 2021/22 onwards be approved.

     

     

    404.

    Treasury Management and Annual Investment Strategy 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 81 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Councillor Snowdon declared a prejudicial interest as he worked for Fitch Group who were the parent company of Fitch Ratings. He did not vote on this item.

     

    Councillor Williamson, Deputy Leader and Executive Member for Financial Sustainability, submitted the Treasury Management and Annual Investment Strategy report to Council. He said that the council was required to provide three treasury reports each financial year and this was the first report. It covered the council’s capital plans including the prudential indicators, the minimum revenue provision policy and treasury management and investment strategies. A good treasury function ensures the council has the money to cover its daily operating costs and have longer term funding available to finance the capital projects.

     

    Councillor Williamson proposed and Councillor Curtis seconded, a motion that the proposals be supported. A motion to support the recommendation having been proposed and seconded, was put to the meeting and a vote taken. The motion was declared CARRIED.

     

    RESOLVED – that (A) The Treasury Management and Annual Investment Strategy 2021/22 at Appendix A is approved; and

    (B) The Prudential Indicators at Appendix B are approved.

     

    405.

    Human Resources Committee - 16 February 2021 pdf icon PDF 67 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Councillor Cutting, the Executive Member for Corporate Services, submitted a report from the Human Resources Committee who had considered and supported the approval of the Pay Policy Statement 2021-22.

     

    Councillor Cutting proposed and Councillor Bolton seconded, a motion that the proposals be supported. A motion to support the recommendation having been proposed and seconded, was put to the meeting and a vote taken. The motion was declared CARRIED.

     

    RESOLVED – that the Pay Policy Statement 2021/22 be approved

     

     

    406.

    Community Grants Priorities 2021/22 pdf icon PDF 261 KB

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Councillor Rutland-Barsby presented the report to Council. She said that the Council reviewed its grants policy every year and checked that the priorities were aligned correctly to its corporate principles. There was little change in the report that was unanimously adopted by Council in December 2019.  However, the key points that needed approval in the report were the continuation of the two pilot schemes that were introduced in 2020/2021 for the duration of one year.

    Councillor Rutland-Barsby said she did not need to elaborate on the effect of COVID over the last 12 months.  The one good thing that this terrible situation had made very clear, was the enormously enthusiastic community spirit and tremendously helpful volunteering that had assisted the official bodies to cope with the challenges thrown at them.

    The financial challenges caused by Covid had shown that small local initiatives need to be encouraged and nurtured and with this in mind she asked Members to endorse the continuation of the Small Grants pilot to assist with these activities, building more self-reliant and strong communities

     

    The other pilot the council wished to extend was the Crowd Funding Match Scheme with the HCC platform – Crowdfunding Hertfordshire.  This would allow initiatives to become less reliant on the tradition grant programmes of local authorities, which in the future may have to be reduced to cope with the continuing financial pressures.

    The participation of all Members was the key to the success of the schemes. The endorsement and mentoring with Members’ local knowledge was an invaluable part of the process when officers come to consider and evaluate applications.  Councillor Rutland-Barsby said that it was also important that members promote participation by local groups in the East Herts Lottery, as an ongoing source of income for their efforts.  Crowdfunding as already said, can be an important of help to specific projects.   She added that if any members had any queries or need assistance, Claire Pullen, the Grants Officer would be happy to assist.

     

    Councillor Goldspink confirmed that the Liberal Democrat group were happy to support the recommendations and highlighted that supporting small community groups is important as they had been valued highly during the pandemic.

     

    Councillors Frecknall and Redfern echoed these comments.

     

    Councillor Rutland-Barsby proposed and Councillor Symonds seconded a motion that the proposals be supported. A motion to support the recommendation having been proposed and seconded, was put to the meeting and a vote taken. The motion was declared CARRIED.

     

    RESOLVED – that the revised Community Grants Policy and priorities for 2021/22 be approved.

     

    407.

    Motions on notice - Reducing carbon emissions in existing housing stock and commercial buildings pdf icon PDF 58 KB

    To consider a motion on notice proposed by Councillor Terence Beckett and seconded by Councillor Mione Goldspink

    Additional documents:

    Minutes:

    Councillor Beckett proposed a motion on notice on reducing carbon emissions in existing housing stock and commercial buildings.  He spoke to the motion he had submitted, referring to research he had conducted with different councils in the country around sustainability. His motion sought a commitment from the council to look at setting up an energy company to reduce bills of residents. He acknowledged that other councils had set up energy companies but had failed due to bad management and gave Nottingham Council as an example of this.

     

    Councillor Goldspink seconded the motion.

     

    Councillor Williamson responded to the motion on behalf on Councillor McAndrew. He responded to Point A in the motion and said that the Energy Sustainability pages on the website already included a section on sustainable energy advice and fuel tariffs switching and the wording would be amended to give further emphasis on the importance of switching to genuinely 100% green energy tariff. Promotion and focus was currently on fuel poverty and cost although many 100% green energy tariffs can have competitive prices. The council would not intend on advocating a single tariff from an energy provider but instead would encourage further improvements to the energy mix of the UK grid. In relation to publicity, the council continued to develop its social media presence in relation to carbon reduction and would focus around appropriate national theme weeks. Additionally, Councillor Williamson said that East Herts were an active member of the Hertfordshire Climate Change and Sustainability Partnership (HCCSP) who were looking to develop a significant county wide behavioural change promotion focussing on sustainability and climate change issues. In relation to Point B of the motion, Councillor Williamson said it was an interesting idea but would be difficult to achieve due to the competitive energy supplier market where profit margins are tight. More broadly, the partnership have discussed the possible idea to investigate bulk buying schemes in relation to green energy. Councillor Williamson referred to Point C of the motion and said that the establishment of a sustainable energy supplier could be risky and expensive for local authorities and it is something that had been previously explored in Hertfordshire and the consensus was that individual district authorities such as East Herts were too small to carry it out efficiently. He said there are some advantages to running a white label operation, mainly that tariffs could be set and priority given to fuel poor customers through specific tariffs. An EE energy scheme was also being looked at in the Eastern region.

    He summed up and said he believed that the action contained in the motion proposed has already been done or had been considered by the council.

     

    Councillor Ward-Booth referred to the Robin Hood energy company mentioned by Councillor Beckett in his introduction. Councillor Beckett said this was an example of bad management by which Councillor Ward-Booth agreed with but he said it was bad management by the council and Grant Thornton had said it was an example of “institutional blindness” and  ...  view the full minutes text for item 407.

    Recorded Vote
    TitleTypeRecorded Vote textResult
    Motions on notice - Reducing carbon emissions in existing housing stock and commercial buildings Motion Rejected
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